Sermon 3404. A Gross Indignity
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, APRIL 30, 1914.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"And they spit upon Him." Matthew 27:30.
The night before He had "sweat, as it were, great drops of blood falling to the ground," that fair visage, which was "fairerthan that of any of the sons of men," had been marred by agony and grief without parallel. During that night He had no rest-Hewas dragged away from one tribunal to another. First, He was brought before a council of priests. Soon after He stood beforePilate and now, after the mockery of a trial, He is given up to the soldiers, that they may mock Him before His execution.'Tis He-the world's Redeemer, the long expected Messiah-He is led out as a condemned criminal-condemned as a traitor and givenup for blasphemy, that He may die the death! Do you see Him? They bring forth an old stool-they call that a throne-the Monarchwho sways the scepter of the universe, is placed thereon! They thrust into His hand a reed to mock that golden scepter, thetouch of which has so often given mercy to rebels! And now they play the worshipper before Him. But what is their worship?It consists of ribaldry and jeer. Having made sport of His kingship, they turn to ridicule His Character as a Prophet. Theyblindfold Him and strike Him in the face, some on one cheek, and some on the other, buffeting Him with the palms of theirhands! They pluck His facial hair and then they say, making fools of themselves rather than of Him whom they thought to makea fool of, "Prophesy, who is he that struck You?" "Who is this that just now plucked Your beard?" "Who is it that struck Youon the cheek?" Not content with this, they loosen the blindfold and He sees. What a sight is before Him! Faces in every conceivableshape mocking Him- thrusting out the tongue or screwing it into the cheek, calling Him all the names that their low-liveddictionary could summon up, not content with heaping common scorn upon Him, but counting Him to be the very offscouring ofall things. Names with which they would not degrade a dog, they use to defile Him! Then, to consummate all, they spit intoHis face. Those eyes, which make Heaven glad, and cause the angels to rejoice, are covered with the spit of these rascal soldiers.Down His cheek it trickles. That awful brow, the nod or shake of which reveals the everlasting decrees of God, is stainedwith spit from the mouths of wretches whom His own hands had made, whom He could have dashed into eternal destruction hadHe willed!
When I muse on this, my soul is filled with sorrow. The very idea that Jesus Christ could ever have been spit upon by onein human shape appalls me! Do you remember what sort of face it was that these soldiers spit into? Shall I read you a descriptionof it? One that loved Him and knew Him well, speaks of Him thus-"My Beloved is white. . . His Countenance is lovely." (Solomon'sSong, 5:10, etc.). It was into this dear face, a coarse brutal soldiery must void their vile spit! O Church of Christ, wasever grief like yours, that your Husband should thus be defiled and that, too, for your sake? Was ever love like His thatHe should suffer these indignities for you? The angels crowd around His Throne to catch a glimpse of that fair Countenance.When He was born, they came to Bethlehem's manger that they might gaze upon that face while He was yet an Infant! And allthrough His devious path of sorrow, He was "seen of angels." They never turned away their eyes from Him, for never had theyseen a visage so enchanting! What must they have thought when gathering round their Lord? Surely they would have gladly stretchedtheir wings to have shielded that dear face! What anger must have filled their holy souls, what grief, if grief can be knownby beings like themselves, when they saw these wretches, these inhuman creatures, spitting on Perfection! Oh, how they musthave grieved when they saw the nasty spit about that mouth which is "most sweet," trickling down from those eyes which are"like the eyes of doves by rivers of waters," staining the cheeks which are "as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers," and fallingon those lips which are "like lilies, dropping sweet-smelling myrrh." This is a subject upon which I must meditate, even thoughI cannot preach. I cannot describe it to you unless your soul can now draw near to your buffeted Master, unless the Holy Spiritshall give you a near and dear-an intimate, quiet, soul-satisfying view and vision of Him. I cannot give it to you. As wellmight I attempt to hold a candle to show you the sun as to hope, by anything that I can say, to touch your passions or moveyour hearts towards my dear Lord and Master, if the vision of Him does not move you to grieve for sin, and to love Him becauseHe suffered thus for you. All I propose tonight is to offer just a few thoughts on this startling fact in the history of ourRedemption.
