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2. The Main Road—Experiences of Power And Privilege

The Bethlehem Birth.

There were four of these experiences in our Lord's life. At the very beginning came the Bethlehem Birth. That meant for Him a birth out of the usual course of nature, yet working within nature's usual processes. It was something more-than-the-natural coming down into the natural. The power of the Holy Spirit came upon the pure gentle maiden of Nazareth and a new human life was begotten by Him within her, and in due course came to the maturity of birth. This was a distinctive thing with Jesus.

Now, in quite a different sense, but in a very real sense, there will be for us, too, a Bethlehem Birth. The Holy Spirit will come in and begin a new life within us. This is the only beginning of the "Follow Me" life for any of us. There's a something on the Spirit's part before there can be a beginning on my part. Yet that hardly tells the whole story. My part is really first; I open the door for Him to come in. When I accept Jesus as my Saviour, that's opening the door. The Spirit comes in and begins the new life within me. And yet there's another first before that first act of mine. He woos me with His patient, tender love. That is the first first. Then I open the door: at once He comes in, and does the thing which only He can do. So begins the "Follow Me" life. This is the real, the only beginning.

And yet there's more here of the practical sort than we have thought of, most of us. It means that there is within us a life higher than the natural life, and this higher life is to be higher, it is to be the controlling life. It is to hold the upper hand over the natural life. The control is to be from above. That is to say, the motives and desires of the upper life are to be dominant in my daily round. It is the Father-pleasing life as contrasted with the natural life, of which we talked a while ago. Wherever the two come in conflict, the upper is to rule.

Now, I know this rather runs across the grain of a good deal of our so-called Christian life. There are a good many people who, let us really believe, have been "born again," to use the familiar phrase, yet they seem to have stayed in the being-born stage, the infancy stage. That which was "born again" in them seems not to have been developed. It has never been allowed to grow. The under life has been given the upper hand, and the upper life kept strictly down. The salt isn't salty. The common round of life is seasoned wholly by the old seasoning.

Our Lord's "Follow Me" becomes a radical, decisive thing at the very start. It means that we will allow this new life of the Spirit to grow into lusty vigour, and to become the controlling life So it will be the chief thing. All the life shall be directed and controlled from above. This is a result that will come of itself if we really follow. Obedience, and back of that the quiet time on the knees with the Book, will give food and air and growing space to this new life, and its growth will crowd down the other.

The Jordan Baptism of Power.

Then there was a Jordan Baptism of Power in our Lord's life. This stood at the beginning of His leadership, His life-work, His service among men. As He came up out of the Jordan waters He stood waiting in prayer. He was expecting something. His whole being was absorbed in the expectancy of what had been promised.5555Isaiah xi 2; lxi. 1, with Luke iv. 18-21. And that expectancy was not disappointed. None that wait on God shall be put to confusion by any disappointment.5656Psalm xxv. 3 f.c. The blue above was rift through, the Holy Spirit as a gentle dove came, and remained upon Him, and the Father's voice of pleased approval spoke to His grateful, obedient heart. From that time the whole control of His life was absolutely in the hands of the Holy Spirit.

This does not mean an inert passivity on Jesus' part; it meant a strong, intelligent yielding to the Holy Spirit. It does not mean that His natural faculties of mind and will and heart were held down, not to be used. It means that they were actively, studiously used in discerning the Holy Spirit's leading, and in doing as He directed. And it means that so there came a fulness of life, an increasing life, into His faculties, mind and will and heart. Our Lord Jesus used all His powers in yielding to the inspiration and direction and control of the Holy Spirit, keeping ever open to His suggestion, and making that suggestion the law of His own action.

And the Spirit of Omnipotence, working with the gentleness of a dove, breathed upon those yielded powers, and breathed through them, even as had been planned with the first breathing of this sort, in Eden. So from the Wilderness clear up to the last Olivet command to the disciples, everything was done at the bidding, the direction of this Spirit. And so the almighty power was breathed into every word and action and bit of suffering. The one key-note of the Master's action was obedience; the result was the flooding of the Spirit's omnipotence through His obedient faculties and life.

