Enlargement

Many a time we must have marvelled at the favour shown to those eleven Galileans to whom the Lord Jesus showed Himself after His resurrection from the dead, by many infallible proofs. And we may have wished that we could have been with them and listened to His own voice speaking of the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God. Well, we should not have been alive today if we had been there, and I am inclined to think that the last days of the church's history on earth are as important as the first, and to have part in the final victory and to greet our Lord at His coming again will be as great a favour as it must have been to have had a part in the first great move against the forces of the foe.

Not only this, but I apprehend that all that has gone before, and which is recorded in the Bible, is an inheritance upon which we have entered, and which we may hold fast and enjoy. We may put ourselves, for instance, alongside those disciples as they assembled with their Lord, and study them. We may see the effect upon them of His victory over death, and His presence with them, and learn the good and right way as we listen to the final instructions and commandments that He gave them.

They were happy men, of this we can have no doubt, and triumphant men, and eager to tell the glad news of God's signal vindication of His well-beloved Son, and I have thought, and I pass it on, that they were also impatient men. This comes out in their question, "Lord, wilt Thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel." There was not a doubt in their minds as to His being the King, nor had they any question as to His taking the throne. He had conquered death and surely no other foe could stand in His way. Yet, why did He not do it? Why the delay? Why waste forty days when Jerusalem might be at His feet and the land ring with His fame?

Ah, they had much to learn, and needed to be greatly enlarged. Yet they were teachable and obedient, and bowed before His wisdom, and were ready to await His way and will. Blessed men they were! We owe much to them. Yet at first they had limited thoughts of His greatness. They thought only of the throne of Israel; the Father had no less a place for Him than His own right hand. Their horizon stretched out from Dan to Beersheba, but the story of His glory was to be carried to the uttermost parts of the earth. They looked up steadfastly unto heaven when He was taken up from them, and no wonder! We may stand with them in thought and look up there also, and see Jesus crowned with glory and honour, and how the heart thrills, at the glorious knowledge that He is thus acknowledged and exalted! And as they gazed upward, they were assured by heavenly messengers that He would come back again.

So He will, and we may look for Him as they did, for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. Between these great events, His departure and return, we see them; obedient, for they tarried in Jerusalem, and were of one mind, loving one another, according to His word; dependent, for they continued in prayer. And in these things they showed their love to Him, and He fulfilled His own word to them — "If ye love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father and He shall give you another Comforter" (John 14:15-16). So they were empowered to be His witnesses to the uttermost parts of the earth!

We know that our Lord has been raised up to the highest place, and that His fame must be spread abroad to the widest circle, and that the greatest power has come from on high to bear witness to the honour that heaven has given Him, and of His worthiness to be trusted by every creature under heaven. We feel that the Holy Spirit must often be grieved and quenched, that in spite of our knowledge we yet have such narrowness of heart and such limited views of Christ and His greatness. We are so ready to confine Him within geographical or ecclesiastical bounds, when the Holy Spirit would enlarge us and make us overflow in the triumphant knowledge of the greatness of Christ and His all-sufficiency for all saints and for sinners to the uttermost part of the earth. The grace of God that shines in the face of Jesus, shines for all. The Bride that is to share His throne and glory, must be gathered out of every kindred and tongue, and people, and nation.

The work is almost done. For nearly two millenniums the Holy Spirit has continued His labour with an unwearied devotion, and He will finish it, and the Bride of the Lamb shall be presented all glorious and perfect to the heavenly Lamb. And we may have a blessed part in the labours of the Holy Spirit just at the close. Abraham's servant who went forth to bring Rebekah to Isaac, did not go forth alone, we read of "the men that were with him." Deeply interested, we may be sure, they were in his mission, and ever ready to do as he might direct them; they were his companions and helpers, bearing witness to the truth of every word that he uttered in Rebekah's ear. The disciples of Jesus were the men that were with the Holy Ghost when He came forth first on His great mission; honoured men, faithful men they were! And now that the mission is almost completed, we may be the men that are with Him, working with Him, in communion with His mind and ways, being the vessels of His testimony.

But if we are to be this, our hearts must be enlarged, our eyes must be turned upward to Christ in glory, and our sympathies must flow out to the uttermost part of the earth. Our prayers must be for all men, and our love must be for all saints. And thus shall there shine out at the end of this gospel day, the same light that shone at the beginning. It will shine through those who are thus enlarged.