Sermon 2584. Place for the Word
INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD'S-DAY, AUGUST 21, 1898.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON LORD'S-DAY EVENING, APRIL 8, 1883.
"My Word has no place in you." John 8:37.
This was very plain speaking on the part of the Lord Jesus Christ. He could not only read the thoughts of these Jews, butHe could also tell the source of them. He not only knew their feelings towards Himself, even before they expressed them, butHe also knew why they had such feelings. Our Lord is not here, now, in bodily Presence, but He is here by His Spirit. He knowsthose who have received His Word, and He looks with gracious approval upon them. If you have given it entrance into your heart,thank Him for it and take care that you retain it-and that you permit it to influence your whole life. Let His Word be inyou as salt to preserve you and as light first shining into you-and then, streaming from you-let it make your life a blessingto all those who are around you! My Master is glad as He looks upon everyone here who has received His Word. Precious is thatcoffer which holds the priceless treasure of the Word of Christ. Your body is precious to Him, your soul is precious to Himwhen He can see that sacred deposit of His own Word abiding within you!
But there are some here, I fear-no, in all honesty I must say that there are some here in whom the Word of God is not to befound. To them Christ says, "My Word has no place in you." Jesus knows your condition, my dear Hearer, if that is your case.He knows how often you have heard that Word and He knows what struggles it has cost you to keep that Word from entering yourheart! He knows with what determination you have refused to receive that Truth of God which has come from God to you. I wouldlike, if I could, to talk very simply and in a very friendly and homely manner to every person here who has not received God'sWord. And I would wish to speak so that I should not be understood to be preaching to this great mass of people so much asto be talking to individuals, one by one, lovingly anxious that any here who have not Christ's Word in them may not go outof this building until it has a place in their hearts.
I. I will begin by asking this question-WHAT PLACE OUGHT THE WORD OF GOD HAVE IN MEN'S HEARTS? Jesus said to these Jews, "MyWord has no place in you." What place ought the Word of God have in our hearts?
First, it ought to have an inside place. Many persons will give it an outside place. "The Word of God," says one- "yes, ofcourse I have it in my house. The Word of God-if you come home with me, you will find that I have a splendid copy of the Biblein my best room, well bound and capitally illustrated!" Another says, "I have a Bible in almost every room of my house. Ithink there is one in every room, I like to see it there." Yes, that is very proper and right, but still, the place for God'sWord is not an outside place, but an inside place! It is infinitely better to have it hidden in your heart than it is to havemany copies of it laid among the furniture of your house. It may be that your having the Word of God so plentifully at homemay increase your damnation rather than lead to your salvation! You had the Lamp of Life, but you made a dark lantern of it-youshut in the light and never used it for any practical purpose. My dear Hearers, you who pay an outward reverence to that Wordand say that it is undoubtedly Inspired, and praise and extol it-if, at the same time, believing it to be true, you do notyield yourself up to its power, may God have mercy upon you and lead you to repent of your sin! The proper place for the Wordis inside, in your heart-have you got it hidden there?
Next, it ought to have a place of high honor God's Word in a man ought to be in the best part of that man, not merely in thestore room of his memory, but in the drawing room of his enjoyments, in the parlor where it will talk with him. If the humanmind is compared to a palace, the proper place for Christ's Word is on the throne! All the writings of men put together cannotequal in value one single chapter of the Bible! Their words, at best, are but gold-leaf. But God's Word is bullion! Here youhave pearls that are altogether priceless, such as can never be found elsewhere. If the Word of Christ dwells in you, letit dwell in you richly-let it be honored and reverenced beyond all the words of men-however excellent those words may be.
Give the Word of Christ an inside place and a place of honor.
Next, give it a place of trust. Let it cover you as the hen covers her chickens with her wings. Let it surround you as theramparts surround the city and protect it from the invader. Give yourself up to God's Truth as one trusts himself in a lifeboat,hoping to be safely landed. Have no confidence but in the Word of the Master. If you stand partly on God's Word and partlyon man's word, you will have one foot on a rock and the other foot upon quicksand-and that one foot upon the quicksand willbe your ruin! "Trust you in the Lord forever," for His Word is faithful, true and steadfast. Heaven and earth shall pass away,but His Word shall never pass away! Give, then, to that Word, all your confidence! Repose upon it for it is Infallible andunchangeable.
