Sermon 3481. Visits From the Lord
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, OCTOBER 14, 1915.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON LORD'S-DAY EVENING, OCTOBER 1, 1871.
"Therefore, that disciple whom Jesus loved said unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord,heput on his outer garment (for he was naked), and plunged into the sea. But the other disciples came in the little boat;for they were not far from land (about two hundred cubits), dragging the net with fishes." John 21:7, 8.
UNTIL our Lord should pour out the Spirit upon His Apostles, they had to wait. It was expedient for them that He should goaway and ascend into His Glory. Then when He had received gifts for men and had distributed those gifts, they would be ableto go forth in the power of the Spirit, preaching the Gospel. Until then they must wait, and they must not be idle. Thereforethey returned to their ordinary trades and once again the little boat plowed the familiar waves of the sea of Tiberias. Therethey had many old associations brought up before them. And there, moreover, on the memorable night of which we are now tospeak, they learned a lesson which would be instructive to them throughout the whole course of their fishing for men! Theircondition and position were very much like our own. We, as a Christian Church, are engaged in the great soul-fishery, seekingby any means to bring some to Christ. Out on the dark waters of the Dead Sea of Sin we seek to bring the souls of men, notto destroy them, but that Christ may save them! This is to be the Church's perpetual work. She must never cease from it. Forthis purpose is she kept in the world and if she does not answer this purpose, she is faulty before her Lord.
Just now we are much in the condition of these Apostles. There is upon some of our spirits a dissatisfaction with the successthat we have had of late-in fact, a dissatisfaction with all the success that either we or the Christian Church generallyhave had for years past. We cannot quite say, with the Apostles, that we have caught nothing. Glory be to God, there are thousandsof souls that have been won to Christ in this house, and in many other places where Christ is preached! But compared withthe great mass of mankind-compared with the world that "lies in the Wicked One-we might almost say, "We have caught nothing."Relatively, it comes to very, very, very little-and the Gospel-fishery does not grow, today, as it did at the time of Pentecost,or as it has done at other seasons when God has granted revival and refreshing from His Presence. We are, therefore, likethe disciples-we are engaged in the fishing, but we are not satisfied with the results! Now we know what they, perhaps, atthe time forgot-that there is only one thing that can change the aspect of affairs, and that is for Jesus to appear in ourmidst and speak to us, giving us the word of direction and, also, Himself acting as the attractive power to the souls of men,that they may come to the Gospel net! I may go round to all our agencies, if Jesus is absent, and ask them, "What is yoursuccess?" The Sunday school will have to say, "We have taken nothing." The Evangelists at the street corners will have tosay, "We have taken nothing." The young men sent forth from the college to preach will have to return the same sorrowful answer!And alas, for us who stand here and preach to this congregation, we, too, shall have to say, if the Master is not with us,"We have toiled all night, but we have taken nothing."
Oh, sorrowful account to have to render to God and our fellow men! Yet such it must be. But if Jesus shall come, how changedit all shall be! Then shall the preacher become wise! He shall know where and how to cast the net! He shall select those topicsthat shall stir the soul-that shall fire the heart! And then, Jesus being present, men shall be as willing to receive theGospel as the preacher is to preach it! It shall be as much the will of the fish to get into the net, as it is of the fishermento cast the net! Oh, may the Master come to us! I believe He has come. I think I see Him. Some of my Brothers
and Sisters tell me they already perceive it. He has never been entirely absent from us, but we need Him to speak a mightyword, a majestic word-a word that shall compel, by sweet constraints of Grace, tens of thousands of souls to come to Him andlive!
Now tonight my one subject is to the Church here, and to God's people elsewhere, who are in the same state of hope and anxiety.I want to speak about Jesus Christ's coming. The all-importance of it you all feel. You all, I trust, as workers for Christ,desire it. Now, Beloved, let us notice, first, when Jesus comes-
I. WHO WAS THE FIRST TO SEE HIM.
The first to see Jesus was John. He said, "It is the Lord." The other disciples perceived Him by-and-by. We know they did,for it is written, "Knowing that He was the Lord"-but the first to see Him was John. What do we gather from this?
