Sermon 3052. Christ's Loneliness and Ours
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, AUGUST 8, 1907.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"Jesus answered them, Do you now believe? Behold, the hour comes, yes, is now come, that you shall be scattered, every manto his own, and shall leave Me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me." John 16:31,32.
[Another sermon by Mr. Spurgeon upon the same text is #2271, Volume 38-ALONE , YET NOT ALONE.]
"Do you now believe?" Then it seems that faith held them fast to Christ, but as soon as fear prevailed they were scatteredand left their Master alone. Faith has an attracting and upholding power. It is the root of constancy and the source of perseveranceunder the power of God's Spirit. While we believe, we remain faithful to our Lord. When we are unbelieving, we are scattered,"every man to his own." While we trust, we follow closely. When we give way to fear, we ungratefully forsake our Lord. Maythe Holy Spirit maintain our faith in full vigor that it may nourish all our other Graces! Faith being strong, no facultyof the inner man will languish, but if faith declines, the energy of our spiritual nature speedily decays. If you believenot, you shall not be established, but "the just shall live by faith" to the fullest force oflife.
This being noted, our meditation shall now be fixed alone upon the Savior's loneliness and the measure in which the Believeris brought into the same condition. I. THE LONELINESS OF THE SAVIOR.
Note the fact of it He was left alone-alone just when most, as Man, He needed human sympathy. Solitude to Him, during Hisearthly life, was often the cause of strength. He was strong in public ministry because of the hours spent in secret wrestlingwith God on the lone mountainside. But when He came to the hour of His agony, His perfect Humanity pined after human sympathy,yet it was denied Him. He was alone in the Garden of Gethsemane though He took the eleven with Him. Yet must He leave eightof them outside at the garden gate-and the three, the choice, the elite of them all-though they were brought somewhat nearerto the scene of His passion, yet even they must remain at a stone's cast distance. None could enter into the inner circleof His sufferings where the furnace was heated seven times hotter than it was known to be heated. In the bloody sweat andthe agony of Gethsemane, the Savior trod the winepress alone. [See Sermon
#2567, Volume 44-THE SINGLE-HANDED CONQUEST.] His specially-favored disciples might have watched with Him, wept with Him andprayed for Him-but they did not. They left His lone prayer to ascend to Heaven unattended by sympathetic cries.
He was alone, too, when put upon His trial. False witnesses were found to bear lying testimony against Him, but no man stoodforward to attest the honesty, quietness and goodness of His life. Surely one of the many who had been healed by Him, or ofthe crowds that had been fed by His bountiful hands or, still likelier, some of those who had received the pardon of theirsins and enlightenment of their minds by His teaching might have come forward to defend Him! But no, His coward followersare silent when their Lord is slandered. "He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter" and no pitying voice entreats that Hemay be delivered. True, His judge's wife tries to persuade her husband to have nothing to do with Him and her vacillatinghusband offers to liberate Him if the mob will have it so-but none will raise the shout of "loose Him and let Him go." Hewas not literally alone upon the Cross, yet He was really so in a deep spiritual sense. Though a few loving ones gatheredat the foot of the Cross, yet these could offer Him no assistance and probably dared not utter more than a tearful protest.Perhaps the boldest there was that dying thief who called Him, Lord, and expostulated with his brother-malefactor, saying,"This Man has done nothing amiss." [See Sermon #1881, Volume 32-the dying thief in a new light
-Read/download the entire sermon, free of charge, at http://www.spurgeongems.org .] Few, indeed, were the voices that werelifted up on behalf of the Man of Sorrows. From the time when He bowed in agony amid the deep shades of the Mount of Olives,till the moment when He entered the thicker darkness of the valley of death-shade, He was left to suffer alone.
Here was the fact. What was the reason for it? We conclude that fear overcame the hearts of His disciples. It is natural thatmen should care for their lives, but these men pushed this instinct of self-preservation beyond its legitimate sphere. Andwhen they found that the Master was taken and that probably the disciples might share His fate, they each one, in the panicof the moment, fled in haste! They were not all traitors, but they were all cowards for the time being. They meant not todesert their Lord-they even scorned the thought when it was put to them in calmer moments-but they were taken by surpriseand, like a flock of sheep, they fled from the wolf. They rallied after a little while and mustered courage enough to followHim from afar off. They did not quite forget Him-they watched Him to His latter end, they kept together after He was dead-theyunited to bury Him and they came together instinctively on the first day of the week. They had not altogether cast off theirloyalty to their Lord and Master, for He was still keeping those whom the Father had given Him that none of them might belost-yet fear had, for awhile, defeated their faith and they had left Him alone.
