Sermon 1509. The Best of All Sights
WRITTEN AT MENTONE,
BY C. H. SPURGEON.
"But we see Jesus." Hebrews 2:9.
IN Holy Scripture faith is placed in opposition to the sight of the eyes and yet it is frequently described as looking andseeing. It is opposed to carnal sight because it is spiritual sight-a discernment which comes not of the body, but arisesout of the strong belief of the soul, worked in us by the Holy Spirit. Faith is sight in the sense of being a clear and vividperception, a sure and indisputable discovery, a realizing and unquestionable discernment of fact. We see Jesus, for we aresure of His Presence. We have unquestionable evidence of His existence and we have an intelligent and intimate knowledge ofHis Person. Our soul has eyes far stronger than the dim optics of the body and with these we actually see Jesus. We have heardof Him and upon the witness of that hearing we have believed-and through believing there has come to us a new life which rejoicesin new light and in opened eyes-and "we see Jesus." In the old sense of sight we speak of Him as of one "whom having not seenwe love," but in the new sense, "we see Jesus."
Beloved Reader, have you such a renewed nature that you have new senses and have you, with these senses, discerned the Lord?If not, may the Holy Spirit yet quicken you and, meanwhile, let us whom He has made alive assure you that we have heard Hisvoice, for He says, "My sheep hear My voice." We have "tasted the good Word of God." We have touched Him and have been madewhole. We have also known the smell of His fragrance, for His name to us is "as ointment poured forth." And now, in the wordsof our text, "we see Jesus." Faith is all the senses in one and infinitely more! And those who have it not are in a worsecase than the blind and deaf, for spiritual life itself is absent.
I. Come, then, beloved Brothers and Sisters, whose eyes have been illuminated, let us muse awhile upon our privileges, thatwe may exercise them with delight and praise the Lord with them! First, let us regard the glorious sight of Jesus as COMPENSATION.The text begins with, "but," because it refers to some things which we do not yet see which are the objects of strong desire."We see not yet all things put under Him." We do not as yet see Jesus acknowledged as King of kings by all mankind and thiscauses us great sorrow, for we wish to see Him crowned with Glory and honor in every corner of the earth by every man of womanborn.
Alas, He is to many, quite unknown. He is rejected and despised by multitudes! In fact, He is by comparatively few regardedwith reverence and love! Sights surround us which might well make us cry with Jeremiah, "Oh that my head were waters, andmy eyes a fountain of tears," for blasphemy and rebuke, idolatry, superstition and unbelief prevail on every side. "But,"says the Apostle, "we see Jesus," and this sight compensates for all others, for we see Him now no longer made a little lowerthan the angels and tasting the bitterness of death, but, "crowned with Glory and honor!" We see Him no more after the flesh,in shame and anguish! But far more ravishing is the sight for we see His work accomplished, His victory complete, His empiresecure!
He sits as a Priest upon the Throne, at the right hand of God, from now on waiting till His enemies are made His footstool.This is a Divine compensation for the tarrying of His visible kingdom, because it is the major part of it. The main battleis won! In our Lord's endurance of His substitutionary griefs and in the overthrow of sin, death and Hell by His personalachievements, the essence of the conflict is over. Nothing is left to be done at all comparable with that which is alreadyperformed! The ingathering of the elect and the subjection of all things are comparatively easy of accomplishment now thatthe conflict in the heavenly places is over and Jesus has led captivity captive! We may look upon the conquest of the kingdomsof this world as a mere routing of the beaten host now that the power of the enemy has been effectually broken by the greatCaptain of our salvation.
The compensation is all the greater because our Lord's enthronement is the pledge of all the rest. The putting of all thingsunder Him, which as yet we see not, is guaranteed to us by what we do see. The exalted Savior has all power given unto Himin Heaven and in earth-and with this, "all power," He can, at His own pleasure, send forth the rod of His
strength out of Sion and reign in the midst of His enemies! With Him are all the forces necessary for universal dominion.His white horse waits at the door and whenever He chooses, He can ride forth conquering and to conquer! At a word from Hislips the harlot of Babylon shall perish, the false prophet shall die and the idols of the heathen shall be utterly abolished.The empire of wickedness is as a vision of the night, a black and hideous nightmare pressing on the soul of manhood, but whenHe awakes, He will despise its image and it shall melt away.
