John 8:56
Your father Abraham was overjoyed to see My day. He saw it and was glad."
Sermons
Abraham Beholding Christ's DayT. Bagnall-Baker, M. A.John 8:56
Abraham's Sight of FaithJohn 8:56
Abraham's Vision of Christ's DayBp. Andrewes.John 8:56
Christ Before AbrahamDavid Gregg.John 8:56
Christ Seen Afar OffJohn 8:56
Christian Piety in Relation to the FutureD. Thomas, D. D.John 8:56
A Glorious LiberatorSunday School TimesJohn 8:31-59
Bondage and DeliveranceW. Arnot, D. D.John 8:31-59
Bondage and FreedomJohn 8:31-59
Christ Sets Free the SinfulC. H. Spurgeon.John 8:31-59
Constancy a Severe Test of PietyJ. Spencer.John 8:31-59
Continuous Piety is Piety IndeedJ. Trapp.John 8:31-59
Disciples IndeedT. G. Horton.John 8:31-59
Evidence of DiscipleshipH. C. Trumbull.John 8:31-59
Freedom Aided by GodJohn 8:31-59
Freedom and ResponsibilityH. W. Beecher.John 8:31-59
Freedom by the TruthF. W. Robertson, M. A.John 8:31-59
Freedom by the TruthW. Birch.John 8:31-59
Freedom by the TruthJ Todd.John 8:31-59
Freedom by the TruthP. N. Zabriskie, D. D.John 8:31-59
Freedom Only to be Found in GodR. S. Barrett.John 8:31-59
Glorious LibertyW. Jay.John 8:31-59
Jesus and AbrahamH. A. Edson, D. D.John 8:31-59
LibertyW. Arnot, D. D.John 8:31-59
Moral BondageD. Thomas, D. D.John 8:31-59
No Place for the WordW. M. H. Aitken, M. A., G. S. Bowes.John 8:31-59
Sin is Spiritual SlaveryProf. Shedd.John 8:31-59
Spiritual and Scientific TruthAubrey L. Moore, M. A.John 8:31-59
Spiritual EmancipationJ. M. King, D. D.John 8:31-59
Spiritual FreedomC. H. Spurgeon.John 8:31-59
Spiritual LibertyCanon Stowell.John 8:31-59
Spiritual LibertyH. W. Beecher.John 8:31-59
The Best Service is ConstantJohn 8:31-59
The Effects of the Rejection and the Reception of the WordThe Leisure HourJohn 8:31-59
The English SlaveS. S. Times.John 8:31-59
The Freedom Which Christ GivesJohn Howe.John 8:31-59
The Grace of ContinuanceA. T. Pierson, D. D.John 8:31-59
The Great LiberatorC. H. Spurgeon.John 8:31-59
The Hour of EmancipationHeroes of Britain.John 8:31-59
The Kingdom of the TruthC. S. Robinson, D. D.John 8:31-59
The Liberty of BelieversJohn 8:31-59
The Method of Christian FreedomW. Arnot.John 8:31-59
The Progress of the Lost Soul to DestructionBp. Samuel Wilberforce.John 8:31-59
The Servant Abideth not in the House ForeverA. Maclaren, D. D.John 8:31-59
The Son and the Slave ContrastedArchdeacon Watkins.John 8:31-59
The Spiritual Slavery of ManT. Binney.John 8:31-59
The Vain Boast of the JewsAbp. Trench.John 8:31-59
True FreedomO. F. Gifford.John 8:31-59
True LibertyCanon Liddon.John 8:31-59
Truth and LibertyH. Bonar, D. D.John 8:31-59
Truth and LibertyH. G. Trumbull, D. D.John 8:31-59
Ye Shall be Free IndeedArchdeacon Watkins.John 8:31-59
Abraham and JesusT. Whitelaw, D. D.John 8:52-59
Christ and AbrahamD. Thomas, D. D.John 8:52-59
Christ and AbrahamB. Thomas John 8:54-59


Whom makest thou thyself? In answer to this question and to the objections made by his opponents, our Lord further reveals himself.