There was a deeper reason, however, for the Savior's loneliness. It was a condition of His sufferings that He should be forsaken.Desertion was a necessary ingredient in that cup of vicarious suffering which He had covenanted to drink for us. We deservedto be forsaken and, therefore, He must be. Since our sins against man, as well as our sins against God deserved that we shouldbe forsaken of men, He, bearing our sins against God and man, is forsaken. It cannot be that a sinner should enjoy true friendship.Sin is a separating thing and so, when Christ is made the Sin-Bearer, His friends must leave Him. Besides, this was one jewelin the crown of His Glory. It was said, in triumph, by the great hero of old who typified our Lord, "I have trodden the winepressalone and of the people there was none with me." To make that true in the severest sense, it was necessary that the Captainof our salvation should, by His single arm, defeat the whole of Hell's battalions! His are the sole laurels of the war, for,"His right hand and His holy arm have gotten Him the victory."
Can you, for a moment, enter into the sorrow of that loneliness? There are men to whom it is a small matter to be friendless.Their coarse minds scorn the gentle joys of fellowship. Sterner virtues may tread beneath their iron heel the sweet flowersof friendship and men may be so defiantly self-reliant that, like lions, they are most at home amid congenial solitudes. Sympathythey scorn as womanish and fellowship as a superfluity. But our Savior was not like they-He was too perfect a Man to becomeisolated and misanthropical. His grand gentle Nature was full of sympathy towards others and, therefore, sought it in return.You hear the voice of grief at the loss of brotherly sympathy in the mournful accents of that gentle rebuke, "What? Couldyou not watch with Me one hour?" How could they sleep while He must sweat? How could they repose while His soul was "exceedinglysorrowful, even unto death"? He showed the greatness of His soul even in its depression when He lovingly excused them by saying,"The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."
How sad to Him it was that they should desert Him! The brave Peter and all the rest of them, all taking to their heels! Worsestill was it to receive the traitor's kiss with the word, "Hail, Master," as the son of perdition betrayed his Friend to winthe blood-money! David lamented the villainy of Ahithophel, but the Savior, inasmuch as He was of a more tender spirit thanthe son of Jesse, even more keenly felt the treachery of Judas. For Peter to say that he knew Him not and, with cursing andswearing to deny Him three times in succession was terribly cruel. There was such an element of deliberation about that denialthat it must have cut the Savior to the very quick. But where was John-John who leaned on His bosom-"that disciple whom Jesusloved"-where was John? Did not he say a word, nor even interject a single syllable for his dear Friend? Has Jonathan forgottenhis David? The Master might have said to John, "Your love to Me was wonderful, passing the love of women," but, alas, Johnis gone with the rest! He has nothing to say for his Master! Though he remains at the foot of the Cross to the last, yet evenhe cannot defend Him! Jesus is all alone-all alone and none of us can fully fathom the sorrow of His lonely heart.
This is a painful meditation and, therefore, let us notice the result of our Savior's loneliness. Did it destroy Him? Didit overwhelm Him? It pained Him but it did not dismay Him. "You shall leave Me alone: and yet I am not alone," says He, "becausethe Father is with Me." The effect of that solace in His soul was wonderful. Our Savior did not turn aside from the purposeof redeeming His people though they proved so unworthy of being redeemed. Might He not well have said, "You have forsakenMe, so I will forsake you"? It would have seemed but natural for Him to have exclaimed, "You
are types of all My people, you care little enough for Me: I have come into this world to save you, but you do not try torescue Me; you have deserted Me, so I leave you to your fate." But no, "having loved His own which were in the world, He lovedthem unto the end." And although they forsook Him, yet He fulfilled to each one of them His ancient promise, "I will neverleave you, nor forsake you." The Baptism wherewith He was to be baptized He would still accomplish and be immersed in thefloods of death for their sake!
