"Lo! He beckons from on high!
Fearless to His presence fly.
Yours the merit of His blood,
Yours the righteousness of God!
Angels, joyful to attend,
Hovering round your pillow bend;
Wait to catch the signal given,
And escort you quickly to heaven."
"Father, I want those you have given me to be with me
where I am, and to see my glory."—John17:24.
An emigrant is about to sail for a distant land. As the
vessel weighs anchor, and his family are gathered on the shore to bid a
sorrowful farewell, his last words remind them that it is but a temporary
separation—that in a few brief years, by a favoring Providence, he will be
back again, to take them along with him to his adopted home!
Or, a father gathers his children around his death-bed,
to give them his last blessing. With his eye looking upwards to the glorious
world on which his spirit is about to enter, he tells them, in faltering
accents, to dry their tears; for in a little while they will be reunited in
that "better land" which knows no parting.
Here is the utterance of a departing Savior to His
orphaned children. It forms a petition in His last intercessory prayer, when
about to leave the world, and return to the Father. "Oh, the full joys,"
says Richard Baxter, speaking of this verse in his 'Saint's Rest,' "offered
to a believer in this one sentence of Christ! Every word full of life and
The verse brings before us these two thoughts in
connection with a state of future bliss—The SAVIOR'S joy in Heaven in
being with His people; and His PEOPLE'S joy in Heaven in being with their
I. The Savior here speaks of HIS OWN JOY in having
His saints with Him in glory.
The language is that of a conqueror claiming a stipulated reward. God seems
to say to Him, "Ask of me, and I will give it to you. Son, you are ever with
me, and all that I have is yours." And what does He ask? He had
Heaven at His command—"thrones, and dominions, and principalities, and
powers." But He prefers the request to be crowned as "Lord of all," in the
midst of His saints—that redeemed sinners, like celestial planets, might
through eternity circle and constellate around Him, their central Sun. "He
will rest in his love; he will rejoice over them with singing," (Zeph.
On earth, a man likes to live and die among those he
venerates. The old village patriarch desires to be laid where his fathers
sleep, in his native churchyard. The Jew will travel back from the most
distant region of the world, that his bones may be laid in the Valley of
Jehoshaphat, under the shadow of Olivet, and within hearing of the Kedron.
"Where you die," said Ruth to the one she loved best, "I shall die, and
there shall I be buried," (Ruth 1:17.)
So speaks also an ever-living Savior of His people.
"Where I live," He says, "there you are to live also; eternity shall not
separate between you and me." The well-known tomb of a great earthly
architect is placed immediately under the dome of the vast temple his genius
had reared. With reverence we say it, Jesus is through eternity to be
enshrined in the Temple of His saints, the living stones rising tier on tier
around—each glowing with the inscription, "He loved me, and gave Himself for
What joy thus to behold around Him the travail of His
soul, the purchase of His agony! If we value great results generally in
proportion to the labor and toil bestowed on them—if the philosopher, in
arriving at some brilliant achievement in science, has all the greater joy
when he thinks of it as the result of months and years of patient and
unwearied exertion; if the artist or sculptor has all the greater joy in
contemplating his completed work, by retraversing in thought years of
incessant labor, the line by line, and stroke by stroke, until he worked it
up to the now breathing marble—if the Great God Himself, in resting from the
work of creation, when He contemplated its magnitude, had delight when He
pronounced it "very good"—what must be the transcendent joy with which the
adorable Redeemer beholds the completion of an undertaking which involved in
it so unparalleled a cost of humiliation and pain and woe! What shall be the
delight with which He, the mighty Architect, contemplates the living,
breathing forms of immortal life, which, by His own and His Spirit's work,
were chiseled and fashioned to adorn the Heavenly Temple!
Here was "the joy" we read of "that was set before
Him;"—the joy of seeing "a multitude which no man can number" who had
"washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." If the
courageous mariner has joy, who, at the risk of his life, bravely dashed
into the water, and rescued some struggling castaway from the weltering
waves—if the Patriot-Philanthropist could with joy stand in thought amid the
grateful millions whose fetters he had struck off, and into whose lips he
had put the music of freedom—if the honored minister has joy, who, on his
death-bed, can say, at the retrospect of a lifetime of self-sacrificing
devotedness in his Master's cause, "Blessed be God, my work is done,"—what
shall we say (if we can compare the earthly with the heavenly—the finite
with the infinite) of that everlasting joy which shall fill the bosom of the
Savior as He sees those once bound with the fetters of sin, struggling in
the waves of despair, now saved with a great salvation, exulting in "the
glorious liberty of the sons of God!"
If He had joy—as we believe He had—when in the depths of
a bypast eternity He said, "Lo, I come," (though in that coming He had all
the appalling prospect of ignominy and shame;)—if "Wisdom" had
"delights with the sons of men and rejoiced in the habitable parts of the
earth," when the solitary treading of the wine-press had yet to be borne; if
He had joy when He stretched forth His hands over His "Church in the
wilderness," and said, "Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the
world"—what intenser and holier joy must that be, when, every woe and
pang and sorrow at an end, His people shall be with Him "where He is;"
earth's battle, with its "confused noise and garments rolled in blood,"
terminated; the everlasting triumphal procession of eternity begun—immortal
palm-branches strewed in the way—and the streets of the new Jerusalem
echoing to the cry, "Hosanna to the Son of David"—"Alleluia! for the Lord
God omnipotent reigns!" (Rev. 19:6.)
Behold, then, Heaven as a place where the Savior Himself
shall rejoice over His ransomed ones. They are "glorified together." They
are glorified in Him, and He is glorified in them. "Heaven would not
be enough for Jesus without His people. It seems as if their presence were
essential, not to His deity, (this cannot be,) but to His mediatorial
happiness," (Evans.) The joy in that happy world would seem to begin at the
center, and to be deepest there, but sending out its waves to the
circumference of glory.