John 1:36
Although our Lord had not, during any period of his ministry, a settled abode, a temporary home was provided for him, now in one place and anon in other, where he could rest and meditate, and where he could receive his friends. For Jesus was neither an ascetic nor a recluse; he did not disdain the tranquil pleasures of domestic retirement, nor did he withdraw himself from the fellowship of those whose nature he deigned to share. Of our Lord's social disposition this passage furnishes an illustration.

I. THE CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH LED TO THIS INTERVIEW.

1. The educational and spiritual preparation of these guests. Andrew and John were disciples of the forerunner, the Baptist. Like many of the susceptible and ardent spirits of the period, they had been attracted by John's remarkable and impressive personality, and by his stern and authoritative ministry. In the school of the herald they were prepared for the service of the King.

2. The emphatic testimony borne by the forerunner to the Lord. This testimony was undoubtedly intended to draw the attention of the two young men to him "who was to come;" and it is a proof of John's humility and disinterestedness that he should be content to hand over his disciples to One greater than himself.

3. The sacred wonder of the two, and their laudable desire for advanced teaching. It was a proof that they had profited by the lessons of their master John, when they evinced a yearning for the still higher society of Christ.

II. THE INTERVIEW BETWEEN THE DIVINE HOST AND HIS GUESTS.

1. On the part of the disciples, we observe modesty of demeanour in their silently following Jesus, and reverence of spirit and language in their inquiry, "Rabbi, where dwellest thou?" All who repair to Christ in this temper and attitude may be assured of a kind reception.

2. For we remark on the part of Jesus the response of encouragement and invitation. Observing that the two disciples were too timid to address him first, he opened up the way for conversation; and, when they expressed, though indirectly, a desire to visit him, he gave a cordial invitation.

3. Part of a day was devoted to hallowed intercourse. The grace and condescension of the Lord are thus apparent from the very commencement of his ministry. We cannot doubt that he was already resolving upon methods of Messianic ministry, and was planning the means of evangelization afterwards adopted. And he foresaw that these two ardent young disciples were to become able ministers of his gospel to their fellow men. This anticipation doubtless gave a colour to the conversation that took place during those memorable hours.

III. THE RESULTS WHICH FOLLOWED THIS INTERVIEW. Such a visit could not but be fruitful of much good. When natures so prepared by the Spirit of God came into contact with the Son of God, no wonder that the consequences were signal and precious.

1. The conviction was formed in the minds of the two guests that their Host was none other than the Christ foretold in Hebrew prophecy, and desired by devout and waiting expectant spirits.

2. The conviction which they formed they hastened to communicate to their kindred and companions. They had learned good news, and could not keep it to themselves. At once they became preachers of Christ, and. their conduct was an earnest of their subsequent apostleship.

3. They seem to have lost no time in transferring themselves from the school and following of John, whose ministry was now drawing to a close, to the school and following of Jesus, whose official ministerial work was now beginning. What they saw and heard on this memorable day led them to wish to see and to hear yet more. And in following Christ they had the opportunity of satisfying their heart's desire.

APPLICATION.

1. The society of the Lord Jesus is still to be sought as the means of spiritual good. His direction is "Abide in me, and I in you." This is feasible even to us who see, him not with the bodily eye.

2. Jesus ever welcomes to his society all who truly desire it, and especially the young and those with spiritual aspirations. None are rejected who approach him in a spirit of humility, of reverence, of faith.

3. To be much with Jesus is the best preparation for serving him. Those who would publish his love and grace must first make acquaintance with him, and allow his character, his ministry, his sacrifice, to produce their own impression upon the heart. As at the first, so now, his dearest friends become his most efficient servants. - T.







Behold the Lamb of God!
I. WHAT ARE WE TO SEE WHEN WE LOOK ON JESUS? With what eyes? Time was when men saw Him with their natural eyes, and He was an offence. Time will be when every eye shall see Him, and He will be to many a terror. In heaven He is seen with glorified eyes. To us now He may be seen with the eye of faith. Using this, not having seen Him, we love Him and receive life from Him. What is the sight?

1. The great Creator (ver. 1).

2. The great Creator manifested in the flesh.

3. The Divine fulness for the salvation of men.

(1)The full expiation of sin.

(2)All the grace to be communicated to His saints.

(3)Grace for grace.

(4)All supplies necessary for living and dying, obeying and suffering, endurance and triumph, progress and perfection.

II. FOR WHAT ENDS ARE WE TO CONTEMPLATE HIM.

1. That we may have tenderness of heart under sin. Here is a sight to soften stony hearts.

2. That we may have relief under conviction of sin. If He can take away the sin of the world, He can take away a world of sin in you.

3. That we may have courage and patience under all suffering. As He was in the world, so must we be.

4. That we may not stagger at the promises through unbelief. The Messianic prophecies were fulfilled in Him. Shall we, then, disbelieve that those which concern us will bebroken.

(A. Beith, D. D.)

I. SEEN.

1. By whom? By the Forerunner, who had been preparing His way; as all will — first here in spirit, afterwards in body; first by faith, and afterwards by sight; who by humility, faith, and desire, make themselves ready for His coming (Matthew 5:8; John 16:16; 1 John 3:2).

