The Sceptre of the King
‘The king held out the golden sceptre.’— Esth. viii. 4.
JESUS is He ‘that holdeth the sceptre,’—the symbol first of kingly right and authority, and next of righteousness and justice. ‘A sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of Thy kingdom,’—’a right sceptre.’ And yet the golden sceptre was held out as the sign of sovereign mercy to one who, by ‘one law of his to put him to death,’ must otherwise have perished, ‘that he may live.’ Thus, by the combination of direct statement and type, we are shown in this figure the beautiful, perfect meeting of the ‘mercy and truth’ of our King, the ‘righteousness and peace ‘ of His kingdom.’
Again and again the Holy Ghost repeats this grand blending of seemingly antagonistic attributes, confirming to us in many ways this strong consolation.
How precious the tiny word and becomes, as we read, ‘He is just, and having salvation.’ ‘A merciful and faithful High Priest.’ ‘A just God, and a Saviour.’ We do not half value God’s little words.
1 Amos 1.5. 2 Heb, i. 8. 3 Ps. xlv. 6.
4 Esth. iv. II. 6 Ps. Ixxxv. lo; ib. Ixxli. 2, 3.
6 Heb. vi. 18. 7Zech. ix.9.
To ‘the King’s enemies’ the sceptre is a ‘rod of iron’ (for the word is the same in Hebrew). They cannot rejoice in the justice which they defy. To the King’s willing subjects it is indeed golden, a beautiful thing, and a most precious thing. We admire and glory in His absolute justice and righteousness ; it satisfies the depths of our moral being, —it is so strong, so perfect.
His justice is, if we may reverently say so, the strong point of His atoning work. The costly means of our redemption were paid for ‘at the full price.’ He fulfilled the law. There was nothing wanting in all the work which His Father gave Him to do. He finished it. And His Father was satisfied. Thus He was just towards His Father, that He might be faithful and just to forgive us our sins. It is no weak compassion, merely wrought on by misery, but strong, grand, infinite, and equal justice and mercy, balanced as they never are in human minds. For only the ways of the Lord are thus “equal.”
And oh, how ‘ sweet is Thy mercy’! and just because of the justice, how ‘sure’! Esther said, ‘If I perish, I perish.’ So need not we, ‘for His mercy endureth for ever.’ And so, every time we come into the audience chamber of our King, we know that the golden spectre will be held out to us, first ‘that we may live,’ and then for favour after favour. ‘Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.’ Not stand afar off and think about it, and keep our King waiting; but, like Esther, Met us draw near,’ and ‘ touch the top of the sceptre.’
1 Heb ii. 17. 2 Jsa. xlv. 21.
3 Ps. xlv. 5; ib. ii. 9. 4 i Chron. xxi. 24 ; Matt. v. 17.
5 John xvii. 4; Isa. xlii. 21. ^ i John i. 9.
‘ Ezek. xviii. 25. 8 Ps. cix. 20, P. B. V ; Isa. Iv. 3.
8 Esth. iv. 16, 10 Ps. cxxxvi. i.