"They spit upon Him." Let us learn here the deep depravity of the human race. When I see Adam in the midst of comfort puttingforth his hand to take that one fruit which his Master had reserved for Himself, I see, indeed, sin and arrogance, daringassumption and a heinous crime! But I do not see so much of levity and lawlessness, there, as I do in this, that creaturesshould spit on the Creator! As I look through the annals of human guilt, I see strange stories of man in reckless, defiantrebellion against his Divine Sovereign. From that first evil hour until now, what strange monsters of guilt has the earthseen! We have heard of rapine and murder, crimes for which new names have been coined to meet the new atrocities which havebeen committed! Homicide, fratricide, patricide and matricide in which every sanctity of kin has been outraged. We have readof fornication and of adultery, and of lusts worse than bestial. Good God, what is not man capable of? Take but the bit fromhis mouth and the bridle from his jaws and to what depth of iniquity will he not descend? There is not a filthy dream thatSatan ever had in the dark watches of his midnight reverie which man will not embody in act, and carry out in all its grimand dread reality! Strange are those tales that have come from a far-off land, where the heathen worship in their darkness.They not merely bow down to blocks of wood and stone, but degrade themselves with vices into which we could never have imaginedhumanity could plunge! O God, my heart is heavy as a stone, and smitten with very grief when I think of what an evil thingman is! Why did You not sweep him from the world? How can You permit a viper so obnoxious to nestle in the bosom of Your Providence?Oh, why do You permit such a den of thieves to wander abroad such a cage of unclean birds to swing in ether, and to be carriedby Your power round the sun? Why do You not blast it, smite its mountains with desolation and fill its valleys with ashesof fire? Why do You not sweep the race of humans clean away and let their very name become a hissing and a scorn? But, myBrothers and Sisters, bad as man is, I think he never was so bad-or rather, his badness never came out to the full so much-aswhen gathering all his spite, his pride, his lust, his desperate defiance, his abominable wickedness into one mouthful-hespat into the face of the Son of God, Himself! Oh, this is an act that transcends every other! There are other deeds connectedwith the Crucifixion quite as malignant, but could there be any so vile? Surely we may say of the men that drove the nailsinto the Savior's hands that they did but that which they were ordered to do. They were soldiers, and because they were commandedby their military superiors, therefore, they did it. But this was a gratuitous act-this was done without command, withoutany pressure! It was the base wickedness of their own hearts. Sin saw Perfection in its power, and it must spit on Perfection'scheeks! The creature, the erring creature, saw its Creator in the mightiness of His condescension, putting Himself into Hiscreature's power-and the creature spit upon Him to show how much He hated, how much He loathed, despised, abhorred, detestedthe very thought of Godhead-even when it was Godhead veiled in human flesh and come into the world to redeem!
And now, while you blush with me for human nature, thus foaming out its own reeking depravity, do pray remember that suchis your nature, and such is mine. Let us not talk of things in the general, but bring them home in particular. Just such abase wretch am I, and such a base wretch are you, my dear Hearer, by nature, as were those who thus insulted our Lord. I neednot go far for proofs, for if we have not spit into the Savior's face, literally-that dear sorrow-scarred visage-we have,as opportunity offered, been as rude and wanton as they! Do you not remember the poor saint of God who talked to us of thethings of the Kingdom-and we laughed him out of countenance? Do we not remember that servant of ours who anxiously longedto serve her God, but we threw every obstacle in her way, and never missed an opportunity of venting some jest or sneer uponher? And O, most precious Book of God, you legacy of my Redeemer, how often in the days of my unregeneracy have I spit onyou and thrust you into a corner, that the novel of the day might have my attention? I have bidden you lie still, that I mightread the newspaper, or something more trivial, and it may be, less innocent, might occupy my mind. O, you ministers of Christ!How have our hearts despised you! And you, you lovely ones, the lowly in heart who follow Christ in the midst of an evil generation,how often have we said hard things of you, mocked your piety, despised your humility, laughed at your prayers, and made jokesat those very expressions whichshowed the sincerity of your hearts! In all this what have we done? Have we not really spitinto the face of Christ? Come, let us weep together! Let us sorrow as those who mourn over a first-born son, whose corpselies unburied before them. I have spit into my Savior's face, but mercy of mercies, He who stands before you tonight, self-convicted,can also add, "But He has not spit in mine. No, He has kissed me with the kisses of His love," and He has said, "Go your way;your sins, which are many, are all forgiven. I have blotted out your iniquities like a cloud, and like a thick cloud yourtransgressions." Melt, then, you eyes, and stream down these cheeks, you briny tears, when I remember that He, whom I oncedespised, has not despised me! That He whom I abhorred, has not abhorred me! And though we hid, as it were, our faces fromHim, He has not hidden His face from us-but here we are, forgiven sinners-though once we assailed Him with indignity as grossas those who spat into His face!
