‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ (Matthew 27:46)
Here, says John Flavel, ‘are words that might rend the hardest heart.’
The manner of the complaint
Note what our Lord complains of. ‘It is not of the cruel tortures he felt in his body, nor of the scoffs and reproaches of his name; he mentions not a word of these, they were all swallowed up in the sufferings within, as the river is swallowed up in the sea, or the lesser flame in the greater.’
What this desertion means
‘Divine desertion generally considered, is God’s withdrawing himself from any, not as to his essence, that fills heaven and earth, and constantly remains the same; but it is the withdrawment of his favour, grace, and love: when these are gone, God is said to be gone.…
In Lk 23:34, says John Flavel, we find the best of mercies desired for the worst of sinners.
Peter (Acts 3:17) and Paul (1 Cor 2:8) also stress the ignorance of those who crucified the Lord Jesus. These people may have known many things, but they did not know that this was the Son of God, the Saviour of the world. This was because
though they had the Scriptures, they misunderstood them: they could not believe that the Messiah would arise out of Galilee (Jn 7:52), or that he would die (Jn 12:34; cf.
The Puritan John Flavel invites us to ask the following questions about our desires for Christ:-
‘Are they ARDENT? Has Christ the supreme place in our hearts? Do we esteem all things but dung that we may win Christ and be found in him?
Are they UNIVERSAL? Is everything about Christ desirable in our eyes? The hypocrite is for a divided Christ. The believer loves his government and his grace, his sovereignty and his mercy, his Lordship and his priesthood.…
Here’s a second instalment from John Flavel’s The Fountain of Life (subtitled, ‘Presenting Christ in his Essential and Mediatorial Glory’). Chapter 2 is based on Proverbs 8:30: ‘Then I was the craftsman at his side. I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in his presence.’ What follows is a summary.
This verse speaks of the eternal delights that Jesus Christ, the wisdom of the Father, had with his Father before his assumption of our nature. …
John Flavel’s work entitled The Fountain of Life (subtitled, ‘Presenting Christ in his Essential and Mediatorial Glory’) is an absolute treasure. The first chapter is based on 1 Corinthians 2:2 (‘I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified’). What follows is a summary.
I resolved – this is his settled, considered, conviction, reached after due consideration of the pros and cons, arguments and counter-arguments.
To know nothing – he does not mean that he despised all other knowledge, but only so far as it stood in opposition to the knowledge of Jesus Christ. …