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Nave's Topical Bible - Deacon; God; Heaven; Jesus Continued; Obedience; Righteous; Thompson Chain Reference - Christ's; Discipleship; Followers; Future, the; Honour; Honour-Dishonour; In Christ's Presence; Joys, Family; Presence, in Christ's; Service; Serving Christ; Work-Workers, Religious; The Topic Concordance - Following; Glory; Honor; Jesus Christ; Servants; Witness; World; Torrey's Topical Textbook - Reward of Saints, the;
Verse 26. If any man serve me — Christ is a master in a twofold sense:
1. To instruct men.
2. To employ and appoint them their work. He who wishes to serve Christ must become:
1. His disciple or scholar, that he may be taught:
2. His servant, that he may be employed by and obey his master. To such a person a twofold promise is given:
1. He shall be with Christ, in eternal fellowship with him; and
2. He shall be honoured by the Lord: he shall have an abundant recompense in glory; but how great, eye hath not seen, ear heard, nor hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive.
How similar to this is the saying of Creeshna (an incarnation of the supreme God, according to the Hindoo theology) to his disciple Arjoon! "If one whose ways were ever so evil serve me alone, he soon becometh of a virtuous spirit, is as respectable as the just man, and obtaineth eternal happiness. Consider this world as a finite and joyless place, and serve me. Be of my mind, my servant, my adorer, and bow down before me. Unite thy soul unto me, make me thy asylum, and thou shalt go unto me." And again: "I am extremely dear to the wise man, and he is dear to me-I esteem the wise man even as myself, because his devout spirit dependeth upon me alone as his ultimate resource." Bhagvat Geeta, pp. 71 and 82.
The rabbins have an extravagant saying, viz. "God is more concerned for the honour of the just man than for his own."
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on John 12:26". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/john-12.html. 1832.
BETRAYAL, TRIAL AND CRUCIFIXION
136. The seed must die (John 12:20-26)
Among the crowds that went to Jerusalem for the Passover Festival were some Greeks. They had joined themselves to the synagogue communities where they lived, and now they wanted to see Jesus (John 12:20-22).
When the Lord heard of the Greeks’ request, his response was to announce that the climax of his mission had arrived and he was now about to lay down his life. He apparently saw these Greeks as the firstfruits of a great Gentile harvest that would result from his death. Grains of wheat must die and be buried before they can grow up and produce a harvest. Likewise Jesus had to die so that multitudes from all nations might find eternal life. The principle of ‘death before life’ applies also to those who follow Jesus. For his sake they must sacrifice their lives of self-pleasing before they can be fruitful for him. People will despise them as they despised Jesus, but God will honour them (John 12:23-26).
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Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on John 12:26". "Brideway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bbc/john-12.html. 2005.
If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall my servant be: if any man serve me, him will the Father honor.
Where I am ... is also a reference to last things. Dummelow wrote: "(This means) where I am soon to be, viz., in heaven," this making Jesus' promise to be that his true followers shall join him finally in heaven.
If any man serve me, him will the Father honor ... claims an equality between Jesus and the Father, requiring the deduction that serving Jesus is the same as serving God.
Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on John 12:26". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/john-12.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.
Serve me - Will be my disciple, or will be a Christian. Perhaps this was said to inform the Greeks John 12:20 of the nature of his religion.
Let him follow me - Let him imitate me; do what I do, bear what I bear, and love what I love. He is discoursing here particularly of his own sufferings and death, and this passage has reference, therefore, to calamity and persecution. “You see me triumph - you see (me enter Jerusalem, and you supposed that my kingdom was to be set up without opposition or calamity; but it is not. I am to die; and if you will serve me, you must follow me even in these scenes of calamity; be willing to endure trial and to bear shame, looking for future reward.”
Where I am - See John 14:3; John 17:24. That is, he shall be in heaven, where the Son of God then was in his divine nature, and where he would be as the glorified Messiah. See the notes at John 3:13. The natural and obvious meaning of the expression “I am” implies that he was then in heaven. The design of this verse is to comfort them in the midst of persecution and trial. They were to follow him to any calamity; but, as he was to be glorified as the result of his sufferings, so they also were to look for their reward in the kingdom of heaven, Revelation 3:21; “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne.”
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on John 12:26". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/john-12.html. 1870.
26. If any, man serve me. That death may not be exceedingly bitter and disagreeable to us, Christ invites us by his example to submit to it cheerfully; and certainly we shall be ashamed to refuse the honor of being his disciples. But on no other condition does he admit us into their number, except that we follow the path which he points out. He leads the way to us to suffer death. The bitterness of death is therefore mitigated, and is in some measure rendered agreeable, when we have in common with the Son of God the condition of submitting to it. So far is it from being proper that we should shrink from Christ on account of the cross, that we ought rather to desire death for his sake. To the same purpose. pose is the statement which immediately follows:
And where I am, there shall also my servant be. For he demands that his servants should not refuse to submit to death, to which they see him go before them as an example; for it is not right that; the servant should have any thing separate from his lord.. The future tense, shall be, ( ἔσται) is put for let him be, according to the custom of the Hebrew language. Others regard it as a consolation, as if Christ promised to those who should not be unwilling to die along with him, that they would be partakers of his resurrection. But the former view, as I have said, is more probable; for he afterwards adds the consolation, that the Father will not leave without reward the servants of Christ who shall have been his companions both in life and in death.
Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 12:26". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/john-12.html. 1840-57.
Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he had raised from the dead. They made him a supper; and Martha served [typical of Martha]: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him. Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very expensive, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the aroma of the ointment ( John 12:1-3 ).
Typical of Mary, worshipping; Martha, working...it takes all types. God has built into our characters these very qualities. Martha, busy serving; Mary, busy worshipping.
Then said one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, who would betray him, Why didn't they sell this perfume for three hundred pence, and given the money to the poor? ( John 12:4-5 )
Actually, it was very expensive. A pence was a day's wage for a laboring man. So you've got almost a year's wages involved here that this perfume could have been sold for.
This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and he held the purse, and he was stealing out of the money in the purse ( John 12:6 ).
Now, it's unfortunate that in the betrayal of this whole scene in "Jesus Christ, Superstar" they try to make Jesus a very lavish kind of a person, living in opulence, no care for the poor. And Judas turns out the hero; he's the social reformer and the man who's concerned for the poor and all. And they don't really do justice to the text, and that, you have to assume, is deliberate. Because it's right there. Judas didn't really care for the poor, as he would be made out that marvelous man with social concern. He was a thief. He was holding the purse and had been stealing the money out of the purse. That's the only reason he wanted the perfume sold and the money put in the purse. He was not that kind of a person that they tried to portray him.
Then said Jesus, Get off her case: against the day of my burying has she kept this. For the poor always you will have with you; but you will not always have me ( John 12:7-8 ).
So He made Judas leave her alone.
Many of the Jews therefore knew that he was there: and they came not only for Jesus' sake, but they wanted to see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead. But the chief priests ( John 12:9-10 )
And notice how evil men they are.
they consulted how that they might put Lazarus to death also; because by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus ( John 12:10-11 ).
So they're going to try and destroy the evidence by killing Lazarus.
The next day many people that were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches off the palm trees, and they went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that comes in the name of the Lord ( John 12:12-13 ).
And so, knowing that Jesus was going to be coming from Bethany, having to come down from the Mount of Olives, they went over to the path that comes from Bethany, down the Mount of Olives, into the Kidron valley to Jerusalem. And as Jesus was coming, they greeted Him, waving the palm branches. And so, we have Palm Sunday, the Sunday before the crucifixion. And they were crying the 118th Psalm, "Hosanna!" "Save now" is what the word means in Hebrew. "Blessed is the King of Israel that comes in the name of the Lord!"
Jesus, when he had found a young ass, sat thereon; as it was written, Fear not, daughter of Zion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass's colt. These things understood not his disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things unto him ( John 12:14-16 ).
Now, John is very honest and very frank here. He said, "You know, we didn't think about it until after He was glorified, and then we thought, 'Oh, wow, remember how we waved the palm branches and He was riding on a donkey? Isn't that what Zachariah said? "Rejoice greatly, O daughters of Jerusalem, behold thy King cometh unto thee, but he is lowly, he is sitting on a donkey, the foal of an ass." Wow!'"
In other words, he is saying, "We weren't trying to deliberately set the stage. We didn't say, 'Now what does the Bible say is supposed to have next? Let's work it out this way.'" It wasn't a deliberate conspiracy to set the stage. It was something they just did, and afterwards they realized, "Wow! We were fulfilling prophecy." And the realization came, but not until after Jesus was glorified. So it wasn't a deliberately staged event as far as the disciples were concerned.
And the people therefore that were with him when he called Lazarus out of the grave, and raised him from the dead, they bare record ( John 12:17 ).
They were telling everybody about it.
For this cause the people also met him, for that they had heard that he had done a great miracle ( John 12:18 ).
I mean, it had really been buzzed, this miracle of the raising of Lazarus from the dead. And so everybody was excited.
