No. 11

Matthew 17:5
While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.
The whole substance of the Gospel is sweetly comprised in this gracious voice.  Jesus is pointed out to us, in the glory of his person, as the beloved Son of God.  In his complete suitableness as a Saviour, he has so perfectly finished his great undertaking on behalf of his people, in making atonement for sin and bringing in an everlasting righteousness, that his intercession for us is always acceptable and prevailing and in him God is well pleased.  Thus far we have already proceeded, and are now come to the last clause.
3. Hear him
This is, as it were, the seal and ratification of his commission.  To speak after the manner of men, Jesus is vested with full powers.  He is the great Plenipotentiary, to whom God has committed the care of his glory in the business of the salvation of sinners, and has engaged his truth to make good to every believer whatever his beloved Son shall promise them.
Now we are relieved from that awful and terrifying – that thought of appearing before an absolute God, and are reunited to Jesus; now our concerns lie with God in Christ – to a compassionate and merciful Saviour, who has shown his unspeakable love, by dying for us while we were yet sinners.   The Lord open the ears of our souls this day that we might hear and live. 
It was given to the people of the Jews at that time to hear him speak with an audible voice to their outward ears.  Yet but few believed his report.  Though we cannot now see and hear him as they did, this warrant and command is as expressly to us as to them.  For the gracious words he spoke to them are recorded for our instruction, and a fuller discovery of his grace and glory is afforded us in the writings of his apostles after he ascended.  The Holy Spirit is likewise promised and vouchsafed to explain and apply what we read in his Word, and what we hear in a preached Gospel.  We need not say therefore, Who shall ascend into heaven, to bring Christ down from above, that we may hear him? for he is not far from every one of us. [1]  We may note some senses of the word.
  3.1 Hear him – that is acknowledge him
Consider his character, office and appointment, so as to make your application to him, and to him alone with respect to that great question, which more or less will at times be upon every person's mind, whose conscience is not utterly seared, What must I do to be saved? [2]  Hear him so as to hear no other.  Leave and renounce all other ways and means of hope and betake yourself wholly to him.  This is the character he gives of his people: My sheep hear My voice – and they will not hearken to the voice of a stranger. [3]
  3.2 Hear him – that is trust him
You may safely and fully rely upon what he shall say to you for he is the true and faithful witness. who dwells in the bosom of the Father and came down from heaven to make known his will.  He is incapable of mistake or omission.  Hear him.
    3.2.1 Hear his invitation (Matthew 11:28) Come unto me. [4
Are not some of you weary and burdened?  Hear him, believe him – he who means what he says.  Surely you will not suppose he speaks thus to mock your distress and disappoint your hopes?  To make your sins and burdens (the very things from which he says he will relieve you), to make these your pretence for not hearing him – is to dishonour him; it is in effect saying, you do not think him worthy of credit.
    3.2.2 Hear his promise in the temple (John 7:37), If any man thirst [5] – Come and welcome to Jesus Christ. [6]  What he gives is called wine and milk, for its excellence – but to express its freeness and abundance he calls it water.  How can you say, I shall perish for thirst, when the Well of Salvation, the Fountain of Life, is opened purposely for you?
    3.2.3 Hear him from the Cross, John 19:[30], It is finished
Are you aiming to do something for yourself?  Why, there is nothing left to do.  The attempt would not only be vain, but it is utterly needless – as the light of a candle when the sun shines. If you could do all you wish, you could but make atonement for your sins, and yield perfect obedience to the law.  This he has done for you already.  You cannot indeed be your own Saviour, but your help is laid on One that is mighty. [7]  Hear him therefore and be content, yea be glad to be nothing that he may be All in All. [8]
    3.2.4 Hear him from his kingdom (Revelation 2:10), Be thou faithful. [9]  This promise shall surely be fulfilled.  When you are distressed with sins, temptations, trials and sorrows, hear his voice and lift up your head, ye that believe – the time of your redemption draweth nigh. [10]
  3.3 Hear him – that is obey him. 
It is not merely to give him a hearing – many do this and yet perish in their unbelief and disobedience.
    3.3.1 His command is, Believe 
I know you cannot by your own power, and I wish you were all truly sensible of it yourselves, then you would cry to him for faith.  However, if you refuse and reject him, you must perish and all the curses of the law will fall upon your heads.
    3.3.2 Obey his precepts
In vain you call him Lord, Lord, if you do not the things which he says. [11]  He is very gracious and merciful, but he will not be always trifled with.  He will at last say to the workers of iniquity, Depart from Me. [12]
You that love him and seek him – wait on him at his table.  Hear him – he still says, Do this in remembrance of Me [13] – he still calls the bread his flesh and the wine his blood, and appoints this ordinance as a token of his love, a memorial of his death and a pledge of his returning soon to take you to himself, that where he is, you may be also.

[1] Romans 10:4-8 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them. But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
[2] Acts 16:30,31 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
[3] John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
John 10:4,5 And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.  And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.
[4] Matthew 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
[5] John 7:37,38 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
[6] Newton is quoting the title of John Bunyan’s book, Come and Welcome to Jesus Christ (London, 1678) (Banner of Truth, 2004)
[7] Psalm 89:19 Then thou spakest in vision to thy holy one, and saidst, I have laid help upon one that is mighty; I have exalted one chosen out of the people.
[8] 1 Corinthians 15:28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.
[9] Revelation 2:10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
[10] Luke 21:28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
[11] Matthew 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Luke 6:46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?
[12] Luke 13:27 But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.
[13] Luke 22:19 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.
1 Corinthians 11:24-26 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.

Cowper & Newton Museum, 714(16), N40

Marylynn Rouse, 06/08/2020