« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
[Trials must ere long come upon every soul amongst us: and then nothing but faith will support us. And even now if our graces be examined, it will be found that our progress has been in exact proportion to our faith. Let us then pray with the Apostles, "Lord, increase our faith; that through it we may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand."]
• 1 Pet. i. 5—7.
OUR LORD'S PRAYER TO BE GLORIFIED ON EARTH.
John xvii. 1. These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee.
THE work of intercession belongs to Christ, as the High-Priest of his Church. We know not the precise manner in which He carries it on within the vail, but we may form some idea of it from the specimen recorded in this chapter. He had given all the instructions necessary for the support and comfort of his Disciples; and now, in their hearing, concluded with this sublime and pathetic prayer; but before he interceded for them, he offered one petition for himself.
In explaining the words before us, we shall consider,
I. Our Lord's request
His outward gesture corresponded with the feelings of his heart. Deeply affected with his own condition, he presented a request well suited to his circumstances. It imported,
1. That his Father should bear testimony to him in his trouble
[Jesus was now to endure all possible indignities, as an impostor. On this account he more than ever needed a testimony on his behalf; and God, in answer to this request, gave ample testimony to his Messiahship".]
a He caused both him that betrayed, and him that condemned, our Lord, to attest his innocence; and made even the inanimate creation to bear witness to him.
2. That he should support him under it—
[As man, our Lord needed the supports of Divine grace: and these he was to obtain, like ourselves, by fervent prayer. Nor was his application for them made to his Father in vain. Under his most accumulated distresses, both of body and soul, he was kept unspotted with the slightest stain of sin or error.] 3. That he should bring him out of it—
[Had there been no interposition of the Deity to rescue him from his disgrace, his enemies would have had reason to triumph; but God delivered him from the grave, and exalted him to glory, and made those very precautions, that were used to ascertain and expose his imposture, the means of establishing the truth which they were intended to subvert.]
4. That he should render it effectual to the salvation of men—
[Without this, all our Lord's sufferings would have been in vain. But while he yet hanged on the cross, the saving efficacy of his death was shewn; and speedily after his ascension, multitudes flocked to him, as doves to their windows.]
These things being necessary to the glorifying of himself, Jesus taught them with becoming earnest
II. The pleas with which he enforced it—
Our own necessity and God's glory are among the most powerful pleas which can be urged. Such were those with which our Lord enforced his petition;
1. His own necessity, "The hour is come"
[The hour alluded to was the season of his sufferings and death. This had been fixed from eternity in the Divine counsels, and had been foretold and typified from the beginning of the world. Till its arrival, none of his enemies could lay hands on him; but now men and devils, yea, and God himself, were to concur in afflicting him. What a weighty reason was this for his petition! He had been ordained by the Father himself to those sufferings. The weight which he was to sustain was inconceivably great. The smallest failure on his part would defeat the end of his mission: nor could any thing less than the most miraculous testimonies counterbalance the offence of the cross. Under such circumstances, the Father could not but answer this seasonable request.]
2. His Father's glory—
b John xiii. 31.
[The Father's glory was deeply interested in the event of that hour. His justice was to be honoured, and a way was to be opened for the free exercise of his mercy. To effect this, was the great object of our Lord's desire, both in life and in death; and it was this, which, above all, stimulated him to present the petition before us. And could there possibly be a more weighty and prevailing argument? The Father could not but desire the advancement of his own glory: he could not but wish his own eternal counsels fulfilled: he could not but approve the means which he himself had appointed to that end: he could not but delight to glorify his Son, who was, in such an humiliating way, endeavouring to glorify him.] Let this SUBJECT lead us to view Jesus,
1. As our Saviour
[For us did he agree that that dreadful hour should come; and to us he looks, that we may join with the Father in glorifying him. And shall we not glorify him, by trusting in his blood and righteousness? Shall we not proclaim to the whole world, that he is our only hope and refuge? O let him see of the travail of his soul! let him save us from the wrath to come!]
2. As our example
[He knew, and could fully estimate the weight of, his impending sufferings. Nor could it fail but that his human nature should shrink back from them; yet he submitted to them, that his Father might be glorified.]