Nor did He merely exhibit constancy to His purpose. He displayed great courageousness of spirit. He was all alone, but yethow peaceful He was! The calmness of the Savior is amazing. When He was brought before Herod, He would not utter one hastyor complaining word. His perfect silence was the fittest eloquence and, therefore, He was majestically mute. Before Pilate,until it was necessary for Him to speak, not a syllable could be extorted from Him. All along He possessed His soul in patience.In the Garden and afterwards, He was quiet as a lamb, surrendering Himself to the Sacrifice without a struggle. His solemn,deliberate self-surrender, in His loneliness, has an awfulness of love in it-more fit for thought than words. His brave spiritwas not to be cowed, though it stood at bay alone and all the dogs of Hell raged around Him!
Mark too not only the constancy and the courageousness of our Savior, but His matchless unselfishness, for, while His disciplesforsook Him and fled, He forgave them in His inmost heart and cherished no resentment against them. When He rose again Hisconduct to these runaways was that of a loving shepherd or a tender friend-He fully forgave them all. If He did mention it,it was only in that gentle way in which He inquired of Peter, "Simon, son of Jonas, do you love Me?"-reminding him of hisfailure for his lasting improvement and benefit-and giving him an honorable commission as the token that it was all condoned.
Inquire awhile the reason for this result Why was it that our Savior, in His loneliness, thus stood so constant, courageousand forgiving? Was it not because He fell back into the arms of His Father when He was forsaken by His friends? It was evenso-"The Father is with Me." Look carefully at that word. As the Savior uttered it, it was true that the Father's Presencewas with Him, but I beg you to remember that it was not true, in every sense, all the way through His passion. The Fatherwas not with Him on the Cross in the sense of manifested personal favor. His cry, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?"shows that our Savior did not, at that time, derive comfort from any present
revelation of the love of God to Him as Man. [See Sermon #2133, Volume 36-"MY god, my god, why have YOU FORSAKEN ME?"] Theconscious Presence and display of love were taken away.
There is, therefore, another meaning in these words, "Because the Father is with Me" and surely it is this-the Father wasalways with Him in His design. The enterprise He had undertaken was the salvation of His people-and the Father was whollyand always with Him in that respect. In that sense He was with Him even where He deserted Him-it was but a form of the Father'sbeing with Christ that He should be forsaken of God. I am not quite stating a paradox and if it should sound like one to anyhere, let me expound it. It was in pursuance of Their united great design that the Father forsook the Son. Both were resolvedupon the same gracious purpose and, therefore, the Father must forsake the Son, that the Son's purpose and the Father's purposein our redemption might be achieved! He was with Him when He forsook Him-with Him in design when He was not with Him in thesmiles of His face.
Furthermore, the Father was always with our Lord in His co-working. When Jesus was in Gethsemane and the staves and lanternswere being prepared, the God of Providence was permitting or arranging it all. When Jesus was taken before Caiaphas, Herod,Pilate and Annas, God was allowing all this to be done-the Father was with Christ fulfilling the prophecies, answering thetypes and accomplishing their Covenant engagements. Through the whole sad chapter it might be said, "My Father works." Evenamid the thick darkness and the dire suffering of Christ, the Father was with Christ, working those very sufferings in Him,for "it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief." Into this fact Christ sinks as into a sea of comfort-"TheFather is with Me." "It is enough," He says, "My own chosen friends forsake Me and My dearest earthly friends leave me. Thosewhom I have purchased with My blood deny Me, but My Father is with Me." By a matchless exercise of faith, our Redeemer realizedthis and was sustained even in that dread hour!
II. We shall make practical use of our subject by considering THE CHRISTIAN IN HIS LONELINESS. No Believer traverses all theroad to Heaven in company. There must be lonely spots here and there, though the greater part of our heavenward pilgrimageis made cheerful by the society of fellow travelers. "They go from company to
company; every one of them in Zion appears before God." Christ's sheep love to go in flocks. "They that feared the Lord spokeoften one to another." We take sweet counsel together and walk to the House of God in company. Yet somewhere or other on theroad, every Christian will find narrow paths and close places where pilgrims must march in single file.
