“Leaning on Jesus’ bosom.”—John 13:23
Methinks I would contemplate for a while the privilege of this highly-favoured disciple John. Surely to sit at the feet of Jesus, to look up at his face, to behold the Lamb of God, and to hear the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth, what should I have thought of this but a happiness unspeakable and full of glory! But the beloved apostle leaned on Jesus’s bosom. Oh, thou condescending Saviour! didst thou mean to manifest, by this endearing token, how dear and precious all thy redeemed ones are in thy esteem? But stop, my soul. If John lay on Jesus’s breast, where was it Jesus himself lay, when he left all for thy salvation? The disciple whom Jesus loved lay upon Jesus’s bosom; but he, whom the Father loved, lay in the bosom of the Father – nay, was embosomed there; was wrapt up in the very soul of the Father from eternity. Who shall undertake to speak of the most glorious state of the Son of God, before he condescended to come forth from the bosom of God for the salvation of his people? Who shall describe the blessedness of the Father and the Son in their mutual enjoyment of each other? Jesus, when he was in the bosom of the Father, had not emptied himself of his glory. Jesus had not been made in the likeness of sinful flesh. Jesus had not put himself under the law. He was not then a man of sorrows. He was not then acquainted with grief. He had not then exposed his face to shame and spitting; neither to poverty, temptation, the bloody sweat, and the cross. And did Jesus go through all these, and more? Did Jesus leave the Father’s bosom; and did the Father take this only-begotten, only-beloved Son from his bosom; that John might lean on Jesus’s bosom, and all the redeemed, like him, one day, dwell with Jesus, and lean and rest in his embraces for ever? Oh, for hearts to love both the FATHER and the SON, who have so loved us; that we may be ready to part with all, and forsake all, and die to all, that we may live in Jesus, and to Jesus, and rest in his bosom for ever.
Robert Hawker (1753-1827) was an Anglican (High-Calvinist) preacher who served as Vicar of Charles Church, Plymouth. John Hazelton wrote of him:
“The prominent features…in Robert Hawker's testimony…was the Person of Christ….Dr. Hawker delighted to speak of his Lord as "My most glorious Christ.” What anxious heart but finds at times in the perusal of the doctor's writings a measure of relief, a softening, and a mellowing? an almost imperceptible yet secret and constraining power in leading out of self and off from the misery and bondage of the flesh into a contemplation of the Person and preciousness of Christ as "the chiefest among ten thousand and the altogether lovely." Christ and Him crucified was emphatically the burden of his song and the keynote of his ministry. He preached his last sermon in Charles Church on March 18th, 1827, and on April 6th he died, after being six years curate and forty-three years vicar of the parish. On the last day of his life he repeated a part of Ephesians 1, from the 6th to the 12th verses, and as he proceeded he enlarged on the verses, but dwelt more fully on these words: "To the praise of His glory Who first trusted in Christ." He paused and asked, "Who first trusted in Christ?" And then made this answer: "It was God the Father Who first trusted in Christ."