By James Smith
"In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am!" John 14:2-3
The Lord Jesus has gone to receive a kingdom--and he intends to return. During his absence his people have to work in his vineyard, suffer in his cause, and watch for his appearing. Our work is often difficult, our sufferings severe, and watching so long becomes tedious. But as Jesus has promised to come--he assuredly will. As he has given us his word that he will not tarry--but come as soon as his work before the throne is done--we may depend upon his coming back as soon as possible.
As he is coming to bring us grace, in a degree which we have never enjoyed; and glory, such as we have no conception of--his coming should be the object of our hope, desire, and love. The thought of it should give us joy, the anticipation of it should fill us with delight. It did--to a poor, afflicted, suffering believer who, when asked why he looked forward to the coming of Jesus with so much joy, said, "I expect great things then!"
Beloved, we may not have much now. Our temporal supplies may be scant--and our outward comforts but few. Our sufferings may be great--and our trials painful. Without may be fightings--and within may be fears. But Jesus is coming--Jesus, who is our Brother, Husband and Friend! He is coming in all of his glory! He is coming to reign supreme. He is coming to render wondrous rewards to his servants. He is coming to fulfill all his promises, and accomplish the glorious predictions of his holy word.
His coming is the greatest event we can look forward to. It is the blessed hope of his church. It is the desire of all his saints. Our brightest prospects and sweetest anticipations depend on that. Our groaning world appears to long for it. The sorrowful church should daily pray for it. And every sigh that escapes from the tried believer's heart, rightly interpreted, cries, "Come, Lord Jesus come quickly!"
Well, cheer up, my poor tried brother and sister, for "He who is to come--will come, and will not tarry." He is now engaged for us. His loving heart now beats with tenderest affection towards us. He would have us with him, or he would come and be with us now--were it not that his Father's glory and our best interests require it to be otherwise. He said once, and he is in the same mind still, "Father, I will that those whom you have given me--be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory!" This is the very thing we desire--and it is the very thing we shall enjoy; for he will soon come "the second time without sin unto salvation!" We expect great things then!
WHAT do we expect then?
The sufferer expects to be free from disease and pain; for "there shall be no more pain" then. Every Christian will have a healthy body. The nerves, the muscles, the senses, will no more be the seats of disease, or the inlets of pain; but what was sown in corruption--will be raised imperishable! What was sown in dishonor--will be raised in glory; what was sown in weakness--will be raised in power; what was sown a natural body--will be raised a spiritual body.
The mourner expects to be freed from the principal cause of his mourning--even sin. He will then be delivered not only from its guilt--but from its very being; not only from its annoyance--but from its existence!
As the body will be free from pain--so the soul will be free from sin; and body and soul will exactly resemble the glorified humanity of the Lord Jesus.
"Dear friends, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him because we will see Him as He is!" 1 John 3:2. Every Christian expects to have a sight of Jesus--to see Him as He really is. He will gaze with rapture and delight on His glorified body, tracing the thorn-prints on His brow, and the nail-prints on His hands! He will realize with ecstatic delight that Jesus is his own Savior, his glorious Redeemer, his ever-living and ever-loving Lord. The sight of Christ will eclipse the glory of everything visible, and will leave impressions on the soul which will never be erased. It will exceed all that ever was seen, conceived, or anticipated. It will fire the soul with unutterable love, and fill it with inexpressible joy!
The believer will then receive a glorious crown, "a crown of glory which never fades away." "A diadem of beauty." "A crown of life." He will be clothed in white robes, and have the palm of victory put into his hand. A seat near to Jesus will be awarded to him. He will be introduced to the "city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God." To the kingdom prepared for the saints "before the foundation of the world." To the "priceless inheritance--an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay!"
He will be elevated above his fears, exalted above his foes, and enjoy absolute security forever. Every desire will be gratified, and his soul will be perfectly and forever satisfied. Are not these great things? But these and many more, are the great things which the Christian may expect, for "eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man to conceive--what God has prepared for those who love him!" Well may it be called the "blessed hope." Well may primitive saints be represented as "waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." Well may each believer "expect great things then!"
My Christian brother, is the coming of Jesus the object of your hope? Are you anxiously and prayerfully looking forward to that glorious event? Do you "expect great things then?" If so, you will not be so much affected as some professors are--by the vain things which perish with the using. You will live above the world. You will cast your cares upon your God. You will overlook many little annoyances and troubles. You will rejoice in hope--when all around you is cold and dreary. You will not avenge yourself--but leave many things to be adjusted when Jesus comes. You will act as one who "must appear before the judgment seat of Christ!" --as one who must "give an account of himself to God."
The coming of Jesus will stimulate you to all holy obedience--and will be a preventative to your settling down in the world, or indulging in sin. Expecting great things when Jesus comes--you will not be affected by passing vanities of this fleeting world--but "in your patience you will possess your soul." Expecting great things when Jesus comes--you will quietly carry your cross, manfully face your foes, and diligently employ your talents in your Master's service. Expecting great things when Jesus comes--you will aim in all things to "walk worthy of the calling with which you are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with long suffering," lovingly bearing with the imperfections of your brethren, "endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."
Expecting great things from Jesus when he comes--you will be desirous of doing great things for Jesus now that he is away; and will be willing to suffer great things for Jesus if he may but be glorified thereby.
Beloved, if you are indeed a Christian, you cannot expect too much when Jesus comes--but you may expect too little now. He has promised you many great and glorious things now; and he is quite willing to make good his largest and kindest promises. He waits to be gracious. He waits until you are in need, until you ask him, until you are earnest with him to bestow. The moment the fulfillment of the promise is necessary for you, and will bring glory to his holy and ever-blessed name--that moment will the promise be fulfilled.
Expect much from Jesus now. Ask much from Jesus now. But yet when clouds gather, when dangers press, when foes collect, when difficulties increase, when causes of sorrow arise--then look forward--anticipate the coming of your Redeemer, and rejoice. In all times of tribulation, in all seasons of conflict, and in all circumstances of discouragement, "gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end, for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the appearing of Jesus Christ!" For you may expect great things then!
He has told us of "earthly things "in his word, and they have been so great that we have scarcely believed him; how astonished, how delighted, how inexpressibly joyful shall we be when he brings us to see, to receive, and to enjoy "heavenly things!" Then we shall have great peace, great joy, great glory. Our wealth will be immense, our satisfaction perfect, and our inheritance eternal.
Happy believer! though your lot in now poor, your present resources small, your conflicts severe, your sufferings continued, and your temptations painful--Jesus is coming! "Behold, he comes with clouds, and every eye shall see him," and you may expect great things then! Nor can your expectations possibly be cut short, "For the desires of the righteous shall be granted!"