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160. A Welcome for Jesus
And it came to pass, that, when Jesus was returned, the people gladly received him: for they were all waiting for him. Luke 8:40
JESUS went to those who refused him in the land of Gadara; and there he saved one, to show the freeness and sovereignty of his grace.
He then quitted the inhospitable country, to show that he forces himself on none. Wisdom abandons those who refuse her counsels (Prov. 1:24). Those whom the Lord has chosen shall be willing in the day of his power (Ps. 110:3.)
In the Revised Version we read, "The multitude welcomed him."
When Jesus is waited for and welcomed, he delights to come.
He is not waited for by all in our congregations; so that we may ask the question of our present hearersDo you welcome Christ? Let it be answered by each one this day.
I. A BEAUTIFUL SIGHT. "They were all waiting for him."
This waiting may be seen in several different forms.
1. A gathered congregation, waiting in the place where prayer is wont to be made. Want of punctuality, and irregular attendance, often show that Jesus is not waited fort
It is good for the eyes to behold such sights.
II. A SURE ARRIVAL. "Jesus was returned."
We are quite sure that our Lord will graciously appear to those who are "all waiting for him," since
2. A praying company, an earnest church, looking for revival, and prepared to cooperate in labor for it. Some churches do not wait for the Lord's presence, and would not be ready for him if he were to come.
3. A seeking sinner, sighing for mercy, searching the Scriptures, hearing the Word, inquiring of Christians, constantly praying, and thus "waiting for him."
4. A departing saint, longing for home: saying, like Jacob, "I have waited for thy salvation, O Lord"(Gen. 49:18).
5. An instructed church, looking for the Second Advent (Rev. 22:17).
1. His Spirit is there already, making them wait (Rom. 8:23).
What countless blessings his coming will bring!
III. A HEARTY WELCOME. "The people gladly received him."
1. Their fears made him welcome.
They feared lest he might have gone for ever from them (Ps. 77:7).
2. Their hopes made him welcome.
They trusted that now their sick would be cured, and their dead would be raised.
3. Their prayers made him welcome.
Those who pray that Jesus may come are glad when he comes.
4. Their faith made him welcome.
Jairus now looked to have his child healed (verse 41).
5. Their love made him welcome.
When our heart is with him, we rejoice in his appearing.
6. Their care for others made him welcome. Jesus never disappoints those who wait for him. Jesus never refuses those who welcome him.
Jesus is near us now: will you not open the doors of your hearts to receive him (Rev. 3:20)?
2. His heart is there, in sympathy with them, longing to bless them.
3. His work is there. He has brought them into that waiting condition, and now he has found a sphere wherein to display his grace to saints and sinners.
4. His promise is there, "Lo, I am with you always" (Matt. 28:20).
5. His custom is to be there. His delights are still with the sons of men (Prov. 8:31 ).
A congregation cannot be said to welcome the Lord Jesus unless they are all there, which requires punctuality; unless they have come with design to meet him, which implies prayerful expectancy; unless they are ready to hear from him, which involves attention; and unless they are resolved to accept his teaching, which demands obedience.
When the inhabitants of Mentone desired a visit from the Prince of Savoy, they made a way for him over the mountains. Hills were tunneled, and valleys bridged, that the beloved sovereign might receive the welcome of his subjects. If we would really welcome the Lord Jesus, we must make a road for him by abasing our pride, elevating our thoughts, removing our evil habits, and preparing our hearts. Never did a soul cast up a highway for the Lord, and then fail to enjoy his company. C. H. S.
Charles Hadden Spurgeon
161. Love At Home
And she had a sister call Mary, which also sat at Jesus feet, and heard his word. Luke 10:39
THE family at Bethany was highly favored by being permitted to entertain our Lord so often.
They all appreciated the privilege, but Mary made the wisest use of it.
Martha sought to serve the Lord with her very best.
Mary was full of love to Jesus, as we know by her anointing him, and there-fore she also would serve him with her very best.
She did so by attending to his words.
She was a wise and saintly woman, and our Lord commended her chosen method of service.
It will be safe, therefore, for us to follow her example.
Let us learn from the woman who sat as a learner at the feet of our Lord, and thus taught us to choose the good part.
Here we see
I. LOVE AT LEISURE. "Which also sat at Jesus feet."
When the evening comes on, and all the members of the family are around the fireside, then love rests and communes, forgetting all care, happily at home, oblivious of the outside world, and of time itself.
We would feel ourselves quite at home with Jesus our Lord.
We would be free from worldly careleaving all with Jesus.
We would even be free from the care of his service, the battle for his Kingdom, and the burden of the souls committed to our charge.
We would sweetly enjoy the happy leisure which he provides for us, as we muse upon the rest-giving themes which he reveals so clearly, and makes so true to us.
