Sermon 2821. 'Until He Finds It'
A SERMON INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD'S-DAY, MARCH 8, 1903.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON THURSDAY EVENING, JUNE 28, 1877.
"Until he finds it." Luke 15:4.
IT was not just anybody who went after the sheep that was lost-it was the person to whom the lost sheep belonged. Our Saviorsaid, "What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety and nine in the wildernessand go after that which is lost, until he finds it?" The man was not a hunter, looking after wild game that was not his, inorder to make it his by capturing it, but he was a sheep-master-one who owned the sheep, going out to find what was alreadyhis own property. This is one of the great secrets that explain the care of the Good Shepherd-in looking for the lost sheep,He is caring for that which is His own. He says of them, in His great intercessory prayer to His Father, "Yours they were,and You gave them to Me." Long before this world was created, or stars began to shine, even in the eternal ages of the past,God had given to His beloved Son a people who were then and there His by His Father's gift. In the fullness of time He redeemedthem and so they became doubly His. Yet they were His, in plan and purpose, from eternity! They were, therefore, His whenthey wandered away from Him and His while they strayed further and yet further off from Him-yes, they were always His whereverthey went! This Truth of God is well put by the writer of the lines we have so often sung-
"'Lord, You have here Your ninety and nine,
Are they not enough for You?'
But the Shepherd made answer, 'This of Mine
Has wandered away from Me
And although the road is rough and steep,
I go to the desert to find My sheep." That wandering sheep did not belong to anybody else but that particular sheep-master.If any other man had taken it into his fold, he would have had no right to do so. If anyone had caught it and slain and eatenit, he would have been a thief for it was not his sheep. It belonged to the man who owned the other 99 sheep and it was becauseit belonged to him that he went after it. He would not have gone to seek another man's sheep-he sought it because it was hisown. And, in like manner, Christ has come into the world to seek His own. He Himself said, "The Good Shepherd gives His lifefor the sheep." And the Apostle Paul wrote, "Christ loved the church, and gave Himself for it." The main object and designwhich He had in coming to this earth was to seek His own. His great redemptive work has brought some good to all men, butit was more especially intended for the benefit of the household of faith. As Paul wrote to Timothy, "We trust in the livingGod, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those that believe." The great purpose of His coming is in order to seekHis own, whom His Father has given to Him-that none of them may be lost at the last.
Remembering this great Truth, we shall now consider these four words, "Until he finds it." "Until" is something like a boundarymark set up to indicate a turning-point. And we shall first consider the dark side of this, "until," and then come over intothe bright side of it.
I. Looking, first, on THE DARK SIDE OF THIS, "UNTIL," we will try to answer two questions. First, where is the sheep untilthe Shepherd finds it? Secondly, where is the Shepherd until He finds it?
First, then, where is the sheep until the Shepherd finds it?Mark, dear Friends, the pronoun in our text, "until He [speakingof Christ] finds it." It is the Shepherd who finds the lost sheep. True salvation comes to the sinner by Jesus Christ findinghim. You and I, if we are very earnest in seeking the souls of others, may readily find the lost ones, for they are all aroundus-perhaps in our own families, possibly they nestle even in our bosoms. We know well enough where the lost ones are, forwe cannot walk the streets of London, or the lanes of country villages without discovering them. If we ask the city missionarywhere we can find those that are most evidently lost, he will tell us where they live in whole colonies! He knows where anyquantity of them may be found. Now, our finding of them may be a means to an end, but it is only a means. The end must beChrist's finding them, if they are really to be saved. Otherwise, it will not be of much use for the schoolmaster to findthem. Though it may do them some good and be a temporal advantage to them, it will not be much good for the blessings of civilizationto find them, or for them to be lifted up out of poverty. All these processes may be useful in their measure, but, as faras the eternal salvation of the lost is concerned, it all depends upon Christ finding them. He, the unique Man, the all-gloriousGod, must come into contact with them through His Spirit and claim them as His own-for, until that happens, they will remainin the sad, sad state of which I am now going to speak. I like that idea of the Chinese convert who, when he was applyingfor Baptism and membership at San Francisco, and was asked, "How did you find Jesus" answered, "I no find Jesus at all-Hefind me." It is almost unnecessary to add that he was accepted upon such a testimony!
