3190. Christ In Gethsemane

by Charles H. Spurgeon on March 4, 2021
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No. 3190-56:145. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, June 1, 1879, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Published On Thursday, March 24, 1910.

And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane. {Mr 14:32}

1. Our Lord had been sitting at the table of happy fellowship with his disciples, talking to them in a very solemn and impressive manner; he then delivered those choice discourses which are recorded by John, and offered that wonderful prayer which always deserves to be called “The Lord’s Prayer.” Knowing all that was to befall him, he left the upper room with his disciples, and started to go to his usual place of quiet retreat, “a place which was named Gethsemane.” You can easily picture their descent into the street. The moon was full on the paschal night, and it was very cold, for we read that the high priest’s servants had kindled a fire, and warmed themselves, because it was cold. As Jesus walked along the narrow streets of Jerusalem, he doubtless still spoke to his disciples in calm and helpful tones, and before long they came to the Brook Kidron, over which David passed when Absalom stole away the hearts of the people from his father. So, now, “great David’s greater Son” must go the same way to the olive garden where he had often been before with his disciples. It was called Gethsemane, “the olive press.” As we think of Christ in Gethsemane, I want you who love him not only to adore him, but to learn to imitate him, so that, when you are called to drink of his cup, and to be baptized with the baptism with which he was baptized, you may behave as his true followers should, and come out from your conflict victorious as he came out from his.

2. At the very outset, there is one fact that I wish you to observe very particularly. Sudden changes from joy to grief have produced extraordinary results in those who have been affected by them. We have often read or heard of people whose hair has turned white in a single night; such an extreme convulsion of mind has happened to them that they have seemed to be hurried forward into premature old age, at least in appearance, if not in fact. Many have died through unusual excitements of spirit. Some have dropped down dead through a sudden excess of joy, and others have been killed by a sudden excess of grief. Our blessed Master must have experienced a very sudden change of feeling on that memorable night. In that great intercessory prayer of his, there is nothing like distress or tumult of spirit; it is as calm as a lake undisturbed by the zephyr’s breath. Yet he is no sooner in Gethsemane than he says to the three specially favoured disciples, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death: wait here, and watch with me.”

3. I do not think that this great conflict arose through our dear Master’s fear of death, nor yet through his fear of the physical pain and all the ignominy and shame that he was so soon to endure. But, surely, the agony in Gethsemane was part of the great burden that was already resting on him as his people’s Substitute; it was this that pressed his spirit down even into the dust of death. He was to bear the full weight of it on the cross, but I feel persuaded that the passion began in Gethsemane. You know that Peter writes, “Who himself bore our sins in his own body on the tree”; but we are not to gather, from that passage, that his substitutionary sufferings were limited to the tree, for the original might bear this rendering,—that, he bore our sins in his own body up to the tree, that he came up to the tree bearing that awful load, and still continued to bear it on the tree. You remember that Peter also writes, in the same verse, “by whose stripes you were healed.” These stripes did not fall on Jesus when he was on the cross, it was in Pilate’s judgment hall that he was so cruelly scourged. I believe that he was bearing our sins all his life, but that their terrible weight began to crush him with sevenfold force when he came to the olive press, and that the entire mass rested on him with infinite intensity when he was nailed to the cross, and so forced from him the agonizing cry, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

4. I. In meditating on this beginning of our Saviour’s unknown agonies, let us think, first, of THE CHOICE OF THE PLACE where those agonies were to be endured. Let us try to find out why he went to that particular garden on that dread night of his betrayal.

