Call to Worship February 17 2019

Expository Thoughts on the Gospel of Luke
J.C. Ryle Luke 22:63-71
“We should notice, firstly, in these verses — the shameful treatment that our Lord Jesus Christ underwent at the hands of His enemies. We read that the guards ‘mocked’ Him, ‘beat’ Him, ‘blindfolded’ Him, and ‘struck Him in the face.’ It was not enough to have taken a prisoner a person of most blameless and charitable life — they must needs add insult to injury.

Conduct like this shows the desperate corruption of human nature. The excesses of savage malice to which unconverted men will sometimes go, and the fierce delight with which they will sometimes trample on the most holy and the most pure — almost justify the strong saying of an old divine, that ‘man left to himself — is half-beast and half-devil!’ He hates God, and all who bear anything of God’s image. ‘The carnal mind is enmity against God.’ (Romans 8:7.)

We have probably a very faint idea of what the world would become, if it were not for the constant restraint that God mercifully puts upon evil. It is not too much to say that if unconverted men had their own way entirely — the earth would soon be little better than a Hell!

Our Lord’s calm submission to insults like those here described, shows the depth of His love towards sinners. Had He so willed, He could have stopped the insolence of His enemies in a moment. He who could cast out devils with a word, could have summoned legions of angels to His side, and scattered those wretched tools of Satan to the winds.

But our Lord’s heart was set on the great work he had come on earth to do. He had undertaken to purchase our redemption by His own humiliation — and He did not flinch from paying the uttermost farthing of the price. He had undertaken to drink the bitter cup of vicarious suffering to save sinners — and ‘for the joy set before Him, He despised the shame,’ and drank the cup to the very dregs! (Hebrews 12:2.)

Patience like that which our blessed Lord exhibited on this occasion should teach His professing people a mighty lesson. We should forbear all murmuring and complaining, and irritation of spirit — when we are ill-treated by the world. What are the occasional insults to which we have to submit — compared to the insults which were heaped on our Master? Yet ‘When they hurled their insults at Him — He did not retaliate. When He suffered — He made no threats. Instead, He entrusted himself to Him who judges justly.’ He left us an example, that we should walk in His steps. Let us go and do likewise. (1 Peter 2:21-23.)

We should notice, secondly, in these verses — the striking prophecy which our Lord delivers about His own coming glory. He says to His insulting enemies, ‘Hereafter the Son of man shall sit on the right hand of the power of God.’ Did they find fault with His lowly appearance, and want a glorious Messiah? They would see Him in glory one day. Did they think He was weak, powerless, and contemptible, because at present there was no outward majesty about Him? They would behold Him one day in the most honorable position in Heaven, fulfilling the well-known prophecy of Daniel, with all judgment committed to His hands. (Daniel 7:9, 10.)

Let us take heed that the future glory of Christ forms a part of our creed — as much as Christ’s cross and passion. Let it be a first principle in our religion, that the same Jesus who was mocked, despised, and crucified — is He who has now ‘all power in Heaven and earth, and will one day come again in His Father’s glory with all His angels.’

We see but half the truth — if we see nothing but the cross and the first coming. It is essential to our own comfort — to see also the second coming, and the crown. That same Jesus who stood before the bar of the high priest and of Pilate — will one day sit upon a throne of glory and summon all His enemies to appear before Him! Happy is that Christian who keeps steadily before his mind, that word ‘hereafter!’

Now in this present time believers must be content to take part in their Master’s sufferings. ‘Hereafter’ they shall share in His glory! Now like their Lord, they must not be surprised if they are mocked, despised, and disbelieved. ‘Hereafter’ they shall sit with Him on His throne at the right hand of God! (Revelation 3:21.)

We should notice, lastly, in these verses — what a full and bold confession our Lord makes of His own Messiahship and divinity. We read that in answer to this question of His enemies, ‘Then you claim you are the Son of God?’ Jesus replied, ‘You are right in saying that I am.’ The meaning of this short sentence may not be clear at first sight to an English reader. It signifies in other words, ‘You speak the truth. I am, as you say, the Son of God.’

Our Lord’s confession deprived His enemies of all excuse for unbelief. The Jews can never plead that our Lord left their forefathers in ignorance of His mission, and kept them in doubt and suspense. Here we see our Lord telling them plainly who He was, and telling them in words which would convey even more to a Jewish mind than they do to ours. And yet the confession had not the least good effect upon the Jews! Their hearts were hardened by prejudice. Their minds were darkened by judicial blindness. The veil was over the eyes of their inward man. They heard our Lord’s confession unmoved — and only plunged deeper into the most dreadful sin!

The bold confession of our Master upon this occasion, is intended to be an example to all His believing people. Like Him, we must not shrink from speaking out when occasion requires our testimony. The fear of man, and the presence of a multitude — must not silence us. (Job 31:34.)
We need not blow a trumpet before us, and go out of our way — to proclaim our own religion. Opportunities are sure to occur in the daily path of duty, when, like Paul on board ship, we may show ‘whose we are — and whom we serve.’ (Acts 27:23.) At such opportunities, if we have the mind of Christ — let us not be afraid to show our colors.

A confessing Master — loves bold, uncompromising, and confessing disciples. Those who honor Him by an outspoken, courageous testimony — He will honor, because they are walking in His steps. ‘Whoever,’ He says, ‘shall confess Me before men — I will confess him before My Father in Heaven.’ (Matthew 10:32.)”

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