The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Hey, do you realize how we're not prevailing? the whole world is going after him. There were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast ( John 12:19-20 ):
They could worship from the court of the Gentiles; they could not come in.
And the same came therefore to Philip, who was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and they desired of him, saying, Sir, we would like to see Jesus. And Philip came and told Andrew: and Andrew and Philip came and told Jesus. Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abides alone: but if it dies, it brings forth much fruit ( John 12:21-24 ).
What a beautiful picture! You have a little grain of wheat. You set that little grain of wheat here on the pulpit, and you can come back a year from now, and it's still one little grain of wheat sitting there on the pulpit. Come back ten years from now, still one little grain of wheat sitting there on the pulpit. But if you put that little grain of wheat into the ground, it dies. But out of the death comes a new form, a new body, comes the stalk, comes the new kernel or corn of wheat, they call it. And many wheat seeds. And the potential of one wheat seed is tremendous. I read somewhere that if you would take a kernel of corn and plant it, and then take from that one kernel of corn all of the seeds that came off the kernels that grew from the one, plant them. I think it is in ten years that you would have enough corn seed to plant every acre of ground on the face of the earth with corn. Just each year planting everything that came from the one. You see, when God created the plants and all, He said, "Be fruitful, multiply. Fill the earth." And surely, the potential is there. And so, Jesus is using a neat little illustration here, referring to His death. "Look, unless it dies, it stays by itself. But if it dies, it brings forth much fruit." Talking of His death. Through His death, He was going to bring forth much fruit. You included, tonight. Part of the fruit.
And he that loves his life shall lose it; but he that hates his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal ( John 12:25 ).
He had said earlier, "He who seeks to save his life will lose it; he who will lose his life for My sake, the same will find it or save it." Much the same, loving life. You're going to lose it anyhow. But if you are looking forward to that new life, life eternal.
If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honor. Now is my soul troubled; what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour ( John 12:26-27 ).
You remember He kept saying, "My hour is not yet come, My hour is not yet come"? Now He's approaching the hour. And as He's approaching the hour, He's beginning to go through this inner turmoil. "My soul is troubled; what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'?" He's already beginning to enter into some of the agony of the garden. These are the last days; He knows it. In the garden He prayed, "Father, if it's possible, let this cup pass from Me. Nevertheless, not My will, but Thy will be done." Now, even before then, He's going through that turmoil. "Father, save Me from this hour. Yet, it's for this hour that I came into the world. For this cause, that's why I'm here."
Father, glorify thy name ( John 12:28 ).
Oh, this is just as powerful as the prayer in the garden when He said, "If it is possible, let this cup...nevertheless, not My will, Thy will be done." How glorious it is when we submit our ways to God. "God, save Me from this hour; but yet, not so, Lord, You just glorify Your name."
There came a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. And the people therefore that were standing around, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, No, an angel spoke to him. And Jesus said, This voice did not come for my sake, but for your sake ( John 12:28-30 ).
I don't need this kind of a spectacular demonstration to make Me believe. It wasn't for My sake that this voice came, it was for your sakes.
But now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of the world be cast out ( John 12:31 ).
You see, they'd just been saying, "Save now," and He says, "No, it's the judgment of the world; for the prince of the world himself is going to be cast out. He is to be despised and rejected of men."
And I, if I be lifted up ( John 12:32 )
The corn of wheat died, it will bring forth much fruit. If I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me."
This he said, signifying what death he should die ( John 12:33 ).
When He said, "If I be lifted up" He was talking about, "I'm going to be lifted up on a cross. I'm going to die on the cross." And the lifting up was only signifying death on a cross. Unfortunately, many ministers and Christians take this term, "If I be lifted up" as meaning exalting Jesus. "If we just hold Jesus up before people, if we just exalt Jesus, if we just lift Him up before people, He's going to draw everyone unto Him. So, what we must be doing is exalting Jesus before the people and lifting up Jesus before the people, so that all the people will be drawn to Him." That's not what Jesus is saying! And there's even some chorus that is almost blasphemous if you think of it. And it's, "Let's lift Him higher, let's lift Him higher, that all the world might see." You know, He's only talking about death on the cross. The corn of wheat falling into the ground, that it might bring forth much fruit. And not exalting Jesus or lifting Him up before the world. Not referring to that at all, and that's an unfortunate understanding many people have taken, because they didn't read the next verse. They just take this statement of Jesus, "If I be lifted up, I'll draw all men unto Me." "Oh, well then, let's lift Jesus up." No, He's talking about the cross. If I say, "Well, let's lift Jesus up," I'm saying, "Well, let's put Jesus on the cross." So,
This he said, signifying what death he should die. The people answered him, Now we've heard out of the law that the Messiah abides forever: how come you are saying that you've got to be crucified? who, then, is the Son of man? ( John 12:33-34 )
You say, "I'm going to be crucified." Wait a minute! The scriptures say that the Messiah is going to abide forever. "For unto us a child is given, unto us a Son is born, the government shall be upon His shoulders. And the name shall be called 'Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace;' and of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, the Messiah abides forever." Upon the throne of David to order it and establish it in righteousness and judgment, from henceforth, even forever. For the zeal of the Lord of Hosts shall perform this. How come you say you're going to be crucified if the Messiah abides forever?'
And Jesus said unto them, For a little while the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walks in darkness does not know where he's going. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may be the children of light. And these things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them ( John 12:35-36 ).
Now the Pharisees are out to get Him for sure. But yet, He is in control of the events. The crucifixion must take place on Passover in order that He might fulfill in His sacrifice all of the symbolisms of the Passover; the blood of the lamb slain in Egypt on the doorpost, bringing life for those condemned to die. So, it was necessary that the crucifixion take place on Passover, and thus, He hid Himself.
But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they did not believe on him ( John 12:37 ):
Now, there is a common misconception that if a person could just see a miracle, surely they would believe. Not so; they saw many miracles and they did not believe. In fact, it was a little worse than that. We are told in verse John 12:38 they could not believe.
That the saying of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? ( John 12:38 )
Then there in thirty-nine,
Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again, He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their hearts; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, that I should heal them. These things said Isaiah, when he saw his glory, and spoke of him ( John 12:39-41 ).
So, Isaiah prophesied that he would be despised and rejected. "A man of sorrows, acquainted with grief." "Therefore they could not believe." Why could they not believe? That's an interesting statement: "Therefore they could not believe." Even though they saw the miracles, they could not believe.
Jesus warned in the other gospels concerning the unpardonable sin, that of the continual rejection of the Holy Spirit's conviction upon your heart. A person can reject Christ so many times that believing becomes an impossibility. There is a certain law of metaphysics. Our brains are an interesting instrument, and we can create brain patterns, so that a repeated action can create such a pattern in our brain that it's difficult and, at times, impossible to change the pattern that you've established there.
You watch a woman learn to knit and the needles just seem to go everywhere and it's slow, it's tedious. But as she continues to persist, you find that what's happening is you're patterning the brain, you're establishing grooves up here. Until finally, if you've worked with the needles long enough, you see the needles just flying. And she can be talking, watching television or something, and the needles will just be flying. Because the grooves have so planted in the brain that she doesn't really have to think about it. She can just turn on the mode up there..."knit one pearl, two"...and it just goes, and the pattern is set. And so with many things that a repeated action creates the pattern in the brain, and it becomes a very simple thing.
Now, that's why some of you old people have such a problem with Pac Man. You know, you're just too old to get any new grooves going. But you take this little kids--my little grandson, man is he a whiz at Pac Man! You know, he just sits there and he can . . . and I won't even put a quarter in the thing for myself, I give him the quarter and watch him do it. But I'm lousy at that game. But his, I mean, is just automatic response, that little guy's come down and the little Pac Man is going and he can just turn that little guy around and in, and his reflects are just tremendous. The brain has been patterned so well for that stuff. You watch these kids, and it becomes an automatic kind of a response that they have. I mean, they just get into the machine, almost, into the whole thing. And you can pattern your brain so that it gets established in a set.
Now, unfortunately, a person can do that in regards to believing in Jesus Christ. You see, the first you were faced with the claims of Jesus Christ, and you thought, "I wonder, could this be true? Could He really be the Son of God? Can I really have eternal life by believing? Well, I don't know." And it was a tough decision. I mean, it wasn't easy to say "no" to Jesus. It was a very hard decision for you to make. But ultimately, you said, "Well, no, I don't think so, not tonight anyhow."
Now, the next time you were faced with it, you see, by your saying "no" you started a groove. You planted that in your brain and it becomes a permanent part. So the next time you were faced, it was a little easier to say, "Well, I don't think so, not tonight." The groove got a little deeper. And every time you said "no," the groove became deeper and deeper and deeper, until you can be faced now with indisputable evidence, but you can't overcome that brain groove.
This is the condition the Pharisees were in. Here's a man raised from the dead. Evidence they can't deny. They might try to get rid of it by killing him, but they can't deny it. But yet, they could not believe; they had gone too far. They couldn't reverse it at this point.
