Following the Lamb!
James Smith, 1859
We read in the book of the Revelation, of a company who follow the Lamb wherever he goes (14:4). They are on mount Zion, they have gotten the victory over every foe, and they sing a new song of praise unto God. They are pure and holy, and were redeemed from among men. Of them, their employments and enjoyments, I can know but little. But they have humble imitators on earth — some who keep the same object in view, listen to the same sweet voice, and bow to the same high authority. Yes, there are some on earth who follow the Lamb, and I would for a few moments direct attention to them. Let me notice first,
The Lovely Leader.A Lamb — not a Lion; we might fear to follow the latter — but who would fear a Lamb? This figure refers to his sacrificial death for them. He died for those whom he leads. He laid down his own precious life to ransom theirs. He suffered — that they may be happy. He died — that they might live. His atoning death must be constantly kept before them. They go through the world with the eye fixed on Jesus, as dying for their sins, and rising again for their justification.
This figure of a Lamb sets forth the loving gentleness of his nature in dealing with them. He deals with them in love. He leads them as a Lamb. He leads them no where — but where he goes himself first. His gentleness is a source of comfort, and a cause of their elevation; as the Psalmist said, "Your gentleness has made me great."
The figure refers also, to the beautiful example he has set them. They are to aim to be gentle like him — not dogs, bears, tigers, or lions — but lambs. Lambs in the midst of wolves. "Be," said he, "as wise as serpents, and as harmless as doves." By meekness, gentleness, and love — we adorn the doctrines of God our Savior. Lovely Lamb of God, make us like yourself — holy, harmless, and undefiled! We will notice secondly,
The Gentle Company."They follow the Lamb." Once they wandered from him, turning every one to his own way — but now their pride and self-will being subdued by his grace — they are willing to walk after him. The Lamb leads all his company out of darkness, into marvelous light; so that, though they were once darkness, they are now light in the Lord. They were in ignorance, error, and superstition once — but now they know the Lord, love the truth, and worship God in simplicity and spirituality.
They are cheerful, safe, and happy, following the Lamb. They fix the eye on the path he took, the places he visited, and the course he pursued; and they seek to go where he went, and to do as he has done. Did he go to the Jordan to be baptized of John? They consecrate themselves to him and his service, being baptized in his name.
Was he led by the Spirit into the wilderness, to be tempted, tested, tried, by the devil? They are also tempted and tried in like manner as he was.
Did he leave the wilderness for the city, to glorify God in active life, and do good to men? They also take their places in society, and by their integrity, uprightness, and merciful disposition — endeavor to glorify God in their bodies, and spirits, which are his — and to do good to all by whom they are surrounded.
Did he go with his disciples into the guest chamber, and there having eaten of the paschal supper, celebrate his own supper, in remembrance of his agony and bloody sweat, of his cross and passion? So do his followers meet, sit around his table, and commemorate his astounding love!
Did he go into Gethsemane, to suffer for them, and be baptized in agonies and blood? So do they, in the exercise of a realizing faith, visit that garden, and have fellowship with him in his sufferings.
Did he go from the garden to the cross, there to offer himself to God for them, as a sacrifice of a sweet smelling savor? To Calvary they often go, and are affected with his dying sorrows, until they are filled with revenge against their sins, and mourn and weep for him.
Did he lie in the grave, as an imprisoned victim, until liberated on the third morning, by his glorious Father? To Joseph's garden they often go, look into the empty sepulcher, think of their own death, and anticipate their glorious resurrection, as secured by his.
Did he lead out his disciples as far as Bethany, and from thence ascend to his Father, and their Father; to his God, and their God? They also visit the same spot, and in faith and affection ascend with him, anticipating the time when they shall be caught up to meet the Lord in the air, and so be forever with him. O how sweet, how delightful the prospect! Soon, perhaps very soon, we shall enjoy all that is contained in that sweet verse, "The Lamb who is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and lead them into living fountains of waters; and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes!" Rev. 7:17.
They follow him fully — "wherever he goes," submitting their wills to his. He chooses — and they approve of his choice. He leads — and they follow in his steps. The road may be rough, the trials many, and the difficulties great — but if the Lamb lead — they follow.
Observe then, all who are saved by Christ — follow Christ. This is a proof that they are his, and that he is theirs. Except we follow the Lamb, we have no proof that our names are in his book, our interests in his hand, and our supplies in his keeping. But following Jesus, imitating his holy and useful life, copying his bright and perfect example — there can be no doubt but our names are written in the book of life of the Lamb, from the foundation of the world; there is no question, but our interests are in his hands, and that he will keep that which we have committed unto him, against the day of his glorious appearing. And we may rest assured, that all our needs shall be supplied, for while we thus walk uprightly, he will withhold no good thing from us.
Lamb of God, impart to us your nature — fill us with your meek and gentle spirit — and give us grace to follow you wherever you go!