I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled…
I. Let us first, then, inquire HOW ARE WE TO ATTAIN THIS NEARNESS TO JESUS?
1. In the first place, by coming to Him. We are, naturally, at a distance from Him.
2. This nearness implies real sympathy of mind. What a sacred bond is sympathy! what a fountain of delight, of comfort, and of strength! In order that there may be sympathy, there must be three things — mutual knowledge one of another — harmony of moral taste — and aiming at the same end. The refined cannot sympathize with the polluted, the gentle cannot sympathize with the cruel hearted. He that delights in sin, on the other hand, cannot sympathize with him who seeks to advance in holiness, and to bring all around him to enjoy communion with God and Jesus.
3. Nearness to Jesus implies that we persevere in following Him. Nearness to Him does not depend upon one act.
4. The next idea is, that nearness to Jesus implies felt fellowship — real communion. Oh! it is not a dream. We have, I trust, very many of us, experienced it as a distinct and separate thing from the work of imagination. Felt fellowship — he who has experienced that is near to Jesus.
5. Pass on to notice the next thing implied in nearness to Jesus — love to Him. Love is the power that annihilates the distance between us.
6. Then it implies, also, that we have intercourse with His people — communion with His disciples.
II. THE BLESSEDNESS OF THIS CONDITION.
1. In the first place, it is an honour — the highest honour — to come near to the Lord Jesus Christ, to be acquainted with Him, to walk with Him, to have fellowship with Him. That is the highest distinction that can be conferred upon man, for it implies that a man is raised to a kind of equality with the Supreme Being, that has condescended to become brother and saviour. The honour of being introduced to Jesus will last, and fill the mind with rest and tranquility.
2. We say, in the second place, it is a blessed privilege to be near to Jesus, because it assures us of His eternal love to us. The text says, "there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of the disciples whom Jesus loved." It was John himself that wrote it, and he knew the fact that Jesus loved him. The way then to be assured of the love of Jesus is to live near to Him.
3. Nearness to Jesus, in the third place, secures glorious shelter and protection from the evils which are in the world. Keep near to thy Saviour, nestle, as it were, in the bosom of His promises; let His feathers cover thee, and His wings be over thee; go to Him in times of danger and trial.
4. Then there is another glorious privilege — the power that is transferred from Jesus to those who are near to Him. When we are near to Jesus, there is a current of sanctified influence passing, until those hearts of yours, once the abode of pollution, become as spotless temples. The soul that was in the thraldom of sin is released, and becomes cleansed and sanctified, and shall stand clean in the presence of the eternal God. This is not done at once, but by a continued influence which assimilates the soul to Jesus in purity, holiness, love, and heavenly mindedness, and makes it a type of Jesus.
5. Then there is another privilege — that there is a constant manifestation of fresh glory made to the mind in the Lord Jesus Christ. What an unworthy idea some people have of Jesus. It is only that of a beautiful image, as it were, drawn on canvas. But, to the believer, Jesus always manifests some new beauty in His face — some new glory in His nature.
6. You have another striking advantage of being near to Jesus — that of growing and increasing in your usefulness in the service of Jesus. There is a moral element of fitness required for the service of Jesus.
7. Then there is another great privilege and blessing — the mind and heart are weaned from earth in proportion as we live near to Jesus. We become conscious of being only strangers on the earth, of be. longing to another world, as citizens of a more enduring city.
Parallel VersesKJV: I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me.