5. First, the choice of Gethsemane showed his serenity of mind, and his courage. He knew that he was to be betrayed, to be dragged before Annas and Caiaphas, Pilate and Herod, to be insulted, scourged, and at last to be led away to be crucified; but (notice the words,) “he came out, and went, as he was accustomed, to the Mount of Olives.” It was his usual custom to go there to pray, so he would not make any change in his habit although he was approaching the supreme crisis of his earthly life. Let this courageous conduct of our Lord teach a lesson to all who profess to be his disciples. Whenever some trouble is about to happen to you, especially if it is a trouble that happens to you because you are a Christian, do not be perturbed in spirit. Neglect no duty, but just do as you have been accustomed to do. The best way of preparing for whatever may be coming is to go on with the next thing in the order of providence. If any child of God knew that he had to die tonight, I would recommend him to do just what he would do on any other Sabbath night, only to do it more earnestly and more devoutly than he had ever done it before. Blessed is that servant who, when his Master comes, shall be found discharging his duty as a servant, waiting on his Master’s household with all due orderliness and care. To go and stand outside the front door, and stare up into the sky to see if the Master is coming, as some I know seem to do, is not at all as your Lord would have you act. You know how the angels rebuked the disciples for doing this: “You men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven?” Go and preach the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit, and then, whether Christ comes soon or later, you will be in the right posture to welcome him, and he will commend you for carrying out so far as you can, his last great commission to his disciples.

6. Christ’s courage is also evident from the fact that “Judas also, who betrayed him, knew the place, for Jesus often resorted there with his disciples.” Nothing would have been easier than for our blessed Lord to have escaped from Judas if he had desired to do so, but he had no desire to escape, so he went boldly and deliberately to the place with which “the son of perdition” was well acquainted, the very place, indeed, to which the traitor at once conducted the officers who had been ordered to arrest the Master. May the Lord give to us similar courage whenever we are placed in a position in any respect like his was then! There are certain trials which, as a Christian, you cannot escape, and which you should not wish to escape. You do not like to think of them, but I would urge you to do so, not with fear and terror, but with the calm confidence of one who says, “I have a baptism to be baptized with, and I am constrained until it is accomplished. I have a cup from which I must drink, I am eager to drink it. I do not court suffering, but if it is for Christ’s sake, for the glory of God, and the good of his Church, I do not wish to escape from it, but I will go to it calmly and deliberately, even as my Lord went to Gethsemane, though Judas knew the place where Jesus often resorted with his disciples.”

7. But, next, in the choice of this place, our Lord also revealed his wisdom. For, first, it was for him a place of holy memories. Under those old olive trees, so gnarled and twisted, he had spent many a night in prayer; and the silver moonbeams, glancing between the sombre foliage, had often illumined his blessed body as he knelt there, and wrestled, and had communion with his Father. He knew how his soul had been refreshed while he had spoken there face to face with the Eternal, how his face had been made to shine, and he had returned to the battle in Jerusalem’s streets strengthened by his contact with the Almighty. So he went to the old trysting {meeting} place, the familiar place where holy memories clustered thick as bees around a hive, each one laden with honey; he went there because those holy memories aided his faith. And, brothers and sisters in Christ, when your time of trial comes, you will do well to go to the place where the Lord has helped you in the past, and where you have enjoyed much hallowed fellowship with him. There are rooms where, if the walls could tell all that has happened within them, a heavenly brightness might be seen because God has so graciously revealed himself to us there in times of sickness and sorrow. One, who had long lain in prison for Christ’s sake, used sometimes to say, after he had been released, “Oh, take me back to my dungeon, for I never had such blessed seasons of communion with my Lord as I had within that cold stone cell!” Well, if you have such a place, dear to you by many hallowed memories, go to it as your Master went, to his sacred oratory in the garden of Gethsemane, for there you will be likely to be helped even by the associations of the place.