Where, then, are lost sinners until Christ finds and saves them?
Well, first, they are in a very careless state. They are here compared to sheep, partly because of their stupidity, but alsobecause of their aptness to wander. A sheep thinks nothing of wandering-it is sport to him to have his liberty. Perhaps heenjoys himself all the more in being free from the pen and the fold. The sheep does not think at all about the shepherd seekinghim. The shepherd has wide-open eyes for the sheep, but the sheep, while he is wandering, has no eyes for the shepherd. Theshepherd is pursuing him, hot foot, over hill and dale, but the sheep is carelessly eating what little grass it is able tofind, thinking only of the present and making itself as happy as it can without a thought of the future. This is still thecondition of the great mass of our fellow men. Until Christ finds them, they are thoughtless, careless, indifferent abouteternal things. Oh, that they could but be led to think, for thoughtfulness is oftentimes evidence that He has found them!But they decline to think. "What shall we eat? What shall we drink? How shall we be clothed?"-these are the questions thatinterest them! Their chief concern is, "to kill time," though, indeed, they have no time to lose-to hurry away the hours whichare already far too fleet-this seems to be their principal occupation. Just as the sheep cannot think and will not think,so neither will the sinner-he will continue in his carelessness, indifference and brutishness until the Savior finds him.
More than this, the sheep, until it is found by its owner, is very apt to wander further and yet further away, just as sinnersgo on from one sin to another. It is not the nature of sin to remain in a fixed state. Like decaying fruit, it grows morerotten-the corruption is sure to increase and spread. The man who is bad today will, to a certainty, be worse tomorrow. Everyweek that he lives he adds some new evil habit to all that he had before, until the chain, which at first seemed but a silkencord, becomes, at last, an adamantine fetter in which he is held fast so that he cannot escape. Ah, Brothers and Sisters,it is impossible to say how far men will wander away from God! If restraining Grace is not brought to bear upon them, theywill certainly go to unutterable lengths of infamy and guilt. Possibly someone who is here now is wandering further and yetfurther away. My Friend, let me remind you that you can do, today, what you could not have done seven years ago. You laughnow at things that would have made you shudder then-and language which made your blood run cold when you first left your mother'sknee, has now become habitual with you. Yes, and certain tricks in trade, which you oftentimes condemned at the first, havenow become your regular practice. Ah, yes, the wandering sheep keeps on straying further and further away-it will not comeback to the fold of its own accord, but will continue to wander until the shepherd finds it.
And, until then, the sheep is in a sad condition all the while. It dreams of happiness by wandering, but it finds none. Asheep is not a proper animal to run wild. It is unable to take care of itself as a great many wild creatures can do. As corn,which is but educated grass, seems to yield a harvest nowhere but where man sows it, so a sheep seems to be entirely dependenton man. If it would do well, it must be under a shepherd's care. A sheep running wild is out of its element-it is in a conditionin which it cannot flourish or be happy. And a man without God, and without Christ, cannot possibly
be blessed. You may think you can do as well without God as with Him, but as soon might a lamp burn without oil, or the lungsheave in life without air-as well might you attempt to live without food as for your soul to truly and really live withoutGod! The very best of you, if you are without Christ, are simply great ruins-like some dilapidated castle, or abbey whichyou sometimes see-there may be enough of the ancient building remaining to let us guess what it once was, and what it mightagain be if the original builder could come back and restore it to its pristine glory, but as it is, it is an utter ruin andbats and owls make their home there.
So is it with you if you are without Christ. Your heart is nothing but a cage of unclean birds. Your mind is full of doubtsand forebodings. You are often unable to sleep because of your dread of the future. And when you come to die, then will yourdesolation be most evident, for, away from God you are like a fish out of the water, or like a diver, under the water, cutoff from the supply of air which is essential to his life. The creature cannot do without the Creator! God can be blessedwithout us, but we cannot be blessed without Him!
