George H. Morrison - Devotional Sermons
Christ with Us
Arise, let us go hence--Joh 14:31
The Need of Christ After the Last Supper
When the Last Supper was concluded and Jesus had finished His teaching of His own, He said to them, "Arise, let us go hence." It is on these words I wish to dwell a moment as we too consider the communion table. One would have thought that on such a night as that, the deepest craving of Jesus would have been to be alone. We have all had hours when we craved to be alone, when we could not stand the intrusion of society. And if this be so with us in our lesser sorrows and anxieties, a thousandfold more so must it have been with Jesus when the sorrow of the world was on His heart. How He needed the cooling of the night. How He needed the healing of the silence of the stars. How He was craving just to be alone that He might speak with His Father of the coming agony. And yet He said, "Arise, let us go hence." He could not leave them to go out alone. He loved them far too deeply for that. They might forsake Him, as they were soon to do. It was impossible for Him to forsake them. And so, when they left the table, He went with them, walked with them through the streets of the city, mingled with them as they crossed the valley out to the quiet garden of Gethsemane.
Christ Does Not Send Us Out Alone but Comes with Us
Now what was true that night is just as true now. Our faith is rooted in the conviction that Christ is the same yesterday and today. Very brief is the hour of sacrament. In a moment or two it is over, and we leave the place that we all love so well, and we go back to our homes and to our duties. And what I want you to be sure of is this, that Christ says to none of us, "Depart." But He does say to everyone of us, "Arise, let us go hence." That means that wherever we are going, we may have Christ with us all the time. He does not send us out to be alone. He will never leave us nor forsake us. And though of course we cannot see Him now, nor touch His hand, nor listen to His voice, yet nontheless that fellowship with Him may be the most real thing in human life. Are we not sometimes nearer to our own when their bodily presence is not with us? Are we not closer to their heart, do we not understand them better, when they are with us in spirit and not in body? And so emphatically is it with our Savior. Near as were the eleven to Him, you and I may be still nearer to Him every day. I plead with you as you leave the communion table to believe that Christ goes with you. That is not mysticism nor sentimentalism. It is the most inspiring of realities. As constant as the light by which we see, as constant as the air by which we live, so constant with everyone of us will be our Lord. And just in proportion as we realize this, deep results will emerge in our experience. "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me."
When Christ Is with Us, It Is Enough
In the first place, if Christ go with us, there are many questions that we can leave unanswered. There is a text 1 want to give to you. It occurs in the 16th chapter of this Gospel, the 4th verse, and the last clause of the verse. There we read these words: "These things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you." Ponder these words, friends. What do they mean? Why, they mean this. They mean that in the minds of the disciples there was many a question that Jesus might have answered. They mean that had He cared to do so, He might have explained to them a thousand mysteries. But instead of that He walked with them and lived with them, and showed them what was the secret of His heart, until they felt that that was enough for them. They were content now to be very ignorant. They were content that mysteries should baffle them. They were not restless now to find solutions for the insoluble problems of the universe. It was enough for them that Christ was there. They had His fellowship and that sufficed. There was much yet that they could never fathom, but they had come to Him and they had rest.
Now, friends, as it was with them, so should it be with every one of us. Since Christ goes with us as we leave the communion table, there are many questions that we can leave unanswered. We shall not vex our hearts as we once did by doubting and wondering if God is love. We shall not be burdened with the weary weight of all this unintelligible world. Knowing that Christ is with us in the darkness, we shall feel that every answer is beside us, and, feeling that we are but little children, we shall be content to leave it there. His love will teach us of the love of God. His patience will interpret that of God. The marks of the nails upon His hands and feet will tell us that somehow suffering is not vain. Our deepest answer will not be added knowledge. Our deepest answer will be closer intimacy. To know Him is to be happy not to know. One of our greatest Shakespearean scholars has remarked that Shakespeare never gives little answers to great questions. He leads you out under the vault of night and there in the presence of mystery he leaves you. And I want you to believe, you Christian people, that that is far more true of Jesus Christ. He never gives little answers to great questions. A Christian is not one who can explain everything. A Christian is the truest of agnostics. He knows that to that finite mind of his the infinite must always be inexplicable. A Christian is a man who walks with Christ, who sees in Christ the very heart of God, and seeing that can lay the burden down till the day break and the shadows flee away.
If Christ Goes with Us, We Have Nothing to Fear
Then, in the second place, if Christ goes with us, there is nothing that we need fear to face. I suppose that no one ever studied the earthly life of Christ without being arrested by one feature of it. That feature was His extraordinary resourcefulness. No one was ever more suddenly assailed, no one ever more cunningly approached. Traps were laid for Him, temptations reached Him, all in an instant, and with amazing subtlety. And yet He was always equal to the problem, always sufficient for the sudden call, always Lord in the unlooked-for moment. Now by a wonderful turn of dialectic, now by the most exquisite of parables, now by a miracle as when He stilled the storm or fed the thousands on the hill--always when the need arose He triumphed; always when the tempter was most subtle He was confident as a man prepared. There was no emergency He could not meet. There was no summons that He could not answer. He could change in an instant, and could change magnificently, saying to Peter, "Get thee behind me, Satan." And this resourcefulness, this perfect mastery, this fine equality to every summons, was never so manifest or so magnificent as when He was shielding and sheltering His own.
My brother and sister, do you believe that Christ is the same today as He was then? Then what I say is that if He goes with you, there is nothing you need fear to face. Do you think He has lost that power of defending because He is seated on the throne of God? Do you think He is less wonderful today than when He tabernacled in a human body? Oh! Could we but realize that Christ is living, as really as you and I are living, what a difference it would make for some of you. "Arise, let us go hence," He says today--into the darkness of the untrodden future. And life is there and duty that is hard, and a little suffering perhaps, and then the grave. Thanks be to God, if Christ is with us in all the energy of His upholding love, in Him we shall be more than conquerors until at last we know as we are known.
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