Sermon 2876. Christ's Crowning Glory
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, MARCH 24, 1904.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON LORD'S-DAY EVENING, MARCH 5, 1876.
"His glory is great in Your salvation: honor and majesty have You laid upon Him." Psalm 21:5.
I FEEL quite sure that David here sings first concerning himself and then concerning the far greater King, "great David'sgreater Son," the Lord Jesus Christ. But I shall apply the text entirely to our blessed Redeemer and, surely, the Psalmist'slanguage is most appropriate to Him.
Some of us are going to meet, presently, around the Table of our Lord to commemorate His death for us and, of course, theremust be some sorrowful processes connected with that ordinance. How can we remember His death without sorrowing over the sinwhich made that death necessary? How can we remember "that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which He was betrayed, took bread,and broke it," without feeling that there is a somberness of spirit which becomes us as we surround His Table? Yet we mustnot indulge the mournful strain too much, for we must never forget that it is a joyous feast, not a funeral repast, to whichour Lord invites us! It is a feast which reminds us of His triumph as well as of His conflict and agony. "After supper," weare told, in the record of its institution, "they sang a hymn" and our Lord Jesus Christ would have us come to His Table inthe spirit of hymn-singing, making melody in our hearts unto the Lord. No funeral dirge is appropriate, here, no muffled drumsnor wailing pipes-but let the daughters of song sound the loud timbre, as Miriam and the women of Israel did at the Red Sea!
Let it not be forgotten, too, that the last time this supper will ever be celebrated on earth, it will not die out amid groansand lamentations, but it will cease to be observed any longer because He will have come, whose coming will have been welcomedby the acclamation of all His saints, both those that are alive and remain, and those who come with the King and all His holyangels! This ordinance is full of joy, for each time it closes with a hymn when it is properly celebrated and, at the last,like all external symbols, it shall pass away amidst the hallelujahs of eternity! Come, then, Beloved, let us not be in adolorous mood as we come to the Table of our Lord, but let us take all our harps down from the willows and wake their gladstrings to exultant music! He, whom we remember in this ordinance, is not here, for He is risen! He is not there, on yondercrucifix. His wounds bleed no longer. No thorns surround His brow, no nails pierce His feet and hands, no spear tears openHis side, for He has gone back into the Glory which was His before the worlds were made, and it is thus that we are now tothink of Him-"His glory is great in Your salvation: honor and majesty have You laid upon Him."
In meditating upon this text, we shall notice, first, that it reminds us of a Divine Salvation. Secondly, it sets forth theglory of Jesus in that salvation. And, thirdly, it reveals to us the reward which Jesus has obtained for that salvation- "Honorand majesty have You laid upon Him."
I. First, then, THE TEXT REMINDS US OF A DIVINE SALVATION. It speaks of "Yoursalvation" that is to say, the salvation of God,by which is intended, according to the Hebrew idiom, not merely the grandest of all salvations, the chief of all deliverances,but, actually, that the salvation of which we speak is God's! O Brothers and Sisters, though the Truth of God is very simpleand the observations I shall make upon it may be very trite, yet is it a Truth never to be put in the background that "salvationis of the Lord"!
Remember that the salvation of man is God's, in the conception of it He first conceived the idea of redeeming the rebellioussons of Adam. It must be so, for the sons of Adam were not born when the Lord first planned the way of their salvation. Fromold eternity, before yet the sun had opened its eye of fire, God, in far-reaching foresight had beheld the sons of Adam ruinedby the Fall-and He resolved that, out of them He would choose a people who should be redeemed and who, to all eternity, shouldshow forth His praise! From the august mind of the Infinite God, the first thought of salvation sprang and it was He who sketchedand mapped it all out, electing unto eternal life as many as it pleased Him, settling the way by which they would be redeemed,the method by which they would be called, arranging the place, the day, the hour, the means by which they would be converted-fixingit all, according to His eternal purpose, in Infinite wisdom and prudence-for in every part it was to be of Him and throughHim and to Him! Even as in the old tabernacle in the wilderness, every board, curtain, hook, silver socket, every badger skinand every vessel of the sanctuary was ordained by God-and man was only left to carry out God's plan-even so is it in the salvationof God! In its minutest details, as well as in its grand outline, the provisions of eternal love are of the Lord! And so itis in His salvation.
