Sermon Illustrations

On Thursday I tried to re-shelve volume one in Manton’s Works. The color and markings stand out, so rather than look carefully for the location, I scanned the shelves where I expected to see the set. My books are filed alphabetically by author, so I knew generally where to look. But my first glance did not reveal the match. So I quickly ran my eyes down the shelves, starting in a place I was sure was before the correct location and continuing until I knew I was past. Still no matching volumes.

Confused, I looked again at the spine—yes, it was Manton. I verified that I had begun at “Luther.” I did my alphabet: L—M—N—O—yes, I was on the correct side of “L.” Where are the Mantons? I knew what they looked like, here was one of the set in my hand. So I went to the first, “M,” and checked book by book: MacArthur, Machen, Mack … Manton. There it was—with a white dust jacket I had taken off this volume while reading it. When you “know” exactly what you are looking for, an unexpected difference can blind you.

The Jews had long scanned the shelves of time for Messiah. They knew exactly how he would look: a mighty King like Solomon and David who would rescue and restore Israel to her former glory. But God wraps Messiah in a different “dust” jacket. They sought a lion; God provides a lamb. As a result, they cannot “see” God’s solution, resulting in this sad pronouncement: “You will seek me, and you will die in your sin.”