Sometimes the child of God endures loneliness arising from the absence of godly society. It may be that in his early daysas a Christian, he mixed much with gracious persons, was able to attend many of their meetings and to converse in privatewith the excellent of the earth. But now his lot is cast where he is as a sparrow alone on the housetop. No others in thefamily think as he does. He enjoys no familiar converse concerning his Lord and has no one to counsel or console him. He oftenwishes he could find friends to whom he could open his mind. He would rejoice to see a Christian minister or an advanced Believerbut, like Joseph in Egypt, he is a stranger in a strange land. This is a very great trial to the Christian, an ordeal of themost severe character. Even the strong may dread it and the weak are sorely shaken by it. To such lonely ones, our Lord'swords, now before us, are commended with the prayer that they may make them their own-"I am alone: and yet I am not alone,because the Father is with Me." When Jacob was alone at Bethel, he laid down to sleep and soon was in a region peopled byinnumerable spirits, above whom was God Himself! That vision made the night at Bethel the least lonely season that Jacob everspent! [See Sermon #402, Volume 7-jacob's waking exclamation-
] Your meditations, O solitary ones, as you read the Bible in
secret, and your prayer's, as you draw near to God in your lonely room, and your Savior Himself in His blessed Person, willbe to you what the ladder was to Jacob! The words of God's Book, made living to you, shall be to your mind the angels andGod Himself shall have fellowship with you! If you lament your loneliness, cure it by seeking heavenly company. If you haveno companions below who are holy, seek all the more to commune with those who are in Heaven where Christ sits at the righthand of God!
God's people are frequently made lonely through obedience to honest convictions. I t may happen that you live in the midstof professing Christians and you have received Light upon a part of God's Word which you had formerly neglected, either aDoctrine, or an ordinance, or some other matter-and having received that Light, if you are as you should be-you are at onceobedient to it. It will frequently result, from this action on your part, that you will greatly vex many good people whomyou love and respect, but to whose wishes you cannot yield. Your Master's will once known, father or mother may not standin your way-you do not wish to be singular, or obstinate, or offensive-but you must do the Lord's will even if it should severevery fond connection! Perhaps, for a time, prejudiced persons may almost deny you Christian fellowship. Many a baptized Believerhas been made to know what it means to be almost tabooed and shut out because he cannot see as others see, but is resolvedto follow his conscience at all hazards. Under such circumstances, even in a godly household, a Christian who fully carriesout his convictions may find himself treading a separated path. Be bold, my dear Brothers and Sisters, and do not flinch!Your Savior walked alone and you must do so too.
Perhaps this lone obedience is to be a test of your faith. Persevere! Yield not a particle of the Truth of God! These veryfriends who now turn their backs on you, if they are good for anything, will respect you all the more for having the courageto be honest-and perhaps the day will come when, through your example, they will be led in the same obedient way. At any rate,do not mar your testimony by hesitancy or wavering, but "follow the Lamb wherever He goes." Fall back upon this Truth of God-youmay displease and alienate friends and be charged with bigotry, self-will and obstinacy, but you are not alone when you followthe path of obedience, for the Father is with you! If what you hold is God's Truth, God is with you in maintaining it. Ifthe ordinance to which you submit was ordained by Christ, Jesus is with you in it. Care not how either the Church or the worldreviles you! Serve your Master and He will not desert you! With all due deference to others, pay yet greater deference tothe Lord who bought you with His blood! Where He leads, follow without delay-the Father will be with you in so doing.
The solitary way is appointed to Believers who rise to eminence of faith. In these days the common run of Christians havebut struggling faith. Should you sift the great mountain of visible Christianity very carefully, will you find so much asten grains of faith in the whole? When the Son of Man comes, keen as His eyes are to discover faith, shall He find it on theearth? Here and there we meet a man to whom it is given to believe in God with mighty faith. As soon as such a man strikesout on a project and sets about a work which none but men of his mold would venture upon, straightway there arises a clamor,"The man is overzealous!" Or he will be charged with an innovating spirit, rashness, fanaticism, or absurdity. Should thework go on, the opposers whisper together, "Wait a little while and you'll see the end of all this
wildfire." Have we not heard them criticize an earnest Evangelist by saying, "His preaching is mere excitement, the resultof it is spasmodic"? At another time, "The enterprise which he carries out is Quixotic. His designs are Utopian"? What saidthe sober semi-faith of men to Luther? Luther had read this passage, "By the deeds of the Law there shall no flesh be justifiedin His sight." He went to a venerable Divine about it and complained of the enormities of Rome. What was the good but weakbrother's reply? "Go you to your cell and pray and study for yourself, and leave these weighty matters alone." Here it wouldhave ended had the brave Reformer continued to consult with flesh and blood! But his faith enabled him to go alone, if nonewould accompany him! He nailed up his theses on the church door and showed that one man, at least, had faith in the Gospeland in its God! Then trouble came, but Luther minded it not because the Father was with him! We also must be prepared, ifGod gives us strong faith, to ride far ahead like spiritual Uhlans who bravely pioneer the way for the rank and file of thearmy. It were well if the Church of God had more sons swifter than eagles and bolder than lions in God's service-men who cando and dare alone-till laggards gain courage from them and follow in their track. These Valiant-for-Truths full often pursuea solitary path, but let them console themselves with this word of the solitary Savior, "Yet I am not alone, because the Fatheris with Me." If we can but believe in God, He will never desert us! If we can dare, God will do! If we can trust, God willnever allow us to be confounded, world without end! It is sweet beyond expression to climb where only God can lead and plantthe standard on the highest towers of the foe!