I. IN RELATION TO THE FATHER.

1. His entire devotion to him. This includes:

(1) His perfect knowledge of him. "I know him." His knowledge of the Father was essential, absolute, and most intimate. It was not merely knowledge which he had gathered in the past, but which he derived and possessed in the present, then, on account of his oneness with him.

(2) His faithful confession of him. "I know him." He confessed him before men; did not hide the knowledge he possessed of the Father, but faithfully declared it.

(3) His thorough obedience to his will. "I keep his saying." His saying was his will expressed in and to Christ. The Father's saying was Jesus' message; this he faithfully kept and devotedly published. He swerved not from his Father's command on account of the most menacing threats of his foes, but most minutely and enthusiastically carried it out.

2. Some of the features of his peculiar honour.

(1) The honour of absolute self-denial and self-forgetfulness. He honoured not himself, but made himself of no reputation.

(2) The honour of the most devoted loyalty.

(3) Honour derived from the highest source, It was not self-sought, self-derived, nor self-conferred. This honour, he says, would be worthless. "My Father honoureth me." He was really what his Father made him, and he made him what he was because of his essential dignity and relationship and his official integrity and devotion.

3. His entire contrast with his foes.

(1) They were ignorant of him whom they called their God. "Ye have not known him." In spite of their great advantages, these had been lost. on them. Christ knew him absolutely, and manifested and proved his knowledge.

(2) They were utterly false. They were liars - false to themselves, to Jesus, and to God. Christ was true to all. He was the faithful and true Witness.

(3) Their claimed relationship to God was an empty boast. It was disproved by their spirit, language, actions, and whole conduct. Christ's relationship to God was real. His Sonship was most conclusively proved by his Divine knowledge, his public ministry, his Divine miracles, by his whole life.

II. IN HIS RELATION TO ABRAHAM, AND ABRAHAM TO HIM. These Jews claimed Abraham as their father, and attempted to cause a discord between him and Christ; but he reveals himself in relation to the patriarch.

1. In relation to his highest interest.

(1) The incarnate life of Jesus engaged the patriarch's most rapturous attention. "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day." The incarnate life of Jesus was revealed to him in the promise which God repeatedly made to him. This excited his interest, and became the subject of his ardent study. He meditated on it with delight, raised himself, as it were, on tiptoe to look over the shoulders of ages to catch a glimpse of it; stretched forward with eagerness and joy to behold it; made use of every light, and earnestly prayed for more.

(2) A vision of his incarnate life was granted him. "And he saw it." His faithful efforts met with success, and his eager faith was rewarded with the desired vision. Whether this refers to the general vision of his life of faith, or to some special one, is not certain. Perhaps it was specially enjoyed on the summit of Moriah, and through his own experience in offering up his only son he had a special vision of the incarnate life of the Son of God. This served as a telescope through which he saw the distant day close at hand, and beheld its leading features, and grasped its Divine and human bearings and import.

(3) This vision filled his soul with joy. "He saw it, and was glad." Being the chief vision of his life, his soul overflowed with delight and gladness. His was the joy of overflowing gratitude, intense satisfaction, and Divine fulfilment. Since he saw that day his joy was in his soul, a springtide which carried him at last to the brighter visions and diviner joy beyond.

2. In relation to Abraham's age. "Before Abraham," etc. This implies:

(1) The priority of his being. It was very little for him to say that he was before Abraham, considered in the full light of his statement, but it was a step in the right direction, and a reply to the objection of his opponents.

(2) The eternity of his being. "I am." "I was" here would place him among created beings, but "I am" at once reveals him as uncreated, eternal, self-existent, and independent of time and material conditions and circumstances, and makes him belong to the highest order of being.

(3) The unchangeability of his being. "I am." In time, and amid the changes of his visible and earthly existence, his eternal personality and consciousness are preserved unchanged. He is still the "I am."

(4) His unquestionable Divinity. If his being is uncreated, eternal, self-existent, and unchangeable, he must be Divine. This he most emphatically and solemnly asserts: "Verily, verily," etc.

III. HIS REVELATION OF HIMSELF IN RELATION TO HIS OPPONENTS.

1. They understood it. It was intellectually intelligible to them. They were too acquainted with the attributes and designations of Jehovah to misunderstand the language of Christ, and their application to himself was felt by them, as their conduct proves.

