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[Jesus both possesses and exerts omnipotence in their behalf. What then have they to fear? Let them only secure his aid, and they defy both men and devils. "If he be for them, none can effectually be against them."]
3. What obligations do we lie under to love and serve the Lord!
[Is Jesus incessantly exerting his almighty power for us, and should not we employ our talents for him? O for a heart duly sensible of his love, and altogether devoted to his service!]
OUR LORD'S DYING APPEAL TO GOD.
John xvii. 4, 5. I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
A DYING scene, especially when the person is of an exalted character, creates in all a very deep interest, and calls forth a more than ordinary attention to every thing that he either says or does. But here we have a scene such as never occurred either before or since it is no less than the dying scene, if I may so speak, of the Saviour of the world. "Father,' says he, "the hour is come." Yes, "the time was come that he must depart out of this world, and go unto his Father." And here we are permitted to behold him in the attitude of prayer; and to hear his every petition, both for himself, and for his people to the very end of time. It is that part of his prayer which related more especially to himself, that will occupy our attention at this time. In it we notice, I. His appeal to God
The Lord Jesus, in his Mediatorial capacity, was a servant, sent by God to execute an appointed work: and, having executed it, he here appeals to God,
1. That he had glorified God on earth "— [This, in fact, had been the one end for which he had lived. He had glorified his Father in his life; every hour of
which had been devoted to the executing of his will, and to the promotion of his glory. He had glorified him especially in his doctrine. Never once had he sought his own glory, but, on all occasions, the glory of Him who sent himb: and when he testified of himself, it was only as the person bearing a commission from the Father, and as sent by him to open for men a way of access to him as a reconciled God. He had glorified him no less by his miracles: for though he wrought them by his own power, yet he always ascribed them to his Father, who had concurred with him in these exercises of omnipotence; and thus he had constrained the beholders to acknowledge the Father in them. But, above all, he had in purpose, though not in act, glorified his Father in his death: for in death he not only displayed the power of the Father, who upheld him under all his trials, but reflected honour on all the perfections of the Deity; causing them all to shine forth in united and harmonious splendour, and every attribute to appear more glorious than it could possibly have done in any other way. Hence, on the near approach of this great event, the Lord Jesus said, "Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him."]
2. That he had finished the work which God had given him to do"
[This was a work which none but an incarnate God could ever have effected. For, first of all, he was to expiate the sins of a ruined world. This was to be done by offering himself a sacrifice for sin. And though this was not literally fulfilled in all its extent, till he died upon the cross, yet, in mind and intention, it was already done; and there were but a few hours to elapse before the mighty debt would be discharged, even to the uttermost farthing: so that justice itself would have nothing further to require of those who should plead the payment made by Him, as their Surety.
Next, he was perfectly to fulfil the law of God; so that all who should trust in him might have a perfect righteousness made over to them for their justification before God. this also he did: for, though he was in circumstances of trial which far exceeded any that ever were sustained by mortal man, he never, either in word or thought, transgressed any one command and all, not excepting even his bitterest enemies, were constrained to acknowledge that they could find no fault in him.
a John iv. 34.
d John v. 36.
f John xiii. 31, 32.
b John vii. 16. and xiv. 24. c John xiv. 6.
e John xiv. 10. with Matt. ix. 8.
Further, he was to introduce and establish a new dispensation. And this, too, he did; fulfilling and abrogating every part of the Mosaic Law; and erecting "a kingdom, which consisted not in meats and drinks and carnal ordinances, but. in righteousness and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost"."
In a word, there was not any one part of his mediatorial work, so far as it could be completed at this time, that had not been accomplished: so that our Lord's appeal, in relation to it all, was just and true.]
