Call To Worship October 21 2018

Expository Thoughts on the Gospel of Luke

J.C. Ryle Luke 19:28-40

“Let us mark, for one thing, in these verses — the perfect knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. We see Him sending two of His disciples to the entrance of a village, and telling them that they would find ‘a colt tied, which no one has ever ridden.’ We see Him describing what they would see and hear, with as much confidence as if the whole transaction had been previously arranged. In short, He speaks like one to whom nothing in all creation is hidden from His sight — everything is uncovered and laid bare before His eyes. He speaks like one whose eyes were in every place — like one who knew things unseen, as well as things seen.

An attentive reader will observe the same thing in other parts of the Gospel. We are told in one place that ‘He knew the thoughts’ of His enemies. We are told in another chapter, that ‘He knew what was in man.’ We are told in another place, that ‘Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe, and who would betray him.’ (Luke 6:8; John 2:25; John 6:64.)

Knowledge like this is a particular attribute of God. Passages like these are meant to remind us, that ‘the man Christ Jesus’ is not only man. He is also ‘God blessed forever.’ (Romans 9:5.)

The thought of Christ’s perfect knowledge should alarm sinners and awaken them to repentance. The great and righteous Judge knows them, and all their doings. The Judge of all sees them continually, and marks down all their ways. There is ‘no darkness where the workers of iniquity can hide themselves.’ (Job 34:22.) If they go into the secret chamber — the eyes of Christ are there. If they privately scheme villainy and plot wickedness — Christ knows it and observes it. If they speak secretly against the righteous — Christ hears. They may deceive men all their life long — but they cannot deceive Christ. A day is coming when God ‘will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to the Gospel.’ (Romans 2:16.)

The thought of Christ’s perfect knowledge should comfort all true-hearted Christians, and quicken them to increased diligence in good works. The Master’s eye is always upon them. He knows where they dwell, and what are their daily trials, and who are their companions. There is not a word in their mouths, or a thought in their hearts — but Jesus knows it altogether. Let them take courage when they are slandered, misunderstood, and misrepresented by the world. It matters nothing, so long as they can say, ‘You, Lord, who know all things! You know that I love you.’ (John 21:17.)

Let them walk on steadily in the narrow way, and not turn aside to the right hand or the left. When sinners entice them, and weak brethren say, ‘Spare yourself,’ let them reply, ‘My Master is looking at me. I desire to live and move as in the sight of Christ.’

Let us mark, for another thing, in this passage — the public visibility of our Lord’s last entry into Jerusalem. We are told of His riding in on an donkey, like a king visiting his capital, or a conqueror returning in triumph to his native land. We read of a ‘multitude of disciples’ surrounding Him as He rode into the city, ‘rejoicing and praising God with a loud voice.’

The whole history is strikingly unlike the general tenor of our Lord’s life. On other occasions — we see Him withdrawing from public observation, retiring into the wilderness, charging those whom He healed to tell no one what was done.

On the present occasion, all is changed. Reserve is completely thrown aside. He seems to court public notice. He appears desirous that all should see Him, and should mark, note, and observe what He did.

The reasons of our Lord’s conduct at this crisis of His ministry, at first sight, may appear hard to discover. But on calm reflection, they are clear and plain. He knew that the time had come when He was to die for sinners on the cross. His work as the great Prophet, so far as His earthly ministry was concerned — was almost finished and completed.

His work as the sacrifice for sin and substitute for sinners — remained to be accomplished. Before giving Himself up as a sacrifice, He desired to draw the attention of the whole Jewish nation to Himself. The Lamb of God was about to be slain! The great sin-offering was about to be killed! It was fit that the eyes of all Israel should be fixed upon Him. This great work of redemption was not to be done in a corner.

Forever let us bless God that the death of our Lord Jesus Christ was so widely known and so public an event. Had He been suddenly stoned in some common tumult, or privately beheaded like John the Baptist in prison — there never would have been lacking unbelievers who would have denied that the Son of God had died at all.

The wisdom of God so ordered events, that such a denial was rendered impossible. Whatever men may think of the doctrine of Christ’s atoning death — they can never deny the fact that Christ died. Publicly He rode into Jerusalem a few days before His death. Publicly He was seen and heard in the city until the day that He was betrayed. Publicly He was brought before the High Priests and Pilate, and condemned. Publicly He was led forth to Calvary, and nailed to the cross.

The corner-stone and crowning-event in our Lord’s ministry — was His death for sinners. Of all the events of His ministry — that death was the one most public, and the one witnessed by the greatest number of Jews. And that death, was the ‘life of the world.’ (John 6:51.)

Let us leave the whole passage with the cheering reflection, that the joy of Christ’s disciples at His entry into Jerusalem, when He came to be crucified — will be as nothing compared to the joy of His people when He comes again to reign!

That first joy was soon broken off — and exchanged for sorrow and bitter tears. The second joy shall be a joy for evermore! That first joy was often interrupted by the bitter sneers of enemies, who were plotting mischief. The second joy shall be liable to no such crude interruptions. Not a word shall be said against the King, when He comes to Jerusalem the second time. Before Him every knee shall bow — and every tongue confess that He is Lord of all!”