We shall realize that the wandering sheep is in a sad condition if we only think of the loss to itself through its stray-ing-butthere is far more than that involved in its wandering. There is, also, the loss to the shepherd. That is the blessed mysteryunderlying our Savior's words. The main loss was that of the shepherd-it was that fact that moved him, as the owner of thelost sheep, to seek after it until he found it. And this made him rejoice so much when he did find it, for he could not bearthe thought of losing it. To be lost to Christ may, perhaps, seem to some of you who are careless and thoughtless, to be buta trifling matter. If the wandering sheep could have spoken, it might have said, "I do not want to belong to the shepherd.I know that he values me and that he is seeking me because I am his, but I do not care about that." No, poor sheep, but, ifyou had been the shepherd, you would have cared and, poor Sinner, if you did but know even a little of what Christ feels,you, also, would begin to care about your own soul! Oh, it is such joy, such bliss as I cannot describe, for anyone to beable to say, "The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want." It brings tears to my eyes even as I repeat those familiar wordsand meditate upon their meaning.
What a blessing it is to belong to Jesus! I do not know a sweeter song than this, "My Beloved is mine, and I am His." To belongto Jesus, to be one of the sheep in His flock, to know that He is my Shepherd and that I follow Him because I recognize Hisvoice, oh, this is Heaven upon earth! This is the beginning of the joy of Heaven itself! I wish all of you knew it, but, alas,many of you are like the sheep that was lost to the shepherd. If he counted up the 99 and rejoiced that they were safe, yethe heaved a sigh as he said, "I have lost one sheep out of my hundred," and he could not bear the thought of losing even oneof them. In the same way, some of you are, as yet, lost to Christ and lost to the great Father who is in Heaven-and that isvery sad.
There was also another sad thing, namely, that the sheep was in constant danger. It was away from its natural protector. Itwas subject to weariness, drought, hunger, disease-and it was in continual danger from predators. It might die for need ofcare. It would, certainly, at last, perish altogether and be torn by the foul creatures that would feast upon its carcass.In like manner, a sinner without a Savior is always in danger-as I have already shown you-in danger of still worse sin, indanger of death, in danger from the devil, in danger of "everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from theglory of His power." Oh, the terrible danger of every unregenerate man! If I see a child almost run over in the street, itcurdles my blood-does it not have a similar effect upon you? When you see a man knocked down in the road, even though he getsup and walks away, you feel troubled lest he should be hurt. Do you feel like that when you think about the souls of men thatare in a far more terrible danger-in jeopardy of the wrath of God which abides upon them even now, and which will abide uponthem forever in that dread place of torment, "where their worm dies not, and the fire is not quenched"? Pity the poor sheepuntil the shepherd finds it, for its condition is most sad! And, poor unconverted Sinner, we would also pity you until theSavior finds you, for your state is terribly sad, too.
Now I turn to the second question- Where is the Shepherd until He finds the wandering sheep? Ah, Brothers and Sisters, youknow well enough where He is! He is seeking His sheep which is lost and He will keep on seeking until He finds it. He is veryskillful in following the tracks of the wanderer, just as some shepherds seem to be able to train their sheep almost as abloodhound will follow a trail. It is wonderful how Christ follows the track of some people. I have known them go from placeto place, yet the Good Shepherd has never been far away from them. When they were children, He sought them in the hymns theylearned, in their teachers' earnest admonitions, in their mother's entreaties and their father' s prayers. When they becameyoung men and young women and shook off their former instructors, the Good
Shepherd still followed them by many a helpful book and many a holy remembrance which they could not shake off. When theywent into business-and neglected the Sabbath and forsook the house of God-the Good Shepherd still tracked them by affliction,by Christian neighbors, by the very sound of the church bell, by the death of old companions and in a hundred other ways.
