May 2: An Invitation to Return to Scotland

Consternation! He’s Back!

It was the happiest time in the ministry of John Knox in the sixteenth century.  Ministering in what he had called “the most perfect school of Christ that ever was on the earth since the days of the apostles,” Geneva, Switzerland was where John Knox spent his exile from his beloved Scotland. It was not a vacation in any sense of the word. He preached three sermons a week, ministered to the English and Scottish exiles there, and studied the Scriptures in the Hebrew and Greek for the purpose of translating a new version to be known as the Geneva Bible afterwards.

On the tenth of March, 1557, Knox received a communication from five nobles in Scotland which stated that the faithful believers in Scotland “have a godly thirst day by day of your presence ” back in Scotland. Further, these believers are “not only glad to hear of your doctrine, but are ready to jeopardize their lives and goods in the forward setting of the glory of God, as He will permit.” In essence, John Knox was missed by the faithful back in Scotland who wanted  him to return to them.

After receiving counsel from John Calvin and other godly ministers in Geneva, they with one consent urged him to return home.  He left at the end of September, 1557, reaching Dieppe, France, on February 19, 1559. He had been there once before, and preached with great success to the Protestants of that area. However, upon arriving, he received two letters which brought him grief, as those same five nobles now urged him to delay his return to Scotland. He replied with vigor, urging them to change their minds about this delay. Meanwhile, in the intervening seven weeks before he was to receive an answer, he preached the Word of God in Dieppe with great results, with the number of the faithful increasing in that area.

John Knox finally received an answer with a renewed invitation to return to Scotland.  Accompanying that letter was a bond or covenant in which the Protestant nobles pledged themselves to “maintain, set forward, and establish the Most Blessed Word of God and His congregation.”

With that, Knox tried to enter through England, but was not permitted to do so by the Queen. So he sailed directly to Leith, Scotland, landing on May 2, 1559, never again to leave his place of birth. It was said that the provincial council had been meeting for several days scheming on how to proceed to the trials of Protestant ministers in the kingdom. When they were in the midst of a meeting on May 3rd, one of the number rushed into the chamber to say, “John Knox! John Knox is come! He is come! He slept last night in Edinburgh!” Panic struck the meeting as they broke off their meeting with great haste and confusion. Nothing better could prove the importance of his timely arrival than the consternation it brought in the hearts of his antagonists.

Words to Live By: We will ever see attempts by Satan to hinder the great work of Reformation, both then and now. We thus need to see with the eyes of faith the oft quoted conviction of the apostle Paul, when in 1 Corinthians 16:9, he exclaimed that “a wide door for effective service has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.” Nothing has changed today for biblical faith and life. For every wide door for service, there will be many adversaries of the gospel. Be faithful, and despite their presence, work for Christ now.

“I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about.” —(Psalm 3:6, KJV)

 

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