Why, first, that the brightest eyes in the Church are the eyes of those who love most. They perceive Christ first who havemost affection for Him! If He is gone, these are the first to sigh. If He returns, these are the first to rejoice with unspeakablejoy. Knowledge is said to open the eyes, but as for me, the dust of many learned tomes has often beclouded them. It is thoughtthat men of education will be the first to perceive the Savior, but it was not so in the Savior's day, for these things werehidden from the wise and prudent-but they were revealed unto babes! Let love be your education. Grow in love. To love is betterthan to know, for a man may know, and only eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil-and perish by it-but he that loves,obeys, and he shall eat of the Tree of Life and dwell in the midst of the Paradise of God! Blessed John! Your head had beenon the Savior's bosom and, therefore, your eyes were like the eagle's. No angel, one would think, could see as well as Milton'sangel, Uriel, that dwelt in the midst of the sun. He was familiar with the light. He dwelt in the full blaze of the orb ofday-in the very midst of it! And, "He that dwells in love dwells in God." And "God is Light," so he who dwells in the Lightof God sees all things. "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." The heart that is purified with the celestialflame of Divine Love is the heart that can see God!
But note that in the text John does not describe himself as loving Christ. Much more humbly and instructively does he putit. "That disciple who loved Jesus said unto Peter, It is the Lord!" No, that is my misreading of it! It is, "That disciplewhom Jesus loved." Oh, yes, and that is the way that Grace in the heart always teaches us to read it! It is not so much thatwe love Him, as that He loved, and still loves us! Superabundant love in the heart of the Man, Christ Jesus, towards thatchoice and chosen spirit had made John a loving disciple. He had not loved so much if Christ had not loved more. He wouldhave told you if you had questioned him about his love, as Peter did-"The Lord who knows all, knows that I love Him." Butif you had spoken about Christ's love to him, ah, then his face would have brightened, his eyes would have flashed with delightand he would have said, "He loves me. Ah, and I have had many a sweet word from Him. And my head has often been healed ofall its aches when I have laid it down upon His breast." He would have ascribed it all to Christ's love and had little tosay of his own! So, Brothers and Sisters, if the love of God is shed abroad in your hearts, you will be quick to see the same.It will not be so much your love as His love that makes you quick of the eye. Then will your eyes become like the eyes ofthe spouse in the song, "As the eyes of doves by the rivers of water, washed with milk and fitly set." Now the dove, no doubt,can see its home from a very, very long way. Let the pigeon loose and it flies to its dove-cote at once. Ah, those whose eyesChrist has "washed with milk and fitly set" can see their Lord afar off, and they fly to Him with swift and clipping wings-norare they satisfied till they roost once more at His feet or on His bosom.
Thus, then, those that are quick to see the Savior are those who love Him-better still, those whom He loves much.
Now note that even John appears to have perceived the Presence of Christ very much through His work. As soon as the fisheswere taken in the net, then John said, "It is the Lord." And, Brothers and Sisters, if we want to be assured of the Master'sPresence in the Church, it must be by the results! I am ashamed of some Christians who are afraid of anything like a holyexcitement, or a gracious revival. If there are two or three added to the Church in a year, they say, "This is the fingerof God," but if there are many, then straightway they begin to question! Now I think this is not reasonable, for surely whenthere are great fishes, a hundred and fifty and three, then we may say, "It is the Lord." We may be pretty sure when thereare so many brought that God is at work there, and we may perceive the Presence of Christ. I was noticing the other day somestatistics that have been given of certain revivals in different districts of the United States. It has been said that thosegathered in during a period of revival are usually an injury to the Church, and more frequently back-
slide than any other-but taking a range of some eight years in certain churches, it was found that of those persons addedduring seasons of refreshing from God, the percentage who afterwards backslid was much less than-scarcely, indeed, one half-thepercentage of backslider in those churches which had not experienced revival, but had only grown at the slow plodding ratewhich some of our "sound" Brothers and Sisters so greatly admire! It was found that instead of being worse material, theywere better material-and that these stood the fire even better than any other. This I know-that I would like to run the risk-Iwould like to run the blessed risk of seeing thousands coming forward to profess their faith in Christ! 'Tis true, we willhave some, no doubt, that will turn out to be hypocrites, but I would not refuse some chaff if I could get ten times as muchwheat! Who will give up a gold mine because there is quartz in it? Who is it that will shut up a coal pit because there happento be some slates amidst the coal? No, blessed Master, come! and let us have the net full to bursting if You will-and thenwe shall say-"It is the Lord!" His great works reveal Him even to the eyes of love!
