A Short Sermon Written At Mentone, By C. H. Spurgeon. 12/23/2012
But we see Jesus. [Heb 2:9]
For other sermons on this text:
[See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 771, “Seeing Jesus” 762]
[See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1509, “Best of All Sights, The” 1509]
Exposition on Heb 2:1-15 [See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2619, “Captain of Our Salvation, The” 2620 @@ "Exposition"]
Exposition on Heb 2; 3 [See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3217, “Earnest Warning Against Unbelief, An” 3218 @@ "Exposition"]
Exposition on Heb 2 [See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2655, “Decided Ungodliness” 2656 @@ "Exposition"]
1. In Holy Scripture faith is placed in opposition to the sight of the eyes, and yet it is frequently described as looking and seeing. It is opposed to carnal sight because it is spiritual sight; a discernment which does not come from the body, but arises out of the strong belief of the soul, created in us by the Holy Spirit. Faith is sight in the sense of being a clear and vivid perception, a sure and indisputable discovery, a realising and unquestionable discernment of fact. We see Jesus, for we are sure of his presence, we have unquestionable evidence of his existence, we have an intelligent and intimate knowledge of his person. Our soul has eyes far stronger than the dim optics of the body, and with these we actually see Jesus. We have heard of him, and upon the witness of that hearing we have believed, and through believing there has come to us a new life, which rejoices in new light and in opened eyes, and “we see Jesus.” In the old sense of sight we speak of him as of one “whom having not seen we love,” but in the new sense “we see Jesus.” Beloved reader, do you have such a renewed nature that you have new senses, and have you with these senses discerned the Lord? If not may the Holy Spirit yet quicken you; and meanwhile, let us whom he has made alive assure you that we have heard his voice, for he says, “My sheep hear my voice”; we have “tasted the good word of God”; we have touched him and have been made whole; we have also known the smell of his fragrance, for his name to us is “as ointment poured out”; and now, in the words of our text, “we see Jesus.” Faith is all the senses in one, and infinitely more; and those who do not have it are in a worse situation than the blind and deaf, for spiritual life itself is absent.
2. I. Come, then, beloved brethren, whose eyes have been illuminated, let us muse for a while upon our privileges, so that we may exercise them with delight and praise the Lord with them. First, let us regard the glorious sight of Jesus as COMPENSATION.
3. The text begins with “but,” because it refers to some things which we do not yet see, which are the objects of strong desire. “We do not yet see all things put under him.” We do not as yet see Jesus acknowledged as King of kings by all mankind, and this causes us great sorrow, for we would gladly see him crowned with glory and honour in every corner of the earth by every man born of woman. Alas, he is to many quite unknown, by multitudes rejected and despised, and by comparatively few he is regarded with reverence and love. Sights surround us which might well make us cry with Jeremiah, “Oh that my head were waters, and my eyes a fountain of tears”; for blasphemy and rebuke, idolatry, superstition, and unbelief prevail on every side. “But,” says the apostle, “we see Jesus,” and this sight compensates for all others, for we see him now, no longer made a little lower than the angels, and tasting the bitterness of death, but “crowned with glory and honour.” We see him no more after the flesh, in shame and anguish; far more ravishing is the sight, for we see his work accomplished, his victory complete, his empire secure. He sits as a priest upon the throne at the right hand of God, from henceforth waiting until his enemies are made his footstool.
4. This is a divine compensation for the delay of his visible kingdom, because it is the major part of it. The main battle is won. In our Lord’s endurance of his substitutionary griefs, and in the overthrow of sin, death, and hell by his personal achievements, the essence of the conflict is over. Nothing is left to be done at all comparable with what is already been performed. The ingathering of the elect, and the subjection of all things, are comparatively easy to accomplish now that the conflict in the heavenly places is over, and Jesus has led captives captive. We may look upon the conquest of the kingdoms of this world as a mere routing of the beaten host, now that the power of the enemy has been effectively broken by the great Captain of our salvation.
5. The compensation is all the greater because our Lord’s enthronement is the pledge of all the rest. The putting of all things under him, which we do not see as yet, is guaranteed to us by what we do see. The exalted Saviour has all power given to him in heaven and in earth, and with this “all power” he can, at his own pleasure, send the rod of his strength out of Zion, and reign in the midst of his enemies. With him are all the forces necessary for universal dominion, his white horse waits at the door, and whenever he chooses he can ride out conquering and to conquer. At a word from his lips the prostitute of Babylon shall perish, and the false prophet shall die, and the idols of the heathen shall be utterly abolished. The empire of wickedness is as a vision of the night, a black and hideous nightmare pressing on the soul of manhood, but when he awakens he will despise its image, and it shall melt away.