It is extremely significant that nine-tenths of the decisions that are made for Jesus Christ are made when a person is a teenager. You see, before you get that groove set too deep. Nine-tenths of the decisions are made during the teen ages. As you get older, that old brain groove gets deeper and deeper until, actually, salvation, statistically, becomes an impossibility. But God is a God of grace, and so, we see many times these eighty or ninety-year-old people coming to Jesus. That's a miracle! Statistically, it's impossible, but God isn't bound by statistics. Mathematically, you can show the impossibility of a seventy-year-old person accepting Jesus Christ. But that happens, what can you say? God is a God of miracles. Salvation is a miracle. "But they could not believe."
Now, you remember when Pharaoh hardened his heart. Then finally, God took over and He hardened his heart. God will confirm you in your position. And so, God confirmed them in their positions. They wanted to blind their eyes, they didn't want to see; alright, then God blinded their eyes. They didn't want to believe; alright, then God made firm their decision, He hardened their hearts, that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts and be converted, and that they should be healed. So, "These things said Isaiah when he saw His glory and he spoke of Him."
Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess, lest they should have been put out of the synagogue ( John 12:42 ):
And here is a tragic verse of scripture,
For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God ( John 12:43 ).
That has been the nemesis of many a person. What a tragedy when it is said of a person, "Well, he loved the praise of men more than the praise of God." You know, "They might not understand me at the club if I spoke out for Jesus Christ." And they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. What a sad, sad commentary on many people's lives. "I'm more concerned with what people will think of me than I am what God will think of me. I'm more interested in man patting me on the back than I am God patting me on the back. I'm more interested that men should praise me than that God should praise me." They love the praise of men more than the praise of God. That is a very sad case to be in.
And Jesus cried and said, He that believes on me, believes not on me, but upon him who sent me. And he that sees me sees him that sent me ( John 12:44-45 ).
Philip said, "Lord, just show us the Father, we'll be satisfied." And Jesus said, "Philip, have I been so long a time with you, have you not seen me? He who has seen me, has seen the Father. How is it that you say, 'Show us the Father'?" We'll get that next week. "He that sees Me sees Him that sent Me," or sees the Father.
I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me, should not abide in darkness ( John 12:46 ).
Now, Paul the apostle said, "You are not the children of darkness that the day of the Lord should take you as a thief by surprise, but you're children of the light, therefore walk as children of the light" ( 1 Thessalonians 5:4-5 ) making reference to the statement of Jesus here in John, chapter 12.
If any man hear my words, and believe not, I do not judge him: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world ( John 12:47 ).
How many times has He said this? "He that believeth not is condemned already. I didn't come to condemn the world, but that the world through Me might be saved." Now, He's referring again. That was at the beginning of His ministry, to Nicodemus in John, the third chapter. "God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. And he that believeth is not condemned." ( John 3:16-18 ). "I didn't come to judge the world. If a person doesn't believe in Me, I don't judge him. I didn't come to judge, I came to save." Oh, His glorious mission. Not to bring condemnation, not to bring judgment, but to bring salvation to men.
Now, He is coming again, and when He comes again, it will be to judge. But His first coming, the mission was salvation.
He that rejects me, and receives not my words, has one who judges him: and it is the word which I have spoken, the same will judge him in the last day ( John 12:48 ).
When you are judged, you will be judged by the Word of God. Your not believing it, that's what is going to judge you. God has given the witness; you didn't believe it, so the Word of God will judge you. Jesus said, "I'm not going to judge you, the Word that I have spoken, that's what is going to judge you."
For I have not spoken of my own; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak ( John 12:49-50 ).
So, "My words that I have spoken, they have come from God, they are going to be the things that judge you. I know that they're true; I know that God has given to me life everlasting." And that's what is going to judge you; you'll be judged by God's Word.
Next week we'll go on into chapters 13 and 14. The fourteenth chapter, in my estimation, is one of the most important chapters in the Bible. Years ago when I was in seminary, I had a professor who said that the fourteenth chapter of John was perhaps one of the most important chapters in the Bible. He said, "You all memorize it." So, I went home and memorized it. And it is an outstanding chapter, and you should commit it to memory. And it's one that's just so full, so rich. We'll be getting into that next week.
And now, may the hand of the Lord be upon your life, to watch over you, to guide you, and to strengthen you for the things that you'll be facing this week. May you just again be open to the things of the Spirit, that God might lead you in His way of righteousness and truth. May the blessings of the Lord be upon you through all of your activities, as you walk with Him in an ever-increasing faith, fellowship and love. In Jesus' name. "
Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on John 12:26". "Chuck Smith Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/csc/john-12.html. 2014.
The kernel of wheat teaching 12:20-26
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on John 12:26". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/john-12.html. 2012.
6. Jesus’ announcement of His death 12:20-36
One example that Jesus was attracting people from other parts of the world follows. These individuals contrast with the Pharisees.
"This rather curious incident is rather peculiar to John. I say ’rather curious’ because it is unusual that we encounter Greeks in a narrative of events at Jerusalem, because the other Evangelists do not mention the incident, and because the Greeks simply say, ’Sir, we would like to see Jesus’ and then disappear from the narrative. Clearly John regards their coming as significant but he does not treat their presence as important. Jesus recognizes in their coming an indication that the climax of his mission has arrived. Immediately when he hears of them he says, ’The hour has come,’ and goes on to speak of his glorification and of death. In this Gospel we see Jesus as the world’s Savior, and evidently John means us to understand that this contact with the Greeks ushered in the climax. The fact that the Greeks had reached the point of wanting to meet Jesus showed that the time had come for him to die for the world. He no longer belongs to Judaism, which in any case has rejected him. But the world, whose Savior he is, awaits him and seeks for him." [Note: Morris, p. 524.]
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on John 12:26". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/john-12.html. 2012.
For disciples of Jesus, self-sacrifice does not just mean putting others before themselves. It also means putting Jesus first (cf. John 10:4). The disciple who wants to serve Jesus must follow Him. He or she must go where Jesus goes and do what He does. True servants stay close to their masters.
Jesus said these words on the way to the Cross and His glorification. Likewise His servants who follow Him could and can count on death, figuratively if not literally, but beyond that they can anticipate glory from the Father (cf. John 17:24). The true disciple’s life will essentially duplicate the experiences of his or her Lord.
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on John 12:26". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/john-12.html. 2012.
If any man serve, me,.... Or is willing to be a servant of Christ, and to be esteemed as such;
let him follow me; as in the exercise of the graces of love, humility, patience, self-denial, and resignation of will to the will of God, and in the discharge of every duty, walking as he walked, so in a way of suffering; for as the master, so the servants, as the head, so the members, through many tribulations, must enter the kingdom; to which he encourages by the following things:
and where I am; in heaven, as he now was, as the Son of God; or "where I shall be", as the Syriac and Persic versions render it, even as man, in the human nature, when raised from the dead:
there shall also my servant be; when he has done his work, and the place is prepared for him, and he for that, and where he shall ever abide; and as a further encouragement, he adds,
if any man serve me, him will [my] Father honour; by accepting his service, affording him his gracious presence here, and by giving him eternal glory hereafter, to which he has called him.
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Gill, John. "Commentary on John 12:26". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/john-12.html. 1999.
|Certain Greeks Desire to See Jesus; The Recompence of Christ's Servants.|
20 And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast: 21 The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus. 22 Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus. 23 And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. 24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. 25 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. 26 If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.
Honour is here paid to Christ by certain Greeks that enquired or him with respect. We are not told what day of Christ's last week this was, probably not the same day he rode into Jerusalem (for that day was taken up in public work), but a day or two after.
I. We are told who they were that paid this honour to our Lord Jesus: Certain Greeks among the people who came up to worship at the feast,John 12:20; John 12:20. Some think they were Jews of the dispersion, some of the twelve tribes that were scattered among the Gentiles, and were called Greeks, Hellenist Jews; but others think they were Gentiles, those whom they called proselytes of the gate, such as the eunuch and Cornelius. Pure natural religion met with the best assistance among the Jews, and therefore those among the Gentiles who were piously inclined joined with them in their solemn meetings, as far as was allowed them. There were devout worshippers of the true God even among those that were strangers to the commonwealth of Israel. It was in the latter ages of the Jewish church that there was this flocking of the Gentiles to the temple at Jerusalem,--a happy presage of the taking down of the partition-wall between Jews and Gentiles. The forbidding of the priests to accept of any oblation or sacrifice from a Gentile (which was done by Eleazar the son of Ananias, the high priest), Josephus says, was one of those things that brought the Romans upon them, War 2. 409-410. Though these Greeks, if uncircumcised, were not admitted to eat the passover, yet they came to worship at the feast. We must thankfully use the privileges we have, though there may be others from which we are shut out.
