"A broken heart": MLJ sermon on John 19:31-37

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Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
I listened to this sermon by Martyn Lloyd Jones in the earlier hours of the morning. He says some things about Easter at the beginning, which will not meet with everyone's approval, but when preaching on the crucifixion, he argued that Christ's heart literally broke. What do you make of this argument?

Ed Walsh

Puritan Board Senior
I don't have time to listen to the sermon this morning but I will try to get to it soon. MLJ is capable of saying some odd-sounding things once in a while but all in all, he is one of my favorite preachers of all time.


Puritan Board Freshman
I'll listen to this. I briefly heard some of the intro, regarding holy days, and the discussion on Reformers 'rightly' dismissing these in their initial cleansing efforts, but have often heard MLJ reference upcoming holy days, weeks, more in reference to bring attention to their meaning, to any in his congregation, and I guess, use these as opportunities. I can't speak for this sermon any more, until I listen. MLJ is strong on analogies I will add, and thinks differently and is not afraid to use quite unique ways to bring emphasis and freshness to themes. Such as the space race (big at his time), he would talk of the Lord being launched into our world, and walking on it, much like men being landed on the moon. I do wonder if this may be another example of this.


Puritan Board Freshman
I have listened to the sermon. I found it quite interesting, as I'd never heard the medical application made (which seems is not unique to MLJ) to the physical death of our Lord upon the cross.

For what its worth, my summary is this:
The sermon has an evangelistic flavour. It also deals in some detail following the course of the verses mentioned. The early points are related to why 'holy days' are reminders of various facts

1) Dates and days remind us of facts
2) The certainty of these facts
3) The extraordinary nature of these facts (the crucifixion) - some examples were a) the speed of his death compared to the thieves b) the soldiers or the crucifixion itself did not therefore kill Him (He was already dead)

4) The explanation of the 'blood and the water' mentioned. What was it then that killed our Lord if it wasn't the cross itself (the thieves being still alive)

MLJ then goes on to explain that this theory is not unique to him, but the recording of the separation of the blood and water is not an accident, but a further 'fact' that can give us certainties and insight into the nature of his death.

MLJ was of course a medical man, and well versed in medicine and would have automatically taken interest in this event, from a purely medial standpoint. He gives the explanation that a normal heart does not rupture. It is virtually impossible, and extremely rare. But if it does, the outpouring is exactly that: blood and water, whereas if you were to extract the blood of a person who had recently died, you will not find blood and water separated whatsoever. MLJ then explained the actual physical structure of the heart and associated liquids that, when ruptured, result in this condition.

He then goes on to ask: what can explain this phenomenon? It was not the fear of death, as even the martyrs were enabled to endure such fear, without their physical hearts rupturing (breaking), nor was it disappointment. But rather, the only explanation for such a physical condition was the intensity of our Lord's suffering. Nobody has suffered such as He etc.

He closes that point by asking what caused the suffering? And gives a solid biblical answer centring on the wrath of God poured out upon Him as He took upon Himself the sins of His people.

I thought the central point of his sermon was to highlight the nature of suffering that took the life our our Lord, and the intensity of this suffering, thus highlighting our Lord's incredible work of redemption, and the great price He paid for us. That is my take upon hearing this sermon.
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