And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho.…
The promises of God are like stars; there is not one of them but has in its turn guided tempest-tossed souls to their desired haven. But, as among the-stars which stud the midnight sky, there are constellations which above all others attract the mariner's gaze, and are helpful to the steersman, so there are certain passages in Scripture which have not only directed a few wise men to Jesus, but have been guiding stars to myriads of simple minds who have through their help found the port of peace. The text is one of these notable stars, or rather, its words form a wonderful constellation of Divine love, a very Pleiades of mercy. But as stars are of small service when the sky is beclouded, or the air dense with fog, so it may be even with such a bright gospel light as our text will not yield comfort to souls surrounded with the clinging mists of doubts and fears. At such times mariners cry for fair weather, and ask that they may be able to see the stars again: so let us pray the Holy Spirit to sweep away with His Divine wind the clouds of our unbelief, and enable each earnest eye in the light of God to see the light of peace.
I. HOW THE OBJECTS OF MERCY ARE HERE DESCRIBED. "That which was lost." A term large enough to embrace even the very worst.
1. We are all lost by nature.
2. Apart from Divine grace, we are lost by our own actions.
3. We are lost because our actual sin and our natural depravity have co-worked to produce in us an inability to restore ourselves from our fallen condition. Not only wanderers, but having no will to come home.
4. We are lost by the condemnation which our sin has brought upon us.
5. Some of us are lost to society, to respect, and perhaps to decency. That was the case with Zaccheus. Now, the Son of Man is come to seek and to save those whom the world puts outside its camp. The sweep of Divine compassion is not limited by the customs of mankind: the boundaries of Jesu's love are not to be fixed by Pharisaical self-righteousness.
II. HOW THE SAVIOUR IS HERE DESCRIBED. "The Son of man."
1. Note here His Deity. No prophet or apostle needed to call himself by way of distinction the son of man. This would be an affectation of condescension supremely absurd. Therefore, when we hear our Lord particularly and especially calling Himself by this name, we are compelled to think of it as contrasted with His higher nature, and we see a deep condescension in His choosing to be called the Son of man, when He might have been called the Son of God.
2. In speaking of Himself as the Son of man, our Lord shows us that He has come to us in a condescending character.
3. He has, moreover, come in His mediatorial character.
4. And He has come in His representative character.
III. HOW OUR LORD'S PAST ACTION IS DESCRIBED. Not "shall come," but "is come." His coming is a fact accomplished. That part of the salvation of a sinner which is yet to be done is not at all so hard to be believed as that which the Lord has already accomplished. The state of the case since Jesus has come may be illustrated thus — Certain of our fellow-countrymen were the prisoners of the Emperor Theodore in Abyssinia, and I will suppose myself among them. As a captive, I hear that the British Parliament is stirring in the direction of an expedition for my deliverance, and I feel some kind of comfort, but I am very anxious, for I know that amidst party strifes in the House of Commons many good measures are shipwrecked. Days and months pass wearily on, but at last I hear that Sir Robert Napier has landed with a delivering army. Now my heart leaps for joy. I am shut up within the walls of Magdala, but in my dungeon I hear the sound of the British bugle, and I know that the deliverer is come. Now I am full of confidence, and am sure of liberty. If the general is already come, my rescue is certain. Mark well, then, O ye prisoners of hope, that Jesus is come.
IV. There is much of deepest comfort in THE DESCRIPTION WHICH IS HERE GIVEN OF OUR LORD'S WORK. "To seek and to save." The enterprise is one, but has two branches.
1. Jesus is come to seek the lost.
(2) In His providence.
(3) By His Word.
2. Whom Jesus seeks, He saves.
(1) By pardoning.
(2) By bestowing another nature.Conclusion: Let us who are saved seek the lost ones. Jesus did it: O follower of Jesus, do likewise.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho.