12 DECEMBER (PREACHED 1770)
Under the dispensation of the Spirit
‘And as they came down from the mountain, he charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of man were risen from the dead. And they kept that saying with themselves, questioning one with another what the rising from the dead should mean.’ Mark 9:9–10
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: John 16:5–18
The disciples were only restrained till Jesus should rise from the dead. In the meanwhile they understood not what he meant. You see they had an extraordinary privilege upon the mount, above anything that we can expect, and yet, in point of knowledge, they were below the lowest of us. Peter could not bear to hear of Christ’s death, and none of them could conceive what was meant by his rising again. But the rising of Christ from the dead was properly the beginning of the gospel kingdom. Then he opened their understandings, gave them his Spirit and commanded them to proclaim, as on the housetops, the things which they had heard in secret. Under this state which was established at his resurrection, we live. Under the dispensation of the Spirit now, all things are made known to us—his transfiguration, his crucifixion, his resurrection, his ascension. What was once hidden from the apostles for a season is made known to us. Say not then, ‘Though the love of the world now keeps me from professing the gospel, if I had lived then I should surely have followed Jesus.’ If any perish here it will not be for want of evidence. If what you hear and say does not affect you, neither would you be persuaded though one should rise from the dead. Let not the troubled soul say, ‘If I could have seen him and been permitted to touch him and cast myself at his feet, surely he would have bid me go in peace; I should have believed.’ Nay, indeed you have in some respects greater advantage than those who saw him in the flesh. His Word is himself—when you hear the promises, you hear him speak. He is now in the midst of you. Lift up your heart to him. If his time is come, he will surely give you peace. If not, continue waiting, and you shall surely find. He never bid any seek him in vain.
FOR MEDITATION: ‘But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me’ (John 15:26).
SERMON SERIES: ON THE TRANSFIGURATION, NO. 13 [4/4]