the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26
Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
“Your sorrow shall be turned into joy.”
Our Lord continued to cheer and warn the little band around him, telling them of the sorrows they might expect, and of the consolations which would be given them.
Because the Holy Spirit would enlighten them, they would see him in the truest sense, and would be prepared in a little while to see him for ever in glory.
When the Lord was gone they were full of grief, but as soon as his great representative, the Comforter, had come to them, they were filled with holy joy, triumphing greatly because the Lord had ascended and had bestowed gifts upon men.
John 16:21 , John 16:22
No longer do the saints sorrow over the departure of their Lord, for they see the joyful result of his death, resurrection, and ascension, and are filled with a sacred delight which cannot be damped by persecution.
They would be so well instructed that they would put no more childish questions to him, being led by the Spirit into the mysteries of the kingdom.
Blessed assurance, sealed with a double Verily! Who will dare to doubt the efficacy of prayer?
They had not yet learned the power of the name of Jesus, but when taught of the Spirit they would plead the name of Jesus with great prevalence.
He reminded them by this question that their faith was not so strong as they imagined. When we are not under immediate trial we fancy our faith to be far greater than it really is.
We have found our Lord’s words to be true, for tribulation has been our portion; let us be confident that the rest of his words are true also.
O love of God, our shield and stay,
Through all the perils of our way;
Eternal love, in thee we rest,
For ever safe, for ever blest!
“I have glorified thee on the earth.”
We have listened to our Lord’s farewell sermon, let us now attend to his farewell prayer. Melancthon says of it, “There is no voice which has ever been heard either in heaven or on earth, more exalted, more holy, more fruitful, more sublime than this prayer offered by the Son of God himself” Beyond all other forms of supplication it deserves to be known as “the Lord’s Prayer.” Our time will only permit us to read one half of it on this occasion, but we will meditate upon the remainder when next we gather at the family altar.
Our Lord, with holy calmness, looked into the face of the Father, and John, who seldom records the gestures of his beloved Lord, saw the upward glancing of his eye, and never forgot that impressive look. As Jesus looked up he prayed
This the Father knew, but Jesus loved to have fellowship with his Father in that knowledge. Prayer is not only the asking for favours, it is the intercourse of the soul with God, the drawing near of the heart to the Lord. Our Lord went on to cry
All men are in the hands of the Mediator here is the universality of his redemption; he will, however, save only his own people here is the speciality of it.
Do we know by experience what this eternal life is? Do we know the only true God and Jesus Christ the sent one? Let conscience answer. It is worthy of note that this is the only place in which our Lord applies to himself the compound name of Jesus Christ the Anointed Saviour.
The special blessings sought for by our Lord would not be prized by the ungodly world even could they obtain them, hence our Lord does Hot ask his Father to give such boons to any but his own disciples. He specially pleads that his beloved ones may be kept from the evil of the world, a prayer which evidently could not be offered for those who are themselves the cause of the evil and are living in it.
This is, as it were, a prayer from within the veil. The Saviour pleads as if he were already entered into the heavens.
The Redeemer’s petition is, that his people may be kept from sin. How carefully ought we to behave ourselves lest we go astray into that which would grieve his heart. If he pleaded with God that we might be kept from sin, God forbid that we should take pleasure in it.
There is a Shepherd kind and strong,
Still watchful for his sheep;
Nor shall the infernal lion rend
Whom he vouchsafes to keep.
Blest Jesus, intercede for us,
That we may fall no more;
Oh, raise us, when we prostrate lie,
And comfort lost restore.
Thy sacred energy impart,
That faith may never fail:
But under showers of fiery darts,
That temper’d shield prevail.