Now, as we follow, this same sort of experience will be ours. What a tremendous thing to say! Yet the road was being beaten down for our feet. The Son of Man was simply showing to His brother-men the road we were all meant to go, showing it by going in it. All the power that came into Jesus' life will come into ours, if He is given His way. For the Holy Spirit is not measured out, either to Him or to us,5757John iii. 34 f.c. but poured out without stint.5858Isaiah xliv. 3; John vii. 37-39. As we follow we shall be led along behind the Man going before.

There will need to be instruction, for we're so new to this road. And human teachers are sent by the Holy Spirit to help us understand, teachers in print, and teachers in shoes. There will need to be the initial act of full surrender to the Lord Jesus as Lord indeed, for most of us have been going another way than this. There will need to be a house-cleaning time, for we have let in so much of another sort.

A soft, but very honest, searching light will come flooding in through the sky-light windows. And as we instinctively go to our knees and faces because of what that light brings to light, there will be a wondrous cleansing, both by blood and by fire. Then will come a filling of our very being by this wondrous Spirit of God.

How shall we know this filling, do you ask? There will be a quiet, deep peace, at times a great joy that sings, but ever the deep peace that holds you, a new hunger for the old Book, and a new soft light on its pages. There will be an inner drawing to talk with God, and an intense desire to please Him, to find out what He wants you to do, and then to do it.

There will come other things too, of a less pleasant sort, temptation will come anew, and a sense—sometimes very acute—of sin, a feeling that there's a something within you fighting you, the new you. There will be an increased sensitiveness to sin, and an intense hatred of it. This is what the filling means. These things will tell you that He, the Spirit, has taken possession of what you surrendered, and that He is now at work within. These are His finger-prints.

Then there will be the outflowing side of this filling. A passion that all men may know this compassionate God, will come as a fire burning in your bones. Its flames will envelop and go through everything you are and have and can do. But under all will be the passion for pleasing the Lord Jesus. Obedience will become the chief thing, holding everything else in check, obedience to Him, pleasing Him, doing His will.

The Bethlehem Birth is the beginning of a new, a supernatural life within; this will be the actual life itself, in full vigour and power. That is the supernatural birth, this the supernatural life. That is, there is at work within you, very quietly and simply, a power more than the natural, working through the natural order, and sometimes upsetting what we may have grown to think of as the natural order. This is the Jordan Baptism of Power, the Holy Spirit taking charge, and you living a Spirit-controlled life. There's a new sign hung out over your life, "this life is being conducted under new management." You won't say it; it won't be shouted out. It'll be louder yet. Your life will be telling it continually.

Power Is in the Current.

The word to emphasize here is control. You will find new meanings, that you had not thought of, gradually working out of it. If the Holy Spirit had control of us as He had of—Philip, for instance. He picked Philip up out of the midst of the Samaritan crowd, where he was the human centre of things, and put him down away off here in the desert,—strange contrast!—and with one lone traveller, greater contrast yet!5959Acts viii. 4-8, 26-40. If He were free to pick you and me up like that, out of these surroundings, congenial and pleasant, and set us down where we had no thought of going, and never would have gone of our own choice, and we sing as we are picked up, and keep on singing where we find ourselves amidst the uncongenial perhaps, the strange, the unprecedented and hard,—if He were free to control like that these days, there would be a present-day Pentecost beside which the Acts-Pentecost was but the beginnings of the throbbings of power.

There are some peculiarities of this "Follow Me" road here. There comes a strangely new sense of proportion. As you follow close up behind the Man ahead, you will grow smaller, and He will grow larger. No, that's not an accurate statement; you won't grow any smaller, you will only find out how small you are. He won't grow any larger, you will simply be finding out, and then finding out more, how large He is. It'll seem strange to most of us, finding out our real size, or lack of the size we always supposed we were. But it will come with a great awing, heart-subduing sense, to find how marvellous in size this great Man is; and yet He is our brother, as well as so immensely more.

