The Call of the Man of Sorrows
Historically, these words refer to the agony of Gethsemane, when “his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground“(Luke 22:44), and the spiritual meaning of the call to the maiden, and her response, may be interpreted from that standpoint.
Because she is joined to him in his resurrection, the Well-Beloved now reveals himself to this bride as the Rejected One. His bride must share his lot and be identified with him as he was, and is, in this world. He was rejected when on earth in human form, and he is sill rejected. His purchased one must go with him, and be rejected, as well, in the world that hates her Lord, if she faithfully cleaves to her heavenly Bridegroom and is truly conformed to his image, following his steps. “I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you” (John 15:19).
The Lord apparently stands on the outside, and cries, “Open to me, my sister,” as if he said, “You have opened your heart to me as King, as the Risen One; open to me now as the One who was ‘stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.’ Open to me that you can enter into the fellowship of my sufferings, and be made a partaker of my glory.”
The Bridegroom cries, “Open to me” because she must always follow him by her own voluntary consent and choice, by the opening of her will; but this is the necessary preparation for reigning with him.
This call to many is totally unexpected. They have had such a clear sight of Calvary, and of their identification in death with their Substitute, as to be persuaded that they have entered into its fullest meaning. They expect, and rightly so, an increasing knowledge of the Lord as the Risen and Glorified One, on the resurrection side of the cross. But their eyes are not opened yet to see that, in the power of his resurrection, they will know him as they enter into the fellowship of his sufferings — “being conformed in his death” (Philemon 3:10).
But the maiden must be truly in the Spirit, and established in her union with the Risen Lord, and fully possessed by the Holy Spirit, before she is able to rejoice that she is “counted worthy to suffer,” and to fill up “is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church” (Colossians 1:24).
Many sit at Jesus’ table;
Few will fast with him,
When the sorrow, cup of anguish
Trembles to the brim.
Few watch with Him in the garden,
Who have sung the hymn
—Jessie Penn Lewis
But the souls who love supremely,
Let woe come or bliss—
These will count their dearest heart’s blood
Not their own, but His.
Saviour, Thou who thus has loved me,
Give me love like this
“It should never be thought that the sufferings of Christians atone for their sin. There could be no greater dishonor to the work of Christ than that! Nevertheless, Scripture identifies the sufferings of Christians with those of Christ. He suffered while hanging on the cross, six hours. He has left one brief hour for the Bride to accomplish and fill up the perfect number seven. He said to the chosen thee in the Garden, ‘Could you not watch with Me one hour?’” (Matthew 26:40) —Jessie Penn Lewis, Thy Hidden Ones.
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As you know, I send these Morning Messages out free of charge, and there is one very simple reason. As the late Keith Green taught, no one should be left out of hearing God’s Word due to a lack of funds.
To echo something Keith said, “I only want to build God’s Kingdom and see it increase, not my own. If someone writes a great poem no one praises the pencil they used, they praise the one who created the poem. Well, I’m just a pencil in the hands of the Lord. Don’t praise me, praise Him!”
This is why I follow his lead in offering anything I write, produce, or even ministering in churches at whatever you can afford. I fully understand that there are many with limited resources and if you are among this group, please receive any aspect of my ministry without any obligation. I am honored to offer them to you.
But, as you can imagine, there is absolutely no way for me to determine your situations, so, twice a year, I now have to ask everyone for support. Please understand that if you are unable to help defray the costs, completely disregard any requests for support and know that it is a privilege to serve you.
If you are not among those listed above, and if you are able, please do support the costs. They are low, but they do exist and I depend entirely on the voluntary financial support of believers like you. As you probably know, I am not sustained by any other ministry or church. This is a work of love and passion, and something the Lord has given me to do.