You will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. - John 16:32
Few had fellowship with the sorrows of Gethsemane. The majority of the disciples were not sufficiently advanced in grace to be admitted to behold the mysteries of the agony. Occupied with the Passover feast at their own houses, they represent the many who live upon the letter but are mere babes as to the spirit of the Gospel.
To twelve, no, to only eleven the privilege was given to enter Gethsemane and see "this great sight." Out of the eleven, eight were left at a distance; they had fellowship, but not of that intimate sort to which men greatly beloved are admitted. Only three highly favored ones could approach the veil of our Lord's mysterious sorrow. Within that veil even they must not intrude; they remain a stone's throw apart. He must tread the winepress alone, and of the people there must be none with Him.
Peter and the two sons of Zebedee represent the few eminent, experienced saints who may be written down as "Father"; those doing business on the great waters can in some degree measure the huge Atlantic waves of their Redeemer's passion. To some selected spirits it is given, for the good of others and to strengthen them for future, special, and tremendous conflict, to enter the inner circle and hear the pleadings of the suffering High Priest; they have fellowship with Him in his sufferings, becoming like Him in His death. Yet even these cannot penetrate the secret places of the Savior's woe.
"Thine unknown sufferings" is the remarkable expression of the Greek liturgy: There was an inner chamber in our Master's grief, shut out from human knowledge and fellowship. There Jesus is "left alone." Here Jesus was more than ever an "unspeakable gift!" Is not Watts right when he sings:
And all the unknown joys he gives,
Were bought with agonies unknown.
Family Bible reading plan
verse 1 Exodus 32
verse 2 John 11
The Christian in Complete Armour, Volume 1
Arguably the most significant spiritual and biblical theology ever penned from the English Puritan era, the presentation of William Gurnall's (1616-1679) The Christian in Complete Armour in an accessible, single volume is certainly a landmark, and much welcomed, event. According to the Apostle Paul, the world is at war. Not a "hot war" but a war in the realm of the spirit. This war, Paul warns, requires special armament, and he explains that armament in Ephesians 6. Anglican cleric Gurnall began to explore Paul's exhortation in sermons and lectures, which he published under the title The Christian in Complete Armor. A perennial best-seller in Gurnall's own lifetime, these teachings became his legacy, influencing well over three centuries of Christians and eliciting praise from the likes of Richard Baxter, John Flavel, John Newton, Charles Spurgeon, Jonathan Edwards and have been abridged and modernized using more easily understood language.
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From Morning & Evening revised and edited by Alistair Begg copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.