John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be to you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come…
I. THE DURATION OF THE LOVE OF CHRIST. He had us in His heart ages before any sign appeared of our existence upon this earth — in spirit He was slain for us — before the foundation of the world. The most ancient of all love is that of Jesus. But turn now from the past to the future. Even as to this present life, what a distinction does it confer on any attachment cherished towards us, the absolute certainty of its continuance, of its surviving all the trials of time, or separation, or misunderstandings, or collisions of interest, or variations of taste and of pursuit. We rejoice in the knowledge that there are earthly friendship, which are wholly delivered from all such fear; that there are those of whom we are assured that, come what will with them or us, they will love us still, will love us to the end. But then, there is that close of all things here below; and what of the existence afterwards? Who shall love us throughout that unknown, unending life which awaits us beyond the grave? Shall those who loved us so long and so tenderly here be there beside us to bless us with an everlasting affection? We hope so; in our best moments we believe that it shall be so. Still, there is a shade of dimness over the prospect. There is, however, one love upon whose continuance through time and throughout eternity we can most securely count. He whose heart it fills, is the same yesterday, to day, for ever.
II. LET US CONTEMPLATE THE LOVE OF CHRIST IN THE WIDTH OF ITS EMBRACE, ITS AMPLITUDE, ITS INFINITY. It surrounds us with its vast, its measureless expanse. Its mighty volume is around each separate spirit, as if the enfolding of that spirit, the guiding, guarding, purifying of that spirit were its sole and separate care. Yet what untold multitudes of such spirits does it embrace.
III. THE INTENSITY OF THE LOVE OF CHRIST AS SHOWN IN ACTUAL OPERATION. We measure the intensity of any affection by the difficulties it overcomes, the burdens it bears, the services it renders, the sacrifices it makes. Now, so far as we can see, there was a great, initial difficulty in the love of Christ turning upon such sinners as we are. For what is it that begets love but the sight in the object of that which is lovable? Was there not much fitted rather to alienate than to attract? This very feature, however, of the love of Christ — that it was love to those not worthy of it, is one that goes far to enhance it in our esteem. He saw in us the guilty that might be pardoned, the defiled that might be purified, the lost that might be saved. Nay, the very things in us that might have turned away another benefactor, and led him to seek a more congenial field of labour, gave but the quicker wing, and the firmer footstep to that great love. The life of Christ on earth was throughout a mantles. ration and expression of this love. For let us remember that it is not merely human heart that beats in Jesus Christ — a human sensibility with which that heart is gifted. The Divine capacity to love is present here, and the Divine sensibility attaching to that capacity.
(W. Hannay, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;