You come to find out that power, that thing that used to be so much talked about, and defined, and yet chiefly wondered about, that power is a matter of position. The man close in behind the Lord Jesus doesn't need to be concerned about power. In fact he isn't concerned about it, only concerned with keeping close in touch. All the rest comes without our being concerned. It comes from him, the Man ahead. There is far more power, the very power of God, softly flowing and flooding its way in and through and out, than you are ever conscious of. Others will know more of the power than you. You are thinking about the Man ahead, keeping in touch, pleasing Him. Obedience has become a new word to you. It's the music of keeping step, keeping step with Him.

Have you noticed how much the current of the stream will do for you if you are out in a row-boat? All you need to do is to keep up enough motion to hold the boat within the sweep of the current. Then your chief task is steering. You're not concerned about power; only about the steering. There's more power in the current than you can ever use. Your one concern is to keep out of the shallows and sucking side-eddies, away from snag and rock, and in the current. The power's in the current. Right steering brings all that power to bear on your little boat.

Now, power here is a matter of steering, so far as our part is concerned. We steer to get into the current of our Lord Jesus' will, and, by His grace, we use all our will power in keeping in that current, and out of the shallows and suction-eddies at the side. The Lord Jesus, once spit upon and crucified, now seated "far above all rule, and authority, and power, and dominion, and every name that is named," and at work on earth through His Holy Spirit,—this Lord Jesus, free to do as He chooses,—this is power. He is power.

Power is the Lord Jesus in action, and the action is always through some man's life. We steer so as to keep in touch. He acts through the man in touch. And the hungry, needy crowds know a something coming to them, with irresistible grateful sweep.

Living a Nazareth Life.

There was a third experience in this group. Our Lord Jesus lived the Nazareth Life. In actual order of time this came before the baptism of power. I have changed the order here, and named it third simply for the practical help in the change. With the Lord Jesus, the whole of the life was under the sway of the Holy Spirit from birth on, through the earliest conscious years, and all the years. With us, in actual experience, we are all free to confess that it has not been so from our Spirit-birth on.

That baptism of power at Jordan was without doubt a baptism of power for leadership and service. Service and leadership ever need the time of special waiting on God, and the fresh anointing by the Holy Spirit's touch, the fresh consciousness of Himself, as the only source of power in the service and leadership.

In our actual experience the Holy Spirit, coming in power, has had much to do in changing our habits, ourselves, and our lives, as well as in our service. There has been so much service that has not been backed up by the life, that many have come to feel, and to feel very deeply, that the power in service must have its roots in the human side, deep down in the daily habit of life. With our Lord Jesus that Jordan experience made no difference of this sort in His life. There was nothing needing to be changed. That Nazareth life had been lived continuously under the control of the Holy Spirit.

Look a moment at that Nazareth life of His. It means simply a commonplace, treadmill round of life lived under the hallowing touch of the Father's presence. This was according to the original plan. It is God's presence recognized that hallows what is common. It is the absence of His presence, that is, the leaving of Him out, that makes common things common; that is, it makes the familiar thing and round seem and feel common. It's the unhallowed and unhallowing touch of the selfish, of sin, that makes things seem common, in the sense of not being holy and sweet and pure and refreshing. Sin makes things grow stale to you. Selfishness affects your eye, the way things look to you. God's presence recognized keeps things fresh. His touch upon us, ever afresh, makes us fresh. Everything we touch and see is touched by a God-freshened hand, and seen through a God-freshened eye.

Now Jesus lived this commonplace round of life, and lived it under the ever-freshening touch of His Father's presence. It isn't the thing you do, nor the things that surround you, that make your life, but the spirit that breathes out of you in the midst of the things. It's the you in you that makes the life, regardless of surroundings. The outer things are the accidents, you, the spirit that breathes out of you,—this is the real thing.