Note, further, that the man who first discovered that Christ was present did not long keep the secret, but, turning roundto his neighbor in the boat, he whispered to him, "It is the Lord." Ah, and this is a lesson to us. If any of you that arethe King's favorites and have close fellowship with Him, should perceive that He is in the Church, oh, tell it to us, forwe are of your mind! We count the King's Company to be the most grand blessing out of Heaven! Whisper to some of us, for weshall be so rejoiced to hear the blessed news! But John did not tell all of them. He told it to Peter, for Peter was verynear to him. I think John had been partly the means of Peter's falling. I think so. You notice how John tells us and no oneelse does-that he was a kinsman to one who kept the door and he took Peter in? And I fancy that he used to smite himself aboutthat, and say, "I ought not to have run the risk of taking Peter there. I ought not to have put him where he would have thosequestions asked." And he seems always to stick hard and fast to Peter and to be with him, because though he, of course, hadnone of Peter's sin, he felt that somehow, accidentally or unwittingly, he had led Peter into the place where he sinned-andso he loved him very much and he gave him the first intimation of the good news. Said he to him, "Brother Peter, it is theLord." Oh, if you perceive the Lord, tonight-if you get a good word from His lips-have not you some Beloved one that you cantell-one, perhaps, that has been a backslider and is now returning to the Lord with broken bones? Oh, tell him! Tell him!Tell him at once, "The Lord is here amidst us. Our Beloved stands and shows His wounds and His pierced hands. Look, my Brother!Look to Him and rejoice with me!" Ah, but you may also tell it to whomever you will, for this is a piece of good news thatnobody need ever keep secret! Tell it! Tell it wherever you have the opportunity-that Jesus Christ is visiting His Church!Bid poor sinners come and look to Him whom they have pierced, and live! When you have told it to some, tell it to many moreand bid them communicate the blessed tidings that Jesus, mighty to save, still waits to receive sinners and to blot out theirtransgressions-
"Tell it unto sinners-tell- Jesus Christ can save from Hell," and is present, revealing Himself to His Church and doing wondersin the congregation!
Thus much upon those who first see Him. Now a few words upon-
II. THOSE WHO FIRST GET AT JESUS CHRIST.
Peter-quick, hot, impulsive-no sooner hears that it is the Lord than he buckles on his coat, plunges into the sea, and swimsto shore to reach his Master! They were not all Peters-it was a mercy they were not. But there was one Peter and it was mercythat there was. Nobody may blame Peter. Nobody may blame those who did not follow Peter. They were quite as right who stayedin the boat as Peter was, who swam to the shore! But I know that wherever Jesus Christ is truly present, there will be somebold noble spirits that will make a dash to get at Him. They love Him-they will be among the first to reach Him-to enjoy HisPresence. Yet if any of them feel moved tonight to do some deed of enthusiasm, let me take them by the hand a moment. Peterwould reach his Master, but he first girds on his coat. There is reverence in Peter, though there is haste and enthusiasm.He will not come before Christ all in a careless manner-unclothed. He has too much respect for His Master. O Soul, if youwould serve the Lord, serve Him with holy fear, for though He is very near to you, He is God-and you are man. Take off yourshoes when you would serve Him, for the place where you stand is holy ground! Be not rash in your worship, nor in your vows,nor in your actions! Gird yourself and then serve Him.
But that once done, Peter commits himself boldly to the waves! Sink or swim, he will be at his Master's side and so he strikesout right gallantly for the shore. Nothing can stop him. He impetuously gets through the breakers and the surf,
and is at his Master's feet! Oh, how I wish there were some Peters in this congregation, true lovers of Christ, who, feelingthat Christ is come among us, would say, "For the love I bear His name, I will be one of the first to serve Him! Here I wrapmyself in the garment of zeal. It shall be my cloak and from this day I will give up all for Christ. I will serve Him beyondall others if I can, and if any can exceed me, it shall be my lack of power that makes me second, but not my lack of will!"It would not do for me to say who Peter is, nor to suggest to a man who is not Peter that he should act as Peter would, butI have noticed that every so often in the Church there will rise up men and women who will say, "We will consecrate ourselvesunto the Lord." Sometimes they do it by going forth into the mission field. Perhaps I have a young Peter here who, like Careyof old, and Marshman, and that band of heroes, may feel in his soul the fire burning and say, "I must, and I will preach Christin the regions beyond." Possibly, however, it may be at home that the same gifts and Graces may be exercised, and I have onehere, perhaps, who says-oh, I would I had many hundreds who are saying-"God helping us, we will enter upon something which,though it is apparently beyond our strength, and rather venturesome, yet shall be done! We will plunge into the sea to reachour Master. We will brave anything so that we may get to Him!"
Ah, there are those who will always repress anything like Divine enthusiasm and yet, mark you, the brightest ages of the Churchhave been those in which men consecrated to God have risen above the dictates of common prudence and have dared for Christwhat others of a cooler temperament could have not dared! Oh, may the Master send the sacred fire into this congregation!I shall never rest content until I have going out of this Church many who count not their lives dear to them to preach theGospel among the heathen! I wonder how it is this has not broken out among us before? Is it my ministry that is faulty inthis respect? It may be so. Then will I cry to Heaven to be taught better. But at Hermansberg, under Pastor Harms, the wholevillage seemed to be moved with a desire to carry Christ's Gospel to Africa-and they emigrated in shiploads to become missionariesthere! Of course, many said that Harms was infatuated. Blessed infatuation! May it fall upon many of Christ's ministers! TheMoravian Church in years gone by had scarcely a member who was not a missionary. When they joined the Church, they gave themselvesup to the Church and to Christ. Oh, when shall we come to this-if not all of us, yet, at any rate, the Peters who shall throwthemselves into the sea that they may get to their Master? Knowing that it is the Lord who is in their midst, they shall beable to do venturesome deeds, brave deeds, for the glory of His name!
But I will not dwell on that, but just mention next how the rest came to Christ We have seen who first saw Him. Afterwardsthey all saw Him. We have seen who first reached Him. Afterwards they all reached Him and I think the second did no worsethan the first. For how came the rest of the disciples? In a little boat-I suppose in their fishing vessel, dragging the netafter them. I feel that to be my particular department and suppose the lot of most of my dear Brothers here. We are tied tothis Church, and we have the net. And though I would gladly enter often into fellowship with Christ by a bold dash, somehowor other I generally have to drag a net after me! I want to commune with Christ, but I have about a thousand souls that Ihave to preach to on the coming Sabbath. I want to rejoice in the Lord with unspeakable joy, but often get cumbered with muchserving. There is this poor soul in trouble, and that poor heart who needs consolation. Well, well, if the Master bids usdrag the net, we won't leave it, but keep a hold of it and if we come a little more slowly, nevertheless, if we are doingHis bidding, our slow pace shall be as accepted as Peter's swimming! And many of you, dear Friends, would be very wrong ifyou were to give up your common callings. You are like the fishermen with the net-you have to drag it. If you should say,"I will give myself up to Christ. I will row to shore. I shall renounce my business. I shall leave all my earthly callings"-Ithink, unless I was quite certain you were a Peter, I would say, "Brother, go back! Drag the net. It must be brought to shore.There are your children. Oh, what a care they need and how wrong you would be if you neglected them!"
I remember a man, whose children were most neglected, who used to frequently go out preaching in the country villages. I knowthat once or twice he was spoken to about it, but he never mended matters. While he would be preaching, his children wouldbe in the streets! He lived to see them grow up reprobates-and the sin was at his door. Stick to Christ! Drag your net andbring your family after you. Let this be your vehement desire-that your children shall be brought to Him! Or you have servants,or a little district in some place in London. Don't run away from your work! A Brother wrote to me some time ago telling mehow much distressed he was in his mind. He said he thought he should never be happy till he got out of business. I said, "Don'trun away from Satan. Fight the devil where you are! Tell the devil you will grapple with him where you are, and you mean tobeat him right there." Oh, if God in His Providence has made
you a servant, very well-beat the devil as a servant! And if you are a tradesman, don't say, "I cannot keep this trade andhonor God." Do not let it be said that our God is the God of the hills and not the God of the valleys, and that it is onlycertain people in certain places who can honor Him! No, in every place you can honor your Master! Keep to your net. Drag itto Christ, however. Oh, what a drag it will be, sometimes, to bring it Christ's way!-all the business and all the work youhave to do-to do all for Christ! Yet this is true religion-to sanctify not only the vessels of the altar, but the pots andthe bells that are upon the horses-to make everything holiness unto the Lord! God grant us Grace to do this! May He send ushere and there a Peter and, at the same time, may He keep the bulk of you, while steadfast in your callings and diligent inbusiness, to be "fervent in spirit, serving the Lord." Oh, blessed Church that shall thus unanimously be drifting towardsChrist and be heartily seeking after fellowship with the dear Redeemer-some impetuously, all industriously-and all successfully!
Now this leads me a little farther on. Supposing we should reach the Savior, as I trust we may, each man after His own order-
III. WHAT WILL BE THE RESULT OF COMING TO CHRIST?
Three results. The first will be refreshment. He will say to us, "Come and dine." Ah, how well fed are those whom Christ feeds!When we go up to the House of Prayer and look to the pulpit, we are disappointed. But if we go and look to the hills fromwhere comes our help, we are never disappointed! What can the pastor do unless the superior Shepherd shall give us the dailyfood? I might well say to hungry souls, as the King of Israel said to the woman in Samaria, when she spoke of their havingeaten her child in famine, and asked the king to help her-"Woman, if the Lord does not help you, how shall I help you?" Andso might we all, with the most anxious desire to do good, yet reply, "If the Lord does not help you, how can we help you?"No, Brothers and Sisters, it is not in the power of ordinances, any more than of ministers, to feed souls! There is nothingin the bread and wine of the Communion Table that can spiritually nourish us. There you have bread-no more-wine-no more. Itis only when, through these, you get to Jesus-when you pass through the doorway of the outward and get into the inward, intothe spiritual-it is only then that your souls are entertained! And once get there, His banqueting table is better than thatof Ahasuerus! There is no such feast as that which Jesus gives-of "fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees, well refined."By your enjoyments in the past, my Brothers and Sisters-by those ravishing moments when your souls have burned within youwith intense delight-ask Him to come to you again! Beseech Him to favor you tonight with this refreshment. And mark you, thatprayer need not be a selfish one, for all the strength that is gained in communion with Christ will afterwards be spent inthe service of Christ!
But again. When the disciples had all come to our Lord, and had dined, the next thing was examination. It was addressed toPeter especially-but it must have been a lesson to all the rest of them-"Do you love Me?" The very first question that weshould ask ourselves concerning our Christianity is this, "Do you love Me?" The second is, "Do you love Me?" The third is,"Do you love Me?" Answer that, and all is answered! The old orator said that the first essential of eloquence was deliveryor action. The second was delivery. The third was delivery. So we will say that the first essential of a truly healthy Christianityis to love Christ! And the second is to love Christ! And the third is to love Christ! Our Lord would not talk of commonplacethings at that time. He selected a vital topic, and this is always vital-"Do you love Me? Do you love Me? Do you love Me?"Beloved Brothers and Sisters, I hope you will always be sound in the faith but then that is little comparatively to what itis to be sound in loving Christ! I trust, Brothers and Sisters, you will always be holy in life-but that can only be as youlove Him in the heart. Out of the heart the life proceeds! He is the fountain-our actions are but the streams. Do, then, passthe question round among you, "Do you love Me?" I desire to put it to myself. I beg you to put it to yourselves. Pause a moment.Do you love Christ? What say you? With a true love? With a love that is such as He demands, that is above the love of motheror of child? "Do you love Me? You are coming to My Table, you are baptized-you are a member of the Church-but do you loveMe?" Is it so? I trust you can reply, "Lord, You know all things: You know that I love You."-
"Yes, I love You and adore- Oh, for Grace to love You more!"