II. What was the honour they paid him: they desired to be acquainted with him, John 12:21; John 12:21. Having come to worship at the feast, they desired to make the best use they could of their time, and therefore applied to Philip, desiring that he would put them in a way to get some personal converse with the Lord Jesus. 1. Having a desire to see Christ, they were industrious in the use of proper means. They did not conclude it impossible, because he was so much crowded, to get to speak with him, nor rest in bare wishes, but resolved to try what could be done. Note, Those that would have the knowledge of Christ must seek it. 2. They made their application to Philip, one of his disciples. Some think that they had acquaintance with him formerly, and that they lived near Bethsaida in Galilee of the Gentiles; and then it teaches us that we should improve our acquaintance with good people, for our increase in the knowledge of Christ. It is good to know those who know the Lord. But if these Greeks had been near Galilee it is probable that they would have attended Christ there, where he mostly resided; therefore I think that they applied to him only because they saw him a close follower of Christ, and he was the first they could get to speak with. It was an instance of the veneration they had for Christ that they made an interest with one of his disciples for an opportunity to converse with him, a sign that they looked upon him as some great one, though he appeared mean. Those that would see Jesus by faith now that he is in heaven must apply to his ministers, whom he had appointed for this purpose, to guide poor souls in their enquiries after him. Paul must send for Ananias, and Cornelius for Peter. The bringing of these Greeks to the knowledge of Christ by the means of Philip signified the agency of the apostles, and the use made of their ministry in the conversion of the Gentiles to the faith and the discipling of the nations. 3. Their address to Philip was in short this: Sir, we would see Jesus. They gave him a title of respect, as one worthy of honour, because he was in relation to Christ. Their business is, they would see Jesus; not only see his face, that they might be able to say, when they came home, they had seen one that was so much talked of (it is probable they had seen him when he appeared publicly); but they would have some free conversation with him, and be taught by him, for which it was no easy thing to find him at leisure, his hands were so full of public work. Now that they were come to worship at the feast, they would see Jesus. Note, In our attendance upon holy ordinances, and particularly the gospel passover, the great desire of our souls should be to see Jesus; to have our acquaintance with him increased, our dependence on him encouraged, our conformity to him carried on; to see him as ours, to keep up communion with him, and derive communications of grace from him: we miss of our end in coming if we do not see Jesus. 4. Here is the report which Philip made of this to his Master, John 12:22; John 12:22. He tells Andrew, who was of Bethsaida likewise, and was a senior fellow in the college of the apostles, contemporary with Peter, and consults him what was to be done, whether he thought the motion would be acceptable or no, because Christ had sometimes said that he was not sent but to the house of Israel. They agree that it must be made; but then he would have Andrew go along with him, remembering the favourable acceptance Christ had promised them, in case two of them should agree touching any thing they should ask,Matthew 18:19. Note, Christ's ministers should be helpful to one another and concur in helping souls to Christ: Two are better than one. It should seem that Andrew and Philip brought this message to Christ when he was teaching in public, for we read (John 12:29; John 12:29) of the people that stood by; but he was seldom alone.
III. Christ's acceptance of this honour paid him, signified by what he said to the people hereupon, John 12:23; John 12:23, c., where he foretels both the honour which he himself should have in being followed (John 12:23; John 12:24) and the honour which those should have that followed him, John 12:25; John 12:26. This was intended for the direction and encouragement of these Greeks, and all others that desired acquaintance with him.
1. He foresees that plentiful harvest, in the conversion of the Gentiles, of which this was as it were the first-fruits, John 12:23; John 12:23. Christ said to the two disciples who spoke a good word for these Greeks, but doubted whether they should speed or no, The hour is come when the Son of Man shall be glorified, by the accession of the Gentiles to the church, and in order to that he must be rejected of the Jews. Observe,
(1.) The end designed hereby, and that is the glorifying of the Redeemer: "And is it so? Do the Gentiles begin to enquire after me? Does the morning-star appear to them? and that blessed say-spring, which knows its place and time too, does that begin to take hold of the ends of the earth? Then the hour is come for the glorifying of the Son of man." This was no surprise to Christ, but a paradox to those about him. Note, [1.] The calling, the effectual calling, of the Gentiles into the church of God greatly redounded to the glory of the Son of man. The multiplying of the redeemed was the magnifying of the Redeemer. [2.] there was a time, a set time, an hour, a certain hour, for the glorifying of the Son of man, which did come at last, when the days of his humiliation were numbered and finished, and he speaks of the approach of it with exultation and triumph: The hour is come.
(2.) The strange way in which this end was to be attained, and that was by the death of Christ, intimated in that similitude (John 12:24; John 12:24): "Verily, verily, I say unto you, you to whom I have spoken of my death and sufferings, except a corn of wheat fall not only to, but into, the ground, and die, and be buried and lost, it abideth alone, and you never see any more of it; but if it die according to the course of nature (otherwise it would be a miracle) it bringeth forth much fruit, God giving to every seed its own body." Christ is the corn of wheat, the most valuable and useful grain. Now here is,
[1.] The necessity of Christ's humiliation intimated. He would never have been the living quickening head and root of the church if he had not descended from heaven to this accursed earth and ascended from earth to the accursed tree, and so accomplished our redemption. He must pour out his soul unto death, else he cannot divide a portion with the great,Isaiah 53:12. He shall have a seed given him, but he must shed his blood to purchase them and purify, must win them and wear them. It was necessary likewise as a qualification for that glory which he was to have by the accession of multitudes to his church; for if he had not by his sufferings made satisfaction for sin, and so brought in an everlasting righteousness, he would not have been sufficiently provided for the entertainment of those that should come to him, and therefore must abide alone.
[2.] The advantage of Christ's humiliation illustrated. He fell to the ground in his incarnation, seemed to be buried alive in this earth, so much was his glory veiled; but this was not all: he died. This immortal seed submitted to the laws of mortality, he lay in the grave like seed under the clods; but as the seed comes up again green, and fresh, and flourishing, and with a great increase, so one dying Christ gathered to himself thousands of living Christians, and he became their root. The salvation of souls hitherto, and henceforward to the end of time, is all owing to the dying of this corn of wheat. Hereby the Father and the Son are glorified, the church is replenished, the mystical body is kept up, and will at length be completed; and, when time shall be no more, the Captain of our salvation, bringing many sons to glory by the virtue of his death, and being so made perfect by sufferings, shall be celebrated for ever with the admiring praises of saints and angels, Hebrews 2:10; Hebrews 2:13.
2. He foretels and promises an abundant recompence to those who should cordially embrace him and his gospel and interest, and should make it appear that they do so by their faithfulness in suffering for him or in serving him.
(1.) In suffering for him (John 12:25; John 12:25): He that loves his life better than Christ shall lose it; but he that hates his life in this world, and prefers the favour of God and an interest in Christ before it, shall keep it unto life eternal. This doctrine Christ much insisted on, it being the great design of his religion to wean us from this world, by setting before us another world.
[1.] See here the fatal consequences of an inordinate love of life; many a man hugs himself to death, and loses his life by over-loving it. He that so loves his animal life as to indulge his appetite, and make provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof, shall thereby shorten his days, shall lose the life he is so fond of, and another infinitely better. He that is so much in love with the life of the body, and the ornaments and delights of it, as, for fear of exposing it or them, to deny Christ, he shall lose it, that is, lose a real happiness in the other world, while he thinks to secure an imaginary one in this. Skin for skin a man may give for his life, and make a good bargain, but he that gives his soul, his God, his heaven, for it, buys life too dear, and is guilty of the folly of him who sold a birth-right for a mess of pottage.
[2.] See also the blessed recompence of a holy contempt of life. He that so hates the life of the body as to venture it for the preserving of the life of his soul shall find both, with unspeakable advantage, in eternal life. Note, First, It is required of the disciples of Christ that they hate their life in this world; a life in this world supposes a life in the other world, and this is hated when it is loved less than that. Our life in this world includes all the enjoyments of our present state, riches, honours, pleasures, and long life in the possession of them; these we must hate, that is, despise them as vain and insufficient to make us happy, dread the temptations that are in them, and cheerfully part with them whenever they come in competition with the service of Christ, Acts 20:24; Acts 21:13; Revelation 12:11. See here much of the power of godliness--that it conquers the strongest natural affections; and much of the mystery of godliness--that it is the greatest wisdom, and yet makes men hate their own lives. Secondly, Those who, in love to Christ, hate their own lives in this world, shall be abundantly recompensed in the resurrection of the just. He that hateth his life shall keep it; he puts it into the hands of one that will keep it to life eternal, and restore it with as great an improvement as the heavenly life can make of the earthly one.
(2.) In serving him (John 12:26; John 12:26): If any man profess to serve me, let him follow me, as a servant follows his master; and where I am, ekei kai ho diakonos ho emos estai--there let my servant be; so some read it, as part of the duty, there let him be, to attend upon me; we read it as part of the promise, there shall he be in happiness with me. And, lest this should seem a small matter, he adds, If any man serve me, him will my Father honour; and that is enough, more than enough. The Greeks desired to see Jesus (John 12:21; John 12:21), but Christ lets them know that it was not enough to see him, they must serve him. He did not come into the world, to be a show for us to gaze at, but a king to be ruled by. And he says this for the encouragement of those who enquired after him to become his servants. In taking servants it is usual to fix both the work and the wages; Christ does both here.
