the First Week of Lent
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Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
“They went and told Jesus.”
The stir made by the mission of the twelve readied all classes of society.
Where there is an idle faith there is generally a busy imagination: Herod would not obey John’s religion, and yet became the slave of superstition. His conscience was not powerful enough to prevent his murdering the good man, yet it was not so dead as to allow him to rest in peace after the cruel deed.
This was faithful preaching. What is the good of a minister if he does not tell us our faults?
Mark 6:19 , Mark 6:20
Herod is a warning to us. He was not a mere hearer of John. He was an attentive and delighted hearer, and up to a certain point a doer of the word. Surely he bade fair for good things; and yet he became the murderer of the very man to whom he had listened with so much respect. If hearing the gospel does not change our nature, it has done little or nothing for us.
Probably he had become drunken while feasting, and so uttered the rash promise and confirmed it with an oath. When vice dances in the presence of drunkenness no good can come of it. This young girl danced off the prophet’s head: we have never read that any good at all proportionate to this evil ever came of dancing. For a child of God to join with the frivolous in their idle dances, would be as unbecoming as for an angel to wallow in the mire.
I will that thou give me by and by in a charger or a large dish
Or as another evangelist tells us, “they went and told Jesus,” which was the very best thing they could do. Happy are they who have learned to take all their trials to Jesus. Let us speak with him now in our prayer.
Come, my soul, thy suit prepare,
Jesus loves to answer prayer;
He himself has bid thee pray,
Therefore will not say thee nay.
With my burden I begin,
Lord, remove this load of sin;
Let thy blood, for sinners spilt,
Set my conscience free from guilt
Lord, I cast on thee my care,
Thou hast bid me leave it there;
For my heavenly Father knows
All my griefs, and wants, and woes.
“He satisfieth thy mouth with good things.”
Ministers are accountable to their Lord both for their doings and sayings, and they should neither do nor teach anything which they will be ashamed to relate to their Master.
Mark 6:31 , Mark 6:32
The most active servants of God cannot always have their minds upon the stretch; they must have relaxation. Their tender Master was careful to provide it for the apostles, and those who are of a kindred spirit should enable poor ministers at set times to enjoy a little needful retirement. Jesus took his apostles to a place where they could be alone, for rest in a crowd is not the rest ministers need.
No bell was wanted to call them together. The spirit of hearing was abroad, and the people flocked like doves to their windows, and this all the more eagerly because the preacher was going away. If we knew how soon good ministers will be called home to heaven, we should be far more eager to profit by them while they are spared to us.
He was not angry at losing his rest, but ready to bless the people, for he saw their need.
Mark 6:35 , Mark 6:36
This is the disciples way out of the difficulty. No doubt they can take care of themselves: ”send them away.” We hope something may be done for the masses, and there we leave it.
Meet their wants yourselves. Alas! the command sounds very hard when the exchequer is low!
They calculate the need, but forget the omnipotence which is at hand to meet it.
Mark 6:38 , Mark 6:39
The Lord had thus provided a noble banqueting hall, splendidly carpeted, and of vast dimensions, and there his guests sat in order, as became a royal entertainment.
For it was not a scramble, but a royal feast.
When Jesus blesses our slender gifts, he makes them sufficient for the feeding of thousands. It is ours to do our best, and trust in the Lord to make it useful. Lord, help us so to do.
Thy providence is kind and large,
Both man and beast thy bounty share;
The whole creation is thy charge,
But saints are thy peculiar care.
My God! how excellent thy grace,
Whence all our hope and comfort springs;
The sons of Adam, in distress,
Fly to the shadow of thy wings.
Ye servants of God, your Master proclaim,
And publish abroad his wonderful name;
The name all-victorious of Jesus extol;
His kingdom is glorious, and rules over all.
Salvation to God, who sits on the throne,
Let all cry aloud, and honour the Son;
The praises of Jesus the angels proclaim,
Fall down on their faces and worship the Lamb.