Sermon 2212. The Private Thoughts and Words of Jesus
A SERMON INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD'S DAY, JULY 12, 1891,
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON THURSDAY EVENING, MARCH 26, 1891
"And Jesus, going up to Jerusalem, took the twelve disciples apart in the way, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem;and the Son of Man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn Him to death, andshall deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify Him: and the third day He shall rise again." Matthew 20:17-19.
You have this same story in Matthew, Mark and Luke, a little differently told, as would naturally be the case when the informationcame from three different observers. It will be to our edification to put the three accounts together, so as to get a completeview of the incident, for each Evangelist mentions something omitted by the others.
Our Lord firmly resolved to go to Jerusalem about a fortnight before the Passover, with the view of becoming, Himself, theLamb of God's Passover. He had frequently left Jerusalem when His life had been in danger because His time was not yet comeand He, thus, set us the example of not willfully running into danger, or braving it with foolhardiness. But now that He feltthat the hour of His s
Sacrifice was near at hand, He did not hesitate, or seek to avoid it, but He resolutely set out to meet His sufferings andHis death. When He was in the highway that led to Jerusalem, He marched in front of the little band of His disciples withso vigorous and bold a step-and with such a calm, determined air of heroism upon Him, that His followers were filled withastonishment (Mark 10:52).
Here are the very words-"And they were in the way going up to Jerusalem; and Jesus went before them; and they were amazed,and as they followed they were afraid." Knowing that, according to His own account, He was going to suffering and death and,being well assured, from their own observation, that He was about to encounter the most furious opposition, they were amazedat His dauntless courage and wondered what made Him so resolved! We also read that "they were afraid," afraid for themselves,in a measure, but most of all afraid for Him. Would not His daring lead to conflict with the powers then in authority andmight not terrible things happen both to Him and to them? It was not altogether timidity, but awe which came over them-Hismanner was so majestic and sublime. That lowly Man had a something about Him which commanded the trembling reverence of Hisdisciples. After all, meekness is imperial-and commands far more reverence than anger or pride.
His followers felt that great events were about to transpire and they were deeply sobered and filled with awe-struck apprehension.In the Presence of their Lord, who seemed to be leading a forlorn hope to a fierce battle, they were afraid. They were amazedat His courage and afraid for the consequences. They were also amazed at Him and afraid because of their own unfitness tostand in His Presence. Do we not know what this feeling is? Then it was that He took the 12 aside and began to tell them whatthings should happen to Him. The conversation was private. At this time we will go aside with the chosen Apostles for a littlewhile and hear what their Lord would say to us, even as He aforetime said it to them. May the good Spirit bless our meditation!
I shall have three things to speak of and the first will be our Lord's private communings. This will give us an insight, secondly,into our Lord's private thoughts. And when we have looked into these a little, as far as our dim eyes are able, we will thennotice, in the third place, our Lord's dwelling on the details of His passion, for into those details He went with singularimpressiveness. Let us not forget our need of the Holy Spirit's illumination while we come near to a place so holy as thisof "The Revelation of the Passion."
I. First, then, our LORD'S PRIVATE COMMUNINGS. He did not say all things to all men. He spoke certain matters only to Hisdisciples. To the outside world it was given to hear the parable, but to the disciples was it given to know the explanation.Not even to all the disciples did our Lord make known the whole of His teachings. He had an elect out of the elect! Firstcame 12 out of the many and then came three out of the twelve. These three were admitted to special manifestations which theother nine did not share. As if to carry the principle of election to the utmost extent, one was chosen out of the three,who enjoyed a peculiar personal love and leaned his head upon his Lord's bosom, as the other two never did. We are happy tobe admitted, by the key of Inspiration, into the inner chamber of our Lord's private conferences.
On this occasion, our Lord's communings were with the leaders of His band. Those who have to lead others need more instructionthan the rest. It needs more Grace to lead than to follow. No man can give out what he has not received. If you are to bea fountain of living waters to others, you must, yourself, be filled from the fullness of God. Dear Brothers and Sisters,you whom the Lord has chosen to be vessels of mercy to others, take care that you wait much upon Him yourselves, and are muchwith Him in secret retirement. Live near to God, that you may bring others near. I remember sitting, one rainy day, in aninn, at Cologne, looking out of a window upon a square. There was not much to see, but what was to see I did see, as I occasionallylooked up from my writing.