[1.] Here is the work which Christ expects from his servants; and it is very easy and reasonable, and such as becomes them.
First, Let them attend their Master's movements: If any man serve me, let him follow me. Christians must follow Christ, follow his methods and prescriptions, do the things that he says, follow his example and pattern, walk as he also walked, follow his conduct by his providence and Spirit. We must go whither he leads us, and in the way he leads us; must follow the Lamb whithersoever he goes before us. "If any man serve me, if he put himself into that relation to me, let him apply himself to the business of my service, and be always ready at my call." Or, "If any man do indeed serve me, let him make an open and public profession of his relation to me, by following me, as the servant owns his Master by following him in the streets."
Secondly, Let them attend their Master's repose: Where I am, there let my servant be, to wait upon me. Christ is where his church is, in the assemblies of his saints, where his ordinances are administered; and there let his servants be, to present themselves before him, and receive instructions from him. Or, "Where I am to be in heaven, whither I am now going, there let the thoughts and affections of my servants be, there let their conversation be, where Christ sitteth." Colossians 3:1; Colossians 3:2.
[2.] Here are the wages which Christ promises to his servants; and they are very rich and noble.
First, They shall be happy with him: Where I am, there shall also my servant be. To be with him, when he was here in poverty and disgrace, would seem but poor preferment, and therefore, doubtless, he means being with him in paradise, sitting with him at his table above, on his throne there; it is the happiness of heaven to be with Christ there, John 17:24; John 17:24. Christ speaks of heaven's happiness as if he were already in it: Where I am; because he was sure of it, and near to it, and it was still upon his heart, and in his eye. And the same joy and glory which he thought recompence enough for all his services and sufferings are proposed to his servants as the recompence of theirs. Those that follow him in the way shall be with him in the end.
Secondly, They shall be honoured by his Father; he will make them amends for all their pains and loss, by conferring an honour upon them, such as becomes a great God to give, but far beyond what such worthless worms of the earth could expect to receive. The rewarder is God himself, who takes the services done to the Lord Jesus as done to himself. The reward is honour, true lasting honour, the highest honour; it is the honour that comes from God. It is said (Proverbs 27:18), He that waits on his Master (humbly and diligently) shall be honoured. Those that wait on Christ God will put honour upon, such as will be taken notice of another day, though now under a veil. Those that serve Christ must humble themselves, and are commonly vilified by the world, in recompence of both which they shall be exalted in due time.
Thus far Christ's discourse has reference to those Greeks who desired to see him, encouraging them to serve him. What became of those Greeks we are not told, but are willing to hope that those who thus asked the way to heaven with their faces thitherward, found it, and walked in it.
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on John 12:26". "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mhm/john-12.html. 1706.
SERVICE AND HONOR and The Rule and Reward of Serving Christ
SERVICE AND HONOR
Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892)
"Whoever serves Me must follow Me; and where I am, my servant also will
be. My Father will honor the one who serves Me" (John 12:26 ).
You cannot claim to have Christ as your Lord if you will not serve Him.
If you take Christ as your Lord and Savior, you must take Him for all
that He is, not only as a Friend, but also as Master; and if you are to
become His disciple, you must also become His servant. I hope that no
one fights against that truth. Surely it is one of our highest
privileges on earth to serve our Lord, and this also will be our joyous
occupation even in heaven itself: "His servants will serve Him. They
will see His face" (Revelation 22:3-4 ).
This thought also enters into our idea of salvation; to be saved, means
that we are rescued from the slavery of sin, and brought into the
glorious liberty of the servants of God. O Master, You are such a
glorious Lord that serving You is perfect freedom, and the sweetest rest
to my soul! You have told us that it would be so, and we have found it
so. "Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble
in heart, and you will find rest for your souls" (Matthew 11:29 ). We do
find it so; and it is not as though rest were a separate thing from
service, the very service itself becomes rest to our souls. I don't know
how some of us would have any rest on earth if we could not employ our
daily lives in the service of Christ; and the rest to be enjoyed in
heaven is never to be pictured as inactivity, but as constantly being
permitted the high privilege of serving the Lord.
Learn then, all of you who would have Christ as your Savior, that you
must be willing to serve Him. We are not saved "by" service, but we are
saved "to" service. After we are saved we live in service to our Lord.
If we refuse to be His servants we are not saved, for we still remain
evidently the servants of self, and the servants of Satan. Holiness is
another name for salvation; to be delivered from the power of self-will
and the domination of evil lusts, and the tyranny of Satan--this is
salvation. Those who want to be saved must know that they will have to
serve Christ, and those who are saved rejoice that they are serving Him,
and their service is evidence of a change of heart and renewal of the
So you are proposing to yourself that you will serve Christ, are you?
You are a young man, as yet you have plenty of vigor and strength, and
you say to yourself, "I will serve Christ in some remarkable way; I will
seek to make myself a scholar, I will try to learn the art of speech, and
I will in some way or other glorify my Lord's name by the splendor of my
language." Will you, dear friend? Is it not better, if you are going to
serve Christ, to ask Him what He would like you to do? If you wished to
do a kindness for a friend, you certainly would desire to know what would
best please that friend, or else your kindness might be mistaken and you
might be doing that which would grieve rather than gratify. Now listen.
Your Lord and Master does not require you to become either a scholar or
an orator to serve Him. Both of those things may happen in your path of
duty which he would have you to take; but first of all He says, "If any
man serve Me, let Him follow Me."
This is what Christ prefers beyond anything else, that His servants
should follow Him. If we do that, we shall serve Him in the way which is
according to His own choice. I notice that many good friends desire to
serve Christ by standing in the most noticeable place. You cannot get
there in one step, young man; your better way will be to serve Christ by
following Him, by "doing the next thing," the thing you can do, that
little simple duty which lies within your capacity which will bring you
no special honor, but which, nevertheless, is what the Lord desires of
you. In effect, you can hear Him say to you, "Whoever serves Me must
follow Me, not by aiming at great things, but by doing just what I give
them to do at that time." "Should you then seek great things for
yourself?" said the prophet Jeremiah to Baruch, "Do not seek them." So I
say the same to you.
One friend, perhaps, blessed with great riches, is saying, "I will save
my money until I have a considerable amount, and then build some homes
for the poor; I will give large amounts of money to the some new foreign
missionary work, or I will build a church building in which Christ's name
will be preached." May God stop me if I try to discourage any good works
that you want to do! Still, if you want to be absolutely certain that
you are pleasing Christ, then I would not recommend any particular thing
for you to do with your money, but I would advise you just to do this--
follow Him, remembering that He said, "Whoever serves Me must follow Me."
You will, by simply going behind your Master, following His footsteps,
and truly being His disciple, do that which would please Him more than if
you could lavish His cause with a mountain of riches. This is what He
prefers as the best proof of your love, the highest confirmation of your
devotion: "Whoever serves Me must follow Me."
He requires that you should become like a little child, so that you may
be taught by Him. His own words are, "Unless you change and become like
little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 1:1 ).
If you want to be a servant of Christ, come to Him like a little
child; sit in His lap to be taught by Him the gospel A B C's. "Whoever
serves Me must follow Me--follow Me as My disciple, regarding Me as your
Teacher, to whom you will yield your understanding and entire mind, that
I may fashion it according to My own will." This is the language of our
Lord, and I would deeply impress it upon all of you, and especially on
any who are beginning the Christian life. If you are to serve Christ,
put your mind like a piece of paper under His pen, that He may write on
you whatever He pleases. Be His sheet of paper, on which He may write
His living letters of love. You can serve Him in this way, in the best
"Do whatever he tells you" (John 2:5 ). If you truly want to serve
Christ, do not do what you feel like doing, but do what He commands you
to do. Remember what Samuel said to Saul, "To obey is better than
sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams" (1 Samuel 15:22 ).
I believe that the profession of being totally devoted to God, when it is
accompanied by action that I suggest to myself, may be nothing but self-
worship, an abomination in the sight of God; but when anyone says to the
Lord, "What do You want me to do? Show me, my Master, what You want me
to do,"--when there is a real desire to obey every command of Christ,
then there is the true spirit of service, and the true spirit of sonship.
"Whoever serves Me must follow Me; running at My call, following at My
heels, waiting at My feet to do whatsoever I desire him to do." This
makes life a lot more simpler than some dream it to be. You are not to
go and carve a statue out of the marble by the exercise of your own
genius; if that were the task set before us, most of us would never
accomplish it. But you are to just go and write according to Christ's
own example, to copy His letters, the up-strokes and the down-strokes,
and to write exactly as He has written.
The other day I was asked to sign my name to an important document, and
when it was handed to me, I noticed that I had already signed it before,
so I said, "Why, I have already signed it!" "Yes," said the one who
brought it, "you have the very easy task of signing it all over again."
In that case I followed my own writing; and in the same way, you have the
easy task of writing after Christ, directly writing over again the
letters that He Himself has made, and you cannot do Him better service
than this. "Whoever serves Me must follow Me," that is, "let him do just
what I command him to do; follow Me by imitating My example."
