In Him was life, and His life was the light of men.

John 1:4

When Jesus walked the earth, all the Godhead—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—dwelt in him in bodily form. So too did the eternal life of the Godhead. In him was life, the eternal life of God Triune.

Whenever he spoke or performed miracles, the divine life within Jesus became the light of men. The glory of God shone forth in all he did, filling the darkness of this present evil world with light.

As we know from the Gospels, some were drawn to the light. They said, “Lord, to whom shall we go; you have the words of life.”

Others, however, hated the light, sought to extinguish it, and, for a brief moment at the end of Jesus’ ministry, actually thought  they did.

This is a great mystery, one that should cause us to fall down before God and marvel at his amazing ways.

In Christ there was life, and yet, because of our sin, that life could not get out of him and into us. Therefore, God decided to let the darkness extinguish the light—ever so briefly— so that the light and life of Christ, at long last, after ages and ages, might come again to dwell in man.

You remember that during Holy Week, just before Jesus’ passion, Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, came to him. She brought an alabaster vial, full of costly oil of spikenard. Without a word, she broke the vial and poured the contents on Jesus’ head, anointing him for burial. John carefully notes that when she did, the fragrance of the perfume filled the whole house.

Beloveds, this is how it was with Jesus, and how it is with us. God the Father, on the Cross, broke the alabaster vial of his body, so that he, bearing our sins and receiving in his own person the just penalty due them, might make atonement for us.

But why did he make atonement for us? So that  he could pour out the oil of the divine life—not just upon us—but into us. So that in us there might be life, and that our life might be the light of men.

John brings the prologue of his gospel to a close with this: “And the light shines in the darkness; the darkness did not overcome it.”

Why does the light still shine in the darkness, both now and till the end of the age?

It is because our Lord was willing to let the Father shatter the alabaster vial, so that the divine life within him—and all the light and fragrance it was meant to bestow upon a sin-darkened world—might be in his new body, in us.

Father, Lord Jesus, thank you so much for this inexpressibly great gift. May we always walk worthily of it, in your Spirit, bringing the life and light and fragrance of Christ to others wherever we go. Amen. 



Pause, my soul, adore and wonder,

Ask, “Oh, why such love to me?”

Grace hath put me in the number,

Of the Savior’s family.


Thanks—eternal thanks—to Thee!


Charles Spurgeon


” . . . and he brought her to the Man.” 

Genesis 2:22

Earlier this month I had the pleasure of officiating at the marriage of Aaron Nelson and Ashley Gates. Here is my sermon, a meditation on the Mystery of Marriage and the Truth about Twitterpation!


Aaron, Ashley, I’m pretty sure you’ve both seen the Disney classic, Bambi. But just in case, let me introduce my remarks today by describing a memorable and beloved scene from that movie.

Bambi the deer, Thumper the rabbit, and Flower the skunk are assembled before Friend Owl. Suddenly, out of nowhere, two bluebirds appear, fluttering madly about in the air.

“What’s the matter with them?” asks Flower.

“Yeah, why are they acting that way?” asks Thumper.

“You don’t know?” says Friend Owl. “Why, they’re twitterpated!”

“Twitterpated!” cry the three befuddled friends.

“Yes, twitterpated. Nearly everybody gets twitterpated in the springtime. You’re walking along, minding your own business. You’re looking neither to the left, nor to the right, when all of a sudden you run smack dab into a pretty face. Wooo-hooh! You begin to get weak in the knees. Your head’s in a whirl. And then you feel light as a feather, and before you know it, you’re walking on air. And then you know what? You’re knocked for a loop, and you completely lose your head!

“Gosh,” says Thumper, “that sounds awful!”

“Appalling!” says Flower.

“Terrible!” says Bambi.

But friend owl isn’t done.

“And that ain’t all. It could happen to anyone. It could even happen to you.”

“Oh no, it’s not gonna happen to me!” says Thumper.

“Me neither!” said Flower.

“Me neither,” said Bambi.

Famous last words!

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 Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. Truly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods.

(Mt. 24:47)

When we say that someone’s got the goods, we mean that he can actually deliver. He is not, as they say in Texas, all hat and no cattle. Instead, he is a man of true substance. He has tangible resources at his command, usually in great abundance. Therefore, what he promises, he performs. Moreover, when there’s a pressing need, he’s on everyone’s short list as the go-to guy who can get the job done. He really can help, because his wealth—whether material or spiritual—is really real.

All Christians know that in a world utterly riddled with fakeness, the Lord Jesus Christ ALONE “has the goods.” True forgiveness, true life, true strength, wisdom, protection, and material supply . . . all are his in abundance. He is the treasure, in which all treasures are found.

But here is a related question to ponder: Which of Christ’s many treasures do you think he values most? What, in all this wide world, constitutes the “goodest” of all his goods?

Our text contains the answer. And if you will consider it carefully, you will find—to your great amazement—that it is YOU: his God-given, blood-bought, spiritually re-born, believing, loving, hoping, stumbling, ever-being-picked-up, and sure-to-enter-heaven child.

