A great hospital!

(J.C. Ryle)

"All of you shall desert Me!" Mark 14:27

We see in these verses, how well our Lord foreknew the weakness and infirmity of His disciples. He tells them plainly what they were going to do: "All of you shall desert Me." He tells Peter in particular of the astounding sin which he was about to commit, "This night, before the rooster crows twice — you shall deny Me three times."

Yet our Lord's fore-knowledge did not prevent His choosing these twelve disciples to be His apostles. He allowed them to be His intimate friends and companions, knowing perfectly well what they would one day do. With a clear foresight of the melancholy weakness and lack of faith which they would exhibit at the end of His ministry — He granted them the mighty privilege of being continually with Him, and hearing His voice. This is a remarkable fact, and deserves to be had in continual remembrance.

Let us take comfort in the thought that the Lord Jesus does not cast off His believing people because of failures and imperfections. He knows what they are. He takes them, as the husband takes the wife — with all their blemishes and defects; and once joined to Him by faith, He will never leave them. He is a merciful and compassionate High-priest. It is His glory to pass over the transgressions of His people, and to cover their many sins.

He knew what they were before conversion — wicked, guilty, and defiled; yet He loved them.

He knows what they will be after conversion — weak, erring, and frail; yet He loves them.

He has undertaken to save them, notwithstanding all their shortcomings — and what He has undertaken, He will perform.

Let us learn to pass a charitable judgment on the conduct of professing believers. Let us not set them down in a low place, and say they have no grace — because we see much weakness and corruption in them. Let us remember that our Master in Heaven bears with their infirmities — and let us try to bear with them too.

The Church is little better than a great hospital. We ourselves are all, more or less, weak and infirm — and all daily need the skillful treatment of the heavenly Physician. There will be no complete cures until the resurrection day!