Having propounded that melancholy fact, I pass on. May God the Holy Spirit impress each of these Truths upon our minds whileI merely glance at them.
Why was our Master's face full of spit? Sweet thought! Our faces were full of spots, and if the Master would save us, Hisface must be full of spots, too! He had none of His own-therefore those spots shall be given Him from the lips of scoffers.You know it became Him who saved us, that in everything He should be made like unto us. We were wounded. What then? "He waswounded for our transgressions." We were sick, and He, Himself, "bore our sicknesses, and carried our sorrows." Since we wereworms, He must say, "I am a worm, and no man." And we being sinful, He must bear our sin and be numbered with the transgressors-andled away to die. In all things He must become a true Substitute for those whom He came into the world to redeem!
And now, my Soul, come here and look at this wondrous spectacle again. The face of your Lord Jesus Christ is filled with spit!Was ever a sight so loathsome and so disgusting as this? But mark, this is your case. Down your cheeks something worse thanspit ran-from your eyes there flowed something worse than came from the lips of soldiers-and from your mouth there has gushedforth a stream which is worse than that which came upon the Savior's face. Come, look at this mirror tonight, my dear Brothersand Sisters in Christ, for the face of Christ is the mirror of your souls! What He endured mirrors forth what we were by nature.Oh, what spots there were in us! What hellish spots that streams of water could not wash away! What evils of every kind-pride,and anger, and lust, and defiance of God! Spots, did I say? Why, surely the sun has looked upon our faces and we have becomeblack all over as the tents of Kedar. 'Tis no more with us, now, a matter of spots-by nature we are as the Ethiopian-black,thoroughly black! But, glory be unto His name, His spots have taken away our spots! This spit has made us clean! We are blackno longer! By faith we may feel, tonight, that that spit on the Savior's face has washed away the sin from ours. His shamehas taken away our sin! That spitting has taken away our guilt. And now what says your Lord of us? You know what sort of faceHe has. Listen to Him while He describes ours. You would scarcely think that He could mean it, but certainly He does, forHe has seen us often and, therefore, He should know. He says of us, O prince's daughter-"Your head (Song 7:5, 6) upon you is like Carmel, and the hair of your head like purple: the king is held in the galleries." And again He says, "Youare all fair, My love; there is no spot in you." When I first had that text laid home to my soul, well do I remember how itravished my heart! I could not understand that my Lord and Master should actually look me in the face and say, "Lo, you arefair; there is no spot in you." Oh, it is a grand and noble Truth of God! Faith grasps it, love dotes over it, our heartstreasure it! There is no spot left in a Believer-
"Covered is my unrighteousness, From condemnation I am free."
One bath in the precious blood takes away all spots, makes us whiter than the driven snow and we stand before God fairestamong the fair, accepted in the Beloved! Learn, then, O Church of Christ, this great Truth of God-that the spit and the shameof the Savior's face have delivered you from the odious corruption that disfigured you, and you may, therefore, rejoice inHis meekness who bore your reproach!
