Tuesday, July 26, 2016

My Summer With John #12

John Newton
Today I am continuing to share my reading experience with John Newton. Newton's inspiration for this sermon series was the popularity of Handel's Messiah

Today's quotes will come from sermon seventeen (Isaiah 53:3)
Angels sang praises at His birth, but men despised Him. He took not upon Him the nature of angels, but of man; yet men rejected him. Sinful, helpless men, rejected and despised their only Saviour. He came to His own, but His own received Him not. How lamentable and fatal was their obstinacy!
They despised Him for, what they accounted, the meanness of His appearance. Though rich in Himself, He became poor for our sakes, and His poverty made Him contemptible in their eyes. They expected MESSIAH would appear with external pomp and power. But when they saw Him, they scorned Him, saying, Is not this the carpenter's son? (Matthew 13:55) He who had not money to pay the tribute demanded of Him (Matthew 17:27) , nor a house wherein to lay His head, was of small esteem with those who were covetous, proud of worldly distinctions, and fond of the praise and admiration of men.
Their contempt was heightened when this poor man publicly asserted His proper character and claim, demanded their attention and homage, and styled Himself in a peculiar sense the Son of God, the resurrection and the Life (John 5:18; 11:25) . For this seeming inconsistence between the appearance He made, and the honours He affirmed, they treated Him as a demoniac and a madman (John 10:20) Their language strongly expressed their sentiments of Him, when they asked Him with disdain, Art thou greater than our father Abraham? Whom makest thou thyself? (John 8:53)
They objected to Him the low state and former characters of His followers . Some of them were of low rank in life. The most of those who constantly attended Him were poor fishermen. Others had been of bad repute, publicans and open sinners. For this they reproached Him, and thought they were fully justified in their contempt, while they could say, Have any of the rulers or Pharisees believed on Him? (John 7:48)
They were farther exasperated against Him, by the authority and severity with which He taught. It is true, He was gentle and meek to all who felt their need of His help, or sincerely desired His instruction. He received them without exception, and treated them with the greatest tenderness. But He vindicated the honour of the law of God, from the corrupt doctrine and tradition of their professed teachers. He exposed and unmasked the hypocrisy of their most admired characters, and compared the men who were in the highest reputation, for wisdom and sanctity, to whited sepulchres, warning the people against them as blind guides and deceivers.
The Gospel of Christ has often been, and is to this day, rejected and despised upon similar grounds. Its simplicity and plainness, and the manner of its proposal, adapted to the use and capacity of the vulgar, offend those who are wise in their own conceit, and proud of their understanding and taste. At the same time they are equally disgusted by the sublimity [high spiritual and moral worth] of its doctrines, which will not submit to the test of their vain reasonings, and can only be received by humble faith. The faithfulness and freedom which its ministers are enjoined to use, give great offence likewise. And because they cannot comply with the humours of those, who wish them to prophesy smooth things, and deceits, they are accounted censorious, and uncharitable, and disturbers of the public peace.
It is farther said, He was a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. He was surrounded with sorrows on every side, and grief was His intimate, inseparable companion. Surely, this consideration, if any, will animate us to endure the cross, and to despise the shame we may be exposed to for His sake. The illustration of this subject will offer more fully in the next sequel It shall suffice, at present, to offer three causes for His continual sorrows.
His character was aspersed, His person despised, His words insidiously wrested, His actions misrepresented. He was misunderstood even by His friends, betrayed by one disciple, denied by another, and forsaken by the rest (John 7:5).
And though His love determined Him to save us, the prospect which was continually present to His view, of the approaching unutterable agonies of His soul, of all that He must endure from God, from the powers of darkness and from wicked men, when He should be made a curse for us to redeem us from the curse of the law (Galatians 3:13) ; I say, this tremendous prospect, was, doubtless, a perpetual source of sorrow.
Who that has any regard for the honour of God, or the souls of men, can bear to see what passes every hour; how the authority of God is affronted, His goodness abused, and His mercy despised, without emotions of grief and compassion? If we are spiritually-minded, we must be thus affected; and we should be more so, if we were more spiritual. But the holiness of MESSIAH, and, consequently, His hatred of sin, was absolutely perfect. His view of the guilt and misery of sinners, was likewise comprehensive and clear.
How must He be therefore grieved by the wickedness and insensibility of those with whom He daily conversed! especially as He not only observed the outward conduct of men, but had an intimate knowledge of the evil heart, which is hidden from us. In this sense, His sufferings and sorrows began with His early years, and continued throughout the whole of His life. He undoubtedly could say, with an emphasis peculiar to Himself, I beheld the transgressors, and was grieved; rivers of waters ran down my eyes, because men keep not Thy law (Psalm 119:136, 158)

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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