Further, if the Word of God is in you, give it a place of rule. Let it be the master of your thoughts, ruling your understanding-themaster of your affections, curbing your passions and exciting holy desires in you. Let it be the master of your words. Letall sinful and even all idlewords be banished from your lips! Let your speech be seasoned with the salt of Revelation. Letthe Word of the Lord be the master of your action. "Whatever He says to you, do it." If Christ forbids you to do anything,let it be avoided with all the energy of your spirit. Put the Scripture, the Inspired Word-put Christ, the Incarnate Word,Himself, upon the throne of your whole being and surrender yourself to Him, without attempting to make any terms or conditions!
The Word of God ought also to have in us a place of love. ' 'O how love I Your Law," said David. God's Word is never trulyknown till it is loved. "I hate vain thoughts, but Your Law do I love," said David. He esteemed it more than gold, yes, thanmuch fine gold. In religion, to love is to know-I wish it were always true that to know is to love. When we love the Wordand it saturates our whole being so that we cannot relinquish it, but take an intense delight in it, and have a fervent affectionfor every part of it-then it is that we put the Word of God into the place it ought to occupy- not in the attic of the brain,but in the parlor of the heart, and there let it take up its permanent abode!
That last remark suggests that the Word of Christ ought to have a permanent place in us-it ought never to be forgotten. Weshould not be followers of Christ, today, and followers of somebody else, tomorrow. No! Let the Word that Christ has spokenhave an eternal effect upon our immortal nature and a perpetual abiding place within our heart. God grant that it may be sointertwined with the very warp and woof of our being that it would be impossible to take it from us without destroying ourvery selves! May our life prove that the Living Word is within us, quickening us and causing us to live with the life of God!
Now, dear Friends, it is for a special reason that I have insisted upon this point, that the Word of God should have its rightfulplace in us. I am no Prophet, nor the son of a Prophet, yet I perceive that there is coming upon the world a time of mostunusual trial. I believe that within the next few years we shall hear of all sorts of fanaticism and folly such as you havehardly imagined. There will probably arise false christs and false prophets of every kind-and you will be bid to believe inthis, and to follow that, and to obey the other. I charge you, by the living God, have no master but Christ and have no bookbut the Bible to be your Infallible Guide! Now, soldiers, the watchword for today is, "Stand fast." You who are but babesmust grow, or else you will be swept off your feet in the cyclones of excitement that have already begun! Be no longer children,leaping over the hedge to seek for every nest that silly birds may build. Keep to the King's Highway and follow Christ! Andhe that comes to you, though he seems a saint, transparent as crystal and bright as the sun, turn from him if he speaks toyou any other thing than this Word of Christ, this permanent, perpetual Word which cannot be shaped or changed! Stand on thissolid Rock and when the hurly-burly is over and when brains shall cease to swim, you will have cause to rejoice in your steadfastness!There are swift currents, now, that strain every ship and compel the mariner to put on all steam even to hold his own againstthem-and blessed shall he be who is not carried away by them. Blessed shall be the brave sentinel of Christ who stood stillin his watchtower though the morning was long in coming, and who watched through the dreary night with steadfast expectationthat it would come-and with this resolve that whether it did come or did not come-he would stand where His Master put him!
As for me, I care not what men invent, or what they deny-the Truth which I have learned from the Scriptures, by the teachingof the Holy Spirit-is the Truth of God by which I shall stand so long as there is breath in my body! And with Luther I sayI can do no other. To this I must stand! Let those who will do otherwise, follow after novelties till they weary of them.
This much have I spoken concerning the place which God's Word ought to have in every man's heart.
II. Now give me your heart, Friend. Let me have a good grip of it while I try to answer a second question-WHY HAS THAT WORDNO PLACE IN MANY HEARTS?
