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those eleven were mistaken and the Christ never stood upon the mountain and gave no commission and has no authority.
But we are not dependent on a record of the long ago. We too have our experience of the Unseen Presence. His authority is timeless and undying. It is the authority of truth. We know that God is good as Jesus said.
sure that men are blessed who are pure and meek and merciful and peacemakers. We have found that we may come to him and gain the rest he promises. We have entered into the eternal life in which he lived. His is the authority of goodness.
That wondrous personality, pure and strong, compels our homage. We believe in him, we bring men to him, we see in him the end of all creation. God hath foreordained that we shall be conformed to the image of his Son. The authority of goodness is selfevidencing. And his is also the authority of love. Greater love hath no man than this that he lay down his life for his friends. Surely he hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows. The world and the centuries have bowed to that sublime authority. It is not a king with a sceptre who declares “all authority hath been given unto me in heaven and in earth”; it is not a soldier with a sword. It is the Christ with a cross. It is the pierced hand of love that points ever to the world and commands the church to make disciples of all the nations. We realize the Unseen Presence and obey.
But once more the gospel story tells of the appearance of Jesus and his last farewell. Luke places the scene of the last meeting in Jerusalem. He tells of a last walk of Master and disciples from the city over the crest of Olivet toward the kind retreat at Bethany. But while they were still upon the hill, he lifted his hands in the familiar attitude of benediction. They saw him blessing them, and they saw him no more. But the parting had no sorrow for the disciples. They returned to Jerusalem with great joy.
Henceforth those hands of blessing were spread over them. An Unseen Presence breathing benediction inspired them. They met together, no longer fearful of enemies, and they went boldly to the temple, blessing God. They preached, and no official proscription could hinder them. They were persecuted, and rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the Name. They were thrown into dungeons, but sang songs in the night unto the Lord. They stood before kings, but the Lord stood by them and strengthened them. They were killed, but fell asleep calling on the Lord Jesus. They saw him not, but believing, they rejoiced with joy unspeakable and full of glory.
Their joy is ours. He who believes that divine hands are spread in benediction over him has a joy that the world cannot give nor take away. It comes of faith in the Unseen Presence. The power that is seen does not always appear with benediction. We seem to be the playthings of inimical forces. Evil men despoil and harass us; evil institutions imperil us; calamity from the mighty natural powers threatens to overwhelm us; pain, sickness, death, are ever ready to destroy. We seem the victims of fate. How can we be joyful when misfortune comes? Only if we see the unseen, only if we believe that all things work together for good to them that love God, only if we are confident that the hands of infinite power are spread over us in blessing. Then ours is a joy which knows not the words fate, fortune, happening, but knows only Heavenly Father.
The disciples were invulnerable. Life and liberty and happiness were beyond the power of men to injure. They lived the eternal life of Jesus. They enjoyed the liberty of the sons of God. They experienced unbroken the blessedness which Jesus had bestowed upon them. When the heathen emperor threatened all dire afflictions the Christian martyr told him that the Christian's lifeand goods were beyond the reach of any human potentate.
And we may be invulnerable. The blessing that was upon the eleven at Olivet is upon us still In the fret and flurry of our modern life, in the wear and worry of our modern striving, we too may have the quiet, abiding joy of the Unseen Presence. Nothing sinister can happen to us, for the blessing of Jesus is the blessing of God,
The gospel story is ended. The evangelists close their brief records and tell us no more. Jesus is gone from the earth. But the Unseen Presence abides. The Holy Spirit is the Comforter of the church, and
We need not pity ourselves that we did not live in Galilee with Jesus. Blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed. “Then what though my feet may not tread where He
stood, Nor my ears hear the dashing of Galilee's flood, Nor my eyes see the cross that He bowed him to bear Nor my knees press Gethsemane's garden in prayer, Yet, loved of the Father, thy Spirit is here, To the lowly and patient and penitent near, And the voice of thy love is the same even now As at Bethany's tomb or on Olivet's brow. Oh, the outward hath gone, but in glory and power The Spirit surviveth the things of an hour, Unchanged, undecaying, its Pentecost flame On the heart's sacred altar is burning the same.”!
notes and Illustrations
Tbe Story of His Last Journey to Jerusalem The final departure of Jesus from Galilee occurred in the autumn before the Crucifixion, and is recorded in Matt. 19:1, Mark 10:1, and Luke 9:1. Crossing the Jordan, probably below the Sea of Galilee, he remained for a time in the region East of the Jordan, known as Peræa. The incidents of his ministry there are chiefly recorded in Luke, chapters 10–19 He visited Jerusalem at the time of The Feast of Dedication, which, in the year 29 A. D., occurred December 20 to 27. The events of John, Chapters 7-11, belong to this visit and the one which Jesus made in Bethany a few weeks later, on the occasion of the death of Lazarus. As this return to publicity raised new plots against his life, he went to "a city called Ephraim” in “the country near the wilderness.” (John 11: 54.) He returned again through the borders of Galilee to Peræa, and from thence took up his last journey to Jerusalem, by way of Jericho. In Jericho he healed two blind men, one of whom, Bartimæus, is named. There he was the guest of Zacchæus. In Jericho he uttered the parable of the Pounds. Toward the end of the week, probably on Friday morning, he left Jericho, “ascending up to Jerusalem.” He did not enter Jerusalem that night, but remained in Bethany. At Bethany he was the guest of his friends, Lazarus, Martha and Mary. It is generally supposed that Jesus arrived in Bethany on Friday, March 31, not long before the sunset with which the Sabbath began, and that the feast occurred on Saturday evening, at the close of the Sabbath.
notes on His Last Journey to Jerusalem
JERICHO. Jericho is the most important city, and indeed almost the only city, in the Jordan valley, and is situated a few miles above the Dead Sea in a fertile but exceedingly hot and unhealthful plain. It was the first city captured by the Israelites after they had crossed the Jordan (Joshua 6), and was then destroyed. It was rebuilt in the days of Ahab (1 Kings 16: 34) by Hiel, the Bethlehemite, and in Elijah's day it was the home of a guild of the prophets (2 Kings 2: 16). In the time of our Lord it was an important place, largely on account of the favor shown it by the family of the Herods. The modern village is a squalid place of about 300 inhabitants. The most imposing ruin is pointed out as the house of Zacchæus. A large spring is called “The Fountain of Elisha,” from the tradition that it was this spring whose waters the prophet sweetened. The baptism and temptation of Jesus brought him near to Jericho, at the very beginning of his ministry, and it is altogether probable that some of his subsequent journeys caused him to pass through; but the only recorded journey is that which occurred just before the triumphal entry.
THE SHADOW OF THE CROSS. Jesus had already foretold his approaching Crucifixion; first in the region of Cæsarea Philippi (Matt. 16: 21-28, Mark 8: 31–9: 1; Luke 9: 22–27) and again just after the Transfiguration (Matt. 17: 22–23, Mark 9: 30–32, Luke 9: 43–45); and on this journey he twice repeated the warning. The disciples had sadly agreed to go with him that they might die with him, but the