Sermon 1741. "Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled"
DELIVERED ON LORD'S-DAY MORNING, SEPTEMBER 23, 1883,
BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions: if it werenot so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again,and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know." John 14:1-4.
WE may well feel glad that God's people, whose lives are recorded in the Old and New Testaments, were men of like passionswith ourselves. I have known many a poor sinner pluck up hope as he has observed the sins and struggles of those who weresaved by Grace. And I have known many of the heirs of Heaven find consolation as they have observed how imperfect beings likethemselves have prevailed with God in prayer and have been delivered in their time of distress. I am very glad that the Apostleswere not perfect men-they would then have understood all that Jesus said at once-and we would have lost our Lord's instructiveexplanations. They would also have lived above all trouble of mind-and then the Master would not have said to them these goldenwords, "Let not your heart be troubled."
It is, however, most evident from our text that it is not according to our Lord's mind that any of His servants should betroubled in heart. He takes no delight in the doubt and disquietude of His people. When He saw that because of what He hadsaid to them, sorrow had filled the hearts of His Apostles, He pleaded with them in great love and besought them to be comforted.As when a mother comforts her child, He cried, "Let not your heart be troubled." Jesus says the same to you, my Friend, ifyou are one of His downcast ones. He would not have you sad. "Comfort you, comfort you My people; speak you comfortably toJerusalem," is a command even of the old dispensation, and I am quite sure that under this clearer revelation, the Lord wouldhave His people free from heartbreak.
Has not the Holy Spirit especially undertaken the work of comfort in order that it may be effectually done? Trials depressthe hearts of God's children, for which the most tender ministry fails to afford consolation-and then it is most sweet forthe failing comforter to remember the unfailing Comforter-and to commit the case of the sorrowful spirit into Divine hands.Seeing that one Person of the blessed Trinity has undertaken to be the Comforter, we see how important it is that our heartsshould be filled with consolation. Happy religion in which it is our duty to be glad! Blessed Gospel by which we are forbiddento be troubled in heart! Is it not a thing greatly to be admired that the Lord Jesus should think so carefully of His friendsat such a time?
Great personal sorrows may well be an excuse if the griefs of others are somewhat overlooked. Jesus was going to His lastbitter agony and to death, itself, and yet He overflowed with sympathy for His followers. Had it been you or I, we would haveasked for sympathy for ourselves. Our cry would have been, "Have pity upon me, O my Friends, for the hand of God has touchedme!" But, instead of that, our Lord cast His own crushing sorrows into the background and bent His mind to the work of sustainingHis chosen under their far inferior griefs. He knew that He was about to be "exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death." He knewthat He would soon be in an agony through bearing "the chastisement of our peace." But before He plunged into the deep, Hemust dry the tears of those He loved so well and, therefore, He said most touchingly, "Let not your heart be troubled."
While I admire this condescending tenderness of love, at the same time I cannot help adoring the marvelous confidence of ourblessed Lord, who, though He knows that He is to be put to a shameful death, yet feels no fear, but bids His disciples totrust Him implicitly. The black darkness of the awful midnight was beginning to surround Him, yet how brave His Words-"Believealso in Me." He knew, in that threatening hour, that He had come forth from the Father and that He was in the Father and theFather in Him-and so He says, "You believe in God, believe also in Me." The calm bearing of their Master must have greatlytended to confirm His servants in their faith. While we see here His confi-
dence as Man, we also feel that this is not a speech which a mere man would have uttered, even had he been a good man- forno mere creature would thus match Himself with God.
That Jesus is a good Man, few question. That He must be God is, therefore, proven by these words. Would Jesus bid us trustin an arm of flesh? Is it not written-"Cursed is the man that trusts in man, and makes flesh his arm"? Yet the Holy Jesussays, "You believe in God, believe also in Me." This association of Himself with God, as the object of human confidence inthe time of trouble, betokens a consciousness of His own Divine power and Godhead-and it is a mystery in whose difficultiesfaith takes pleasure-to see in our Lord Jesus, the faith of a Man for Himself-and the faithfulness of God for others.