"Oh!" says one, "I am so very busy that I cannot admit it. " My dear Friend, I hope you will alter that answer. I heard, sometime ago, of one who, when anyone spoke to him about religion, always used to reply, "You see, I am so very busy that I cannotattend to it." It happened, one morning, that he saw in the paper that a fellow-tradesman had suddenly died and, as he readthe paragraph, he said to his wife, "I don't know how old So-and-So found time to die! I have such a deal to do that I couldnot afford time to die." He staggered as he went out of the room and fell across the threshold dead within five minutes afterhaving uttered that wicked speech! I have no doubt that the same thing has happened elsewhere. You may fancy that you aretoo busy to think of the affairs of your soul, yet you may be taken away, all of a sudden, from the midst of your occupationsand then what will those gains benefit you? It may be printed in The Illustrated London News that you died worth so many thousandsof pounds, but will it not be a great lie? When a rich man dies, what is he worth? He has, perhaps, a lead coffin, or theundertaker may use more expensive wood than for a poor man. Granted there might be a greater display at the funeral and, veryoften, there is more squabbling with his family over what he has left!
I have often thought that the poor man's funeral has much more sorrow in it, much more that could be desired and spoken ofwith pleasure than the funeral of the man who seeks to be immensely rich. You know what happens when poor Hedge dies. Hiswife weeps, for he was the mainstay of the household, the bread-winner of the family. The poor woman wonders how he is tobe buried. Well, there is his daughter, Mary-she is a domestic and she gets about 15 pounds a year for wages. She has notmuch to spare, but she makes up her mind that her father shall not be buried by the parish, so she finds a little of the moneythat is needed. There is the eldest son. He has eight children of his own and he has only the wages of an agricultural laborer-buthe pinches so that he may subscribe his sovereign towards the expense. They all feel what they give-they are made to feelit-and they all sincerely mourn and lament. And though there is not a sixpence to divide between them, yet with what honorand with what love they lay their father in the silent tomb!
On the other hand, you know how it often is with rich people-the best part of the funeral is when the will is read. And Ihave more than once heard some such remark as this-"That man was very much like a hog-no good to anybody while he lived, buthe will make some fine sides of bacon when he is cut up." Is it worth while for a man to fling his soul away merely that hemay get so much together that he cannot use, and which will very likely be misused by those who inherit it? I say that "thegame is not worth the candle." My dear Friend, if this is the game you have been playing, give it up at once, and say, "Imust have time. I will have time, come what may, to seek the salvation of my soul, for above all else I want to make sureof life eternal." You will not again say that you are too busy to receive Christ's Word, will you?
Another says, "You ask me why the Word of Christ is not abiding in me? I think it is because-." No, you would not like tosay it, so I will say it for you-it is because there is no particular novelty about it. You like a brand-new gospel, do younot? Well, there are plenty of people, nowadays, who supply that worthless article. We get a new sect about every month andsome new-fashioned gospel invented almost every week! Away they go after something fresh. First, North, then, South. Then,East, then, West. "Hurrah! We have found the very thing! Sound the timbrels, beat the drums, blow the trumpets!" Just so,but "the Kingdom of God comes not with observation." Remember what was written concerning Christ hundreds of years beforeHe came to earth? "He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause His voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed shall He notbreak, and the smoking flax shall He not quench: He shall bring forth judgment unto truth." If the gospel that men teach isnew, it is not true, for there is nothing that can be new and true! The Truth of God is old as the everlasting hills. Therefore,dear Friends, be not touched with that Athenian madness of always seeking after some new thing! Did you ever hear of new gold?To all intents and purposes, all gold that is worth having is old. Men can make what they call pearls, sapphires and diamonds-butthey are paste gems and utterly valueless. It is just the same with the doctrines made by men-they are not according to theeternal Word of God and, therefore, they are not worth a penny a cartload! Do not be so foolish as to reject Christ's Wordbecause it is ancient-that is the very reason why you should receive it and retain it in your memory and in your heart.
