A PASTOR’S PRAYER:
A. B. Taylor
Let us now consider the Apostle’s prayer, viz., that the Father of glory would bestow on the saints ‘the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge’ of Jesus Christ. Every discerning mind will observe a clear distinction between wisdom and revelation, though sometimes they might be viewed under one head. God makes many of His dear people wise unto salvation, to whom very little more revelation is made than that they are sinners saved by grace. They trust, hang, hope, wait, fight, long, groan, read and pray, and yet have but comparatively little knowledge in the revelation of Christ. But as there is a growth in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, it was the desire of the Apostle that the Ephesian believers might shine in this knowledge and in the revelation. Christ said, ‘Search the scriptures;’ and truly, brethren, they testify of Christ, they reveal Christ. The prophets sang of Christ from the earliest ages; they sang of His eternity, of His birth, of His death, of His resurrection, of His ascension, and of His return to judge the world at the last day.
The Apostle’s anxiety for the increase in knowledge of the church at Ephesus is manifest. There is a particular pleasure in preaching to a people well informed in divine things; and just the opposite in preaching to a people who are not ministerially fed, or who are led with timeserving rubbish, a disgrace to the pulpit, and a bar in the way of wisdom and revelation in the Son of God. Nevertheless, the dear Lord will ‘give grace and glory,’ and therefore we pray with the Apostle that we may know more and more of Him who died and rose again. Sometimes we can say, ‘Death worketh in us, but life in you;’ and again, ‘We count not our life dear to ourselves,’ that the saints may obtain wisdom and knowledge in the revelation of Jesus Christ. As the Apostle well knew these great things were God’s gifts, he prayed for them to the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory. Oh what a mercy, to be enabled to plead at the throne of God for one another, and to have a spirit of
prayer for the saints; a blessed mark of being Christ’s. Thus the Apostle prays that the believing saints may know the hope of their calling.
Notice here that Paul’s prayer is for a gift, the gift of the spirit of wisdom. General knowledge is acquired, but the matter before us is a gift. There is no going on in divine things without gifts. Brethren, what the Lord has bestowed has been free gifts to guilty sinners, and therefore we cannot boast. ‘What hast thou that thou hast not received?’ is a solemn question. The spirit of wisdom is a gift, for which Paul prayed; for which we all pray, and long to enjoy. The natural man cannot see the mystery of the eternal Son of God, nor cling to the Rock of eternal ages. Where the gift of the spirit of wisdom, that cometh from above, is, Oh how pleasant, as dying mortals, in the enjoyment of this spirit, to look calmly at death, invite dissolution, and say, ‘Where is thy sting?’ What riches here, what glories here, to behold a departing spirit speak of heaven and glory as if going into an adjoining room to meet a waiting friend. Surely this is from above, this is a gift; this is wisdom, the highest wisdom, and the soul that is brought here has both wisdom, and knowledge, and revelation, accompanying each other in the glorious things of Christ. 0 believer, this is a wisdom that enriches the soul to all eternity, and enables it to grapple with every enemy, and conquer every foe, manfully and victoriously. Fools do not know this wisdom; it is too high for them.
There never was a Christian lived, but the more he had revealed of Jesus, the more he longed to know. Yes, and if you will mark the saints in their journey through life, in the beginning of their days they have struggled like young men, and as fathers they have fought manfully; but when coming to the end of their time, as the revelation of Jesus has become clearer and clearer, how they have wished to leave the world and retire from the busy scenes of life. 0 Christian! who is it that reveals to the heart of the sinner the mystery of the knowledge of Christ? Who gave to the dying patriarch these glorious words of God: ‘Who fed me all my life long; the Angel that redeemed me from all evil”? Who revealed the Angel? Why, the Angel Himself. Thus, believer, it is the revelation in the knowledge of Him that weans our affections from time and the things of time. It is revelation in the knowledge of Him that causes the Church of God to stand firm upon the revelation that God has made of His Son. It is the revelation that God has made of Jesus that causes you to stand firm in the ordinance of believers’ baptism, and allow poor, ignorant, narrow-minded men to shoot their arrows, and spit their anger upon you. Oh to be enriched with this revelation in the knowledge of our eternal Lord! This the Apostle prayed for; and this, brethren, many before me have enjoyed a goodly share of, even the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. ‘That ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.’ An increase of this is much wished by every redeemed soul,
much more than the miser desires to increase his gold. It is a wonder to
us that God should in any measure look upon us, much more that He
should look upon us in love, in redeeming grace, and in tender mercies.