Now before delving into this further, we do well to remember an unsettling but important preliminary: Once—prior to your new birth—you were Satan’s goods. And there was no possession on earth he valued more. Why? Because in and through you he could accomplish every one of his most cherished objectives: usurping God, dishonoring God, and wounding God by deceiving, manipulating, and hopefully destroying the creatures nearest to God’s nature and dearest to God’s heart.

As our Lord himself put it, “How can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house” (Mt. 12:29).

There you have it in a nutshell: Previously, the saints were Satan’s goods.  But now God has sent his Son into the world, so that—through the whole mighty apparatus of his redemptive work—he might “plunder” Satan’s goods, making them his own.

In passing, let me also say that for many of us there was a time when we were not only Satan’s goods, but also the goods of Satan’s people.

This sobering truth is highlighted in Jesus’ Parable of the Wicked Vinedressers. When the heavenly Landowner saw that his vicious hirelings refused to heed his prophetic servants, he decided to send his son, saying “Surely they will respect him!”

But what did the wicked vinedressers say? “This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance” (Mt. 21:38)!

Now there’s a passage to send ice through your veins. It warns us all that the world is full of smooth religious operators who want US as their goods, US as their inheritance! And so it has been for many of God’s elect, who were desperately deceived by the charismatic “strength” of wicked religious men, until One stronger than the strong man—opening prison doors (and blind eyes as well)—plundered his goods!

All of which brings me to our text. It too comes from a Holy Week parable, the Parable of the Talents. The words are those of the returning Christ, spoken to his faithful ministers, granting them servant-leadership among the flock of God in the days of the consummated Kingdom.

But my interest here lies not in the saint’s reward, but in the saints identity. Who are they? They are Christ’s “goods.” They are his special treasure. They are the only things in all the universe valuable enough, and divinely owned enough, to have passed safely through the fires of judgment, so that they might remain forever at his side—forever in his keeping—in the great treasury of the Kingdom of God.

But why, in that happy Day, WILL Christ have the goods? It is because, even now, he HAS the goods! They are absolutely his. God absolutely gave them to him before the foundation of the world. Christ absolutely bought them with his precious blood. And the Spirit absolutely calls them and keeps them, so that nothing can snatch them out of his hand.

Yes, for time and eternity, our gracious, loving, and almighty Lord Jesus Christ has the goods.

And the Spirit and the Bride delight to say, “How good it is!”



For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched, and that burned with fire; nor to blackness and darkness and tempest, and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words, such that those who heard begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore.

(Hebrews 12:18-19)


Let every gospel preacher take note: Some words are unbearable, and in the secret places of their hearts, the people beg you to speak them no more.

Such was the case at Mt. Sinai, when, amidst a great show of darkness, smoke, fire, and cosmic trembling, God unveiled his Law. But it was not the special effects that terrified the people. No, it was the words themselves.

The people heard them audibly, or at least they started to. Rolling down the mountain like a flood, clapping like thunder, echoing all across the wilderness, these words struck terror in their hearts: “Thou shalt, thou shalt not; thou shalt, thou shalt not.” That was all they heard, and that was precisely what they could not bear.

Why? Because they spoke a death sentence over them. Instantaneously, the dreadful truth registered in their consciousness: they had to obey them, they could not obey them, they must die for disobeying them.

“Through the Law comes the knowledge of sin,” wrote the apostle—and also of man’s condemnation before a holy, sovereign, and altogether just God. The people could not bear to hear the Law because it brought them no hope, no life, and no joy—only a consciousness of a death, hinted at in the fire, tempest, and thick darkness of Sinai.

What, then, did the people do? They did what all sinners do: They rushed to a mediator. “You go and speak to him for us,” said the Israelites, pleading with Moses. “Perhaps he will send you back to us with words we can bear.”

And Moses, prefiguring him who was yet to come, did that very thing.

As Christians, we know that our Lord Jesus Christ is Moses’ anti-type, the true Mediator between God and men. Having lived and died for his people, he has reconciled them to God and his Law. Therefore, as he comes down from Mt. Zion with unveiled face, radiant with joy, he brings us good news.

He speaks bearable words to his people: words about God’s gift of grace; words that fill their heart with hope, life, and gladness.

“The words I speak to you, they are spirit and they are life,” (John 6:63). This is why Jesus’ people can bear them, and this is why they beg to hear them over and over again.

I close as I began: Let every gospel preacher take note. Do you want the people to bear your words? Do you want them to beg you to speak them again and again?

Then let your words—even the hard ones you know you must speak from time to time—be filled with grace, filled with Christ, filled with the glorious good news that “It is finished;” that through simple faith in our Mediator we are now accepted—and infinitely loved—in the Beloved.

Said Peter to Jesus, “Lord, to whom shall we go; you have the words of eternal life?”

Man of God, if you will speak the bearable word of grace, so shall the people speak to you.