3050. The Errand Of Mercy

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No. 3050-53:361. A Sermon Delivered On Lord's Day Evening During The Year 1865, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Published On Thursday, July 25, 1907.

For the Son of man is come to seek and to save those who were lost. {Lu 19:10} {a}


For other sermons on this text:

   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 204, “Mission of the Son of Man, The” 197}

   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1100, “Good News for the Lost” 1091}

   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2756, “Saving the Lost” 2757}

   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3050, “Errand of Mercy, The” 3051}

   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3309, “Christ the Seeker and Saviour of the Lost” 3311}

   Exposition on Lu 18:31-19:10 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2458, “Reasons for an Exceptional Question” 2459 @@ "Exposition"}

   Exposition on Lu 18:35-19:10 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2665, “Day to be Remembered, A” 2666 @@ "Exposition"}

   Exposition on Lu 18:36-19:10 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2755, “Must He?” 2756 @@ "Exposition"}

   Exposition on Lu 19:1-27 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2701, “Jesus Joyfully Received” 2702 @@ "Exposition"}

   Exposition on Lu 19 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3050, “Errand of Mercy, The” 3051 @@ "Exposition"}


1. God came down from heaven only once to be united with human flesh. On what errand did he come, and who were the objects of it? What messenger was sent on that errand? What method was pursued by him? With what success was it attended? Our text gives us the information: “The Son of man is come to seek and to save those who were lost.” Let us speak briefly on these four points.

2. I. First, AS FOR THE OBJECT OF CHRIST’S ERRAND: “The Son of man is come to seek and to save those who were lost.”

3. That word “lost” is constantly applied by desponding and despairing people to themselves. Such people say, “We are lost, — we feel that we are lost, totally lost; there is no hope for us.” In this they betray both their ignorance and their unbelief; — their ignorance, for to be lost is nothing so special that they should claim to be heirs of a strange doom, since the whole human race is lost; and their unbelief, since Christ came especially to seek and to save the lost. Therefore, their being lost is not a reason for despair, but may be construed into a reason for hope. Let us think over that word “lost,” and see in what sense those are lost whom Christ came to save.

4. Christ came to save those who were lost hereditarily. You often hear people say, “Man is in a state of probation.” There is no such thing for no man is now in a state of probation. Adam was in a state of probation, and man in Adam was in a state of probation in the garden as long as he stood in obedience to the test that was given. He was on trial; but the moment that Adam tasted of the forbidden fruit, the probation was over, he was a lost man; and our probation was over too, for we were lost in him. Man, in this world, is either in a state of condemnation or a state of salvation. “He who does not believe” is not in a state of probation; he is “condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God.” We have divine authority for this. A man who has believed in Jesus is not in a state of probation, for “there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” and, “beloved, now we are the sons of God.” The fact is, that we are all absolutely lost through the sin of Adam, and we need a revelation to show us that we are absolutely saved in the righteousness of Christ. It is not a question whether I shall fall or not; I have fallen in Adam. {b} “By one man’s disobedience,” says the apostle, “many were made sinners.” I stood in Adam as long as he stood; but when Adam fell, he so represented me, and all my kith and kin, that I fell in him, and fell so as to be hopelessly and for ever lost, if Jesus Christ had not stepped in “to seek and to save those who were lost.”

5. We are lost, again, in another sense; we are lost naturally. It is supposed, by some, that man has it now in his power to choose his own character, and so become the arbiter of his own destiny; that his nature is, at first, in such a state of equilibrium that he can select either the strait and narrow path of rectitude, or pursue the broad road which leads to destruction. No, my dear friends, both Scripture and experience teach us otherwise. We are born with natures that incline towards what is evil, and never by themselves tend towards what is good. “Behold,” says David, “I was formed in iniquity; and in sin my mother conceived me.” Well did Job ask, “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.” {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2734, “Out of Nothing Comes Nothing” 2735} How, then, can he be pure who is born of a woman who is herself sinful? How can we, who are impure, be the parents of pure children? Such a thing is not possible. The whole head of human nature is sick, and the whole heart faint. Naturally, from our very birth we go astray, speaking lies. There is written on human nature, by the finger of our first parent, this word, “Lost!” — lost to God, therefore lost to the virtuous exercise of the affections and the true balance of the judgment, lost to rectitude, the will lost to obedience, the mental vision lost concerning a sight of God, the moral sense lost concerning that proper sensibility of conscience by which it shall stand up against sin. The reigning power in man is dislodged from its place; manhood’s glory, his victory and integrity, lost, lost for ever, unless some greater Man shall restore it. This is how we truthfully describe the whole human race; and so, surely, those whom Christ came to save were hereditarily and naturally lost.

