Christ the Rose of Sharon

‘I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys,” Song of Solomon 2:1.
It is Christ that speaks these words, it becomes not the spouse thus to commend herself; saith Solomon, “Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips,” Proverbs 27:2.

The Lord Jesus elegantly expresseth his own excellency, by comparing himself unto a Rose, the Rose of Sharon.

METAPHOR PARALLEL
A Rose is the offspring and fruit of a good, though seemingly dry root. Christ, touching his human nature, is the offspring of David, or “a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots,” Isaiah 11:1.
A Rose is a beautiful flower, very pleasant and delightful to the eye, of different colors, red and white, and in some curiously joined and intermixed together, red and white; shows an excellent complexion, and makes up a perfect beauty. Christ is said to be “white and ruddy” Song of Solomon 5:10. Some understand thereby his two natures, by the white his divinity, by the red his humanity: the one denotes his natural purity and innocency; the other, his bloody agony and suffering for our sakes; hence said to be “red in thine apparel” Isaiah 63:2. No object so delightful to the eye, as Jesus Christ is in his exaltation, appearing at the Father’s right hand for us. True and evangelical sights of Christ delight the eye, and ravish the soul of a believer. Christ is a perfect and complete beauty.
A Rose is a fragrant and sweet flower, it yields a most excellent and odoriferous scent. This may hold true of every sort of Rose, but it is such an one Christ compares himself unto. Jesus Christ yields a most fragrant and lovely savour. What is so sweet and refreshing to the spiritual sense of the soul, as the merits and saving graces of Christ? “Thy name is as ointment poured forth,” Song of Solomon 1:3.
The Rose is a useful flower. It is full of virtue. The Lord Jesus is excellent for profit and spiritual value.
The Rose is called by naturalists the queen of flowers, none to be compared to it. Jesus Christ infinitely excels all others, whether angels or men; none are to be compared to him. He is the Head, the flower, and glory of things in heaven, and of things on earth, “Thou art fairer than the children of men”, “the chiefest among ten thousand,” Psalms 45:2, Song of Solomon 5:10.
The Roses that grew in Sharon, were the best and chiefest of Roses; they were singular in beauty and property. There is nothing eminent and refreshing in any creature in a natural way, but it is supereminent, and infinitely more in a spiritual way in Christ. Christ is singular, touching the unity of the two natures in his Person, singular in his incarnation, in his humiliation in his conquest and exaltation.
The Rose of Sharon signifies the flower of the field, Sharon being a place or plain wherein king David’s herds and cattle were fed, 1 Chronicles 27:29. Roses that grow in a field, are not planted by man, and indeed do lie open to beasts, to be spoiled, plucked to pieces, or trodden down. Jesus Christ was not planted by man, but by the hand of the Father; when brought forth into the field of this world, how open did he lie to evil beasts, such as Herod and the Jews were? How was he plucked to pieces, as it were, and trodden under their feet? He was laid open to almost all manner of sorrow and suffering, Isaiah 53:3-5.
The Roses of Sharon were free: persons might have access to them, when they could not to other flowers that were in close and secret gardens. Jesus Christ is free for all poor sinners, whoever will, may come and take the good and gracious virtue, and soul-refreshing blessings that are in him, Isaiah 55:1, Revelation 22:17. He is a fountain opened, Zechariah 13:1. The good that is in God is no other ways communicated to mankind, but in and through him.
Roses and other delightful flowers of the field, are the beauty and glory of the field, they clothe the grass. The Son of God is the beauty and glory of mankind, by assuming of our nature into union with himself. It is he who is the crown of mortals, sitting in glory at the right-hand of the Majesty in Heaven.
Sharon was a place of pasture, a place of feeding, where the flocks used to rest, a very fruitful valley. Christ is to be found in green pastures, in his churches, where his word is truly preached, and sacraments are duly administered: “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures,” Psalms 23:2.
The Rose yields a very precious oil, good in divers cases. Jesus Christ affords a very precious oil, called the oil of gladness, which is of a most sovereign virtue.
METAPHOR DISPARITY
A Rose is only pleasant and grateful to the external senses. Jesus Christ delights and gratifies the spiritual senses of the soul.
The Rose can be had but in one season of the year; you can not find a Rose in the winter. Jesus Christ, this Rose of Sharon, may be had at any time of the year, in winter as well as summer. The soul meets with him rather in adversity, than in prosperity.
The Rose is a very fading flower; the naturalists tell us of some that seem to wither in their budding; all their beauty and sweet savour passeth away. Jesus Christ is a Rose that never fades, he remains in his full beauty and glory throughout all generations, he never loses his savour: if he does not smell so sweet to our senses, it is because our spiritual senses are decayed; the cause lies in us, not in him: “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever,” Hebrews 13:8.
A Rose may be taken, presented, given, and received, by a human hand. Jesus Christ is taken, presented, and given by a divine hand. The hand of God himself: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son,” John 3:16. He is not otherwise received but by faith, the spiritual hand of the soul.
One person can but have one and the same Rose entirely to himself at on and the same time. Jesus Christ, the Rose of Sharon, is of such a nature, that thousands may have him entirely to themselves, as if but one only had him, and this at one and the same time.

INFERENCES

  1. If Jesus Christ be the Rose of Sharon, so sweet and lovely a flower; let me advise all ladies, young and old, who delight in flowers, above all to get this Rose. You never found the like in all your lives; none so sweet, nor yield such a fragrant and odoriferous smell as Christ doth: and more than that, it will be a glorious ornament unto you, it will make all good and gracious ones in love with you.
  2. Moreover, this shows us, that most of the men and women of the world have lost their smell, their spiritual senses are gone. They can find no such savour in religion, no sweetness in a reproached, persecuted, and crucified Jesus; no delight in ordinances, prayer, hearing the word, nor in sacraments.
  3. Labour to be stored with the conserves, and precious virtues of this divine Rose. Let heart and hands be cleansed in the sweet and fragrant water of the Rose of Sharon. It will not only cleanse away the filth, but will supple and heal all the wounds and bruises of your diseased souls. If you wash in the water of the Spirit, that flows from a crucified Christ, it will make you a sweet savour in the world, your conversations will be of a fragrant scent.
  4. Besides, it shows how happy they are that have got Jesus Christ; and what fools men of the world are, who slight and dis-esteem him. They prize the thorn and briar; the pricking pleasures and profits of the world, above the Rose, the lovely Rose of Sharon.
  5. You that are God’s children, that have the sweet scent of the Rose of Sharon, value him above your chiefest joy. Account him, as indeed he is, the Rose and diadem of your souls; that bear him not only by an outward profession, but take down the sweet-smelling savour of his grace into your hearts. You can never overvalue Christ.
Benjamin Keech

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 24:34

So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man.