The People Standing

In many ways and words in the Holy Scriptures God has made known His great compassion for the ignorant, unenlightened multitudes. They seem to be ever before His mind. But in no way, so it seems to me is this more in evidence than in three arresting passages.

Think of that great occasion at the grave of Lazarus, when the Lord was about to demonstrate His power over death. Lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, "Father, I thank Thee that Thou hast heard Me, and I know that Thou hearest Me always; but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that Thou hast sent Me" (John 11).

In the following chapter the Lord had reached a great crisis in His life. He stood face to face with that hour, the like of which there had never been before or since. His soul was troubled and He turned to His Father, and by His words indicated that one purpose alone controlled Him. The Father answered Him immediately. It was a great moment when the Son on earth spoke to His Father in heaven, and His Father heard and answered Him in the presence of the multitude. The voice that spoke was heard by them and they said, It thundered; others said, An angel spoke to Him, but He answered, "This voice came not because of Me, but for your sakes."

The third passage is 1 Corinthians 14:23-25. By the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle is instructing the Christians how to behave and what to do when they come together. And in these instructions He has His eye upon the "unlearned and unbelievers" that may come in, and He urges that they should seek to speak the Word of God plainly and in the Spirit's power. The result would be that, if "there come in one that believes not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all and thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth." It is the most arresting statement in this chapter.

Here then the Son speaks to the Father, and the Father speaks to the Son, and the Holy Spirit to the saints, and through them with the enlightenment and blessing of those that stand by in view. Father, Son and Holy Ghost, all interested in the bystander. This should surely set such in a new light before us, and help us to view them from a different angle. If the Triune God cares for them, we surely cannot be indifferent to their welfare. It is a necessity of our Christian lives that we should look up, but we are not well developed in our spiritual lives if we do not look out, and become interested in those that stand by.

But above all how wonderfully these three passages of Scripture, which I earnestly commend to your consideration, reveal the loving-kindness of God, and His care for men. Surely as we consider this our souls will be moved and the desire for the enlightenment and blessing of men will spring up with great vigour within us.