6. Among these, there are some so totally lost to all feeling that they do not know they are lost. Even the preaching of the gospel does not suffice to bring them to a consciousness of their condition. Their conscience has become seared, and their heart hardened by perversity in sin. If they once knew what it was to tremble at the wrath to come, that time is past. Even the wooings of divine mercy fall on them as oil would fall on marble, and run off without producing any effect. They wish they could feel; they envy souls that despair, and wish that they themselves could despair. They despair, however, of ever being able to get into a good enough state of heart to despair. “If anything is felt,” they say, “it is only pain to find we cannot feel,” and not much of that is felt. Now, even such sinners as these Jesus Christ came to save; and we know this, because such were some of us. Do I not remember the time when I would have given my eye-teeth for a tear, and would have been willing to suffer anything if I could have only bent my knee, and uttered one groan? But my heart would not yield a sigh or my eyes a tear. I turned to the Book of God, but that did not move me. I listened to the preacher without emotion. It seemed as if even a dying Saviour’s groans could never move a heart so base as mine, and yet I bear witness that Christ came to save such, for I myself rejoice in his salvation. You who are lost to all feeling may well claim this text, “The Son of man is come to seek and to save those who were lost.”

7. Then there are others who are lost to all hope. It is in vain that you pray with them. They rise up from their knees, and thank you for your prayers, but they are assured that God will never hear them. They themselves sometimes pray, necessity drives them to their knees; but they pray with the conviction that they are merely talking to a God whose mind is made up about them, and determined to cast them for ever from his presence; comforts that are available to others are of no use to them. You may adroitly seek to adjust your consolation so as to suit their case, but they ward off your comfort as skilfully as a warrior guards himself from the enemy’s arrow with his shield. They will not hear a word of comfort, charm you ever so wisely. They have made up their minds that there cannot be anything in the Book of God for them except thunder and lightning, and “a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation.” Indeed, and if they had their own names put in the Bible, and a promise appended to their names, they would deny their own names and the promise too. They have come to be in such a state of subjection to that tyrant Unbelief that they say, “We shall never have hope; it is impossible that such sinners as we are should ever be partakers of eternal life.” If you ask them the reason for their despair, they cannot always tell you. “No,” they say, “we would not tell any man living what we have done, and what we feel.” In one case, it is some overwhelming sin; in another case, it is having resisted at certain periods the convictions of conscience; or yet again, it is old age, their having been living so long a time in impenitence. They have all different arguments, and none of them are the arguments of truth. They believe Satan’s lie, that God is not willing to forgive, in preference to God’s own oath: “As I live,” says the Lord God, “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live.” {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1795, “Pleading and Encouragement” 1796} I do not know how it is that these poor souls manage to get away from such texts as these, — “All kinds of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven to men,” — “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin,” — “He is able also to save to the uttermost those who come to God by him, since he lives for ever to make intercession for them”; and such a one as this, — “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 184, “The Glorious Gospel” 177} {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1345, “For Whom is the Gospel Meant?” 1336} {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1416, “The Faithful Saying” 1407} {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1837, “A Great Gospel for Great Sinners” 1838} {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2300, “The Whole Gospel in a Single Verse” 2301} I say again that I do not know how they escape from the soothing influence of such words of hope; but they do manage, by some means, to flee from them; and they still hug their chains, and sit in a kind of wilful bondage in the darkness of their dungeon. Yet Jesus came to save just such sinners as those, and there are some here, of a light step and bright eye, who once were “bound in affliction and iron”; but you have been brought out of the valley of the shadow of death, and Christ has broken your bonds asunder. You can now sing praises to God, and your songs shall testify to others, who were your fellow captives, that Jesus Christ has come “to seek and to save those who were lost.”

