I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.…
These words strikingly resemble the declaration of our Lord to John in Patmos (Revelation 1:17, 18).
I. THE LIFE OF CHRIST. "I live."
1. Our Lord, as a Divine Person, is possessed of independent, infinite. immutable, eternal life; that is, capacity of action and enjoyment. In Him — was, is, and ever will be, "the fountain of life" (John 1:4; 1 John 1:2; Psalm 36:9).
2. It is not, however, to this life that reference is made. That is a life in which none can participate beyond the sacred circle of Deity. The life is the life which belongs to the Son, as God-man, Mediator; and it refers to this life in its state of full development, after His resurrection.
3. He had lived the life of a man in union with God while He was on the earth — of the God-man, commissioned to give life — and many and striking were the demonstrations that He gave of His possession of this life. But, till sin was expiated, this life could not be fully developed nor displayed. That death in the flesh, which was the bearing away of the sins of men, was the procuring cause of that "quickening in the Spirit" which followed.
4. It is, however, to the new development of life which accompanied and followed the resurrection that our Lord refers. "I am alive again," "I have the keys of hell and of death." His life is royal life — the life of "the King of kings and Lord of lords" (Psalm 21:1-7; Isaiah 53:10).
II. THE LIFE OF CHRIST'S PEOPLE. "Ye shall live also."
1. Christ rose as "the first fruits of them that sleep in Him," the first born of the chosen family, their representative and forerunner.
2. Christians are, by faith, so identified with Jesus Christ as to be partakers with Him of that life on which He entered, when, being raised from the dead, He sat down forever on the right hand of the Majesty on high. They "reign in life with Him" — in Him (Romans 5:17; Romans 6:8-11; Ephesians 2:5, 6; Colossians 3:1-4; Galatians 2:19, 20). This life is —
(1) One of holy activity and enjoyment.
(3) Incomplete now, but destined to be complete at the Resurrection. "We shall be like Him."
III. THE CONNECTION BETWEEN THE TWO. "Because" —
1. His life proves that He has done all that is necessary in order to secure life for them. Had He not succeeded in doing this He Himself would not thus have lived. His resurrection and celestial life are undoubted proofs that the sentence adjudging us to death was repealed, and the influence that was necessary to make us live was sent forth. So were we not to live, the great end for which He died and rose would be frustrated.
2. His life shows that He possesses all that is necessary to bestow life on His people. "The Father hath given to Him to have life in Himself; so that He quickeneth whom He will." "It has pleased the Father, that in Him all fulness should dwell," that out of His fulness His people may receive, and grace for grace.Conclusion:
1. This truth is calculated to sustain and comfort Christians amid all the sufferings, and anxieties, and sorrows of life and death. He can "give power to the faint, and to them that have no power He increaseth strength." He can "strengthen the things that remain, and are ready to die."
2. When our nearest and dearest are taken from us, how consoling to think the great God our Saviour lives! He is still their life, still our life. "Because He died, we live; because He lives, we live; because He lives" — because He is the living One — "we shall live also!" Happy, surely, are the living disciples of the living Saviour! Happy in prosperity — happy in adversity — happy in life — happy in death — happy forever!
3. But the Saviour's unending life is full of terror to His enemies because He ever lives. "Because I live, you must perish forever." They would not come to Him that they might have life.
4. He is still proclaiming, "As I live, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked." "I will that they would turn — I will that they would live."
(J. Brown, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.