Charles Simeon Commentary - Luke 22:28 - 22:30

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Charles Simeon Commentary - Luke 22:28 - 22:30


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DISCOURSE: 1575

REWARD OF FAITHFULNESS

Luk_22:28-30. Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations. And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

AT the close of his life, our blessed Lord was peculiarly engaged in comforting and encouraging his Disciples. This appears particularly in the 14th, 15th, and 16th chapters of St. John’s Gospel. But in the passage before us it appears still more remarkably; because he had, at this time, great reason to be displeased with them: and yet he overlooks their offence with the most slight and transient notice; and administers consolation to them, as if they had deserved nothing but applause. Yet we are not to suppose that the words of my text are to be confined to them: they are applicable to all Christ’s faithful servants. And, to place them in their true point of view, I must consider them,

I.       As addressed to the Disciples then before him—

[There are difficulties in the words: but those difficulties will vanish, if we bear in mind the precise circumstances under which the Disciples were, at the time when these words were delivered.

Our Lord had now kept the Passover with his Disciples; and had instituted his Last Supper, which, under the Christian dispensation, was to supersede the Passover. In explaining to them the nature and intent of this new ordinance, he had compared the bread, which he brake, to his body, which was to be broken on the cross; and the wine, which he poured forth, to the blood which was about to be shed upon the cross for the sins of the whole world. But, in speaking of these things, he twice mentioned “the kingdom of God, which was about to come,” and which was to be the completion and consummation of all that he had undertaken to effect [Note: ver. 16, 18.]. The Apostles, passing by all that their divine Master spake concerning his own sufferings, caught hold of the idea of “the kingdom of God,” in which they hoped for advancement upon earth; and immediately began to contend with each other for pre-eminence in that kingdom; each specifying the grounds on which he himself claimed a priority above the rest. Our Lord reproved this ambition in the same kind of way as he had before done [Note: Mat_20:20-28. with ver. 25–27.]; but still forbore to dwell upon it, that he might comfort and support them under the accumulated weight of trouble which they were now immediately to sustain. He told them, that, whilst many had forsaken him, they had continued with him through all his temptations; and that therefore he would act towards them as the Father himself had acted towards him; and would fulfil all their desires to an extent of which they could now form no conception. Did they desire pre-eminence in his kingdom? They should all be admitted, not to the table of earthly princes merely [Note: 2Sa_9:9-10; 2Sa_19:28.], but to the table of the King of kings, to eat and drink in his presence: yea, they all should possess kingdoms, and sit on thrones: and, though they should themselves stand for a time at the tribunal of wicked men, and receive a sentence of condemnation from them, they should have all the tribes of Israel, standing as it were, at their tribunal, and receiving, to a certain degree, their sentence from them, who, as assessors with Christ, should approve and applaud the sentence passed upon them. This I conceive to be the true sense of the last clause of my text; which was intended to fortify them against all which was about to be realized in their Lord, and which they themselves also were, in due time, destined to experience.]

But we must further consider these words,

II.      As addressed to his faithful followers in every age—

There is, between them and the Apostles, a great resemblance:

1.       They answer to the same character—

[Though Christ himself is out of the reach of men, his word, his cause, his people, are treated precisely as he was in the days of his flesh. “Was he despised and rejected of men?” So is his Gospel, wherever it is proclaimed. It is “to some a stumbling-block, and to others foolishness,” as much as ever. Nor is there, in the whole universe, a faithful servant of his who has not a cross to bear for his sake. But they are all firm in their Master’s cause: they suffer nothing to turn them aside from following him: yea rather, instead of being intimidated by sufferings, they rejoice that they are counted worthy to suffer shame, or even death itself, for his sake — — —]

2.       For them, also, are reserved the same honours—

[At the table of the Lord above is Abraham sitting, and Lazarus next to him, with his head, as it were, reposed on Abraham’s bosom [Note: They reclined on couches at their feasts.]. And there shall every true Disciple feast with his divine Master for evermore [Note: Rev_19:9.] — — — To them, also, shall be assigned “thrones and kingdoms,” even as God the Father has assigned them to his well-beloved Son. It is by an express covenant that these were given to Christ [Note: This is the force of ä é á ô ß è å ì á é .]; and by covenant does Christ also confer them on his people: they “inherit a kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the world.” And they, too, shall be assessors with Christ in judgment. Of this there can be no doubt. St. Paul says to the Church at Corinth, “Know ye not that the saints shall judge the world? yea, know ye not that we shall judge angels [Note: 1Co_6:2-3.]?” What then shall influence us, or what shall we regard in comparison of these things? Let us be content to hunger now, if we may but feast then: and if called to surrender thrones and kingdoms, and to lay down our lives as martyrs, let us willingly make the sacrifice, knowing how abundantly we shall be recompensed through eternal ages — — —]

Suffer ye now, brethren, a word of exhortation—

1.       Adhere with firmness to the Lord Jesus Christ—

[Many forsook him in the days of his flesh — — — and many, at this day, like the stony-ground hearers, fall away in a season of temptation and persecution. But “be ye steadfast and immoveable,” even to the end; “following the Lord fully,” and “cleaving to him with full purpose of heart” — — —]

2.       Expect with confidence his promised blessings—

[Think of the state to which many whom you once knew on earth are now exalted in heaven: and think in how little a time you also will be partakers of the same blessings. Know, that, if ye be Christ’s, all these things are yours, secured by a covenant that cannot be broken. What glory can this world give you, in comparison of this? Contemplate this: follow this: anticipate this: and you need not fear what either men or devils can do unto you.]