A Time of Testimony

The people therefore that was with Him when He called Lazarus out of his grave, and raised him from the dead, bare record. – John 12:17

It was a time of testimony: for those who had been present, and had seen Lazarus raised from the dead, bore witness. One stepped forward and said, “With these eyes I saw Lazarus come forth from the tomb of rock.” “As for me”, said another, “I saw him buried, I helped to carry him to the grave; but I saw him come back to the house alive.” “Yes”, said a third, “I rolled away the stone, and as I stood watching for the result, I saw the dead man come forth alive, and I helped to loose his grave-clothes.” All these bore witness to what they had seen. You cannot tell what a joyful effect it produces, and what enthusiasm is stirred, when one after another bears personal witness. Lord, open men’s mouths! Lord, make the quiet ones to tell forth Thy praise! Your silent tongues deprive us of our joy. Your cowardly reticence robs Christ of His glory and the church of its increase. If God has done anything for you, or you have seen Him do anything for others, bear testimony to it. It is the Lord’s due, and your duty, that you should speak to the glory of Christ Jesus. When great wonders have been done, and those who saw them are willing to bear their testimony “hereunto, then we may look for red-letter days, wherein gladness and praise shall be in the ascendant.

When we are all ready, each man, each woman, ready to take our share in the harvesting, then will the sheaves be garnered. It is cheering when the congregation shares the excitement with the church and its ministers, and the prospect of a divine blessing is before the mind of all who seek better things. Surely, the time to favor Zion, yea, the set time has come, when her King is longed for, and every heart beats high with love of Him. ~ C.H. Spurgeon


Days of Holy Exultation

…took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet Him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord. The people therefore that was with Him when He called Lazarus out of his grave, and raised him from the dead, bare record. For this cause the people also met Him, for that they heard that He had done this miracle. – John 12:13,17-18

There are choice days when the shout of a King is heard in our assemblies. We have not yet fallen to a dull monotony of barrenness; we have hills like those of Carmel. The low-water mark of lukewarmness is covered deep beneath flood-tides of holy exultation. I think that such days come to the church of God after special miracles of grace have been wrought. Lazarus is raised from the dead, and when the people thus see the greatness of the Prophet of Nazareth, they begin to commend and extol Him, and this leads on to holy excitement. If the Lord will be pleased to work remarkable conversions among us, we shall have grand times. If special instances of His gracious power are seen by us, we will bear our palms of victory before Him, and many hearts shall enquire, “Who is this?” Our hearts shall rejoice as with the joy of harvest when we see the Lord saving great sinners; yea, we will shout as victors who divide the spoil. Do you not think that when Saul of Tarsus was converted, and the churches had rest, that they had also great exultation in their King? Everywhere it must have been talked of that the fierce Pharisee had become a bold preacher of the faith which once he sought to destroy. What joy there is in saintly hearts when ring-leaders in sin become champions for truth! Oh that our God would work such transformations in this city! Pray, my brothers and sisters, that the Lord would do the like for us, and for all His churches just now. Oh, for displays of His power to quicken the dead! Oh, for Lazarus to be raised, and to live among us as a wonder of grace whom neighbors would come to see! O Lord, give us this signal of delight! Let us see Thine arm made bare in the eyes of all the people. ~ C.H. Spurgeon


Our Joyful Love to Him

And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest. – Matthew 21:8,9

These had been with Him in His humiliation, and He would give them a taste of His glory. They had seen Him despised and rejected of men; and He relieved the monotony of His humiliation with a glimpse of His glory. For once they should be allowed to cast their garments under His feet and strong fragrant branches on His path. For once their zeal should have license to climb the trees and break down the boughs to (lay across) his pathway. Nothing on that day filled their ears but the praises of their loved Lord and honored Master. They would soon have enough sorrow when they would see Him seized in the garden and taken away bound to Caiaphas and Pilate to be condemned to die. He would give them a breathing space, an interval of pleasure, wherein their spirits should no longer drag on earth, but rise on wings, into a lofty joy. Our Lord loves His people to be glad. His tears He kept to Himself, as He wept over Jerusalem; but the gladness He scattered all around, so that even the boys and girls in the streets of Jerusalem made the temple courts to ring with their merry feet and gladsome songs. Hear how they clap their hands with delight! “Hosanna! Hosanna! Hosanna!” You hear it everywhere, and the Lord smiles as He sees the joy which pours in floods around Him. The Lord loves to cast into our cup some drops of heaven’s own honey, until the bitterness of grief is sweetened, and His followers are made happy by their joy in Himself.” Let the children of Zion be joyful in their King.” I wish I could express myself in tones more clear and musical; but though bodily weakness compels me to be measured in my utterance, my soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit doth rejoice in God my Savior. May the Lord Himself cast into your hearts the burning coals of joyful love to Him, and so may your souls take fire, and blaze aloft with vehement flames of delight! ~ C.H. Spurgeon


The Third Day

…and the third day He shall rise again. – Matthew 20:19

Behold Him! Behold Him! His hands are extended and cruelly nailed to the wood. His feet are fastened to the tree, and He Himself is left to bear the weight of His body upon His hand and feet. See how the nails tear through the flesh as the weight drags the body down and enlarges the wounds! See, He is in a fever! His mouth is dried up and has become like an oven, and His tongue cleaves to the roof thereof! Crucifixion was an inhuman death, and the Savior was “obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” The wonder is, that He could foresee this, and speak of it so calmly. He meditates upon it and speaks to choice familiar friends about it. Oh, the mastery of love, strong as death! He contemplates the cross and despises its shame.

