There are three things the Lord Jesus does in this scripture. First, He removes all fears; Second, He removes all care; and Third, He implants a divine hope in the heart.
Now, the way the Lord removes all fears is interesting. In verse 4, He says, “My friends, be not afraid,” etc. He says more in verse 7: “Even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” No mother shows the same interest in her children as the Lord shows to us. Who ever heard of a mother taking her child on her lap and counting every hair of their head? Yet, He takes us in the lap of everlasting love, shows His love to us and His care and interest in us, by taking the pains to number every hair of our head. What interest! What care! What love! I want you to see that the Lord’s love to you cannot be surpassed. He will never love us more, and He will never love us less than He does at this moment. His love is perfect. Oh, beloved! Do you know that you are an object of His love, His perfect and everlasting love? How do you know that you are friends of Christ? “He that hath friends must show himself friendly,” and He shows His friendliness to you. He is our friend, but we are His friends too, as shown in John 15:13. Not only He is my friend, true as it is, but I am His friend. Impress this on your hearts—we are His friends. Can you indulge in a fear? I am His friend—removes all fear. What are people most in fear about? The body. Now He says, “Don’t indulge in a single fear. I’ll take care of your body.” Now, instead of having fear, have faith. The Lord wants to expel all fear from my heart. Let us have faith in Him.
Second, He removes cares (vv. 22,30,32). Here is a second thing— “cares.” And how does He take away cares from our hearts? By revealing the Father in heaven. He might have redeemed us and stopped there, but that would not set up relationship between God and us—sins forgiven, redeemed by blood, saved by grace, but no relationship. You must get adoption into a family, or be a born child. We are born into God’s family. Adoption is putting us into relationship with Himself as children of God by Christ. We have got the place of children according to His will; and because we are children, He sends forth the Spirit of His Son to dwell in our hearts. Now, you have the saved, Jew and Gentile (Ephesians 1) brought into the family, looking up to heaven and saying, “Abba, Father.” How do you address God? As Jehovah, as God Almighty, or as Father? If you can address Him as Father, that shows you are in possession of the Holy Ghost. You can never forfeit the place of a child, no matter how naughty you are; but you can forfeit communion. We are separated to obedience as Christ obeys. Obedience is the source of enjoyment and of communion with our Lord Jesus Christ. There are many Christians who do not know they have a Father; but the Holy Ghost who dwell in their heart open their eyes, and then they look up and say “Father,” and go on to know the Father’s heart. Why is it that the children of God have so many cares? Because, though they may know they have a Father, they do not know His heart. Now, I say to such as have cares, “The man that is most dependent on God is the man who is most independent of man.” We have no cares, because we know a Father’s love and heart; no cares, but unclouded faith in a Father’s love.
Prayer means dependence on God. How extremes meet in that verse: “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:6). You could not know the Father’s heart and have cares. His love cannot be more, and it cannot be less. Oh, you have a Father in heaven! Rise up to the knowledge of Him. Every child of God can say, every day, “I know my Father cares for me, and I am one of His favorites. Come what may, I fall back into the arms of my Father. Though the storm roar and the vessel rock, I lie down on the vessel’s deck, and sleep because I know that I have a Father in heaven.” Now that is how Christ takes all fears and cares from our hearts. He removes fears by making us His friends, and He removes cares by showing us the Father’s love.
Third, the Lord implants a divine hope (v. 3). There are three things He produces in the heart: waiting for Him, watching for Him, and working for Him. If you are waiting for Him, how are you waiting? Like the man in verse 36? He is coming Himself (John 14:2,3). If you are expecting the Lord’s return before the day is over, you have a person before your heart (1 Peter 1:7,8); if not, you are only believing a doctrine in your head, and have not reality in your heart. It is always the One who is coming that is put before us, never the thing that is to happen. Are you waiting as those in 1 Thessalonians 4:15 and Acts 1:10? They were not waiting for an event to transpire, but they were expecting a person to come. When they went to bed they expected Him before the sun rose again on the world. Did you get up this morning expecting Christ’s second coming before night. If not, you are not waiting for the Lord’s return, you are only believing in a doctrine. John 14 speaks of the Person; not of the place, but of Himself. We want more of Christ. I don’t care how many mansions there will be there, I only care for the Person. In 1 Peter 1, when he speaks of the place, he says, “Ye greatly rejoice”; but when he speaks of the Person, it is “joy unspeakable, and full of glory.” No words can describe it. He went up personally, and He will come personally. He is coming. I don’t say the coming is near, but the Person who is coming is near.
In Revelation 22:7,12,16,20, we see four times He puts His own Person before the Christian as the One He expects us to be waiting for. What I press on you, beloved, is that we should be like unto men that wait for their Lord personally, socially, commercially, and ecclesiastically. It is our holy and blessed privilege to get up and go to bed expecting our Lord. I know nothing so likely to take place tonight as for the Lord Himself to descend from heaven. That is the blessed, near, purifying, and only hope put before us. You may believe a doctrine, but it will not affect your attire and practice. You must believe in a Person for it to touch all the points of the compass. Obedience waits; but a heart is not satisfied only with obedience, it wants to show attachment to Christ by watching (v. 37). Oh, beloved, it is not only that we are to be waiting, but we are to be watching for Him! (vv. 42, 43). My brethren and sisters, are you on the watch-tower? Oh, beloved, would you not like to be the first to see the bright and morning star? The morning star is for the Church. The sun is what Israel is waiting for (Malachi 4); but we are waiting for the morning star (Revelation 22). The star comes before the sun. Take care to keep out of evil ways, lest you be not practically ready for Him at His coming. Oh, let us not only be obediently waiting for Him, but let us be affectionately watching for Him! (vv. 42,43.)
Now you have got works, devoted works and works till He comes. He does not want you to sit down with folded arms, and say, I am waiting and watching. You are not like Paul if you sit with sinners round you and are not trying to bring them to Christ. Paul was ready, whenever he could get listeners, to tell them what the Lord had done for him. We can’t all preach, but everyone has his own work. One who loves us waits and watches for the first opportunity of finding what he can do; and I believe if there is a heart to do, we shall find something to do without any difficulty. If you sit at His feet, lean on His arm, and pillow your head on His bosom, you will find out what He likes you to do. There are young converts who need confirming and establishing in the truth; there are others to be told of a Savior. Everyone ought to be able to speak to the anxious ones. Tell them where and how you got salvation, and where and how they can get it for themselves. If you have a heart for Christ, because He has taken away your fears, expelled your cares, and implanted a divine hope in your heart, then you will be obediently waiting for Him, lovingly watching for Him, and devotedly working for Him till He comes. May God make Him increasingly precious to each one of us for His name’s sake!