Let us in like manner be resigned to the trials that are allotted us
[When our hour shall come, let us look to him as our example. Let us consider Him, lest we be weary and faint in our minds. Let us welcome whatever comes to us by the Divine appointment. Let us desire that God may be glorified in us, whether by life or death. Thus shall we be honoured and comforted in the midst of our sufferings; and after them be rewarded with a proportionable weight of glory.]
As Elijah, at the hour of Evening Sacrifice, felt jealous for God's honour (1 Kings xviii. 36, 37), so did our Lord at this time. d John xii. 27, 28.
CHRIST'S POWER TO GIVE ETERNAL LIFE.
John xvii. 2. Thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. WE have in these words an unbounded prospect from eternity to eternity: they present to our view
the commission first given by the Father to the Son; they exhibit the Son in due season pleading that commission, and finally executing it when the world shall be no more: they lead us to contemplate, I. The power given to Christ
As God, he possessed all power equally with the Father; but, as Mediator, he received his power from the Father. This This power was,
1. Universal in its extent
[Not only was the material world, with all the brute creation, subject to his will, but man; power was given him over all flesh." His enemies are entirely under his controul: he restrains their violence, defeats their plots, and overrules their efforts for the accomplishment of his own eternal counsels c His friends and people are his more especial care he watches over them for good continually, succours them when tempted, strengthens them when weak', and accomplishes in them all the good pleasure of his good
[There is nothing beyond the reach of his power. If he chose to annihilate the whole human race, he could effect it in a moment, by a simple act of volition. If, on the contrary, he would change them all into his own divine image, he could as easily create them all anew, as he at first produced them out of nothing. By making use of second causes indeed, he conceals. his own agency: but there is nothing done in the whole creation, which does not originate in him, as the only source of wisdom and of strength.]
But we are yet more particularly interested in considering,
II. The end for which he was invested with it-
[It is worthy of notice, that Christ, in this his intercessory prayer, speaks again and again of those who were "given him by the Father. And, in truth, if the Father had not given to him a peculiar people, we have no reason to think that any would ever have given themselves to him, since there is not in fallen man either the inclination or the ability to do so. They
who do yield themselves up to him are "made willing in the day of God's poweri," and in consequence of their having been "predestinated unto the adoption of children from before the foundation of the world."]
To these "Christ gives eternal life”—
[The life of grace which is begun in their souls, is the gift of Christ'. The continuance of it is the effect of his continued communications m. Its consummation also is bestowed by him" without any merit in us, or any motive in himself, but a concern for his own, and his Father's glory. Life, in every stage of it, both in this world and the next, is entirely his free gift. One is as much indebted to him for it as another: there will not be one in heaven that will not owe his salvation altogether to the merit of his blood, and to the efficacy of his grace.]
And for the accomplishment of this end he both received and exerts his power
[It would have been to little purpose to have received from the Father an elect people, if he had not been invested also with power to secure them to himself. The Father well knew how many obstacles there would be to their salvation; and therefore he committed all power to his Son, that nothing might resist his will, or prevent the accomplishment of his eternal counsels. Jesus, thus qualified, orders every thing, both in heaven and earth, with an immediate reference to this great design. Events may sometimes appear to oppose his gracious intentions: but, as in a well-constructed watch the seemingly contrary movements all conduce to one end, so every dispensation, whether of providence or of grace, ultimately tends to his glory in our salvation".]
1. What madness is it to neglect the Lord Jesus Christ!
[If any man have great preferments in his gift, he is sure to have many courting an interest in his favour. But the Lord Jesus Christ has eternal life to bestow upon us, and yet we can scarcely be induced to ask it at his hands. What strange infatuation! O let us awake from our slumbers, and implore of him the benefits he is so willing to confer.]
2. How great is the security which the Lord's people enjoy!
i Ps. cx. 3.
m Col. iii. 3, 4.
• John xiv. 13.
k Eph. i. 4, 5. 1 John iv. 14. and vi. 51.
n John xii. 32. and xiv. 19.
P Rom. viii. 28.