2. It became to them unbearable. "They took up stones," etc. A proof of:

(1) Inability to refute his statement. When stone throwing begins, arguments are at an end. Stone throwing is a sign of weakness.

(2) Inability to be convinced. Their false and malicious nature was patent against conviction. They could not rise to the Divinity of his Person and mission. This inability was sad, but wilful and criminal.

(3) Inability to control themselves. Passion was their master; hatred was on the throne. They fail to conceal them.

3. It widened the gulf between him and them. It was wide before - wider now. As he revealed himself in the sublimest manner as their promised Messiah and the Son of God, they in consequence revealed themselves in stone throwing as his most implacable and deadly foes.

4. His revelation was suitably appended by his apparently miraculous escape. "But Jesus hid himself," etc. Hid himself in the folds of his glory. A suitable sequel to his revelation of himself as their Divine Deliverer. How easily and effectively could he defend himself, and retaliate in their fashion! But he preferred his own. He had a royal road. He departed as a King. He could walk through the crowd unobserved, and through the stones unhurt. The weak are more ready to attack than the strong, but there is more majesty in the retreat of the strong than in the attack of the weak. When stone throwing begins, it is time for the messenger of peace to retire. The stones may kill his person, but cannot kill his published message, and he may be wanted elsewhere.

LESSONS.

1. Natural relationships often survive the spiritual. The natural relationship between these people and Abraham, and even between them and God, still remained, while the spiritual was all but gone. This is true of God and evil spirits.

2. When the spiritual relationship is destroyed, the natural availeth nothing. It is only the foundation of an empty boast and hypocritical self-righteousness, and at last the source of painful reminiscences and contrasts.

3. The best of fathers often have the worst of children. This is true of Abraham, and even of God - the best Father of all.

4. Much of the religious capital of the present is derived entirely from the past. Many claim relationship with, and boast of, the reformers and illustrous men of bygone ages, and this is all their stock-in-trade. Their names are on their lips, while their principles are under their feet.

5. It was the chief mission of Christ to explain and establish the spiritual relationship between man and God. To establish it on a sound basis - the basis of faith, obedience, and love. To be the real children of God and of our pious ancestors, we must partake of their spiritual nature and principles. This Jesus taught with fidelity, although it cost him at last a cruel cross.

6. We are indirectly indebted to the cavils of foes for some of the sublimest revelations of Jesus of himself. It was so here. Their foul blasphemies, after all, served as advantageous backgrounds to his grand pictures of incarnate Divinity and love; so that we are not altogether sorry that they called him a "Samaritan" and a demon, as in consequence he shines forth with peculiar brilliancy as the Friend of sinners, the Son of God, and the Saviour of mankind. - B.T.









Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day.
(Christmas day Sermon): — Here is joy, joy at a sight, at the sight of a day, and that day Christ's, and no day is so properly His as His birthday. First, Christ has a day proper to Him. "My day." Secondly, this day is a day of double joy — "rejoiced," "was glad." Thirdly, this was so to Abraham. Lastly, all this nothing displeasing to Christ, for it is spoken to the praise of Abraham that did it, and to the dispraise of the Jews who did it not. We are now disposing ourselves to this, and have a three-fold warrant.

1. We have Abraham for our example. We do but as he in making Christ's day a day of joy.

2. Abraham's example approved by Christ, who commends the patriarch, not that he rejoiced at the sight of Him, but of His day. Verily, the speech is in honour of Christmas.

3. He reproves the Jews for not doing herein as Abraham, which is against them that have a spleen at this feast, and think they can joy in Him and yet set by His day. Nay, love Him, love His day. They tell us that to keep it they would Judaize (Galatians 4:10), but the context shows not to keep it is to Judaize.

I. THE OBJECT. "My day."

1. Not as the Son of God. He has no day.(1) Day and night are parts of time, but His goings forth are from eternity (Micah 5:2).(2) If we would improperly call it a day, no day to be seen (1 Timothy 6:16).(3) If we could see it and Him in His Deity, yet there is small joy.