8. Our Lord’s wisdom, in choosing that place is also evident from the fact, that it was a place of deep solitude, and therefore most suitable for his prayers and cries on that doleful night. The place which is now called the garden of Gethsemane does not, according to some of the best judges, deserve that name. It is in far too exposed a position, and one always thinks of Gethsemane as a very quiet, lonely place; and let me say that, in my judgment, there is no place so suitable for solitude as an olive garden, especially if it is in terrace above terrace as in the South of France. I have frequently been sitting in an olive garden, and friends, whom I would have been glad to see, have been within a few yards of me, yet I have not known that they were there. One beautiful afternoon, as two or three of us sat and read, we could see, a long way down, a black hat moving to and fro, but we could not see the wearer of it. We later discovered that he was a brother minister whom we were glad to invite to join our little company. If you want to be alone, you can be so at any time you like in an olive garden, even if it is near the town. What with the breaking up of the ground into terraces, and the great abundance of foliage, and the strange twisted trunks of the old trees, I know of no place in which I should feel so sure of being quite alone as in an olive garden, and I think our Master went to Gethsemane for a similar reason. And soul-burdened as he was, he needed to be in a solitary place. The clamorous crowd in Jerusalem would not have been suitable companions for him when his soul was very sorrowful, even to death.

9. It seems to me, also, that there is about an olive garden, either by day or by night, something congruous with sorrow. There are some trees that seem conducive to mirth, the very twinkling of their leaves would make one’s heart dance with delight; but about the olive there is always something, not suggestive, perhaps, of absolute melancholy, but a matter-of-fact soberness as if, in extracting oil out of the flinty rock, it had endured so much suffering that it had no inclination to smile, but stood there as the picture of everything that is sombre and solemn. Our dear Master knew that there was something congenial to his very great sorrow in the gloom of the olive garden, and therefore he went there on the night of his betrayal. Act with similar wisdom, brothers and sisters in Christ, when your hour of trial is approaching. I have known some people to rush into carefree company to try to forget their grief; but that was folly. I have known others, in seasons of sorrow, to seek to surround themselves with everything that is sad; that also was folly. Some, who have been in great trouble, have tried to hide it in frivolity; but that was even greater folly. It is a good thing, in times of grief, not to let your surroundings be either too sombre or too bright; but to seek, in your measure, to be as wise as your Master was in his choice of Gethsemane as the scene of his solitary supplication and subsequent betrayal.

10. II. Now, secondly, let us consider THE EXERCISE OF THE SAVIOUR AT THAT PLACE. Every item is worthy of attention and imitation.

11. First, he took all due precautions for others. He left eight of his disciples at the entrance to the garden, saying to them, “Pray that you do not enter into temptation.” Then he took Peter, and James, and John a little farther into the garden, saying to them “Wait here, and watch with me.” So there ought to have been two watching and praying bands. If they had all been on the watch, they might have heard the footfalls of the approaching band, and they would have seen in the distance the lights of the lanterns and torches of those who were coming to arrest their Lord. Probably our Master took these precautions more for the sake of his disciples than for his own sake. He told them to pray as well as watch, so that they might not be taken unawares, nor be overcome with fear when they saw their Master captured, and led away as a prisoner. From this action of our Lord, we may learn that we also, in our own extremity, should not forget to care for others, and shield them from harm so far as we can.

12. Next, our Saviour solicited the sympathy of friends. As a man, he desired the prayers and sympathies of those who had been most closely associated with him. Oh, what a prayer meeting they might have held,—watching for the coming of the enemy, and praying for their dear Lord and Master! They had a noble opportunity for showing their devotion to him, but they missed it. They could not have kept Judas, and the men who came with him, away from their Lord; but they might have let their Master know when Judas was coming. It was almost the last service that any of them could have rendered to him before he died for them; yet they failed to render it, and left him, in that dread hour of darkness, without even the slight consolation that human sympathy might have afforded him. In our times of trial, we shall not do wrong if we imitate our Lord in this action of his; yet we need not be surprised if, like him, we find all human aid fail us in our hour of greatest need.