Well, then, lastly, after coming to the Savior, who had given them refreshment and caused them to examine themselves, thenext thing was that it ensured for them commissions of service. Before the Lord blesses a Church, He prepares it for the blessing.A number of sailors wrecked on a desert island are thirsting for water, but suppose a shower comes at
once-it will be a wasted blessing! They must be so thirsty that they are led to put up an apparatus for catching the waterwhen it comes-otherwise the water comes too soon and is lost! I love to see a Church in such state of agony for God's Gracethat it has, as it were, the reservoirs ready to hold the Grace when it cones! "They that pass through the Valley of Bacamake it a well." They "make it a well." The water does not rise in the well. "The rain also fills the pools." Yet they digthe wells to hold the rain-and the rain comes. Remember that notable incident when Israel and Judah were engaged against theKing of Edom! The Prophet said, as he took his harp and began to play by Inspiration, "Make this valley full of ditches!"And they wondered why-but they dug the trenches and made the troughs all along the valley. By-and-by, the water came and filledthe valley, and the host was refreshed! We need to make this valley full of ditches. We need, as a Church, to be ready andwaiting for the blessing!
You see, Christ prepared Peter and all the Apostles by saying to them, "Feed My lambs. Feed My sheep. Shepherd My flock."And He says to you, tonight, "Are you refreshed by My Presence? Have you examined yourself and seen that you love Me? Now,then, gird up your loins and prepare for the service of the Church." I want, Brothers and Sisters, to see among us men andwomen who are looking after Christ's sheep and lambs! I hope it is not so everywhere, but I met the other day with a goodBrother who has attended for a long time this Tabernacle, to whom nobody has ever spoken yet, as he told me. I do not knowwhere he sits-at least, I half think I do, but I shall not tell you, because then somebody or other would find out who hewas. But I will suppose he sits anywhere you like, all around you, and your own consciences shall judge. Now ought it to beso? Ought a person to come here Sunday after Sunday, and no one ever give him a brotherly salutation, or say a word concerninghis soul? Oh, that you were looking out in the neighborhoods where you live, and in the part of this building where you sit,for opportunities of doing good! I know that there are persons who are longing to be spoken to, and they wonder why you donot speak to them! They are Christ's lambs and they need carrying in some kindly bosom. Oh, Look after them and help them!You do not know how half a word said in Christ's name during your journeying about your business may be life from the dead!As it is said by Herbert, "a verse may strike him whom a sermon flies." So a little word from you may be effectual where themost earnest public ministry might fail!
Oh, Beloved, the Lord is not slack! We are slack! If we have not a blessing, we are straitened somewhere, but it cannot bein Him! We are straitened in our own hearts and sympathies. What is that memorable text of the Prophet, "Bring you all thetithes into the storehouse that there may be meat in My house; and prove Me now herewith, says the Lord of Hosts, if I willnot pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it." We are not to say that we are proving theLord to give us a blessing because we pray. The test He puts us to is bringing the tithes into the storehouse-that is to say,what is God's due! Am I giving less of my substance than I ought to give? Am I giving less of my time than I ought to give?Am I giving less of my talent than I ought to give? If I withhold anything that is really God's tithe, I am not proving God!But when we are all giving and doing to our utmost, then we prove God and we shall see whether He will not open the windowsof Heaven and pour us out a blessing such as we shall not have room enough to receive!
I charge you, my Beloved-you who have been the flock of my care these many years-remember the history that God has given usduring these 17 years. We were very few when we began, but there was a living seed among us, and there was mighty prayer-anda blessing came. "By terrible things in righteousness" God answered us! But the answer did come. What Prayer Meetings we hadat Park Street! How often we sat down and wept under the Divine Influence! Thank God, the Holy Spirit overshadowed us! Whatardor there was among you, then, and how many souls were brought to Christ! Since then He has led us on from strength to strength.He has never failed us! Never is this place empty or deserted. Crowds still come to listen to the Word of God! Oh, shall wenot have a blessing as we had it before? I trust we may. And we shall if you are all, to the full measure of your obligations,engaged in the service of your blessed Master and seeking strength from on high! By the hands that were nailed for you-bythe feet that were pierced for you-by the head that was crowned with thorns for you-by the heart that poured out blood andwater for you-by the Christ who died for you-I implore and beseech you, lay yourselves out upon the altar of God, and say,"Henceforth, for us to live is Christ. Christ is all. We desire to say continually, 'The Lord be magnified.'"