It may be that some went off to America, or Canada in the hope of escaping from the influences of religion, but it was nouse. You remember the backwoodsman who had begun to make a log hut and had not finished before up rode a Methodist ministerwith his saddlebags? With an oath the settler said, "Why, I have moved a dozen times to get away from you fellows, but whereverI move, one of you is sure to come to me." "Yes," said the good man, "and wherever you go, you will find us. If you go toHeaven, you will find us there. And if you go to Hell," he added, "I am afraid that you will find some Methodist preacherseven there. You had better give in, for we shall always be after you." If you are really one of Christ's sheep, somethingof this sort will happen to you and, wherever you may wander, you will find Christ is still after you! If you go to the uttermostparts of the earth, He will follow you. If you land at some far distant port where you think you may indulge without restraintin vice, even there the Divine Love of Christ will nurse you. I know one who now preaches the Gospel, who was on board a shipat Shanghai and, that very night, a Prayer Meeting was being held in the College on his behalf, as his brother was one ofour students. And while they were praying, the Lord struck him down, turned him from his sins almost without any visible instrument-andhe returned home and confessed his faith in Christ! The Lord Jesus is well acquainted with sinners' tracks and He will pursuethem until He finds them!
Notice what blessed perseverance the shepherd manifests-"Until he finds it." There is the wandering sheep, toiling up thatsteep hill. So up that hill goes the shepherd. Why does he climb like that? Because the sheep has gone that way and he mustfollow it till he finds it. Now it has gone down the other side and across that green morass where, if a man should slip,he might sink and lose his life. Yes, but the shepherd will go after that wandering one till he finds it. Day after day, fromthe rising to the setting of the sun and all through the night, nothing can stop the shepherd's feet until he has his sheepthat was lost, safe upon his shoulders! And how blessed is the perseverance of the Savior that He will not take our rejectionas a final refusal, but still gives us fresh proclamations and invitations of Grace! Again and again He sends out His servantsto bid the sinner come to the Gospel feast-not only on the Sabbath, but on week-days as well, the voice of Wisdom cries aloud,"Turn in here and feast upon the bounteous provision of redeeming love." There are none so persevering as Christ is-"He shallnot fail nor be discouraged," but shall press on in His earnest search for His lost sheep until He finds it!
A man who is seeking lost sheep must display great wisdom because it is very difficult to find the tracks of the sheep. Andthe Divine wisdom which was displayed when some of us were brought to God will cause us everlasting wonderment! It is a marvelousthing that sometimes a man's sin, though it looks as though it must damn him, has been part of the very means by which hehas obtained salvation. I knew one who never recollected having told a lie until, upon a certain occasion, he was caught unawareand said what was untrue. And then he was covered with such shame and confusion of face that he saw all his boasted self-righteousnessmelt away and he went and humbled himself before God and so found peace and pardon! Some have allied themselves to evil companionswho seemed likely to lead them further into sin, yet, before long, those very companions have been converted and have beenthe means of leading them to the Savior! Christ will have His sheep, somehow or other. He will lay hold of them and if theywill not be brought in one way, they shall be in another! Some have been found by Him in the darkest dens of infamy. His all-piercingeyes have been able to see them even there. Some have been won by gentleness and kindness-others by terror and distress. But,in one way or another, with wondrous perseverance, Jesus seeks the lost until He finds them! And He will never give up thesearch until the last of His wandering sheep is brought back to the fold.
Where is the Good Shepherd until He finds His sheep? Why, He is in a state of discontent, with yearning heart and troubledbrow. If you say to Him, "Good Shepherd, why did You not go home to Your Father when first the Jews sought to stone You? Whydid you not ascend in splendor from amidst the ungodly throng?" He will tell you that He could not give up seeking His sheeptill He found them by redemption and that now He must still continue yearning over sinners until He finds them. Do you notsympathize with Him in this feeling? If you are a true follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, you cannot be at ease while soulsare being lost! I fear that it would not matter in the least to some professors whether a whole nation was lost or saved!They would be just as comfortable, whatever happened. But they who have the
spirit of Christ and are in sympathy with Him, have hearts of compassion so that the loss of any one sinner fills them withdismay-and the penitence of any one sinner makes their heart rejoice with exceeding joy! May we always cultivate that spirit!
II. But now I must turn to THE BRIGHT SIDE OF THAT LANDMARK, "UNTIL." I am going to ask the same questions as before, butwill put the second first and the first second.
