‘Master!’—John Xjc. 16.
ITHINK this is the very epitome of love. Love understands love; it needs no talk. Sunlight needs no paraphernalia of pipes, and wicks, and burners; it just shines out, direct and immediate. And the dewdrop flashes it back in the same way. The sparkle may be tiny, but it is true and immediate; it needs no vehicle.
‘I have called thee by thy name.’1 That was quite enough. The powerful sunshine of His love was focussed into that white beam of sevenfold light, and the whole soul was concentrated into the responsive love-flash, ‘Master!’
When that word has truly gone up from the soul to Christ, then we have felt what we can never put into any other words. It is the single diamond of soul-expression,3 and we have cast it at His feet for ever.
He accepts it; for how wonderfully sweetly falls His direct answer, ‘Ye call Me Master and Lord:
1 Isa. xliii. i. 2 Ps. xvi, 2.
and ye say well; for so I am.” Think of this seal of approval being set upon the name we so love to give Him. ‘Ye say well.’
He reserves it to Himself, for He says, ‘One is your Master, even Christ.’3 It is sacred to Him in all its depths of meaning. He has put His hand upon our offering, claiming it as only His own ;* and now it can never be another’s.
It includes the whole attitude of soul towards our beloved Lord.
1. Love.—There is a great hush; we have not any words at all. We cannot even tell Him we love Him, because we are dazzled with a glimpse of His love,4 and overwhelmed with our unworthiness of it. Our eyes fill, and our bosom heaves. The tide has risen too high for verbal prayer or praise; we have to be ‘silent in love ‘5—the very silence being an echo of the eternal depth of calmness of the exceeding great love in which He rests. There is only one word which does not jar with the still music of such a moment,—’ Master!’
2. Adoration.—For the breathing of the name is all we can do to express the unexplainable recognition of His glory.8 Already He is ‘ admired in all them that believe ” with the admiration of astonishment. ‘We praise Thee, we bless Thee, we worship Thee, we glorify Thee, we give thanks to Thee for Thy great glory.’ And yet we only uttered the one word, ‘ Master!’
1 John xiii. 13, – Matt, xxiii. 8,10. 3 j Sam. xxv, 35.
?* 2 Sam. I. 26; Eph. iii. 19. 6 Zeph. iii. 17, margin.
3. Allegiance.—The true utterance of it is the very oath of allegiance. We cannot, must not, dare not, will not, henceforth serve ‘ two masters,’1 nor the still more subtle ‘many masters.” The word has been breathed into His heart, and He will treasure it there, and keep it for us. It has been said, and the sound-waves can never be recalled; they will vibrate through the universe for ever. God grant that no traitorous whisper may ever cross them!
4. Confidence.—We have found One whom we can trust implicitly, and rest upon entirely. We have put our lives into His hand. We have burned the bridge behind us, because we are quite sure He is the Captain of our salvation.3 We have entered His service for ever.* We have given our allegiance unreservedly, because we confide in Him unreservedly.5 There is no question about it. ‘I know whom I have believed,’6 and therefore I say, ‘Master!’
5. Obedience.—All a mockery without this! Not only our lips, but our lives must say, ‘ Master!’ And by His own grace they shall say it; the name shall be emblazoned on every page of our lives. For Jesus Himself will ‘make it plain’ upon our tablets, so ‘that he may run that readeth it.” This is the test, the fruit, the manifestation of love.8 But oh, how sweet that we may fearlessly say the word which pledges us to it, knowing that the Master Himself will enable us to fill it up with the practical obedience which, above all things, we
1 Matt. vi. 24. 2 Jas. iii. i; Isa. xxvi. 13. 3 Heb. ii. 10.
^ Ex. xxi. 6. 61 Chron. xii. 18. * 2 Tim. i. 12.
7 Hab. ii. 2. 8 John xiv. 15; 2 Cor. v. 14, 15.
want so intensely to yield to Him! It is like throwing our alpenstock up to a higher ledge of rock, and then giving ourselves up to the strong arm of the guide to draw us up after it.
Never shall we have to say, like the Amalekite’s servant, ‘My master left me ! ‘* He is our good Master,2 our ‘own Master’3 and He will reveal to His weak servants all that He means in His own faithful endorsement of the name* which His Spirit has taught us to call Him.5
‘O Master, at Thy feet
I bow in rapture sweet!
Before me, as in darkling glass,
Some glorious outlines pass
Of love, and truth, and holiness, and power,
I own them Thine, O Christ, and bless Thee for this hour.’
1 I Sam. XXX. 13, 2 Mark x. 17. ^ Pom. xiv. 4.
4 John xiii, 13. 5 i Cor. xii, 3,