I saw a man coming to a pump that stood in the middle of the square and from that pump he filled a vessel. A little whileafter, I saw the same man again filling his buckets. All that morning I saw no one else, but only that one water-loving individual,filling his buckets again and again. I thought to myself, "What can he be? Why is he always drawing water?" Then I perceivedthat he was a water carrier, a bearer of water to families in the adjoining streets. Well might he often come to the fountain,himself, since he was supplying others. You that are water carriers for thirsty souls must necessarily come often to the LivingWater, yourselves, and be thankful that your Master is always willing to meet you and give you rich supplies! He graciouslywaits to take you apart in the way and speak to you things which you need to hear and tell. Take care that you hear well thatwhich you are commissioned to publish to all the world. Take good note of this, you who instruct others-neglect not the yieldingof your ears to your Lord quite as completely as your tongue. Hear Him that you may speak of Him. Be sure that you are alonemuch with your Lord, that you may have Him much with you in public.
When our Lord, on this occasion, spoke to the 12, the time was significant-it was on the way to a great trial. To Him, Hiscoming suffering was the sum of all trial. He was about to be wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities!The chastisement of our peace was about to fall upon Him that with His stripes we might be healed. But it was also to be atime of great trial to the disciples. Inasmuch as they loved their Lord, they would sympathize with His sufferings and death.Inasmuch as they trusted in Him, it would be a sharp trial to their faith to see Him dying on the Cross, vanquished by Hisremorseless enemies. Inasmuch as they loved His company, they would weep and lament, and feel like orphaned children whenHe was taken from them. Therefore they must be favored with a special private interview to prepare them for the coming ordeal.
Have you ever noticed how our Lord, before the coming to us of a great tribulation, strengthens our hearts by some heavenlyvisitation? Either before or after the affliction, it has happened to me to enjoy very special manifestations of the Well-Beloved.At such junctures He brings us into His banqueting house and His banner over us is love, that we may go down to the battlelike men refreshed by a feast. He gives us a joyful bracing up, that we may be ready for tomorrow's stern service. I feelthat it is so and I pray that each of you may know, by personal experience, how wise is your Redeemer's foresight-and how,by the communion apart, He prepares us for that which we are to meet at the end of the way. A drink from the brook of fellowshipby the way will make you ready for the heat of the conflict. A word from His myrrh-dropping lips will perfume the air, evenof the valley of death-shade. Speak to us, Lord, and we will not heed the howls of the dog of Hell!
When our Master thus took the 12 apart, we may say of His conversation, that it was upon choice themes. Our Lord's conversationis always holy and suitable for the occasion. He spoke to them of the Scriptures. Luke says, "He took unto Him the twelve,and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the Prophets concerning the Son of Manshall be accomplished." Blessed theme-the Word of the Lord by His Prophets and the fulfillment thereof! Have you ever noticedhow our Divine Lord delights to speak upon the Scriptures? How often does He en-
force His teaching by, "as the Scripture has said"! If He has only two of them and they are walking on the road, we read,"Beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself." Communionwith Christ Jesus must be based on the Word of the Lord!
If you speak half a word derogatory of Holy Scripture, your fellowship will evaporate. Men talk about building upon Christand not upon the Scriptures, but they know not what they say, for our Lord continually established His own claims by appealingto Moses and the Prophets! They would be Christo-centric, they say-I only wish they would! But if they take Christ for a center,they will inevitably have the Scriptures for a center, too-and these men neither want the one nor the other. They care nothingfor the center-they only want to do away with the circumference, that they may roam at their own proud wills! Our Lord madethe written Word to be the reason for many of His acts-He did this and He did not do that-because of what the Scriptures hadsaid. He comes not to take away the Law and the Prophets, yes, not a jot or a tittle does He destroy, so careful is He ofthe Scriptures of truth! We learn from Him to believe not only in Inspired Words, but in Inspired jots and tittles!
They that have been much with Christ always show a profound reverence for the Word of God. I have never yet met with a personworthy to be called a saint who did not love and revere the Inspired Book. I have heard, in the last few days, the newly-coinedword, "bibliolatry," which is meant to set forth the imaginary crime of worshipping the Bible. I know not who may be guiltyof the offense-I have never met with such idolaters. When I do, I will try to show them their error, but at present I am toomuch occupied with the enemies of the Bible to think much of its too ardent friends, if there is such an one! While the wordmay be used in an accusation against us, it most surely is a confession on the part of those who use it that they see nothingspecial about the Scriptures and are angry with those who do! Let them speak as they will, O Lord, "my heart stands in aweof Your Word." I would be numbered with the men who tremble at Your
The words of the Holy Spirit are more than words to me. I tremble lest I should sin against Him by sinning against them! Iwould not take away a word from the Book of this prophecy, nor add thereunto-let it stand as it is-for here it is that Jesusmeets us and communes with us! He opens the Scriptures to our understanding and then He opens our understanding to receivethe Scriptures. He makes us hear His voice in these chapters-yes, we see Him in them-
"Here I behold my Sa vior's face Almost in every page."
We cannot look up to Heaven and see Jesus amid the celestial splendors, but He lovingly looks down from the Throne of HisGlory into the mirror of the Word-and when we look into it we see the sweet reflection of His face. As in a mirror, His countenanceis displayed by Scripture. O Believers, love the Word of God! Prize every letter of it and be prepared to answer the cold,carping words of critics who know nothing of the benediction which comes to us through every line of Inspiration. These arethey who would cruelly divide the living child, for it does not belong to them, but we will have no sword come near it, forit is our love-it is life and bliss to us! Our Lord, in His most private conversation with our souls, speaks in, and by, andthrough the Scriptures in the power of the Holy Spirit!
But the chief theme that our Lord dwelt upon was His own suffering even unto death. Beloved, our Lord Jesus has said manydelightful things-and let Him say what He will, His voice is as angels' music to our ears! But from the Cross, His voice isrichest in consolation. We never come so near to Jesus-at least, such is my experience-as when we gaze upon His bloody sweat,or see Him robed in shame, crowned with thorns and enthroned upon the Cross! Our Lord's incomparable beauties are most visibleamid His griefs. When I see Him on the Cross, I feel that I must borrow Pilate's words and cry, "Behold the Man!" Coveredwith His own blood from the scourging and about to be led away to be crucified between two thieves, you look into His inmostheart and behold what manner of love He bore towards guilty men!
We know not Christ till He puts on His crimson garments. I know not my Beloved when He is only to me as the snow-white lilyfor purity. But when, in His wounding, He is red as the rose, then I perceive Him! "My Beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefamong ten thousand." A suffering Savior bears the palm for me-a wounded Savior is my Lord and my God! The lower He went formy redemption, the higher does He rise in my soul's loving esteem. He saw this when He said, "I, if I am lifted up," for,indeed, it was a lifting up of Him to die upon the cruel Cross. To the wondering universe, the Son of God is lifted to a heightof wondering admiration by His becoming obedient unto death out of love to His
chosen. He is lifted up in every grateful heart and shall be lifted up forever. Our fellowship with Jesus largely flows alongthe great deep of His suffering and to me, at least, it is then deepest, truest and sweetest.
Our Lord talked to the 12 of His sufferings in great detail, of which we will speak further on, but He did not shrink fromdwelling upon His death, nor did He stop there, but foretold His rising again. In each of the three accounts He appears toend the story of His passion by saying that on the third day He would rise again from the dead. That was a glorious climax-"Thethird day He shall rise again." Oh, that blessed doctrine of the Resurrection! If our Lord's record ended at the Cross, itmight drive us to despair. But He is declared to be the Son of God with power by His Resurrection from the dead! That He wasraised from the dead makes us see the merit, the power, the great reward of His death. He that brought again from the deadour Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the Everlasting Covenant, even He will make us perfect inevery good work to do His will. Whenever the Master comes very near to us in His gracious condescension, He shows us not onlythat He shed His blood for us, but that He rose again and always lives to carry on our cause. When you worship most closely,you will worship Him that lived, died, rose again and now lives forever and ever. This is our Lord Jesus Christ! He is notonly a teacher, or merely a bright example, but One whose death is the source of our salvation and whose Resurrection andeternal Glory are the guarantee and foretaste of our everlasting bliss! A living, dying, risen Christ is One with whom wehave joyful fellowship! And if we know Him not in this Character, we do not know Him at all!
Furthermore, He conversed with them upon their share in all this. They were one with Him in that which would befall Him. Hesays, "Behold, we go up to Jerusalem." True, they would have no share in the scourging, the spitting and the Crucifixion.He must tread that winepress alone. But yet they would, with Him, carry the cross in the near future, and with Him deny themselvesduring the rest of their lives. Henceforward it would not only be Jesus the Lord who would bear witness for God and righteousness,but the followers of the Crucified One would unite in testimony to the same Truth of God, for the same great purpose! It waswell for Him to speak to them on such a practical theme-they would be cheered and comforted in later days when they rememberedthat He had told them of these things. He will draw us into very intimate communion if we are willing to take up His Crossand bear His reproach. We lose much when we quit the separated path because it is rough, for we lose our Lord's sweet company.Oh, for Grace to love the rough paths because we see His footprints on them!
They listened to this private talk, but we are told by Luke that it was very much lost upon them because they did not understandHim. "And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which werespoken." "But," you say, "it was very simple." Possibly that is why they did not understand it. Numbers of people imaginethat they understand mysteries and yet the simplicities of the faith are hid from their eyes because they are gazing afterabstruse doctrines. They search after difficult things and miss the plain Truth of God! We groan as we wantonly dive intoa profound abyss and yet we stand confounded over a little transparent stream, which, to wade through, would bring us bliss!
When our Lord told the 12 that He would die, they imagined that it was a parable, concealing some deep mystery. They lookedat one another and they tried to fathom where there was no depth, but where the Truth lay on the surface. The deep thingsof God, thousands will pry into, but yet these are not saving matters-nor are they of any great practical value. Fixed fate,free will, predestination, prophecy and the like-these have small bearings upon our salvation from sin-but in the death ofour Lord lies the kernel of the matter! Beloved, when we try to commune with Jesus, let us wear the garments of simplicity!It is the serpent who trades in subtlety, but I would have you remember "the simplicity which is in Christ Jesus." There isin Him a depth which we cannot fathom, but His every Word is the pure Truth of God and those things which are necessary aremade so plain that he who runs may read and he who reads may run!
Believe Him to mean what He says and take His promises as they stand and His precepts in their plain meaning! And, oh, ifwe do this, we shall be made greatly wise! Do not confuse your minds with doctrinal riddles nor amuse your souls with spiritualmysteries, but believe in Him who is Jesus, the faithful and true, who makes known to us the heart of the Father! Believethat He died in our place! Believe that He took our sin upon Him and carried it all away! Believe that we are justified throughHis Resurrection and are made to live because He lives! Hypotheses and critical doubts we may leave to the dogs that firstsniffed them out, but as for us, we will be as children who eat the bread their father gives them and
ask no questions as to the field in which the wheat was reaped-and raise no debates as to the mill at which the seed was ground!
Thus, you see, the private conversations of our Lord with the 12 dealt with His sufferings and death-and His communicationscome home to our hearts in proportion as we are prepared to receive them in childlike simplicity.
II. Secondly, we will now turn our minds to THE PRIVATE THOUGHTS OF OUR LORD JESUS. We shall not be
presumptuous if we humbly enquire-What were the thoughts of our Lord at the time? When He had called them quite apart andspoken to them, we may be quite sure that what He said to them was the outcome of His innermost meditations.
Our Lord was forecasting His death in all its mournful details. Do you not know that frequently it is more painful to anticipatedeath than it is actually to die? Yet our Lord dwelt upon His sufferings, even to their minutiae. A person was speaking tome, the other day, of a painful operation which he was bound to undergo. There was no probability that he could get into thehospital for another month or two and he remarked that he greatly wished that the operation could have been performed sooner,"For," he said, "it is so painful to be looking forward to a matter so distressing. Let it be soon," was his cry. Our Lordwas like a grain of wheat which is cast into the ground and lies there, for a while, before it dies. He was buried, as itwere, in prospective agony-immersed in suffering which He foresaw. In the thought of the Cross, He endured it before He feltthe nails! The shadow of His death was upon Him before He reached the tree of doom! Yet He did not put away the thought, butdwelt upon it as one who tastes a cup before he drinks it to the dregs. After so deliberate a testing, is it not all the moremarvelous that He did not refuse the draught?
Did He not remember His engagement to go through with our redemption? "Lo, I come," He said, "in the volume of the Book itis written of Me." He had pledged Himself by solemn Covenant and in the Book it was written that He would stand in our placeand give His life an offering for sin. From this suretyship He never departed. He knew that the Father would bruise Him andput Him to grief in the approaching day of His anger. He knew that the wicked would pierce His hands and His feet. He knewall that would occur and He stayed not back from the pledge which He had given in the council chamber of eternity, that Hislife should be rendered up as a ransom for many! It were well if we, also, remembered our vows to God and the obligationsunder which we are placed by His great love.