What Christ suffered by way of shame, we must remember, is a picture of what we would have suffered forever if He had notbecome our Substitute! Ah, my Soul, when you see your Lord mocked, remember that shame and everlasting contempt must otherwisehave been forever and ever your portion. One of the ingredients of Hell will be shame-to be laughed at for our folly, to becalled madmen for our sin, to feel that angels despise us, that God scorns us, that the righteous, themselves, abhor us-thiswill be one of the flames of the Pit that shall burn the spirits of men. To have no honoranywhere, not even among their basecompanions, is a bitter prospect, but there is no rank in Hell, no being honored in the Pit that yawns for the souls of men."Shame shall be the promotion of fools, and everlasting contempt shall be their perpetual inheritance." And think, my Soul!This had been your portion, but your Master bore it for you! And now you shall never be ashamed because your master was ashamedfor you! You shall not be confounded, neither shall you be put to shame, for He has taken away your reproach and borne iton His own visage! And as for your rebuke, it has entered into His own heart and He has taken it away forever-it shall neverbe brought to your remembrance. Think, dear Friends, of the honor which awaits the Christian, by-and-by-
"It does not yet appear How great we must be made, But when we see our Savior here, We shall be like our Head."
We shall judge the angels! The fallen spirits shall be dragged up from their infernal dens, and we shall sit as assessorswith the Son of God, to say, "Amen" to that solemn sentence which shall perpetuate their fiery doom! We shall reign upon thisearth a thousand years with Him, and then, clothed in white robes, our joyous spirits in our risen bodies shall enter triumphantinto Heaven's gates! There we shall be crowned and treated as princes of the blood. There shall angels be our waiting servantsand principalities and powers shall assist us in our service of song. Before the mighty Throne of blazing light, where God,Himself, reigns, we shall stand, and sing, and bow, and worship-and we, too, shall have our thrones and our kingdoms, andour crowns, and we shall reign forever and ever and ever! Then we shall look back to that face that was covered with spitand we shall say, "We owe all this to that dear disfigured face! All this glory is the result of His shame, because He hidnot His face from shame and spitting." Therefore we have "washed our robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."Therefore stand we in the full blaze of Heaven's own glory and, therefore, we serve Jehovah day and night in His Temple! Letthis sweet thought, then, dwell on your mind. Christ's shame has taken away your shame! His endurance of the spitting hassecured your everlasting honor!
To draw another practical Truth of God from this short but thrilling sentence, "They spit upon Him." Blessed Master, "if Iam like You, they well spit on me." The less I am like You, the more the world will love me, but if, perhaps, these wayfarersshould see something in me that shows I have been with You, they will give me the remnants of that spit which they did notspit into Your face. Oh, my Lord and Master! One prayer I offer, "Give me Grace to bear that spit, thankfully to receive it,and to rejoice because I am counted worthy not only to believe on You, but to suffer for Your sake!" There are many of you,I know, who meet the quiz and hear the laughter of your old companions when you forsake them to follow Christ. In the associationsyou have formed, and in your family connections, you often encounter a treatment which is not pleasant to flesh and blood.Does not the Evil One sometimes whisper to you, "Follow not with Christ, for this is a sect everywhere spoken against"? "LeaveHim and be honored! Go not with Him, when He goes through Vanity Fair. Oh, do not suffer with Him this trial of cruel mocking."Ah, that is the song of Satan! Stop your ears to it, and listen not for a moment, but listen to this true note from Heaven,"Rejoice you in that day, and leap for joy when they shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for My name's sake,for so persecuted they the Prophets that were before you." Take joyfully not only the spoiling of your goods, but the spoilingof your character! Sing, as our sweet hymn puts it-
"Jesus, I my cross have taken, All to leave and follow Thee. Naked, poor, despised, forsaken, You my All from hence shallbe."
Go forth outside the camp, bearing the reproach. When at any time your heart sinks within you, I would have you consider Himwho "endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest you be weary and faint in your mind." If at any time youwould hide your face from the shame and spitting, think you see Him enduring it, and then you will thrust out your face andsay, "Let me be a sharer with my Master! Treat me like my Lord! If you spit on Him, spit on me! And rather than spit in Hisface, spit in mine! I will be glad enough if I can but shelter Him. It is my pride to suffer, my boast to be despised forHis sake."-
"I nail my glory to His Cross, And pour contempt on all my shame."
Oh, this is a glory which an archangel can never know-the glory of being trampled on by the world for Jesus' sake! The honorof fellowship in suffering with Christ! And it shall be followed by a greater glory, still, when we shall reign with Him above,because we have suffered with Him below.
