John 16:32--John 16:32
Few had fellowship with the sorrows of Gethsemane. The majority of the
disciples were not sufficiently advanced in grace to be admitted to
behold the mysteries of "the agony." Occupied with the passover feast
at their own houses, they represent the many who live upon the letter,
but are mere babes as to the spirit of the gospel.
To twelve, nay, to eleven only was the privilege given to enter Gethsemane and see "this
great sight." Out of the eleven, eight were left at a distance; they
had fellowship, but not of that intimate sort to which men greatly
beloved are admitted. Only three highly favoured ones could approach
the veil of our Lord's mysterious sorrow: within that veil even these
must not intrude; a stone's-cast distance must be left between. He must
tread the wine-press alone, and of the people there must be none with
Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, represent the few eminent,
experienced saints, who may be written down as "Fathers;" these having
done business on great waters, can in some degree measure the huge
Atlantic waves of their Redeemer's passion. To some selected spirits it
is given, for the good of others, and to strengthen them for future,
special, and tremendous conflict, to enter the inner circle and hear
the pleadings of the suffering High Priest; they have fellowship with
Him in his sufferings, and are made conformable unto His death.
Yet even these cannot penetrate the secret places of the Saviour's woe.
"Thine unknown sufferings" is the remarkable expression of the Greek
liturgy: there was an inner chamber in our Master's grief, shut out
from human knowledge and fellowship. There Jesus is "left alone." Here
Jesus was more than ever an "Unspeakable gift!" Is not Watts right when
"And all the unknown joys He gives, Were bought with agonies unknown."