The Lord and His Rewards
by Robert Murray M'Cheyne
"And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be" (Revelation 22:12).
THERE IS SOMETHING peculiarly sacred about a parting word. When a father assembles his children round his dying bed, and gives them his last affectionate counsels; you may be quite sure that as long as they have hearts to feel they will remember and often ponder over his parting words. Here are the parting words of the Lord Jesus. Here are the latest accents that fell from the blessed lips of Immanuel. They fell on the ear of the beloved John as he lay entranced on the shore of sea-girt Patmos, "Behold, I come quickly".
1. Observe the person who comes. "Behold, I come." We may say, like the disciples on the lake of Galilee, "It is the Lord". It is the First, and the Last, and the living One, who was dead, and, behold, He is alive for evermore. Jehovah—Jesus is the person who comes. He whose name is "Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of peace". He who is the image of the invisible God, by whom all things were created that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible.
It is Jesus that comes. He that walked on the sea of Galilee, sat wearied on the well of Sychar, and wept beside the rocky sepulchre of Bethany. He that was surety for sinners, who sweated blood in Gethsemane, who was silent before Pilate, and who, through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God on Calvary. "This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven."
It is He who is the righteousness and strength of all His people. He who is our life, He on whom we lean coming up from the wilderness, He who is afflicted in all our afflictions; our tender Shepherd, our elder Brother; He whom, having nor seen, we love. It is He that comes. Surely every believer will love His appearing. You may tremble who know nor God, and obey not the gospel. This is He whom you have lightly esteemed. He stood at your door till His head was tilled with dew, and His locks with the drops of the night. You despised Him and neglected His great salvation. How will you bear to see Him coming in the clouds of heaven!
2. Observe the time when He comes. "I come quickly." Christians differ widely, as to the time when Christ shall come. This diversity is not to be wondered at. "Of that day, and that hour, knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father" (Mark 13:32). "Of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you; for yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night" (1 Thessalonians 5:1-2). Take it at the longest calculation, it will soon be here. He said, I come quickly, 1800 years ago. Much more now may we say, He comes quickly. A few days, and every eye shall see Him. The sun is waxing old—weary of shining on a Christ-despising world. The whole creation groans under the ever-increasing load of guilt and woe. The lines of prophecy are converging to a point. The cup of Popery is nearly full. The time, times, and half a time, are hastening to a close. The souls below the altar are crying with a loud voice, "How long, O Lord". The Euphrates is drying up, that the way of the kings of the East may be prepared. There is a noise and a shaking among the dry bones of Israel. "In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye" the once crucified, now exalted, but long-despised Jesus shall come. "Unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time, without sin, unto salvation." Oh! believer, let this solemn truth make thee patient under the frown and contumely of an unbelieving world. Hold thy possessions with a slack hand. "Take heed, lest at any time your heart be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares." Behold, I come quickly!
3. Observe what He brings with Him. "My reward is with me." Christ Himself shall be the greatest reward of His people. "Fear not, Abram, I am thy shield and thy exceeding great reward." Any place would be heaven if we were with Christ. No place would be heaven without Him. "Whom have I in heaven but thee?" Oh to talk with Him as Moses and Elijah did on the mount of transfiguration, to hear Him speak gracious words, to lean our head where John leaned his, to hold Him, and not to let Him go, to behold that countenance which is as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars, to have Him turning upon us His eyes of divine tenderness and holy love—that will be a reward.
He has many crowns of righteousness to give to them that love His appearing. He has "the harps of God". He has "authority over ten cities" to give to His own. He has a kingdom prepared for them before the foundation of the world. He has a place beside Him on His throne. But He Himself will be our greatest reward, "I will give him the morning star".
4. Observe what He will do. He will give every man according as his work shall be. Christ is to be Judge of all. "For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son" John 5:22). This is part of Christ's reward, that every knee shall bow to Him. It is fitting that He that stood silent before the Jews, and at the bar of Pilate, and was buffeted, spit upon, and condemned, should sit on the throne and judge His enemies. It will be greatly to the joy of Christ's people in that awful day, when they receive their reward from the hand that was pierced for them. It will make all unbelievers stand speechless when He to whom they have always said, Depart from us, shall say to them, Depart from me, ye cursed. Oh! that we may obtain mercy of the Lord in that day.
"See the Judge our nature wearing,
Clothed in majesty divine;
You who long for His appearing,
Then shall say, This God is mine;
Gracious Saviour, own me in that day for thine."
Taken from Helps to Devotion
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