It is always safe to do what Christ would have done under the same
circumstances in which you are placed. Of course, you cannot imitate
Christ in His miraculous work, and you are not asked to imitate Him in
some of those sorrowful respects in which He suffered that we might not
suffer; but the ordinary life of Christ is in every respect an example to
us. Never do what you could not imagine Christ would have done. If it
strikes you that the course of action that is suggested to you would be
un-Christlike, then it is unchristian, for the Christian is to be like
Christ. The Christian is to be the flower growing out of the seed,
Christ; and there is always a unity between the flower and the seed out
of which it grows. Keep your eyes fixed on your heavenly model and
pattern, and seek in all things ever to imitate Christ. If you want to
serve Christ, duplicate His life as nearly as possible in your own life.
"Whoever serves Me must follow Me, let him follow Me by copying My
You do not need to run away from your father and mother, and leave your
home and friends, and go away to the lost people in Africa, in order to
serve Christ. It is not dreaming up some idea in your own mind and
working that out according to your own whims and fancies, that
constitutes service for Christ; it is simply this--Whoever serves Christ
must follow Christ. Let him put his foot down as nearly as he can where
Christ put his foot down; let him walk in Christ's steps and be moved by
His spirit, actuated by His motives, live with His aim, and copy His
actions. This is the noblest way in which to serve the Lord.
"Whoever serves Me must follow Me; and where I am, my servant also will
be." I don't know of any other master but Christ who ever said that.
There are some places where an earthly master does not want his servant
to be; he must have some room to himself, and some engagements which he
cannot explain to his servant, and into which his servant must not pry.
But the Lord Jesus Christ makes this the glorious privilege of everyone
who enters His service that, where He is, His servant also will be.
But where is Christ? He is and always was in the place of communion with
God. He was always near to His father. He often spoke with God. He
ever had the joy of God filling His spirit. And you, perhaps, are saying
to yourself, "I wish that I had communion with God." Well, through Jesus
Christ, it is to be had by serving Him in that particular kind of service
which consists in following Him. If you want to walk with God, why, of
course, you must walk! If you sit down in idleness, you cannot walk with
Him; and if you do not keep up a good brisk pace, He will walk on in
front of you, and leave you behind, for the Lord is no dawdler in His
walking. Therefore, you see, there must be diligent progress, and
activity in service, in order that we may keep pace with Him and have
communion with Him; and if we closely follow Him, He has promised that we
will be in the place of communion with our blessed Master.
Our Lord Jesus Christ was in the place of confidence. Whenever Christ
went to work, He worked with assurance. He never had a doubt as to His
ultimate success. No haphazard work ever came from Christ's hands. He
spoke with certainty, and He worked with the full assurance that His
labor would not be in vain. If you want to have confidence in your work
for Christ, so as to perform it without any doubts and fears, you will
have to obtain it by serving Him, and to serve Him by following Him; and
then, into that sacred place of confidence where your Master always
stood, there you will also come.
It is very sweet to notice how the Lord Jesus brings His Father into His
speech; it is as if He said, "When a man joins himself to Me, then he
joins himself to My Father also. It is not only I who will love him and
do My best to honor him, but My Father, the great and ever-blessed Lord
over all, keeps an eye on that man." On whom does he look with his gaze
of approval? Not on those who have some grand plan of serving
themselves, but on those who serve Christ, and who do it by following
It is delightful to have a sense of the approval of God, such as you
never had when you had the approval of men. Sometimes, when even
Christian people cry, "Well done, well done," the Lord says, "That is
quite enough praise for him; I will not give him My `Well done.'" But
when you get no "Well done" from men, but, on the contrary, are
misunderstood and misrepresented, then the Lord comes and puts His hand
on you, and says, "Be strong, do not fear, I have accepted your service.
I know your motive, and I approve of your action. Do not be afraid of
them, but go on your way." Such approval as that is the highest honor we
can have here. "If any man serves Me," says Christ, "him will My Father
honor," with a sense of sonship, and with a sense of approval.
If a man will serve Christ by following Him, the Father will give him
honor in the eyes of the blood-bought family. There are certain ones of
the Lord's people who do not carry yardsticks with them, but they carry
scales and weights, and if they do not measure by quantity, they measure
by quality; their approval is worth having. They are often the poorest
and most afflicted members of the church; but being the most instructed,
and living the nearest to God, to have them minister to us is a thing
worth having. I believe that, if any man will lead the life of a
Christian, however few his talents, and if his service lies in close
obedience and imitation of Christ, the real saints, not the mere
professors, especially not the shining worldly ones among them, but real
saints will say, "That is the man for us, that is the woman with whom we
would like to converse." Thus it comes to pass that those who really do
serve the Lord by following Him have honor in the estimation of those who
sit and eat with them at their Lord's table.
And then, when we come to die, or when we stand at the judgment seat of
Christ, or when we enter the eternal state, what a glorious thing it will
be to find the Father ready to honor us forever because we served the
Son! Our reward will not be because God owes us anything, but because of
His grace; it is grace that gave us the service and grace that will
reward us for our service; but no man and no woman will serve the Lord
Jesus Christ here on earth by following Him, without finding that the
Father has some special honor, some rich and rare reward, to give to such
soldiers in due time.
This is the day of the fight, expect nothing but bullets, bruises,
wounds, and scars; but the battle will soon be over, and when the war is
ended, the King will come, and ride up and down the ranks, and in that
day you who have been most battered and most wounded in the battle will
find Him pause when He reaches you, and He will attach on you chest a
star that will be more of an honor to you than all the Medals that have
decorated brave men here on earth. Stars and ribbons may be given to
those who want them, but blessed are they who will shine as the stars in
the kingdom of our Father! And this honor is to be had by that believer
who will faithfully serve his Lord; not by any who merely talk about it,
or dream of it, or propose to do it, but to those who serve Him by
following Him--this honor will be given.
The Rule and Reward of Serving Christ
June 27, 1889 by C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892)
"If any man serve me, let him follow me, and where I am there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honor."-John 12:26 .
This verse is all about serving, and service; three times over you get the word "serve" or "servant." Each clause of our text has in it a part of the verb "to serve." You cannot have Christ if you will not serve him. If you take Christ, you must take him in all his characters, not only as Friend, but also as Master; and if you are to become his disciple, you must also become his servant. I hope that no one here kicks against that truth Surely it is one of our highest delights on earth to serve our Lord, and this is to be our blessed employment even in heaven itself: "His servants shall serve him: and they shall see his face." This thought also enters into our idea of salvation; to be saved, means that we are rescued from the slavery of sin, and brought into the delightful liberty of the servants of God. O Master, thou art such a glorious Lord that serving thee is perfect freedom, and sweetest rest! Thou hast told us that it should be so, and we have found it so. "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls." We do find it so; and it is not as though rest were a separate thing from service, the very service itself becomes rest to our souls. I know not how some of us would have any rest on earth if we could not employ our daily lives in the service of Christ; and the rest of heaven is never to be pictured as idleness, but as constantly being permitted the high privilege of serving the Lord. Learn hence, then, all of you who would have Christ as your Savior, that you must be willing to serve him. We are not saved by service, but we are saved to service. When we are once saved, thenceforward we live in the service of our Lord. If we refuse to be his servants, we are not saved, for we still remain evidently the servants of self, and the servants of Satan. Holiness is another name for salvation; to be delivered from the power of self-will, and the domination of evil lusts, and the tyranny of Satan, this is salvation. Those who would be saved must know that they will have to serve Christ, and those who are saved rejoice that they are serving him, and that thus they are giving evidence of a change of heart and renewal of mind. Come, beloved, and when the text says, "If any man serve me," let each of us read his own name there, and let us say, "Yes, I would serve the Lord Jesus Christ." If we cannot read our own name there as yet, let us pray God that we may first believe in Jesus unto eternal life, and then, receiving that eternal life, may spend the full force and strength of it in his service. I hope that I am addressing a large number of those who are working together with God, who have said concerning their great King as Ittai said to David, "Surely in what place my lord the king shall be, whether in death or life, even there also will thy servant be." You have taken up Christ's cross, it has become a delightful burden to you, and you wish to bear it after Jesus as long as you live. May you be helped in that desire by the consideration of the passage before us! First, here is the rule of service: "If any man serve me, let him follow me." Secondly, here is the fellowship of service: "Where I am, there shall also my servant be." And thirdly, here is the reward of service: "If any man serve me, him will my Father honor." I. First, dear friends, here is THE RULE OF SERVICE: "If any man serve me, let him follow me." So you are proposing to yourself that you will serve Christ, are you? You are a young man, as yet you have plenty of vigor and strength, and you say to yourself, "I will serve Christ in some remarkable way; I will seek to make myself a scholar, I will try to learn the art of oratory, and I will in some way or other glorify my Lord's name by the splendor of my language." Will you, dear friend? Is it not better, if you are going to serve Christ, to ask him what he would like you to do? If you wished to do a kindness for a friend, you certainly would desire to know what would best please that friend, or else your kindness might be mistaken, and you might be doing that which would grieve rather than gratify. Now listen. Your Lord and Master does not bid you become either a scholar or an orator in order to serve him. Both of those things may happen to fall to your lot in that path of duty which he would have