Come then, dear Friends, close up to the text and may the Spirit of God be with us! I will read the text again very distinctly.Pray that you may feel the words even more powerfully than the Apostles felt them, for they had not yet received the Comforter,and so they were not yet led into all the Truth of God-in this we excel them as they were that night-let us, therefore, hopefullypray that we may know the Glory of our Lord's Words, and hear them spoken into our very soul by the Holy Spirit. "Let notyour heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so,I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receiveyou to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know."
These Words are, in themselves, much better than any sermon. What can our discourse be but a dilution of the essential spiritof consolation which is contained in the Words of the Lord Jesus? Now let us, first, taste of the bitter waters of heart-troubleand, secondly, let us drink deep of the sweet waters of Divine consolation!
I. First, then, LET US TASTE OF THE BITTER WATERS. "Because I have said these things unto you, sorrow has filled your heart."I would not confine the comfort to any one form of affliction, for it is a balm for every wound. But still, it will be wellto enquire what was the particular trouble of the disciples? It may be that some of us are passing through it, now, or wemay be plunged in it before long. It was this-Jesus was to die-their Lord, whom they sincerely loved, was about to go fromthem by a shameful, painful death. What tender heart could bear to think of that? Yet He had told them that it would be so-andthey began to remember His former Words in which He had said that the Son of Man would be betrayed into the hands of wickedmen and would be scourged and put to death.
They were now to pass through all the bitterness of seeing Him accused, condemned and crucified. In a short time He was actuallyseized, bound, carried to the High Priest's house, hurried to Pilate, then to Herod, back to Pilate, stripped, scourged, mocked,insulted. They saw Him conducted through the streets of Jerusalem bearing His Cross. They beheld Him hanging on the tree betweentwo thieves and heard Him cry, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" A bitter drink was this! In proportion as theyloved their Lord, they must have deeply grieved for Him-and they needed that He should say, "Let not your heart be troubled."
Today, those who love the Lord Jesus have to behold a spiritual repetition of His shameful treatment at the hands of men,for even now He is crucified afresh by those who account His Cross a stumbling block and the preaching of it foolishness.Ah me! How is Christ still misunderstood, misrepresented, despised, mocked and rejected of men! They cannot touch Him, really,for there He sits, enthroned in the Heaven of heavens! But as far as they can, they slay Him over again and again! A malignantspirit is manifested to the Gospel as once it was to Christ in Person. Some with coarse blasphemies and not a few with cunningassaults upon this part of Scripture, and on that, are doing their best to bruise the heel of the Seed of the woman. It isa huge grief to see the mass of mankind pass by the Cross with averted eyes as if the Savior's death was nothing-nothing,at least, to them. In proportion as you feel a zeal for the Crucified and for His saving Truth, it is wormwood and gall togive in this age of unbelief. Christ Jesus is nailed up between the two thieves of superstition and unbelief, while aroundHim still gathers the fierce opposition of the rude and the polished, the ignorant and the wise.
In addition to this, the Apostles had for an outlook the expectation that their Lord would be away from them. They did not,at first, understand His saying, "A little while and you shall not see Me: and again, a little while, and you shall see Me,because I go to the Father." Now it dawned upon them that they were to be left as sheep without a shepherd, for their Masterand Head was to be taken from them. This was, to them, a source of dread and dismay, for they said to themselves, "What shallwe do without Him? We are a little flock; how shall we be defended when He is gone, and the wolf is
prowling? When the Scribes and Pharisees gather about us, how shall we answer them? As for our Lord's cause and kingdom, howcan it be safe in such trembling hands as ours? Alas for the Gospel of salvation when Jesus is not with us!"