Our Lord's thoughts took the form of a resolution to do the Father's will to the end. He set His face steadfastly to go toJerusalem. Nothing could make Him look aside. He had undertaken and He would go through with it. Unless it should prove possiblefor us to be saved otherwise, He would not set aside that cup which His Father had given Him to drink. The thought of ourperishing, He could not bear-that was not to be tolerated. He would suffer all imaginable and unimaginable woe sooner thandesert the cause He had espoused. He was straitened-so He described it-straitened till His labor was accomplished! He waslike a Man pent up against His will-He longed to be discharging His tremendous task. He had an awful work to do, an agonizingsuffering to bear, and He felt fettered until He could be at it-"How am I straitened till it is accomplished!" He was as ahostage bound for others, longing to be set free! He longed to be bearing the penalty to which He had voluntarily subjectedHimself by His Covenant Suretyship. He therefore thought upon that "obedience unto death" which He was determined and resolvedto render.
He had an eye, all the while, to you and to me. While He was thinking of death, He was chiefly regarding those for whom Hewould suffer. I doubt not that there flashed before that mighty mind the individuals who make up the vast host of His redeemed-andamong them there were insignificant individuals such as we are. Out of His strong love to us, even to us, He determined topay our ransom price in death-it was part of His solace that He would deliver you and me. "He loved me and gave Himself forme." He made a voluntary offering of Himself for me, before He actually died-often and often surrendering Himself in purposebefore the Cross was reared for the actual offering up of His body once and for all.
Then there came into His mind, also, the thought of the grand sequel of it all. He would rise again! On the third day it wouldall be over and the recompense would begin. A few hours of bitter grief. A night of bloody sweat. A night and a morning ofmockery when He would be flouted by the abjects and made nothing of by the profane. A direful afternoon of deadly anguishon the Cross and of dark desertion by Jehovah! And then the bowing of the head and a little rest in the grave for His body.And on the third day the light would break upon mankind, for the Sun of Righteousness would arise with healing in His wings!The light that would come when He should rise would lighten the Gentiles and be the Glory of His people Israel. He would thenhave said, "It is finished," and He would shortly afterward ascend to reap His reward in
personal glorification and in receiving gifts for men-yes, for the rebellious, also, that the Lord God might dwell among them!
Surely our Lord's thoughts were all the while upon His Father! He always remembered the Beloved Father to whom He was to be"obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross." That 22nd Psalm, which might well be our Lord's on the Cross, is fullof God-it is an appeal to God. As our Lord went on His way with the 12, conversing upon the road, they must have seen thatHe was in close communion with God. There was about Him a deep solemnity of spirit-a rapt communion with the Unseen-a heavenlywalking with God even beyond His usual. This, mixed with His deeply-fixed re-solve-and that stern joy which only they canfeel who are resolved to accomplish a great purpose through bowing to the Divine will, let it cost what it may. The God andFather of our Lord Jesus was everything to Him! And in all His acts, His heart was set upon Jehovah's Glory.
I wish that I had time for my subject, but it is overwhelming me. I can only open the door and bid you look into the privatethoughts of Him whose thoughts are priceless gems, whereas yours and mine are as the pebbles of the brook. What meditationswere His! How precious, also, are Your thoughts unto me, O Christ! How great is the sum of them! Wonderful things did Youponder in Your soul on those days of Your nearing passion!
III. Now we will have a few moments as to OUR LORD'S DWELLING ON DETAILS. I do not want to preach. I wish to be a kind ofguide for your thoughts, just setting the example by thinking first that you may follow. May the sacred Spirit now lead youquietly into the points upon which our Lord so calmly enlarged!