Shall I suggest that there are some who do not receive Christ's Word because they are listening to man's word?'f you knowanybody who is equal to my Master, hear him! If you know anybody who is superior to Christ, hear him! As for me, He is theone and the only Teacher of the Truth of God and at His feet I reverently and humbly sit. All other teachers whom I have everheard of, or met with, so far as they speak as He does, are worthy of attention. But whenever their teaching differs fromHis, on that point they are worthy of no regard whatever! Did you say that such-and-such a thing is believed by you becauseyou found it in Calvin's Institutes? I am a Calvinist and a lover of that grand man's memory and doctrine-but I believe nothingmerely because Calvin taught it-but because I have found his teaching in the Word of God. "Oh, but the Prayer Book says such-and-such!"It may do so, but, I pray you, believe nothing because it is there unless it can also be found in Holy Scripture! "But such-and-suchthings were in the Minutes of Mr. Wesley's Conference." If they are according to Scripture, let them stand! But if they arenot, who was Mr. Wesley that we should receive his teaching? "Oh, but the archbishops have said it!" And what are all thearchbishops piled together from the days of the first archbishop until now, wherein they have differed from the Word of God?No, my Friend, do not fill your brain with other people's teaching-if you would be right, turn all else out and come and say-"TheWord of Christ for me! The Word of Christ for me!" If I have any influence over you and if you are ever inclined to believea thing simply because I say it, I charge you, throw away such superstition and test all that I say by the Word of God. Thereal weight of truth consists not in what one man says, or in what another man says-the weight, the power, the substance liesin what Christ has said-that, and that alone, is the Truth of God.
I think I hear another say, "I have not received Christ's Word for it seems to me to be too spiritual, too holy." We can neverdeny that it is holy and spiritual, but, my Friend, think that matter over and withdraw those words you just uttered. Cananything be too spiritual to come from God, or too holy to bring us back to God? Let those characteristics of the Word ofGod charm you to Christ and not drive you away from Him!
"Oh, but," someone says, "if I were to believe Christ's Word, it would be very cold comfort to me, and it would rob me ofmany of my present enjoyments." Yes, if those enjoyments would rob you of your soul, but not else. There is no pleasure deniedto me, as a Christian, except such pleasure as would be no pleasure to me as a Christian! The moment a man's mind takes inChrist's Word and is saturated with Christ's Spirit, he finds a pleasure only in that which is good- while that which is deluding,that which is degrading, that which is depraving, becomes a misery to him. Can anyone find comfort in Christ's Word? Ask thesick who can lie on their beds and sing! Is there comfort in Christ's Word? Ask the aged who, tottering on their staff inthe midst of many infirmities, are taught a holy patience! Ask the dying who, as they gasp out their life, yet shout of victory,their faces beaming with the light of the Glory which is opening up before them! If you want real joy, find it in Christ'sWord, and no longer say that it has no place in you!
Let me give you a very special squeeze of the hand and whisper in your ear that I am afraid the reason why God's Word hasno place in your heart is that you are not very much in earnest. You are only like a butterfly-you have not come to real livingyet-you are sporting, playing, trifling. Oh, that you might soon find life in earnest and think in earnest about eternity!Then, but not till then, will you seek to lay hold on Christ.
May I also whisper to you very softly and ask, "Is not the reason why you have not received Christ's Word because you havesome favorite sin? I have known men who could not be Christians and they argued very plausibly about the matter, but the realhindrance was that they had another house besides their own. I have known some men who could not believe in Jesus Christ forone very sufficient reason-namely, that they believed too much in the bottle. You know that a man cannot be a Believer inthe Savior when he is devotedly attached to the god Bacchus! And I have known some to get very much enraged against the Truthof God and the one who preached it when the reason has been that their mode of conducting business did not square with theGospel. Their yard measure was short of 36 inches-and when they began to count up to a hundred, it was very difficult forthem to get beyond eighty-five! A "dozen" did not mean twelve, and a gross-well, I do not know how grossly short their "gross"fell.
There are all sorts of tricks of trade and a man who practices them says, "Well, you know, I am not strait-laced." No, Sir,nobody ever thought that you were. "Oh, but I am not going to be one of your precise people!" No, I know you are not. We reallywould not malign you so much as to suppose that you were going to be precise, like the Puritans, for instance. You, also,are among those who like a broad theology. Yes, I know, you sometimes are unable to get home at night because the pavementis so narrow. I understand you perfectly well. It is for this reason that many do not receive Christ's Word-because thereis some pet sin of their own that they do not like to have interfered with and, therefore, Christ and His Word are shut outof their heart.
Shall I tell you one thing more? Very possibly you do not receive Christ's Word because you need to be made a new man beforeyou will do so. The carnal man receives not the things that are of God. There is a hard slab of rock in your heart and whenthe good Seed falls upon it, the birds soon take it away. What you need, Friends, is to have that rock broken up, dissolved,changed into pliable earth. Can I do that for you? I was going to say, I wish I could, but I cannot. Only the Eternal Spirit,who can quicken the dead, can renew you in the spirit of your mind. Cry unto God that this great miracle may be worked-youwill never receive the Word until it is. This is the message for you, "You must be born again." Must, mark you. It is notmay-"you must-you must be born again," for until you are born again, this living and incorruptible Seed of the Word of Godwill never get into your hearts. May the Holy Spirit speedily work the miracle of regeneration in your spirit!
III. I have finished when I have tried to answer very briefly my third question-IF YOU HAVE NOT THE WORD OF CHRIST IN YOU,WHAT WILL COME OF IT?
Something came to the Jews because they rejected Christ's Word. They sought to kill Christ because His Word had no place inthem. I hope that will not happen to you, Friends, but I have witnessed it in others. I have seen the child of godly parentsquench conscience and resist the Spirit. I have seen many a young man, full of fair promises, but refusing to be decided forChrist and, all of a sudden, I have found him a skeptic, seen him grow into an infidel and seen him develop into a blasphemer.I have known him to become a most violent antagonist to the Gospel. "Is your servant a dog," says one, "that he should dothis thing?" No, it may be that you are not a dog, but there is enough of the dog spirit in you to do it. If you are dog enoughto turn away from Christ, you will yet be dog enough to howl at His heels. Beware of resisting the Spirit of God and triflingwith conscience, for there is nothing worse! A man may play on the edge of a precipice and he may do it safely for many aday, but one of these days he will make a fatal slip. Mind what you are doing, I pray you! Never let it be said of you, asChrist said to these Jews, "You seek to kill Me because My Word has no place in you."
Or, if that shall not be the case with you, I will tell you what may happen. Christ may cease speaking to you. "I shall notleave off going to Chapel," says one. No, perhaps not, but the Gospel may no longer have any voice to you. Possibly it hasalready less power over you than it once had-you used to shiver in your shoes when you heard the Truth of God! You have goneout of this place trembling under the Word-but you do not do so now. I hope it is not because I do not preach as earnestlyas I did, but if I do preach as earnestly and as faithfully as ever, then what is happening to you? Why, you are getting deafears and a callous, hardened heart-and these are the commencement of that most awful of all conditions into which men slidewhen God says to His messengers, "Go and tell this people, Hear you, indeed, but understand not; and see you, indeed, butperceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes lest they see with their eyes,and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed." It is a terrible thing when even theGospel becomes the savor of death unto death to those who would not permit it to be the savor of life unto life to them! BeforeChrist packs up His wares and goes His way because you would not have His goods, ask Him to let you buy them of Him. His termswill not hurt you-He sells His precious things "without money and without price." Urgently require at His hands that beforeHe turns His back on you, you may yield to Him and be saved!
And, remember, once more, that if the Word of God has no place in us, it will exist somewhere. Down came the Word of God toa man, the other night, and it knocked very hard at his heart, but the door was shut. The Word knocked again, and again, andagain. Still the door was shut and the Word went back to Him who sent it and it stayed there. How many times have you heardthe Gospel, my Friend? Could you count up the number of faithful sermons that have been preached in your hearing? Do you knowhow many earnest entreaties from friends have been addressed to you in vain? You shut them out, but they all went back andthere they are-at the Throne of God! And when you come there, at last, and your trial takes place, you will be surprised tofind all those messages and messengers present at the last grand assize to bear witness against you! Oh, let it not be so,I pray you! Will you not believe in Jesus Christ even now? Will you not turn to Him and live this very hour? Will you notleave your sins and trust the Savior? Will you not go to Him and, with a broken heart, confess that you need Him? He may befound of those who seek Him! Then, will you not seek Him now? If not, remember this scene-these crowded galleries, this area,these thousands of eyes-I call upon all to witness against you, in that day, that this night I preached Christ to you andbade you live-and if you will not, if you prefer moral and eternal suicide-I call this building, every beam and every stonein it, and every person here to witness that I have told you of the way of salvation, and implored you to run in it! Theyshall be swift witnesses against you to condemn you if you will not repent! Turn you, turn you, why will you die? Trust theSavior! Trust Him, now, and live forever! God grant that it may be so, for our Lord Jesus Christ's sake! Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: JOHN8:28-59.
Verse 28. Then said Jesus unto them.-That is, to the Jews who were questioning and opposing Him.
28. When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then shall you know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Fatherhas taught Me, I speak these things. Blessed be God, there were many, after the crucifixion of Christ, who did believe inHim! Yet, alas, in others, the blindness of heart continued and they would not see the Messiah in Him who was crucified. We,who believe in the uplifted Savior, can see the Father in the Son and, to us, faith has become a most blessed thing-and weknow that He does nothing of Himself and, that as the Father has taught Him, so He speaks.
29. And He that sent Me is with Me. I commend that short sentence to all my Master's servants, for there is great comfortin it. Your Lord could say this and so can you if you are truly employed in His service-"He that sent me is with me."
29. The Father has not left Me alone. There is another precious motto for you. Jesus could truly say, "The Father has notleft Me alone" and, as He did not leave His only-begotten and well-beloved Son, so He will not leave anyof His children.
29. For I do always those things that please Him. Let us labor earnestly to be able to say that! If there is anything whichwould not please God, let us have nothing to do with it. If it would not please God, it ought not to please us. Blessed shallthat servant of the Lord be who can sincerely say, "I do always those things that please Him."
30-32. As He spoke these words, many believed on Him. Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, If you continuein My word, then are you My disciples indeed; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. There is sucha thing as a temporary faith-beware of it, I beseech you. Men appear to believe in Christ for a little while, like that Seedwhich was sown upon the rock, which speedily sprang up and, just as quickly, withered away. God-given faith is not temporary,but permanent. "If you continue in My Word, then are you My disciples indeed." God gives us the faith which is able to endurethe fire of persecution and which continues steadfast even when exposed to the evil example of an ungodly world. "He thatendures to the end shall be saved." But temporary faith brings only delusion and ends in destruction.
33, 34. They answered Him, We are Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how say You, You shall be made free?Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whoever commits sin is the servant of sin. Depend upon it, acts of sinbreed habits of sin, and habits are like the chains which slaves wear. How many there are who are bound to their lusts withmany shackles and fetters! Once they seemed to enjoy the sin and to hold it in subjection, but now it has bound them and theycannot escape from it.
35, 36. And the servant abides not in the house forever: but the Son abides always. If the Son, therefore, shall make youfree, you shall be free indeed. If He sets you free from sin, you will never go back to its slavery! There is no emancipationlike that which Jesus brings, for it is eternal! When He snaps the fetter, He sets the Believer free forever.
37, 38. 1 know that you are Abraham's seed; but you seek to kill Me because My word has no place in you. I speak that whichI have seen with My Father: and you do that which you have seen with your father. It is a common characteristic of childrento tell what they see. What they witness at home, they are sure to tell abroad. If you are a child of God, you will act andspeak like your Father does. And if you are a child of the devil, you will act and speak like he. Our parentage may be discoveredby our acts and our words-"I speak that which I have seen with My Father: and you do that which you have seen with your father."
39. They answered and said unto Him, Abraham is our father. Jesus said unto them, If you were Abraham's children, you woulddo the works of Abraham. "That is, if you were the true spiritual children of faithful Abraham, you would act as he did."
40-42. But now you seek to kill Me, a Man that has told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham. Youdo the deeds of your father. Then said they to Him, We are not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. Jesus saidunto them, If God were your Father, you would love Me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of Myself,but He sent Me. If any man has a right idea of God and really loves God, if he will study the Character of Christ, he willsee that Christ is the very image of God in human flesh-and he will fall in love with Christ. That result is inevitable! Menform wrong ideas of God and then, when they read the life of Christ, they see no likeness between the Christ and their conceptionof God-nor is there any! But if they would take their idea of God from God's own Word, then they would see that in the Personof the Man of Nazareth, the Divine Character truly shines out, though it is toned down so as to meet the human eyes withoutthe excessive glare that would blind them. But it is the same Light of Light, the same Love of Love, the Glory of God in theface of Jesus Christ, "for in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily." He is the express Image of God and he whotruly knows God will know that Christ is also God, for Father and Son are One.
