the Second Week of Lent
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Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
“Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given.”
They had seen a bright particular star, which tradition connected with the birth of a great king. The wise men missed their way, and went to Jerusalem; the shepherds did not. The wise are often less able to find Jesus than the poor and simple.
Thus by means of a cruel enemy the Lord obtained a grand public testimony from all the great teachers of the Jews that Messiah was to be born at Bethlehem, and by this means it was noised abroad that a star had appeared, and strangers had come from far to see the newly-born king of the Jews. Truly, God glorifies his Son even by his foes.
True faith is not disappointed at the lowliness of the Saviour. Though the wise men found Jesus in a mean abode, they discerned his majesty, and adored him with offerings suitable to a prophet, priest, and king.
Matthew 2:14 , Matthew 2:15
Providence both watched over the safety of the Lord, and enabled Joseph to support the mother and child by the offerings of the eastern sages. In the same manner is the church the peculiar care of heaven in all its persecutions and needs.
Thus did our Lord narrowly escape a cruel death. He had poor welcome among men, whom he came to redeem. Angels celebrated his birth with songs, but among men the malice of the wicked greeted him with the blood of infants and the wailings of bereaved mothers. O dear Redeemer, how sorrowfully did thy life for us begin! Alas! how sorrowfully did it end!
As with gladness men of old
Did the guiding star behold,
As with joy they hailed its light,
Leading onward, beaming bright,
So, most gracious God, may we
Evermore be led by thee!
As with joyful steps they sped
To that lowly manger-bed,
There to bend the knee before
Him whom heaven and earth adore,
So may we, with willing feet,
Ever seek thy mercy-seat,
“I must be about my Father’s business.”
Every step the Saviour took was a fulfilment of prophecy. How blind were those who would not acknowledge him as indeed the Messiah! Our Lord spent nearly thirty years of his life in a city which bestowed upon him a title of scorn. “The Nazarene” is still his name of contempt among the Jews. How ready ought we to be to endure any measure of reproach for his sake!
What a child was this, with the fulness of divine grace upon him! Lord Jesus, make our sons and daughters to be like thee while they are yet children.
He did not set up for a teacher, but listened and eagerly enquired. No doubt there was more in his questions than in their replies, and when they catechized him in return, he gave such answers that they marvelled at the wondrous boy, whose surprising intelligence and holiness beamed forth in his countenance, and spoke in every word.
He knew the secret of his birth, which perhaps his mother had never told him, and he marvelled that his parents should think him unkind in following his manifest destiny. How sweetly does our Lord here teach us in our earliest youth to serve our heavenly Father!
For eighteen years longer he continued in the obscurity of Nazareth, a matchless man, in holiness unrivalled, spending his days at his fathers handicraft, and in preparation for his great work. He was for thirty years emptying himself of all glory, that afterwards he might be filled with reproach for our sake. We ought exceedingly to admire our Lord in the lowliness of these preparatory years.
How beautiful his childhood was!
Harmless and undefiled;
Oh! dear to his young mother’s heart
Was this pure, sinless child.
Kindly in all his deeds and words,
And gentle as the dove;
His very soul was love.
Oh! is it not a blessed thought,
Ye men of human birth,
That once the Saviour was a child,
And lived upon the earth?