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Charles Spurgeon:     Sermon Notes     Volume Three

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163. Must He?
And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for today I must abide at thy house. Luke 19:5

OUR Savior for the first time invited himself to a man's house. Thus he proved the keeness and authority of his grace. "I am found of them that sought me not" (Isa. 65:1). We ought rather to invite him to our houses. We should at least cheerfully accept his offer to come to us. Perhaps at this hour he presses himself upon us.

Yet we may feel ourselves quite as unlikely to entertain our Lord as Zacchaeus seemed to be. He was a man—

  • In a despised calling—a publican, or tax collector.

  • In bad odor with respectable folk.

  • Rich, with the suspicion of getting his wealth wrongly.

  • Eccentric, for else he had hardly climbed a tree.

  • Excommunicated because of his becoming a Roman tax gatherer.

  • Not at all the choice of society in any respect.
  • To such a man Jesus came; and he may come to us even if we are similarly tabooed by our neighbors, and are therefore disposed to fear that he will pass us by.

    I. LET US CONSIDER THE NECESSITY WHICH PRESSED UPON THE SAVIOR TO ABIDE IN THE HOUSE OF ZACCHAEUS.

    He felt an urgent need of—

    1. A sinner who needed and would accept his mercy.
    2. A person who would illustrate the sovereignty of his choice.
    3. A character whose renewal would magnify his grace.
    4. A host who would entertain him with hearty hospitality.
    5. A case which would advertise his gospel (verses 9 and 10).

    There was a necessity of predestination which rendered it true, "Today I must abide at thy house?"

    There was a necessity of love in the Redeemer's gracious heart.

    There was also a necessity in order to the, blessing of others through Zacchaeus.

    II. LET US INQUIRE WHETHER SUCH A NECESSITY EXISTS IN REFERENCE TO OURSELVES.

    We can ascertain this by answering the following questions, which are suggested by the behavior of Zacchaeus to our Lord—

    1. Will we receive him this day? "He made haste."
    2. Will we receive him heartily? "Received him joyfully."
    3. Will we receive him whatever others say? "They all murmured."
    4. Will we receive him as Lord? "He said, Behold, Lord?"
    5. Will we receive him so as to place our substance under the control of his laws (verse 8)?

    If these things be so, Jesus must abide with us.

    He cannot fail to come where he will have such a welcome.

    III. LET US FULLY UNDERSTAND WHAT THAT NECESSITY INVOLVES. If the Lord Jesus comes to abide in our house—

    1. We must be ready to face objections at home.
    2. We must get rid of all in our house which would be objectionable to him. Perhaps there is much there which he would never tolerate.
    3. We must admit none who would grieve our heavenly Guest. His friendship must end our friendship with the world.
    4. We must let him rule the house and ourselves, without rival or reserve, henceforth and for ever.
    5. We must let him use us and ours as instruments for the further spread of his kingdom.

    Why should we not today receive our Lord?
    There is no reason why we must not.
    There are many reasons why we must do so at once.
    Lord, issue your own mandate, and say, "I must?"

    Noteworthy Passages

    Had our Savior said no more but "Zacchaeus, come down," the poor man would have thought himself taxed for his boldness and curiosity: it were better to be unknown than noted for misbehavior. But how the next words comfort him: "For today I must abide at thy house!" What a sweet familiarity was here! as if Christ had been many years acquainted with Zacchaeus, whom he now first saw. Contrary to custom the host is invited by the guest, and called to an unexpected entertainment. Well did our Savior hear Zacchaeus' heart inviting him, though his mouth did not: desires are the language of the spirit, and are heard by him that is the God of spirits. —Bishop Hall

    Now, Christ begins to call Zacchaeus from the tree to be converted, as God called Adam from among the trees of the garden to be judged (Gen. 3:8-9). Before, Zacchaeus was too low, and therefore was fain to climb; but now he is too high, and therefore he must come down. —Henry Smith

    Charles Hadden Spurgeon


    164. The Ordained Memorial
    And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you. Luke 22:19-20

    HERE we have full directions for observing the Lord's Supper. You see what it was, and how it was done. The directions are plain, clear, definite.

    It will not be right to do something else; we must "this do." Nor this for another purpose; but "this do in remembrance of me."

    This command raises a previous question: Do you know him? He who does not know him cannot remember him.

    This being premised, let us observe that—

    I. THE MAIN OBJECT OF THE SUPPER IS A PERSONAL MEMORIAL.

    "In remembrance of me." We are to remember not so much his doctrines, or precepts, as his person.

    Remember the Lord Jesus at this Supper—

    1. As the trust of your hearts.
    2. As the object of your gratitude.
    3. As the Lord of your conduct.
    4. As the joy of your lives.
    5. As the Representative of your persons.
    6. As the Rewarder of your hopes.

    Remember what he was, what he is, what he will be.

    Remember him with heartiness, concentration of thought, realizing vividness, and deep emotion.