Thus He dwells on it all, and then closes by saying, “and the third day He shall rise again.” We must never forgot that, for He never forgets it. Ah! you may think as much as ever you will of Calvary and let your tears flow like rivers. You may sit at Gethsemane, and say, “Oh, that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for my Lord!” But, after all, you must wipe those tears away, for He is not in the grave; He rose again on the third day. O blessed morning!. The first day of the week stands for ever the remembrance of our risen Lord, and on that day, He renews His special communings with His people. We believe in Him; we rise in Him; we triumph in Him; and “He ever liveth to make intercession for us.”

God bless this meditation to you by His Holy Spirit! ~ C.H. Spurgeon


For Jehovah’s Glory

Saying, Father, if Thou be willing, remove this cup from Me: nevertheless, not My will, but Thine, be done. – Luke 22:42

On the third day, it would all be over, and the recompense would begin. A few hours of bitter grief; a night of bloody sweat, a night and a morning of mockery, when He should be flouted by the abjects and made nothing of by the profane; a direful afternoon of deadly anguish on the cross, and of dark desertion by Jehovah; and then the bowing of the head, and a little rest in the grave for His body; and on the third day the light would break upon mankind, for the Sun of righteousness would arise with healing in His wings. The light that would come when He should rise would lighten the Gentiles and be the glory of His people Israel…He would shortly afterward ascend to reap His reward in personal glorification, and in receiving gifts for men-yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them.

Surely our Lord’s thoughts were all the while upon His Father! He remembered ever the beloved Father to whom He was to be “obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” That twenty-second psalm, which might well be our Lord’s on the Cross, is full of God: it is an appeal to God. As our Lord went on His way with the twelve, conversing upon the road, they must have seen that He was in close communion with God. There was about Him a deep solemnity of spirit a rapt communion with the Unseen, a heavenly walking with God, even beyond His usual wont. This, mixed with His deeply fixed resolve, and that stern joy which only they can feel who are resolved to accomplish a great purpose through bowing to the divine will, let it cost what it may. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus was everything to Him, and in all His acts His heart was set upon Jehovah’s glory. – C.H. Spurgeon


His Suffering Was for Us

But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished! – Luke 12:50

For He shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: and they shall scourge Him, and put Him to death… – Luke 18:32,33

The thought of our perishing He could not bear: that was not to be tolerated. He would suffer all imaginable and unimaginable woe sooner than desert the cause He had espoused. He was straitened-so He described it-straitened till His labor was accomplished. He was like a man pent up against His will: He longed to be discharging His tremendous task. He had an awful work to do, an agonizing suffering to bear, and He felt fettered until He could be at it: “How am I straitened till it be accomplished!” He was as a hostage bound for others, longing to be set free. He longed to be bearing the penalty to which He had voluntarily subjected Himself by His covenant suretyship. He therefore thought upon that “obedience unto death” which He was determined and resolved to render.

He had an eye all the while to you and to me. While He was thinking of death, He was chiefly regarding those for whom He would suffer. I doubt not that there flashed before that mighty mind the individuals who make up the vast host of His redeemed; and among them there were insignificant individuals, such as we are. Out of His strong love to us, even to us, He determined to pay our ransom price in death: it was part of His solace that He would deliver you and me. “He loved me and gave Himself for me.” ~ C.H. Spurgeon


Christ’s Pledge

Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn Him to death, and shall deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify Him… – Matthew 20:18,19

Our Lord was forecasting His death in all its mournful details. Do you not know that frequently it is more painful to anticipate death than it is actually to die? Yet our Lord dwelt upon His sufferings, even to their minutiae…Our Lord was like a grain of wheat which is cast into the ground and lies there awhile before it dies. He was buried, as it were, in prospective agony; immersed in suffering, which He foresaw. In the thought of the cross He endured it before He felt the nails. The shadow of His death was upon Him before He reached the tree of doom. Yet He did not put away the thought but dwelt upon it as one who tastes a cup before he drinks it to the dregs. After so deliberate a testing, is it not all the more marvellous that He did not refuse the draught? Did He not remember His engagement to go through with our redemption? “Lo, I come”, said He: “in the volume of the Book it is written of Me.” He had pledged Himself by solemn covenant, and in the Book it was written that He would stand in our stead and give His life an offering for sin. From this suretiship He never departed. He knew that the Father would bruise Him and put Him to grief in the approaching day of His anger. He knew that the wicked would pierce His hands and His feet. He knew all that would occur, and He started not back from the pledge which He had given in the council chamber of eternity- that His life should be rendered up as a ransom for many. It were well if we also remembered our vows to God, and the obligations under which we are placed by His great love. ~ C.H. Spurgeon