But you know, dear Brothers and Sisters, that it was not only His in the arranging but it was also carried out by God. Whois He that has redeemed us by His blood, but He who is over all God, blessed forever? Who trod the winepress side by sidewith Him? Did He not stand there alone and, singlehanded, win the victory? And from where comes every blessing of salvation?Who provided it? Has man any share in the provision of any of the mercies by which sinners are taken out of sin into righteousnessand raised from the ruins of the Fall to all the glories of Heaven? No, from first to last, all the provisions of eternallove are of the Lord! And so it is in His salvation.
No, more than that, God has not only planned and provided everything relating to it, but it is He who applies the salvationwhich He has thus provided. No one believes that Jesus is the Christ but by the teaching of the Holy Spirit. "No man comesunto the Father but by Me," says Christ. Much is said by some people about free will, but free will has never done anythingin this world yet-unless moved by Free Grace-except to ruin mankind! Leave men to themselves and they are sure to choose thatwhich is evil. As naturally as the river runs downwards to the sea, so does the heart of man turn towards that which is unclean.If the heart ever ascends towards holiness, Christ and God, it is because it is drawn upward by Divine Grace-and the Lordis working in us to will and to do of His own good pleasure. From the first sigh of repentance to the last hymn of thanksgiving,everything in us that is good is His workmanship! And so, in that respect, our salvation is of the Lord.
And, Beloved, when it is all finished-when everyone who ever shall be called, has been called-when every one of the Lord'select has been regenerated, justified, sanctified and glorified-when the whole of the blood-washed family of God shall surroundHis Throne above, all the glory shall be given unto the Lord alone! There will be no jarring note in Heaven, no whisper ofhuman merit, no claim of a reward for good intentions-but every crown shall be cast at Jesus' feet and every voice shall joinin the ascription, "Not unto us, not unto us, but unto Your name be all the glory of the salvation which You have worked outfor us from first to last."
Let me pause, just a minute, to put this question to each one here-Do you, dear Friend, know anything about this salvationwhich is all of God? I fear that there are many who have no more religion than they have made themselves. Their religion isthe result of their own efforts to improve themselves. Ah, Sirs, our Savior's words are still true, "You must be born-again!"And, as it was in our first birth, so must it be in our second birth-not our own act. Depend upon it, if all the good youhave, has been fetched out of yourself as the spider draws its web out of its own bowels, it will all have to be brushed away!All that Nature spins will have to be unraveled, and all that Nature builds will have to be pulled down. God must save you,or you will be lost forever! The Holy Spirit, the third Person of the blessed Trinity in Unity, must come upon you and quickenyou into newness of life, and renew you in the spirit of your mind, or else you will fall short of that which is requisitefor admission into the Kingdom of God.
"That which is born of the flesh is flesh." The best flesh is only flesh and only "that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."Consequently, the Spirit of God must operate upon us, or else we shall remain unspiritual-not able to understand spiritualthings-and not possessing that spiritual life without which we cannot enter, at the last, into the enjoyment of those spiritualpleasures which are at God's right hand forevermore. One thing I can say without any doubt. I, personally, know that it isGod's salvation that has saved me. And I think I speak the mind of many here when I say that they feel that if the Holy Spiritdoes not work in them from the first to the last, their salvation will never be accomplished. I do
not know any Doctrine which my experience more fully confirms than that to which Jonah gave utterance when he was in the whale'sbelly-"Salvation is of the Lord." It is, as our text reminds us, a Divine Salvation!
II. Now, secondly, I come to the subject which I desire to impress most deeply upon your memory, that is, THE GLORY OF CHRISTIN THE SALVATION OF GOD-"His glory is great in Your salvation."
Ah, Brothers and Sisters, the tongues of men and angels can never fully tell the glory of Christ in salvation! It is a subjectto be thought over by the loftiest intellects! It is a theme for men who lie awake at nights to meditate upon! It is a topicworthy of the thoughts of those who linger on the verge of Heaven! Dr. John Owen's pen was somewhat heavy in its style, butit never glowed and burned as much as when he wrote upon the Glory of Christ. This is a theme which the glo-rifled spiritsbefore the Throne of God perpetually contemplate. And the more fit we are to be among them, the more delightful will thissubject be to us. As to that Glory, oh, if I had the allotting and the measuring of it, what glory I would give to my dearLord and Master! I read, the other day-I cannot exactly quote the words, though I give the sense-a sentence by Samuel Rutherfordin which he said that he would like to pile up ten thousand million heavens upon the top of the third Heaven to which Paulwas caught up-and put Christ in that high place-and then He would not be as high as He deserved to be put and, truly, no honorsseem sufficient for Him who stripped Himself of all He had that He might become the Savior of sinners!