His work for us, finished, accepted, abidingly effectual, and perpetually overflowing with priceless blessings.
His great gifts received, which are greater than those to come.
All other needful and promised benedictions of grace, sure to come in due season (Rom. 8:32).
All our future, for time and for eternity, safe in his dear hands.
Let us, without fear, enjoy leisure with Jesusleisure, but not lazinessleisure to love, to learn, to commune, to copy.
Leisure in a home where others are cumbered (verses 40-42).
Leisure to sit, and to sit in the most delightful of all places
II. LOVE IN LOWLINESS. "At Jesus' feet."
In this lowliness let each one personally copy Mary.
Say unto yourself, "I choose the feet of Jesus to be my place. "
Let me be
Not a busy housewife and manager, which any one may be, and yet be graceless; but
1. A penitent, which is an acknowledgment of my unworthiness.
2. A disciple, which is a confession of my ignorance.
3. A receiver, which is an admission of my emptiness.
This posture befits me when I think of what I was, what I am, what I must be, what my Lord is, and what he is to me.
Let me bless his condescending love, which permits me this bliss.
III. LOVE LISTENING. "And heard his word."
She could not have heard if she had not been at leisure to sit, nor if she had not been lowly, and chosen to sit at his feet.
Be it ours to hear that love-word which says, "Hearken, O daughter, and consider" (Ps. 45:10).
Listening to what Jesus says in his Word, in his creation, in his providence, and by his Spirit in our soul.
Listening to the tones and accents with which he emphasizes and sweetens all that he says.
Listening to himself. Studying him, reading his very heart.
Listening, and not obtruding our own self-formed thoughts, notions, reasonings, questionings, desires, and prejudices.
Listening, and forgetting the observations and unbeliefs of others.
Listening, and bidding all cares lie still, that they may no more disturb the reverent silence of the heart.
How sweet! How instructive! How truly "the good part"!
IV. LOVE IN POSSESSION.
She had obtained her Lord, his love, his presence, his word, his fellowship, and she sat there in full enjoyment to delight her soul with that which she had so joyfully lighted upon.
She had in this one thing supplied her soul's necessity, and so she sat down in perfect satisfaction.
She had her Lord's promise that she should not be robbed of it, and she sat down in full assurance, to be happy in her possession.
Her Lord's promise assured her that she should not lose the good part, which she had chosen
By a cold word from her Lord.
By the angry expostulation of her sister.
By any future affliction, or temptation, or occupation.
Nor even by death itself.
Now, then, she rests in resolute constancy: she has reached her ultimatum: she will go no further than her Lord and his word.
Oh, to be more with Jesus! This is true life.
Oh, to hear Jesus more! This is true service.
Oh, to love Jesus more! This is true treasure.
Oh, to abide with Jesus, and never dream of going beyond him! This is true wisdom.
Behold Mary, all reverence, all attention, all composure, feeding on the doctrine of eternal lifeshe "sat at Jesus' feet." She wisely and zealously improved the opportunity given her for the good of her soul. "This is my summer, my harvest: let me redeem the time." Jay
Mary sitteth to hear the word, as Christ used to sit when he preached the word (Matt. 5; Luke 14; John 8); to show that the word is to be preached and heard with a quiet mind. In a still night, every voice is heard, and when the body is quiet, the mind most commonly is quiet also . . . . When our minds are quiet, we are fit to deal with heavenly matters; therefore the doctors conferred sitting in the temple, and God delighteth to deal with us when we are most in private; he appeared to Abraham sitting in the door of his tent (Gen. 18). The Holy Ghost came down upon the Apostles, and filled all the house where they were sitting (Acts 2). The eunuch, sitting in his chariot, was called and converted by Philip's preaching (Acts 8). Henry Smith
Whether shall we praise more, Mary's humility, or her docility? I do not see her take a stool and sit by him, or a chair and sit above him; but, as desiring to show her heart was as low as her knees, she sits at his feet. She was lowly set, and richly warmed with his heavenly beams. The greater submission, the more grace. If there be one hollow in the valley lower than another, thither the waters gather. Bishop Hall
Dr. Chalmers' complained: "I am hustled out of my spirituality."
At the feet of Jesus, list'ning to His word;
Learning wisdoms lesson from her loving Lord;
Mary, led by heav'nly grace,
Chose the meek disciple's place.
At the feet of Jesus is the place for me;
There a humble learner would I choose to be.
Sacred Songs and Solos
Charles Hadden Spurgeon
162. The Good Shepherd in Three Positions
What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbors, saying unto them, rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. Luke 15:4-6
THE love of Jesus is not mere sentiment; it is active and energetic.
It is prevenient love, going after sheep that have no notion of returning to the fold from which they have wandered.
It is engrossing, making him leave all else: making one lost one to be of more present importance than ninety and nine.