Another form of loneliness is the portion of Christians when they come into deep soul-conflict. My Brothers and Sisters, someof you understand what I mean by that. Our faith, at times, has to fight for very existence! The old Adam within us ragesmightily and the new spirit within us, like a young lion, disdains to be vanquished and so these two mighty ones contend tillour spirit is full of agony! Some of us know what it is to be tempted with blasphemies we would not dare repeat, to be vexedwith horrid temptations which we have grappled with and overcome, but which have almost cost us resistance unto blood. Insuch inward conflicts, saints must be alone. They cannot tell their feelings to others- they would not dare to do so. Andif they did, their own brethren would despise or upbraid them, for the most of professors would not even know what they meant-andeven those who have trodden other fiery ways would not be able to sympathize in all, but would answer them thus, "Those arepoints in which I cannot go with you." Christ alone was tempted in all points like as we are, though without sin. No one manis tempted in all points exactly like another man and each man has certain trials in which he must stand alone amid the rageof war, with not even a book to help him, or a biography to assist him-no man ever having gone that way before except thatone Man whose trail reveals His nail-pierced feet. He alone knows all the devious paths of sorrow. Yet, even in such by-ways,the Father is with us, helping, sustaining and giving us Grace to conquer at the close.
We will not, however, dwell on this aspect of solitary walking, for we have three others to mention. Many dear Brothers andSisters have to endure the solitude of unnoticed labor They are serving God in a way which is exceedingly useful, but notat all noticeable. How very sweet to many workers are those little corners of the newspapers and magazines which describetheir labors and successes. Yet some who are doing what God will think a great deal more of at the last never see their namesin print. Yonder beloved Brother is plodding away in a little country village-nobody knows anything about him, but he is bringingsouls to God. Unknown to fame, the angels are acquainted with him and a few precious ones whom he has led to Jesus know himwell. Perhaps yonder Sister has a little class in the Sunday school. There is nothing striking in her or in her class. Nowand then a little child ascends to Heaven to report her success and occasionally another comes into the Church-but nobodythinks of her as a very remarkable worker. She is a flower that blooms almost unseen, but she is none the less fragrant! Orshall we think of the humble City Missionary? The Superintendent of the District knows that he goes his regular rounds, buthe has no idea of the earnest prayers and deep devotedness of that obscure lover of Jesus. The City Mission Magazine putshim down as trying to do his duty, but nobody knows what it costs him to cry and sigh over souls. There is a Bible-woman-sheis mentioned in the Report as making so many visits a week, but nobody reports all that she is doing for the poor and needyand how many are saved in the Lord through her instrumentality. Hundreds of God's dear servants are serving Him without theencouragement of man's approving eye-yet God is with them!
Never mind whereyou work-care more about howyou work! Never mind who sees or does not see you as long as God approves yourefforts! If He smiles, be content. We cannot be always sure when we are most useful. A certain minister with very great difficultyreached a place where he had promised to preach. There was deep snow upon the ground, therefore only one hearer came. However,he preached as zealously as if there had been a thousand! Years later, when he was travelling in that same part of the country,he met a man who had been the founder of a Church in the village and from it, scores of other Churches had been established.The man came to see him and said, "I have good reason to remember you, Sir, for I was once your only hearer. And what hasbeen done here has been brought about instrumentally through my conversion under that sermon." We cannot estimate our success.One child in the Sunday school, converted, may turn out to be worth 500 others because he may be the means of bringing 10,000to Christ! It is not the acreage you sow, it is the multiplication which God givesto the Seed which will make up the harvest!You have less to do with being successful than with being faithful! Your main comfort is that, in your labor, you are notalone, for God, the Eternal One, who guides the marches of the stars, is with you!