Note well what our Lord said about His sufferings. "Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man shall be betrayed."Stop there! "Betrayed"! It is as though I heard the deep boom of a death knell. "Betrayed"! "Betrayed"! To die, yes, thatis not a word with a sting in it to Him! But, "Betrayed"!-that means sold by cruel treachery! It means that one who ate breadwith Him lifted up his heel against Him! It means that a man who was His familiar acquaintance, with whom He walked to theHouse of God in company, sold Him for a paltry bribe. "Betrayed for thirty pieces of silver! A goodly price, indeed, for theblood of such a Friend! "Betrayed"! Hear how He cries-"If it were an enemy, then I could have borne it." "Betrayed"! It wasno stranger-it was no bloodhound of the Pharisees who scented Him out in the garden-but, "Judas also, which betrayed Him,knew the place." Betrayed with a kiss and with a friendly word! Handed over to them who sought His blood by one who oughtto have defended Him to the death! "Betrayed"! It is a dreadful word to be set here before the passion, and it throws a luridlight over it all. We read-"The same night in which He was betrayed He took bread." This was the bitterest drop in His cup-thatHe was betrayed.
And still is He betrayed! If the Gospel dies in England, write on its tomb, "Betrayed." If our churches lose their holy influenceamong men, write on them, "Betrayed." What care we for infidels? What care we for those who curse and blaspheme? They cannothurt the Christ! His wounds are those which He receives in the house of His friends. "Betrayed"! O Savior, some of us havebeen betrayed, but ours was a small sorrow compared with Yours, for You were betrayed into the hands of sinners by one whoclaimed to be Your friend, by one who was bound by every tie to have been Your faithful follower. "Betrayed"! Beloved, I cannotbear the word! It falls like a flake of fire into my bosom and burns its way into my inmost soul. "Betrayed"! And such a faithfulFriend as He! So full of love and yet betrayed!
Read on. "The Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes."" The chief priests ought to havealways been His best defenders! They were the leaders of the religion of the day-these chief priests were the guides of Israel!When Israel bowed before the Lord, the chief priests presented the sacrifice. Yet these were our Lord's most bitter enemies-bytheir malice He was condemned and crucified! It is hard to have the professed servants of God against you. The scribes, too,those Bible writers and Bible interpreters-these, also, were fiercely against Him. From the hands of scribes He would haveless mercy than from soldiers. I said, the other Lord's-Day, what I now repeat-I would rather be bitten by wolves than bysheep! It is wretched work to have those against you who are reckoned to be the best men of the time. It was little to Himto have Herod against Him, or Pilate and the Romans as His foes, for they knew no better. But it was heart-rending work tosee the men of the Sanhedrim, the men of prayers and phylacteries, the men of the Temple and of the synagogue arrayed againstHim! Yet into their hands He falls! Good Master, You are delivered into the hands of men who know no mercy, for they hateYou for Your faithful words! They can compromise, but You cannot! They can trifle with language, but You cannot! They canplay the hypocrite and that, You cannot do!
Read on-"And they shall condemn Him to death." They did not leave the sentence of condemnation to the Romans, but they, themselves,passed sentence upon their Victim. The priests, whose office made them types of Himself-and the scribes, who were the officialinterpreters of His Father's Book-these condemned the Holy and Just One! They count Him worthy of death-nothing less willserve their turn. This the Christ could plainly see and it was no small trial to come under the censure of His country's governors.They could not put Him to death, themselves. If they dared, they would have stoned Him and that would have broken the prophecywhich declared that in death His enemies must pierce His hands and His feet. They can condemn Him to death, but they cannotexecute the sentence! Yet none the less, this iron entered into His soul that those who were professedly the servants of Godcondemned Him to die! If you have ever tasted of this cup you know that it has wormwood in it.
Notice, further-"And shall deliver Him to the Gentiles." All men conspired in our Master's death-not half the world, but allof it must have a hand in the tragedy of Calvary. The Gentile must come in. He takes his share in this iniquity, for Pilatecondemns Him to the Cross. The chief priests hand Him over to Pilate and he commits Him to the Roman soldiers that they maydo the cruel deed. They "delivered Him to the Gentiles." The Master dwells on this. It opens another gate through which Hissorrows poured. At the hands of the Gentiles He dies-and for Gentiles He suffered. Beloved, I like to see how the Master notesthis point. He makes distinctions. He does not say that He should be condemned by Pilate, but He is condemned to die by thechief priests and then He is delivered to the Gentiles. He sees it all and dwells upon the points of special interest. O Believer,behold your Lord bound and taken away to the Hall of Pilate! See Him delivered to the Gentiles, while His fellow countrymencry, "We have no king but Caesar"! They shout, "Crucify Him! Crucify Him!" And the Gentiles carry out their cruel demand.Unanimity among our persecutors must add greatly to the sting of their unkindness.
