Somebody has supposed the scene that he thinks may have taken place after Jesus went back. The last the earth sees of Him is the cloud -- not a rain cloud, a glory
cloud -- that sweeps down and conceals Him from view. And the earth has not seen Him since. Though the old Book does say that some day He's coming back in just the same way as He went away, and some of us are strongly inclined to think it will be as the Book says in that regard.
But -- have you ever tried to think of what took place on the other side of that cloud? He has been gone down there on the earth thirty-odd years. It's a long time. And they're fairly hungry in their eyes for a look again at that blessed old face. And I have imagined them crowding down to where they may get the first glimpse of His face again. And, do you know, lately I have been wondering, with the softening of awe creeping into the thought, whether -- the Father -- did not come the very first of them all and -- touch His lips up to where -- the scars were in Jesus' brow and cheeks -- yes, His hands -- and His feet, too. Tell me, you fathers here listening, would you not have done something like that with your boy, under such circumstances?
You mothers, wouldn't you have been doing something like that with your boy? And all the fatherhood of earth is named after the fatherhood of heaven, we're told. And with God fatherhood means motherhood too, you know. I do not know if it were so. But I think it's likely. It would be just like God.
But this friend I speak of has supposed that, after the first flush of feeling has spent itself -- the way we speak of such things done here, the Master is walking down the golden street one day, arm in arm with Gabriel, talking intently, earnestly. Gabriel is saying,
|Master, you died for the whole world down there, did you not?|
|You must have suffered much,| with an earnest look into that great face with its unremovable marks.
|Yes,| again comes the answer in a wondrous voice, very quiet, but strangely full of deepest feeling.
|And do they all know about it?|
|Oh, no! Only a few in Palestine know about it so far.|
|Well, Master, what's your plan? What have you done about telling the world that you died for, that you have died for them? What's your plan?|
|Well,| the Master is supposed to answer, |I asked Peter, and James and John, and little Scotch Andrew, and some more of them down there just to make it the business of their lives to tell others, and the others are to tell others, and the others others, and yet others, and still others, until the last man in the farthest circle has heard the story and has felt the thrilling and the thralling power of it.|
And Gabriel knows us folk down here pretty well. He has had more than one contact with the earth. He knows the kind of stuff in us. And he is supposed to answer, with a sort of hesitating reluctance, as though he could see difficulties in the working of the plan, |Yes -- but -- suppose Peter fails. Suppose after a while John simply does not tell others. Suppose their descendants, their successors away off in the first edge of the twentieth century, get so busy about things -- some of them proper enough, some may be not quite so proper -- that they do not tell others -- what then?|
And his eyes are big with the intenseness of his thought, for he is thinking of -- the suffering, and he is thinking too of the difference to the man who hasn't been told -- |what then?|
And back comes that quiet wondrous voice of Jesus, |Gabriel, I haven't made any other plans -- I'm counting on them.|