Category Archives: Gospel according to Luke

“Our blessed Saviour’s unwearied kindness” by J.C. Ryle

“Let us learn a lesson from the centurion’s example.

Let us, like him, show kindness to every one with whom we have to do.

Let us strive to have an eye ready to see, and a hand ready to help, and a heart ready to feel, and a will ready to do good to all.

Let us be ready to weep with them that weep, and rejoice with them that rejoice.

This is one way to recommend our religion, and make it beautiful before men.

Kindness is a grace that all can understand.

This is one way to be like our blessed Saviour. If there is one feature in His character more notable than another, it is His unwearied kindness and love.

This is one way to be happy in the world, and see good days. Kindness always brings its own reward.

The kind person will seldom be without friends.”

–J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on Luke (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1858/2012), 1: 155. Ryle is commenting on Luke 7:1-10.

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“With Christ nothing is impossible” by J.C. Ryle

“Let us see, furthermore, in this mighty miracle, a lively emblem of Christ’s power to quicken the dead in sins. In Him is life.

He quickeneth whom He will. (John 5:21.) He can raise to a new life souls that now seem dead in worldliness and sin.

He can say to hearts that now appear corrupt and lifeless, “Arise to repentance, and live in the service of God.”

Let us never despair of any soul. Let us pray for our children, and faint not.

Our young men and our young women may long seem travelling on the way to ruin. But let us pray on.

Who can tell but He that met the funeral at the gates of Nain may yet meet our unconverted children, and say with almighty power, “Young man, arise.”

With Christ nothing is impossible.”

–J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on Luke (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1858/2012), 1: 162-163. Ryle is commenting on Luke 7:11-17.

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“Why does Luke pay so much attention to Jesus’ burial?” by Sinclair Ferguson

“Luke wants you to admire Joseph of Arimathea. He was ‘a good and righteous man’ (Luke 23:50). That meant he was faithful to God’s covenant and experienced its blessings. Like some others in this Gospel, he was ‘looking’– waiting expectantly– for God’s kingdom to come.

He was also a member of the Sanhedrin but had not consented to its condemnation of Jesus (perhaps its leaders had avoided summoning to the crisis meeting anyone whose loyalties they suspected). Matthew and John tell us explicitly what Luke only implies: he was also a rich man (he already owned a tomb in Jerusalem); and he was a secret disciple who, until this point, had lacked the courage to confess it (Matthew 27:57; John 19:38).

The Sanhedrin was a very select group of well-connected men. Word of mouth travelled fast in Jerusalem. Joseph must soon have learned what had happened. Jesus was dead.

It was now or never for Joseph. He stepped out of the shadows, went directly to Pilate and asked for the body. This was not without risk, or cost. If Pilate granted his request, and Joseph personally handled Jesus’ body, he would be rendering himself ritually unclean.

But he knew that otherwise Jesus’ body would probably be thrown into a common grave where the bones of many criminals already lay– perhaps right there at The Skull (was this the derivation of the name?). Some things are far more important than ritual purity.

Pilate was probably relieved. Now he could relax and forget about the problem of Jesus. Little did he know… But for Joseph there must have been three hours of feverish activity. It was already past three o’clock and the Jewish Sabbath began at six o clock– not a lot of time to get to Pilate for permission, get back to The Skull, arrange helpers, and carry Jesus’ body to the family tomb.

Why does Luke pay so much attention to Jesus’ burial? For several reasons. The first is that he removes any doubt about the reality of Jesus’ death. The Roman soldiers had made sure of that. Joseph had himself handled the body, and others had helped him prepare it for burial and carry it to the tomb.

The second is that Luke makes clear that there was no confusion about the location of Jesus’ burial place. Joseph’s tomb was new, and a variety of witnesses knew where it was.

Then, thirdly, Luke adds that the women went to prepare spices and ointments to return after the Sabbath to anoint the body. In other words, nobody– despite what Jesus had taught them– was expecting Jesus’ resurrection.

But before we come to that resurrection, we should take another look at Joseph. Of all the Gospel-writers, Luke was most like a historian in his method. But historians can also be poets and theologians. And there is something poetically theological about the way he frames his whole Gospel.

His story of Jesus life begins with him being cared for by a man named Joseph, who places him in a borrowed resting place, in which no baby had ever been laid. It ends with Jesus being cared for again by a man named Joseph, who lays him in another borrowed resting place, where no man had ever been laid.

The story has come full circle; another Joseph has received Christ into his heart and life. At the turning point of Luke’s Gospel, near the beginning of the journey to Jerusalem, Jesus had said that discipleship meant following one who had ‘nowhere to lay his head’ (Luke 9:58). Now Joseph had come out into the open as a disciple, whatever it might cost. So he gave up to Jesus the place where he had planned to lay his own head.

At the cross, Jesus had given up what was His for the sake of Joseph. Now Joseph was giving up what was his for the sake of Jesus. That is what it means to be a disciple.”

—Sinclair B. Ferguson, To Seek and to Save: Daily Reflections on the Road to the Cross (Epsom, England: Good Book Company, 2020), 142-144.

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“Turn for consolation to Jesus the Son of God” by J.C. Ryle

“We learn from theses verses how deep is the compassion of our Lord Jesus Christ’s heart.

We see this beautifully brought out in His behavior at this funeral in Nain. (Luke 7:11-17) He meets the mournful procession, accompanying the young man to his grave, and is moved with compassion at the sight.

