2060. The Messages Of Our Lord’s Love

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No. 2060-34:705. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, August 5, 1888, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

Go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goes before you into Galilee: there you shall see him, as he said to you. {Mr 16:7}

1. See, brethren! Jesus delights to meet his people. He is no sooner risen from the dead than he sends a message by an angel to say that he will meet his disciples. His delight is in them. He loves them with a very tender love, and he is happiest when he is in their midst. Do not think that you will have to entreat and persuade your Lord to come to you; he delights in near and dear fellowship. The heavenly Bridegroom finds solace in your company, if you are indeed espoused to him. Oh, that you were more anxious to be with him!

2. Our Lord knows that, to his true people, the greatest joy they ever have is for him to meet them. The disciples were at their saddest. Their Lord, as they thought, was dead. They had just passed the dreariest Sabbath of their lives, for he was in the tomb; and now, to comfort them, he sends no message but this — that he will meet them. He knew that there would be magic in that news to cheer their aching hearts. He would meet them: that would be all-sufficient consolation: “Go into Galilee; there you shall see him.”

3. If all the sorrows of God’s people could be poured out in one vast pile, what a mountain they would make! How varied our distresses! How diverse our depressions! But, beloved, if Jesus will meet us, all the sadness will fly away, and all the sorrow will grow light. Only give us his company, and we have all things. You know what I mean, many of you. Our Lord has made our hearts to leap for joy in sorrowful times. When we have been filled with physical pain, his company has made us forget the body’s weakness; and when we have just come from the grave, and our heart has been ready to break through bereavement, the sight of the Saviour has sweetened our bitter cup. In his presence we have felt resigned to the great Father’s will, and content to say, “It is the Lord: let him do what seems good to him.” Until the day breaks, and the shadows flee away for ever, we want nothing but our Well-Beloved’s company. “Abide with me! Abide with me!” — this is our one prayer; and if we have that fulfilled, all other desires may wait their turn.

4. My subject is chosen with a view to our coming, as we always do on the first day of the week, to this table of communion. I want every child of God here to seek after, indeed, to gain, full fellowship with Christ. I long to enjoy it myself, so that I may preach a Saviour in whose presence I live. I long for you to enjoy it, so that you may hear, not my voice, but his voice, which is sweeter than the music of angels’ harps. Oh, that those who do not know our Lord may now be made to hunger for his surpassing sweetness! He is willing to come to you. A prayer will find him; a tear will draw him; a look of faith will hold him firm. Cast yourself on Jesus, and his open arms will joyfully receive you.

5. But now to the text, I shall take it just as it stands, and make five observations about it.

6. I. The first is: JESUS, SO THAT HE MAY MEET HIS PEOPLE, ISSUES INVITATIONS, AND THE INVITATIONS ARE VERY GRACIOUS — “Go, tell his disciples and Peter.” “Tell his disciples.” The invitation is most gracious as directed to them, for “they all forsook him, and fled.”

7. On that night, that doleful night, when he most needed company, they slept; and when they woke up and he was taken off to the hall of Caiaphas, they fled — yes, every one of them; there was not a steadfast spirit among them. They all fled. “Shame on them!” you say? Yes, but Jesus was not ashamed of them; for in one of the first speeches of his glorious life on earth he especially mentions them. “Tell my disciples”: not picking and choosing, here and there, a heart more faithful than the rest, but mentioning the whole cowardly company, he says, “Tell my disciples.” Brethren, disciples of Christ, Jesus would meet us now; let us hurry to his presence. Not one among us dares plume himself upon his fidelity; we have all at times played the coward. Each one of us may hide our faces when we think of our Lord’s most faithful love for us. We have never acted towards him according to his deservings. If he had banished us: if he had said, “I will no more acknowledge this dastardly company,” we could not have wondered; but he invites us all, all who are his disciples — invites us to himself. Will you stay away? Will any of you be satisfied without beholding that dear countenance, more marred than that of any man, and yet more lovely than the face of angels? Come, all who follow him, for he invites you to come. Hear the address of the message — “Tell my disciples.”

8. But the bounty and beauty of his grace lay in this — that one had been worse than the rest, and, therefore, for him there is a special finger to beckon him, a special word to call him: “Tell my disciples AND PETER.” He who denied his Lord, he who cursed as he denied, he who, after boisterous self-confidence, trembled at the jest of a maid, is he to be called? Yes, “Tell my disciples and Peter.” If any of you have behaved worse towards your Master than others, you are particularly called to come to him now. You have grieved him, and you have been grieving because you have grieved him. You have been brought to repentance after having slidden away from him, and now he seals your pardon by inviting you to himself. He invites you not to stand in the background, but to come in with the rest and commune with him.