This was a bitter sorrow-and something of this kind of feeling often crosses our own hearts as we tremble for the ark of theLord. My heart is sad when I see the state of religion among us! Oh for an hour of the Son of Man in these darkening days!It is written there shall come, in the last days, scoffers-and they have come, but, oh, that the Lord Himself were here inPerson! Oh, that the Lord would pluck His right hand out of His bosom and show us, once again, the wonders of Pentecost, tothe confusion of His adversaries and to the delight of all His friends!
He has not come as yet. Nearly 2,000 years have rolled away since He departed-the night is dark and there is no sign of dawn!The ship of the Church is tossed with tempest and Jesus has not come to us! We know that He is with us in a spiritual sense,but, oh, that we had Him in the Glory of His power! Surely He knows our need and the urgency of the times and we are apt tocry, "It is time for You, Lord, to work, for they make void Your Law." But they felt a third grief, and it was this-that Hewas to be betrayed by one of them! The 12 were chosen men, but one of them was a devil and sold his Lord. This pierced thehearts of the faithful-"the Son of Man is betrayed."
He is not taken by open seizure, but He is sold for 30 pieces of silver by one whom He entrusted with His little store. Hethat dipped with Him in the dish had sold Him for paltry gain. This cut them to the heart, even as it did the Master, Himself,for our Lord felt the treachery of His friend. Of this water the faithful at this hour are made to drink-for what do we seeat this day? What do we see in various places but persons that are reputed to be ministers of the Gospel whose main businessseems to be to undermine our holy faith and batter down the Truths of God which are commonly received in the Christian Church?Certain of them preach as if they were ordained, not of God, but of the devil! And anointed, not by the Holy Spirit, but bythe spirit of infidelity!
Under the banner of "advanced thought," they make war upon those eternal Truths for which confessors contended and martyrsbled-and by which the saints of past ages have been sustained in their dying hours! It is not an enemy- then we could haveborne and answered it. If the outward and avowed infidel attacks Inspiration, let him do so. It is a free country, let himspeak! But when a man enters our pulpits, opens the Sacred Volume, and denies that it is inspired, what is he doing there?How does his conscience allow him to assume an office which he perverts? To make him a shepherd who is a wolf-to make hima dresser of the vineyard who, with his axe, cuts up the very roots of the vines-this is an incomprehensible folly on thepart of the churches! It is a dagger to every believing heart that Judas should be represented in the Christian Church byso many of the professed ministers of Christ! They betray their Master with a kiss.
Then there came another pang at the back of this, for one of them, though true-hearted and loyal, would that night deny hisLord. Peter, in many respects the leader of the little company, had been warned that he would act the coward and vehementlydeny his Lord. This is bitterness, indeed, of which those that love the Church of God are compelled full often to drink-tosee men whom we cannot but believe to be the disciples of Jesus Christ carried away by temptation, by fear of man or by thefashion of the times-so that Christ and His Gospel are virtually denied by them!
The fear of being thought dogmatic or labeled a Puritan closes many a mouth which ought to be declaring Him to be the Sonof God with power and extolling His glorious majesty in defiance of all that dare oppose Him! The hearts of some who bestlove Jesus grow heavy at the sight of the worldliness and lukewarmness of many of His professed followers. Hence it seemsto me to be a most seasonable hour for introducing you to the sweet waters of our text, of which I bid you drink till everytrace of bitterness is gone from your mouth-for the Master says to you, even to you-"Let not your heart be troubled: you believein God, believe also in Me."
II. Under our second head LET US DRINK OF THE SWEET WATERS and refresh our souls. First, in this wonderful text our Masterindicates to us the true means of comfort under every sort of disquietude. How does He put it? "Let not your heart be troubled"-believe!Kindly look down your Bibles and you will see that this direction is repeated. He says, in the opening of the 11th verse,"Believe Me." And then, again, in the second clause, "Believe Me." I thought, as I tried to enter into the meaning of thissacred utterance, that I heard Jesus at my side saying thrice to me, "Believe Me! Believe Me! Believe Me!"
Could any one of the 11 that were with Him have disbelieved their present Lord? He says, "Believe Me! Believe Me! BelieveMe!" as if there was great need to urge them to faith in Him. Is there no other cure, then, for a troubled heart? No otheris required! This is all sufficient through God. If believing in Jesus, you are still troubled, believe in Him
again-yet more thoroughly and heartily. If even that should not take away the disquiet of your mind, believe in Him to a thirddegree-and continue to do so with increasing simplicity and force. Regard this as the one and only medicine for the diseaseof fear and trouble! Jesus prescribes, "Believe, believe, believe in Me!" Believe not only in certain doctrines, but in JesusHimself-in Him as able to carry out every promise that He has made! Believe in Him as you believe in God!
One has been, at times, apt to think it easier to believe in Jesus than in God, but this is a thought of spiritual infancy-moreadvanced Believers find it not so. To a Jew, this was certainly the right way of putting it, and I think to us Gentiles itis, also, when we have been long in the faith, for we get to believe in God as a matter of course-but faith in Jesus requiresa further confidence. I believe in God's power in creation in that He can make what He wills, and shape what He has made.I believe in His power in Providence, that He can bring to pass His eternal purposes, and do as He wills among the armiesin Heaven and among the inhabitants of this lower world. I believe, concerning God, that all things are possible with Him.Just in that way I am called upon to believe in Jesus, that He is as Omnipotent in power and as sure in His working as theLord from whom come all the forces of nature-and just as certain to accomplish His purposes as God is to achieve His designin the works of Providence.
Relying upon the Savior with the implicit faith which every right-minded man renders towards God, we shall only give our Lordthe faith which He justly claims. He is faithful and true and His power can effect His promise-let us depend trustfully uponHim-and perfect peace shall come into our hearts. These disciples knew that the Savior was to be away from them, so that theycould not see Him nor hear His voice. What of that? Is it not so with God, in whom we believe? "No man has seen God at anytime"-yet you believe in the invisible God working all things, sustaining all things! In the same manner believe in the absentand invisible Christ, that He is still as mighty as though you could see Him walking the waves, or multiplying the loaves,or healing the sick, or raising the dead! Believe Him-and sorrow and sighs will flee away!
Believe in Him as always living, even as you believe in the eternity of God. You believe in the eternal existence of the MostHigh whom you have not seen! Even so, believe in the everlasting life of the Son of God. Yes, though you see Him die, thoughyou see Him laid in the grave, yet believe in Him that He has not ceased to be. Look for His reappearance, even as you believein God. Yes, and when He is gone from you, and a cloud has received Him out of your sight, believe that He lives, even asGod lives-and because He lives, you shall live, also! You believe in the wisdom of God; you believe in the faithfulness ofGod; you believe in the goodness of God-"Even as you believe in God," says Jesus, "believe also in Me." Faith in Jesus Christ,Himself, as an ever-living and Divine Person, is the best quietus for every kind of fear! He is the "King Eternal, Immortal,Invisible," "The Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace!" And therefore you maysafely rest in Him. This is the first ingredient of this priceless comfort.
But now our Lord proceeded to say that though He was going from them, He was only going to His Father's house. "In My Father'shouse are many mansions." Yes, and this was sweet comfort. "I am going," He said, "and on My way you will see Me scourged,bleeding, mocked and buffeted. But I shall pass through all this to the joy, rest and honor of My Father's house." God iseverywhere present, and yet as on earth He had a tabernacle in which He specially manifested Himself, so there is a placewhere He, in a peculiar manner, is revealed. The Temple was a type of that matchless abode of God which eye has not seen-wecall it Heaven, the pavilion of God, the home of holy angels and of those pure spirits who dwell in His immediate Presence.
In Heaven God may be said to have His habitation and Jesus was going there to be received on His return to all the honor whichawaited His finished service. He was, in fact, going home-as a son who is returning to his father's house from which he hadgone upon his father's business. He was going where He would be with the Father, where He would be perfectly at rest, whereHe would be above the assaults of the wicked-where He would never suffer or die again-He was going to reassume the Glory whichHe had with the Father before the world was! Oh, if they had perfectly understood this, they would have understood the Savior'swords, "If you loved Me, you would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father."
