Preventative Ministry

John 13  •  27 min. read  •  grade level: 6
(John 13.)
There are two points, beloved friends, in this chapter that I want to speak of this evening, in connection with other scriptures-of the deepest importance for our souls to be clear about, for I believe there are no two truths that we, as children of God, know less about than those taught by the basin and the bosom. The basin is the expression of the ministry which puts the heart at rest with the Lord Jesus, and then as a fruit of that the soul takes its place, as John here, and puts its head on the Lord's bosom.
Now I ask you, and I ask myself too: Do we know something in our souls' history as children of God that corresponds with that-a nearness to Christ expressed by having the head on His bosom? It will never be a real practical thing unless what precedes it is understood-the perfectness of the Lord's love for you, and everything else clean out of sight! Your love to Him will never lead to it. It is only as we learn what He is to us that it can in any measure be reached.
We have already contemplated the Lord's restorative ministry. What the thirteenth of John unfolds is really of a preventative nature. If I truly apprehend how near the Lord loves to have, and keep me, I shall not get far away, and backsliding will be unknown.
This chapter opens with Jesus' love-" Having loved his own." Those two little words are very blessed. They do not often occur, but there is nothing of deeper sweetness than to cultivate the thought, I am His own-of value to Him; He has something in a world where He had no place, where there is no room for Him-something here that He loves.
In order to better understand this ministry of Christ it may be divided into three parts-past, present, and future. We get it thus presented very clearly in Eph. 5:25-2725Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. (Ephesians 5:25‑27): " Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it (that is past), that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word (that is His present activity), that he might present it to himself a glorious church not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing (that is the future)."
There are three scriptures in the Old Testament that connect themselves in a lovely way with this ministry of Christ. It is wondrous to think that He became a servant. " He came not to be ministered unto but to minister." He was here to serve; as He said to the disciples, " I am among you as he that serveth" (Luke 22:2727For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth. (Luke 22:27)).
Now see the way in which He serves us. Go back to Psalm 40 for a moment. There you read, "Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine cars hast thou opened (or ' digged ' the margin gives): burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. Then said I, Lo, I come... I delight to do thy will, O my God" (vers. 6, 7). Perhaps some of your Bibles have a reference to Ex. 21:6. Score that out. It has no reference to that whatever. That reference has led many astray. Ex. 21 speaks of His death. Psalm 40 of His birth. What do you understand by the " digging" of the ears? It is perfectly simple. Suppose I go out yonder and dig a pit, there is no pit there till I dig it. So He had no ears till they were " digged "-He had never been a listener before! He had created, commanded, governed, and legislated, but had not listened.
There is a beautiful interpretation of this Oriental trope in Heb. 10, which makes the meaning of it quite clear. " Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me" (ver. 5). As the apostle goes on to quote the end of the verse, I daresay you have observed that he does not quote it as written in the psalm. Some have been troubled about this, and infidels have not been slow to take it up, and say, " Look at your great apostle Paul, he cannot even quote Scripture correctly." But there is no mistake. It is simply this, that the quotation is taken from the Greek, and not the Hebrew version of the Old Testament Scriptures.
About two hundred years before the birth of the Lord Jesus, the Old Testament Scriptures were translated into Greek (just as we have had a revised version lately), and when the translators came to Psalm 40, they evidently pulled up, to inquire what was meant by "digging" the ears, and God, by His Spirit, gave them to see that the One spoken of there had never had ears, had never had a body before, but was yet to assume one-i.e., to become incarnate-and they rendered it very freely, and said, "A body hast thou prepared me." When writing to the Hebrews, God, by His Spirit, led the apostle to quote from the Greek, rather than the Hebrew, that we might understand that He now had a body, and was a listener. What is the value of the ear? It does not see, act, or think, it only receives communications from without. "Lo, I come," He says to God, "a body hast thou prepared me," and, in that body, the eternal Son of the Father came to do what no one had ever done-to listen to the behests of God, and to do His will.
Take another scripture, Isaiah1, a further step on in the blessed history of this perfect Servant. He was a Divine Person, the One who had all power in His hand, yea " Upholding all things by the word of his power," and is heard saying here, " I clothe the heavens with blackness, and I make sackcloth their covering" (ver. 3). There we get His deity brought out, while the next verse presents Him as a dependent man. "The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned" (or " learner " it should be) (ver. 4). It is the same thing-one who listens. No one but Jehovah ever wakened Jesus, except the disciples once rudely, when they ought not to have done so (see Mark 4:3838And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? (Mark 4:38)).
