the Second Week of Lent
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Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life.”
John 3:23 , John 3:24
John had chosen a spot suitable for the sacred rite. As Milton puts it “Them who shall believe, Baptizing in the profluent stream.” He would not have needed much water if he had merely sprinkled the people.
Each one has his appointed place, and John had no desire to usurp that of another, least of all that of his Lord. The truth stated in this verse should act as an effectual cure for envy and emulation.
He felt clear upon this point, and it will be well for all ministers if they are equally sure that they have never exalted themselves, but their Master only.
but the friend of the bridegroom his best man, or paranymph
John’s disciples said that all men went after Jesus, and that seemed a great thing to them; John, on the other hand, thought little of the crowds which heard Jesus, he desired something far higher, and sighed because men did not in their hearts receive the Son of God.
John eagerly turns men’s minds to the Redeemer. He is willing to be nothing so that they will but believe in the Saviour. Indeed, all who love their fellowmen must desire the same, for only as Jesus is received in the heart can men be saved.
This is the one grand distinction, believer or unbeliever, how does it affect this family? Have we believed, or are we now under divine wrath because of unbelief?
Herod had been a willing hearer of John till he touched his conscience, and then he would have no more of his preaching. A man is in a sad state when he hates the ministry which is meant to lead him to repentance. May God preserve us from so wicked a spirit. It is a sure mark of condemnation.
That Jesus saves from sin and hell,
Is truth divinely sure;
And on this rock our faith may rest
Oh let these tidings be received
With universal joy,
And let the high angelic praise
Our tuneful powers employ!
“Glory to God who gave his Son
To bear our shame and pain;
Hence peace on earth, and grace to men,
In endless blessings reign.”
“God is a Spirit.”
Not wishing to provoke opposition unnecessarily, or evoke controversy at this early stage.
Not only as the nearest road, but because he had a work of mercy to perform. He felt a necessity laid upon him to seek a poor, guilty woman of that country.
Mark the connection, “Thou wouldest have asked, and he would have given.” It is always so, asking and giving are rivetted together. Who would not ask, when the answer is so sure and the boon so precious?
John 1:11 , John 1:12
She could not read the Lord’s riddle, she thought only of water which she could carry in her bucket.
John 1:15 , John 1:16
Hitherto nothing had reached her heart, but this sentence startled her: yet it was a very natural one, and such as eastern custom suggested, for a religious teacher was not allowed to instruct a married woman for any length of time unless her husband was present.
John 1:17 , John 1:18
This revealed her history; a woman often divorced, and probably not for the best of reasons. Her vicious career was thus unveiled for her own inspection.
She starts aside to talk of external rites. Like ourselves before conversion, she did not wish to have her conscience probed too much. She was curious to know whether the Jews or the Samaritans had the true temple: even ungodly people dispute on such questions.
This was new light to her. Spiritual worship she had not thought of. It is well when we begin to see that all true religion must be heart work.
Thus did the Sun of Righteousness shine full upon her in condescending grace, and in his own light she saw and believed.