John S Speirs

John 14: 1-3

Psalm 23: 5

John 21: 5, 9, 12  

         I felt confirmed in what our brothers have said as to the matter of preparation.  There is much of it amongst the brethren; we are thankful for it; it is an evidence of kindness and love, that there are those who are willing to prepare for others.  I thought of this matter of divine preparation, you might say God’s preparation.  If preparing something good for someone is an evidence of your love for them, then there is no greater love than God’s love: the things “which God has prepared for them that love Him”, are things that have not entered into man’s heart (1 Cor 2: 9); they are things that are better than any of the things of this world.  Expenditure is involved in preparation, and consideration, consideration for the person for whom you are preparing; and how God has considered for each one of us!  God has considered for you, and what an expenditure He has made!

         I read first of all in John’s gospel about the Lord Jesus; He says ,“I go to prepare you a place”.  Think of that, the preparation that the Lord Jesus has made personally for us.  Think of the cost that there has been so that there should be a place for us in heaven in the Father’s presence with Christ forever!  It required that Jesus must first suffer and die.  But because of that perfect work, and His resurrection and ascension, that place is secured; as believers in the Lord Jesus it is yours and it is mine to enjoy.  When?  In the future yes, but the joy of it known now also, by the Holy Spirit’s power.  Think of the consideration of the Father in giving His own Spirit that we might enjoy what place is now; I think we enjoy it on Lord’s day.  I think we enjoy that as we gather together with fellow believers, an experience of being in heaven, in that place that has been prepared for us. 

         I was impressed that it is a personal preparation, “I go to prepare you a place”.  The Lord Jesus does it Himself!  I suppose there will be a royal banquet at this time of year which the Queen will be providing; however I do not think she will be preparing it all herself; she will have staff to do that, she will have servants; but it is another evidence of divine love, the personal consideration and preparation of the Lord Jesus as going and preparing the place that is there in heaven for you.  In preparing for someone you consider what is suitable for them, you consider what is best for them. The Lord Jesus knows what is best for each one of us, better than we do ourselves, and He has prepared the place accordingly.  There is no better place than the place that Jesus has prepared for those that love Him.

         I read in Psalm 23 because those that love our Lord Jesus often suffer.  Those that love Him are faced by His enemies and they suffer as a result of it.  How many times I feel limited in this because the fact that I do not suffer much is perhaps because I do not love Him as much as I should.  If you suffer in any measure for the Lord Jesus, He would reassure you with what He prepares for you even “in the presence of mine enemies”.  A brother prayed last night about what God has ‘laid on’ for us.  It says, “Thou preparest a table before me”.  Think of the consideration of God in preparing a table that is “in the presence of mine enemies”.  Your mind goes to Acts 16, does it not?  Think of Paul and Silas there in the prison, in the presence of enemies; their cup was full and running over with suffering but they were conscious of the divine presence; and then of course the jailor actually did prepare a table for them!  Think of the consideration of God that He would prepare something for us in the way of reassurance.  We spend a week in this wilderness world which hates Christ and if you are a believer who is like Him in any measure it will hate you too.  May we never find anything attractive in this world.  Let us not be pursuing anything in this world, contributing to it, or taking from it.  Remember Abram when the king of Sodom came out to him, he would have nothing from him, Gen 14: 17-24.  He would have nothing from that king, but at the same time there was another king.  Did not God prepare a table for Abram in the presence of his enemies?  Melchisedec came out; it was really like Christ Himself.  God would give you an impression of Christ even in the midst of your most difficult week at work; God comes in and by the Spirit He gives you a taste of Christ, maybe in a meeting like this, or in a reading, or maybe another believer tells you something that they have enjoyed in their experience with Jesus and you are reassured and you are refreshed.  It might even be in the presence of your enemies, but God can reassure you even there.

         Those that love the Lord Jesus often fail, and we can often be critical of Peter, but I have failed more often than Peter did.  We have a responsibility to prepare; preparation will have gone into this occasion by way of prayer, sacrifice and exercise.  Sometimes though, I may begin to think that I can do things in my own strength and pursue my own will like Peter did here in John 21, but it ends in failure.  Think of the grace of the Lord Jesus in how He deals with them!  He gently asked them, “have ye anything to eat”?  He already knows that they have nothing because they had left Him out!  If we leave the Lord Jesus out we will have nothing.  But that does not prevent Him preparing something; He prepares something in grace that we might be restored and revived.  “When therefore they went out on the land, they see a fire”; they would have seen that first.  They would have been cold, they would have been soaking wet, in the sea at night; it would be cold, and they were hungry because they had caught nothing themselves; what would be more welcoming than the glow of that fire?  The personal consideration of the Lord Jesus had come into it; He had prepared it.  Coals take some time before they are ready to cook on; the Lord Jesus had been thinking ahead in consideration.  And He has been like that for me, when I have gone and pursued my own will; you find that when you acknowledge your nothingness, and the lack of success of anything that you can do yourself, you realise He has prepared something for you that will revive you.  It will warm you again in your affection for Him, and not only that, He gives you something to eat, spiritually, like the fish laid on.  I do not think there would be any other meal like this; the Lord Jesus’s hand was personally involved in the preparation of it; there is nothing better than what Christ prepares, and He has prepared for each one of us.  He does not reprimand Peter, He is not harsh with him, He does not wait until Peter has been corrected and is repentant; He gives him the meal first, He gives him this wonderful invitation to “Come and dine”.  A meal has been prepared!  Well, these are the kind of ways in which God prepares; He has prepared a place in heaven for us, Christ has secured it through the way that He has gone personally, in His dying and the shedding of His precious blood.  He has been raised again out of the grave and He has gone into heaven before us where we will soon be with Him.  He is the Forerunner, which means that He has prepared a place for us, those of us who are following; that place is ours.  Let that be a reassurance to us, not only that we are going to be there soon with Him, but we can go there in the Spirit’s power even now.  The Lord would assure us even if we come up against opposition; He would give us the character of a table prepared, even in the presence of our enemies. 

         What a privilege to be at the king’s table; it would be a good study to look at references to the king’s table in scripture.  Solomon had one; David had one; you can learn about a poor lame man who sat there, 2 Sam 9: 13.  There is the best on the King’s table; it is prepared by Him, and it is prepared for us, even such as us and those who often wander; He would even prepare what is needed to revive and maintain us in affection for Him. 

         Peter had failed three times, and the Lord Jesus gave him three opportunities to confess his love for Him.  How gracious He is; what great things God has prepared for us, now what is my appreciation of them?  If someone goes to a lot of effort and makes a great preparation for you and you ignore it, or you do not value it, how would the one who has prepared it feel?  I feel the need to value more what God has prepared for those that love Him.

         May the Lord bless the word.

Word in meeting for ministry in Aberdeen

24th December 2019