9. Peter, where are you? The crowing of the cock is still in your ear, and the tear is still in your eye, yet come and welcome, for you love him. He knows you do. You are grieved that a doubt should be cast upon your love. Come, he has forgiven you; he has given you signs of it in your broken heart and tearful eye. Come, Peter! Come, if no one else should come. Jesus Christ invites you by name before any other. In this place there may be believers who have acted strangely, and have even forsaken the Lord, and they are now bemoaning themselves. Go on with your holy sorrow, but come to your Lord. Do not be content until you have seen him, until you have laid hold upon him by a fresh grip of faith, and until you can say, “My beloved is mine, and I am his.”

10. Most tender, then, are the invitations which Jesus issues. Part of the tenderness now lies in the lips which deliver the message on the Lord’s behalf. The women came, and said — Jesus has said to us, by an angel, he will go before us into Galilee, and there you shall see him. I am always thankful that God has committed the ministry of the Word, not to angels, but to us poor men. As I told you a little while ago, you may grow tired of me and my stammerings; but yet they are more suitable for you than nobler strains might be. I have no doubt that if you had an angel to preach to you, there would be a very great crowd, and for a time you would say, “It is wonderful”; but it would be so cold from lack of human sympathy, that you would soon weary of the lofty style. An angel would try to be kind, as became his heavenly nature, but he would not be kinned, and you must necessarily miss the kindness which comes from kinship. I speak to you as bone of your bone, and flesh of your flesh: I speak to you, teacher, for I am a teacher. I speak to you, disciple, for I am a disciple, and I dare not think myself greater than the least of you. Let us come hand in hand to our dear Saviour, and all together let us pray to him to reveal himself to us as he does not do to the world. This, then, is my first point — his invitations are gracious.

11. II. Secondly, we see in our text that JESUS KEEPS HIS TRYST. {appointment} “I will go before you into Galilee.”

12. If you turn to Mr 14:27,28, you will see that he told them before he died, “All of you shall be offended because of me tonight: for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.’ But after I am risen, I will go before you into Galilee.” He will be where he says he will be. Jesus never breaks a promise. It is a great vexation, especially to us who are very busy, when someone says, “Will you meet me at such and such a place?” “Yes; at what hour?” The hour is appointed. We are there. Thank God, we never were a half-minute behind time when it was possible to be punctual; but punctuality is a lesson which very few people as yet have learned. We wait, and wait wearily, and perhaps we leave the place to let our dilatory friends know that if they are in eternity we are in time, and cannot afford to lose any of it. Many people make an engagement and break it, as if it were just nothing at all to be guilty of a practical lie. It is not so with Jesus: he says, “I will go before you into Galilee”; and into Galilee he will go. When he promises to meet his people he will meet them without fail, and without delay.

13. Let us dwell on this appointment for a minute. Why did our Lord say that he would go to Galilee? Was it because it was his old haunt, and being risen from the dead, he desired to go back to the place where he had been accustomed to be — to the lake, and to the hill-side? Surely there is something in that. It was their old haunt, too: they were fishermen on that lake, and he would take them back to the place where a thousand memories would be awakened by their voices, like echoes which lie asleep among the hills. Besides it would provide witnesses to his identity, for the Galileans knew him well: since he had been brought up there. He would go where he was known, and show himself in his former places of resort.

14. Perhaps, too, it was because the place was despised. He has risen, and he will go to Galilee. He is not ashamed to be called the Galilean and the Nazarene. The risen One does not go to the halls of princes, but to the villages of peasants and fishermen. There was no pride in Jesus: not even the smell of that fire had passed upon him. He was always meek and lowly in heart.

15. Did he not also go to Galilee, because it was a good distance from Jerusalem, so that those who would meet him might take a little trouble? Our Beloved would be sought after. A journey after him will endear his company. He will not meet you at Jerusalem, perhaps — at least, not the whole company of you; but he will show himself by the sea in distant Galilee.

16. Do you think he went to Galilee because it was “Galilee of the Gentiles,” that he might get as near to us Gentiles as his mission allowed? He was sent as a preacher only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel; but he travelled to the very edge of his diocese to get as near to the Gentiles (I mean to ourselves) as he could. Oh, happy word for us aliens! — “I will go before you into Galilee.” So he said; and when he left the tomb, he kept his word.