First, then, where is the Shepherd when He finds His sheep? I can answer this question, for I remember where He was when Hefound me. The first sight I had of Him was a very vivid one. Where was He then? Well, He was just where I was! The sheep andthe Shepherd stood together-but Christ was where I ought to have been by reason of my sin. Christ was accursed because I wascursed by my sin. Christ was made sin because I was a sinner, that I might be made the righteousness of God in Him. Oh, whata sight was that-Christ in my place! I have preached about it many years, yet it always makes me wonder just as it did atthe first. What an overwhelming thought it seemed, and yet how full of joy! O poor Soul, if you would have a true sight ofChrist, see Him suffering, dying, forsaken of His God and full of agony because the chastisement of your peace was upon Him!
The Shepherd was also standing over the lost sheep-not merely near it, but looking down upon it. How pleased, how delighted,He was to have found His sheep which was lost! Well do I remember when I saw my Lord looking down upon me with eyes of unspeakablelove. I could hardly believe He could ever have loved me so-it seemed to be almost incredible! What could He see in me tolove-a poor sheep with torn fleece, footsore and weary-and not worth the trouble He had taken to find me? When a queen picksup a pin, it is nothing in comparison with Christ taking me up and caring for me! For some great emperor to fall in love witha milkmaid may not be anything amazing, for she may have as sweet a face as ever graced any empress, but as for us sinners,there is no beauty in us that Christ should desire us! By nature, we were full of evil and by practice, too, we became evenworse-yet Jesus loved us and, as a shepherd rejoices over the wandering sheep that he finds and brings home, or as a fatherrejoices over his lost child whom he has found, or as a young man rejoices over his bride, so did the Lord Jesus rejoice overus when He found us-
"And all through the mountains
And up from the rocky steep,
There arose a cry to the gate of Heaven
'Rejoice! I have found My sheep!'
And the angels echoed around the Throne,
'Rejoice, for the Lord brings back His own!" We also saw Him, at that time, as bearing the marks of the toil and travail whichHe had endured on our behalf. There are the tokens on the shepherd's face, and on the shepherd's hands and on the shepherd'sgarments, of the rough way that he has trodden. If the sheep could but know, it might read, in the very look of him, the pricethat he had to pay for its recovery. And so, dear Friends, was it with us when Jesus saved us. We looked up and saw Him withHis face stained with the spit of men, His head encircled by the crown of thorns, His body covered with the bloody sweat andHis hands, and feet, and side all pierced! And as we looked, we loved Him because He had first loved us, and loved us so won-drously!
One thing more about the shepherd when he found the lost sheep, he was grasping it, for I guarantee you that there was nota moment between his getting near it and his grasping it. "No, no," he seemed to say, "you will not get away from me again.I have caught you, and I will hold you fast." Do we not remember the grip that Christ gave us when He first found us? We wereapprehended by Him whom we now have apprehended. We were held fast by Him whom now we hold fast by faith and love. We felt,then, as if a strange power had seized us-not that we resisted it, for we rejoiced in it. We were led, with full consent againstour own will-that is, against our old will-but with a new will which we felt put within us by that blessed hand which hadlaid hold of us and which would not let us go!
But where was the sheep when the shepherd found it? Why there was but an instant and the sheep was on the shoulders of theshepherd! And what does that indicate but that when Christ finds me, then He bears me and all that is upon me, upon His shoulders-allmy diseases, all my sin, and all my sorrows are laid upon Him! We rightly sing-
"I lay my sins on Jesus," but I think we ought also to sing-
"I lay myself on Jesus."
All that I am, and all that I have, all is there! Of Benjamin, Moses said, "The Lord shall cover him all the day long, andhe shall dwell between His shoulders." That is where we are, between the shoulders of the Divine Shepherd of souls! Christunderneath us bearing all our weight-the weight of sin, the weight of sorrow, doubt, fear, and care and whatever else theremay be upon us.