Imagination fails to picture the Glory of our Lord's return; the honorable escort which heralded His approach to the EternalCity; the heartiness of the welcome of the Conqueror to the skies! I think the Psalmist gives us liberty to believe that whenour Lord ascended, the bright ones of the sky came to meet Him and cried, "Lift up your heads, O you gates;
and be you lift up, you everlasting doors; and the King of Glory shall come in." May we not believe of bright seraphs andministering angels that-
"They brought His chariot from on high To bear Him to His throne; Clapped their triumphant wings and cried, The glorious workis done!"?
"He was seen of angels." They beheld that "joyous re-entry," the opening of the eternal doors to the King of Glory and thetriumph through the celestial streets of Him who led captivity captive and scattered gifts among men! They saw the enthronementof Jesus who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, but was then and there crowned with gloryand honor!
These are not things of which these stammering lips of mine can speak, but they are things for you to consider when the Spiritof the Lord is upon you. Muse upon them for your delight! Jesus has gone by the way of Calvary up to His Father's house! AllHis work and warfare done, He is rewarded for His sojourn among men as Man. All the shame which His work necessitated is nowlost in the splendor of His mediatorial reign! You people of God, be no more troubled, for your Lord is King, your Saviorreigns! Men may still scoff at Him, but they cannot rob Him of a ray of Glory! They may reject Him, but the Lord God Omnipotenthas crowned Him! They may deny His existence, but He lives! They may rebel-liously cry, "Let us break His bands asunder, andcast His cords from us," but the Lord has set His King upon His holy hill of Zion and none can thrust Him from His Throne!Hallelujah!
"God has highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus, every knee shouldbow." Let not your hearts be troubled by the noise of controversy and the blasphemy and rebuke of an evil age! Though thereis confusion as when the sea roars and the fullness thereof, and the wicked foam in their rage against the Lord and againstHis Anointed, yet the Lord sits upon the flood! The Lord sits King forever. Again, let us say, "Hallelujah!" The Prince hascome unto His own again! He has entered into His Father's palace! The heavens have received Him! Why should we be troubled?
Thirdly, our Lord gave His servants comfort in another way-He gave them to understand by implication that a great many wouldfollow Him to His Father's house. He did not only assure them that He was going to His Father's house, but He said, "in MyFather's house are many mansions." These mansions are not built to stand empty! God does nothing in vain and, therefore, itis natural to conclude that a multitude of spirits, innumerable beyond all count, will rise in due time to occupy those manymansions in the Father's house! Now, I see in this great comfort to them because they doubtless feared that if their Lordwas absent, His Kingdom might fail. How would there be converts if He were crucified? How could they expect, poor creaturesas they were, to set up a kingdom of righteousness on the earth? How could they turn the world upside down and bring multitudesto His feet whom He had purchased with His blood, if His conquering right arm was not seen at their head?
The Lord Jesus in effect said, "I am going, but I shall lead the way for a vast host who will come to the prepared abodes.Like the corn of wheat which is cast into the ground to die, I shall bring forth much fruit which shall be housed in the abidingresting places." This is one part of our comfort at this hour. It matters little how men fight against the Gospel, for theLord knows them that are His-and He will ransom, by power, those redeemed by His blood! He has a multitude according to theElection of Grace whom He will bring in. Though they seem, today, to be a small remnant, yet He will fill the many mansions!This stands fast as a rock-"All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me; and him that comes to Me I will in no wise castout."
