“LORD, THOU KNOWEST ALL THINGS”
Sermon by Dr. J. Frank Norris
Turn with me to the lesson you studied this morning and let’s read it as our morning devotion – the Gospel of John, the last chapter.
If Brother Etheredge of Oklahoma is here, I wish he would lead us in prayer.
DR. NORRIS: Wherever it is practical to do so, I am always delighted to select the theme from the chapter we studied the previous hour and that is our happy lot this morning. Therefore, I want to call your attention to these words, and I do wish I could emphasize them – wish we could understand them, “Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee.” Now, I could wish that I knew how to emphasize and illustrate, burn into our souls today, “Lord, thou knowest all things.”
Isn’t there something wonderful, isn’t there something satisfying about that statement? Where else can you go and find such volumes of meaning – where else can you find such mercy, not condemnation, but compassion? Where else can you find such understanding? Where else can you find such interpretation of the soul’s deepest yearning and aspirations?
Three times Jesus asked Simon the question, “Lovest thou me?” Why did He ask him three times? Here’s why – three times Simon had denied His Lord. Three times Jesus has Simon Peter to declare his unquestioned love for Him whom he had denied.
Mark the very first word in this third answer, “Lord.” It would not have been complete if he had said, “Thou knowest all things,” but in this hour when He goes to the deepest depths of the soul of this apostle, he cries out and calls Him the highest term of honor in both heaven and earth, “Lord!”
In the last hour when time is reckoned no more and the hour of the coronation, three worlds shall join in claiming Him as King of Kings and Lord of Lords – “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” He is Lord of all. It would not be amiss this morning to meditate on Him as our one and only Lord. Think of Him as His power is manifest throughout the universe as Lord of All.
Isaiah said concerning his power, “Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance? If we could understand Him in part this morning as our Lord, we would see something of His infinite wisdom, “Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being his counsellor hath taught him?” The Apostle Paul, in closing that great discourse on His purpose concerning the Jews, in the last four verses of the 11th chapter of Romans on His wisdom says, “Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counselor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen!”
It would pay us indeed if we could meditate upon the love of our Lord. The Apostle Paul, in writing to the church at Ephesus, in his prayer that they “May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height” – four measures of it – “And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.”
It would indeed be interesting and humble our hearts if we could see, today, in some measure the mercy of the Lord. David struck his harp and sang, “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.” There is no famine in the Divine mercy, there is no depression in God’s mercy. Then he gives the measures of His mercy. First, how high it is. As the heaven is high above the earth, so great, is his mercy toward them that fear him.” Then he tells us of the breadth of His mercy. “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” Then, not satisfied with measuring the immeasurable heights and infinite width, then he tells of its length. “But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children.
Let me stop here and say this. People are always talking about how the iniquities of the father are visited upon the children and the children’s children unto the third generation, and that is true, but the goodness and righteousness of the father and mother are transmitted unto the second and third generation. Let’s quit talking about the bad things about people and talk about the good things.
If we had time, we could talk about the grace of God transmitted to us through Jesus Christ. “Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ (by grace ye are saved); And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:” – not only so at the present time, but – “That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.”
“Lord!” I want us to notice this morning the knowledge of the Lord. “Lord, thou knowest all things.” What does that “all things” include? Let’s turn aside from the little narrow sphere that engulfs us today and soar above the petty things that bind us and blind us and let’s survey the knowledge of our Lord. He knows all things and that “all things” includes all things from creation’s morning to the resurrection hour “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.” Four times that expression that old Simon Peter used, “Lord, thou knowest all things” and then Paul used it in that great verse, the 28th verse of the 8th chapter of Romans, “And we know that all things – all things work together for good to them that love God,” I say He knows all things from the first morning of creation to the last triumphant hour of the resurrection. That is why Paul, writing to the church at Colosse, concerning His resurrection said, “And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.”
That is to say – here is the literal meaning. That when Jesus Christ rose from the dead, he made a laughing stock of Hell and He made ridiculous all principalities and powers that thought they could bind Him in the darkness of the tomb. That’s what it means!
WOMAN: Praise the Lord!
