gnawing at His heart.

Who can imagine the burden that lay ever more heavily upon the heart of the Man of Sorrows during those years of hidden contemplation, when none but Himself knew what He was thinking, planning, resolving? There lay at the back of His heart through it all a consuming love for His Father and a deep understanding of His sorrows. He determined to reveal His Father to men, that all might see the glory of His character and the power of His might. He realised that this was a people deceived and robbed, blind and imprisoned: and if the people of God were in such a state, what of the Gentiles, sunk in ignorance and debauched by vice? Though they could not be reached by His earthly ministry He was comforted by the knowledge given Him so often through the prophets, that after His death He was to be God's salvation to the ends of the earth. We can only imagine the thoughts of Elijah before 1 Kings 17 by his recorded actions afterwards. The ministry of Jesus that is recorded, and the prophetic word of God, lay bare to us the understanding, the zeal, the determination, the apprehension, the joy, the expectation, the compassion, the anger and the assurance that, as it were, came to the boil during that long apprenticeship, and finally burst forth in a service that never rested until He could cry triumphantly 'I have finished the work Thou gavest Me to do'.

With a yet keener eye He saw the sin of Israel, and, past that, of the whole world. Here was a problem to be solved not by wisdom alone, but by the suffering of a shameful death. Already He had lifted daily upon his shoulder the Cross first assumed before the foundation of the world. To Him the opening of ministry meant the beginning of death: and the Messenger who called Him out was to greet Him with the words 'Behold the Lamb of God that beareth ... the Sin of the World'. He knew that