They boast that "they will not come unto Christ," but the Spirit of God foresaw that they would reject the salvation of theLord. What said Jesus to those like they? "You believe not, because you are not of My sheep, as I said unto you. My sheephear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me: and I give unto them eternal life." The wicked unbelief of men is theirown condemnation! But Jesus loses not the reward of His passion. We fling back into the faces of the despis-ers of Christthe scorn which they pour upon Him and remind them that those who despise Him shall be lightly es-teemed-their names shallbe written in the earth. What if they come not to Him? It is their own loss, and well did He say of them, "No man can cometo Me except the Father which has sent Me draw Him." Their wickedness is their inability and their destruction! They betray,by their opposition, the fact that they are not the chosen of the Most High.
But "the redeemed of the Lord shall come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads." "He shall see of the travailof His soul and shall be satisfied." This matter is not left to the free will of man, so that Jesus may be disappointed! Ohno, "they will not come unto Him, that they may have life"-but they shall yet know that the eternal Spirit has power overthe human conscience and will, and can make men willing in the day of His power! If Jesus is lifted up, He will draw all mento Him. There shall be no failure as to the Lord's redeeming work, even though the froward reject the counsel of God againstthemselves. What Jesus has bought with His blood, He will not lose! What He died to accomplish shall surely be performed!And what He rose again to carry out shall be effected though all the devils in Hell and unbelievers upon earth should joinin league against Him! Oh, you enemy, rejoice not over the cause of the Messiah, for though it seems to fall, it shall ariseagain!
But our Lord went much further, for He said, "I go to prepare a place for you." I think He did not only refer to the manymansions for our spirits, but to the ultimate place of our risen bodies, of which I will speak before long. In our Lord'sgoing away, as well as in His continuance in His Father's Presence, He would be engaged in preparing a place for His own.He was going that He might clear all impediment out of the way. Their sins blocked the road-like mountains, their iniquitiesopposed all passage-but now that He is gone, it may be said, "The breaker is come up before them, and the Lord on the headof them." He has broken down every wall of partition and He has opened every iron gate. The way into the kingdom is openedfor all Believers. He passed through death to Resurrection and Ascension to remove every obstacle from our path.
He went from us, also, to fulfill every condition, for it was absolutely necessary that all who entered Heaven should weara perfect righteousness and should be made perfect in character-no sin can enter the Holy City! The saints could not be perfectedwithout being washed in His precious blood and renewed by the Holy Spirit. And so the Savior endured the death of the Cross-andwhen He arose, He sent us the sanctifying Spirit that we might be fitted for His rest. Thus He may be said to have preparedthe place of our rest by removing from its gateway the sin which blocked all entrance. He went away, also, that He might bein a position to secure that place for all His people. He entered Heaven as our Forerunner, to occupy the place in our name;to take possession of Heaven as the Representative of all His people.
He was going that He might, in Heaven itself, act as Intercessor, pleading before the Throne of God and, therefore, be ableto save to the uttermost all that come to God by Him. He was going there to assume the reins of Providence, having all thingsput under His feet, and having all power given to Him in Heaven and in earth so He might bless His people abundantly. By beingin Heaven, our Lord occupies a vantage-ground for the sure accomplishing of His purposes of love. As Joseph went down intoEgypt to store the granaries, to prepare for Israel a home in Goshen, and to sit upon the throne for their protection, sohas our Lord gone away into Glory for our good-and He is doing for us, upon His Throne, what could not so advantageously havebeen done for us here.
At the same time, I am inclined to think that there is a special sense in these words over and above the preparing of Heavenfor us. I think our Lord Jesus meant to say, "I go to prepare a place for you" in this sense-that there would, in the end,be a place found for their entire manhood. Mark that word, "a place." We are too apt to entertain cloudy ideas of the ultimateinheritance of those who attain unto the resurrection of the dead. "Heaven is a state," says somebody. Yes, certainly it isa state-but it is a place, too-and in the future it will be more distinctly a place. Observe that our blessed Lord went awayin body-not as a disembodied spirit-but as One who had eaten with His disciples, and whose body had been handled by them.His body needed a "place." And He is gone to prepare a place for us-not only as we shall be for a while, pure spirits, butas we are to be ultimately-body, soul and spirit.