8. Some, whom Christ saves, are lost socially. Their names are not mentioned in the family now; they would bring such a pang to the mother’s heart, such a flush to the father’s cheek. They could not enter now into any respectable society; they are marked men and marked women. There are some who are lost even before the law of the land. The hand of justice has been laid on them, and they are held in bonds under the law; it may be that they are even marked as felons. Yet the Son of man has come to seek and to save those who are socially lost. When the gates of society are shut, the gates of mercy are not shut. When man considers the case to be utterly hopeless, and the social outcasts are put into a kind of leper house, lest the infection should spread, Jesus walks into the leper house, and touches the leper, and says, “Be clean.” You may shut them out from yourselves, but not from the Saviour. When they have come to their worst, and have run the whole round of dissipation, until they themselves are jaded and sick, still the Master can step in, and whisper into that ear, rendered attentive by pain and sickness, and snatch the fire-brand from the flame, to the glory of his own grace.

9. Others, whom the Saviour doubtless came to save, were, at one time, lost openly and determinedly. There have been those who have made a league with Satan, and a covenant with death; they have said, “Turn to God? Never, we will burn first.” They have not only resisted conscience, but they have, as it were, proclaimed a fight to the death against God himself. They have called heaven and earth to witness that they were the slaves of Satan, and had chosen him to be their master, and would serve him to their dying hour; yet their covenant with death has been broken, and their league with hell has been annulled. God has yet, by mighty grace, made them quite as decidedly his servants as they were once the servants of the evil one. Oh! what has grace not done, and what can it not still do? Take the word “lost” in the very worst possible sense that you can attach to it, and still my text shall apply to it also: “The Son of man is come to seek and to save those who were lost.”

10. Perhaps, of all lost souls, the most miserably lost are those who perish under the sound of the gospel. There are some of you who have been prayed over, and preached at, and wept over year after year, until you seem to be hopeless cases. You yourselves feel that there is a hardness which is created in the light of the gospel which is not created anywhere else. The same sun which melts wax hardens clay, and it has hardened you in an awful way until, now, you really dread to hear the gospel lest you should drift even further away from God. Well, even such lost ones Jesus came to save. I am conscious that my language cannot sufficiently express the extent to which the word “lost” may be applied. Some of you think there is very little difference between you and the damned in hell: they feel the flame; you are waiting for it. You feel that they are undergoing the execution, while you are in the condemned cell; they have heard Christ say, “Depart, you cursed”; you feel that you are cursed, though he has not yet said to you, “Depart.” You think (though you think wrongly, let me say,) that your death-warrant has been signed and sealed; you declare that you might as well be banished from this world, for you know that, if you live ever so long, you will live and die without hope and without God. Ah! poor soul! Jesus Christ has come to seek and to save just such sinners as you are; and I trust that, notwithstanding all you say to the contrary, he has come to seek and to save you, — even you.

11. Such are the woe-begone objects of this mission of mercy; now let us turn to the Messenger of mercy, — the Saviour of the lost.

12. II. If the lost are to be saved, someone of extraordinary character must come to do it; indeed, IF THEY ARE TO BE SOUGHT AND FOUND, THERE MUST BE A SPECIAL MESSENGER.

13. Ordinary men, if they go to seek the lost ones, soon grow weary in the search. Perhaps they have to seek them where pride does not like to go, or to follow them when their perseverance fails, and their patience cannot endure. It needs a special One to seek the lost; but when the sinner is found, who can save the found one? No human arm is long enough, no human merits strong enough, no human plea prevalent enough; it is delightful, therefore, to read that “the Son of man is come to seek and to save those who were lost.”

14. Who is this Son of man? “Christ, who is over all, God blessed for ever.” Though peerless in dignity, he assumes a humble title with a lowly estate when he condescends to undertake this menial service. Before he came to be the Son of Mary, he was the eternal Son of God. He sat on the throne of his glory, adored by the spirits which his own hand had made; but he came down from that starry sky to seek and save the lost. This proves how full of compassion, how condescending, and how kind was God’s eternal Son. Lost one! here is some comfort for you. If Jesus, from his throne of glory, had compassion for you in your lost estate, and if it is the same compassionate One who is come to seek and to save the lost, then is he not the One to find and to save you?