    II. THE MEMORIAL ITSELF IS STRIKING.

    1. Simple, and therefore like himself, who is transparent and unpretentious truth. Only bread broken, and wine poured out.
    2. Frequent — "as oft as ye drink it," and so pointing to our constant need. He intended the Supper to be often enjoyed.
    3. Universal, and so showing the need of all. "Drink ye all of it." In every land, all his people are to eat and drink at this table.
    4. His death is the best memory of himself, and it is by showing forth his death that we remember him.
    5. His covenant relation is a great aid to memory; hence he speaks of: "The new covenant in my blood." We do not forget Adam, our first covenant-head; nor can we forget our second Adam.
    6. Our receiving him is the best method of keeping him in memory; therefore we eat and drink in this ordinance.

    No better memorial could have been ordained.

    III. THE OBJECT AIMED AT IS ITSELF INVITING.

    Since we are invited to come to the holy Supper that we may remember our Lord, we may safely infer that—

    1. We may come to it, though we have forgotten him often and sadly. In fact, this will be a reason for coming.
    2. We may come, though others may be forgetful of him. We come not to judge them, but to remember him ourselves.
    3. We may come, though weak for aught else but the memory of his goodness.
    4. It will be sweet, cheering, sanctifying, quickening, to remember him; therefore let us not fail to come.

    Let us at the sacred table quit all other themes.
    Let us not burden ourselves with regrets, resolves, etc.
    Let us muse wholly and alone on him whose flesh is meat indeed, whose blood is drink indeed (John 6:55).

    Testimonies

    Our Lord Jesus has his own memorials of us, even as he has given us a memorial of himself. The prints of the nails constitute forget-me-nots of a peculiarly personal and abiding kind: "Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands" (Isa. 49:16). By these marks he sees what he has already suffered, and he pledges himself to do nothing apart from those sufferings, for his hands, with which he works, are pierced. Since he thus bears in his hands the marks of his passion, let us bear them on our hearts.

    Frequently to me the Supper has been much better than a sermon. It has the same teaching-power, but it is more vivid. The Lord is known of us in the breaking of bread, though our eyes have been holden during his discourse. I can see a good meaning in the saying of Henry III., of France, when he preferred the Sacrament to a sermon "I had rather see my Friend than hear him talked about." I love to hear my Lord talked about, for so I often see him, and I see him in no other way in the Supper than in a sermon; but sometimes, when my eye is weak with weeping, or dim with dust, that double glass of the bread and wine suits me best — C.H.S.

    "This do in remembrance of me." — 1. This command implies a knowledge of himself. To remember, we must first know. it is no use saying to a man born blind, "Remember the sunshine." 2. It reveals the love of Christ. Why should he care about our remembering him? Dying voices have said to some of us, "Think of me sometimes; don't forget me." It is the very nature of love to want to be remembered. 3. It implies a tendency to forget. God never founds a needless institution. It is a sin that we do not remember Christ more. We should thankfully use every help to memory.— Outline of an Address by Dr. Stanford.

    At school we used certain books called "Aids to Memory." I am sure they rather perplexed than assisted me. Their utility was equivalent to that of a bundle of staves under a traveller's arm: true, he might use them one by one to walk with, but in the meantime he carried a host of others which he would never need. But our Saviour was wiser than all our teachers, and his remembrancers are true and real aids to memory. His love-tokens have an unmistakable language, and they sweetly win our attention. — C. H. S.

    If a friend gives us a ring at his death, we wear it to keep up the memory of our friend; much more, then, ought we to keep up the memorial of Christ's death in the sacrament. —Thomas Watson.

    In mem'ry of Thy cross and shame, (I Cor. 11:23-26,)
    I take this Supper in Thy name;
    This juice of grape, and flour of wheat,
    My outward man doth drink and eat.
    Oh, may my inward man be fed
    With better wine and better bread!
    May Thy rich flesh and precious blood
    Supply my spirit's daily food! (John 6:54.)
    I thank Thee, Lord, Thou diedst for me:
    Oh, may I live and die to Thee! (Rom. 14:7-10.)
    —A. A. Rees.

    Charles Hadden Spurgeon


    165. Servus Servorum
    I am among you as he that serveth. Luke 22:27

    Singular fact with regard to the apostles. They were at the same time troubled with two questions: "Which of them should be accounted the greatest?" and "Which of them should betray his Master?"

    Where humility should have abounded ambition intruded.
    Of the evil of self-seeking our Lord would cure the apostles.
    The remedy which he used was his own conduct (John 13:12-17).
    If he made himself least, they must not strive to be greatest.
    May this example be blessed to us also! Let us attentively note—

    I. OUR LORD'S POSITION. "I am among you as he that serveth."

    1. In the world our Lord was not one of the cultured few on whom others wait. He was a workingman, and in spirit he was servus servorum, servant of servants (Mark 10:45).

    2. In the circle of his own disciples he was one that served. Where he was most Master he was most servant.

  • He was like a shepherd, servant to the sheep.

  • He was like a nurse, servant to a child.
  • 3. In the celebration of the Supper, our Lord was specially among them "as he that serveth;" for he washed his disciples' feet.
    4. In the whole course of his life, Jesus on earth ever took the place of the servant, or slave.

  • His ear was bored by his entering into covenant. "Mine ears hast thou digged, or pierced" (Ps. 40:6 margin; Exod. 21:6).

