Verse 38. "That they should see his face no more" - This was a most solemn meeting, and a most affecting parting. The man who had first pointed out to them the Lord Jesus Christ, by whom they had been brought into so glorious a state of salvation, is now going away, in all likelihood, to be seen no more till the day in which the quick and dead shall stand before the throne of judgment. Such a scene, and its correspondent feelings, are more easily imagined than described.
1. As the disciples are stated to have come together on the first day of the week, we may learn from this that, ever since the apostolic times, the Lord's day, now the Christian Sabbath, was set apart for religious exercises; such as the preaching of God's holy word, and celebrating the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. Besides its being the day on which our blessed Lord rose from the dead, the practice of the apostles and the primitive Church is an additional reason why we should religiously celebrate this first day of the week. They who, professing the Christian religion, still prefer the Jewish Sabbath, have little to support them in the New Testament. How prone is man to affect to be wise above what is written, while he is, in almost every respect, below the teaching so plainly laid down in the Divine word.
2. The charge of St. Paul to the pastors of the Church of Christ at Ephesus and Miletus contains much that is interesting to every Christian minister:
1. If he be sent of God at all, he is sent to feed the flock. 2. But, in order to feed them, he must have the bread of life. 3. This bread he must distribute in its due season, that each may have that portion that is suitable to time, place, and state. 4. While he is feeding others, he should take care to have his own soul fed: it is possible for a minister to be the instrument of feeding others, and yet starve himself. 5. If Jesus Christ intrust to his care the souls he has bought by his own blood, what an awful account will he have to give in the day of judgment, if any of them perish through his neglect! Though the sinner, dying in his sins, has his own blood upon his head, yet, if the watchman has not faithfully warned him, his blood will be required at the watchman's hand. Let him who is concerned read Ezekiel, Ezekiel xxxiii. 3-5, and think of the account which he is shortly to give unto God.
3. Tenderness and sympathy are not inconsistent with the highest state of grace. Paul warns his hearers day and night with tears. His hearers now weep sore at the departure of their beloved pastor. They who can give up a Christian minister with indifference, have either profited little under that ministry, or they have backslidden from the grace of God. The pastors should love as fathers, the converts as children; and all feel themselves one family, under that great head, Christ Jesus.