And, first, it is His glory that He has redeemed His people from stupendous evils. When a statesman or a warrior rescues acountry from a cruel despotism and brings to it the blessings of liberty, he deserves great praise. But, my Brothers and Sisters,the tyranny of sin, from which Christ has delivered His people, was a thousand times worse than the rule of the worst humandespot! Consider, for a moment, the position in which His people were in the sight of God. They had sinned and they had, therefore,become exposed to the wrath of God. Unless some power greater than their own should intervene, they must be cast into Hellforever. God Himself could not lay aside His justice, for God would cease to be if He ceased to be just-and an unjust Godis a contradiction in terms, an impossible combination! How, then, were these, who had sinned against God, to be deliveredfrom the peril which hung over them? Moreover, they were held in bondage by sin, so that, even if the punishment of theirpast sin could be removed, they were still members of an enslaved race. Satan had cast his iron chains about them and theywere led captive by him at his will.
Ah, Sirs, it is from this bondage that Christ has set us free, for He has taken away our guilt, bearing it in His own bodyup to the tree and then hurling it away from the tree into His grave to be remembered against us no more forever! By bearingthe punishment that was due to us, Christ has delivered us from the yoke of Satan and of sin and, by the wondrous redemptionwhich He has worked out, and brought in, He has made His people "free indeed." No curse now hangs above their heads. No sinnow has dominion over them, for they are not under the Law, but under Grace. Therefore, sound aloud your Deliverer's praises,all you who have been thus delivered! Think of what stupendous evils these were from which Christ set us free. To overthrowan oppressive empire is a great achievement. To rout the vast hordes that are led into the battlefield by great tyrants isno slight victory. The conqueror's statue is set up on high and his name is emblazoned upon the scroll of earthly fame. Thenwhat honor shall be given to Christ who has set us free from mightier foes than ever trampled upon a nation's liberties?
Recollect, too, that He has not only delivered us from stupendous evils, but, in the process, He has crushed the mightiestpowers. It did seem, at one time, as if evil would got the mastery in God's universe. God had permitted the strange experiment,as it seemed, of making creatures gifted with free agency-with whose free agency He would not interfere. These creatures brokeHis Law. How was the evil to be prevented from spreading? They would multiply and increase as, indeed, they have done. And,multiplying and increasing, there would be many millions of spirits in the universe, all rebellious against God and, consequently,all suffering! There would be countless myriads, born into God's world, all bearing hearts of sin within their bosoms andall, therefore, subject to the wrath of God. How Satan exulted at the prospect of increasing evil!
But when Jesus came into this world, He put His foot upon the head of the old dragon and so effectually crushed him to theearth so that he has never been able to rise again. Satan saw Christ hanging upon the Cross and thought that was his opportunityfor gaining a decisive victory, yet it proved to be the hour of his greatest defeat! Death drove his sting right through theheart of Christ, but it so fixed itself in His Cross that it could never be drawn out again and, now that sting of death,which is sin, is gone, as far as all Believers in Christ are concerned. He has vanquished all the powers of
evil-sin, death and Hell-and shattered their forces forever! Listen to this great shout of victory! Oh, that I had a voiceloud enough to make it ring round the globe-"You have ascended on high, You have led captivity captive: You have receivedgifts for men, yes, for the rebellious, also, that the Lord God might dwell among them."
