Over the last two weeks the theme of suffering has surfaced in our series through John. In both messages Pastor Sean and Caleb have quoted JC Ryle, a British pastor from the 19th century.
On February 12th Pastor Caleb preached from John 4:43-54. His second point was, “Spiritual fatalities are brought to Jesus by their afflictions.” (vs. 46 – 47) Caleb mentioned that the Official was brought to Jesus by the state of suffering in his household (his dying son). It is often when we are desperate and despairing that we are drawn to Jesus.
Here are Ryle’s comments in full…
“We learn, thirdly, from this passage, what benefits affliction can confer on the soul. We read, that anxiety about a son led the nobleman to Christ, in order to obtain help in time of need. Once brought into Christ’s company, he learned a lesson of priceless value. In the end, “he believed and his whole house.” All this, be it remembered, hinged upon the son’s sickness. if the nobleman’s son had never been ill, his father might have lived and died in his sins.
Affliction is one of God’s medicines. By it He often teaches lessons which would be learned in no other way. By it He often draws souls away from sin and the world, which would otherwise have perished everlastingly. Health is a great blessing, but sanctified disease is a greater. Prosperity and worldly comfort, are what all naturally desire; but losses and crosses are far better for us, if they lead us to Christ. Thousands at the last day will testify with David, and the nobleman before us, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted.” (Ps. 119:71).
The next paragraph reads: “Let us beware of murmuring in the time of trouble. Let us settle it firmly in our minds, that there is a meaning, a needs-be, and a message from God, in every sorrow that falls upon us. There are no lessons so useful as those learned in the school of affliction. There is no commentary that opens up the Bible so much as sickness and sorrow. “No chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yield peaceable fruit.” (Heb. 12:11) The resurrection morning will prove, that many of the losses of God’s people were in reality eternal gains.” (pg. 253 – 254)
Here are a couple quotations that Pastor Sean made this past Sunday (February 19th) in his sermon titled, ‘The Perfect Physician’ from John 5:1-18.
“Every sickness and sorrow is the voice of God speaking to us. Each has its peculiar message. Happy are they who have en eye to see God’s hand, and an ear to hear his voice, in all that happens to them.” (pg. 267)
And, a bonus quote…
“He is far more ready to save than man is to be saved, far more willing to do good than man is to receive it.” (pg. 267)
All of these quotes can be found in JC Ryle’s Commentary on the Gospel of John.
For more on these messages visit our sermon page and download the messages, “Signs of Life” from February 12th and “The Perfect Physician” from February 19th