In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come to me, and drink.…
The constables could not take Jesus for He had fairly taken them. Note by way of preface —
1. That it is a sure sign of a falling Church when its leaders call in the aid of the secular arm. The Church which cannot maintain itself by spiritual power is dying, if not dead.
2. That in the end the spiritual power will baffle the temporal. The officers are fully armed, the preacher has no weapons, and yet they cannot arrest him. What stays their hand? It has come to be a combat between body and mind, and mind prevails. Abel may be killed, but from the ground his blood continues to cry. Martyrs have a greater power in their graves than in their pulpits.
3. That God can get testimonies to the majesty of His Son from the most unlikely places. Civil authorities do not employ the most refined and intellectual as officers, and the priests would naturally select those least likely to be affected by Christ's teaching. Yet these rough, brutal men felt his matchless oratory. Not only as in the case of Saul can God direct a high character into the right path. He makes the wrath of men to praise Him, and compels adversaries to do Him homage. Let us note —
I. THE PECULIAR QUALITIES of our Lord's eloquence, as among kings, He is the King of kings, among priests the great High Priest, among prophets the Messiah, so is He the Prince of preachers, the Apostle of our profession. Christ spoke —
1. Clearly, and yet His matter is profound. Did ever man speak so simply? Even little children gathered round Him. He never gives forth dark sayings that His hearers may credit Him with vast learning and profound thinking. And yet there is in His teaching a depth that genius cannot fathom, but all the while He speaks in short sentences, with plain words and homely illustrations. The common people with their common sense heard Him gladly,
2. With authority. He was a master dogmatist. It was not, "It may be so," but "Verily, verily," etc. And yet side by side with this there was an extraordinary self-sinking. He never assumed official dignity.
3. Faithfully, yet tenderly. Even Nathan could not be more true to human conscience. "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees," etc. There was no mincing matters because wickedness was associated with greatness, no excusing sin because it put on sanctimoniousness. He neither fawned on the great nor pandered to the populace. Perhaps no preacher ever used more terrible words with regard to the fate of the ungodly. Yet He did not break the bruised reed. What a Son of Consolation He was!
4. Zealously, yet prudently. He was full of ardour, never preached a cold, dull sermon. Yet His fervour never degenerated into wildfire. He was not afraid of the Herodians, yet how quietly did He allow them to walk into the trap. He was ready to meet the Sadducees, but He was on His guard so that they could not entangle Him in His speech.
5. Lovingly. He was full of tenderness even to tears, but was far removed from that effeminacy which some. times passes for Christian love. He was manly all through.
6. His preaching was remarkable for its co-mingling of all the excellencies which are found separate in His servants. He addressed the head and the heart. He aroused the conscience, but was also great in the arts of consolation.
7. The main aspect of His eloquence, however, was that it was the vehicle of the greatest truths.
II. PERSONAL RECOLLECTIONS of this eloquence.
1. Do you remember when you first heard Him speak? Recall —
(1) His words of pity. "Come unto Me," etc.
(2) His words of persuasion. "Turn ye, turn ye," etc., "Come now let us reason together."
(3) His words of power, "Awake thou that sleepest."
(4) His word of pardon.
2. Since we heard His pardoning voice, we have heard many a time —
(1) His word of promise.
(2) His word of consolation.
(3) His word of fellowship.
3. There are some words spoken long ago which have been so quickened by His presence that we number them among our personal recollections. "I have loved thee with an everlasting love'; "It is I, be not afraid," etc., etc.
III. PROPHETIC ANTICIPATIONS.
1. AS long as you live you are to speak for Jesus, but your hope for His kingdom lies in His voice. And we expect Him to speak more loudly yet, for "the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth."
2. We expect Him to speak sweetly to us in the hour of death. "Fear not, for I am with thee."
3. In paradise.
4. At the judgment. "Come ye blessed of My Father." Will He say that to you, or "Depart ye cursed." Anyhow your confession will be then if not now, "Never man spake," etc.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.