6. We turn then, wiping our tears away, from the wretched spectacles of human superstition, scepticism, and sorrow, to the clear vision above us in the opened heaven. There we see “the Man,” long promised, the desire of all nations, the deliverer, the death of death, the conqueror of hell; and we do not see him as one who girds on his harness for the battle, but as one whose warfare is accomplished, who is waiting for the appointed time by the Father when he shall divide the spoil. This is the antidote for all depression of spirit, the stimulus for hopeful perseverance, the assurance of unspeakable joy.
7. II. Nor is this sight a mere compensation for others which as yet are denied to us, it is in itself the reason for present EXULTATION. This is true in so many ways that time would fail us to attempt to enumerate them.
8. “We see Jesus,” and in him we see our former unhappy condition for ever ended. We were fallen in Adam, but we see in Jesus our ruin retrieved by the second Adam. The legal covenant frowned upon us as we beheld it broken by our first federal head; the new covenant smiles upon us with a whole heaven of bliss as we see it ordered in all things and sure in him who is head over all things to the church. Sin once doomed us to eternal despair, but not now, for he who has put away sin by the sacrifice of himself has justified his people by his resurrection. The debt no longer burdens us, for there in eternal glory is the Man who paid it once and for all. A sight of Jesus kills each guilty fear, silences each threat of conscience, and enshrines peace in the heart. There remains nothing of all the past to cause a dread of punishment, or arouse a fear of desertion; for Christ who died lives for ever to make intercession for us, to represent us before the Father, and to prepare for us a place of everlasting rest. We might see ourselves as dead under the law if he had not blotted out the handwriting which was against us; we might see ourselves under the curse were it not that he who was once made a curse for us now reigns in fulness of blessing. We weep as we confess our transgressions, but we see Jesus, and sing for joy of heart, since he has finished transgression, made an end of sin, and brought in everlasting righteousness.
9. The same is sweetly true of the present, for we see our present condition to be thrice blessed by virtue of our union with him. We do not yet see our nature made perfect, and cleansed from every tendency to evil; rather we groan, being burdened, because of the sin which dwells in us, the old man who lusts and rebels against the blessed dominion of grace; and we might be extremely cast down and dragged into despair were it not that “we see Jesus,” and perceive that in him we are not what the flesh would make us out to be. He represents us most truthfully, and looking into that mirror we see ourselves justified in Christ Jesus, accepted in the Beloved, adopted by the Father, dear to the eternal heart, yes, in him raised up together, and made to sit together in the heavenlies. We see self, and blush and are ashamed and dismayed; “but we see Jesus,” and his joy is in us, and our joy is full. Think of this, dear brother in Christ, the next time you are upon the dunghill of self-loathing. Now lift up your eyes, and see where he is in whom your life is hidden! See Jesus, and know that as he is so are you also before the Infinite Majesty. You are not condemned, for he is enthroned. You are not despised nor abhorred, for he is beloved and exalted. You are not in jeopardy of perishing, nor in danger of being cast away, for he dwells eternally in the bosom of the Lord God Almighty. What a vision this is for you, when you see Jesus, and see yourself complete in him, perfect in Christ Jesus!
10. Such a sight effectively clears our earthly future of all apprehension. It is true we may still be severely tempted, and the battle may go hard with us, but we see Jesus triumphant, and by this sign we grasp the victory. We shall perhaps be subjected to pain, to poverty, to slander, to persecution, and yet none of these things move us because we see Jesus exalted, and therefore know that these are under his power, and cannot touch us unless he grants them his permission to do so. Death is at times terrible in prospect, but its terror ceases when we see Jesus, who has passed safely through the shadows of the sepulchre, vanquished the tyrant of the tomb, and left an open passage to immortality for all his own. We see the pains, the groans, and dying strife; see them, indeed, exaggerated by our fears, and the only cure for the resultant alarm is a sight of him who has said, “He who believes in me, though he were dead, yet he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in me shall never die.” When we see Jesus, past, present, and to come are summed up in him, and over all shines a glorious life which fills our souls with unspeakable delight.
11. III. Thirdly, “we see Jesus” with most glad EXPECTATION.
12. His glorious person is for us the picture and the pledge of what we shall be: for “it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” In infinite love he condescended to become one with us here below, as the apostle says, “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise partook of the same”; and this descent of love on his part to meet us in our low estate is the assurance that his love will lift us up to meet him in his high estate. He will make us partakers of his nature, inasmuch as he has become partaker of our nature. It is written, “Both he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all of one: for which reason he is not ashamed to call them brethren.” What bliss this is that we should be like the incarnate God! It would seem too good to be true, were it not after the manner of our Lord to do great things and unsearchable for us.
13. Nor may we only derive comfort concerning our future from his person, we may also be made glad by a hope concerning his place. Where we see Jesus to be, there shall we also be. His heaven is our heaven. His prayer secures that we shall be with him where he is, so that we may behold his glory. Today we may be in a workhouse, or in the ward of a hospital, or in a rundown hovel, “but we see Jesus,” and we know that before long we shall dwell in the palace of the great King.
14. The glory of Jesus strikes the eye at once, and so we are made to exalt in his position, for it, too, is ours. He will allow us to sit upon his throne, even as he sits upon the Father’s throne. He has made us kings and priests to God, and we shall reign for ever and ever. Whatever of rest, happiness, security, and honour our glorious Bridegroom has attained, he will certainly share it with his spouse; yes, and all his people shall know what it is to be heirs of God, joint-heirs with Jesus Christ, if indeed we suffer with him that we may also be glorified together.
15. How soon our condition shall rise into complete likeness to the ascended Lord we cannot tell, but it cannot be long, and it may be a very short time. The veil of time is in some cases very thin, another week may be the only separation. And then! Ah, then! We shall see Jesus, and what a sight it will be! Heaven lies in that vision. It is all the heaven our loving hearts desire.
16. The sight of Jesus which we now enjoy is a foretaste of the clearer sight which is reserved for us, and therefore it will be a happy wisdom to be much in its enjoyment. A thousand things tempt us away, and yet there is not one of them worth a moment’s thought in comparison. What are works of art and discoveries of science if compared with our Beloved? What are the gems which adorn the brow of beauty, or the eyes which flash from the face of loveliness, if placed in rivalry with him? Other matters, weighty and important, call for our thought; and yet we may place even these in a secondary position when Jesus is near.
17. We may not be doctors of divinity, much as we would desire to be deeply instructed in the truth; “but we see Jesus.” We cannot pry into many mysteries; “but we see Jesus.” Where the divine sovereignty harmonizes with human responsibility is too deep a problem for us; “but we see Jesus.” The times and the seasons baffle us, the end is dark to us, “but we see Jesus.” Glory over us, you far seeing prophets! Deride us, you far-sighted philosophers! We leave you to your boastings. We are poor, short-sighted beings, and know very little, but one thing we know, whereas we were once blind, now we see, and “we see Jesus.”
18. This sight has made us unable to see many things which now dazzle our fellow men. They can see priestly power in a certain set of men like themselves. We cannot see this, for “we see Jesus,” as ending the line of sacrificing priests, and bestowing a common priesthood upon all the saints. Many see great wisdom in the various schools of doubt, in which we see nothing except pretentious folly, for “we see Jesus,” and all human wisdom pales before the wisdom of God, which is perfected in him. Certain of our brethren see perfection in the flesh, “but we see Jesus”; others see the church, and their own sect, “but we see Jesus.” A few see nothing except their own separateness from everyone else, and the unique excellence of their exclusiveness, “but we see Jesus.”
19. Come, beloved, let us get into our secret chambers of communion, and there see Jesus as from the hill of Pisgah. Let us turn the pages of Scripture, and see Jesus there amid the beds of spices. Let us frequent ordinances, especially the breaking of bread, and see Jesus there. Let us watch in our experience, as we are conformed to his sufferings, and see him there. Let us go into the field of holy labour, and as we gird ourselves and put on the yoke of service, let us see our Master there. Yes, in all things let us learn to see our Lord, for nature and Providence, experience and Scripture are hung with mirrors which reflect him. Until the day breaks and the shadows flee away let us continue to gaze upon him, until our eyes shall actually see him for ourselves and not another. May this be the grand distinction of our lives: whatever others may see or not see,
“WE SEE JESUS.”