What about the sheep now? Well, it is resting-not as it will rest, by-and-by, when it will lie in the Shepherd's bosom inyet sweeter fellowship, but, even now it is resting. It has not to carry itself back to the fold. It is a long way, but neitherthe Shepherd nor the sheep will get weary. It is a toilsome way, full of dangers, but those boils and dangers are for theShepherd rather than for the sheep. We are right in singing-
" 'Safe in the arms of Jesus'"
for now that He has found us, we are under His protection. No wolf can come near us now, or, if he did, he would be quiteunable to hurt us. The sheep that is found is perfectly secure in the Good Shepherd's grip. It could not stray away even ifit could. If it struggled to get free, He would grip it all the more firmly. So, Beloved, was it with us-when Christ tookus on His shoulders, He held us fast and He will not let us go.
On whose shoulders was the sheep? It was on the shoulders of the rejoicing one who had found it and you and I belong to theChrist who is glad to find us! I wonder which was the happier of the two, in the feast, when the younger son came home-theson or the father? I think the father was and, certainly, of the shepherd and the sheep, the shepherd was the happier-andyet the sheep, in being found, must have participated in the shepherd's joy. Do you not remember how, when you were saved,you nestled down under the wings of the Eternal? I love to see the little chicks beneath the feathers of the hen, peepingout with such sweet contentment and a sense of perfect security expressed in their twinkling eyes. Had they been away fromtheir mother' s wings, they would have been afraid, but, under their mother' s protection, they did not seem at all alarmed.So have I cowered down beneath the wings of God, trusting to that blessed promise, "He shall cover you with His feathers,and under His wings shall you trust." O Beloved, it is a blessed thing to know that we are held in the grip of a strong Christ,with great joy in His heart which is the proof of the value that He sets upon us, and the love which He bears towards us!
So you see that there is a great deal in these four words, "until he finds it." Where are you now, my Friend? Are you stilllost? What a joy it is to think that the Good Shepherd is still seeking lost sheep! But, if you have seen Christ near you,oh, that you may, by His Grace, this very hour, be caught up by His pierced hands and laid upon His everlasting shouldersand so be carried to the heavenly fold! The Lord grant it! This is what you need and what you must have if you are reallyto be saved. You must be "saved in the Lord." Christ Jesus must save you-it must be by His blessed hands and His almightypower that you must be rescued from danger and saved from going down to the Pit. May He soon find all of you who are lostand carry you on His shoulders all the way to the eternal fold above, for His dear names sake! Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: JOHN 17.
Verse 1. These words spoke Jesus, and lifted up His eyes to Heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come. That tremendous hourwhich was the very hinge of history-that hour in which He must suffer, bleed and die-to pay the ransom price for His people-"Father,the hour is come."
1. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You. In the endurance of the Cross there was a mutual glorification. Itwas the time of the Savior's humiliation and yet, in a certain sense, He was never so glorious as when He died upon the tree.Then, too, He glorified His Father, vindicating Divine Justice and manifesting Divine Love.
2. As You have given Him power over all flesh, that He shouldgive eternal life to as many as You have given Him. Christ, byHis death, had power given Him over all flesh-that is the universal aspect of it. But there was a special purpose hidden withinit-"that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him."
3. And this is life eternal, that they might know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent Do you reallyknow the only true God and Jesus Christ, His Son? Have you been brought into such familiar acquaintance with God as to acceptJesus Christ as your Savior? Then you have eternal life and you may rejoice that you have a life like that of God, Himself,which can never die!
4. I have glorified You on the earth; I have finished the work which You gave me to do. What a blessed thing that our Saviorwas able to say this just before His death! Oh, that you and I may be able to utter some humble echo of this speech when wecome to the end of our lives! This is indeed a life worth living!
5. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.. 'TakeMe up from earth again. Clothe Me again with that glory which, for a while, I have laid aside,"
6. I have manifested Your name unto the men which You gave me out of the world: Yours they were, and You gave them to Me;and they have kept Your word. What high praise this was of Christ's disciples! "They have kept Your word." Poor creaturesthat they were, they often turned aside from the right path. They were oftentimes very ignorant and very willful, yet theLord knew that their hearts were right towards Him and that they willed to learn, and desired to believe. So He saw in themwhat was often hidden, even from themselves, and He testified to His Father, "They have kept Your word."