He waits not to be applied to for help. His help appears to have been neither asked for nor expected.

He saw the weeping mother, and knew well what her feelings must have been, for He had been born of a woman Himself.

At once He addressed her with words alike startling and touching: He ‘said unto her, Weep not.’ (Luke 7:13)

A few more seconds, and the meaning of His words became plain. The widow’s son was restored to her alive.

Her darkness was turned into light, and her sorrow into joy.

Our Lord Jesus Christ never changes. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

His heart is still as compassionate as when He was upon earth. His sympathy with sufferers is still as strong.

Let us bear this in mind, and take comfort in it. There is no friend or comforter who can be compared to Christ.

In all our days of darkness, which must needs be many, let us first turn for consolation to Jesus the Son of God.

He will never fail us, never disappoint us, never refuse to take interest in our sorrows.

He lives, who made the widow’s heart sing for joy in the gate of Nain.

He lives, to receive all laboring and heavy-laden ones, if they will only come to Him by faith.

He lives, to heal the broken-hearted, and be a Friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

And He lives to do greater things than these one day.

He lives to come again to His people, that they may weep no more at all, and that all tears may be wiped from their eyes.”

–J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on Luke (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1858/2012), 1: 161-162. Ryle is commenting on Luke 7:11-17.

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“The Bridegroom of our soul” by J.C. Ryle

“We should observe, secondly, in these verses, the name by which our Lord Jesus Christ speaks of Himself. Twice He calls Himself ‘the Bridegroom.’ (Luke 5:34, 35)

The name ‘Bridegroom,’ like every name applied to our Lord in the Bible, is full of instruction. It is a name peculiarly comforting and encouraging to all true Christians.

It teaches the deep and tender love with which Jesus regards all sinners of mankind, who believe in Him. Weak, and unworthy, and short-coming as they are in themselves, He feels towards them a tender affection, even as a husband does towards his wife.

It teaches the close and intimate union, which exists between Jesus and believers. It is something far nearer than the union of king and subject, master and servant, teacher and scholar, shepherd and sheep.

It is the closest of all unions, the union of husband and wife,—the union of which it is written, ‘what God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.’ (Matt. 19:6)

Above all, the name teaches that entire participation of all that Jesus is and has, which is the privilege of every believer. Just as the husband gives to his wife his name, makes her partaker of his property, home, and dignity, and undertakes all her debts and liabilities, so does Christ deal with all true Christians.

He takes on Himself all their sins. He declares that they are a part of Himself, and that he who hurts them hurts Him. He gives them, even in this world, such good things as pass man’s understanding.

And He promises that in the next world they shall sit with Him on His throne, and go out from His presence no more.

If we know anything of true and saving religion, let us often rest our souls on this name and office of Christ. Let us remember daily, that the weakest of Christ’s people are cared for with a tender care that passeth knowledge, and that whosoever hurts them is hurting the apple of Christ’s eye.

In this world we may be poor and contemptible, and laughed at because of our religion.

But if we have faith, we are precious in the sight of Christ. The Bridegroom of our soul will one day plead our cause before the whole world.”

–J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on Luke (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1858/2012), 1: 119-120. Ryle is commenting on Luke 5:33-39.

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“Never be ashamed of being a learner” by J.C. Ryle

“Humility was the beginning of Solomon’s wisdom. He writes it down as his own experience, “Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him” (Prov. 26:12).

Young men, lay to heart the Scriptures here quoted. Do not be too confident in your own judgment.

Cease to be sure that you are always right, and others wrong. Be distrustful of your own opinion, when you find it contrary to that of older men than yourselves, and specially to that of your own parents.

Age gives experience, and therefore deserves respect. It is a mark of Elihu’s wisdom, in the book of Job, that “he waited till Job had spoken, because they were older than himself” (Job 32:4).

And afterwards he said, “I am young, and you are very old; wherefore I was afraid, and durst not show you mine opinion. I said, Days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom” (Job 32:6, 7).

Modesty and silence are beautiful graces in young people.

Never be ashamed of being a learner. Jesus was one at twelve years; when He was found in the temple, He was “sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions” (Luke 2:46).

The wisest men would tell you they are always learners, and are humbled to find after all how little they know. The great Sir Isaac Newton used to say that he felt himself no better than a little child, who had picked up a few precious stones on the shore of the sea of knowledge.

Young men, if you would be wise, if you would be happy, remember the warning I give you,—Beware of pride.”

–J.C. Ryle, Thoughts for Young Men (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1888/2018), 22-23.

 

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“Christ’s loving kindness to His people never changes” by J.C. Ryle

“Let us never forget this part of our Lord’s character: Christ’s loving kindness to His people never changes, and never fails.

It is a deep well of which no one ever found the bottom. It began from all eternity, before they were born.

It chose, called, and quickened them when they were dead in trespasses and sins. It drew them to God and changed their character, and put a new will in their minds, and a new song in their mouths.

It has borne with them in all their waywardness and shortcomings. It will never allow them to be separated from God.

It will flow ever forward, like a mighty river, through the endless ages of eternity.

Christ’s love and mercy must be a sinner’s plea when he first begins his journey. Christ’s love and mercy will be his only plea when he crosses the dark river and enters home.

Let us seek to know this love by inward experience, and prize it more. Let it constrain us more continually to live, not to ourselves, but to Him who died for us and rose again.”

–J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on Luke (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1858/2012), 1: 111. Ryle is commenting on Luke 5:17-26.

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