13. Then, leaving all his disciples, and going away alone, Jesus prayed and wrestled with God; and, in our time of trouble, our resort must be to prayer. Do not restrain prayer at any time, even when the sun shines brightly on you; but be sure that you pray when the midnight darkness surrounds your spirit. Prayer is most needed in such an hour as that, so do not be slack in it, but pour out your whole soul in earnest supplication to your God, and say to yourself, “Now more than all other times I must pray with the utmost intensity.” For consider how Jesus prayed in Gethsemane.

14. He adopted the lowliest posture and manner. “He fell on his face, and prayed, saying, ‘Oh my Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me.’” What an extraordinary sight! The eternal Son of God had taken upon himself our nature, and there he lay as low as the very dust out of which our nature was originally formed. There he lay as low as the most unrighteous sinner or the humblest beggar can lie before God. Then he began to cry to his Father in plain and simple language; but, oh! what force he put into the words he used! Thrice he pleaded with his Father, repeating the same petition; and Luke tells us that, “being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” He was not only in an agony of suffering, but in an agony of prayer at the same time.

15. But while our Lord’s prayer in Gethsemane was so earnest, and intense, and repeated, it was at the same time balanced with a ready acquiescence to his Father’s will: “Nevertheless not as I will, but as you will.” So, suffering one, you whose spirit has sunk within you, you who are depressed and almost distracted with grief, may the Holy Spirit help you to do what Jesus did,—to pray, to pray alone, to pray with intensity, to pray with persistence, to pray even to an agony, for this is the way in which you will prevail with God, and be brought through your hour of darkness and grief. Do not believe the devil when he tells you that your prayer is in vain. Do not let your unbelief say, “The Lord has closed his ear against you.” “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear.” Yet be careful also to imitate your Lord’s submission and resignation, for that is not acceptable prayer in which a man seeks to make his own will prevail over the will of God. That is presumption and rebellion, and not the cry of a true child of God. You may beseech him to grant your request “if it is possible,” but you may not go beyond that, but must still cry, with your Lord, “Nevertheless not as I will, but as you will.”

16. I have already reminded you that our Lord sought human sympathy while in Gethsemane, but I want again to refer to that fact so that we may learn the lessons it is intended to teach us. In our little griefs, we often go to our fellow creatures, but not to God; that habit is apt to create dependence on man. But, in our greatest griefs, we frequently go to God, and feel as if we could not go to man. Now, although that may look like honouring God, there is a good deal of pride mixed with it. Our Lord Jesus Christ neither depended on men nor yet renounced the sympathy of men. There were three of his disciples within call, and eight more a little farther away, but still probably within calling distance. He prayed to his Father, yet he asked his disciples for such sympathy as they might have shown to him. Still, he did not depend on their sympathy; for, when he did not get it, he went back to his praying to his Father. There are some who say that they will trust in God, and use no means; others say that they will use the means, but they fall short in the matter of trusting God. I have read that one of Mohammed’s followers came to him, and said, “Oh prophet of God, I shall turn my camel loose tonight, and trust it to providence”; but Mohammed very wisely answered, “Tie your camel up as securely as you can, and then trust it to providence.” There was sound common sense in that remark, and the principle underlying it can be applied to far weightier matters. I believe that I am following the example of my Lord when I say, “I trust in God so fully that, if no man will sympathize with me, he alone will enable me to drink all that is in this cup that he has placed in my hand; yet I love my fellow creatures so much that I desire to have their sympathy with me in my sorrow; although, if they withhold it, I shall still place my sole dependence on my God.”