Jesus lived it. That is the tremendous fact that Nazareth stands for. He lived what He taught, and He lived it first, and He lived it far more deeply and really than it could be taught to others. This was the basis of those few service years. Nazareth lies under the Galilean ministry. There were thirty years under the three-and-a-half-years. And the thirty years crop up into and out of the three-and-a-half. The life lived was the great fact at work, as the Man went about doing good. The hidden life of Nazareth lies open in the Galilean ministry.

When you are reading the wonderful works among the needy throngs, you are reading the biography of the Nazareth years, in their outer reach. The life you live is the thing that tells! This is the meaning of the thirty hidden years. The Father said, "My Son shall spend most of His years down there living, just living a true, simple Eden life; living with Me in the midst of home and carpenter shop and village." This is what the world needs so much to be taught, how to live. And the teaching must be by living, teaching by action. The message must be lived.

If we men might live Jesus! That's what the world needs. At one of the smaller meetings of the Edinburgh Conference, in 1910, a Christian gentleman from India, native of that land, said, "We don't need more Bibles in India." And then to this surprising statement, he added, "We have enough Bibles. If the Christians in India would live the Bible, India would be converted." And I thought, that will do for America, and England, and for all the world. Jesus lived it. As a man in His decisions and actions, His habits and daily round, He lived the truth.

The story is told of a missionary in some part of Africa who had not had much success in his work. He was in the habit of explaining some portion of the New Testament to the people at His house. One day the portion contained the words, "give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn thou not away."6060Matthew v. 42. The people asked him if this meant what it said. He told them that it did. One of them said he would like to have the table, pointing to it; another asked for a chair, another for the bed, and so on. The missionary was rather startled at such literal taking of his teaching. He told them to come again on the morrow, and he would give his answer.

When they had gone, he and his wife had rather a heart-searching time together. They felt they had not reached the hearts of the people yet. But to do as they asked meant real sacrifice of a very personal sort. At last with much prayer they decided to meet the people where they had opened the way. And so the next day they gave their answer, and soon the house was literally bare of all its furnishings. And that night they slept on the floor, yet with a sweet peace in their hearts in the midst of this strange experience.

The next day the people came back, carrying the furniture. They had really been testing these new-comers. "Now," they said, "we believe you. You live your Book. We want you to teach us." And with open hearts they listened anew to the Gospel story, and many of them accepted Christ.

The little incident reveals the unity of the race. Those Africans said what England and America and all the world is saying, "Live it." Is your religion livable? What the world needs to-day is a Jesus lived, not simply taught, nor preached about, but lived in the power of the Holy Spirit. How the fire, the holy fire, of that sort of thing would catch and spread! Oh, yes, it might mean sleeping on the bare floor! That's what living-it means, the actual life overriding any mere thing that stands in the way.

Live It.

I stood one day on the abrupt edge of a little hill in a Southern Japanese city. There, in a great tree hanging out over the edge, had hung the bell that called together the faithful retainers of the lord of the province, when they were needed. There, nearly thirty years ago, a little band of Japanese youth, of noble families, had gone out at break of day one Sabbath morning, and solemnly covenanted to follow the Lord Jesus, and to devote their lives to making Him known throughout their land. Boys still in their tender teens most of them were. And that covenant was not lightly made, for already the fires of persecution had been kindled, and these fires burned fiercely but could not compete with the fire in their hearts. And as one goes up and down the island empire of the Pacific to-day, he can find traces of their lives cropping up everywhere, like gold veins above the soil.

And as I sought to trace the hidden springs of the power at work behind all this, I found it was in the life of one young man, a simple, holy life burning with a passion for Jesus. In this life could be found the kindling of the tender flames burning so hotly in these young hearts. He was a young American officer engaged, by the feudal lord of the province, to teach military tactics and English. He dared not teach Christianity; that would have meant instant dismissal. So for two years he lived the message, so simply and lovingly that he won the love of his pupils. Then they came Sundays to his house to hear him read the English Bible, because they loved him. As he prayed the tears would run down his face, and they laughed to think a man would weep, but they came because they loved him. He really loved them into the Christian life. I was reminded of the line in Hezekiah's song of thanksgiving after his illness, "Thou hast loved my soul up from the pit."6161Isaiah xxxviii. 17, margin. This young teacher lived his pupils to the Lord Jesus. The latter part of his life was a sad one, but nothing can change the record of those earlier years.