To conclude, let me draw one more lesson from the fact that "They spit on Him." Christian Brothers and Sisters, you that loveyour Master, praise Him and extol Him. How the early Church used to talk of its martyrs! After those good men, who were stretchedon the rack, had their flesh torn from their bones with red-hot pincers, they were exposed to the gaze of the multitude! Nakedand their limbs cut away joint by joint, they were then burned in the fire, but stood calm and dared without a sigh to declarethat though they were cut into a thousand pieces, they would never forsake their Lord and Master! How did the Church ringwith their praises-every Christian pulpit talked of them, every Believer had an anecdote concerning them! And shall not ourconversation ring with the honor of this Martyr, this glorious Witness, this Redeemer who thus suffered shame, and spittingand death on the Cross for us? Honor Him! Honor Him! Honor Him, you blood-bought ones! Be not content to sing-
"Bring forth the royal diadem And crown Him Lord of all,"but bring it out! Make it not a matter of song, but of deed! Bringit out, and put it on His head! You daughters of Jerusalem, go forth to meet King Solomon and crown Him! Crown Him with heartand hands! Take the palm branches of your praises and go forth to meet Him! Spread your garments in the way, and cry, "Hosannah!Hosannah! Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord," leading captivity captive, and scattering gifts for men! Talkof Him in your houses. Laud Him in your conversation! Praise Him in your songs! Waft you awhile your melodies on earth, tillyou shall lay aside this clay, and enter into Heaven, there to give Him the fiery songs of flaming tongues! Then emulate theseraphs, and surround His Throne with everlasting hallelujahs, crying, "Unto Him that loved us, and that washed us from oursins in His blood, unto Him be glory forever and ever!" I think I see Him now! He stands before me! I see that very face thatonce endured the spitting. Oh, you angels! Bring forth the crown! Bring forth the crown and let it be put upon His head thisday! I see the piercings, where thorns penetrated His temple. Bring forth the diadem, I say, and put it on His head! 'Tisdone! A shout rises up to Heaven, louder than the voice of many waters. And what now? Bring forth another, and another, andanother crown, and yet another, and another! And now I see Him. There He stands-and "on His head are many crowns." It is notenough! You redeemed saints, bring forth more! You blood-bought ones, as you stream into Heaven's gates, each one of you offerHim a new diadem! And you, my Soul, though "less than the least of all saints," and the very chief of sinners, put your crownupon His head! By faith, I do it now. "Unto Him that loved me, and that washed me from my sins in His blood, unto Him be gloryforever and ever." From pole to pole let the echoes sound! Yes, let the whole earth, and all that dwell therein, say, "Amen!"
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: JOHN8:29-59; MARK 14:1-9; JOHN 12:1-7
Christ thus spoke to His adversaries.
Verse 29. And He that sent Me is with Me: the Father has not left Me alone: for I always do those things that please Hi .Brothers and Sisters, what Christ could say, I trust many of His servants can also say in a like manner. "He that sent meis with me." What power, what pleasure must the Presence of God give to His servants! "The Father has not left me alone."Oh, how blessed to feel that behind us is the sound of our Master's feet and that in us is the Temple of His Presence! Wecannot, however, say as Christ did, "I always do those things that please Him," for, alas, we have the remembrance of sinthis morning-and have to confess it in His sight. But let us also remember that He is faithful and just to forgive us oursins.
30, 31. As He spoke these words, many believed on Him. Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, If you continuein My word, then are you My disciples, indeed. It is not a mere profession that makes a man a saint-there must be a continuanceof well-doing. We bind lads apprentice for a little time, but no man belongs to Christ unless he belongs to Him forever. Theremust be an entire giving up of one's self, in life and unto death, to the Lord's cause.
32-34. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. They answered Him, We are Abraham's seed, and werenever in bondage to any man: why do You say, You shall be made free? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you,Whoever commits sin is the servant of sin. There is this in the original, "Whoever makes sin." It is not exactly, "Whoevercommits it," because if so, all would be the servants of sin and God would have no sons at all! But it says in the original"Whoever makes sin," that is, whoever makes it his choice, and makes it the delight of his soul- whoever does this is theservant of sin and is no son of God.
