"Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I
will give you rest."
"God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten
Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting
life." John 3:16
In this brief verse we have a Gospel within a Gospel, the
Hospice of hospices--no fragile temporary structure, but formed, so to
speak, from monoliths of primeval granite. Before the world was, that
Hospice was planned--an eternal, unassailable stronghold. Love was the Rock
on which it was built--"God so loved the world." How careful the great
Rest-Giver is to trace all up to the sovereign love of the Father--not the
tenet of a false and repellent theology, that Christ's atoning sacrifice was
the cause of God's love to our world (an inversion and perversion
of gospel terms), but rather that God's love was the originating and
impelling cause of Christ's death. There was "a covenant of peace between
them both." "It is not," says a writer, "that the atonement replenishes the
wasting Fountain, but that the unwasting and unwearying Fountain makes the
atonement." The measure of the Father's love (He could give no higher) was
the gift of His own dear Son--His "Only Begotten."
In thus addressing Nicodemus, Christ may possibly have
had an historical reference to the "only begotten" of the head of the Jewish
nation, and of the surrender of the heir of covenant promise by the Father
of the faithful, typical of a Greater, who willingly laid His Isaac on the
altar of burnt-offering--"He that spared not His own Son" (Rom. 8:32). In
the immediately preceding context there is allusion made to another
memorable incident in the annals of Pilgrim-Israel, and one with which the
Rabbi was equally familiar--the lifting up by Moses of the bronze serpent.
The host, bitten by fiery snakes, lay gasping on the sands of the
wilderness, their eyes glazed with the film of death. They looked at the
strange symbol on the standard--they "looked and lived." It was to the
Divine Speaker, in His memorable night-colloquy with this anxious inquirer,
an emblem of Himself on the cross--a symbol of redemption for the spiritual
Israel of all ages who gaze with the eye of faith on the uplifted Son of
These two incidents in the story of the Hebrew nation
enshrine the most glorious words and message ever delivered to the world;
while both events are strong in the assertion of the sacrificial
element--Christ the Surety-Savior, Christ, the sufferer in our room and
stead, the one only Source of pardon and acceptance and peace. "Come unto
ME." "Look unto Me, and be you saved, all the ends of the earth."
"God commends His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners Christ
died for us."
Jesus, in our general motto-verse, offers and promises to
His weary ones Rest. God the Father, in the verse we are immediately
considering, offers and promises to the weary ones everlasting Life.
The two are convertible terms--the same gift, only under different figures.
The world is weary--a caravan of pilgrims staggering under their
burdens--Rest is the welcome boon for such. The world is dead and dying; its
millions are perishing--Life is the welcome gift for such. Take which emblem
we please. "Come unto Me," says Christ, "and the reality is yours. I died to
make it so." Both boons, moreover, are alike present and future--the Rest of
grace here, preparatory to the Rest of glory hereafter; the gift of Life
here, preparatory to the everlasting Life hereafter.
Lord, I come, weary and heavy laden, seeking rest. I need
no other Hospice than this, bearing on its lintels so full and glorious a
motto. I accept Your overtures of grace. Let me delight to ponder, let me be
enabled in some feeble measure to grasp the wealth of meaning contained in
the unfathomed and unfathomable. So loving of this doomed and dying
world--the motive, the Father's Love; the resultant end, "Glory, Honor,
Immortality, Eternal Life." In the contemplation of the peerless theme, we
seem to be caught up into the third heavens with their infinite depths of
blue, the paradise of love.
"This is the resting place, let the weary rest. This is
the place of repose." Isaiah 28:12