the Second Week of Lent
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Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
“All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me.”
The remarkable portion of Scripture which we are about to read contains in a small space the three great truths of human responsibility, the sovereignty of electing love, and the free proclamation of the gospel. If we cannot reconcile them, we must, nevertheless, believe them, and wait for clearer light.
Therefore it is clear that they ought to have repented. Jesus would not have upbraided them for impenitence, if penitence were not their duty.
A very mysterious statement, since it involves the singular fact that the mighty works were not done among those who would have repented, and were done among those who refused to repent. The way of the Lord is far above the comprehension of men.
Though as to open sin the Sidonians were beyond measure vile, yet they were not so guilty as those who had wilfully refused the gospel, and therefore their punishment would be less. This the Lord repeated, varying the words.
Matthew 11:23 , Matthew 11:24
Yet Sodom’s doom is fearful beyond imagination where then will despisers of the gospel appear? Our Lord now changed the theme and discoursed upon sovereign grace.
Here is the author of election the Father, his right to choose Lord of heaven and earth, the objects of his choice babes, and the only reason of his choice which he deigns to give us ”so it seemed good in thy sight.” Our Lord next bore testimony to himself as the great channel by which the blessings of electing love flow down to those whom he has chosen. The doctrines of grace are as true as the fact of our responsibility, and the two agree in one, though few can see where they meet. Salvation is all of grace, damnation is man’s fault, and his fault alone.
The third part of our reading contains a full, free, personal, present invitation to sinners to come to Jesus. No ministry is complete where this is kept in the background. As we read it may we feel the drawing influence of the Holy Spirit, and find rest in Jesus at once.
Matthew 11:29 , Matthew 11:30
Is there one here, who has hitherto refused the invitation? Let him come now! Come, and welcome. Remember it is not to sacraments, or to priests that you are to come, but to Jesus himself. He, and he alone, can give perfect rest to all who are obedient to him.
“Come hither, all ye weary souls,
Ye heavy laden sinners come;
I’ll give you rest from all your toils,
And raise you to my heavenly home.
“They shall find rest that learn of me,
I’m of a meek and lowly mind;
But passion rages like the sea,
And pride is restless as the wind.
“Bless’d is the man whose shoulders take
My yoke, and bear it with delight;
My yoke is easy to his neck,
My grace shall make the burden light.”
Jesus, we come at thy command;
With faith, and hope, and humble zeal,
Resign our spirits to thy hand,
To mould and guide us at thy will.
“She loved much.”
We are not informed as to how she came to know and love the Saviour. It may be that some gracious word of his had recalled her from a life of infamy and shame, which was fast ending in misery and despair. Filled with deep repentance, and moved with holy reverence for her Lord, she brought the greatest treasure she possessed, and used it all for him, standing behind him in her bashfulness, washing his feet in her humility, weeping for penitence, kissing his feet for love, and unbraiding her tresses and using them as a towel, out of supreme devotion to him, to whom she owed her all. Happy woman, to be able thus to show her devout attachment to her Lord.
He had never thought of our Lord as he should have done, and now his respect quite fails. He could not think that any good man would allow such a woman to come so near him. Simon did not understand Jesus, but Jesus well enough understood Simon, and therefore spoke to him.
Self-righteousness can never serve after the same fashion as love. It does its duty in the formal style of force work, and not with the zest and delight of true affection. The attempt to save ourselves by our own merits never brings forth those emotions of entire devotion which arise from a sense of grace bestowed and sin pardoned. Are there not in our own case reasons for fervent love? He who writes this exposition feels that, above all men, he is bound to love his forgiving Master. Do not the same feelings occur to others?
Her love brought her a fresh token for good, another assurance of forgiveness. Gratitude for former favours is the sure method to obtain more.
He did not take the trouble to rebuke the impudent murmurers, but he persisted in consoling the loving penitent. He honoured her faith, and bade her go, with his peace resting upon her, for he did not wish her to be disturbed by cruel tongues. Learn hence how delighted Jesus is to forgive great sinners, since they bring him great love in return, and see also how free his mercy is, since he frankly forgives those who have nothing to pay.
Love and grief my heart dividing,
With my tears his feet I’ll bathe,
Constant still in faith abiding,
Life deriving from his death.
Here it is I find my heaven,
While upon the cross I gaze.
Love I much? I’ve more forgiven;
I’m a miracle of grace.