you to take; but first of all he says, "If any man serve me, let him follow me." This is what Christ prefers beyond anything else, that his servants should follow him. If we do that, we shall serve him in the way which is according to his own choice. I notice that many good friends desire to serve Christ by standing on the top round of the ladder. You cannot get there at one step, young man; your better way will be to serve Christ by following him, by "doing the next thing," the thing you can do, that little simple business which lies within your capacity, which will bring you no special honor, but which, nevertheless, is what your Lord desires of you. In effect, you can hear him say to you, "If any man serve me, let him follow me, not by aiming at great things, but by doing just that piece of work that I put before him at the time." "Seekest thou great things for thyself?" said the prophet Jeremiah to Baruch, "seek them not." So say I to you. One friend here, perhaps, blessed with great riches, is saying to himself or herself, "I will lay by in store until I acquire a considerable amount, and then build a row of almshouses for the poor; I will give very largely to some new foreign missionary effort, or I will build a house of prayer in which Christ's name shall be preached." God forbid that I should stop you in any right design whatever! Still, if you would do what is absolutely certain to please Christ, I would not recommend the selection of any one particular object, but I would advise you just to do this, follow him, remembering that he said, "If any man serve me, let him follow me." You will, by simply going behind your Master, following his footsteps, and being truly his disciple, do that which would please him more than if you could endow his cause with a whole mint of riches. This is what he selects as the choicest proof of your love, the highest testimonial of your regard: "If any man serve me, let him follow me." What, then, does the Savior mean by bidding us render to him our best service by following him? I should say, first, I understand by these words that we are to follow Christ by believing his doctrine. Our Lord says, practically, "If any man serve me, let him follow me as Teacher; let him sit at my feet, let him learn of me." Some seem to fancy that they can serve Christ by striking out a new line of thought. My dear sir, if you do that, you will serve yourself, but you will not serve Christ. He has come to be the Teacher of the glorious gospel of the blessed God, and it is only by teaching the truths which he has made known, and by publishing the message which he has revealed, that you can really be his servant. Suppose you have a man to be your servant at home, say, your gardener. He is a very industrious man indeed, and works very hard; but when you walk round your garden, you do not see him, and for a very good reason, for he is not there. Where is he? He is at work in your neighbor's garden! Of course, you love your neighbor as yourself, so you are pleased to think that your servant is working on behalf of your neighbor. You mile, do you? I think you say to yourself, "That is a kind of servant that I should not care to keep; if he worked for somebody else all day long, in the time for which I paid him, I should not want him as my servant." Well now, if I, as a Christian minister, becomes a teacher of philosophy, instead of a preacher of the truths of the gospel, if I receive into my mind some of the novel views that abound in the present day, which are not the views that are revealed in the Scriptures, then Christ is not my Master, and I am not his disciple, I am a follower of somebody else. If you act thus, you are pretending to be Christ's reformer, you are attempting to make his teaching better. Impious fool! I dare not use a milder expression. You are acting as Christ's critic; you are finding fault with the Faultless, you are trying to correct the Infallible; you had better give up such a task as that, for it is not consistent with being his disciple. He requires of you that you should become as a little child, that you may be taught by him. His own words are, "Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." If you would be a servant of Christ, come to him as a little child; sit on the infants' form, to be taught by him the gospel A B C. "If any man serve me, let him follow me, follow me as my disciple, regarding me as his Teacher, to whom he bows his understanding and his entire mind, that I may fashion it according to my own will." This is the language of our Lord, and I would impress it very earnestly upon you all, and especially upon any who are beginning the Christian life. If you are to serve Christ, put your mind like a tablet of wax under his stylus, that he may write on you whatsoever he pleases. Be you Christ's slate, that he may make his mark on you. Be his sheet of paper on which he may write his living letters of love. You can serve him in this way in the best possible manner. But next, I think that the text means, "If any man serve me, let him follow me by obeying my commands." A fortnight ago, we considered that most instructive text, "Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it." I would bring that text to your notice again, and ring it like a bell: "Whatsoever HE saith unto you, do it." If you want truly to serve Christ, do not do what you suggest to yourself, but do what he commands you. Remember what Samuel said to Saul, "To obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams." I believe that the profession of consecration to God, when it is accompanied by action that I suggest to myself, may be nothing but will-worship, an abomination in the sight of God; but when anyone says to the Lord, "What wilt thou have me to do? Show me, my Master, what thou wouldst have me to do,"-when there is a real desire to obey every command of Christ, then is there the true spirit of service, and the true spirit of sonship. "If any man serve me, let him follow me, running at my call, following at my heels, waiting at my feet to do whatsoever I desire him to do." Dear friends, this makes life a very much simpler thing than some dream it to be. You are not to go and carve a statue out of the marble by the exercise of your own genius; if that were the task set before us, the most of us would never accomplish it. But you have just to go and write according to Christ's own example, to copy his letters, the up-strokes and the down-strokes, and to write exactly as he has written. The other day, I was asked to sign my name to a deed, and when it was handed to me, I said, "Why, I have signed my name!" "Yes," said the one who brought it, "you have the very easy task of marking it all over again." Just so, in that case I followed my own writing; and you have the easy task of writing after Christ, blacking over again the letters that he himself has made, and you cannot do him better service than this. "If any man serve me, let him follow me; that is, let him do just what I bid him to do." Now, thirdly, I think that by these words our Lord means and this is the same thing in another shape, "If any man serve me, let him follow me by imitating my example." It is always safe, dear friends, to do what Christ would have done under the same circumstances in which you are placed. Of course, you cannot imitate Christ in his miraculous work, and you are not asked to imitate him in some of those sorrowful respects in which he suffered that we might not suffer; but the ordinary life of Christ is in every respect an example to us. Never do what you could not suppose Christ would have done. If it strikes you that the course of action that is suggested to you would be un-Christly, then it is un-Christian, for the Christian is to be like Christ. The Christian is to be the flower growing out of the seed, Christ; and there is always a congruity between the flower and the seed out of which it grows. Keep your eyes fixed on your heavenly model, and pattern, and seek in all things ever to imitate Christ. If you want to serve Christ, repeat his life as nearly as possible in your own life. "If any man serve me, let him follow me by copying my example." Once more, I think the Savior means this: "If any man serve me, let him follow me by clinging to my cause." Cling to the cause of Christ, dear friend, give yourself to that kingdom for which you are taught to pray, and be ready to make any sacrifice whatever that you may advance and extend it. Yea, throw your whole self into the holy service of your Lord; make the name of Christ to be more widely known, and the cause of Christ to be further extended among the sons of men. Cling to the cause of Christ, and so carry out his own words, "If any man serve me, let him follow me." Beloved, I believe that every Christian person should follow Christ in the waters of baptism, and, having done that, should join the Church of Christ, not so much to follow the Church, as to follow Christ. We are not to follow men, even the best of men, any farther than they follow Christ; but we must take care that we do boldly stand up as adherents of his cause, so that, if it be asked, "Who is on the Lord's side?" we may put in an appearance directly, and avow ourselves as his followers. Are you living in a village where there is no congregation of the faithful? Then, let it be known that you are on the Lord's side, and do your best to open a place where Christ can be preached. Do you live down some dark part of this city where nobody goes to a place of worship? Such places are, alas! very common in this dreadful London. Then, be sure that you go to the house of God, and your very going there will be a form of serving Christ, for others will see that you at least take a decided step, and join in public worship with the avowed followers of Christ. If you would really serve Christ, come right out from the world, and say, "Let others do as they wilt as for me and my house we belong to Christ, and we will never hide our colors. We will bind the scarlet thread in the window, and we will let all who come by this way understand that here live those who have been redeemed with precious blood, and who therefore cannot, dare not, and will not conceal the gracious fact." "If any man serve me, let him follow me by taking up my cause, and working for it with all his heart." I hope that I do not need to dwell any longer on this point. You all see that the way in which to serve Christ is not a visionary one. You do not need to run away from your father and mother, and leave your home and friends, and go away to the blacks in Africa, in order to serve Christ. It is not the getting of some idle speculation in your own brain, and working that out according to your own whims and fancies, that constitutes service of Christ; it is just simply this, if any man will serve Christ, let him follow Christ. Let him put his foot down as nearly as he can where Christ put his foot down; let him tread in Christ's steps, and be moved by his spirit, actuated by his motives, live with his aim, and copy his actions. This is the noblest way in which to serve the Lord. II. Now secondly, and briefly, let us notice THE FELLOWSHIP OF SERVICE: "If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be." I do not know any other master but Christ who ever said that. There are some places where an earthly master does not want his servant to be; he must have some room to himself, and some engagements which he cannot explain to his servant, and into which his servant must not pry. But the Lord Jesus Christ makes this the glorious privilege of every one who enters his service that, where he is, there shall his servant be. And where is he, I pray? He is in heaven, and we cannot go to him there until he calls us home. But where is he? Where was