17. When our Lord came to his disciples, and found them sleeping instead of watching, you know how prompt he was to find an excuse for them: “The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.” His rebuke of Peter was very gentle: “‘Simon, do you sleep? Could you not watch one hour?’ Are you sleeping, you who so recently boasted that you would go with me to prison and to death, and that, though all others should deny me, you would not? Ah, Simon! you had better watch and pray, for you do not know how soon temptation may assail you, and cause you to fall most grievously.” Yet Peter was included with the rest of the disciples in the excuse which their Lord made for the willing but weak sleepers who ought to have been watchers. What a lesson this is for us! We do not make half the excuses for each other that Jesus makes for us. Generally, we are so busy making excuses for ourselves that we quite forget to make excuses for others. It was not so with our Lord. Even in his own overwhelming trouble, no sharp or unkind word escaped from his lips. When we are very ill, you know how apt we are to be irritable with those around us; and if others do not sympathize with us as we think they should, we wonder what they can be made of to see us in such sorrow, and not to express more grief on our account. Yet there was our Master, all stained with his own blood, for his heart’s floods had burst their banks, and run all over him in a gory torrent; but when he came to his disciples, they gave him no kind word, no help, no sympathy, for they were all asleep. He knew that they were sleeping for sorrow; so their sleep was not caused by indifference to his grief, but by their sorrow at his sorrow. Their Master knew this, so he made such an excuse for them as he could; and, beloved, when we are suffering our much smaller sorrows, let us be ready to make excuses for others as our Lord did in his great ocean-sized sufferings.

18. III. Now, thirdly, let us consider THE TRIUMPH AT THAT PLACE. It was a terrible battle that was waged in Gethsemane;—we shall never be able to pronounce that word without thinking of our Lord’s grief and agony;—but it was a battle that he won, a conflict that ended in complete victory for him.

19. The victory consisted, first, in his perfect resignation. There was no rebellion in his heart against the will of the Father to whom he had so completely subjected himself; but unreservedly he cried, “Not as I will, but as you will.” No clarion blast, nor firing of cannon, nor waving of flags, nor acclamation of the multitudes ever announced such a victory as our Lord achieved in Gethsemane. He won the victory there over all the griefs that were come over him, and all the griefs that were soon to roll over him, like huge Atlantic billows. He won the victory over death there, and over even the wrath of God which he was about to endure to the utmost for his people’s sake. There is true courage, there is the highest heroism, there is the declaration of the invincible Conqueror in that cry, “Not as I will, but as you will.”

20. With Christ’s perfect resignation, there was also his strong resolve. He had undertaken the work of his people’s redemption, and he would go through with it until he could triumphantly say from the cross, “It is finished.” A man can sometimes dash forward, and do a deed of extraordinary daring, but it is the long-sustained agony that is the real test of courageous endurance. Christ’s agony in Gethsemane was broken up into three periods of most intense wrestling in prayer, with brief intervals which can have given him no relief as he turned in vain to the sleeping disciples for the sympathy that his true human nature needed in that hour of dreadful darkness. But, just as he had before steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem, though he well knew all that awaited him there, so he still kept his face set like a flint toward the great purpose for which he had come from heaven to earth. It is the wear and tear of long-continued grief that has proved too much for many a truly heroic spirit, yet our Lord endured it to the end, and so left us an example that we shall do well to follow.

21. A part of our Saviour’s victory was that he obtained angelic help. Those prayers of his prevailed with his Father, “and there appeared an angel to him from heaven, strengthening him.” I do not know how he did it, but in some mysterious way the angel brought him help from on high. We do not know that angel’s name, and we do not need to know it; but somewhere among the bright spirits before the throne, there is the angel who strengthened Christ in Gethsemane. What a high honour for him! The disciples missed the opportunity that Christ put within their reach, but the angel gladly availed himself of the opportunity as soon as it was presented to him.