It sets him upon resolute, determined, persevering search.
Let us behold our great Shepherd
I. IN THE SEARCH. "Until he find it."
Mark him well, as, with his eyes, and heart, and all faculties, he goes "after that which is lost. "
1. No rejoicing is on his countenance. He is anxious for the lost.
2. No hesitation is in his mind. Despite the roughness of the way, or the length of the time, or the darkness of the night, he still pursues his lost one.
3. No anger is in his heart. The many wanderings of the sheep cost him dear, but he counts them as nothing, so that he may but find it.
4. No pausing because of weariness. Love makes him forget himself, and causes him to renew his strength.
5. No giving up the search. His varied non-successes do not compel him to return defeated.
Such must our searches after others be.
We must labor after each soul until we find it.
II. AT THE CAPTURE. "When he hath found it."
Mark the Shepherd when the sheep is at last within reach.
1. Wanderer held. How firm the grip! How hearty! How entire!
2. Weight borne. No chiding, smiting, driving; but a lift, a self-loading, an easing of the wanderer.
3. Distance traveled. Every step is for the Shepherd.
He must tread painfully all that length of road over which the sheep had wandered so wantonly.
The sheep is carried back with no suffering on its own part.
4. Shepherd rejoicing to bear the burden.
The sheep is so dear that its weight is a load of love.
The Shepherd is so good that he finds joy in his own toil.
5. Sheep rejoicing, too. Surely it is glad to be found of the Shepherd, and so to have its wanderings ended, its weariness rested, its distance removed, its perfect restoration secured.
III. IN THE HOME-BRINGING. "When he cometh home."
Mark well the end of the Shepherd's toil and care: he does not end his care till he has brought the stray one "home?"
1. Heaven is home to Christ.
Let us learn a lesson from each of the three pictures which we have looked upon
Of perseverance till souls are saved.
2. Jesus must carry us all the way there.
3. The Shepherd's mission for lost souls is known in glory, and watched with holy sympathy: in this all heavenly ones are "his friends and neighbors.
4. Jesus loves others to rejoice with him over the accomplishment of his design. "He calleth together his friends." See how they crowd around him! What a meeting!
5. Repentance is also regarded as our being brought home (verse 7). "I have found" refers to the repenting sinner, and it is a finding which secures salvation, or angels would not rejoice over it.
6. One sinner can make all heaven glad (verses 7 and 10.)
Of patience with souls who are newly found.
Of encouragement in expectation of the gathering into glory of those for whom we labor on behalf of Jesus.
One evening in 1861, as General Garibaldi was going home, he met a Sardinian shepherd lamenting the loss of a lamb out of his flock. Garibaldi at once turned to his staff, and announced his intention of scouring the mountain in search of the lamb. A grand expedition was organized. Lanterns were brought, and old officers of many a campaign started off, full of zeal, to hunt the fugitive. But no lamb was found, and the soldiers were ordered to their beds. The next morning, Garibaldi's attendant found him in bed, fast asleep. He was surprised at this, for the General was always up before anybody else. The attendant went off softly, and returned in half-an-hour. Garibaldi still slept. After another delay, the attendant awoke him. The General rubbed his eyes, and so did his attendant, when he saw the old warrior take from under the covering the lost lamb, and bid him convey it to the shepherd. The General had kept up the search through the night, until he had found it. Even so doth the Good Shepherd go in search of his lost sheep until he finds them. The Preachers' Monthly
Christ a Shepherd. He is the Good Shepherd that laid down his life for the sheep (John 10:11); the Great Shepherd that was brought again from the dead (Heb. 13:20); the Chief Shepherd who shall appear again (1 Pet. 5:4); the Shepherd and Bishop of souls (1 Pet. 2:25); he is the Shepherd of the sheep, who gathers the lambs with his arm, and carries them in his bosom (John 10; Isa. 40:11); the Shepherd of Israel (Ezek. 34:23); Jehovah's Shepherd (Zech. 13:7). John Bate
Why doth he not drive the sheep before him, especially seeing it was lively enough to lose itself? First, because, though it had wildness more than enough to go astray, it had not wisdom enough to go right. Secondly, because probably the silly sheep had tired itself with wandering. "The people shall weary themselves for very vanity" (Hab. 2:13). Therefore the kind Shepherd brings it home on his own shoulders. Thomas Fuller
Yam Sing, on his examination for membership on experience before the Baptist Church, San Francisco, in response to the question, "How did you find Jesus?" answered, "I no find Jesus at all; he find me." He passed.
A little boy, in a Chinese Christian family at Amoy, wishing to make a profession of religion, was told that he was too young to be received into the church. He replied, "Jesus has promised to carry the lambs in his bosom. I am only a little boy; it will be easier for Jesus to carry me." The Sunday-School Teacher
Charles Hadden Spurgeon