Thursday, July 16, 2009
The Man in the Picture
As we read through Pilgrim's Progress we have now arrived in the Interpreter's House. I'd like to come back to the Interpreter again in another post and for this reason, the description of the various things shown to Christian here has been called "A Classic Within A Classic." I couldn't agree more. But this post will be limited to the first thing shown to Christian as he enters the house, "The Man in the Picture." Note the picture at the top of this post. It's not perfect, so for that reason let Bunyan draw picture for you as your read the following: (note click here for more on the interpreter's house at the Pilgrim's Progress Commentaries.)
click here to read for yourself
Interpreter: Then said Interpreter, Come in; I will show thee that which will be profitable to thee. So he commanded his man to light the candle, and bid Christian follow him; so he had him into a private room, and bid his man open a door; the which when he had done, Christian saw the picture a very grave person hang up against the wall; and this was the fashion of it: It had eyes lifted up to heaven, the best of books in his hand, the law of truth was written upon its lips, the world was behind its back; it stood as if it pleaded with men, and a crown of gold did hang over its head.
Christian: Then said Christian, What means this?
Interpreter: The man whose picture this is, is one of a thousand: he can beget children, 1 Cor 4:15, travail in birth with children, Gal 4:19, and nurse them himself when they are born. And whereas thou seest him with his eyes lift up to heaven, the best of books in his hand, and the law of truth writ on his lips: it is to show thee, that his work is to know, and unfold dark things to sinners; even as also thou seest him stand as if he pleaded with men. And whereas thou seest the world as cast behind him, and that a crown hangs over his head; that is to show thee, that slighting and despising the things that are present, for the love that he hath to his Master’s service, he is sure in the world that comes next, to have glory for his reward. Now, said the Interpreter, I have showed thee this picture first, because the man whose picture this is, is the only man whom the Lord of the place whither thou art going hath authorized to be thy guide in all difficult places thou mayest meet with in the way: wherefore take good heed to what I have showed thee, and bear well in thy mind what thou hast seen, lest in thy journey thou meet with some that pretend to lead thee right, but their way goes down to death.
All day have I thought of this man. And with gratitude and thankfulness to God I consider my own Godly pastor for this is Bunyan's description of the Godly pastor.
True Pastors are gifted by God and true Pastors are a gift from God.
Eph 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
Very Grave Person: Sober and serious about the matters of eternal consequence and the care of souls. 1Tim 3:2
Eyes Lifted up to Heaven: From whence comes our help, to whom is all our dependency. His is a God-Centered ministry. 2Cor 5:1-2, Phil 3:20, 1Pet 1:4
The Best of Books in his Hand: The godly pastor is guided by, speaks from, and filled with God's word. What other book could there be, and where else could he look? There are pastors many, but the true pastor carries the Word of God with him always.
Law of truth was written upon its lips: Speaking the word in all his counsel.
World was behind his Back: Not for money, nor fame, nor pride, not worldly advancement, it is crucified unto him and he to it. Gal 6:14, 1Pet 5:2
Stood as if it pleaded with men: Calling them to repentance, warning them to flee the wrath to come, to find all their delight and happiness in Christ. 2Cor 5:20, 1Th 2:5-12
Crown of gold did hang over its head: The world having no reward, his reward is with the God who reigns over all. 2Tim 4:7-8
Praise God for His gift, this man who is one in a thousand, the true godly pastor.
Read the following from Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners by John Bunyan, his own appreciation, for the godly pastor who cared for his soul at the beginning of his heavenward-race:
click here for Grace Abounding: (see especially paragraph #77 and #117)
At this time, also, I sat under the ministry of holy Mr. Gifford, whose doctrine, by God’s grace, was much for my stability. This man made it much his business to deliver the people of God from all those false and unsound rests that, by nature, we are prone to take and make to our souls. He pressed us to take special heed that we took not up any truth upon trust - as from this, or that, or any other man or men - but to cry mightily to God that he would convince us of the reality thereof, and set us down therein, by his own Spirit, in the Holy Word; for, said he, if you do other wise when temptations come, if strongly, you, not having received them ithevidence from heaven, will find you want that help and strength now to resist as once you thought you had.