Perhaps the main point of Christ's Glory in the salvation of His people is that He has achieved this by means which reflectunbounded honor upon His holy name. I have often read the story of Cromwell's Ironsides and, sympathizing deeply with themin the objective of their fight, I have greatly admired their stern courage and consecrated ardor. But, still, I cannot thinkof battles and of fighting for the best of objectives without something of a shudder, so I cannot approve of the means whichthey employed. Doubtless, our country owes her present liberties to those brave men, yet, for all that, I grieve over theawful price of blood at which those liberties were purchased. Our blessed Lord and Master conquered all our foes, but whatwere the weapons He used to secure so glorious a victory? Do you look up to Him and enquire, "Where is Your battle-axe, OLord Jesus? Where are Your spear, Your sword, Your quiver and Your arrows?" He bids you look at His hands, His feet, His side,His heart-these are the weapons with which He overcame all the powers of darkness! There was much suffering in that awfulconflict, but the suffering was all His own. There was a terrible gory sweat, but it came from His own body. There were woundsand there was death, but the wounds were in His precious body, the death was all His own. This is how evil was conquered-bylove which denied itself, even to the death, for the sake of others! This is how human stubbornness was vanquished-by an almightypatience that could suffer at the hands of rebellious sinners till it bled to death! This is your death, O Death-this is yourHell, O Hell-this is your destruction, O Destruction-that God Himself bore the consequences of His creatures' sin!
No, start not back at that expression, I pray you. Do not think of Christ as being separated from God. God did not find somebodyelse to be the Substitute for sinners, but He gave His only-begotten and well-beloved Son, Jesus Christ, who is the equaland in all respects One with the Father. It was God Himself, in the Person of the Man Christ Jesus who bore the penalty thatwas due to human sin. It was God, in the Person of His Son, suffering, agonizing, groaning, dying, to put our sin away forever!I cannot conceive, nor do I think that cherubim and seraphim could conceive of anything more noble and more glorious thanthis Self-sacrifice of the Son of God! He conquers, not by making others suffer, but by sufferings all His own!
A kindred thought to that is this. Christ's Glory is great in the Divine Salvation, because it developed and revealed themost wonderful attributes. Suppose England were to win a great victory at sea. We would probably ascribe it to her superiormen-of-war. Generally, battles are decided, as Napoleon said, by the big battalions, or by the excellence of the weapons thatare used by the soldiers. If one man has an old Brown Bess and another a modern rifle, we can pretty well guess on which sidethe victory will be. We call it, "glory," when one fellow, who is twice as big as another, knocks the little one down-at least,we call it, "glory," when the nation which has the better ships and the bigger army wins the victory. I saw a huge Newfoundlanddog pick up a poodle and shake him-there was about as much "glory" in that as when great nations war against little ones andoverpower them! It is the same kind of "glory" as being a bigger bully and having a harder fist and stronger muscles thananybody else. That may be the sort of glory for a bull, or a lion, or an ass-but it is not the glory that is suited to men-andespecially to Christians. But when Christ came and redeemed us, there was, on His part, no display of physical or mere brutepower. There was a display of power, but it was the power of goodness, the power to suffer, the power to be patient, the powerto love. As if God said to men, "Sinners and rebels as you are, I love you more than you hate Me. And great as your badnessis, My goodness shall overwhelm your badness, My pardoning mercy shall overpower your power to transgress."
As the result of His death upon the Cross, our Lord Jesus has saved a multitude whom no man can number. And a part of HisGlory consists in the fact that there are so many whom He has saved. The salvation of God is not for just a little privilegedcompany. I know that certain "sound" brethren imagine that the blessings of salvation are confined to just a few favored individualsin Little Zoar, or Rehoboth-they delight in the idea that there are only a few that will be saved. I trust that we have nosympathy with such narrow views-for my own part, I rejoice to know that, in Heaven, there will be "a great multitude, whichno man can number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues," who shall cry, "Salvation to our God which sitsupon the Throne, and unto the Lamb." So our Lord Jesus Christ has great glory from the fact that He saves so many sinners.
There is this peculiarity about all whom He saves, that they are attached to Him forever. His Glory is great in their salvationbecause everyone of them is, from that day forth, Christ's man, Christ's woman forever and forevermore. In travelling throughFrance, lately, I have been greatly amused at seeing in various public squares, pedestals that were evidently intended forequestrian statues, but there are no statues upon them. And there are shields upon town halls which look as if there shouldhave been medallions upon them, but there are no portraits where the medallions should have been. On making enquiries, youwill find that a statue of Napoleon the Third used to stand on that pedestal and a medallion of him used to be on that townhall. That must be a fine country for stone-masons, because they so frequently have fresh governments and need, also, to havefresh statues! I have heard of a man, living in Paris, who used to ask, every morning, whether he was under a republic, ora monarchy, or an empire. And when he was told which it was, he was not at all sure that it would last till the evening. Nomatter how good the ruler has been, nor how many times they have painted his likeness, or set up his image, the moment hehas ill fortune, away go all the representations of him!