17. Now, beloved, we have his word for it, that he will come and meet us where we are met together. “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them”; and does he not keep his word? How many times in our assemblies, great and small, have we said, “The Lord was there!” How frequently have we forgotten preacher and fellow worshippers, feeling ourselves in the presence of a greater than mortal man! Our eyes of faith have seen the King in his beauty, revealing his love to us. Oh, yes! he keeps his tryst. He comes to his people, and he never disappoints them. I think this is particularly true of the table of communion. How often he has met us there! I am compelled to repeat my personal testimony. I have never omitted being at the Lord’s table on any Sabbath of my life for many years past, except when I have been ill, or unable to attend; and I am therefore able to answer the question — Does not frequency diminish the solemnity of the ordinance? I have not found it so; but rather it grows on me. That broken bread, that poured out wine, the emblems of his flesh and blood — these bring him very near. It seems as if sense lent aid to faith; and through these two windows of agates, and gates of carbuncles, we come very near to our Lord. What have we here but himself, under instructive emblems? What do we do here but remember him? What is our business here but to show his death until he comes? And so, though we may not have seen him physically by the way, for our eyes have been blinded, yet we have seen him in the breaking of bread. May it always be so! May we prove that Jesus keeps his pledge. He will be with us even now. Suppose Jesus had said that he would come into this place tonight in literal flesh and blood, you would all be sitting in expectation, and saying to each other, “When will he come?” The preacher would be waiting to drop back, or fall upon his knees in adoration, while his Master stood in the forefront. You will not see him like that; but may your faith, which is much better than eyesight, experience him as the present Christ, near to each one of you. If he were here in the flesh, he might stand here, and then he might be near to me, but far off from my friends over there; but coming in spirit he can be equally near to us all, and speak to each one of us personally, as though each one were the only person present.

18. III. My third observation is, JESUS IS ALWAYS FIRST AT EVERY APPOINTED MEETING. So runs the text: “He goes before you into Galilee.” Remember that promise, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am” — not “there I will be.” Jesus is there before his disciples reach the place. The first to reach the house is he who is first in the house. We come to him: it is not that we meet, and then he comes to us; but he goes before us, and we gather to him.

19. Does it not teach us that he is the Shepherd? He said, “Strike the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered; but after I am risen, I will go before you into Galilee.” He would take up the Shepherd’s place again, and go before the flock, and the sheep would take up the position of the flock again, no longer scattered, but following at the Shepherd’s heel. Great Master, come tonight; call your sheep to yourself! Speak to us, look upon us, and we will arise, and follow you.

20. Is he not first, next, because he is the centre? We gather to him. You must choose a centre before you can mark out the circumference. When Israel travelled through the wilderness, the first place to use for an encampment was the place where the tabernacle and the ark should rest, and then the tents were set around it. Jesus is our centre; he must therefore be first, and we rejoice to hear him say, “I will go before you into Galilee.” He will take the first place, and we will cluster around him as bees around their queen. Do you always gather to the name of Christ, beloved? If you gather to the name of any minister, or any sect, you gather amiss. Our gatherings must be to the Lord Jesus: he must be the centre, and he alone; let us take care of that.

21. Next, he goes before us naturally, because he is the host. If there is to be a feast, the first person to be there is the one who provides it — the master or mistress who sits at the head of the table. It would never do for the guests to be there first, and then for the master to come hurrying home, crying, “Excuse me: I quite forgot that you were to be here at six o’clock!” Oh no, the host must be first! When Jesus invites us to come to him, and says he will sup with us, and we with him, he will be sure to be first, so as to prepare the feast. He goes before us into Galilee.

22. But surely, the reason why he is first is this — that he is more ready for us than we are for him. It takes us time to get ready for communion, to dress our souls, and collect our thoughts. Are you all ready for the Lord’s Supper tonight? Some of you, perhaps, have come carelessly here, and yet you are members of the church, and intend to stay for the Supper. Beloved, try to come with a prepared heart, for the communion will be to you very much what you make it; and if your thoughts and desires are not right, what can the outward emblems be to you? On our Lord’s part all things are ready, and he waits to receive you, and to bless you. Therefore he is first at the appointed meeting-place.

23. I may also add that he is much more eager to have fellowship with you than you are to have fellowship with him. It is a strange thing that it should be so, but it is so. He, the great lover of our souls, burns with a passionate desire to press his people to his heart; and we, the objects of such a matchless love, recoil, and reward the ardour of his affection with lukewarmness. It must not be so on this occasion. I have said to my Lord, “Let me either feast upon you or hunger after you.” I pray that you may have such a burning thirst for Jesus at this hour that you must drink of his cup or pine with thirst for him.

24. IV. The fourth observation is this: THE LORD JESUS REVEALS HIMSELF TO HIS PEOPLE. How does the text run? “He goes before you into Galilee. There you shall see him.”

