The Gentle Greatness of Christ

The Spurgeon quote above is gold. And i can vouch for the truthfulness of it. Allow me to explain:

While i was in college for my biblical studies degree from August of 2013 until December of 2018, i quickly realized that i would drown in an endless sea of head knowledge unless i prayed to God for practical applications of what i was learning. One such practical avenue that God provided was Puritan writings. Over the 2 and 1/3 years i was enrolled in school, i read eight different books at least once each by four different Puritan authors: John Owen, Thomas Watson, John Foxe, John Bunyan.

In the 2 and 1/4 years since i graduated, i have read five more Puritan books by five different authors: John Owen, John Flavel, Thomas Watson, Thomas Brooks, and Richard Sibbes. It is Richard Sibbes’ work, The Bruised Reed, that i finished last night, to which this post is dedicated.

The publisher quotes Luther in the forward as saying, “Satan hates the use of pens,” and then elaborates by commenting, “and never were pens more powerfully wielded in the cause of God than by the Puritan divines of the seventeenth century.” The publisher then allows Spurgeon to comment on Richard Sibbes, “Sibbes never wastes the student’s time. . . . He scatters pearls and diamonds with both hands” (pg. vii).

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Richard Sibbes (1577-1635) lived and ministered in England.

This work, The Bruised Reed, is a Puritan exposition of Isaiah 42:1-3. “This is My Servant; I strengthen Him, this is My Chosen One; I delight in Him. I have put My Spirit on Him; He will bring justice to the nations.  He will not cry out or shout or make His voice heard in the streets.  He will not break a bruised reed, and He will not put out a smoldering wick; He will faithfully bring justice.”

Within the pages, his main argument is that this text from Isaiah is fulfilled in Jesus Christ, according to Matthew 12:18-20 (pg. 1). Sibbes spends 130 pages breaking this passage down in just about every way possible, ultimately showing the greatness of Jesus through His gentleness and patience.

  • “He is a physician good at all diseases, especially at the binding up of a broken heart” (pg. 8).
  • “Christ’s heart yearned, the text says, when He saw the people without meat, ‘lest they faint in the way’ (Matt. 15:32); much more will He have regard for the preventing of our spiritual faintings” (pg. 21).
  • “Shall we not come down from our high conceits to do any poor soul good? Shall man be proud after God has been humble?” (pg. 27).
  • “Actions stained with some defects are more acceptable than empty compliments” (pg. 42).
  • “Christ looks more at the good in them which He means to cherish than the ill in them which He means to abolish” (pg. 50).
  • “What greater unthankfulness can there be than to despise any help that Christ in mercy has provided for us?” (pg. 76).
  • “A Christian conquers, even when he is conquered. When he is conquered by some sins, he gets victory over others more dangerous, such as spiritual pride and security” (pg. 95).
  • “As Christ will not quench the least spark kindled by Himself, so will He damp the fairest blaze of goodly appearances which are not from above” (pg. 111).
  • “When we have fallen, and by falls have been bruised, let us go to Christ immediately to bind us up again” (pg. 114).
  • “God has a day in which He will set everything straight, and His judgment shall stand. And the saints shall have their time, when they shall sit in judgment on those that judge them now (1 Cor. 6:2). In the meantime, Christ will rule in the midst of His enemies (Psa. 110:2), even in the midst of our hearts” (pg. 120).
  • “He who has the least [measure of grace] is within the compass of God’s eternal favour. Though he is not a shining light, yet he is a smoking wick, which Christ’s tender care will not allow Him to quench” (pg. 124-125).
  • “According to our faith, so is our encouragement to all duties, therefore let us strengthen faith, so that it may strengthen all other graces” (pg. 127).

I hope that these twelve quotes from the book have encouraged you. The book is filled with many more just like them. Sibbes seeks that we experientially grasp the gentleness of Christ in that even though He is our King He will not trample on the poor in Spirit.

In conclusion, this is an extremely good (and thorough), practical exposition of Isaiah 42:1-3 (Matthew 12:18-20). It is extremely encouraging.  I highly recommend it. Click on the link below to purchase a copy for yourself.

 

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