43-47. Why do you not understand My speech? Even because you cannot hear My word. You are of your father the devil, and thelusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truthin him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it And because I tell you the truth,you believe Me not Which of you convicts Me of sin! And if say the truth, why do you not believe Me? He that is of God hearsGod's Words: you therefore hear them not, because you are not of God. What a wonderful Character was the Character of Christ!We get a strange light cast upon it as we read this dialog in which He endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself.My Brothers and Sisters, in Christ there is all the tenderness of a woman, but do not think that He is effeminate, far fromit! What masculine force, what vigor, what power there is in Him! There are some people who, if we speak plainly against error,tell us that we are uncharitable and that we have not the spirit of Christ. Is it so? Did there ever fall from any lips moreburning words than those which we find here, when He is brought into conflict with His foes? The fact is, He is meek and lowly,but He is most courageous! He is genial and kind, but He is honest and true! He speaks with suavity and gentleness, but, atthe same time, there is great force about every expression that He uses. He does not mince matters when He is dealing withsin! There is no velvet on His lips-He utters no honeyed phrases. Naked Truths of God flash like a scimitar from its scabbardwhen He has to deal with those who oppose it! "Because I tell you the truth, you believe Me not. Which of you convicts Meof sin? And if I say the truth, why do you not believe Me? He that is of God hears God's Words: you, therefore, hear themnot, because you are not of God."
48. Then answered the Jews, and said unto Him, Say we not well that You are a Samaritan, and have a devil? You know this formof answer. It is an old trick, when there is no case-abuse the plaintiff! So, when there is no answer to what Christ has said,call Him a Samaritan and say that He has a devil.
49-51. Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honor My Father, and you dishonor Me. And I seek not My own glory: thereis One that seeks and judges. Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keeps My saying, he shall never see death. What gloriousGospel brilliance Christ suddenly flashes upon these men! He promises even to them that if they will keep His saying, theyshall live forever, they shall be partakers of an eternal, unquenchable life! It might have seemed to us to be like castingpearls before swine to proclaim that great Truth of God to such hearers-but our Master's infinite wisdom does not permit usto think so.
52-56. Then said the Jews unto Him, Now we know that You have a devil. Abraham is dead, and the Prophets; and You say, Ifa man keeps My saying, he shalnever taste of death. Are Yougreater than our father Abraham, who is dead? And the Prophetsare dead: whom do You make Yourself out to be? Jesus answered, If I honor Myself, My honor is nothing: it is My Father thathonors Me; of whom you say, that He is your God: yet you have not known Him, but I know Him: and if I should say, Iknow Himnot, I should be a liar like you: but IknowHim, andkeep His saying. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day: and He sawit, and was glad. He will not answer their questions, for they do not ask that they may learn. They ask that they may quibble.So He multiplies His riddles. He lets the light blind them yet more!
Now He speaks, not so much of the undying life of Believers, as of His own eternal Existence, long before the Prophets andAbraham of whom they had spoken.
57, 58. Then said thee Jews unto Him, You are not yet fifty years old, andhave You seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily,verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I Am. Before there was any Abraham, there was this glorious Christ of ours existingas the Eternal I AM, in all the infinity of His Glory! Now comes a thoroughly characteristic Jewish answer.
59. Then took they up stones to cast at Him: but Jesus hid Himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst ofthem and so passed by. They believed that He claimed to be God, as He certainly did, and, therefore, they tried to stone Him.And there is no foothold for those who say that Christ was a very good Man, but only a Man. If He was not the Son of God,He was not a good Man, for no good man would have left upon his followers, and upon his foes, too, the impression that heclaimed to be God if he were not! And no good man could have claimed to be God if he were not really so. Rank Jesus Christeither among the grossest of impostors, or else as the Son of God-one or the other! There is no halting-piece between thetwo. Blessed be Your name, O Son of Mary, You are also the Son of the Highest and, as such, we worship and adore You!