You would have thought that many rulers would have obtained a permanent place in the hearts of their people, yet we know fromthe history of various countries that very few have done so. Those who are idolized today are despised tomorrow. But our LordJesus has a Glory which is great in our salvation because His image is forever enshrined in our hearts! The great Napoleonhit the nail on the head when, at St. Helena, musing upon his own position, he said to one who walked with him, "Jesus Christis the most wonderful of men. I founded an empire which has passed away, but His never will, and I see the reason for that.Mine was founded upon force, but Christ's is founded upon love." Ah, that is the reason for our devotion to Him! He has lovedus so much that He has won us to Himself forever! These hands of mine are manacled with blessed, invisible, but unbreakablebands of love-never was I truly free until I felt those fetters binding me to my Lord! This heart of mine is fast rivetedto Christ. It never was really my own till it became His, but now it is His forever and ever! "I bear in my body," said Paul,"the marks of the Lord Jesus." He felt it to be an unspeakable honor to be the branded slave of Jesus Christ, with the Crossburnt into his very flesh by the suffering which he had endured for the sake of his dear Lord and Master!
Truly, Brothers and Sisters, to rule over other men is a great thing. To have moral power over men is no mean matter. Butto get men to so love you that they would willingly die for you-to get them to so love you that they would sooner cease tolive than cease to love you-this is to occupy a glorious high throne! And such is the throne upon which Christ sits in thehearts of all His people! Such is the dominion which He wields over all the hosts that He has purchased with His preciousblood! Well says the Prophet in our text-for the Psalmist was a true Prophet-"His glory is great in Your salvation."
III. Now, thirdly, Our text REVEALS THE REWARD WHICH JESUS HAS OBTAINED FOR THIS GREAT
SALVATION-"Honor and majesty have You laid upon Him." I do not intend to preach upon this last point, but only to give youa few sentences by way of an outline of the honor and majesty which God the Father has laid upon Christ.
First, our Lord Jesus Christ has been exalted, as Man, to reign over the angels. As God, He was always Ruler, Governor andLord of all. But the Man Christ Jesus died, was buried and rose again-and then ascended into Glory-and now He is Head overall principalities and powers, and all the holy angels that have never fallen, delight to do His bidding. My Brother, in thatvery sweet prayer before the sermon, to which I assented with all my heart, pleaded that we might get a view of Jesus Christwithin the veil in His Glory. That is how I want you to think of Him-that very Man who hung upon the tree. That very Man whowas the butt of all the reproaches and scorn of His enemies, now sits upon the Throne of God and around Him all the cherubimand seraphim are gathered, all worshipping and adoring Him and praising and magnifying His holy name!
Then, my Brothers and Sisters, God has given to the Lord Jesus to be the Head of His Church. Over all the redeemed, on earthand in Heaven, Christ presides and rules. While He is the Lord of the angels, He is also the Lord of all elect men. His Fathergave them to Him from eternity and made Him to be the Head and made them to be the members of His mystical body. Christ isthe one and only Head and supreme Ruler of His Church. It is true that there are men who sat themselves up as governors ofChrist's Church. And there is an antichrist, at Rome, who calls himself the head of the church, but that is only a wickedfiction, a manifest lie! There is but one Head of the Church and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the only supreme Rulerand before Him all His loyal subjects bow. "Honor and majesty have You laid upon Him."
Being Head of His Church, He is also Head over all things outside of His Church in which His Church is concerned. Joseph ruledEgypt for the good of Israel and, in like manner does Christ rule the whole world for the good of His people. All the arrangementsof Providence are under His control. Nothing is done in the entire universe without His command or His permission. Does thatstatement startle you? It is, nevertheless, true! He who was made Lord of the angels, has had all things put under His feetand He is, at this moment, Lord of all! And, Brothers and Sisters, we shall see this demonstrated soon, for He is coming.As surely as He went up to Heaven, literally and Personally, so surely will He comes again, literally and Personally-and whenHe does come, it will be as Ruler and Lord over all, for He will come to judge the quick and the dead according to His Gospel.Then will all created intelligences behold the honor and majesty which God has put upon Him!
