the First Week of Advent
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Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
“His countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.”
Our blessed Lord for the most part led a life of humiliation; but occasionally, lest men should altogether forget his divine nature, he drew aside the curtain, and revealed a measure of his majesty. This he did in a special manner upon the holy mount.
A quaint writer says our Lord took Peter because he loved Christ most, John because Christ loved him most, and James because, next to these, he loved and was loved most. The Lord knew the men whom he had chosen, and judged these three to be the fittest eye-witnesses of his glory.
As a foretaste of the glory in which he will shine hereafter, he put on the robes of his excellency for a moment, and dazzled his disciples eyes. How great was the condescension which kept him closely veiled while here below. Brighter than the sun is he, and yet he deigned to be despised and rejected of men.
The law and the prophets are in harmony with Christ, and when we see the glory of Jesus we behold their light sweetly blending with his own.
Not knowing what he said, but feeling as we have often done, that we would gladly remain in sweet meditation and hallowed fellowship, and go no more down into the rude world.
Matthew 17:5 , Matthew 17:6
Astonished and overcome, they fell down as in the stupor of deep sleep.
“When, in ecstasy sublime, Tabor’s glorious sleep I climb, At the too transporting light Darkness rushes o’er my sight.”
We are not able as yet to bear too clear a view of the glory of our Lord. Before we enter heaven we shall be strengthened to bear the strain of the beatific vision.
Matthew 17:7 , Matthew 17:8
And that sight was enough. To see Jesus only is all that saint or sinner need desire.
The mind of Jesus rushed forward to his death and resurrection. Tabor could not make him forget Calvary. Christ crucified should ever be most dear to us, since for our sakes he despised the shame of death, and counted dishonour as glory, that he might redeem us to himself.
2 Peter 1:16-18
Of this transfiguration of our Lord and the attesting voice of the Father, Peter speaks in his epistle.
2 Peter 1:16-18
The apostles, by seeing the transfiguration, were confirmed in faith and enabled to bear witness concerning their Lord to all generations.
O thou, who once on Tabor’s hill
Didst shine before the favoured three,
The souls which love thee favour still
Thy nearer glory, Lord, to see.
E’en now let faith’s far-gazing eye
The brightness of thy Godhead scan,
And view thee, throned in heaven on high,
The Almighty Lord, the Son of Man.
“Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief.”
From glory upon the mountain to conflict in the valley is a very usual transition.
No doubt his face was resplendent with some relics of the glory which had beamed from him upon the holy mount: yet it is remarkable that the people were not terrified, but ran to him and not from him: the glories of Jesus are always attractive.
Without their Master they could do nothing; they were like soldiers assailed by the enemy in the absence of their commander. His coming
Matters often come to their worst before they mend. The devil had great wrath, and put forth all his power, because he perceived that his time was short.
The Saviour returned the unbelieving “if thou canst” to its right place; the want of power never lies in Jesus, but in our faith.
A prayer most fitting for many struggling believers, in whom faith and unbelief are striving for the mastery.
Our Lord spake divinely, charging demons as one having authority over them. Let us confide in him, for all power is given unto him in heaven and in earth.
God reserves certain blessings, and determines to bestow them only upon those who offer importunate prayer and practise self-denial. Yet where disciples fail, their Master succeeds. We may take the most desperate case to him; we may take our own.
How sad our state by nature is!
Our sin, how deep its stains!
And Satan binds our captive minds
Fast in his slavish chains.
But lo, we hear the Saviour call,
He comes to our relief:
“We would believe thy promise, Lord,
Oh, help our unbelief.”
Stretch out thine arm, victorious King!
Our reigning sins subdue;
Drive the old dragon from his scat,
With all his hellish crew.
Shall we anger’s deep defilement
Cherish in despite of heaven?
Shall we spurn at reconcilement,
Who so oft have been forgiven?
If offence that folly gave us
Should our faith and patience try,
Like our Lord, who died to save us,
Let us meekly pass it by.