22. Last of all, the victory of Christ was revealed in his majestic bearing towards his enemies. Calmly he rose, and faced the hostile band; and when the traitor gave the appointed signal by which Jesus was to be recognised, he simply asked the searching personal question, “Judas, do you betray the Son of man with a kiss?” How that enquiry must have cut the betrayer to the heart! When Jesus turned to those who had been sent to arrest him; and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” he did not speak like a man whose soul was very sorrowful, even to death; and when they answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth,” he said, “I am”; and at the very sound of that great Jehovah-name, “I am,” “they went backward, and fell to the ground.” There was a majestic flash of his Deity even in the hour of the abasement of his humanity, and they fell prostrate before the God who had confessed that the name of Jehovah rightly belonged to him. Then he went with them quietly, and without the slightest resistance, after he had shown his care for his disciples by saying, “If therefore you seek me, let these go their way”; and after he had healed the ear of Malchus, which Peter had so rashly cut off. Then, all the while that Christ was before Annas and Caiaphas, and before Pilate and Herod, and right on to the last dread scene of all on the cross, he was calm and collected, and never again endured such tossings to and fro as he had passed through in Gethsemane.

23. Well now, beloved, if the Lord shall bring us into deep waters, and cause us to pass through fiery trials, if his Spirit shall enable us to pray as Jesus did, we shall see something like the same result in our own experience. We shall rise up from our knees strengthened for all that lies before us, and prepared to bear the cross that our Lord may have ordained for us. In any case, our cup can never be as deep or as bitter as his was, and there were in his cup some ingredients that never will be found in ours. The bitterness of sin was there, but he has taken that away for all who believe in him. His Father’s wrath was there, but he drank that all up, and left not a single dreg for any one of his people. One of the martyrs, as he was on his way to the stake, was so supremely happy that a friend said to him, “Your Saviour was full of sorrow when he agonized for you in Gethsemane.” “Yes,” replied the martyr, “and for that very reason I am so happy, for he bore all the sorrow for me.” You need not fear to die if you are a Christian, since Jesus died to put away your sin, and death is only the opening of your cage to let you fly, to build your happy nest on high. Therefore, do not fear even the last enemy, which is death. Besides, Christ could not have a Saviour with him to help him in his agony, but you have his assurance that he will be with you. You shall not have merely an angel to strengthen you, but you shall have that great Angel of the covenant to save and bless you even to the end.

24. Most of this sermon does not belong to some of you, for you do not belong to Christ. Oh dear friends, do not give sleep to your eyes or slumber to your eyelids until you do belong to him! As surely as you live, you will have sorrows at some time or other, you will have a bitter cup of which you must drink, and then what will you do if you have no divine consolation in the trying hour? What will you do especially when you come to die if you have no Christ to make your pillow soft for you, no Saviour to go with you through that dark valley? Oh, seek him, and he will be found by you, even now! May the Lord help you to do so, for Christ’s sake! Amen.

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Joh 10:1-30}

1. “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the sheepfold, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.

The positiveness of our Lord’s teaching is noteworthy. Whatever may be said about dogmatic teaching now, it is certain that his teaching is of that character. He does not raise questions, but he solves them. He does not suggest probabilities, but he declares certainties. This might be taken as the key-word to all the Saviour’s teaching, “Truly, truly.” He makes a strong affirmation; he speaks as one having authority, not as the scribes, who only claimed to have authority, but as the Sent One of the Father who really has it: “Truly, truly, I say to you.” Whatever comes to us with the imprimatur {a} of the “Truly, truly,” of the Son of God is not to be questioned or doubted by us for a single moment.

“He who does not enter by the door into the sheepfold, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.” Christ himself did enter by the door. He came according to the ancient types, and symbols, and prophecies. He came as God said that he would come. He entered by the door. There is no irregularity about Christ’s office as the Shepherd of his sheep. It is confirmed to him by the sanction of the Holy Spirit. The witness of the Father is borne to him: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased: hear him.” We rejoice to think that Jesus our Saviour is also Christ the Anointed. He is Jesus to us, but he is the Anointed of the Father. He comes by right as the appointed Shepherd of the sheep entering in by the door.