There will have to appear, before the Judgment Seat of the Nazarene, the spirits that fell ages upon ages ago. Satan shallcome and receive his final sentence and be banished forever to Hell. Then shall come the unbelieving world, to hear from Christ'slips the terrible message, "Depart, you cursed!" The earth shall reel beneath His Presence-that earth which could scarcelylend Him a sepulcher. And Heaven and earth shall flee away from that Face which earth once seemed to scorn and Heaven to forget!Ah, it will be seen who the Christ is in that day! A trumpet blast more terrible than that which startled the echoes of Sinaishall ring over land and sea. A cloud shall come and on it shall stand the Great White Throne-and upon it shall be seatedthe "Man of Sorrows and acquainted with grief." But, oh, how changed!-
"With rainbow wreath and robes of storm," He shall come-with a face shining above the brightness of the sun and with eyeslike flames of fire, He shall come in all the Glory of His Father, with all His holy angels to attend Him, and to swell thetriumph of His appearing! O Brothers and Sisters, let us anticipate that glorious appearing and begin to clap our hands withexultation over our Lord's triumphal advent!
But are we all His people? Do not desire that day if you are not His, for the Day of the Lord will be darkness, not light,to all who are His enemies! The more glorious Christ is to His own people, the more dreadful will His appearance be to youif you live as unbelievers and if you die without trusting in Him! O Christians, I bid you be glad in your Lord, and I alsobid you pray for the unsaved, that they may trust, and love, and serve Jesus, too-and rejoice with you in recollecting thatHe is coming again to receive unto Himself all to whom He is both Lord and Savior! Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: LUKE 7:18-50.
Verse 18. And the disciples of John showed him of all these thing. John was in prison and, possibly, troubled in spirit.
19. And John calling unto him two of his disciples sent them to Jesus saying, are you He that should come? Or look we foranother? Did John doubt? Perhaps not. It may be that he saw that his disciples doubted and that he wished their fears to beremoved. It is possible, however, that he did have doubts. It is no unusual thing for the bravest hearts to be subject tofits of doubt. Elijah, you remember, sat under a juniper tree in the wilderness, "and he requested for himself that he mightdie," though he was the man who never was to die. And John-the Elijah of the Christian dispensation, though a man of iron,was but a man, so he sent two of his disciples to Jesus, saying, "Are you He that should come, or look we for another?"
20-22. When the men were come unto Him, they said, John the Baptist has sent us unto You, saying, Are You He that should come,or look we for another? And in that same hour He cured many of their infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits; and untomany that were blind He gave sight. Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things you have seenand heard. Our old proverb says that actions speak louder than words, so an answer in His actions would be more eloquent withthese enquirers than even an answer in our Lord's own words. He bade them look at the evidences of His Messiahship which Hegave them by His miraculous cures, and then He said to them, "Go your way, and tell John what things you have seen and heard."It would be well if our lives were such that if any enquired what we were, we should only have to say that they might judgeus by what they had seen and heard in our common everyday life and conversation!
22, 23. How that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor theGospel is preached. And blessed is he, whoever shall not be offended in Me. According to our Lord's testimony, the preachingof the Gospel to the poor is as great a proof of His Messiahship as the raising of the dead! Then how highly it ought to beprized by them and how glad should they be who have the Gospel now preached freely in their hearing!
24. And when the messengers of John were departed, He began to speak unto the people concerning John, What did you go outinto the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind?The wind on the banks of the Jordan, where there are plenty of reedsgrowing-did you see a man who would bow before every breath of popular favor or popular wrath? Was John the Baptist such aman as that? No, certainly not.
25. But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they which are gorgeously appareled, and live delicately,are in kings'courts. They do not preach repentance. As is their clothing, so is their doctrine. They try to show a royal roadto Heaven-a smooth and easy path. But was John the Baptist a preacher of that kind? No, that he was not.
26-28. But what did you go out to see? A Prophet? Yes, I say unto you, and much more than a Prophet This is he, of whom itis written, Behold, I send'My messenger before Your face, which shallprepare Your way before you. For I say unto you, Amongthose that are born of women there is not a greater Prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the Kingdom ofGod is greater than he. Passing into the dispensation of clearer Light of God, he who is least among the Believers of theGospel of Jesus is, in some respects, greater than this man who could only preach repentance and point to a coming Savior!