I saw recently a news item telling how many million copies of the Bible are being printed every year. The item slurringly remarked that the statisticians didn't seem concerned yet with figuring up how many of them were read. But, I thought, what these Bibles need is a new binding. This Bible I carry is bound in the best sealskin, with kid-lining. It is supposed to be the best binding for hard wear. But there's a much better sort of leather than that for Bible binding; I mean shoe leather. The people want the Bible bound in shoe leather. When we tread this Bible out in our daily walk, when what we are becomes an illustrated copy of the Bible, the greatest revival the earth has known will come. With utmost reverence let me say that our Lord Jesus wants to come and walk around in our shoes, and live inside our garments, and touch men through us.

I remember something in my early Christian life that was a sore temptation to me. There were some Christian leaders who had helped me greatly by their preaching and writings. Then it chanced that I was thrown into personal contact with them, now one, now another. And I had a sore disappointment. It's hard to find that your idol has clay feet. It's doubtless wrong to have idols. Yet youth is the time of such idol worship. The disappointment was a very sore one. Then out of it I was led to see that the Master never disappoints. And there was a drawing nearer to Himself alone.

And then a questioning arose: was some one perhaps looking at me? And a burning desire came to be more in life than in speech, not only for the sake of some one, perchance looking; but for the sake of that other One, the Man with eyes of flame, His looking. I need hardly tell you that it has been my blessed privilege to have had personal contact with leaders whose fragrant lives are so much more than word or act.

The Nazareth life means that the Lord Jesus lived His message, amid commonplace surroundings, in the midst of what is called the dull monotony of the daily round. That is, in the place where it is hardest to do it, He lived every bit of what He taught. And as we follow, simply, obediently, the Spirit will lead us along this same road. The same experience will happen to us. Could there be a greater evidence of the power of this Holy Spirit than to do such a thing with such as we know ourselves to be? Yet He will, if we let Him. A big "if" you say? But not too big to be taken out of the way, out of His way. He will live out through us what He puts into us, by and with our constant consent.

This is the meaning of the Nazareth life. Our part is obedience, simple, intelligent, strong obedience to Him. The result will be this same experience, a Nazareth life of purity and power lived by the Spirit's power.

This was the thought in the mind of Horatius Bonar, as he wrote of the unnamed woman who anointed our Lord's head, and of whom Jesus said that what she had done should be told as a memorial of her, wherever the Gospel should be preached.

"Up and away like dew in the morning,
Soaring from earth to its home in the sun,
So let me steal away, gently and lovingly,
Only remembered by what I have done.
My name and my place and my tomb all forgotten,
The brief race of time well and patiently run,
So let me pass away peacefully, silently,
Only remembered by what I have done.
Gladly away from this toil would I hasten,
Up to the crown that for me has been won,
Unthought of by man in reward and in praises,
Only remembered by what I have done.
Up and away like the odours of sunset
That sweeten the twilight as darkness comes on,
So be my life—a thing felt but not noticed,
And I but remembered by what I have done.
Yes, like the fragrance that wanders in freshness,
When the flowers that it comes from are closed up and gone,
So would I be to this world's weary dwellers,
Only remembered by what I have done.
I need not be missed if my life has been bearing,
As the summer and autumn move silently on,
The bloom and the fruit and the seed of its season;
I still am remembered by what I have done.
I need not be missed if another succeed me,
To reap down these fields that in spring
I have sown;
He who ploughed and who sowed is not missed by the reaper;
He is only remembered by what he has done.
Not myself but the truth that in life I have spoken,
Not myself but the seed in life I have sown,
Shall pass on to ages—all about me forgotten,
Save the truth I have spoken, the things
I have done.
So let my living be, so be my dying,
So let my name be emblazoned, unknown,—
Unraised and unmissed I shall still be remembered,
Yes,—but remembered by what I have done."