The Father's well-known voice wakened Him, and He received His daily directions. We get His life here in, Isaiah, whereas Psalm 40 gives us His birth. He got early communications from God of what the pathway would be, and when He knew all, He had a full and perfect sense of the absolute perfection of God's way with Him, and He did not turn back. The verses following reveal His perfect subjection, and His resources in a path of unspeakable trial. " The Lord God hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back. I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting. For the Lord God will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed. He is near that justifieth me; who will contend with me? let us stand together: who is mine adversary? let him come near to me. Behold, the Lord God will help me; who is he that shall condemn me? lo, they all shall wax old as a garment; the moth shall eat them up" (Isa. 1:5-95Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. 6From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment. 7Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire: your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers. 8And the daughter of Zion is left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city. 9Except the Lord of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah. (Isaiah 1:5‑9)).
If the history of our souls were honestly told out, one-half, yea, three-fourths of the trouble, exercises, difficulties, and distresses we pass through are the anticipation of sorrows that never come upon us. The Lord Jesus saw the whole way, and He went straight on. How often we have been rebellious, and turned back from what we saw looming in the distance. It is so unlike what we find here. Again, when we have sought to serve Him, how many times we have been humbled because we could not. Perhaps we have got hold of people, and sought to help them, saints or sinners, and then found that we could not help their souls. Why? Simply because we were not near enough to the Lord. Why could Jesus always help souls? Because He was always near His Father, the words He spoke came from the Father. In all the history of Christ, perfect, absolute dependence marked Him. He always had the " word in season " -the right word for every soul He met, and God was always glorified, because the needed word was rightly spoken.
Perfect dependence, and waiting on God for guidance are markedly seen in the touching scenes in John 11, when the sisters, Martha and Mary, sent to Jesus to come to their dying brother, feeling sure that the words " He whom thou lovest is sick," would bring Him at once. Supposing a messenger were to come to your house, when you get home to-night, to tell you that some one you love very much is sick, what would you do? Go off as soon as you could, wouldn't you? You would take the first train, or tram, or walk as quickly as you could to get there. Of course you would. But the Lord did not do that. Love always does the best for its object. We do not sometimes. I am free to admit to you that oftentimes we do not know enough of the Lord's mind to act in the best way. When the Lord " tarried two days still in the same place where he was" (John 11:66When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was. (John 11:6)), what did the disciples think? They were, doubtless, surprised at the way He acted. They had thought He was very much attached to that family of Bethany, but His action would suggest that He did not seem to be. They did not understand what He said, and they misunderstood what He did, and they thought it very strange that He did not go at once. What did the sisters think? " The moment He hears of Lazarus being so ill He will be sure to come at once." They waited and watched, and He did not come. Have we not often waited, and watched for an answer to a message we have sent to Him? What did they each say when He arrived? " Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died "-if Your feet had only been a little quicker, if You had not been so tardy, this would not have happened. So speaks blind unbelief.
The disciples did not understand it when He did go. " Then after that saith he to his disciples, Let us go into Judaea again. His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again? Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world. But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him. These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep" (John 11:7-117Then after that saith he to his disciples, Let us go into Judea again. 8His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again? 9Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world. 10But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him. 11These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. (John 11:7‑11)). What do verses 9, 10, mean? Apply them to Christ, and to our own path too. He saw the light, and He walked in it. Supposing He had gone off two days before, He would have been walking in the night, because He had not the word for it. That were an impossibility with Him! When He went, He had the word, He walked in the light, and never stumbled. It is what I covet for my own heart, and for all saints-this nearness to the Lord-that we may be walking so close to Him, that if we have to go to a certain place, we might put our hand in His that we might not go by -the wrong street. There is always a right street, and a wrong one, in every travel. Let us not forget this.
What was brought out through Christ staying in the same place for those two days? Martha learned that her brother would rise again. We get those two little words which have cheered so many hearts at an open grave, " Jesus wept." God's glory was brought out, and Christ's power over death was manifested. He was a perfect servant, and never moved without the word for it. What is the use of a servant running round the house all day long? The duty of a servant is to wait till the bell rings, then to get to know what
his master wants, and to do it. It was always so with the Lord Jesus. He was a perfect servant.