  • His office was announced at his coming, "Lo, I come to do thy will!" (Ps. 40:7; Heb. 10:5-9).

  • His nature was fitted for service: he "took upon him the form of a servant'' (Phil. 2:7).

  • He assumed the lowest place among men (Ps. 22:6; Isa. 53:3)

  • He cared for others, and not for himself. "The Son of man came not to be served but to serve" (Mark 10:45).

  • He laid aside his own will (John 4:34; 6:38).

  • He bore patiently all manner of hardness (1 Pet. 2:23).
  • II. THE WONDER OF IT. That he should be a servant among his own servants.

    The marvel of it was rendered the greater—

    1. As he was Lord of all by nature and essence (Col. 1:15-19).
    2. As he was superior in wisdom, holiness, power, and in every other way, to the very best of them (Matt. 8:26, 27; John 14:9).
    3. As he was so greatly their Benefactor (John 15:16).
    4. As they were such poor creatures, and so unworthy to be served. How could it be that they suffered themselves to be served of him? How could it be that he endured to serve them?

    III. THE EXPLANATION OF IT.

    We must look for this to his own nature.

    1. He is so infinitely great (Heb. 1:2-4).
    2. He is so immeasurably full of love (John 15:9; 1 John 3:16).

    Because of these two things he condescended so marvelously.

    IV. THE IMITATION OF IT.

    Let us copy our Lord—

    1. In cheerfully choosing to fulfill the most lowly offices.
    2. In manifesting great lowliness of spirit, and humility of bearing (Eph. 4:1-3; Phil. 2:3; 1 Pet. 5:5).
    3. In laying ourselves out for the good of others. Let self-sacrifice be the rule of our existence (2 Cor. 12:15).
    4. In gladly bearing injustice rather than break the peace, avenge ourselves, or grieve others (1 Pet. 2:19-20; 3:14).
    5. In selecting that place in which we receive least, and give most; choosing to wait at table rather than to sit at meat.

    Does not the text rebuke our pride?
    Does it not arouse our adoring love?
    Does it not lead us to gird up our loins to serve the brethren?

    Concerning Service

    When the son of Gamaliel was married, Rabbis Eliezer, Joshuah, and Zadig were invited to the marriage-feast. Gamaliel, though one of the most distinguished men among the Israelites, himself waited on his guests, and pouring out a cup of wine, handed it to Eliezer, who politely refused it. Gamaliel then handed it to Joshuah. The latter accepted it. "How is this, friend Joshuah?" said Eliezer, "shall we sit and permit so great a man to wait on us?" "Why not?" replied Joshuah, "a man even greater than he did so long before him. Was not our (Abraham) a very great man? Yet even he waited upon his guests, as it is written, 'and he (Abraham) stood by them "whilst they were eating.' Perhaps you may think he did so because he knew them to be angels; no such thing. He supposed them to be Arabian travelers, else he would neither have offered them water to wash their feet, nor viands to allay their hunger. Why, then, shall we prevent our kind host from imitating so excellent an example? . . . . "I know," exclaimed Rabbi Zadig, "a Being still greater than Abraham, who doth the same. "Indeed;" continued he, "how long shall we be engaged in reciting the praises of created beings, and neglect the glory of the Creator? Even he, blessed be his name, causes the winds to blow, the clouds to accumulate, and the rain to descend! He fertilizes the earth, and daily prepares a magnificent table for his creatures. Why, then, shall we hinder our kind host, Gamaliel, from following so glorious an example?" —Hebrew Tales

    An old woman in Glencroe, visited by William McGavin, was found seated in bed, which, contrary to usual experience in the district, was scrupulously clean. "You are an old servant of Christ, I understand;" said he.

    "Servant of Christ!" she responded, "Na, na; I'm naething pit a puir sinner.

    It's nine-and-forty years syne he pegan tae serve me."

    "Serve you; how?"

    "Dae ye no ken that?" she replied. "In the hoose o' Christ the Maister serves a' the guests. Did he no' himsel' say, I'm amang ye as ane that serveth'? When he brocht me hame tae himsel' he then pegan tae serve me, an' he ha' served me ere syne. Nane ere compleened o' Christ pein' a pad servant!"

    "Well, but I hope you are a servant for all that. In the state of glory his servants serve him; and what is perfected there must begin here."

    "That's a' fery true. I ken that I'm under his authority, pit somehoo I dinna like tae think much aboot servin' Christ. It gi'es me nae comfort." —The Sword and the Trowel

    Why is it that so many professed Christians "feel above" undertaking humble work for God and humanity? We have heard of a minister of Christ complaining that his station was "beneath his talents!" As if the soul of a beggar were beneath the genius of a Paul! Some are unwilling to enter a mission-school, or to distribute tracts through a poor district, strangely forgetting that their divine Master was himself a missionary. Have such never learned that the towel wherewith Jesus wiped his disciples' feet outshone the purple that wrapped Caesar's limbs? Do they not know that the post of honor is the post of service?" My seat in the Sunday school is higher than my seat in the Senate," said an eminent Christian statesman. —Dr. Curler

    Charles Hadden Spurgeon

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