15. But remember who he is, “the Son of man”; he gives himself that title, “the Son of man!” He feels as you feel; he was tempted in all points like you are tempted; he never had a single sin of his own, but he bore the sins of many, and he knows what the weight of sin is. You think Christ has forsaken you, and Christ once thought his Father had forsaken him: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” he cried. You are broken in heart; he knows what that means, for he said, “Reproach has broken my heart.” You think that all God’s waves and billows have gone over you; he said they had all gone over him, and in very truth they had. It is not possible that you should have a grief deeper than what the Saviour knew. You cannot plunge lower than he went. What if I say that, though sin is come over you so that you cannot look up, there cannot be so black a cloud of sin between you and God as there was once between the Substitute and the Father, for all the sins of his elect ones rolled like an ocean’s tempest between the God of justice and the Surety who was punished in our place. Think of Christ, you who are lost, as being just such a one as yourself, except in the matter of sin; — poor, having nowhere to lay his head, destitute, afflicted, and tormented, as much as you can be. He is the Son of man! Oh, rest on that tender bosom, and confide in that compassionate heart!

16. If it were merely that he came from heaven, it would be a proof of love and a sign of sympathy, but that is not enough. It is written, “He is come to seek and to save”; here is a proof of his action. He does not sit still and pity men, does not stand up and propose a plan for them, but he is come to seek and to save them! The angels celebrated his advent when they sang, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will towards men.” The Son of man is come! They watched him in his journey through the thirty-six years of his earthly pilgrimage, and they seemed to sing, “The Son of man is come to seek and to save.” But how the song must have deepened, with an amazing emphasis, when they saw him sweating in Gethsemane great drops of blood, when they saw him bound, and scourged, and tormented by the Roman soldiers, when they saw him bearing the weight of the cross, when they saw him fastened to the accursed tree, pouring out his soul in streams of blood; how they must have felt then that the Son of man was come to seek and to save! Earth heard the note, “The Son of man is come.” Sin heard it, and death heard it; and when the Saviour bowed his head on the cross, there went up a great shout, “The Son of man is come”; and startled hell heard it, when Satan saw those, whom he had expected to be his prey, delivered by the strong arm of the dying Sufferer. Heaven heard it as the peal rolled upward, and angels said, “The Son of man is come to bring up here those who were lost.” So, then, there is action in the Saviour, and on this you may rely.

17. I shall say very little more concerning the Saviour, except these few thoughts on which you may meditate at your leisure. He, who has come to save the lost, loved sinners from before the foundation of the world, was appointed by God to be their Saviour, comes on a divine mission clothed with the Spirit of power, comes with an atoning sacrifice in his hand, comes with a plea in his mouth, the voice of blood, “which speaks better things than that of Abel,” comes with love beaming from his eyes, and overpowering compassion in his heart, does not come to those who come to him, but to those who cannot come and are afraid to come. The Son of man, none other than he, who said, “I am meek and lowly of heart,” has come to seek and to save the lost.

18. III. Now notice THE PLAN OF THIS LOVING COMMISSION.

19. It does not say, “He is come to save” merely, but “to seek and to save.” It is an astounding thing, and a great proof of human depravity, that men themselves do not seek salvation. They even deny the necessity of it, and would sooner run away than be partakers of it. If you pass by a dispensary in the morning, you will often see the poor out-patients at the door; and when the time comes for the doctor to see them, many will be found waiting in his outer room; but you do not often hear of a doctor who goes out seeking for gratis patients. But my Saviour not only cures, but seeks the patients out; and if he did not, he would never have patients, for our sickness is of a kind that never brings men to the Physician, but drives them farther and farther from him.

20. He is come to seek them; he seeks them by the gospel; tonight he seeks some of you. He seeks them by providence. Sometimes, his rough providences seek them. At other times, the daily mercies of his goodness beckon them to come. He seeks them by the death of their fellows, — a mother’s death-bed, the snatching of a baby to heaven; — all these are the ways in which Jesus is seeking those who were lost. He seeks them effectively by his Spirit. His Spirit comes and reveals to them their darkness, points them to Christ, the true Light; and so clearly they are found, just where they are, and stand revealed to themselves in their ruin.

21. But it is added that he not only came to seek, but to save. “Oh!” one says, “I do not need any seeking; I am found. Convinced of my folly, here I sit, and acknowledge my sin. I am indeed, sought out, and found, but I need saving.” Now, friend, the Son of man has come to save the lost, as well as to seek them; and he does it in this way, — he saves them from the guilt of past sin. In one moment, as soon as ever the blood of Christ is applied to the conscience, every past sin is gone, and the man is, in God’s sight, as if he had never sinned. Christ puts away iniquity in a moment. The next thing he does is that he kills the power of sin within, and makes the man “a new creature.” He does not merely save him from the guilt of the past, but from the power of sin in the present. If he does not tear up sin by the roots, he at least cuts it down; and sin does not have dominion over us, because we are not under the law, but under grace. The man, who has trembled long, trembles no longer; he who was sinking deeper and deeper in the mire feels that there is a new song in his mouth, and that his goings are established. And just as he saves him from the power of sin in the present, so he saves him from future falling. He saves, not only for a year, or for ten years, and then lets men fall, but he finally and completely saves those who were lost. And this one act will enable you, sinner, to experience all this blessedness, — cast your guilty soul on him who saves you. Do this with your whole heart, and your sin is blotted out; your soul is saved, and you may go in peace.

22. IV. Lastly, let us rejoice in THE SUCCESS OF THIS BLESSED SCHEME.

23. “The Son of man is come to seek and to save those who were lost.” Does he succeed in what he came to do? He does, thank God! And, in these later times, we live to see how the Master does save those who were lost. The opening of the theatres for the preaching of the Word has been a very blessed thing; the raising up of evangelists, who have gone throughout the land preaching the Word, has been a proof that the Son of man has not ceased to seek and to save. When I look back to eleven years ago, when I began my pastorate in London, {c} I remember that there seemed to be very little care then about the preaching of the Word. We could not then do what we can now, count up some twenty evangelists always going through the country, and all of them in their measure useful men, — I mean such men as Richard Weaver, and Reginald Radcliffe, and Brownlow North, and a great many others, all in their way adapted to the work. It seemed then as if the Church of Christ had given up seeking the lost; but God has raised up one and another for the purpose of preaching the Word, fulfilling this Scripture, that “the Son of man is come to seek and to save those who were lost.”

24. Some say, “If the people want to hear the gospel, let them go to church or chapel; they can always hear the gospel when they like.” That is not Christ’s way; we are to go and seek them. Open-air preaching is a blessed institution; and though you may block up a thoroughfare sometimes, it is better to do that than that the thoroughfare to hell should be crowded. If you can turn a soul from the road to hell, it will not matter though you may turn some passenger in the street out of his way, so that he may have to mire his boots. Midnight services, hunting after the poor sinners in the streets at midnight, the opening of Ragged Schools {d} and Reformatories, — all these things, are the fulfilling of the word, “The Son of man is come to seek those who were lost.”

25. We know that he seeks; but does he save them? If I must give an answer from my own observation, I can point to many members of this congregation, and say, “Save them? Indeed he does! Has he not delivered them from the bonds of sin? Has he not made them new creatures in Christ Jesus?” But if you look anywhere, wherever a faithful gospel is preached, you will see that salvation-work does go on. I hope it may go on with us for many and many a year, until Christ shall come. Christ is not disappointed in the souls he came to save. All for whom he stood as Substitute shall sing his praise in heaven. He has not redeemed souls so that may afterwards be cast into hell. He did not suffer for my sins so that I might suffer for them too. His atonement is effective. Every sinner he died to save he does save. He is not foiled at any point, nor disappointed in any single object. The lost he came to seek and save, he finds and saves; and, in eternity, we shall find, when looking over the register of the chosen, that every one of them has been gathered around the eternal throne, singing the praise of his sovereign grace.


{a} Other Sermons by Mr. Spurgeon based on this passage are: —  {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 204, “The Mission of the Son of man” 197} {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1100, “Good News for the Lost” 1091} {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2756, “Saving the Lost” 2757}
{b} Sermons based on Ro 5:15,16 dealing with the Federal Headship of Adam, and the fall of the whole human race through his disobedience are: —  {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1591, “Honey from a Lion” 1591} {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2544, “The One and the Many” 2545} {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2744, “Lost Through One; Saved Through One” 2745}
{c} The only complete record of the wonderful change that has been done in London during those eleven years from 1854 to 1865, appears in the four volumes of C. H. Spurgeon’s Autobiography (Passmore and Alabaster)
{d} Ragged School: A free school for children of the poorest class. OED.