25. The main object is to see him. He will go to Galilee on purpose so that he may reveal himself to them. My dear brethren, this is what they needed beyond everything else. Their sorrow was because they thought him to be dead; their joy would be because they saw him alive. Their griefs were multitudinous, but this one consolation would end them all. If they could only see Jesus, they would look their fears away. What have you come here for tonight, children of God? I trust that you can answer, “Sir, we would see Jesus.” If our Master will come, and we shall feel his presence, it will not matter how feebly I speak, or how poor the service may be in itself, you will say, “It was good to be there, for the Lord drew near to us in all the glory of his love.” His presence is what you need.

26. And this is what he readily gives. Jesus is very familiar with his people. Some worship a Saviour who sits enthroned above in the stately dignity of indifference; but our Lord is not so. Though reigning in heaven, he is still conversant with his people below. He is a brother born for adversity. Spiritually he communes with us. Do you know what the company of Christ is? Are you altogether taken up with doctrines about him, or with ceremonies that concern him. If so, yours is a poor life; but the joy of the inner life is to know, and to speak with, and to dwell with the Lord Jesus. Do you understand this? I charge you, do not be satisfied until you come to personal and intimate communion with your Lord. Short of this, you are short of the privilege which he sees you need, for this is his great promise, “There you shall see me.”

27. What is more, this sight of him is what our Lord effectively bestows. Jesus not only exhibits himself, but he opens our eyes, so that we may enjoy the sight. “There you shall see me.” He may be revealed, and yet blind eyes will not see him. Blessed Master, come and take the scales away and make our hearts capable of spiritual perception! It is not everyone who can see God, and yet God is everywhere. The eye must first be cleansed. Jesus says, “There you shall see me”; and he knows how to open our eyes, so that we do see him. Our Lord can make this to be the absorbing occupation of his people. “He goes before you into Galilee” — and what then? “There you shall see him.” Why, they went fishing, did they not? Yes, but they were called away from that. “There you shall see him.” They took a great haul of fish, did they not? Yes, yes, yes; but that was a mere incident: the grand fact was, that they saw him. I pray the Lord to make the one occupation of our lives the seeing of HIM. May all the lower lights grow dim. Where are the stars at midday? They are all in their places, but you only see the sun. Where are a thousand things when Christ appears? They are all where they should be, but you only see him. May the Lord cause all other loves to vanish, and himself alone to fill our hearts, so that it may be true of us, “There you shall see him!”

28. I have proceeded so far, crying to the Holy Spirit for help, and now comes the fifth observation, with which we close.

29. V. OUR LORD REMEMBERS HIS OWN PROMISES. It was before he died that he said he would go before them into Galilee, and now that he has risen from the dead, he says, by the mouth of his angel, “There you shall see him, as he said to you.” The rule of Christ’s action is his own word. What he has said he will perform. You and I forget his promises, but he never does. “As he said to you” is the memory of all that he has spoken. Why does our Lord remember and repeat what he has so graciously spoken?

30. He does so because he spoke with foresight, and forethought, and care. We make promises and forget them because we did not consider the matter well before we spoke; but if we have thought, calculated, weighed, estimated, and come to a deliberate resolve before we speak, then we earnestly remember what we resolved upon. No promise of our Lord Jesus has been spoken in haste, to be repented of afterwards. Infinite wisdom directs infinite love; and when infinite love takes the pen to write a promise, infallible wisdom dictates every syllable.

31. Jesus does not forget, because he spoke the promise with his whole heart. It is not every tongue that represents a heart at all; but even though true people, we say many things which we mean, but there is no depth of feeling, no potent emotion, no stirring of the heart’s centre. Our Lord, when he said, “You shall be scattered; but after I am risen, I will go before you into Galilee,” spoke with a heavy heart, with many a melting sigh; and his whole soul went with the promise which closed the mournful scene. He has purchased what he promised, purchased it with his blood, and therefore he speaks most solemnly, and with his whole heart. There is no trifling on Christ’s part with one to whom he makes a promise, and therefore he never forgets.

32. And, once more, his honour is bound up with every promise. If he had said that he would go to Galilee, and he had not gone, his disciples would have felt that he had made a mistake, or that he had failed. Brethren, if Christ’s promise were to fail, what should we think of it? But he will never jeopardize his faithfulness and veracity.

   As well might he his being quit,
   As break his promise or forget.

Let the words of man be blown away like the chaff; but the words of Jesus must stand, for he will not tarnish his truth, which is one of the choicest of his crown-jewels.

33. I want you to think this thought over in your quiet times. Jesus remembers all that he has spoken; do not let our hearts forget. Go to him with his covenant bonds and gracious promises: he will recognise his own signature. He will honour his own promises to the utmost, and no one who trusts in him shall complain of his having exaggerated.