There is such a thing-I would that we might reach it-as the solitude of elevated piety. In the plain everything is in company,but the higher you ascend, the more lonely is the mountain path. At this moment there must be an awful solitude on the topof Mont Blanc. Where the stars look silently on the monarch of mountains, how deep the silence above the untrodden snows!How lonely is the summit of the Matterhorn, or the peak of Monte Rosa! When a man grows in Grace, he rises out of the fellowshipof the many and draws nearer to God. Unless placed in very happy circumstances, he will find very few who understand the higherlife and can thoroughly commune with him. But then the man will be as humble as he is high and he will fall back, necessarilyand naturally, upon the eternal fellowship of God. As the mountain pierces the skies and offers its massive peak to be thefootstool of the Throne of God, so the good man passes within the veil, unseen by mortal eyes, into the secret place of thetabernacle of the Most High where he abides under the shadow of the Almighty.
The last solitude will come to us all in the hour of death. Down to the river's brink they may go with us, a weeping company-wife,children and friends. Their kind looks will mean the help they cannot give. To that river's brink they may go in fond companionship,but then, as with our Lord, the cloud received Him out of His disciples' sight, so must we be received out of sight of ourbeloved ones. The chariot of fire must take Elijah away from Elisha. We must ascend alone. Bunyan may picture Christian andHopeful together in the stream, but it is not so-they pass, each one, alone through the river. Yet we shall not be alone,my Brothers and Sisters-we correct our speech-the Father will be with us! Jesus will be with us! The Eternal Comforter willbe with us! The everlasting Godhead in the Trinity of Persons shall be with us! And the angels of God shall be our convoy.Let us go our way, rejoicing that when we shall be alone, we shall not be alone because the Father will be with us-as He iswith us even now!
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: JOHN161-22.
Verse 1. These things have I spoken unto you, that you should not be offended. "That you should not be scandalized when yousee Me put to death, and when you miss My bodily Presence from your midst. I want to prepare you for the shame and death thatlie before Me and also prepare you for all that lies before you, for many of you will have to drink of My cup and to be baptizedwith My Baptism." "These things have I spoken unto you, that you should not be offended," or ashamed, or scandalized, or causedto stumble when they come to pass.
2. They shall put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time comes that whoever kills you will think that he does God service.That terrible "time" did come very soon-and the Jewish and other persecutors hunted down the Christians in almost every placewhere they could be found. Nothing would satisfy their cruel foes but the blood of multitudes of martyrs! And many of thepersecutors actually thought that they were doing God service while they were putting His children to torture and death!
3. 4. And these things will they do unto you because they have not known the Father, nor Me. But these things have I toldyou, that when the time shall come, you may remember that I told you of them. To be forewarned is to be forearmed, especiallywhen the Lord Jesus Christ gives the forewarning. And His disciples were thus to be forearmed and braced up for the comingconflict.
4. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you. "I needed not, at the beginning of My ministry,to trouble you about these things. Even then you and I were hated by evil men, but I was with you, so I was
able to protect you from them." The persecutors could not slay Christ's sheep, as they desired to do, as long as their Shepherdwas still with them, so His warning words were not needed while He was in their midst. Christ does not teach us everythingat once-if He did, we might be so confused that we should not learn anything! Perhaps we have sometimes wished that our earscould hear more than they now do, but it is most probable that if we could hear more, we would really understand less thanwe do now. Have you, at any time, had your hearing more than usually acute? If so, you must then have heard a thousand soundswhich it would have been better for you not to have heard, for they so confused and confounded one another that you did nothear anything distinctly. It is just so with the mind-it is capable of receiving a certain quantity of the Truth of God, butif too much Truth is placed before it at once, it produces confusion in the mind's ears and in the mind's eyes and we reallyhear less, see less and understand less than we would do if less were set before us! The Master knew that His disciples werelike narrow-necked bottles which must be gradually filled. So He only revealed the Truth to them as they were able to receiveit.