Now turn to Ex. 21:2-62If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing. 3If he came in by himself, he shall go out by himself: if he were married, then his wife shall go out with him. 4If his master have given him a wife, and she have born him sons or daughters; the wife and her children shall be her master's, and he shall go out by himself. 5And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free: 6Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him for ever. (Exodus 21:2‑6). I have no doubt the death of Christ is brought out here, but we get also what blessedly marked Him through the whole of His pathway, absolute, complete subjection. He loved His Master, Jehovah; He loved His wife-those in corporate relationship, linked with Himself; and He loved His children, and would not go out free. Christ loved the Church. It is very blessed to know this, because it forms the soul, and attaches the heart to the Lord. Responsive affection to Him is of the last importance. You may be a first-rate churchman (I have no objection to your being a good churchman), but without this affection, be you ever so good a churchman, you will be a very poor Christian. You may be as clear as a great big block of ice, and as cold. Do you understand?
Intelligence is made a great deal of nowadays, but I tell you what I think, and that is, that we are all uncommonly ignorant. We are all apt to fancy we know a great deal more than we do. And another thing too, we all give each other credit for knowing a great deal more than we do. And then when troubles come upon us, or questions of doctrine, we are surprised to find how easily saints are affected. What will keep a soul? Intelligence? No! Affection! His love to you! Apart from this the profession of Christ is a most miserable thing. You are wretched if your heart is not in the enjoyment of His love.
The Hebrew servant loved his master-figure of Christ's affection to God; his wife, illustrative of the Church, and his children, and would not be parted from them. The boring of the car indicated this, and
is the figure of Christ's death. Thus in connection with the ear-love's service, Psa. 40 gives me His birth, Isa. 1 His life, Ex. 21 His death.
Carry this thought in your soul, that the Lord does not want yourself and Him to be parted, not only in eternity, but now; so He is going to take away every particle of earth's dust, and every grain of moral grit, that would separate your soul from Himself, and thus put you so close to Him that you would not be happy to be one hair's breadth away. That is John 13. A person said to me the other day, " Doctor, what is your standing? " "Christ," I replied. "No more?" " No more, and no less-that is where I begin, continue, and never end."
Christianity starts with a new man in a new place,-in the glory,-not the first man in innocency, or in guilt, or sins, or death, or anything-that man is gone, and now I am " in Christ," in a new state, never known before, and that is where I begin, taken clean out of myself, out of everything I was in before. Are you in real liberty of soul? People often say, " Oh, I am in a great deal of trouble about myself, I am so disappointed in myself." There you are-self-it is all self. Why is the man in Rom. 7 so wretched? Because he talks forty times about himself, and never once about Christ. Had he not well earned his wretchedness? I think so. Look at Christ; see what He is to God. Where is the Christian? There, in Christ, before God, every rag and vestige of that old self gone. Now, do not give that up if you have it. And do not be content if you have it not, till you get it. If you have not that wrought into your soul by the Holy Ghost, you have not begun to be a Christian.
Man has now a wonderful place of favor in Christ before God, in Him who is our life, our wisdom, our righteousness, our everything. There was no real link with the Lord till He had died, and was risen; not till He rose could our place be spoken of. You study John's Gospel with this thought, and you will see that in chapters 1-12. He speaks of " my Father," in 13-19."the Father," and in 20. "your Father." It is the Father's gospel from end to end. In chapter 13. He is, so to say, breaking the ice, and leading them on in a transitional state. In chapter 20. the full truth comes out, as He says, "My Father and your Father, my God and your God." He indissolubly connects us with Himself in the place He has taken.
As in Gen. 2:77And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. (Genesis 2:7), God breathed on man, and he became a living soul, so, in John 20:2222And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: (John 20:22), the Lord breathed on His disciples His own life and nature, as one alive from the dead. " Because I live, ye shall live also" (John 14:1919Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. (John 14:19)). How comes a soul to be in Christ? Clearly by the Holy Ghost. Life is the basis. He is there by the Holy Ghost, but he is in Christ by life, as well as by the Holy Ghost. I am there before God "in Christ," who is my life, and the Holy Ghost comes, and dwells in me, to make all good and true in my soul, for the " Spirit is truth " (1 John 5:66This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. (1 John 5:6)), just as it is also stated that "the Spirit is life" (Rom. 8: 10).
The first thing the ministry of Christ does for me is, not only to sweep away, root and branch, all that I was, but it puts me in the place He is in. It first sets me down in the place that is His own (Christ's place before God is our place) and next labors to bring my heart intelligently into the enjoyment of it. John 13 unfolds what love does for its object.