35. And the servant abides not in the house forever, but a son abides forever He may be in the house and have slender privilegesfor a time, but these soon go away.
36. If the Son, therefore, shall make you free, you shall be free, indeed. And give you the privileges of sons!
37. 38. I know that you are Abraham's seed, but you seek to kill Me because My word has no place in you. I speak that whichIhave seen with My Father: and you do that which you have seen with your father Men always act according to their natures.We shall find the polluted fountain sending forth filthy streams. We do not expect to hear sweet singing from a serpent, nor,on the other hand, do we expect hissing from the bird, but every creature is after its own kind. Christ, coming from the Father,reveals God! Ungodly men, coming from the devil, reveal the devil.
39-42. They answered and said unto Him, Abraham is our father Jesus said unto them, If you were Abraham's children, you woulddo the works of Abraham. But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this didnot Abraham. You do the deeds of your father Then said they to Him. We are not born of fornication; we have one Father, evenGod. Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither cameI of Myself, but He sent Me. You should see in Me a brother. You should perceive in Me the attributes of God and, being madelike unto God as His sons, you would love the Godhead in Me.
43-44. Why do you not understand My speech? Even because you cannot hear My word. You are of your father, the devil, and thelusts of your father you will do.Christ does not speak very gentle words at all times. A deeply-rooted disease needs a sharpmedicine-and He gives it. He uses the knife, sometimes, and if there is a deadly ulcer that must be cut away, He knows howto do it with all the sternness of which His loving heart is capable.
44. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth because there was no truth in him. The first murder wascommitted by his suggestion. Cain was guilty of it, but Satan instigated it. He has always been a man-killer and so Christsays that inasmuch as they sought to kill Him, they were worthy sons of their parent. "There is no truth inhim."
44. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own. It is his own idiom. You may always know him by it. 44. For he is a liar,and the father of it The father of all liars and of all lies!
45-46. And because I tell you the truth, you believe Me not Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I say the truth, why doyou not believe Me? Oh, matchless argument! Now were they silent, indeed! His whole life was before them. He had not livedin secret and yet He could appeal to his whole life-from the first day even to this time-and say, "Which of you convicts Meof sin?" It is this that weakens our testimony for God-that we are so imperfect and full of sin. Let us seek to imitate theMaster, for the more clean we are from these imperfections, the more shall we be able to shut the mouths of our adversaries.
47, 48. He that is of God, hears God's words. You, therefore, hear them not, because you are not of God. Then answered theJews and said unto Him, Say we not well that you are a Samaritan, and have a devil?Always abuse your adversary if you cannotanswer him-this is always the devil's tactic! When he cannot overthrow religion, then he seeks to append opprobrious titlesto those who profess it. It is an old and stale trick and has lost much of its force. Our Savior did not answer the accusationof His being a Samaritan, but inasmuch as what they said about His having a devil, would touch His Doctrine-He answered that.
49-51. Jesus answered, Ihave not a devil, but I honor My Father and you do dishonor Me. And I seek not My own glory: thereis One that seeks and judges. Verily, verily, I say unto you. If a man keeps My sayings, he shall never see death.The stingof it shall be taken away-he may fall asleep-he will do so, but he shall not see death.
52-56. Then said the Jews unto Him, Now we know that You have a devil! Abraham is dead, and the Prophets, and You say, Ifa man keeps My sayings, he shall never taste of death Are You greater than our father, Abraham, who is dead? And the Prophetswho are dead? Whom do You make Yourself to be? Jesus answered, If I honor Myself, My honoris nothing: it is My Father whohonors Me; of whom you say that He is your God: yet you have not know Him; but I know Him: and if I should say, I know Himnot, I shall be a liar like you: but I know Him and keep His saying. Your father, Abraham, rejoiced to see My day; and hesaw it, and was glad. There is a great force in the original language here, "He was glad." There was an excessive joy whichholy men had in looking forward to the coming of Christ. I do not think that we give ourselves enough room for joy in ourreligion. There are some persons who think it the right thing to restrain their emotions. They have no bursting forth of joyand seldom a shout of sacred song. But oh, my Brothers and Sisters, if there is anything that deserves the flashing eyes andthe leaping feet, and the bounding heart, it is the great Truth of God that Jesus Christ has come into the world to save sinners,even the chief! Let us be glad as often as we make mention of His name.
