by John Calvin (compiled by John H. Kromminga)
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. —Luke 2:8
"And there were shepherds." It would have been to no purpose that Christ was born in Bethlehem, if it had not been made known to the world. But the method of doing so, which is described by Luke, appears to the view of men very unsuitable.
First, Christ is revealed to but a few witnesses, and that too amidst the darkness of night. Again, though God had, at his command, many honorable and distinguished witnesses, he passed by them, and chose shepherds, persons of humble rank, and of no account among men. Here the reason and wisdom of the flesh must prove to be foolishness; and we must acknowledge that "the foolishness of God" excels all the wisdom that exists, or appears to exist, in the world. But this too was a part of the "emptying of himself"; not that any part of Christ's glory should be taken away by it, but that it should lie in concealment for a time.
Again, as Paul reminds us that the gospel is mean according to the flesh, "that our faith should stand" in the power of the Spirit, not in the "lofty words of human wisdom" or in any worldly splendor; so this inestimable treasure has been deposited by God, from the beginning, "in earthen vessels," that he might more fully try the obedience of our faith.
If then we desire to corne to Christ, let us not be ashamed to follow those whom the Lord, in order to cast down the pride of the world, has taken, from among the dung of cattle, to be our instructors. —Commentaries
John Calvin was the premier theologian of the Reformation, but also a pious and godly Christian pastor who endeavored throughout his life to point men and women to Christ. We are grateful to Reformation Heritage Books for permission to use John Calvin's Thine Is My Heart as our daily devotional for 2013 on the OPC Web site. You can currently obtain a printed copy of that book from Reformation Heritage Books.
Dr. Joel Beeke, who is editorial director of Reformation Heritage Books, has this to say:
"Calvin shows us the piety of a Reformed theologian who speaks from the heart. Having tasted the goodness and grace of God in Jesus Christ, he pursued piety by seeking to know and do God’s will every day. He communed with Christ, practicing repentance, self-denial, and cross-bearing. Moreover, his theology worked itself out in heart-felt, Christ-honoring piety. The selections of this devotional bear this out, and hopefully will be used by God to direct pious hearts in our own day."
These devotional readings from John Calvin were compiled by John H. Kromminga. Be sure to read his "Introduction" to John Calvin's Thine Is My Heart.