It is exceedingly interesting, in connection with the Lord's Supper, to see that in Matthew (26:17) the disciples come to the Lord to know where to prepare the paschal supper, but we are not told who did it. Mark (14:13) says it was two disciples. Luke (22:8) tells us that these two disciples were Peter and John. John, with his accustomed retiredness, says not a word as to who prepared it, but, when all was ready for them to sit down to supper, he says, " He washed our feet and made us fit to enjoy it "and the emboldened by the knowlege of such love, he lays his head on the Lord's bosom.
John 13 illustrates the difference between the priesthood and advocacy of Christ. Priesthood maintains us before God, as God. Advocacy has to do with the Father and the children. Priesthood has to do with God, and maintains me before God in all the value and efficacy of the sacrifice, in virtue of which I am brought to God. Advocacy comes in when priesthood fails. Priesthood is preventative-advocacy; restorative, there is the difference. It is all perfect love.
In this thirteenth of John Christ in grace goes down, humbles Himself, and proposes to wash the feet of His loved ones. Peter could not think of His Master going down so low, and says, " Thou shalt never wash my feet " (ver. 8). The Lord says, You can have no apprehension, and no enjoyment, unless you suffer Me to do as I like, and My heart to travel out to you as I wish. " If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me." Then says Peter, " Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head." No, that will not do. "He that is bathed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit," is love's reply. He would not have a spot on the one He loves. Have you ever heard an old saying, " Love never sees a spot on its object "? That does not mean that love is blind. No, love is not blind, it is intensely acute of vision, nothing more so. It sees the spots, and labors to remove them. It is the sweetest thing possible to think of His love in cleansing our feet.
Perhaps you have sometimes heard a person say, " I got a lovely word, and so much help to my soul, through So-and-so." Where was it from? It was from the Lord in glory, using, so to speak, the basin and the water. The channel it came through is unimportant. It is not a bit of odds what kind of pipe water comes through, whether lead, or clay, or terracotta, so long as it reaches you, in its cleansing and refreshing power. If you get a little lift to-night, where is it from? From His heart in the glory.
Perhaps there may be one here who is a backslider, it is quite possible. What does He do with backsliders? You go and read Jer. 2-4 before you go to bed to-night, and you will see what He does. Israel forgot Him, but He never forgot Israel.
Ah," you may say, " it is many a month since I thought much of Him, and many a bitter thing has happened since then." Yes, and He knows all about it. When you come to chapter 4 you will see that the heart is recovered through perfect grace. Backslider! you have been crooked, wayward, stupid, and willful, but be you what you may, He loves you. Now, can you look Him in the face, and say, " I'll take my own way "? No, I am sure you cannot. You will say, " If He loves me after that sort, I will cleave to Him, and seek to be to Him what He would like me to be." That is right. The Lord help you.
There is another point of great importance in John 13 The way to be intelligent and know the Lord's mind is to be near Him. John, as it were, by his action, says, " I will show you the way." No one, save Judas, knew who was going to betray the Lord, and when He said, " Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake " (ver. 22). How like ourselves, when things are low, flat, and consciously wrong in an assembly, how we look at one another. Are things very cold, dull, and flat where you live, and are you looking at one another? Do not do it. There is nothing like the Lord's Table for bringing out where people are. Do you want to come to the Lord's Table? Do not take that serious step unless you really want to walk with the Lord. All is brought out there, you will have everything exposed. People talk glibly, and say, " What a blessed thing to come to the Lord's Table." It is an awful thing unless you really want to be for the Lord. Everything comes out, because He is there.
After the disciples had looked one at the other, their consciences began to work, and they looked at themselves, and then each one asked, " Lord, is it I? " (Matt. 26:2222And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I? (Matthew 26:22), Mark 14:1919And they began to be sorrowful, and to say unto him one by one, Is it I? and another said, Is it I? (Mark 14:19)). But this did not bring the answer. Peter, though a hearty man, was not intelligent. He longed to know who was the traitor, but could not frame the suited query. Why did he not ask the Lord Himself who should betray Him? Because he felt and knew, in the presence of the Lord, what we have often felt, that another was nearer to Him than himself. Peter had not freedom and liberty. So he beckoned to another to ask. Who was that other? " Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved. Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spake. He then lying on Jesus' breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it? " (vers. 23-25). Intimacy is the outcome of affection, and the source of real intelligence.