These three words follow-"To mock, and to scourge, and to crucify Him." Mark puts in, "To spit upon Him." That was a sad partof the mockery. What dreadful scorning He endured! From the Jews, when they blindfolded Him and buffeted Him-and from theGentiles when they put on Him a purple robe and thrust a reed into His hand, bowed the knee and cried before Him, "Hail, Kingof the Jews!" They plucked His hair. They smote His cheeks. They spat in His face. Mockery could go no farther. It was cruel,cutting, cursed scorn! Ridicule sometimes breaks hearts that are hardened against pain-and the Christ had to bear all theridicule that human minds could invent. They were maliciously witty. They jested at His Person. They jested at His prayers.They mocked Him when He cried, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" Herein is immeasurable grief and the Savior foresawit and spoke about it.
That was not all-they scourged Him. I will not harrow your hearts by trying to describe scourging as it existed among theRomans. The scourge was an infamous instrument of torture. It is said to have been made of the sinews of oxen, intertwistedwith the hucklebones of sheep and slivers of bone-so that every time the lashes fell, they plowed the back and laid bare thewhite bones of the shoulders. It was an anguish more cruel than the grave! But our Lord endured it to the fullest. They mockedHim and they scourged Him-He dwells upon each separate item. Some of our most touching hymns upon our Lord's passion are spokenof by the cold-blooded critics of today as sensuous. "I cannot bear," says one, "to hear so much about the physical agoniesof Christ." Beloved, we must preach the physical agonies of Christ more than ever because this is an age of affectation inwhich His mental and spiritual griefs are no more apprehended than those of His body!
The device is to be rid of His sufferings altogether! This age is as fond of physical pleasure as any that has gone beforeit and it must be made to know that physical pain was a great ingredient in the cup which our Lord drank for man's redemption!Very many are so unspiritual that they will never be reached by high-soaring language, appealing to a delicacy which theydo not possess. We must exhibit the bleeding Savior if we would make men's hearts bleed for sin! The cries of His great griefmust ring in their ears or they will remain deaf! Let us not be ashamed to dwell upon points upon which the Lord, Himself,dwelt.
Then He adds, "to crucify Him." Here I will come to a pause. Behold Him! Behold Him! His hands are extended and cruelly nailedto the wood. His feet are fastened to the tree and He is left to bear the weight of His body upon His hands and feet. Seehow the nails tear through the flesh as the weight drags the body down and enlarges the wounds! Look, He is in a fever! Hismouth is dried up and has become like an oven! And His tongue cleaves to the roof thereof! Crucifixion was an inhuman deathand the Savior was "obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross." The wonder is that He
could foresee this and speak of it so calmly. He meditates upon it and speaks to choice familiar friends about it! Oh, themastery of love, strong as death! He contemplates the Cross and despises its shame!
Thus He dwells on it all and then closes by saying, "and the third day He shall rise again." We must never forgot that, forHe never forgets it! Ah, you may think as much as you will of Calvary and let your tears flow like rivers. You may sit atGethsemane and say, "Oh, that my head were waters, and my eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for myLord!" But, after all, you must wipe those tears away, for He is not in the grave-He rose again on the third day! O blessedmorning! Not to be celebrated by an Easter, once in the year, but to be commemorated on every first day of the week, morethan 50 times in each year! Every seven days that the sun shines upon us brings us a new record of His Resurrection! We maysing every Lord's-Day morning-
"Today He rose and left the dead,
And Satan's empire fell!
Today the saints His triumph spread,
And all His wonders tell."
The first day of the week stands forever as the remembrance of our risen Lord and on that day He renews His special communingswith His people! We believe in Him! We rise in Him! We triumph in Him! And, "He ever lives to make intercession for us." Thus,you see, I have not preached my own thoughts, but I have set you thinking. Treasure these thoughts in your minds! All thisweek, sweeten your souls with the sacred spices of our Lord's thoughts and Words when near His death. God bless this meditationto you by His Holy Spirit!
If you have never believed in Him, may you believe in Him at once! Why delay? He is able to save unto the uttermost! Believein Him right now! And if you have believed, keep on believing and let your believing grow more intense. Think more of Jesus,love Him more, serve Him more and grow more like He. Peace be unto you for His dear sake! Amen.
PORTION OF SCRIPTURE READ BEFORE SERMON-Matthew 16:13-28.