5, 6. But nowl go My way to Him that sent Me; andnone of you asks Me, Where are You going?But because Ihave said these thingsunto you, sorrow has filled your heart Sorrow sometimes prevents us from learning the lessons that Christ wishes to teachus. You remember that in the Garden of Gethsemane, Christ's disciples were "sleeping for sorrow," and so they lost some ofthe lessons that they might otherwise have learned. Those who are in great trouble are often in that dazed condition in whichhalf-awakened persons are. And there is a measure of sleepiness about us all in times of sorrow. It was so with the discipleson this occasion and, therefore, they did not ask their Lord what they might have asked Him if sorrow had not filled theirhearts-"None of you asks Me, Where are You going?"
7-9. Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will notcome unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you. And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness,and of judgment: of sin, because they believe not on Me. Which is the head of all sin, the root of all sin, the sin whichlies in front of the door of Mercy and blocks the sinner's way! Oh, that the Spirit of God would convince all here who arenot Believers on the Lord Jesus Christ, that they are living in the greatest of all sins, "because they believe not on Christ"!
10. Of righteousness, because I go to My Father, and you see Me no more. Of course Christ would not have been received backby His Father if He had not completed the work of righteousness which His Father gave Him the commission to perform. The risenand glorified Savior is the great testimony to the righteousness both of Christ and of His Gospel!
11. Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. Christ has already judged the prince of the powers of evil, soyou may depend upon it that He will also judge all those who are under the dominion of the traitor prince who has usurpedhis Master's position and authority. Christ has summoned the dread lord of evil to His bar and judged him. Think not, O youwho are his servants, that any of you will be able to elude the vigilance of the great Judge of All! Judgment will assuredlycome to the common soldiers of the Prince of Darkness since their captain, himself, has been judged and condemned!
12. Ihave yet many things to say unto you, but you cannot bear them now. Here again observe the reticence of the Savior forHis disciples' good-still graciously keeping from them what they could not bear to hear. And are not you, Beloved, thankfulthat you do not, at this moment, know what is to happen to you in the future? It is wise for each one of us to say-
"My God, I would not wish to read My fate with curious eyes- What gloomy lines are writ forme, Or what bright scenes arise."
It is best for you, at present, to know but little. Prize what you do know and be content to leave all that is not yet revealed,for "the secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our childrenforever."
13. Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all Truth. All that you need to know and may know,He will teach you. If you cannot find your way into the heart of any Truth of God, the Spirit of God has the
clue to it, so ask Him to guide you into it. There is such a thing as seeing the outside of a Truth-that is good as far asit goes, but the blessedness lies in getting to the insideof the Truth of God-the very kernel and core of it.
13, 14. For He shall not speak of Himself; but whatever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things tocome. He shall glorify Me. That is the distinctive mark of the Spirit of God. If any man says that he speaks by the Spirit,you can test him in this way-does what he say glorify Christ? If not, away with him, for he is not speaking as the Holy Spiritspeaks!
14-18. For He shall receive of Mine and shall show it unto you. All things that the Father has are Mine: therefore saidI,that He shall take ofMine, and shall show it unto you. A little while, andyou shall not see Me: andagain, a little while,and you shall see Me, because I go to the Father Then said some of His disciples among themselves, What is this that He saysunto us, A little while, andyou shall not see Me: andagain, a little while, andyou shall see Me: and, Because I go to theFather? They said therefore, What is this that He says, A little while? We cannot tell what He says.These disciples of Christwere almost as ignorant as the rank outsiders were! Though they had been with Jesus for three years, they had not learnedwhat is clear enough to every Sunday school child, today, and what is certainly perfectly understood by all who are taughtof God! They said, "What is this that He says unto us, A little while, and you shall not see Me: and again, a little while,and you shall see Me: and, because I go to the Father? They said therefore, What is this that He says, A little while? Wecannot tell what He says."
19-22. Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask Him, and said unto them, Do you inquire among yourselves of that I said,A little while, andyou shall not see Me: and again, a little while, andyou shall see Me? Verily, verily, I say unto you, Thatyou shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: andyou shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.A woman when she is in travail has sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembersno more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. And you now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again,and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man takes from you