34. I am finished when I have said just this. I am very anxious that at this time we should come into real fellowship with Christ, at the table. Jesus, you have made us hunger after you; will you not feed us? You have made us thirst after you; will you not supply that thirst? Do you think that our Beloved intends to tantalize us? Our hunger is such that it would break through stone walls; shall we find his heart hard as a stone wall? No; he will clear the way, and we on our part will burst through all obstacles to come to him. “But,” one says, “how can I come to him, poor, unknown, unworthy one that I am?” Such were the disciples at the lake. They were fishermen; and when he came to them, they had been toiling all night. Are you working for him? Then he will come to you. Expect him now. “Ah!” one says, “I have been working without success” — you are a poor minister whose congregation is falling off, whose church is not increased by conversions — you have toiled all the night, and taken nothing. Or you are a Sunday School teacher, who cannot see her girls converted; or a brother who mourns that his boys are not coming to Christ. Well, I see who you are; you are just the kind of people whom Jesus came to, for they had toiled all night in vain. Are you hungry? Jesus cries, “Children, do you have any food?” He comes to you and enquires about your hunger; while on the shore he has a fire of coals, and fish laid on them, and bread. “Come and dine,” he says. The table is spread. Come to him! He is your food, your hope, your joy, your heaven. Come to him; give him no rest until he reveals himself to you, and you know for certain that it is your Lord who embraces you. So may he do, to each of us just now, for his sweet love’s sake! Amen.

[Portion Of Scripture Read Before Sermon — Mr 16:1-14]
{See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, Names and Titles — Jesus” 385}
{See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Privileges, Communion with Jesus — Condescending Love” 784}
{See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Privileges, Communion with Jesus — ‘Whom Having Not Seen We Love’ ” 785}
Three Drops Of Honey From The Rock Of Christ
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2059, “The Miracles Of our Lord’s Death” 2060}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2060, “The Messages of Our Lord’s Love” 2061}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2061, “The Evidence of Our Lord’s Wounds” 2062}

Jesus Christ, Names and Titles
385 — Jesus
1 Jesus, I love thy charming name,
   ‘Tis music to mine ear;
   Fain would I sound it out so loud
   That earth and heaven should hear.
2 Yes, thou art precious to my soul,
   My transport and my trust:
   Jewels to thee are gaudy toys,
   And gold is sordid dust.
3 All my capacious powers can wish
   In thee doth richly meet;
   Nor to mine eyes is light so dear
   Nor friendship half so sweet.
4 Thy grace still dwells upon my heart,
   And sheds its fragrance there;
   The noblest balm of all its wounds,
   The cordial of its care.
5 I’ll speak the honours of thy name
   With my last labouring breath;
   Then speechless, clasp thee in my arms,
   The antidote of death.
                     Philip Doddridge, 1755.

The Christian, Privileges, Communion with Jesus
784 — Condescending Love
1 Oh see how Jesus trust himself
      Unto our childish love,
   As though by his free ways with us
      Our earnestness to prove!
2 His sacred name a common word
      On earth he loves to hear;
   There is no majesty in him
      Which love may not come near.
3 The ligft of love is round his feet,
      His paths are never dim!
   And he comes nigh to us when we
      Dare not come nigh to him.
4 Let us be simple with him, then,
      Not backward, stiff, or cold,
   As though our Bethlehem could be
      What Sina was of old.
               Frederick W. Faber, 1852.

The Christian, Privileges, Communion with Jesus
785 — “Whom Having Not Seen We Love”
1 Jesus, these eyes have never seen
      That radiant form of thine!
   The veil of sense hangs dark between
      Thy blessed face and mine!
2 I see thee not, I hear thee not,
      Yet art thou oft with me;
   And earth hath ne’er so dear a spot.
      As where I meet with thee.
3 Like some bright dream that comes unsought,
      When slumbers o’er me roll,
   Thine image ever fills my thought,
      And charms my ravish’d soul.
4 Yet though I have not seen, and still
      Must rest in faith alone;
   I love thee, dearest Lord! and will,
      Unseen, but not unknown.
5 When death these mortal eyes shall seal,
      And still this throbbing heart,
   The rending veil shall thee reveal,
      All glorious as thou art!
                           Ray Palmer, 1858.

Spurgeon Sermons

These sermons from Charles Spurgeon are a series that is for reference and not necessarily a position of Answers in Genesis. Spurgeon did not entirely agree with six days of creation and dives into subjects that are beyond the AiG focus (e.g., Calvinism vs. Arminianism, modes of baptism, and so on).

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