Peter was not in the intimacy of divine affection as was the one lying on His bosom. There can be little doubt that this was John, for he uniformly speaks of himself as " the disciple whom Jesus loved" (John 19:26; 20:2; 21:7, 20, 2426When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! (John 19:26)
2Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him. (John 20:2)
7Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher's coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea. (John 21:7)
20Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee? (John 21:20)
24This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true. (John 21:24)
). Could you point out in this room to-night the disciple whom Jesus loves? "Oh," said one to me when I asked that question, "are you going to specify it in that way, perhaps you think it is yourself?" " Yes, thank God it is, and I would not lose it for anything. I know the disciple in Edinburgh whom Jesus loves, when I am there, but I would not take it from you. Each one may know the disciple whom Jesus loves." People sometimes say, " Was there not something peculiar about John?" Yes, he was a very simple man, believed in the Lord's love to him, enjoyed it, reveled in it, and always kept near its source. I think I hear him saying, " I know He loves me, and I know He likes His love to be appreciated, and nothing pleases Him better than my being as near to Him as I can be. He liked me to lay my head on His bosom, and I did so."
Do you know how I gauge my friends? My friends like my company. John acted on this principle in regard of the Lord; and, my beloved friends, I would say-specially to the young ones here to-night" Cultivate nearness to Christ." Cultivate in your souls the sense that if you wander the least bit from His side, He misses you, and would fain have you back again.
But the blessed Lord's ministry of love does not cease with what John 13 brings out. It will go on forever, right on to the end. Will you now turn to Luke 12. In that lovely chapter, which is occupied first with fears and cares (and there are no two greater troublers in the Church of God and in the heart), we get the third aspect of Christ's ministry. How does He cast out the fear of man? By a greater fear, the fear of God-and He casts out care by the care of God-and now He says, " You are free to think of Me." Everything down here fails (ver. 33). Moth, rust, and thief spoil all. If you go to the woman's side of the house the moth is her pest; go to the man's side, and it is rust that troubles him. If a man say, " I have that which neither moth nor rust can touch,"—that is the world—the thief will come and steal it from you, or you from it.
Have you a treasure in the heavens? Perhaps you may say, " I have been trying to make Christ my treasure." Did you ever find out that Christ had a priceless treasure here on earth? If you had gone to John and asked him, "Who is Christ's treasure?" he would have said, " I know, I know, I do not want to tell you his name, but I know who it is. It is the disciple He loves." The moment you find out that He has a treasure on earth, and that you arc that treasure, you will be able to say truly, He is my treasure in heaven. It is the reciprocity of love. You cannot help it.
As the sense of His love and what He has suffered for you comes before you, your heart will be fairly captured. Your heart, however, will never be fairly captured till you find that you are His treasure, and then you will make Him yours. There will be no effort. And if He be your treasure, would you not like to see Him? Surely, you reply. But when would you like the Lord to come? To-night. Really now, would you? Are you ready, and watching for Him? Ready to " open unto him immediately "?
I sometimes go to a house, ring, and yet have to wait a long time to get in. My patients know my knock and ring, for I generally let them understand pretty well that I have no time to waste, and want, without delay, to get in. Still I am kept waiting. Why? Was not the ring heard? Yes, but a common Scotch expression explains what they are doing while I am kept waiting. They are just "redding up a little bit" inside, putting things in shape and order, just putting the patient's room a little bit tidy. Have you some "redding up" to do ere He comes, or are you ready for Him to come just now? Could you open to Him immediately?
With fears gone, cares cast out, and the heart above, we are left to be lights for Him in this dark world. I was going along a lane in Somerset a few days ago, and as I saw the glow-worms shining out in the dark night, I said, "That is what we ought to be-glow-worms in the night, shining for Him." Are you a glow-worm in your business, in your house, in your neighborhood-a heavenly glow-worm in this dark, sin-stained earth, waiting for the Lord?
Are you looking up to-night, watching for Him, waiting, longing to welcome Him back? " Oh yes," you say," I hold the Lord's coming." Let me ask you a little question. " Does the Lord's coming hold you?" If so, you will be not only waiting, but watching.
Notice the 37th verse: " Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them." What is the meaning of those words, " He will come forth and serve them "? When He has taken us to glory He will never cease to be the One that ministers to us. He will serve us forever. What love! He has assumed manhood that He might serve us, and He will never cease to be a man. Thus we shall ever know Him in glory. What a Savior!
" Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me," was part of His prayer (John 17:2424Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. (John 17:24)). There is something deeper than the glory-the love that brings us there. We are not in the glory yet, but we are in the love that will bring us there. " Keep yourselves in the love of God," is therefore the Spirit's exhortation (Jude 2121Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. (Jude 21)). " That ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints, what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge" (Ephesians 3:17-1917That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. (Ephesians 3:17‑19)), was the apostle's fervent prayer to the saints. The Lord give us to know what it is to be in the abiding enjoyment of that love for His name's sake. Amen.