The Galilean Ministry.

The fourth experience in this group was the Galilean Ministry. Our Lord Jesus gave Himself up to helping those in need. He devoted Himself to personal service among men. After John's imprisonment He withdrew to Galilee and ministered to the needy.

There were crowds of them. They were in sorest need of body and spirit. And He gave Himself freely out to them in glad helpful service. He met their need. He did whatever their condition called for. He ministered to their bodily needs. He mingled among them freely as an older brother or friend, holding their children on His knees while He talked with them over their concerns and troubles. But He didn't stop there. Having won their hearts, He met their deeper needs. He comforted their hearts, talked to them one by one, drawing out their hearts, and speaking of the Father.

And as the crowds thickened, He taught and preached to the multitudes. He was a preacher, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom. He was a teacher, bit by bit, line upon line, patiently teaching and explaining to them about the Father's love, and about the true life and how to live it. Three words are used several times to characterize that Galilean ministry, teaching and preaching and healing.6262Matthew iv. 23; ix. 35.

He warned against sin, patiently wooing erring men and women away from their sin into lives of purity, and strengthening the young and earnest in their purposes. The need of the crowd swept Him like a strong wind in the young trees. He couldn't resist their plea. The presence of a man in need, of either body or spirit, took hold of His heart. Over and over we are told that He was "moved with compassion." What a life it was! What a heart He had!

Now our Lord Jesus calls us along this bit of the road. That is to say, the Holy Spirit within us will make our hearts tender and compassionate, even as our Lord Jesus was. The crowds always moved Him tremendously. He couldn't stand the great dumb cry that the mere presence of a multitude rang in His ears. The mere presence of some one in need, earnestly seeking, played upon the strings of His heart.

Does the crowd get hold of your heart as you elbow your way through them, or look down into their faces? Is it just a crowd to you? Or is it a great company of hungry hearts, half-starved lives, so needy for what only this Lord Jesus can give? The dumb cry of the crowds, in crowds and one by one, comes up in our ears to-day. Do you hear it? I say "dumb," for they don't know themselves what it is they need. They feel the need. Restless and chafing, they feel without knowing just what it is they lack and need.

When the Spirit that swayed the Lord Jesus comes in, He mightily affects your heart. You feel with something of our Lord's feeling. And you must help. You know that the one thing, the only thing, that can really radically meet their need is this Saviour Jesus. You must do something to get them really to know Him. And that something comes to be everything. Service isn't a pastime; it's a passion. That "must" sends you out on glad unheralded errands to help in any way you can, and in every way by which the Jesus message can get to them.

The "must" of His tender passion within keeps you steadily pushing ahead, regardless of not being understood by some, nor your efforts appreciated by others. The flame of that "must" takes hold of time and strength and possessions. It becomes the delight of your life to minister to the needs of men, even as He did. You see them through His eyes. You feel their need through His heart. And—this is a great and—if you really follow as simply and fully as He leads, you will find the same power working out through your effort as through His, though there will be immensely more of it than you will know about.

But—there's a "but" that needs to be put in here—the key-note will not be service, but obedience. The need will not be the controlling thing. It will move you tremendously; it will kindle a sweet fever in your heart, a fever to help; it will take hold of your heart strings and play upon them until you almost lose control. But it must not be allowed to control. That belongs to Him alone.

The key-note is not need, nor service to meet the need, but obedience. There is a Lord to the harvest. His plans are worked carefully out. He takes Philip away from the crowded meetings in Samaria to talk with one man. It was doubtless a strategic move to touch lives in Africa, as well as to meet this one man's need. He feels the need more than you ever do or can. His ears are keener, His heart more tender. He is in command. You do as He bids. So you help most in meeting the need.