From this appeal we proceed to notice,
II. His petition, founded upon it
He had, in the commencement of this prayer, desired to be glorified on earth" and now he requests that he may be glorified in heaven. He had from all eternity possessed a glory with the Father
[From eternity had he "been in the bosom of the Father." In truth, he was one with the Father: for that very "Word which was made flesh, was in the beginning with God, and was God." Yes; "being in the form of God, and thinking it not robbery to be equal with God, he made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." This he did for the purpose of accomplishing the work he had undertaken, the work of redeeming and saving a ruined world. But, having done all that was necessary for the effecting of this great purpose,]
He desired to resume the glory, which for a season he had laid aside
[Not only did he desire that his humiliation, as God, should cease; but that his exaltation, as man, should commence; and that, in his human-nature, he might possess all the dignity and glory to which it was entitled by its union with the Godhead. It had been the instrument of effecting Jehovah's purposes; and therefore it was right that it should participate the glory of that divine nature to which it was united, and in connexion with which it had accomplished this great work. And now, agreeably to this request, that Godman, who died upon the cross, is "highly exalted, and has a name given to him above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things
Rom. xiv. 17. k John i. 1, 14.
1 Phil. ii. 6-8.
i John i. 18.
in earth, and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." On the very throne of God the human-nature sits: for Jesus there appears as "a Lamb that has been slain":" and there does he receive the praises both of men and angels, on a perfect equality with the Father. And though the time will come when the mediatorial office will cease, and the kingdom established by means of it will be given up to the Father; yet to all eternity will Jesus be the Head of his elect people, the acknowledged Author of all their bliss, and, together with the Father, the object of universal adoration.] Whilst we thus view the Saviour in his last moments, we may LEARN from his dying words much which respects his followers:
1. The ground of their hopes
[What hope has any man but what is founded altogether on the finished work of Christ? Had he left any part of his work undone, not a human being could ever have been saved. What if his atonement had been incomplete? What if he had not wrought out a perfect righteousness? What if he had not gone to heaven to carry on the work which he began on earth? Is there one amongst us that could have supplied the least deficiency? But, thanks be to God! there is no need of any thing to be added to His all-perfect work. There is in Christ a sufficiency, not for us only, but also for the whole world: nor shall any soul that relies on Him ever perish. Only let our reliance on him be simple, and without the least mixture of self-dependence, and we have nothing to fear; for "He is able to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by Him."]
2. The object of their life—
[Every Christian has the very same end in view as Jesus himself had; even to "glorify God on earth, and to finish the work which God has given him to do." In these respects Christ is an example to us; and every one of his followers is bound to "walk as he walked." See then, brethren, that ye maintain this character, and that "there be in you the same mind as was in your Saviour Christ." If ye be his indeed, ye will make this the one object of your life, to glorify your God and Father. Every day brings with it its appointed work, which it becomes you to execute with all fidelity; that, when your last hour shall arrive, you may be able, amidst all your short-comings and defects, to say, Father, sinful as I am, and conscious of
m Phil. ii. 9-11.
o Rev. v. 13.
n Rev. v. 6.
p 1 Cor. xv. 28.
innumerable infirmities, yet I can with humility appeal to thee, that I have, according to the grace given me, endeavoured to "glorify thee on earth, and to finish the work which thou hast given me to do."]
3. The end of their labours
[For every faithful follower of Christ is a recompence reserved, even glory and honour and immortality, at the right hand of God. Yes, in a dying hour the true Christian may look up with confidence, and say, ""Now, Father, glorify thou me with thine own self, with the glory" that I shall have with thee when this world shall no longer exist. To this recompence have I had respect; and for the hope of it I have willingly resigned all that this world could give me; yea, and cheerfully endured also all that thine enemies have been permitted to inflict and now do I welcome death itself, that I may enter into the joy of my Lord, and be for ever with my God.' Dear brethren, only follow your Saviour in the exercise of faith and love; and his glory shall be your glory, his kingdom your kingdom, for ever and ever.]
THE OBJECTS OF OUR LORD'S INTERCESSION.
John xvii. 9, 10. I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.
THE Apostles were but weak in knowledge or in grace till the day of Pentecost; nevertheless, they were greatly beloved by their Lord and Master. He declared in their hearing that they were true believers. He testified also that they were the peculiar objects for whom he prayed.
I. For whom our Lord interceded
The Disciples of Christ are characterized as persons given" him by the Father
[This is a just description of every child of God: none would ever give themselves to Christ, if they were not previously given to him by the Father; or come to Christ, if they were not drawn to him by the Father". As every grace we possess must be traced to the operations of the Spirit, as its