Monday, November 21, 2011
Bunyan: Objections from Jerusalem Sinners
Here is the closing illustration from yesterday's sermon David Spares Saul (1 Samuel 23-24), that reflected on David's sparing of Saul as an anticipation of Christ's sparing of great sinners:
One of John Bunyan’s lesser known little booklets is titled The Jerusalem Sinner Saved. It is a meditation on Luke 24:47 where Jesus tells his disciples before his ascension that “repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” Bunyan’s question is, Why Jerusalem? That is where Christ was rejected. That is where Christ was crucified. But it was the place Christ chose for the gospel first to be preached at Pentecost. Bunyan says Jesus did this because he delights to save those who are “the greatest sinners.” At one point he imagines the objections that were given to Peter as he preached the gospel in Jerusalem:
Object. ‘But I was one of them that plotted to take away his life. May I be saved by him?’
Peter. Every one of you.
Object. ‘But I was one of them that bare false witness against him. Is there grace for me?’
Peter. For every one of you.
Object. ‘But I was one of them that cried out, Crucify him, crucify him; and desired that Barabbas the murderer might live, rather than he. What will become of me, think you?’
Peter. I am to preach repentance and remission of sins to every one of you, says Peter.
Object. ‘But I was one of them that did spit in his face when he stood before his accusers. I also was one of them that mocked him, when in anguish he hung bleeding on the tree. Is there room for me?’
Peter. For every one of you, says Peter.
Object. ‘But I was one of them that in his extremity said, Give him gall and vinegar to drink. Why may I not expect the same when anguish and guilt are upon me?’
Peter. Repent of these your wickednesses, and here is remission of sins for every one of you.
Object. ‘But I railed on him, I reviled him, I hated him, I rejoiced to see him mocked by others. Can there be hope for me?
Peter. There is for every one of you. “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
Bunyan adds, “Oh! What a blessed ‘every one of you,’ is here!” (pp. 19-20).