he when he spoke these words? He was, first, in the place of consecration. The Lord Jesus Christ stood before the Father a consecrated man. All that there was in him was dedicated to the glory of God. Now, go and serve him by following him, and he will put you into the place of dedication, consecration, sanctification. You desire to be holy; well, you will never attain to holiness simply by lying in bed; get up and work for Jesus if you are able to do so. And you cannot get holiness merely by studying books; serve your Lord, and serve him especially by following him. It is in the sacred process of active obedience, or of passive obedience, that we get the consecration which is not to be found, as some think, by merely willing it, and talking of it, but which grows out of holy service. As rivers, when they take up sewage, are said to drop it as they flow, and purify themselves as they run, so, assuredly, it is with a believer as he flows on in his Christian course. God blessing him, he drops much of the earthiness which he has taken up in his progress through life, and by the very motion he seems to purify himself, refining as he runs. I notice that people who have nothing to do but to sit down and stare into the black hole of their own nature, are generally very sad, and not often very virtuous; but they who, knowing how dark and sinful their nature is, trust Jesus for salvation, and then spend their lives in doing the will of the Lord, these are they who are both holy and happy. But where is Christ? for he says, "Where I am, there shall also my servant be." He is and always was in the place of communion with God. He was always near to his Father. He often spoke with God. He ever had the joy of God filling his spirit. And you, perhaps are saying to yourself, "I wish that I had communion with God." Well, through Jesus Christ, it is to be had by serving him in that particular kind of service which consists in following him. If you want to walk with God, why, of course, you must walk! If you sit down in idleness, you cannot walk with him; and if you do not keep up a good brisk pace, he will walk on in front of you, and leave you behind, for the Lord is no laggard in his walking. Therefore, you see, there must be diligent progress, and activity in service, in order that we may keep pace with him, and have communion with him; and if we act thus here, he has promised that we shall be in the place of communion with our blessed Master. Further than this, our Lord Jesus Christ was in the place of confidence. Whenever Christ went to work, he worked with assurance. He never had a doubt as to his ultimate success. No haphazard work ever came from Christ's hands. He spoke with certainty, and he worked with the full assurance that his labor would not be in vain. If you want to have confidence in your work for Christ, so as to perform it without any doubts and fears, you will have to obtain it by serving him, and to serve him by following him; and then, into that hallowed place of confidence where your Master always stood, there shall you also come. Our Lord stood, too, in the place of holy calm. How unruffled he was at all times! His was a life of storms, yet a life of peace; all around him moved, but he was the Rock of Ages, and never moved. Would you not like to be calm as Christ was, to dwell with him on the serene heights while the tempests roll and thunder far below your feet? Well, then, serve him by following him; and, as you do so, the promise of the text shall be fulfilled to you, "Where I am, there shall also my servant be." And oh, blessed be his name! he has actually gone into the place of conquest and victory in the eternal world, and you and I shall be there with him in his own good time. "Where I am, there shall also my servant be." Count it no dishonor to be servants when this high favor is promised you, that where your Master is, there you shall be also. I have sometimes thought that, if I could get into heaven somewhere behind the door, and just sit there, I should be perfectly satisfied; but far more than that is promised to us. Wherever Christ is, there shall we be. If he is on a throne, we shall be enthroned, too; and, if he is at the Father's right hand, we shall be at the Father's right hand, for he has promised, "Where I am, there shall also my servant be." You need not want to know much about heaven; it is where Christ is, and that is heaven enough for us. If we could once go into the courts above, and ask, "Is my Lord Jesus here?" and they should answer, "No, he is not here," it would be no heaven to us, would it? We should want to go outside the city walls, and cry, "Show me where he is." But suppose it possible for us to be in the very lowest room of heaven, where the glories were veiled, as it were, if such a place could be; and if we could hear one truly say, "There he is," its glories would not be any longer veiled, and we should need no higher heaven than that. As soon as ever we saw him, we should say, as our friend did in prayer, "He is all the heaven we want to know." Remember that blessed verse we had in our reading, "Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory." This, then, is the great fellowship of holy service; who would not be a servant of Christ? III. Now, as our time is nearly spent, I must speak but briefly upon THE REWARD OF SERVICE, upon which I have entrenched already: "If any man serve me, him will my Father honor." It is very sweet to notice how the Lord Jesus brings his Father into his speech; it is as if he said, "When a man joins himself to me, then he joins himself to my Father also. It is not only I who will love him, and do my best to honor him, but my Father, the great and ever-blessed Lord over all, keeps an eye on that man." On whom does he look with this gaze of approval? Not on those who have some grand project of serving themselves, but on those who serve Christ, and who do it by following him Come, dear people of God, you are many of you very poor, yet I know that many of you are seeking to serve Christ by following him. Some of God's dear servants here are no great speakers; they are very quiet, humble Christians, but they are trying to do what Christ would do if he were in their position. If this is your case, dear friends, you are honoring your Lord, and the Father himself looks approvingly upon you. "If any man serve me," says our Lord, "him will my Father honor." How will he do it? Well, he will honor him by letting him know his sonship. Because Jesus always pleased the Father, the Father bare witness to him, saying, "This is my beloved Son." And if you serve Christ by following him, the Father will often bear witness in your heart, and says, "This also is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased." He will often cause the Spirit of adoption to renew the witness in your heart, so that you will cry, "Abba, Father," and he will the kindred own. Surely, there is no greater honor than for God to own you as his son. Next, he will honor you by giving you a sense of approval. You know what that means; I will tell you when it is very sweet. You have been doing something for Christ, you have done it with all your heart; and some friend picks holes in it, and someone not quite so much a friend, and who therefore cannot so sorely wound you, begins to impute wrong motives, and to judge you for having come down to the battle because of the pride and the naughtiness of your heart. Well, you lose a friend, and you get a double number of enemies round about you; yet in your heart you feel that you did it only for Christ. Well, then, at such a time, it is delightful to have a sense of the approbation of God, such as you never had when you had the approbation of men. Sometimes when even Christian people cry, "Well done, well done," the Lord says, "That is quite enough praise for him; I shall not give him my 'Well done.'" But when you get no "Well done" from men, but, on the contrary, are misunderstood and misrepresented, then the Lord comes and puts his hand upon you, and says, "Be strong, fear not, I have accepted your service. I know your motive, and I approve your action. Be not afraid of them, but go on your way." Ah, beloved! such approval as that is the highest honor we can have here. "If any man serve me," says Christ, "him will my Father honor," with a sense of sonship, and with a sense of approbation. If any man serve Christ, there is another kind of honor that often comes to him, and it is not to be despised. If a man will serve Christ by following him, the Father will give him honor in the eyes of the blood-bought family. There are certain of the Lord's people who do not carry yard measures with them, but they carry scales and weights, and if they do not measure by quantity, they measure by quality; their approval is worth having. They are often the poorest and most afflicted members of the church; but being the most instructed, and riving the nearest to God, to be had in honor of them is a thing worth having. I believe that, if any man will live the life of a Christian, however few his talents, and if his service lies in close obedience and imitation of Christ, the real saints, not the mere professors, especially not the shining worldly ones among them, but real saints will say, "That is the man for us; that is the woman with whom we like to converse." Thus it comes to pass that those who really do serve the Lord by following him have honor in the estimation of those who sit at meat with them at their Lord's table. And then, at last, when we come to die, or when we stand at the judgment seat of Christ, or when we enter upon the eternal state, what a glorious thing it will be, to find the Father ready to honor us for ever because we served the Son! Our reward will not be of debt, but of grace; it is grace that gave us the service, and grace that will reward us for our service; but no man and no woman shall serve the Lord Jesus Christ here on earth by following him, without finding that the Father has some special honor, some rich and rare reward, to give to such soldiers in due time. This is the fighting day, expect nothing now but bullets, bruises, wounds, scars; but the battle will soon be over, and when the war is ended, the King will come, and ride up and down the ranks, and in that day you who have been most battered and most wounded in the battle shall find him pause when he reaches you, and he will fasten on your breast a star that shall be more honor to you than all the Victoria Crosses that have decorated brave men here below. Stars and garters they may have who want them, but blessed are they who shall shine as the stars in the kingdom of our Father! And this honor is to be had by that believer who will faithfully serve his Lord; not by any who merely talk about it, or dream of it, or propose to do it, but to those who serve him by following him this honor shall be given. I have preached all this to God's people, but I have not said anything to you who are not his people. I cannot invite you to his service as you are; how can you serve him while you are his enemies? I do not invite you unconverted people to work for God. Oh, no! he wants no such servants as you are, he will not have rebels in his host. First bow your knee in submission, lay down the weapons of your rebellion; then fly to Christ for mercy, trust in him for forgiveness; and then, but not till then, you may come, and serve him, and follow him, and expect that his Father will honor you as he has promised. God bless you, for Jesu's sake! Amen.
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Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on John 12:26". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/john-12.html. 2011.
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29