2. But as the Son of Man He hath more days than one; but this notes one above the rest, a day with the double article. There are two such eminent days. Of His Genesis, and of His Exodus; of His nativity and His passion.(1) Not of His passion; for that was none of His (Luke 22:53), but ours: and no day, but rather night; and no day of joy (Luke 23:48).(2) But of His birth, and so the angel calls it (Luke 2:11). And His day because every man has a property in His birthday; as kings in the day of the beginning of their reigns; as Churches, when they are first dedicate; as cities, when their first trench is cast. And a day of joy in heaven and earth (Luke 2:10-14): to all people, not only on and after it, but before, and so to Abraham. Of course "day" must be taken for the whole time of Christ's life; yet that time had its beginning on a day, and that day even for that beginning may challenge a right in the word.

II. THE ACTS.

1. Abraham's first act — his desire.(1) The cause of it. Why should Abraham so desire two thousand years before! What was it to him? You remember Job's Easter (Job 19:25). The joy of this was the same as Abraham's Christmas; oven that a day should come when his Redeemer should come into the world. For a Redeemer he needed, and therefore desired His day (Isaiah 29:22). The time when he had this day first shown him he complains of his need (Genesis 18:27).(2) The manner of it. We may take measure of the greatness of the day by the greatness of his desire. The nature of the word is, "he did even fetch a spring for joy," and that not once but often. He could not contain his affection, it must out in bodily gesture. Think of a staid, discreet man being so exceedingly moved; and to do all this only in the desire.

2. Abraham's second act. "He saw it," though "afar off" (Hebrews 11:13), "as in a perspective glass" (1 Corinthians 13:12). He did not know precisely the day, but that such a day should come. How did he see it?(1) Not as if he could not see it unless Christ had been in the flesh in His day. So Simeon saw (Luke 2:30). But better than this, for if Simeon had not seen in Abraham's manner, he had been no nearer than the Jews who stoned Christ.(2) If not with the eyes, then how? There is in every man two men — outward and inward. Now if there be an inward we must allow him senses, and so eyes (Ephesians 1:18); it was with these that Abraham saw, and by no other do we see.(3) By what light saw he? He was a prophet, and might be in the Spirit, and have the vision clearly represented before him; but he was a faithful man (Galatians 3:9), and saw it in the light of faith (Hebrews 11:1, 27).(4) Where was this and when? The text is enough, but the Fathers hold that he saw his birth at Mature, His passion at Moriah (Genesis 17:19; Genesis 18:10). But this day he saw at Mature. Christ was in person there, one of the three.

3. Abraham's third act. He that was glad that he should see it must needs be glad when he did see it; accomplishment is more joyful than desire. And what grounds (Genesis 26:4)!Conclusion: The reference to us.

1. Our desire. We have greater cause to desire this day because we have greater need.

2. Our sight is much clearer than his. For though we see as he, and he as we, by the light of faith; yet he in the faith of prophecy yet to come, we in the faith of history now past.

3. Our joy is to be above his, as we have the greater cause and the better sight. Rules for our joy.(1) Here are two sorts —(a) Our exultation, a motion of the body.(b) The other, joy, a fruit of the spirit. Let the former have its part, but should not have so large an allowance of time and cost as to leave little or nothing for the spirit.(2) That our joy in Christ's day be for Him. We joy in it as it is His. The common sort wish for it and joy in it as it is something else, viz., a time of cheer and feasting, sports and revelling, and so you have a golden calf's holiday.

(Bp. Andrewes.)

I. THE GROUND OF ABRAHAM'S FAITH — the promise of God. (Genesis 12:3; Genesis 22:18). To open this promise we must inquire —

1. What was this seed? We must distinguish of a two-fold seed; that to whom the blessing was promised, and that in whom both Abraham, his seed, and all nations were to be blessed (Genesis 17:7). Now this promise was either to his carnal seed or to his spiritual seed (Galatians 3:7). But then there was another seed — the Messiah.

2. What was this blessedness? All the good which results to us from God's covenant.(1) Our reconciliation with God consisting of —

(a)remission of sins (Psalm 32:1, 2), which is included in the blessing of Abraham (Galatians 3:8).

(b)Regeneration (Acts 3:25, 26).(2) Eternal life.

(a)The patriarchs sought it by virtue of this promise (Hebrews 11:18-15).

(b)Unless this had been included God could not act suitably to the greatness of His covenant relation (Hebrews 11:16; Matthew 22:31, 32).

II. THE STRENGTH OF HIS FAITH.

1. His clear vision of Christ. "He saw my day." Three things argue the strength of bodily sight.(1) When what we see is far off. Thousands of years intervened, yet they went to the grave in full assurance. The nature of faith is that it can look upon things absent and future as sure and near, but without it man looks no further than present probabilities.(2) When there are clouds between. Now when the promise was made it was impossible in the course of nature for Abraham to have a son; but when the son was miraculously given he was commanded to sacrifice him. Now to strive against these and other difficulties argues strong faith (Romans 4:18).(3) When there is little light to see by. The revelation was obscure; the patriarchs had only Genesis 3:15; Abraham's was a little clearer, but it was a small glimmering compared with what we enjoy. Yet they could do more with their faith than we with ours.What, then, is this clear vision of Christ to us? How shall we judge of the strength of our faith by this? Ans. —(1) As to Christ there is a sight of Him —

(a)Past. To see Him whom we have not seen, as if we had seen Him in the flesh, is the work of faith (Galatians 3:1).

(b)Present. To see Him so as to make Him the object of our love and trust (John 6:40; Acts 7:56).

(c)Future. We must be assured of His second coming and that we shall see Him (Job 19:25-27).(2) As to the glory and blessedness of the world to come. Faith is the perspective of the soul, by which it can see things distant as present (Hebrews 11:26; Hebrews 6:18; Hebrews 12:2).

2. His deep affection or rejoicing in Christ.(1) No other affection will become Christ but great joy (Luke 2:10; Luke 19:6; Acts 13:48; Acts 8:39; Acts 16:34).(2) The reasons for this joy.

(a)The excellency of the object in Himself and His work (John 3:16); in His necessity to us (Micah 6:6, 7; Psalm 49:7, 8; Job 33:24); in His benefit (1 Corinthians 1:30, 31).

(b)The subjects are delivered from their misery and find their happiness in God.

(c)The causes — the Holy Ghost and faith as His instrument (Romans 14:17; 1 Thessalonians 1:5; Romans 15:18; 1 Peter 1:8).(3) The nature of this joy and its solid effects.

(a)It enlarges our hearts in duty and strengthens us in the way of God (Nehemiah 8:10; Psalm 119:14).

(b)It sweetens our calamities (Hebrews 3:17, 18).

(c)It draws us off from the vain delights of the flesh (Psalm 4:7; Psalm 43:4).

(T. Manton, D. D.)

I. THE DAY OF CHRIST. Not a period of twenty-four hours, but, as is usual in the Bible, a dispensation.

1. Some of the remarkable days that Abraham saw.

(1)Looking back he saw the day when the Everlasting Father embraced Abraham and all His chosen in Christ and designed their salvation (Proverbs 8:28).

(2)The day of Christ's incarnation. "In thy seed," etc.

(3)The day of Christ's oblation.

(4)The day of Christ's resurrection.

(5)The day of Christ's ascension.

(6)The day of Pentecost.

(7)The day of judgment as winding up the dispensation and completing the fulfilment of the promise.

2. The characteristics of this day. It was a day of —

(1)Light.

(2)Gladness.

(3)Life.

(4)Love.

(5)Peace.

(6)Salvation.

II. THE BLESSED VIEW WHICH FAITH TAKES OF THIS DAY.

1. It could not have been a sensible view — for sense never can discover God. The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God.

2. It was a spiritual view — a sight by faith. Faith, like the bodily eye, is —

(1)A recipient organ.

(2)An assuring organ. When a man sees a thing he cannot be mistaken if his sight is good, so a man cannot believe without knowing he is saved.

(3)A directing organ. By the eye we are guided in our daily life, and by faith we walk in the light.

(4)While a small, the eye is a capacious organ. What a wide prospect it can take in! So the least faith pierces the invisible.

(5)An impressible organ. As scenes are impressed on the retina, so is Christ on faith.