2, 3. But he who enters in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter opens;—

To him John the Baptist, as the porter, opened the door. He pointed to him, and said, “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” And every God-sent minister is a porter to Christ, opening the door to him; that is our office,—to stand and open the door that Christ may come out among you, and that you may come in to him, and find the spiritual pasture on which your souls can feed. “To him the porter opens”;—

3. And the sheep hear his voice:

Those who are really chosen by God hear and heed the voice of Christ but those who are not Christ’s chosen ones will not heed his discourse, but will listen to the many voices which attract the ears and the hearts of sinful men. The elect of God are known by this sign, that they hear the voice of Christ. Just as you can find, in a heap of ashes, whether there are any pieces of steel there by simply thrusting in a magnet, so you can find God’s chosen people by the mighty magnet of Christ’s voice.

3. And he calls his own sheep by name, and leads them out. {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2359, “Personal and Effectual Calling” 2360}

Sometimes he leads them out from the midst of the world’s flocks, and sometimes he calls them by name when they are in his fold, and leads them out to even higher and better pastures, calls them and leads them out to higher truths than they have received before.

4. And when he leads out his own sheep, he goes before them,—

Christ never drives his sheep, he leads them. Just as the Eastern shepherd always goes before his sheep, so the Saviour goes before his flock: “He goes before them,”—

4. And the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.

Christ’s sheep are marked in various ways. They are marked on the foot: “the sheep follow him.” And they are marked in the ear, “for they know his voice.” They follow the track of their Shepherd, and they give heed to the voice of their Shepherd; and by these signs they are known to be his sheep.

5. And they will not follow a stranger,—

There are strangers constantly coming into our different churches. We know they are strangers, for they preach strange doctrines, and do not stay on the old paths. Those who are not Christ’s sheep follow them immediately. “Here is a very clever man,” they say, and off they go after him; but of God’s elect it is written, “They not will follow a stranger,”—

5. But will flee from him:—

They are frightened at the very sight of him. They cannot tell what deadly pasture he is preparing for them, so they “flee from him,”—

5. For they do not know the voice of strangers.”

They know the voice of their Shepherd, but they do not know the voice of strangers, so they flee from them.

6. This parable Jesus spoke to them: but they did not understand the things which he spoke to them.

So they proved that they were not his sheep, for they did not understand his words.

7, 8. Then Jesus said to them again, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.

There were many false christs that rose up before Jesus Christ appeared, and there were many people who followed those false christs; “but the sheep did not hear them.” They still waited with holy Anna, with patient Simeon, and the rest of the faithful who waited for the appearing of the true Shepherd, and were not misled by the pretenders who were only “thieves and robbers.”

9. I am the door: by me if any man enters in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2752, “The Door” 2753}

Christ is the door just as truly as he is the shepherd, and since he is everything that is necessary and good for his people. If I come to Christ, I must come to him by Christ. Any of us who will only enter in by Christ, who is the door of his Church, shall find salvation; and more than that, we shall find liberty, for we “shall go in and out.” Our daily pathway shall be a safe one, and we shall have abundant supplies for all our daily needs. We “shall go in and out and find pasture.”

10. The thief does not come, except to steal, kill, and destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1150, “Life More Abundant” 1141}

I trust that the first purpose of Christ’s coming has been fulfilled for many of us, for we “have life” through him, but ought we not to be encouraged to hope that we may reach a higher standard of that life, and so have it more abundantly? We do not want to have just enough life to enable us to breathe, but we want life enough for usefulness, for joy, for triumph, for likeness to Christ, for communion with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.

11-13. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd gives his life for the sheep. But he who is a hireling, and not the shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep, and flees: and the wolf catches them, and scatters the sheep. The hireling flees, because he is a hireling, and does not care for the sheep.

Christ is the good Shepherd, and therefore he never fled as the hireling flees. He cared for the sheep, for they were his own. The wolf might come, but the good Shepherd was ready to meet him. He would not have his sheep scattered, but he would gather them in the cloudy and dark day, and in every time of danger he would be the centre around which they might rally.