DR. NORRIS: He knows “all things” in death and in the resurrection. Jesus Christ experienced everything from death to life, and from the deepest hell to the highest heaven. He experienced each step of man from the cradle to the grave and from the grave back to the presence of God Himself. He experienced everything from life to death – every tear and every sorrow that comes to man-and the God that came to earth to die for men experienced every joy that comes to the heart of man and to the heart of God.
Now, Peter said, “Lord, thou knowest all things” and then he swiftly added – what else? “Thou knowest – among the all things – that I love thee.” Three times He probed that question and now Peter boldly comes back and says, “Lord, you have probed down deep and deep and you know that I love thee.”
The Lord is our shepherd, He knows his own sheep. Does He not know all about man, for did He not create man in His own image and even in His own likeness and does it not say “Jesus did not commit himself unto man?'” “Why? “Because He knew what was in man. And needed not that any should testify of man – Why? “Because he knew what was in man.” And did not Jesus tell His disciples, “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. Fear ye not therefore!” In the first prayer meeting of the Church after the ascension, we read these wonderful heart-searching words – “And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord which knowest the hearts of all men!”
“Lord thou knowest all things” – the Psalmists as well as the Apostles dwell on the personal intimate knowledge of the Lord “O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before and laid thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me it is high, I cannot attain unto it. Whither shall I go from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there; if I make my bed in hell, behold. thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say Surely the darkness shall cover me, even the night shall be light above me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day; the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.”
Oh, dismiss our fears this morning. In the hour of the coronation, as our good and tender shepherd, He knows His sheep. “To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.” “The Lord is my shepherd, he leadeth me beside the still waters and in pastures of tender grass.” I am the good shepherd”-and what else? “And I know my sheep, and am known of mine!”
Last Sunday we studied in that 20th chapter where Jesus stood there at the edge of the open grave where Mary was and Jesus said, “Woman, why weepest thou?” and she thought he was the gardener and said, “Tell me where thou hast laid him.” And then Jesus spoke, not “Woman,” but “Mary” and when He called her name, she fell prostrate at His feet and would have thrown her arms around Him but He said, “Touch me not!” Why did He call her Mary? My friends, we will have the very names that our Fathers and Mother’s gave us when we came into this world, before we could call the name of our Father and Mother – that is the name God writes down in the Lamb’s Book of Life and through all the ages and ages to come, we will be called the same names that Father and Mother named us. (Shoutings.) It may be that some grandmother gave you a name in honor of a favorite son or daughter – it may be that mother named you in the honor of father or mother, but that will be the name that you will wear through the endless ages of eternity. (Voices, amen.) What about the names of the patriarchs? They are called the same names, Old Noah is still Noah. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are still called the same names when they walked on this earth, and the same names which Jesus called them. What about Moses and Elijah? They are called Moses and Elijah. What about the names of the apostles? Their same names were written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. That is the name that they have when they sang the song of triumph, “We have been redeemed by the blood.”
“Lord, thou knowest all things!” He knows us from the cradle down to the grave. He knows us from the hour we are born to the hour of crossing the swelling tide and He will know us in the Resurrection morning, and He will know us when the leaves of the Judgment Book unfold and the record is there of His sheep which He shall set on the right hand and He knows the names of every one of them! (Shoutings.) Therefore, Moses wrote this song and prayer, “Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou are God.” And we sing with old Isaac Watts:
“Lord, thou hast been thy children’s God,
All-powerful, wise, and good, and just,
In every age their safe abode,
Their hope, their refuge, and their trust.
Before thy word gave nature birth,
Or spread the starry heavens abroad;
Or form’d the varied face of earth,
From everlasting thou art God.
Great Father of eternity,
How short are ages in thy sight!
A thousand years how swift they fly!
Like one short silent watch of night!
Uncertain life, how soon it flies!
Dream of an hour, how short our bloom!
Like spring’s gay verdure now we rise,
Cut down er’e night to fill the tomb.
Teach us to count our short’ning days,
And, with true diligence, apply
Our hearts to wisdom’s sacred ways,
That we may learn to live and die.
O make our sacred pleasures rise,
In sweet proportion to our pains,
Till e’en the sad remembrance dies,
Nor one uneasy thought complains.”