III. THE JOY AND GLADNESS ARISING OUT OF THIS SIGHT. It was not carnal but spiritual joy, including —

1. Spiritual health (Psalm 33:1).

2. Soul satisfaction (Psalm 36:8).

3. Enlargement of soul.

4. It is cordial, hidden and unknown to the world, lasting, matchless and transcendent.

(T. Bagnall-Baker, M. A.)

Christian piety —

I. TURNS THE SOUL TOWARDS THE FUTURE. Piety seems to have turned Abraham's mind to the "day" of Christ. This refers, undoubtedly, to Christ's incarnation, personal ministry, and spiritual reign. Nineteen long centuries rolled between. Still he saw it. In relation to the future, Christian piety —

1. Gives an interesting revelation of it. Science, poetry, literature, shed no light on the on-coming periods of our being; but the Bible does. It opens up the history of the race.

2. Gives a felt interest in the blessedness of the future. It gave Abraham a felt interest in the day of Christ. It gives the good a felt interest in the glories that are coming. And what glorious things are on their march!

II. FASTENS THE SOUL UPON CHRIST IN THE FUTURE. "My day." To the godly Christ is everything in the future. Do the rivers point to the sea, the needle to the pole, the plants to the sun? Does hunger cry for food, life pant for air? Even so does the heart of piety point to Christ in the future. He has a "day," a universal day of His glorious revelation to come.

III. BRINGS JOY TO THE SOUL FROM THE FUTURE. Abraham was "glad" —

1. With a benevolent gladness; he knew the world would be blessed by Christ's advent.

2. With a religious gladness; he knew that God would be glorified by His advent. Several reasons might make us glad as we think of the coming day of Christ.

(1)There will be a solution of all difficulties.

(2)A termination of all imperfections, physical, mental, spiritual.

(3)A consummation of unending blessedness.Conclusion: Learn —

1. The congruity of Christianity with the prospective tendency of the soul. The soul is always pointing to the future. Christianity meets this tendency and satisfies it.

2. The antidote of Christianity to the forebodings of the soul. Some souls are always boding evil, and well all the ungodly may. Christianity lights up the future.

3. The fitness of Christianity to the aspirations of the soul. Wonderful is the good after which some souls are aspiring in the future. The present and the material have lost for them their attractions. Man cannot aspire after anything higher than that which Christianity supplies.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

A very lofty mountain, rising in lonely grandeur on the horizon to cleave the blue sky with its snowy pinnacles, is descried from afar. We see it a long way off — from where hills and heights, shaggy forests, silent uplands, and busy towns, and all other individual objects that lie between, are lost in distance, and present the appearance of a level plain. So, just so, Adam and Eve descried a child of theirs rising above the common level of mankind, at the long distance of four thousand years. Of the millions who were to spring from them and people the earth of which they were the lonely tenants, this distinguished child was the only one on whom, on whose birth, and life, and death, and works, their weeping eyes and eager hopes, were fixed.

But how did Abraham see Him and His day? One answer is, Abraham was in heaven when the Son of God left the seat of glory and came to earth. He saw the return of the trooping bands of angels whose faces flashed out in the sky above the plains of Bethlehem, and whose voices sang the anthem of incarnation, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!" All heaven was stirred from its centre to its outermost rim over the coming of Christ to earth and over the great work which brought Him among men. Abraham was in the midst of this stir. There is another answer. You find it upon the page of Old Testament history. There we are taught that the Son of God did not always maintain invisibility prior to Bethlehem. Under the former religious economy He fellowshipped with men. He walked with Adam in Eden and communed with him in the cool of the day. There is quite a long chapter in the Old Testament concerning His visit to Abraham: how He found his tent; what Abraham was doing; how He was received; how a kid was dressed and cakes were baked; how He ate and refreshed Himself at Abraham's table; even a report is given of the conversation which passed between them. From the declaration of superiority to Abraham, the Jewish ideal of superior human greatness, Jesus passes to the declaration of His equality with God. Christianity's Christ is a distinct and a well-defined person. Everything about him is sharply cut and fearlessly stated. He speaks for himself. He entraps no man into discipleship. He is not afraid of the light, nor of the witness-stand, nor of the crucible. He asks no blind faith, but submits himself to scrutiny. The man with a true Christ is a true man. The Christ and the man always correspond.

(David Gregg.)

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