The Pathway and the End of It

Matthew 16:21‑28  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 7
THE Lord addresses Himself to His journey to Jerusalem in the full recognition of this-that He was there to meet the enmity of man. He does not look towards that city in the thought of His being made there the offering of sin under the hand of God, but rather, of His being there the victim of man's hatred.
His death, of course, had each of these characters in it. It was the death of the Lamb of God for the putting away of sin. It was the death of the righteous witness against the world, whom the world in full enmity, slew and crucified. It was; at one and the same moment, the death of the atoning Lamb, and the death of the martyr. But it is in the second of these characters, the Lord anticipates it here.
His road to Jerusalem was such as that all His saints can be on that same road with Him; and He calls on them to follow Him along it, and this evinces His mind on this occasion, for we could never follow Him as the Lamb or the atoning victim; but we may and should follow Him as the martyr, or Righteous suffering Witness against the world. "If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me." (v. 24.) This makes the character of this path of Christ very simple and distinct.
But, there is comfort along that road, if we have but faith to receive -it. It is an uneasy and 'a rough path, such as nature does not like. We do not like to be the companions of an insulted, despised, rejected, suffering, martyr. A journey on such a road as that is rough enough, and strength and heart naturally fail. But again I say, there is comfort pro- vided for it, if we have but faith to receive it and drink it in. "Verily. I, say unto you, there be some standing here which shall not taste of death till they see the son of man coming in his kingdom." (v. 28.)
This is the comfort. The saints are not set on this road to Jerusalem, this path across a world that is at enmity with them, and is preparing death for them, (as men at Jerusalem were then preparing it for Jesus,) till they are given to know what the end of that journey is to be, till than be introduced to the glory that lies on the other side of the sorrow, and the martyrdom-till they see the mount of transfiguration that is higher, as well as more distant than mount Calvary.
This is the comfort; and this the Lord gives His Saints, when He calls them to follow Him on the road to Jerusalem, in v. 28. And in this character. of it, let me observe, that that verse is an epitome of that magnificent chapter Acts vii. For one of the purposes of the Spirit in Acts 7 is to tell us this, that from the beginning, and all along the line of Scripture, the Lord has never called His elect into a place of sorrow, without telling them, or giving them some notice, of the glory and joy that was to end the sorrow.
Thus, Abraham was called from all that nature could value; but it was the God of glory that had appeared to him, and spoken to him with words of promise.
Joseph was separated, and in principle was a martyr; but he had dreams which already told him of ultimate exaltation.
Moses was reviled, refused; exiled; both brethren and strangers, the seed of Abraham and uncircumcised Egyptians, mistaking him and persecuting him, but he already had that beauty upon him which faith discovered to be of God, the token of divine favor.
Stephen was hated, like his master, witnessed against and killed; but his face had already shone like that of an angel. He was marked as a child of resurrection ere he was hurried as a martyr to death.
And so in Matt. 16:2828Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom. (Matthew 16:28), some were to taste of death; (Peter himself was to be bound and led whither he would not, (John 21:18-1918Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. 19This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me. (John 21:18‑19)), and suffer as a martyr,) but they were to be taken beforehand to the place of the glory, and shown the heavenly blessedness in which all their sorrow was to end. The value of which is such, as the Lord here speaks, that "the whole world" though gained, would be nothing in comparison with the loss of it. If the soul at the end came short of the glory of the Son of Man, all beside, though acquired, would leave the soul a loser.