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Lu 19}

1-5. And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, who was the chief among the tax collectors, and he was rich. And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the crowd, because he was of short stature. And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for today I must stay at your house.”

Remember that the Lord Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem, to suffer and to die; and there he was the patient, suffering Lamb of God; but here he speaks in that commanding tone which well became the Prince of the House of David: “Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for today I must stay at your house.” Sermons relating to the various aspects of his call are: —  {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 73, “Effectual Calling” 69} {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1319, “The Sinner’s Saviour” 1310} {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2665, “A Day to be Remembered” 2666} {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2701, “Jesus Joyfully Received” 2702} {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2755, “Must He?” 2756}

6. And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully.

Solomon said, “Where the word of a king is, there is power”; omnipotence went with the word of this King of kings, so Zacchaeus was bound to obey it.

7-11. And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying that he was gone to be guest with a man who is a sinner. And Zacchaeus stood, and said to the Lord; “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken anything from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation is come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save those who were lost.” And as they heard these things, he added and spoke a parable, because he was near Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear.

Their minds were full of thoughts concerning Christ’s coming as a King, and they had very mistaken notions concerning his kingdom, so he indicates to them that, for the present, the practical matter to be remembered was that he had come “to seek and to save those who were lost.” If they had not been so full of their idle dreams of a temporal sovereignty, they would have perceived that, in the calling of Zacchaeus, Christ had revealed his Kingship in the realm of mercy, and had there exercised the sovereignty of his grace. In order that they might be able all the better to understand the meaning of his spiritual kingdom, and not have their eyes so dazzled by the illusions which had so long deceived the Jews, our Lord pointed out to them, in the parable of the pounds, the practical way of preparing for his second coming. {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1960, “The Servants and the Pounds” 1961}

12-15. He said therefore, “A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive a kingdom for himself, and to return. And he called his ten servants, and gave them ten pounds, and said to them, ‘Occupy until I come.’ But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, ‘We will not have this man to reign over us.’ And it came to pass, that when he had returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called to him, to whom he had given the money, so that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.

It would have been good if our translators, instead of using that ugly Latin word, “occupy,” had stuck with the expression, “trade with it,” for here we get the same words again: “that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.”

16. Then the first came, saying, ‘Lord, your pound has gained ten pounds.’

The genuine servant, with due humility, puts himself in the background. It is not he who has “gained ten pounds”; it is his lord’s pound that has done it. He is pleased to bring the ten pounds; yet he claims no credit for himself, but says, “Lord, your pound has gained ten pounds.”

17. And he said to him, ‘Well, you good servant: because you have been faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.’

There is no comparison between the servant’s work and the reward for its faithful performance. That ten pounds, if his lord had given it all to him, would not have bought a house in a village, unless it had been a very tiny one, — “a cottage in a vineyard,” or “a lodge in a garden of cucumbers”; yet his lord gives him “authority over ten cities.”

18, 19. And the second came, saying, ‘Lord, your pound has gained five pounds.’ And he said likewise to him, ‘Be also over five cities.’

How he must have opened his eyes, when he received authority over five cities!

20. And another came, saying, ‘Lord, behold, here is your pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin:

The napkin, with which he ought to have wiped away the sweat from his brow, he had used merely as a wrapper for the pound that his lord had entrusted to him for the purpose of trading with it. He had done nothing with the pound; he thought he was all right because he had not done any harm with his lord’s money. He had not joined the revolting citizens, who said, “We will not have this man to reign over us”; he had not spent the pound, nor embezzled his master’s money; in fact, he had been very careful to keep intact the treasure that had been entrusted to him, and he felt proud of his own prudence, and said, “Lord, behold, here is your pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin.”

21. For I feared you, because you are an austere man: you take up what you did not lay down, and reap what you did not sow.’

This was impudence indeed; but his master took him on his own terms, and showed that, even if his statement had been true, he ought to have been all the more diligent in obeying his lord’s command.

22, 23. And he says to him, ‘Out of your own mouth I will judge you, you wicked servant. You knew that I was an austere man, taking up what I did not lay down, and reaping what I did not sow: why then did you not put my money in the bank, so that at my coming I might have required my own with interest?’

“You might have done that, at any rate, even if you were afraid to trade with it, as I told you.” God often deals with men on their own terms, and condemns them out of their own mouth. They say that God is very severe in threatening them with “the wrath to come.” Well, if you believe that, and speak like that, there is all the more reason why you should fear to disobey him, and so to incur his just displeasure. If, in spite of such terrible threatenings, you still defy him, it only brings out the greatness of your guilt all the more clearly.

24, 25. And he said to those who stood by, ‘Take the pound from him, and give it to him who has ten pounds.’ (And they said to him, ‘Lord, he has ten pounds.’)

They were quite astonished. “What! give more to the man who has so much already?” “Yes,” says the master, “that is my command.”

26. For I say to you that to everyone who has shall be given; and from him who does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.

Hear again is the note of sovereignty. Christ will do as he wills; and his mode of action shall sometimes be so exceptional that even his own attendants will wonder at the strangeness of his procedure, and will begin to ask, “How is this?” But, as Elihu said to Job, “He does not give account of any of his matters.”

27-31. But those enemies of mine who would not have me to reign over them, bring here, and kill them before me.” And when he had spoken this, he went before, ascending up to Jerusalem. And it came to pass, when he was come near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying, “Go into the village opposite you; when you enter you shall find a colt tied, on which no man ever sat: loose him, and bring him here. And if any man asks you, ‘Why do you loose him?’ you shall say to him, ‘Because the Lord has need of him.’”

Here we see Christ’s true royalty again flashing out from beneath the humiliation of his humanity. He lets us know that, although he is going up to Jerusalem to die, it is not because he is not Lord of all; but that, being Lord of all, he makes himself of no reputation, takes upon himself the form of a servant, is made in the likeness of men, and being found in appearance as a man, he humbles himself, and becomes “obedient to death, even the death of the cross.” {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2281, “Our Lord in the Valley of Humiliation” 2282}

32-34. And those who were sent went their way, and found even as he had said to them. And as they were loosing the colt, his owners said to them, “Why are you loosing the colt?” And they said, “The Lord has need of him.”

The word of the King was again with power, and the owners of the colt were willing to let the animal go since the King had “need of him.” They may have been secret disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, but we have no information on that point. Our King’s warrant runs anywhere; and even when his personal presence is not consciously felt, his royal and divine word still rules the minds and hearts of men.

35-38. And they brought him to Jesus: and they threw their garments on the colt, and they set Jesus on it. And as he went, they spread their clothes in the way. And when he was come near, even now at the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen. Saying, “Blessed be the King who comes in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.”

They were so jubilant that they seemed to have caught some notes from the song that the angels sang at the Saviour’s birth: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will towards men.” There had been war in heaven, but these disciples of Christ sang, “Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.”

39-41. And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said to him, “Master, rebuke your disciples.” And he answered and said to them, “I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.” And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,

What a contrast! The King’s courtiers shouting for joy, and the King himself weeping over the guilty city where the greatest tragedy in the history of the whole universe was about to take place. The King saw, in the near and more remote future, what no one else could see, so, “when he was come near, and beheld the city, he wept over it.”
{See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1570, “The Lamentations of Jesus” 1570}

42-48. Saying, “If you had known, even you, at least in this day of yours, the things which belong to your peace! but now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days shall come on you, that your enemies shall build a trench around you, and surround you, and keep you in on every side, and shall lay you level with the ground, and your children within you; and they shall not leave in you one stone upon another; because you did not know the time of your visitation.” And he went into the temple, and began to cast out those who sold in it, and those who bought; saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house is the house of prayer’; but you have made it a den of thieves.” And he taught daily in the temple. But the chief priests and the scribes and the chief of the people sought to destroy him, and could not find what they might do: for all the people were very attentive to hear him.

There was a popular wave of enthusiasm in his favour; but, alas! it soon ebbed away, and then the multitudes that had cried, “Hosanna!” were just as loud in their shouts of “Crucify him! Crucify him!”

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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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