He knows, my friends, all about us. “Lord, thou knowest that I love thee.” Get this thought and I think that this is high over all. He knew Peter loved Him. Then, you ask, why did He ask him? Here is why. He knows us to reveal ourselves to ourselves. He takes a photograph of ourselves and gives it to us. We don’t know what we will do until we are tried. We don’t know how much faith we have until we are challenged. God wants us to have a sort of reserve so we can’t overdraw our account when the depression comes. That is what He did to Abraham. God knew that Abraham would be true when tried – He knew that when He called Abraham to leave Sarah and go three day’s journey to Mount Moriah and offer Isaac as a sacrifice. God knew Abraham would not falter but Abraham didn’t know it so He said, “Abraham, I want you to make a record, a sort of autobiography of your faith” and therefore, “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.”
He reveals ourselves to ourselves. He lets us see our weaknesses, our own sins and then He can come with His grace and help us. “When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” Peter saw a photograph of himself.
When Nathan said unto David, “Thou art the man,” David said, “T have sinned against the Lord.” There wasn’t a word of condemnation, but what happened? “The Lord also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.”
Jesus is giving Simon Peter an extra check book on what would take place in the future. He is giving him a vision of Pentecost. Jesus saw Peter in prison in the 5th chapter of Acts, then in the 12th chapter when the angel opened the doors and took him out. He saw the death he would die. He wanted Peter to have this record so when the darkness comes and the storm is raging and all hell is moving against him, then Peter could have this thought and record, “I love thee, Lord, and I am willing to die for Thee.”
How similar to his commission was that of the Apostle Paul. He said to Ananias, “Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel” – now listen, “For I will shew him – how great riches he would have? How popular he would be? How much fame he will receive? No! I am going to show him how poor he will be, how he will bleed – I will show him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.”
Beloved, let’s quit thinking about how many mean things God knows about us. He knows the good things about us, too. “Lord, thou knowest all things.” “Lord, thou knowest the good thing in me is that I love thee.”
That is what he says. Now, he knows the bad things, but lets not forget that He knows the good things. We have become lopsided – we have always emphasized-preachers are guilty of it too and we have gone around emphasizing all the evil in us, that the Lord knows all our meanness, but, thank God, underneath that He knows something else. The greatest wealth that the Lord has is not in mines of diamonds, oil wells, not in gold, not in broad acres, not in stars, not in planets and suns, no! What, then? In His redeemed children! “Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he has purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth; even in him,” “And that the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints!” There is a double inheritance in redemption, our “inheritance that is undefiled and fadeth not away” and no bank robber can destroy it or steal it, but it remains reserved in the reserve bank in heaven. But God has a wealth in us and so great is that wealth that Paul said, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first-born among many brethren.”
“Lord, thou knowest that I love thee!” “I know that I denied thee, I know that I have made a fool of myself, I know my life is filled with mistakes and tragedies, but Lord, when you probe down and down, you can see that I love thee.” The first great commandment – “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” We are the temple, the building, and Jesus comes into the home of Simon Peter. He walks up to the front door and gently knocks. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.” Peter said, “Come in, Lord.” He opens the door and comes into the front room, sits down, and looks at the pictures hanging on the wall, and then He says, “Peter, I want to go into the sitting room.” Peter says “Come on in, Lord.” They go to the room and then Jesus says, “Peter, I want to go to the dining room.” Peter says, “Come on in, Lord.” Then Jesus says, “Peter, let’s go into the kitchen.” Peter says, “All right, Lord.” They go into the kitchen and Jesus says, “Peter, let me look into your elosets.” They look in the closets and then Jesus says, “Peter, let’s go down into the basement.” Old Peter says, “Lord, what do you want to go down there for?” “Simon, come on and go down there with me.” “All right, Lord.” And when He goes down there, there’s no darkness for there is no darkness where He is and he says, “Simon, I’m not here to find fault with you and I knew underneath, all these years, I knew there was a love for me here. You are going to need this in the years to come. Simon, I knew in every step of your denial that you loved me.” (Shoutings.) See what Luke said about it. The first step, “And Peter followed afar off,” but Jesus said, “He loves me.” Then “Peter sat down among them” when they tried the Lord, but Jesus said, “He loves me.” Then they asked Peter if he wasn’t one of His disciples. Peter said, “I am not.” But Jesus said, “That doesn’t make any difference, he loves me.” Three times then Peter denied him but still Jesus said, “That’s all right, he s:ill loves me.” Then “The Lord turned and looked upon Peter and Peter remembered the word of the Lord.” That wasn’t a look of condemnation, it was a look of compassion and when he looked, what happened? Peter didn’t say a word, he went out and wept bitterly and Jesus saw him as he went out the door and saw him on the ground and in the morning of the resurrection, the angels said, “But go your way, tell his disciples” – that would have been enough but He had two words – “and Peter.” Why did they add that? Well, when Peter went out he said, “They have already turned me out of the church, there’s no chance for me” but the Lord said, “Put this there and tell old Peter I still love him!” (Shoutings.)