7. 8. Now they have known that all things whatever You have given Me are of You. For I have given unto them the words whichYou gave Me. Every preacher of the Gospel should see to it that this is true concerning himself. When we pass on to the peoplethe words which God has given to us, we supply them with real spiritual fool and so we glorify God. But if we only give themour own words, we do but mock their hunger and we dishonor God. Our blessed Master, though quite able to speak His own originalthoughts, kept to the words of His Father-let us be careful to imitate His example.
8. 9. And they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from You, and they have believed that You did sendMe. I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which You have given Me; for they are Yours. There was a specialrequest in Christ's prayer, now that He was nearing the end of His earthly life. He concentrated His intercessions upon thechosen people for whom He was about to shed His blood.
10, 11. And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine; and I am glorified in them. And now I am no more in the world, but theseare in the world, and I come to You. The disciples were going to be left alone and Christ's tender heart made Him lessen thepain of the separation by offering this great petition on their behalf.
11, Holy Father, keep through Your own name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one, as We are. This was as thoughHe had said, "You have given them to Me, My Father, to become My bride. And now I am about to die and return to You, I giveback this bride of Mine into Your charge. Take care of her, I pray You, till I can come back again and receive her unto Myself."There is such holy unity between these Divine Persons of the Godhead that the Father first gives the elect to Christ and thenChrist commits the elect into the Father's keeping.
12, 13. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name: those that You gave Me I have kept, and none of themis lost, but the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. And now I come to You, and these things I speakin the world, that they might have My joy fulfilled in them. Are you dull and sad today? Does anything depress your spirits?It is not according to your Savior's mind that you should be unhappy. It is His will and purpose that His joy should be fulfilledin you. Ask for a sip from His cup ofjoy at this moment-one drop of His joy will make the dullest to be bright and the saddestto be glad!
14. I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of theworld. He was a stranger here and His people are also strangers and foreigners. We are not so much to be unworldly as to beother-worldly. We belong to another world, to another Kingdom, even the Kingdom of Heaven!
15. Ipraynot that You should take them out ofthe world, but that You shouldkeep them from the Evil One. "Keep them in theworld to battle with the Evil One. Make them the salt that prevents putrefaction and let them not lose their savor, let themnot be contaminated by the evil in the midst of which they dwell."
16. 17. They are not ofthe world, even as I am not ofthe world. Sanctify them through Your truth: Your word is truth. It looksas though our Lord almost anticipated that question of Pilate, "What is truth?" Here is His answer- "Your word is truth."
18. As You have sent Me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. Christ was the Sent One and every Christianis also sent. All Believers should be missionaries, sent forth upon a mission to bless the sons of men.
19, 20. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for thesealone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word. Christ knew that His Church would grow.
He did not merely pray for the little handful of disciples who were with Him there, but He prayed for all who, in later years,would believe on Him.
21. That they all may be one. That is the great prayer of Christ. There are not two churches, but one Church. Christ is notthe Head of two bodies-He has but one mystical body. There is but one Bridegroom and there is but one bride- that bride isHis indivisible Church. Hence His prayer, "That they all may be one."
21. As You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe that You have sentMe. Can the world believe in Christ till His Church becomes more manifestly one? I fear not, so let us, each one, aim at thetrue unity of the one Church of Jesus Christ. There are some who aim at this by separating themselves from everybody else,but I do not see how they promote unity in that way. I clearly and painfully see how they increase divisions and multiplystrife wherever they go. But let us, Beloved, to the utmost of our power, promote the unity of the body of Christ.
22. 23. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as We are One: I in them, and You inMe. Do you understand this wonderful union? Jesus Christ in you-"I in them." And then the Father in Christ-"and You in Me."
23. That they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them, as You haveloved Me. This is a wonderful Truth of God-that the Father loves the Church even as He loves Jesus Christ, His Son. When shallthe world ever know this till the unity of the Church is more clearly seen?
24-26. Father, I will that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am; that they may behold My glory, whichYou have given Me: for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. O Righteous Father, the world has not known You, butI have known You, and these have known that You have sent Me. And I have declared unto them Your name, and will declare itthat the love wherewith You have loved Me may be in them, and I in them. Oh, for a blessed fulfillment of that prayer in ourexperience this very moment, for Christ's sake! Amen.