Israel served for a wife, and for a wife he kept sheep. — Hos 12:12
Jacob, while expostulating with Laban, thus describes his own toil, “This twenty years have I been with you. I did not bring you animals torn by wild beasts; I bore the loss myself. And you demanded payment from me for whatever was stolen by day or night. This was my situation: The heat consumed me in the daytime and the cold at night, and sleep fled from my eyes.”
Even more toilsome than this, was the life of our Savior here below. He watched over all His sheep until He gave in as His last account, “Of all those whom You have given me I have lost none.” His hair was wet with dew, and His locks with the drops of the night. Sleep departed from His eyes, for all night He was in prayer wrestling for His people. One night Peter must be pleaded for; anon, another claims His tearful intercession. No shepherd sitting beneath the cold skies, looking up to the stars, could ever utter such complaints because of the hardness of his toil—as Jesus Christ might have brought, if He had chosen to do so, because of the sternness of His service in order to procure His spouse!
It is sweet to dwell upon the spiritual parallel of Laban having required all the sheep at Jacob’s hand. If they were torn of beasts, Jacob must make it good; if any of them died, he must stand as surety for the whole. Was not the toil of Jesus for His Church the toil of one who was under suretyship obligations to bring every believing one safe to the hand of Him who had committed them to His charge? Look upon toiling Jacob and you see a representation of Him of whom we read, “He shall feed His flock like a shepherd.”
The power of his resurrection. — Phil 3:10
The doctrine of a risen Savior is exceedingly precious. The resurrection is the corner-stone of the entire building of Christianity. It is the key-stone of the arch of our salvation. It would take a volume to set forth all the streams of living water which flow from this one sacred source—the resurrection of our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. But to know that He has risen, and to have fellowship with Him as such—communing with the risen Savior by possessing a risen life—seeing Him leave the tomb by leaving the tomb of worldliness ourselves, this is even still more precious. The doctrine is the basis of the experience but as the flower is more lovely than the root, so is the experience of fellowship with the risen Savior more lovely than the doctrine itself. I would have you believe that Christ rose from the dead so as to sing of it, and derive all the consolation which it is possible for you to extract from this well-ascertained and well-witnessed fact. But I beseech you—rest not contented even there. Though you cannot, like the disciples, see Him visibly—yet I bid you aspire to see Christ Jesus by the eye of faith. And though, like Mary Magdalene, you may not “touch” Him—yet may you be privileged to converse with Him, and to know that He is risen, you yourselves being risen in Him to newness of life.
To know a crucified Savior as having crucified all my sins, is a high degree of knowledge; but to know a risen Savior as having justified me, and to realize that He has bestowed upon me new life, having given me to be a new creature through His own newness of life, this is a noble style of experience—short of it, none ought to rest satisfied. May you both “know Him, and the power of His resurrection.” Why should souls who are quickened with Jesus, wear the grave-clothes of worldliness and unbelief? Rise, for the Lord is risen!