2. When? On the day after the preceding vision. Christ seldom puts His followers off with one sight of Himself: view follows upon view, according to growth in seeing and desiring.

3. Where? On the river's bank, as He was separating Himself from the Baptist to commence His own work. Christ is best seen at a distance from His servants.

4. Why? To be pointed out. For this same reason Christ appears to His servants now.

II. POINTED OUT.

1. In what character? As the Lamb of God. Suggestive of —

(1)Personal innocence or sinlessness.

(2)The meek and unresisting patience with which he should carry on His work.

(3)The propitiatory character of His mission: — the three main themes of the gospel ministry.

2. In what manner? With a Behold: to indicate —

(1)The importance of the announcement.

(2)The earnestness of the herald.

(3)The liveliness of mind with which the announcement should be welcomed.

3. With what intention? To send men to Christ.

4. With what result? Two of his disciples follow Christ (Isaiah Iv. 11).

III. Followed.

1. Promptly. Delay imprudent and dangerous. If Christ be what the Baptist says, there is no time to be lost.

2. Inquiringly. This is all that Christ desires at first. The chief complaint is that men reject Him without examining His credentials.

3. Finally. So will all who seek Him with the whole heart.

4. Exemplarily. They led the way to a larger movement.Lessons:

1. The proper business of the Christian ministry: to point out Christ to the world, and to point the world to Christ.

2. The necessary qualification of the ministry: to behold Christ, and have a personal insight into the character and work of the Saviour.

3. The encouraging reward of the ministry: to behold disciples going over to and following the Saviour.

(T. Whitelaw, D. D.)

I. THE IMPORT OF THE APPELLATION.

1. It had respect to the personal character of Christ. He was a perfect pattern of(1) innocence, and(2) patience. It was thus that He illustrated, in His own example, the nature and genius of the gospel dispensation, as superior to every other.

2. It had a distinct reference to the great design of His appearance and death. It marks out His sacrificial character, prefigured by the legal offerings, more particularly the paschal lamb, the most ancient and important.(1) The passover commemorated a great deliverance, and prefigured a greater.(2) The passover averted an inevitable destruction; so did the sacrifice of Christ.(3) In both cases there is no natural connection between the means and the end; the benefit is moral, not physical. The sprinkling blood was simply of Divine appointment, as a sign to arrest the progress of the destroying angel. So between the sacrifice of Christ and the expiation of guilt the relation is moral, resulting from the will of God.(4) The personal qualities in the two victims are similar. The lamb was to be without spot or blemish; so was Christ.(5) The blood of the one had to be sprinkled, so that of the Other must be applied.(6) While many of the legal sacrifices were offered by individuals, the paschal lamb was required to be slain and offered by the whole congregation of Israel, it being understood that he who neglected this important sacrifice, would lose its benefit — would be cut off from the congregation. "Behold" [here] "the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world!"(7) The time of slaying in both cases was the evening.(8) Not a bone was broken in either.(9) The paschal lamb was prepared by fire, signifying the agonies of the Lamb of God. How strangely mistaken, therefore, those who represent Christ's death as an example or a martyrdom for truth.

II. THE SPIRIT AND DESIGN OF THE EXCLAMATION. It expresses the claim of Christ to attention from beings of every order.

1. Those who remain, as sinners, in their original character and state. There are three qualities which entitle an object to our regard:(1) Intrinsic greatness — e.g., the wonders of the material world; those of the intellectual and moral universe; but here is something incomparably greater — Incarnate Deity.(2) Novelty. What so original as the Invisible Creator clothed in mortal flesh; the Ancient of Days cradled as an Infant; He who upholdeth all things sinking under a weight of suffering; the Lord of Glory expiring on the cross; the Light of the world sustaining an awful eclipse; the Sun of Righteousness immerged in the shadow of death?(3) Usefulness. The Lamb of God is the only Saviour.

2. Those who have repented and believed. The efficacy of this sacrifice covers all the needs of the spiritual life.

3. The redeemed in the world of glory. They owe their position and their continuance in it to the Lamb of God.

4. The holy angels, who may probably be secured in that felicity to which saints are promoted, by the mediation of Jesus Christ.

5. God Himself. To Him the Redeemer is an object of complacency and satisfaction.

(Robert Hall.)

If you wish to look at a portrait of Raphael's, what would you think to see only the forehead uncovered, and then only the eyes, and so on, until all the features had been separately seen? Could you gain a true idea of the picture as a whole? Yet this is the way men look at the picture of Christ in the gospels, reading a few verses and mottoes here and there, and never considering the life in its wholeness and harmony.

(H. W. Beecher.)

It is a beautiful remark of an old divine, that eyes are made for two things at least; first, to look with, and next, to weep with. The eye which looks to the pierced One is the eye which weeps for Him. Oh soul, when thou comest to look where all eyes should look, even to Him who was pierced, then thine eye begins to weep for that for which all eyes should weep, even the sin which slew thy Saviour! There is no saving repentance except within sight of the cross.

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