14, 15. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known by mine. Just as the Father knows me, even so I know the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1877, “Our Own Dear Shepherd” 1878}

Our translators have spoiled this passage by putting a full stop where there should not be one, and by breaking it into two verses. It should run like this: “I am the good Shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known by mine as the Father knows me, and I know the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.” Christ here reveals the intimate knowledge that there is between himself and all his people,—as much as there is between the Father and the Son. It is a wonderful teaching, full of depth and spiritual power. Just as the Father knows the Son, and the Son knows the Father, so certainly does Christ know his Church, and his Church knows him, or shall do so in the future.

16. And I have other sheep, which are not of this fold:— {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1713, “Other Sheep and One Flock” 1714}

They are of this flock, but they are not of this fold. The flock is divided, and lies down in different fields for the present: “I have other sheep, which are not of this fold”:—

16-18. Those also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. Therefore my Father loves me, because I lay down my life, so that I might take it again. No man takes it from me, but I lay it down by myself.

Christ’s death was to be the act of his own free will, as well as by the violence of wicked men.

18-21. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. I have this commandment received from my Father.” There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings. And many of them said, “He has a demon, and is mad, why do you hear him?” Others said, “These are not the words of him who has a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”

Christ’s sayings always cause a division between those who hear them. There must always be two opinions, just as there are some who are his sheep and some who are not. When you go and try to speak for Christ, do not be at all astonished if people ridicule you. What did they say about the Master himself? “He has a demon, and is mad.” They will not say anything worse than that of you. And when they have said it, what does it matter? Harsh words break no bones. So have courage enough to bear opposition, and you may, like your Master, yet find some who will defend you, for there may be those who will say, “These are not the words of him who has a demon.”

22-26. And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch. Then the Jews came all around him, and said to him, “How long do you make us to doubt? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you did not believe: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me. But you do not believe, because you are not of my sheep, as I said to you.

“You are not my chosen people; there has been no work of grace in your hearts, and therefore you do not believe.” What a brave way that was of stating the truth. Some would have said, “Because you do not believe, you are not my sheep”; but Jesus puts it the other way, “Because you are not my sheep, therefore you do not believe.”

27-30. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give to them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who gave them to me, is greater than all; and no man is able to snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.” {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2120, “The Security of Believers; or, Sheep Who Shall Never Perish” 2121}

This great truth angered the Jews so much that they “took up stones again to stone him.” They proved, by treating the good Shepherd like this, that they were not his sheep.


{a} Imprimatur: The formula (=“let it be printed”), signed by an official licenser of the press, authorizing the printing of a book; hence as the name an official licence to print. OED.


Sermons on “Christ in Gethsemane,” are:—


{See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 493, “Gethsemane” 484}


{See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3190, “Christ in Gethsemane” 3191}


{See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 693, “The Garden of the Soul” 684}


{See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1199, “The Agony in Gethsemane” 1190}


{See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 494, “The Betrayal” 485}

Sermons on the olive tree:—


{See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1569, “Golden Lamp and its Goodly Lessons The” 1569}


{See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3176, “The Beauty of the Olive Tree” 3177}


{See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3190, “Christ in Gethsemane” 3191}


{See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3208, “The Faithful Olive Tree” 3209}


{See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3226, “Figs and Olive Berries” 3227}


{See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3248, “Gathering Without Planting” 3250}

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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Modernized Edition of Spurgeon’s Sermons. Copyright © 2010, Larry and Marion Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario, Canada. Used by Answers in Genesis by permission of the copyright owner. The modernized edition of the material published in these sermons may not be reproduced or distributed by any electronic means without express written permission of the copyright owner. A limited license is hereby granted for the non-commercial printing and distribution of the material in hard copy form, provided this is done without charge to the recipient and the copyright information remains intact. Any charge or cost for distribution of the material is expressly forbidden under the terms of this limited license and automatically voids such permission. You may not prepare, manufacture, copy, use, promote, distribute, or sell a derivative work of the copyrighted work without the express written permission of the copyright owner.

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