When a child of God dies, where does his spirit go? There is no question about that matter-we are informed by the inspiredApostle-"absent from the body, present with the Lord." But matter and something yet remains. My spirit is not the whole ofmyself, for I am taught so to respect my body as to regard it as a precious portion of my complete self- the temple of God.The Lord Jesus Christ did not redeem only my spirit, but my body, too, and consequently He means to have a "place" where I-thisperson who is here, in the wholeness of my individuality-may rest forever. Jesus means to have a place made for the entiremanhood of His chosen that they may be where He is and as He is. Our ultimate abode will be a state of blessedness, but itmust also be a place suited for our risen bodies!
Heaven is not, therefore, a cloud-land-an airy something, impalpable and dreamy. Oh, no, it will be as really a place as thisearth is a place! Our glorious Lord has gone for the ultimate purpose of preparing a suitable place for His
people. There will be a place for their spirits, if spirits need a place, but He has gone to prepare a place for them as body,soul and spirit. I delight to remember that Jesus did not go as a spirit, but in His risen body, bearing the scars of Hiswounds. Come, you that think you will never rise again! You who imagine that the scattering of our dust forbids all hope ofthe restoration of our bodies! We shall go where Christ has gone and as He has gone. He leads the way in His body and we shallfollow in ours. Ultimately there shall be the complete redemption of the purchased possession-not a bone shall be left inthe regions of death-not a relic for the devil to glory over!
Jesus said to Mary, "Your brother shall rise again." He did not need to say your brother's spirit shall live immortally, butyour brother shall "rise again." His body shall come forth out of the tomb. Well might the Apostles' hearts be comforted whenthey learned the blessed errand upon which their Lord was going!
The next consolation was the promise of His sure return-"If I go away to prepare a place for you, I will come again." Listen,then! Jesus is coming again! In the same manner as He ascended, He will return-that is, really, literally and in bodily form!He meant no play upon words when He so plainly said, without proverb, "I will come again," or more sweetly, still, "I go awayand come again unto you." This is our loudest note of joy, "Behold, He comes!" This is our never-failing comfort! Observethat the Savior, in this place, says nothing about death; nothing about the peace and rest of Believers till He is come, forHe looks on to the end. It is not necessary to put every Truth of God into one sen-tence-and so our Lord is content to mentionthe brightest of our hopes-and leave other blessings for mention at other times. Here the consolation is that He will come-comepersonally to gather us in!
He will not send an angel, nor even a host of cherubim to fetch us up into our eternal state, but the Lord, Himself, willdescend from Heaven. It is to be our marriage day and the glorious Bridegroom will come in person! When the Bride is preparedfor her Husband, will He not come to fetch her to His home? O Beloved, do you not see where our Lord's thoughts were? He wasdwelling upon the happy day of His ultimate victory when He shall come to be admired in all them that believe! That is whereHe would have His people's thoughts be. But alas, they forget His Advent. The Lord shall come-let your hearts anticipate thatday of days! His enemies cannot stop His coming!
"Let not your heart be troubled." His enemies may hate Him, but they cannot hinder Him. They cannot impede His glorious return,not by the twinkling of an eye! What an answer will His coming be to every adversary! How will they weep and wail becauseof Him! As surely as He lives, He will come, and what confusion this will bring upon the wise men who at this hour are reasoningagainst His Deity and ridiculing His Atonement! Again I say, "Let not your heart be troubled" as to the present state of religion-itwill not last long. Do not worry yourselves into unbelief though this man may have turned traitor, or the other may have becomea backslider, for the wheels of time are hurrying on the day of the glorious manifestation of the Lord from Heaven!