Oh, that some here who know little enough about this might desire to know it! Poor Soul, if you desire Christ, Christ desiresyou! And if you will have Him tonight, you shall have Him! If you believe that Jesus is Christ, and have put your trust inHim as your Savior, you are saved! Look to Him now! God help you to do it, for Christ's sake! Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: LUKE24:13-35.
Verses 13-15. And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescorefurlongs. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. And it came to pass, that while they communed togetherand reasoned, Jesus, Himself drew near, and went with them. Where two talk of heavenly things they shall not be long withouta third! Jesus loves holy company, and He will join Himself to those who in their conversation join themselves to Him.
16, 17. But their eyes were held that they should not know Him. And He said unto them, What manner of communications are thesethat you have, one to another, as you walk, and are sad?The first part of that question some professors might be ashamed toanswer, "What manner of communications are these that you have, one to another, as you walk?" It is not always that all Sundaytalk is Sabbath talk-not always that we converse as we should upon the things of God. We are, many of us, blameworthy here.
18, 19. And one ofthem, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto Him, Are You only a stranger in Jerusalem, and have notknown the things which are come to pass there in these days? And He said unto them, What things? And they said unto Him, ConcerningJesus of Nazareth, which was a Prophet mighty in deed and in word before God and al the people. Just as a schoolmaster, thoughhe knows more than the children, yet asks them questions to see what they know. So did the Savior, "What things?...And theysaid to Him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a Prophet mighty in word and deed." I ought to have said, "in deed andword." You see my mistake. That is how we put it, "word and deed," for our words go first, but with Christ, the practicalcomes first, and then commences the doctrinal.
20-24. And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and have crucified Him. But we trustedthat it had been He which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, today is the third day since these things weredone. Yes, and certain women, also of our company, made us astonished, which were early at the se-pulcher; and when they foundnot His body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that He was alive. And certain ofthemwhich were with us went to the sepulcher, and found it even so as the women had said: but Him they saw Him not They made outa very clear case against their own unbelief here. They had the evidence of the women, and they had the evidence of the menof their own company. The women, they knew were honest. About their own company they could have no doubt, but yet they didnot draw the inference which was clear enough, namely, that Jesus had risen and that what He said He was, He had proven Himselfto be.
25, 26. Then He said unto them. O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the Prophets have spoken: Ought not Christto have suffered these things, and to enter into His Glory] Is not this just what He said He would do?
27, 28. And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.And they drew near unto the village, where they went: and He made as though He would have gone further. Never had they hada shorter walk in their lives! His holy talk had made the journey seem as nothing, and sorry they were to see the village-andespecially when they found that their Companion had an idea of going further.
29. But they constrained Him saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening and the day is far spent. AndHe went in to tarrywith them. O wise disciple, when you have your Master to hold Him! "I held Him," says the spouse; "I held Him, and I wouldnot let Him go." So may it be with us.
30, 31. And it came to pass, as He sat at dinner with them, He took bread, and blessed it, and broke it, and gave it to them.And their eyes were opened, and they knew Him; and He vanished out of their sight.Sometimes when you do not remember a friendwho has greatly changed, or from whom you have been long apart, some old familiar sign will bring it all back and as witha rush of memory, you know him at once! Now if this were an ordinary meal, as perhaps it was, Jesus was so in the habit ofgiving thanks that they knew Him by that. I wish we knew every Christian by the same sign. Or if this were, indeed, a celebrationof His own sacred festival, then again they knew, for is not this the sign between Christ and His people? And is not thisTable the place where Jesus meets His Beloved? "And their eyes were opened, and they knew Him." But they knew Him to see Himno more that night.
32-35. And they said, one to the other, Did not our hearts burn within us, while He talked with us by the way, and while Heopened to us the Scriptures? And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together,and them that were with them, Saying, the Lord is risen, indeed, and has appeared to Simon. And they told what things weredone in the way, and how He was known of them in breaking of bread. Did they go to their beds? The day was far spent-latetraveling was dangerous in Israel. Ah, dangerous or not, they are so overwhelmed with joy that they must go and communicatewhat they had seen!