The flowers in the Lord's garden

(J. C. Ryle, "The Gospel of John" 1873)

"Peter and the other disciple ran to the tomb
to see. The other disciple outran Peter and got
there first. He stooped and looked in and saw
the linen cloth lying there, but he didn't go in.
Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside."
    John 20:3-6

We are taught in these verses, that there are
widely different temperaments in different believers.

This is a point which is curiously brought out in
the conduct of Peter and John, when Mary told
them that the Lord's body was gone. We are
told that they both ran to the sepulcher; but
John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, outran
Peter, and reached the empty grave first. Then
comes out the difference between the two men.

John, of the two more gentle, quiet, tender,
reserved, retiring, deep feeling, stooped down
and looked in, but went no further. Peter, more
hot, and zealous, and impulsive, and fervent,
and forward, cannot be content without going
down into the sepulcher, and actually seeing
with his own eyes.

Both, we may be sure, were deeply attached
to our Lord. The hearts of both, at this critical
juncture, were full of hopes, and fears, and
anxieties, and expectations, all tangled together.

Yet each behaves in his own characteristic fashion.

We need not doubt that these things were
intentionally written for our learning. Let us
learn, from the case before us, to make
allowances for wide varieties in the inward
character of believers.
To do so will save us
much trouble in the journey of life, and prevent
many an uncharitable thought.

Let us not judge brethren harshly, and set
them down in a low place, because they do
not see or feel things exactly as we see and
feel, and because things do not affect or
strike them just as they affect and strike us.

The flowers in the Lord's garden are not
all of one color and one scent, though they
are all planted by one Spirit.

The subjects of His kingdom are not all exactly
of one tone and temperament, though they all
love the same Savior, and are written in the
same book of life.

The Church of Christ has some in its ranks who
are like Peter, and some who are like John; and
a place for all, and a work for all to do. Let us
love all who love Christ in sincerity, and thank
God that they love Him at all.

The great thing is to love Jesus!