7. Then said the Jews unto Him, You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham? Why, He was hardly thirty, butsorrow had made him appear older.
58. Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I Am. Here He claims His Deity to the fullestextent! And those who can read the New Testament and profess to believe it-and yet not see Christ as a claimant of Deity-mustbe sinfully blind!
59. Then they took up stones to cast at Him: but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the Temple, going through the midst ofthem, and so passed by. This is always the sinner's argument against the right! First, hard words, and then stones!
Verses 1-3. After two days was the feast of the Passover, and of unleavened bread: and the chief priests and the scribes soughthow they might take Him by craft andput Him to death But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar of the people.And being in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper A well-known person. There were plenty of Simons and so they had toput another name to distinguish him. You remember Simon the Pharisee, in whose house Christ was anointed by a woman who washedHis feet with tears. This is another Simon. Not Simon the Pharisee, but Simon the Leper. A healed man, no doubt, or he couldnot have entertained guests. There can be no question by whom he was healed, for there was nobody else that could heal leprosyexcept our Divine Lord. "And being at Bethany in the house of Simon the Leper."
3. As He sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she broke thebox and poured it on His head. It does not need any "it," "poured on His head." The liquid nard flowed over His locks and,as it was with Aaron, it went, doubtless, down His beard to the utmost skirts of His garments.
4. And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made? Matthewsays that they were disciples. Shame on them! The ointment was put to its proper use. It was more wasted when it was in thebox than when it was out of it, for it was doing nothing inside the alabaster box! But when it came out, it was answeringits purpose. It was perfuming all round about. "Why was this waste of the ointment made?" When lives are lost in Christ'shonor, or strength is spent in His service, there is no waste. It is what life and strength are made for- that they may bespent for Him.
5. 6. For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence and have been given to the poor And they murmured againsther, And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble her? She has worked a good work on Me. Or "in Me.'"
7. For you have the poor with you always. If you help them one day, they are poor and they need helping the next. Or if youhelp them and leave them, leaving them because they go home to God, there are other poor people sure to come, for they willnever cease out of the land. "You have the poor with you always."
7. And whenever you will, you may do them good. But Me you have not always. "You can only do this for Me during the few daysthat I shall be with you. Within a week I shall be crucified. Forty more days I shall be gone from you. Me you have not always."
8, 9. She has done what she could: she is come beforehand to anoint My body to the burying. Verily I say unto you, Whereverthis Gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also what she has done shall be spoken of for a memorial ofher.And it is so to this day! Christ's Gospel is preached, tonight, and this woman's love will be remembered. John also speaksof this in his 12th Chapter.
Verses 1, 2. Then Jesus, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He raisedfrom the dead. There they made Him a supper. It was in the house of Simon the Leper, a near acquaintance, perhaps, a relativeof this beloved family, for we find that Martha served, but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with Him. The twofamilies had joined for this festival, and well they might, for in one case, someone had been healed of leprosy, and in theother case Lazarus had been raised from the dead! It was a holy, happy feast.
2, 3. And Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with Him. Then took Mary a pound of ointment ofspikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus The other Evangelist said, "anointed His head." And they are both right.She anointed His head and His feet.
3. And wiped His feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment. Everybody perceived and enjoyedit-and understood what costly ointment it must be which loads the air with so delicate a perfume.
4. Then said one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, which would betray Him. I wonder whether he was son of thatSimon the Leper, and whether a spiritual leprosy did cling to him! That, we know, was the case.
5, 6. Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence and given to the poor? This he said, not that he cared for thepoor, but because he was a thief and had the bag, and took what was put therei. Observe that the sharpest critics of the worksof good men are very often no better than they should be. This Judas is indignant with what Mary does, and claims that hecares for the poor, but all the while he is a thief! Whenever a man is very quick condemning gracious men and women, you maybe quite as quick in condemning him. He is usually a Judas.