When Andrew brought Peter to Jesus, Simon the fisherman, “And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.” From the impulsive disciple he will be the solid rock that will never be moved. Then he remembered the prayer of Jesus. “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not; and when thou art converted – that doesn’t mean his salvation – strengthen thy brethren.” That was the prayer of Jesus and while some of our prayers may not reach the mercy seat, the prayers of Jesus will prevail and never fail!
Old Peter was like that clinging vine I saw once. A friend of mine in London said that vine has been on the wall of an old cathedral for a hundred years. The roots have gone clear through a rock wall, two feet thick, and come out on the other side. The storms and winds may come and blow and whip that vine but the roots are in the solid rock and the vine is safe. Christ, the Solid Rock, always holds His disciples in the storms of life and in the storms to come – “And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest, as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.”
Notice something about Peter’s old age. Let me say a word to help you if I can. Most young people look forward to a happy old age. Think when you get to old age you will have no sorrow. You will have more than now. “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdest thyself, and walkedest whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.” It is youth and old age. In youth, nobody needs to lend you a hand, but in old age, someone will reach forth and take you by the hand to help you along the way – when you can no longer see and you stretch forth your hand, when your step has faltered and the spring is gone, then you will need someone to take you by the hand and help you.
Peter, when you are an old man, they are going to lead you forth, not to a life of ease and luxury, but to the cross and like your Lord was crucified, you will be crucified head downward.” If we had time, we could meditate on the old age of the patriarchs. We could talk about the old age of Abraham and Isaac. We could go yonder to old Jacob leaning on his staff, looking across the hills with his eyes dimmed by the years. We could go yonder to Nebo’s heights and stand in the presence of that prophet and law giver and his eye was not dimmed and his strength not abated. We could talk about the old age of old Joshua. We could go to Samuel after he had redeemed Israel and was dying. We could talk to David when he came to die, after he had reigned 40 years over the children of Israel. We could come to Egypt and listen to Jeremiah after his turning down the invitation of Nebuchadnezzar to go to Babylon in honor, but dies in Egypt. 0ld age of Paul, when he writes to Timothy, “I have fought good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”
Change your viewpoint and quit thinking of what you are going to get out of this life when you are old. The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.” Quit thinking of what you are going to get out of life and think of what you are going to put in life! Quit thinking of how happy you will be and think how happy you can make somebody else. If you have just a crust of bread and a glass of water, you can shout and sing, “I have a title to a mansion in the skies.” (Shoutings.)
I stood, one day, in the office of the White Star Line, in that beautiful office and there on the wall is a picture. You notice it the moment you walk into the room and you look at it and it burns into your soul and you just keep looking at it. It is a picture of old Captain John Smith. He had been working for the White Star Line a long time and they had given him this high honor. He was going to retire and as a retiring act, they let him take the Titantic across on her maiden voyage. “Oh,” they said, “this ship can’t sink, no matter if it breaks in two, it will stay afloat.” It took that boat 16 hours to go down and when it did sink, 1600 went down with it. There is an old law of the British Merchant Marines that the Captain must stay with the ship and not get off until the last soul is off. You know the details about the sinking of the Titanic, the few life-boats, and when the ship went down, you can see him there, old Captain Smith with his gray beard and his white hair, as he lifted his cap and saluted the colors and went down with the ship. As you see that tragic scene tears come un- bidden to your eyes and you say, “What courage, what courage, what heroism!” And you find the crowd lift their hats in silence as they see that hoary, white haired old Captain of the sea standing there on the bridge, going down with the ship.
