I make no apology for taking the words as having their only real accomplishment in the office and working of Jesus Christ. He is ‘the Breaker Which is come up before us.’ He it is that has broken out the path on which we may travel, and in Whom, in a manner which the prophet dreamed not of, ‘the Lord is at the head’ of us, and our King goes before us. So that my object is simply to take that great name, ‘The Breaker,’ and to see the manifold ways in which in Scripture it is applied to the various work of Jesus Christ in our redemption.
I. I follow entirely the lead of corresponding passages in other portions of Scripture and, to begin with, I ask you to think of that great work of our Divine Redeemer by which He has broken for the captives the prison-house of their bondage.
II. Take another application of this same figure found in Scripture, which sets forth Jesus Christ as being the Opener of the path to God.—For we do not know God as He is except by Jesus Christ. We see fragments, and often distorted fragments, of the Divine nature and character apart from Jesus, but the real Divine nature it is, and as it is in its relation to me, a sinner, is only made known to me in the face of Jesus Christ. When we see Him we see God.
III. Then still another modification of this figure is found in the frequent representations of Scripture, by which our Lord is the Breaker, going up before us in the sense that He is the Captain of our life’s march.—We have, in the words of the text, the image of the gladly-gathered people flocking after the Leader. ‘They have broken up, and have passed through the gate, and are gone out by it; and their King shall pass before them, and the Lord on the head of them.’
IV. Lastly, there is a final application of this figure which sets forth our Lord as the Breaker for us of the bands of death, and the Forerunner ‘entered for us into the heavens.’—Christ’s resurrection is the only solid proof of a future life. Christ’s present resurrection life is the power by partaking in which, ‘though we were dead, yet shall we live.’
He has trodden that path, too, before us. He has entered into the great prison-house into which the generations of men have been hounded and hurried; and where they lie in their graves, as in their narrow cells. He has entered there; with one blow He has struck the gates from their hinges, and has passed out, and no soul can any longer be shut in as for ever into that ruined and opened prison.