He Himself when down here left the crowds, when they were so great that the towns were overwhelmed and they had to be taken out to the country places. He would leave these crowds and go off quietly to get alone with His Father.6363Luke v. 15, 16. The language underneath here suggests a habitual going aside to pray, as an offset to the work with the crowds. All that tireless ministry was under the direction of Another. He went off for close touch, and fresh consultation with His Father.

The Father's Image in the Common Crowd.

Have you ever wondered what there was in those common crowds to attract our Lord Jesus? Perhaps if you have ever walked in those narrow crowded alleys called streets, in China or Japan, you may have wondered, sometimes. Tired, dirty, pinched faces, eyes vacantly staring, or else fired with low passion, high-keyed voices bickering and jangling,—all this crowds in and out on every hand. Dirt, disease, low passion, selfishness, apparent absence of anything noble or refined, are all tangled inextricably up with these in human form.

And our Lord Jesus lived in an Oriental world. Is there any world quite like it, except indeed it be the slums of our western world cities, European and American? City slums seem to be our western point of contact with the greater part of the eastern world. What was there to attract the Lord Jesus to these crowds? Their need, you answer. Yes, no doubt, their terrible need did move Him with compassion, to the hurting point.

But was there more than this? Something He said one time has made me think there was something more, a pathetic, tremendous more, that took hold of His heart. Could it be that He saw some lingering trace of the Father's face in these faces? His eyes were very keen. He had seeing eyes. And these men have all been made in the Father's image. Has that image ever been wholly lost?—terribly blurred and scarred by sin, yes; but wholly lost? Do you think so? I think not.

Those wondrous eyes of His looking into men's tired, pinched faces, disfigured with passion or sorrow, or with sheer weariness of existence—did He see something of the Father's face looking appealingly up to be helped out of their sad plight? I wonder. Was it as though the Father's face cried out to Him out of these poor beaten faces? I think so. Do you remember that time when our Lord Jesus associated Himself so closely with just such men and women, in talking of a coming day? He says "inasmuch as ye did it to one of these My brethren, these least, ye did it unto Me."6464Matthew xxv. 40. Listen to those words, "My brethren"! He is thinking of just such crowds as He Himself ministered to, and as you find to-day in Oriental city and in European and American slum. What is done for them is done to Him. Their need is His need; their cry, His. It's Jesus coming to us in these crowds. Their need is Jesus Himself appealing to us. And the Jesus within us will answer with heart and life to this Jesus coming to us in the pitiable need of the crowds.

I do not mean to use that word "pitiable" chiefly in the bodily sense, though there's so much of that. But it has a deeper meaning. Here is this fair young face turned to yours in the social group, here this strong young man needing nothing that money can buy, but yet very needy, both of them. In their young, eager faces the hidden away image, the not-yet-touched-into-new-life image of the Father looks out asking for help, help out into growth amidst so much that holds back. Inasmuch as your light, tactful touch is given here, it is done unto Jesus. Jesus is helped into the life, the God-image crowded back within is helped to get out into free expression.

You may not be sent to some distant field as young Borden was. Your personal place may be at home. But the crowd, the need, is everywhere; at home, in the social circle, and among the men driven by the passion for business and for pleasure, in this dangerously prosperous land of ours. Need of body even here, and deeper need of spirit. Much more tact is required, Spirit-born tact and patience and alertness, to touch and help these.

But the Spirit will guide. He has a passion for men in their need. He has exquisite tact in touching men under all circumstances. He will take command of your life here as elsewhere. He will lead you into a life of personal service in helping men. And He will lead you in that service. This is the Galilean Ministry which will work out in your experience as the Holy Spirit has control. This is a bit of the "Follow Me" roadway.

These are the four experiences of power and privilege. They are as the great underlying experiences of our Lord's career. The other experiences grew up out of these. These were the warp threads in the loom of His life. The others were woven into these. This is the main road that He trod. It is the main road of this "Follow Me" journey. It is along this road, between its beginning and end, that we shall run down into the valley-road stretches, and run up to the stretches along the hilltops.


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