Lord‚Äôs Day 36, 2009
I was glad when they said to me, ‚ÄúLet us go to the house of the Lord.‚Äù
The Sinner‚Äôs Address to Christ
John Mason (1645‚Äì1694)
Where lies a sin, I‚Äôll drop a tear,
Then view redeeming blood;
To mourning souls Christ will appear,
And surely do them good.
‚ÄôTis thou alone, my Lord, canst give
This aching heart relief;
Christ‚Äôs gentle voice would make it live,
His hand wipe off my grief.
Those falsely called the sweets of sin
Are bitter unto me;
I loath the state that I am in,
Lord, may I come to thee?
But, oh, wilt Thou receive him now
That‚Äôs coming to Thy door?
For I can bring no dowry, Lord;
I come extremely poor.
What if my tears could make a flood,
My righteousness is dross;
Those tears need washing in Thy blood,
Though wept upon Thy cross.
I have an argument to plead,
Which Thou canst not deny‚Äî
Thy grace is free, and Thou doest give
To sinners such as I.
Thou doest invite all wandering souls,
And I am one of those;
With Thee the sick do find a cure,
The weary find repose.
The world and sin will never vex,
Will trouble and molest;
I therefore trust my soul with Christ,
To bring to heaven‚Äôs rest.
‚ÄîWorthy Is the Lamb (Soli Deo Gloria, 2004).
The Gospel According to John
Christ Witnesses to the Woman at the Well
4Therefore when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John 2 (although Jesus Himself was not baptizing, but His disciples were), 3 He left Judea and went away again into Galilee. 4 And He had to pass through Samaria. 5 So He came to a city of Samaria called Sychar, near the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph; 6 and Jacob‚Äôs well was there. So Jesus, being wearied from His journey, was sitting thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.
There are two sayings in these verses which deserve particular notice. They throw light on two subjects in religion, on which clear and well defined opinions are of great importance.
We should observe, for one thing, what is said about baptism. We read that ‚ÄúJesus himself baptized not, but his disciples.‚Äù
The expression here used is a very remarkable one. In reading it we seem irresistibly led to one instructive conclusion. That conclusion is, that baptism is not the principal part of Christianity, and that to baptize is not the principal work for which Christian ministers are ordained. Frequently we read of our Lord preaching and praying. Once we read of His administering the Lord‚Äôs supper. But we have not a single instance recorded of His ever baptizing any one. And here we are distinctly told, that it was a subordinate work, which He left to others. Jesus ‚Äúhimself baptized not, but his disciples.‚Äù
The lesson is one of peculiar importance in the present day. Baptism, as a sacrament ordained by Christ Himself, is an honorable ordinance, and ought never to be lightly esteemed in the churches. It cannot be neglected or despised without great sin. When rightly used, with faith and prayer, it is calculated to convey the highest blessings. But baptism was never meant to be exalted to the position which many now-a-days assign to it in religion. It does not act as a charm. It does not necessarily convey the grace of the Holy Spirit. The benefit of it depends greatly on the manner in which it is used. The doctrine taught, and the language employed about it, in some quarters, are utterly inconsistent with the fact announced in the text. If baptism was all that some say it is, we would never have been told, that ‚ÄúJesus himself baptized not.‚Äù
Let it be a settled principle in our minds that the first and chief business of the Church of Christ is to preach the Gospel. The words of Paul ought to be constantly remembered,‚Äî‚ÄúChrist sent me not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel.‚Äù (1 Cor. i. 17.) When the Gospel of Christ is faithfully and fully preached we need not fear that the sacraments will be undervalued. Baptism and the Lord‚Äôs supper will always be most truly reverenced in those churches where the truth as it is in Jesus is most fully taught and known.
We should observe, for another thing, in this passage, what is said about our Lord‚Äôs human nature. We read that Jesus was ‚Äúwearied with his journey.‚Äù
We learn from this, as well as many other expressions in the Gospels, that our Lord had a body exactly like our own. When ‚Äúthe Word became flesh,‚Äù He took on Him a nature like our own in all things, sin only excepted. Like ourselves, He grew from infancy to youth, and from youth to man‚Äôs estate. Like ourselves, He hungered, thirsted, felt pain, and needed sleep. He was liable to every sinless infirmity to which we are liable. In all things His body was framed like our own.
The truth before us is full of comfort for all who are true Christians. He to whom sinners are bid to come for pardon and peace, is one who is man as well as God. He had a real human nature when He was upon earth. He took a real human nature with Him, when He ascended up into heaven. We have at the right hand of God a High Priest who can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, because He has suffered Himself being tempted. When we cry to Him in the hour of bodily pain and weakness, He knows well what we mean. When our prayers and praises are feeble through bodily weariness, He can understand our condition. He knows our frame. He has learned by experience what it is to be a man. To say that the Virgin Mary, or any one else, can feel more sympathy for us than Christ, is ignorance no less than blasphemy. The man Christ Jesus can enter fully into everything that belongs to man‚Äôs condition. The poor, the sick, and the suffering, have in heaven One who is not only an almighty Savior, but a most sympathetic Friend. The servant of Christ should grasp firmly this great truth, that there are two perfect and complete natures in the one Person whom he serves. The Lord Jesus, in whom the Gospel bids us believe, is, without doubt, almighty God,‚Äîequal to the Father in all things, and able to save to the uttermost all those that come unto God by Him. But that same Jesus is no less certainly perfect man,‚Äîable to sympathize with man in all his bodily sufferings, and acquainted by experience with all that man‚Äôs body has to endure. Power and sympathy are marvellously combined in Him who died for us on the cross. Because He is God, we may repose the weight of our souls upon Him with unhesitating confidence. He is mighty to save.‚ÄîBecause He is man, we may speak to Him with freedom, about the many trials to which flesh is heir. He knows the heart of a man.‚ÄîHere is rest for the weary! Here is good news! Our Redeemer is man as well as God, and God as well as man. He that believes on Him, has everything that a child of Adam can possibly require, either for safety or for peace.
‚ÄîJ. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Baker Books, 2007), 3:190‚Äì193
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation
if you can possibly help it.
But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these.