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Jesus had not yet become the Intercessor, who is set down on the right hand of the majesty on high, to be our “Advocate with the Father.". Neither had the disciples yet clearly understood, that the way of access to the Father is by the Son : for all things had been delivered unto him by the Father. Therefore hitherto they had asked nothing in his name. All would be soon plainly revealed : no longer spoken in proverbs : and they would be taught the privilege which should belong to them as children: how they might say, “ Abba, Father," having“ received the Spirit of adoption.”3 Still more boldly might they come to the throne of grace, knowing that he, their Lord and Master,
ever living there to make intercession for them.” And yet, it appears, he need not plead: so graciously is the love of God declared ; I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you : for the Father himself loveth you,
have loved me, and have believed that I came out from
Two things are here declared, and both of the highest interest. First, the love of God towards Christ's disciples. The Father himself loveth you. The mercy
of God is over all his works : he sendeth his rain both upon the just and upon
the unjust : as an earthly parent bears a natural affection toward all his children. But the child of an earthly parent may conduct himself so perversely and disobediently, as to forfeit the parent's favour : and according to the same example we uniformly learn
3 See Rom. viii. 15.
from Scripture, that the objects of God's peculiar love are those who do his will. Those who neglect his will, who disobey his precepts, who despise his goodness, he may regard with pity, but he cannot regard with complacency. It is a decided proof of their enmity against him, that they refuse to believe on him whom he hath sent, who came out from God.
Further we learn here the reason of the love of God towards Christ's disciples. It is because of their love towards the Son. The Father himself loveth
because have loved me, and have believed that I came forth from God.
He is pleased with their crediting his word, and trusting him for what he promises, and “ esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the pleasures of sin for a season. They have separated themselves from those who “ love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil." And they shall not “ lose the things which they have wrought, but receive a full reward.”4
All therefore whose conscience bears them witness, that they believe in him whom God hath sent, and whose lives bear witness to their faith, that they walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit; all such may take to themselves this comfort ;—The Father himself loveth you. They are safe under his buckler; and under the shadow of his wings shall be their refuge, until the enmity of Satan be overpast, and they have entered into that rest, that rest from trial and sin and sorrow, which “ remaineth for the people of God.”
4 2 John 8,
JESUS CONCLUDES HIS DISCOURSE BY A PRO
MISE TO THE DISCIPLES OF PEACE WITHIN.
JOHN xvi. 28-33.
28. I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world : again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.
29. His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb.
30. Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee : by this we believe that thou camest forth from God.
31. Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe ?
32. Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone : and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with
The apostles believed that Jesus came forth from God. But it is one thing to believe this, and have no doubt of it in the mind; and another thing so to act upon the belief, as to risk all, resign all, suffer all, in reliance upon that truth.
Such faith is not commonly fixed by a first and sudden impression ; it is more usually the result of a continued influence of the Spirit upon the heart, bringing into captivity the reason, the understanding, the affections. Jesus well knew that the minds of the apostles were not yet in a state to say, with the confidence of Paul afterwards, (Acts xx. 24,) “None of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, that I
finish my course with joy.” In a few hours they should be scattered every man to his own, every one to seek his own safety, and leave him alone ; and yet, he adds, I am not alone, because the Father is with me.
Thus did he take to himself, as man, that consolation which he has taught his followers to rejoice in. He was not alone. And in the trials to which they are called, they too are not alone, because the Father is with them. And as without his
presence in the soul, earthly blessings have no abiding good; so can his presence make ample compensation for the absence of all that this world can bestow. Such is the truth expressed in the next sentence, the last which the Lord addressed to his disciples before his resurrection.
33. These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation : but be of good cheer ; I have overcome the world.
This might seem a hard saying, In the world ye shall have tribulation. Ye shall be carried before princes and governors, and they shall revile, and persecute, and imprison, and torment you :--but be of good cheer: maintain your spirits and your courage through all these trials : I have overcome the world.
Were they enabled to fulfil this?
We are informed, (Acts v. 40,) that when the high priest, and the Sadducees, and other enemies of the truth, had brought the apostles before the council, “and beaten them, they commanded them that they should not speak in the name of Jesus. And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.
We are again told, (Acts xvi. 22,) that “ the multitude rose up against them : and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them. And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: who, having received such a charge, cast them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks. And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God : and the prisoners heard them."
Here, then, we find the apostles, in their own persons, leaving us an example and a proof, that he who issued the exhortation, Be of good cheer, could also give the heart to act according to it. We find them placed in circumstances which could not be otherwise than painful to flesh and blood, yet able to rejoice in heart, and rise above their outward trials.