My friends, thanks be unto God, we are on the ship of Zion that will never go down and we will land in the harbor, safe on Immanuel’s shores! (Shoutings.)
He knows all about us. He knows us in the depth of poverty. He knows us in the darkness of night. He knows us in the keenest pangs of disappointment. Don’t you know He was in company with Enoch all the time that he walked with God? Don’t you know He was with Noah when he built the ark? Don’t you know He was with old Abraham and Sarah when they left the land of their nativity and went to the land which they had never seen? Don’t you know He was with Jacob, the first night he was away from home and then He was with him when he returned and divided his cattle and family because of the wrath of Esau? Wasn’t He with Joseph in Egypt? Wasn’t He with him when his brothers stripped his bright colored robe from him and put him in a pit and sold him to the Midianites, and the word says, “The Lord was with Joseph in prison.” He was with Moses alone in the land of Midian. He went with the people when they walked down through the divided sea. And David! Who is better qualified to testify, “Lord, thou knowest all things?” In singing of the immeasurable mercies – the everlasting mercies – mercies to the third and fourth generation of them that love Him – who but David, out of the depths of tragedy he was brought up out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay and set upon a rock, the eternal Rock of Ages. I say, who but David could shout down through the ages, “He knoweth our frame, he remembereth that we are dust” – “He hath not dealt with us after our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities!”
He was with the three Hebrew children, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, when they were cast into the fiery furnace and old Nebuchadnezzar asked if they didn’t cast only three in the furnace and they said yes, and he shouted, “Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God!” (Shoutings.) He went with Daniel into the Lion’s Den and sat down with him and closed the mouths of the lions and he came up next morning. He went to prison with Simon Peter when they said they were going to cut his head off and the Lord that made the earth and the universe, who knew “all things” and who knew that Simon still loved Him, sent down his angel who opened the door of the prison and let Simon Peter out into the streets. My friends, He was with old Paul and Silas in the midnight jail at Philippi when He sent the earthquake and shook the doors and loosed their feet from the stocks, and they had a revival meeting. He was with Paul yonder in Rome when he wrote, “At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.” What else Paul? “Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.”
My time has already passed, I haven’t really got started but bear with me just a few minutes as we try to get the meaning of “Lord, thou knowest all things.”
He not only knows us to reveal ourselves to ourselves, but He is not. ashamed of us. You know, I have seen children – and I wish I had never seen this-I have seen children reared on the farm and their father and mother would work themselves ragged and send them to the city to school and they would get up in the world and then they’d be ashamed of that old, sunburned, horny-handed father and mother-and God be ashamed of them for it! The greatest thing that Joseph did was not saving two nations from famine and he was exalted in the land of Egypt and was next to the king, but when he went out yonder to meet his father when he was coming down to Egypt. He could have said, “Father, you stay out here, and I’ll come out to see you once in a while.” But, no, he said, “I want you to go to the big eity with me, I want you to go with me and meet Pharaoh, I want you to see the crowned heads, and I want you to see all in the palace, and I want all royalty to see you!” And he walked up arm in arm with his father and said to old Pharaoh, “This is my father,” and he wasn’t ashamed of him!
My friends, even if we haven’t got a friend, the Lord that knows “all things,” that “knows that I love thee” is not ashamed of us and if the Lord is not ashamed of us, we needn’t bother about anybody else. (Shoutings.) Was David ashamed of Absalom after he had sat there in the gates of the city and stolen his crown and had turned against him in battle? He would have had a right to disinherit him but yet when they told him Absalom was slain, he walked on the walls, weeping, and they all heard him crying, Oh, Absalom, Oh Absalom, my son, my son!” And old Joab said, “Thou hast shamed this day the faces of all thy servants,” and David said, “It makes no difference to me.” He knew the life of that boy and he wasn’t ashamed to call him “My son” in that disgraceful hour.
Was that old man ashamed of the prodigal son when he came back home in disgrace, in penury, barefooted and hungry? No! He met him “when he was yet a great way off” – ran to meet him, and shouted, “Bring the purple robe,” signifying the right of a son, “Bring forth the ring,” picturing the unbroken love that father has for his son, “Kill the fatted calf and call in the servants and neighbors.” He was not ashamed! No! Why? “For this my son was dead and is alive again! he was lost, and is found.” (Shoutings.)
