You are they which have continued with me in my temptations.…
The lesson of the text is the bountiful reward of faithfulness to Jesus Christ; but taking these words of his in connection with the position in which he well knew himself to be, they speak to us of -
I. THE MAJESTIC CONFIDENCE OF OUR LORD. "I appoint [bequeath] unto you a kingdom... that ye may sit on thrones." And who is this thus calmly disposing of kingdoms and thrones? - a reigning emperor, a brilliant conqueror? Only a poor, homeless, soldierless Prophet! One who knew that he was about to be taken, tried, convicted, scourged, crucified! Yet he meant it all. What majestic confidence in God, in the power of his gospel, in his own integrity ] With what reverent homage shall we bow before him who could make such royal offers when the shadow of the cross already rested on his path! And what nobler sight is there to be seen among men than that of one (missionary, minister, teacher, reformer, etc.) calmly going on his way when every one and when everything is against him, confident in the triumph of the cause for which he pleads] Taking these words of Christ in connection with the preceding verses, we see -
II. THE QUICKNESS WITH WHICH HE PASSED FROM CORRECTION TO COMMENDATION. Seeing that his apostles were not only silenced, but humbled by the rebuke he had administered to them (vers. 24-26), and wishing to reassure and revive them, our Lord turned to the fidelity they had shown toward himself, and spoke words of praise and of promise. "You are wrong altogether in your spirit and behavior in this matter; I blame you for this. But be not cast down; I do not forget your constancy toward me in all my times of trial, and I will reward you." Such was, such is, the gracious, considerate, generous Master.
"His anger is so slow to rise.
So ready to abate." It is the flying shadow which the wind-driven cloud casts upon the field, chased by the hastening sunshine. "O slow to strike and swift to spare!" might well have been written of him. Can it be said or sung of us, in our relations with one another? But the main truth here is -
III. THE REWARD OF FIDELITY IN THE MASTER'S SERVICE. Our Lord wished to assure his disciples that he was by no means unmindful or unappreciative of their faithfulness; and he found the best proof of this in their constancy toward himself in his times of trouble. Through all poverty, all persecution, all desertion, all apparent failure, they had been true and loyal - they had shared his sorrows, had kept step with him through the dark shadows; they had ministered to his bodily necessities (John 4:8), and (so far as they could) had sympathized with him in his spiritual conflicts. "Ye are they who have continued with me in my trials." And what a reward he was prepared to give them (vers. 29, 30)! Not understanding these words literally, we take it that their Lord held out before them:
1. Fulness of joy. "Eat and drink at my table."
2. Signal honor. "Sit on thrones."
3. Large and abiding power and influence. I appoint unto you a kingdom. This promise has been already fulfilled, though in a different form from that which they then expected - in the exalted privilege of being the first to publish the gospel of his grace to mankind; in the glorious work of writing those memorials and letters which show no sign of age and are esteemed the one absolutely invaluable literature of the world; in the celestial joy, dignity, influence, which they have long inherited.
(1) What are the best proofs of loyalty we can give? These are
(a) showing tender sympathy and untiring helpfulness towards his people (see Matthew 25:40);
(b) having continual regard to his will in all the duties and details of our life (see John 14:15, 21, 23);
(c) being practically concerned for the progress of his kingdom.
(2) What is the reward he will grant us? A goodly measure of joy, - of sacred joy in worship, fellowship, work, life; of honor, - the esteem which purity and love rarely, if ever, fail to win; of quiet power, - the holy and blessed influence which spiritual beauty and earnest testimony exert on heart and life, which they transmit from generation to generation. This reward here; and hereafter joy, honor, power, such as we must wait to see and must resolve to experience. - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations.