“There is something unspeakably solemn in the thought that the Lord Jesus knows all things. There is an eye that sees all our daily conduct. There is an ear that hears all our daily words. All things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him, with whom we have to do. Concealment is impossible. Hypocrisy is useless. We may deceive ministers. We may fool our family and neighbors. But the Lord sees us through and through. We cannot deceive Christ. We ought to endeavor to make practical use of this truth. We should strive to live as in the Lord’s sight, and, like Abraham, to “walk before him.” (Gen. 17:1.)
Let it be our daily aim to say nothing we would not like Christ to hear, and to do nothing we would not like Christ to see. Let us measure every difficult question as to right and wrong by one simple test, “How would I behave, if Jesus was standing by my side?” Such a standard is not extravagant and absurd. It is a standard that interferes with no duty or relation of life. It interferes with nothing but sin. Happy is he that tries to realize his Lord’s presence, and to do all and say all as unto Christ.”
(J.C. Ryle, Matthew: Expository Thoughts on the Gospels, Banner of Truth 2012, pg. 173)
“We read that “He cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth!” At the sound of that voice, the king of terrors at once yielded up his lawful captive, and the insatiable grave gave up its prey…Here, in open day, and before many hostile witnesses, a man, four days dead, was restored to life in a moment. Here was public proof that our Lord had absolute power over the material world! A corpse, already corrupt, was made alive!–Here was public proof that our Lord had absolute power over the world of spirits! A soul that had left its earthly tenement was called back from Paradise, and joined once more to its owner’s body. Well may the Church of Christ maintain that He who could work such works was “God over all blessed forever.” (Rom. 9:5.)” (J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on John, vol. 2, (Banner of Truth, 2012), pg. 205.
“The chapter we have now begun is one of the most remarkable in the New Testament. For grandeur and simplicity, for pathos and solemnity, nothing was ever written like it. It describes a miracle which is not recorded in the other Gospels–the raising of Lazarus from the dead. Nowhere shall we find such convincing proofs of our Lord’s Divine power. As God, He makes the grave itself yield up its tenants. Nowhere shall we find such striking illustrations of our Lord’s ability to sympathize with His people. As man, He can be touched with the feelings of our infirmities. Such a miracle well became the end of such a ministry. It was fit and right that the victory of Bethany should closely precede the crucifixion at Calvary.”
(J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on John, vol. 1, (Banner of Truth, 2012), pg. 166.
“Bartimaeus was blind in body, but not in soul…Let us strive and pray that we may have like precious faith. Like Bartimaeus, we are not allowed to see Jesus with our bodily eyes. But we have the report of His power, and grace, and willingness to save, in the Gospel. We have exceeding great promises from His own lips, written down for our encouragement. Let us trust those promises implicitly, and commit our souls to Christ unhesitatingly. Let us not be afraid to repose all our confidence on His own gracious words, and to believe that what He has engaged to do for sinners, He will surely perform. What is the beginning of all saving faith, but a soul’s venture on Christ? What is the life of saving faith, when once begun, but a continual leaning on an unseen Savior’s word? What is the first step of a Christian, but a crying, like Bartimaeus, ‘Jesus have mercy on me?’ What is the daily course of a Christian, but keeping up the same spirit of faith? ‘Though now we see Him not, yet believing we rejoice with joy unspeakable, and full of glory.’ (1 Peter 1:8.)” (J.C. Ryle, Mark: Expository Thoughts on the Gospels, Banner of Truth 2012, pg. 175-176)
In reading these verses, let us first notice the TIMES when Christ was born. It was in the days when Augustus, the first Roman emperor, made “a decree that all the world should be taxed.” The wisdom of God appears in this simple fact. The scepter was practically departing from Judah. (Gen. 49:10.) The Jews were coming under the dominion and taxation of a foreign power. Strangers were beginning to rule over them. They had no longer a really independent government of their own. The “due time” had come for the promised Messiah to appear…It was a time peculiarly suitable for the introduction of Christ’s Gospel…Let us ever rest our souls on the thought, that times are in God’s hand. (Psalm 31:15.) He knows the best season for sending help to His church, and new light to the world. Let us beware of giving way to over anxiety about the course of events around us, as if we knew better than the King of kings what time relief should come. “Cease, Philip, to try to govern the world,” was a frequent saying of Luther to an anxious friend. It was a saying full of wisdom. (J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospel of Luke, Luke 2:1-7, [Banner of Truth 2012], 38-39)