Wednesdays with Watson is a weekly reading taken from my favorite Puritan writer, Thomas Watson. This week’s selection is from The Christian on the Mount.
Christ is as full of love as He is of merit. What was it but love that He should save us and not the fallen angels? Among the rarities of the magnet this is not the least, that leaving the gold and pearl it should draw iron to it, which is a baser kind of metal. Just so, that Christ should leave the angels, those nobler spirits, the gold and pearl, and draw mankind to Him, how does this proclaim His love? Love was the wing on which He flew into the virgin’s womb!
1. How transcendent is Christ’s love for the saints! The apostle calls it a love that passes knowledge (Ephesians 3:19). It is such a love as God the Father bears for Christ — the same for quality, though not equality. John 15:9: “As the Father hath loved Me, so have I loved you.” A believer’s heart is the garden where Christ has planted this sweet flower of His love. It is the channel through which the golden stream of His affection runs.
2. How sovereign is Christ’s love! Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth (see 1 Corinthians 1:26). In the old law God passed by the noble lion and the eagle, and took the dove for sacrifice. That God should pass by so many of noble birth and abilities, and that the lot of free grace should fall upon me, oh, the depth of divine grace!
3. How invincible is the love of Christ! It is strong as death (Song of Solomon 8:6). Death might take away Christ’s life, but not His love! Neither can our sin wholly quench that divine flame of love. The church had her infirmities, her sleepy fits (Song of Solomon 5:2), but, though blacked and sullied, yet she is still a dove. Christ could see the faith and wink at the failing. He who painted Alexander drew him with his finger over the scar on his face. Just so, Christ puts the finger of mercy upon the scars of the saints! He will not throw away his pearls for every speck of dirt! That which makes this love of Christ the more stupendous is that there was nothing in us to excite or draw forth His love! He did not love us because we were worthy, but by loving us he made us worthy!
4. How immutable is Christ’s love! “Having loved His own, He loved them to the end” (John 13:1). The saints are like letters of gold engraved upon Christ’s heart that cannot be erased out. Meditate much upon the love of Christ.
Serious meditation on the love of Christ would make us love Him in return. “Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burnt?” (Proverbs 6:28). Who can tread by meditation upon these hot coals of Christ’s love and his heart not burn in love for Him?
Meditation on Christ’s love would set our eyes astir with tears for our gospel unkindnesses. Oh, that we should sin against so sweet a Savior! Did we have none to abuse but our best friend? Did we have nothing to kick against but affections of love? Did not Christ suffer enough upon the cross, but must we make Him suffer more? Do we give Him more gall and vinegar to drink? Oh, if anything can dissolve the heart into mourning it is the unkindness offered to Christ. When Peter thought of Christ’s love for him, Christ could deny Peter nothing; yet he could deny Christ, and this made his eyes to water. “Peter went out and wept bitterly.”
Meditation on Christ’s love would make us love our enemies. jesus Christ showed love for His enemies. We read of “the fire licking up the water” (1 Kings 18:38) It is usual for water to quench the fire, but for fire to dry up and consume the water, which was not capable of burning, this was miraculous! Such a miracle Christ showed. His love burned where there was no fit matter to work upon, nothing but sin and enmity. He loved His enemies; the fire of His love consumed and licked up the water of their sins! He prayed for His enemies: “Father forgive them.” He shed His tears for those who shed His blood! Those who gave Him gall and vinegar to drink, to them He gave His sin-forgiving blood to drink. Meditation on His love would melt our hearts in love for our enemies. Augustine said, “Christ made a pulpit of the cross, and the great lesson He taught Christians was to love their enemies.”
Meditation on Christ’s love would be a means to support us in case of His absence. Sometimes He is pleased to withdraw Himself (Song of Solomon 5:6), yet, when we consider how entire and immutable His love is, it will make us wait with patience until He sweetly manifests Himself to us. He is love, and He cannot forsake His people very long (Micah 7:19). The sun may be gone a while from our climate, but it returns in the spring. Meditation on Christ’s love may make us wait for the return of this Sun of Righteousness. Hebrews 10:37: “For yet a little while and He who shall come will come.” He is truth; therefore He shall come. He is love; therefore He will come.