Our Savior In His Sufferings

“The Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:6

How shall we account for the sufferings of Christ, which were intense, and mysterious, if not on the ground of their vicarious character? Those sufferings were intense in the extreme. There was a severity in those who, if not required by Divine justice, would be perfectly unaccountable. Heaven, earth, and hell, all were in league against Him. Survey His eventful history- mark every step which He took from Bethlehem to Calvary; and what do we learn of His sufferings, but that they were of the most extraordinary and intense character.

His enemies, like dogs of war, were let loose upon Him. His professed followers themselves stood aghast at the scenes through which their Lord was passing- one betraying Him, another denying Him, and all, in the hour of His extremity, forsaking Him. Is it any wonder that, in the anguish of His soul, His suffering humanity should exclaim, “Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” In that awful moment, all the waves and billows of God’s wrath, due to the sins of His people, were passing over Him. The Father, the last resource of sympathy, veiled His face, and withdrew from Him His sensible presence; and on the cross, draining the cup of sorrow, He fulfilled the prophecy, which spoke of Him- “I have trodden the wine press alone; and of the people there were none with me.”

His sufferings, too, were mysterious. Why a holy, harmless being, whose whole life had been one act of unparalleled beneficence, should be doomed to persecution so severe, to sufferings so acute, and to a death so painful and ignominious, the denier of the atonement must be embarrassed to account. But the doctrine of a vicarious sacrifice explains it all, and presents the only key to the mystery. “He was made sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us.” All the mystery now is gone. He was “made sin for us.” He was “made a curse for us.”

He bore the sin, and consequently the penalty of sin. Had we been left, Christian reader, to bear our sins, we must inevitably have borne alone the punishment of our sins. But Jesus took upon Him our sins. For this, He became a party in the covenant of redemption; for this, He assumed our nature; for this, He sorrowed in Gethsemane; for this, the law of God exacted its utmost claim; and for this, the justice of God inflicted the utmost penalty.

Oh, what a truth is this! The Son of God offering Himself up a sacrifice for sin! He who knew no sin- who was holy, harmless, and undefiled- not one thought of evil in His heart, yet made sin, or a sin-offering! Oh the greatness of the thought! If God had not Himself declared it, we could not have believed it, though an angel’s tongue had announced it. God Himself must proclaim it; and because He has so proclaimed it, we believe it. And God alone can write it upon the heart.

Our Present Rest

J. C. Philpot

Today’s Daily Words for Zion’s Wayfarers

“For we who have believed enter into rest.” Hebrews 4:3

To rest is to ‘lean’ upon something. Is it not? So spiritually. We need to lean upon something. The Lord himself has given us this figure. “Who is this that comes up from the wilderness, leaning upon her Beloved?” The figure of “a rock” on which the Church is built, “the foundation” which God has laid in Zion, points to the same idea, that of leaning or dependence. Now when the soul comes to lean upon Jesus, and depend wholly and solely on him, it enters into the sweetness of the invitation.

Have we not leaned upon a thousand things? And what have they proved? Broken reeds that have run into our hands, and pierced us. Our own strength and resolutions, the world and the church, sinners and saints, friends and enemies, have they not all proved, more or less, broken reeds? The more we have leaned upon them, like a man leaning upon a sword, the more have they pierced our souls. The Lord himself has to wean us from the world, from friends, from enemies, from self, in order to bring us to lean upon himself; and every prop he will remove, sooner or later, that we may lean wholly and solely upon his Person, love, blood, and righteousness.

But there is another idea in the word “rest”–termination. When we are walking, running, or in any way moving, we are still going onwards; we have not got to the termination of our journey. But when we come to the termination of that we have been doing, we rest. So spiritually. As long as we are engaged in setting up our own righteousness, in laboring under the law, there is no termination of our labors. But when we come to the glorious Person of the Son of God, when we hang upon his atoning blood, dying love, and glorious righteousness, and feel them sweet, precious, and suitable, then there is rest. “We who have believed enter into rest,” says the Apostle. His legal labors are all terminated. His hopes and expectations flow unto, and center in Jesus–there they end, there they terminate; such a termination as a river finds in the boundless ocean.

Our Claim

C. H. Spurgeon

This Evening’s Meditation

“Are they Israelites? so am I.”
2 Corinthians 11:22

We have here a personal claim, and one that needs proof. The apostle knew that his claim was indisputable, but there are many persons who have no right to the title who yet claim to belong to the Israel of God.

If we are with confidence declaring, “So am I also an Israelite,” let us only say it after having searched our heart as in the presence of God. But if we can give proof that we are following Jesus, if we can from the heart say, “I trust him wholly, trust him only, trust him simply, trust him now, and trust him ever,” then the position which the saints of God hold belongs to us–all their enjoyments are our possessions; we may be the very least in Israel, “less than the least of all saints,” yet since the mercies of God belong to the saints as saints, and not as advanced saints, or well-taught saints, we may put in our plea, and say, “Are they Israelites? so am I; therefore the promises are mine, grace is mine, glory will be mine.” The claim, rightfully made, is one which will yield untold comfort.

When God’s people are rejoicing that they are his, what a happiness if they can say, “So am I !” When they speak of being pardoned, and justified, and accepted in the Beloved, how joyful to respond, “Through the grace of God, so am I.” But this claim not only has its enjoyments and privileges, but also its conditions and duties. We must share with God’s people in cloud as well as in sunshine. When we hear them spoken of with contempt and ridicule for being Christians, we must come boldly forward and say, “So am I.” When we see them working for Christ, giving their time, their talent, their whole heart to Jesus, we must be able to say, “So do I.” O let us prove our gratitude by our devotion, and live as those who, having claimed a privilege, are willing to take the responsibility connected with it.