What will be the astonishment of the whole world when, with all the holy angels, He shall descend from Heaven and shall glorifyHis people? For that is the next comfort-He will receive us! When He comes, He will receive His followers with a courtly reception.It will be their marriage reception! It shall be the marriage supper of the Son of God! Then shall descend out of Heaven thenew Jerusalem prepared as a bride for her husband. Then shall come the day of the Resurrection and the dead in Christ shallrise. Then all His people who are alive at the time of His coming shall be suddenly transformed so as to be delivered fromall the frailties and imperfections of their mortal bodies-"The dead shall be raised incorruptible and we shall be changed."Then we shall be presented spirit, soul and body "without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing"-in the clear and absolute perfectionof our sanctified manhood-presented unto Christ Himself.
This is the sweetest idea of Heaven that can be, that we shall be with Christ, that we shall see Him, that we shall speakto Him, that we shall commune with Him most intimately, that we shall glorify Him, that He will glorify us and that we shallnever be separated from Him forever and ever! "Let not your heart be troubled"-all this is near at hand and our Lord's goingaway has secured it for us. For this was the last point of the consolation, that when He came and received His people to Himself,He would place them eternally where He is, that they may be with Him.
Oh, joy! Joy! Joy! Unutterable joy! Can we not, now, once and for all, dismiss every fear in the prospect of the endless blissreserved for us?-
"See that Glory how resplendent! Brighter far than fancy paints! There in majesty transcendent, Jesus reigns, the King ofsaints!
Spread your wings, my Soul, and fly
Straight to yonder world of joy!
Joyful crowds, His throne surrounding,
Sing with rapture of His love!
Through the heavens His praises sounding,
Filling all the courts above.
Spread your wings, my Soul, and fly
Straight to yonder world of joy!" The Lord talks to us as if we now knew all about His goings and doings-and so we do as faras all practical purposes are concerned. He says, "Where I go you know." He is not gone to a place unknown, remote, dangerous.He has only gone home. "Where I go you know." When a mother sends her boy to Australia, she is usually troubled because shemay never see him again, but he replies, "Dear Mother, the distance is nothing, now-we cross the ocean in a very few weeks-andI shall speedily come back again."
Then the mother is cheered. She thinks of the ocean as a little bit of blue between her and her son-and looks for him to returnif necessary. So the Savior says, "Where I go you know." As much as to say-"I told you, I am going to your own Father's house,to the mansions where your spirits will soon come. And I am going for the blessed purpose of making it ready to receive youin the entirety of your nature. You are thus made to know all about My departure and My business. I am going to a gloriousplace which eye has not seen, but My Spirit will reveal it to you. You know where I am going and you know, also, the way bywhich I am going-I am going through suffering and death, through Atonement and righteousness-this is the way to Heaven foryou, also, and you will find it all in Me. You shall, in due time, enter Heaven by My Atonement, by My death, by My sacrifice,for 'I am the way.' You know the way, but remember, it is only the way and not the end. Do not imagine that the wicked canmake an end of Me! Believe that Christ on the Cross, Christ in the sepulcher is not the end, but the way."
This, Beloved, is the way for us as well as for our Lord. He could not reach His crown except by the Cross, nor His mediatorialGlory except by death! And that way once made in His own Person is open for all who believe in Him. Thus you know where theLord has gone and you know the road-therefore, be encouraged, for He is not far away-He is not inaccessible! You shall soonbe with Him. "Let not your heart be troubled." Oh, brave Master, shall You be followed by a tribe of cowards? No, we willnot lose heart through the trials of the day. Oh, holy Master, You did meet Your death with song, for, "after supper theysang a hymn!" Shall not we go through our griefs with joyful trust? Oh, confident Lord, bidding us believe in You as in God,Himself, we do believe in You, by Your Grace, and we also grow confident!
O, my Master, Your undisturbed serenity of faith infuses itself into our souls and we are made strong! When we hear You bravelytalking of Your death which You had to accomplish at Jerusalem, and then of Your after-Glory, we, also, think hopefully ofall the opposition of ungodly men and, waiting for Your appearing, we solace ourselves with that blessed hope! Make no tarrying,O our Lord! Come quickly! Amen.