Turn we then, wiping our tears away, from the wretched spectacles of human superstition, skepticism and sorrow to the clearvision above us in the opened Heaven! There we see "the Man," long promised, the Desire of all nations, the Deliverer, thedeath of Death, the Conqueror of Hell-and we see Him not as one who girds on His harness for the battle, but as one whosewarfare is accomplished, who is waiting the time appointed of the Father when He shall divide the spoil! This is the antidoteto all depression of spirit, the stimulus to hopeful perseverance, the assurance of joy unspeakable!
II. Nor is this sight a mere compensation for others which, as yet, are denied us-it is, in itself, the cause of present EXULTATION.This is true in so many ways that time would fail us to attempt to enumerate them. "We see Jesus" and in Him we see our formerunhappy condition forever ended. We were fallen in Adam, but we see in Jesus our ruin retrieved by the second Adam. The legalCovenant frowned upon us as we beheld it broken by our first federal head. The new Covenant smiles upon us with a whole Heavenof bliss as we see it ordered in all things and sure in Him who is Head over all things to the Church. Sin once doomed usto eternal despair, but not now, for He who has put away sin by the Sacrifice of Himself has justified His people by His Resurrection!
The debt no longer burdens us, for there, in eternal Glory, is the Man who paid it once and for all! A sight of Jesus killseach guilty fear, silences each threat of conscience and photographs peace upon the heart. There remains nothing of all thepast to cause a dread of punishment, or arouse a fear of desertion, for Christ who died always lives to make intercessionfor us, to represent us before the Father and to prepare for us a place of everlasting rest! We might see ourselves as deadunder the Law were it not that He has blotted out the handwriting which was against us. We might see ourselves under the cursewere it not that He, who was once made a curse for us, now reigns in fullness of blessing! We weep as we confess our transgressions,but we see Jesus and sing for joy of heart, since He has finished transgression, made an end of sin and brought in everlastingrighteousness!
The same is sweetly true of the present, for we see our present condition to be thrice blessed by virtue of our union withHim. We see not as yet our nature made perfect and cleansed from every tendency to evil-rather do we groan, being burdenedbecause of the sin which dwells in us-the old man which lusts and rebels against the blessed dominion of Grace. And we mightbe sorely cast down and dragged into despair were it not that, "we see Jesus" and perceive that in Him we are not what theflesh would argue us to be. He represents us most truthfully and looking into that mirror we see ourselves justified in ChristJesus, accepted in the Beloved, adopted of the Father, dear to the Eternal heart! Yes, in Him raised up together and madeto sit together in the heavenlies!
We see self and blush and are ashamed and dismayed, "but we see Jesus" and His joy is in us and our joy is full. Think ofthis, dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, the next time you are upon the dunghill of self-loathing. Lift up, now, your eyesand see where He is in whom your life is hid! See Jesus and know that as He is, so are you before the Infinite Majesty! Youare not condemned, for He is enthroned! You are not despised nor abhorred, for He is beloved and exalted! You are not in jeopardyof perishing, nor in danger of being cast away, for He dwells eternally in the bosom of the Lord God Almighty! What a visionis this for you, when you see Jesus and see yourself complete in Him, perfect in Christ Jesus!
Such a sight effectually clears our earthly future of all apprehension. It is true we may yet be sorely tempted and the battlemay go hard with us, but we see Jesus triumphant and by this sign we grasp the victory! We shall, perhaps, be subjected topain, to poverty, to slander, to persecution and yet none of these things move us because we see Jesus exalted and, therefore,know that these are under His power and cannot touch us except as He grants them His permission to do so. Death is at timesterrible in prospect, but its terror ceases when we see Jesus who has passed safely through the shades of the sepulcher, vanquishedthe tyrant of the tomb and left an open passage to immortality to all His own!
We see the pains, the groans and dying strife-see them, indeed, exaggerated by our fears-and the only cure for the consequentalarm is a sight of Him who has said, "He that believes in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. And whoever lives andbelieves in Me shall never die." When we see Jesus-past, present and to come-we are summed up in Him and over all shines aglorious life which fills our souls with unspeakable delight!