29-32. And all the people that heard Him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the Baptism of John. But thePharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him. And the Lord said, To what,then, shall I liken the men of this generation? And to what are they like? They are like unto children sitting in the marketplace.At play-the playing of children is often according to the manners and customs of grown up people.
32. And calling one to another, and saying, We have piped unto you, and you have not danced. ' 'You would not play a merrygame when we asked you to do so."
32. We have mourned to you, and you have not wept. "You would not play either at funerals or weddings."
33. For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and you say, he has a devil "He came among you as anascetic, denying himself, not only the luxuries of life, but even the common comforts that others enjoyed. And you say, 'Hehas a devil.'"
34. The Son of Man is come eating and drinking.' 'He does not pretend to be an ascetic. He comes, on the contrary, to showthat neither meat nor drink can save a man. What do you say, then, of this Son of Man?"
34, 35. And you say, Behold a gluttonous Man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners! But wisdom is justifiedof all her children. Though the world contemns all wisdom's children, whichever way they go, and is not pleased with theirmanners, whatever manners they possess, yet, in the long run, when the Wisdom of God shall be all unfolded, it will be seenthat the roughness of John and the gentleness and loving kindness of Jesus were both right in their proper place. If fishare not caught in the Gospel fishery, it may sometimes be the fisherman's fault, but more often it is the fault of the fish.Here we have two very different kinds of fishermen, yet neither of them attracts all, though each of them draws some.
36, 37. And one of the Pharisees desired Him that He would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee's house, and sat downto meat And, behold. For it is a wonder of Divine Grace-"Behold."
37. A woman in the city, which was a sinner A sinner by profession, a public and notorious sinner.
37-44. When she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, and stood at Hisfeet behind Him weeping, and began to wash His feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed Hisfeet, and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee which had bidden Him saw it, he spoke within himself, saying,This Man, ifHe were a Prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that touches Him: for she is a sinner.And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, Ihave somewhat to say unto you. And he said, Master, say on. There was a certaincreditor who had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he franklyforgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him
more? Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And He said unto him, You have rightly judged.And He turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, See you this woman? I entered into your house, you gave Me no water for Myfeet. "Though it was only a common act of courtesy, such as should always be shown to a guest, you did neglect that."
44. But she has washed My feet with tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head.''She has given My feet no common washing,for she has washed them with her tears. You would only have brought Me a linen napkin, but she has wiped them with the hairsof her head.'"
45. You gave Me no kiss. Which was usually given as a greeting to guests at that time. Simon had not given to Jesus the honorwhich was due to Him, which would have been to kiss His forehead.
45. But this woman since the time I came in has not ceased to kiss My feet. Every word is emphatic to show how far she hadgone beyond Simon, who thought himself so much better than she was.
46. My head with oil you did not anoint. Another usual Eastern custom with guests whom the host intended to honor.
46. But this woman has anointed My feet with ointment. Anointed them, not with ordinary olive oil, but with precious costlyointment.
47. Therefore I say unto you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much. "You know that her sins were many,and I tell you that they have been forgiven, and you can see, by her actions, that she loves much."
47, 48. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little. And He said unto her, Your sins are forgiven. What music thatsentence, "Your sins are forgiven," must have been to her! "Ah," says one, "I also should like to hear that sentence. Beyondeverything else in the whole world would I desire to hear Jesus say to me, 'Your sins are forgiven.'" Then put yourself inthe place that this woman occupied. When Joab clung to the horns of the altar, he had to die there, but this woman had fledto the feet of Jesus-and she did not die there-nor shall you, but at those blessed feet, weeping for sin, and trusting thegreat Sin-Bearer, you shall receive assurance of pardon. "Your sins are forgiven."
49, 50. And they that sat at meat with Him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgives sins also? And He saidto the woman, Your faith has saved you; go in peace. He did not want this young convert, this beginner in the Christian lifeto hear the bickering and controversies of these coarse spirits, so He said to her, "Go in peace."
And, dear Soul, if you have begun to find out that even in the Christian Church there are many opinions concerning many things,do not trouble yourself about those things. This is enough for you-"Your faith has saved you; go in peace." There may be somewho are galled to contend for this or that point of the faith but, as for you, poor Child, if, with your broken heart youhave found the Savior and if you love Him with an inward, warm and hearty love, do not spoil that love by getting into a controversialspirit-"Your faith has saved you; go in peace."