Sibbes, Richard. A Heavenly Conference Between Christ and Mary. Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2015. 184 pp. $8.00. Purchase at Westminster Books for less.
Richard Sibbes (1577-1636) was a Puritan preacher at Cambridge. I have reviewed other works of Sibbes’ which can be found here. His most instrumental work in my personal walk was The Bruised Reed.
This 184 page book is an exposition from John 20:16-17:
Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
In this book, Sibbes looks at the believer’s union with Christ and meant to help believers understand the benefits of being in Christ.
As with any work by Richard Sibbes, you will quickly understand his pastoral care and wisdom as he unpacks the importance of this brief conversation that resulted in Mary’s running back to the disciples and letting them know Christ was alive.
In true puritanical fashion, Sibbes begins with the passage and then parses it out to the greater truths of Scripture while all the while applying the doctrinal truths to the life of the believer. In this case, it is the importance of the union with Christ and the hope we have because of the historical Jesus we worship.
Though this is not as dense (theologically thick) as most other puritanical works, it most certainly delves into the heart of the importance of understanding the doctrine of Christ’s resurrection and what it means to have faith in Christ. In other words, this book is sorely needed in the church today.
This excellent little book is great to read at any time. I think, however, that it may be even more appropriate to read during the Lenten season. Understanding these truths will help many Christians to lean not on their own understanding and instead lean on Christ alone. I highly recommend this book.