III. Thirdly, "we see Jesus" with most glad EXPECTATION. His glorious Person is to us the picture and the pledge of what weshall be, for "it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that when He shall appear, we shall be like He; for weshall see Him as He is." In infinite love He condescended to become one with us here below, as says the Apostle, "Forasmuchthen as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same." And this descent oflove on His part to meet us in our low estate is the assurance that His love will lift us up to meet Him in His high estate!He will make us partakers of His Nature, inasmuch as He has become partaker of our nature.
It is written, "Both He that sanctifies and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause He is not ashamed to callthem brethren." What bliss is this that we should be like the Incarnate God! It would seem too good to be true, were it notafter the manner of our Lord to do great and unsearchable things for us! Nor may we alone derive comfort as to our futurefrom His Person-we may also be made glad by a hope as to His place. Where we see Jesus to be, there shall we also be! HisHeaven is our Heaven! His prayer secures that we shall be with Him where He is, that we may behold His Glory. Today we maybe in a workhouse, or in the ward of a hospital, or in a ruinous hovel, "but we see Jesus" and we know that before long weshall dwell in the palace of the great King!
The Glory of Jesus strikes the eyes at once and thus we are made to exult in His position, for it, too, is ours. He will allowus to sit upon His Throne, even as He sits upon the Father's Throne. He has made us kings and priests unto God and we shallreign forever and ever. Whatever of rest, happiness, security and honor our glorious Bridegroom has attained, He will certainlyshare it with His spouse-yes, and all His people shall know what it is to be heirs of God, joint heirs with Jesus Christ,if we suffer with Him that we may also be glorified together! How soon our condition shall rise into complete likeness tothe ascended Lord, we cannot tell, but it cannot be long and it may even be a very short time. The veil of time is, in somecases very thin-another week may be the only separation.
And then! Ah, then! We shall see Jesus and what a sight will it be! Heaven lies in that vision. 'Tis all the Heaven our lovinghearts desire! The sight of Jesus which we now enjoy is a foretaste of the clearer sight which is reserved for us and, therefore,it will be a happy wisdom to be much in the enjoyment of it. A thousand things tempt us away and yet there is not one of themworth a moment's thought in comparison! What are works of art and discoveries of science compared with our Beloved? What arethe gems which adorn the brow of beauty, or the eyes which flash from the face of loveliness, if placed in rivalry with Him?
Other matters, weighty and important, call for our thoughts and yet even these we may place in a second rank when Jesus isnear. We may not be doctors of divinity, much as we would desire to be deeply instructed in the Truths of God, "but we seeJesus." Into many mysteries we cannot pry, "but we see Jesus." Where the Divine Sovereignty harmonizes with human responsibilityis too deep a problem for us, "but we see Jesus." The times and the seasons baffle us, the dispensation of the end is darkto us, "but we see Jesus." Glory over us, you far-seeing Prophets! Deride us, you deep-glancing philosophers! We leave youto your boasting! We are poor, short-sighted beings and know but little-but one thing we know-whereas we were once blind,now we see and, "WE SEE JESUS!"
This sight has made us unable to see many things which now dazzle our fellow men. They can see priestly power in a certainset of men like themselves. This we cannot see, for "we see Jesus," as ending the line of sacrificing priests and bestowinga common priesthood upon all the saints. Many see great wisdom in the various schools of doubt in which we see nothing exceptpretentious folly, for "we see Jesus" and all human wisdom pales before the wisdom of God which is perfected in Him! Certainof our brethren see perfection in the flesh, "but we see Jesus." Others see the Church and their own sect, "but we see Jesus!"A few see nothing but their own separateness from everybody else and the peculiar excellence of their exclusiveness, "butwe see Jesus."
Come, Beloved, let us get to our secret chambers of communion and see Jesus there as from the hill of Pisgah! Let us turnthe pages of Scripture and see Jesus there amid the beds of spices! Let us frequent ordinances, especially the breaking ofbread, and see Jesus there! Let us watch in our experience as we are conformed unto His sufferings and see Him there! Letus go into the field of holy labor and, as we gird ourselves and put on the yoke of service, let us see our Master there!Yes, in all things let us learn to see our Lord, for Nature and Providence, experience and Scripture are hung with mirrorswhich reflect Him!
Till the day breaks and the shadows flee away, let us continue to gaze upon Him, till our eyes shall actually see Him forourselves and not another! Be this the grand distinction of our lives-whatever others may see or not see, "WE SEE JESUS!"