Oh, my friends, we read that when one sinner comes home to God, not only is God the father and God the Holy Spirit and God the Son not ashamed, but they call all the hosts of heaven, seraphims, cherubims to strike their harps and sing the new song, “A sinner has come home to God.” Oh, my friends, the first day of the coronation, every tear and every burden we can lay down at the feet of our glory crowned Lord. Then we will understand the prophecy of old Malachi. What did he say? “And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels.” My friends, we are the jewels of the Lord God of heaven! “And I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.”
Jesus Cooks Breakfast and Serves His Disciples
What is the conclusion? “Why, Peter, I know you love me. Now prove it to me.” “How, Lord?*” “Feed my sheep; give them the Gospel, feed my lambs.” The highest honor in the world is to feed the sheep, the highest honor is to do service for the Lord Jesus Christ. I just call your attention to it briefly. I am glad this 21st chapter is here. What an appeal it makes to us. What happens? Jesus makes the fire, broils the fish, toasts the bread, cooks the breakfast before daylight so when the tired disciples come ashore, he says, “Come and sit down and I will serve you breakfast.” Listen, “As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there” – who made that fire?” – and fish laid thereon, and bread.” Who did that? Here is who did it. “Jesus said unto them, come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord. Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise.” Oh, mothers, sometimes the burdens seem heavy and you think you can’t bear them, but just remember that when you are tired, that is exactly what Jesus did one morning before daylight. Isn’t that a beautiful picture? Peter didn’t say a thing and it must have been a strain for him to not say anything. John didn’t say anything! nobody said anything. Jesus just walked around and He gave Peter a piece of fish, and then John a piece, and then Nathaniel, and then Thomas a piece, and then He gave them all some bread and He just stood there and said, “Can’t you have something more?” Listen, folks, every time I walk in a hotel or restaurant, I don’t think of the girl that waits on me as some people do – I think, “One morning my Lord served breakfast to His disciples.” (Shoutings.)
This is a type of the great supper when up there we can all sit down together, for did not our Lord say, “Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord when he cometh shall find watching; verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat and will come forth and serve them.” That is why old David said, “Thou preparest a table before me.” That is why he said, we will come “from the east, and from the west, from the north, and from the south” and we will sit down wit Abraham like old Abraham sat down with the two angels under the oaks of Mamre, and we will sit down with old Isaac and with Jacob and with Joseph and Moses and Joshua and Caleb, with Samuel (shoutings), with Gideon, David, Elijah and Elisha, and John the Baptist, with Paul, and old Simon Peter will be there, and all our fathers, mothers, grandfathers, and grandmothers, all of them will come and sit down at the table of the Lord. It is the Lord’s feast, it is the Lord’s table, it is the Lord’s people; they are tired and hungry, they have come up from the resurrection hour, they have come from far off battle fields – their crowns are waiting them – the angels will rejoice too, but they won’t be eating with us. No, sir, they will join with the Lord in waiting on us. Talk about the happy reunions! We will forget the grief of this hour, we will forget the funeral processions, we will forget the sad faces, we will forget the sorrow of parting with loved ones. Then we will shout and sing and we’ll never grow old and we will die no more! (Shoutings.)
“The King of Heaven His table spreads,
And dainties crown the board;
Not paradise, with all its joys,
Could such delight afford.
Pardon and peace to dying men,
And endless life, are given:
Through the rich blood that Jesus shed
To raise the soul to heaven.
Ye hungry poor, that long have stray’d
In sin’s dark mazes, come;
Come from your most obscure retreats,
And grace shall find you room.
Millions of souls in glory now,
Were fed and feted here;
And millions more still on the way,
Around the board appear.
Yet in His house and heart so large,
That millions more may come?
Nor could the whole assembled world
O’erfill the spacious room.
All things are ready, come away,
Nor weak excuses frame;
Crowd to your places at the feast,
And bless the Founder’s name.
Let us stand. Who wants to come today to the Lord’s table? Without a word or song, who will come today? (Many came.)