“And in this mountain shall the Lord of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined.” (Isaiah 25:6)
We have nearly arrived at the great merry-making season of the year. On Christmas-day we shall find all the world in England enjoying themselves with all the good cheer which they can afford. Servants of God, you who have the largest share in the person of him who was born at Bethlehem, I invite you to the best of all Christmas fare-to nobler food than makes the table groan-bread from heaven, food for your spirit. Behold, how rich and how abundant are the provisions which God has made for the high festival which he would have his servants keep, not now and then, but all the days of their lives!
God, in the verse before us, has been pleased to describe the provisions of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Although many other interpretations have been suggested for this verse, they are all flat and stale, and utterly unworthy of such expressions as those before us. When we behold the person of our Lord Jesus Christ, whose flesh is meat indeed, and whose blood is drink indeed-when we see him offered up upon the chosen mountain, we then discover a fullness of meaning in these gracious words of sacred hospitality, “The Lord shall make a feast of fat things, of fat things full of marrow.” Our Lord himself was very fond of describing his gospel under the selfsame image as that which is here employed. He spoke of the marriage-supper of the king, who said “My oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready;” and it did not seem as if he could even complete the beauty of the parable of the prodigal son without the killing of the fat calf and the feasting and the music and dancing. As a festival on earth is looked forward to and looked back upon as an oasis amid a desert of time, so the gospel of Jesus Christ is to the soul its sweet release from bondage and distress, its mirth and joy. . . .
The Lord has made this banquet “for all people”. What a precious word this is! “For all people.” Then this includes not merely the chosen people, the Jews, whose were the oracles, but it encompasses the poor uncircumcised Gentiles, who by Jesus are brought nigh. The barbarian is invited to this feast; the Scythian is not rejected. The polished Greek finds an open door; the hardy Roman shall meet with an equal welcome. Caesar’s household, if they come, shall receive a portion, and so shall the beggar’s brethren. Blessed be God for that word, “unto all people,” for it permits missionary enterprise in every land; however degraded a race may be, we have here provision made for it. This feast of fat things is made as much for the Sudra as for the Brahmin; the gospel is as much to be preached to the degraded Bushman as to the civilized Chinese. Dwell on that word, “all people,” and you will see it includes the rich, for there is a feast of fat things for them, such as their gold could never buy; and it includes the poor, for they being rich in faith shall have fellowship with God. “All people.” This takes in the man of enlarged intelligence and extensive knowledge; but it equally encompasses the illiterate man who cannot read. The Lord makes this feast “for all people;” for you old people, if you come to Jesus you shall find that he is suitable to you; for you young men and maidens, and you little children, if you put your trust in God’s appointed Savior, there shall be much joy and happiness for you-“For all people”? Methinks, if I were now seeking and had not laid hold on Christ, this word, “all people” would be a great comfort to me, because it gives hope to all who desire to come. None have ever been rejected of all who have ever come to Christ and asked for mercy. Still is it true, “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” Some very odd people have come to him, some very wicked people, some very hardened people, but the door was never closed in any one’s face. Why should Jesus begin hard dealings with you? He cannot, because he cannot change. If he says, “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out,” make one of the “hymns” that come, and he cannot cast you out. There is another thought, namely, that between the covers of the Bible there is no mention made of one person who may not come. There is no description given of a person who is forbidden to trust Christ. I should like you to look the book through, you who dream that Jesus will reject you, and find where it is said, “Such a one I will reject; such a one I will refuse.” When you find such a rejecting clause, then you will have a right to be unbelieving, but till you do I beseech you do not needlessly torment yourself. Why needlessly sow doubts and fears? There will be enough of them without your making them for yourself. Do not limit what the Lord does not limit. I know he has an elect people; I rejoice in it-I hope you will rejoice in it too one day; and I know that his people have this marrow and fatness provided for them and for them alone; but still this does not at all conflict with the other precious truth that whosoever believeth in the Son of God hath everlasting life. If you believe in Jesus Christ, all these things are yours. Come, poor trembler, the silver trumpet soundeth, and this is the note it rings, “Come and welcome, come and welcome, come and welcome.” The harsher trumpet of the law which waxed exceedingly loud and long at Sinai had this for its note, “Set bounds about the mount: let none touch it lest they die.” But the trumpet for Calvary sounds with the opposite note; it is, “Come and welcome, come and welcome, sinner, come! Come as you are, sinful as you are, hardened as you are, careless as you think you are, and having no good thing whatsoever, come to your God in Christ!” O may you come to him who gave his Son to bleed in the sinner’s stead, and casting yourself on what Christ has done, may you resolve, “If I perish, I will trust in him; if I be cast away, I will rely on him.” You shall not perish, but for you there shall be the feast of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined. The Lord bless you very richly, for his name’s sake. Amen. (Sermon, “Good Cheer for Christmas”)