echoes of thought in love with God through Christ crucified

Tag: suffering of Christ (page 2 of 3)

Let us delight in the knowledge of Christ crucified, and be often in the thoughts and study of him.

Study Christ, not only as living, but dying; not as breathing in our air, but suffering in our stead; know him as a victim, which is the way to know him as a conqueror. Christ as crucified is the great object of faith. . . . It was this death which as a sacrifice appeased God, and as a price redeemed us; nothing is so strong to encourage us, nothing so powerful to purify us; how can we be without thinking of it! . . . If we study it well, we shall be sensible how God hated sin and loved a world; how much he would part with to restore a fallen creature.

We cannot look upon Christ crucified for us, for our guilt, and consider that we had deserved all that he suffered, and that he suffered not by our entreaty, nor by any obligation from us, but merely from his own love, but the meditation of this must needs melt us into sorrow. Should we not bleed as often as we seriously thought of Christ’s bleeding for us?

You cannot see a malefactor led to execution for a notorious crime, but you have some detesting thoughts of the fact, as well as some motions of pity to the person. A strong meditation on Christ will excite not only compassions for his sufferings, but a detestation of our sins and selves as, the cause of it. It is a ‘look upon Christ pierced’ that pierceth the soul (Zech 12:10).

Would not this blood acquaint us that the malignity of sin was so great, that it could not be blotted out by the blood of the whole creation! Would it not astonish us that none had strength enough to match it, but one equal with God! Would not such an astonishment break out into penitent reflections! Would not the thoughts of this make us emulate the veil of the temple, and be ashamed that it should outstrip us in rending, while our hearts remain unbroken! Should we not be confounded, that a lifeless earth should shake in the time of his sufferings, while our reasonable souls stand immoveable!

Could any of the Israelites, that understood the nature and intent of sacrifices, be without some penitent motions, while they saw the innocent victim slain for their sin, not for any fault of its own; and should we be unmelted, if we considered the cross, the punishment of our crimes, not any of his!

—Stephen Charnock

They hurry the Savior away to Annas, to Caiaphas, to Pilate, to Herod, then back again to Pilate, without any breathing time, without any respite. They accuse Him of sedition. The King of kings seditious! They accuse Him of blasphemy; as if God could blaspheme! They could find no witnesses against Him, except the basest scum of the people, who were prepared to swear to any falsehood, and even these agreed not one with another. There stood the perfect man, the Son of God, accused and slandered by men who were not worthy to be spit upon.

They condemn the innocent, they mock Him, they laugh at Him, they jeer at His majesty, and torment His sacred person. He is given up to the tender mercies of the Roman soldiery. They set Him in an old chair as though it were a throne. They had just before torn His back with scourges till His bones stood up like white cliffs in a sea of blood. They crown Him with thorns. They cast an old purple robe on His shoulders, they mock and deride Him, as though He were a sham king. For a scepter, they give Him a reed; for homage, they give Him spittle; for the kiss of salutation, they give Him the lips of mockery. Instead of bowing before Him as their King, they blindfold Him, and smite Him in the face.

Was ever grief like Thine, Thou King of sorrow, despised by Thine own subjects? Thou, who didst give them breath, dost have that breath back again on Thee in violent and blasphemous oaths! Thou didst give them life; and they spent that life in mocking Thee!
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Jesus is led forth to Calvary. He is nailed to the cross by cruel and wicked hands. The rude rabble jeer at His sufferings. Within His soul, there is an agony such as we cannot fathom. Above, there are the swelling waves of Almighty wrath against our sins, covering all His soul. Hark! that dreadful soul-piercing cry, “MY GOD, MY GOD, why hast THOU forsaken ME?” It seems to be the gathering up of all His griefs, sorrows, and sufferings into one expression. Like some enormous lake, which receives the torrents of a thousand rivers, and holds all within its banks, so does that sentence seem to grasp all His woes, and express them all, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?”
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The sufferings are finished. The debt is paid. Justice is satisfied. The law is magnified. Righteousness is established. For all His people’s sins Christ has made a complete atonement, and for their justification He has risen from the dead.

Now, poor trembling seeker, what sayest thou to this? Canst thou not now rest on Christ? God is satisfied with His Son’s atoning sacrifice; canst thou be dissatisfied with it? God thinks Jesus enough; canst thou think Him too little? Did the Loral, the King, against whom thou hast offended, accept the reconciliation; and dost thou unbelievingly and distrustfully say, “I fear it is not sufficient”? Cast away thy guilty fears, I beseech thee. May the blessed Comforter enable thee now to say, “Just as I am–without one plea, But that Thy blood was shed for me, And that Thou bidd’st me come to Thee, O Lamb of God, I come!”

—Charles H. Spurgeon

On that sad, that solemn night, when he was sold and delivered into the hands of sinful men, he retired, for the last time before he suffered, into the garden at the foot of the Mount of Olives.

That garden, to which he had oft times resorted, both alone, and with his disciples, for the purposes of secret prayer, and religious conversation. That garden, in which he had enjoyed so many delightful seasons of fellowship with God. That garden, every spot, perhaps, of whose distinguished ground had been consecrated by the footsteps of a meditating, and the knees of an adoring Saviour. Yet here, alas, were his dying sorrows to begin.

Angels, who had, just before, seen him institute and celebrate the mystic supper, attended him in his last retreat to this once delightful, but now tremendous place. Well might a good man say, “All places are happy, or miserable, in proportion as God vouchsafes or denies his gracious presence therein.”

In Gethsemane, where Jesus had so often experienced the ravishing consolations of his heavenly Father’s countenance; in this very Gethsemane, must the same blessed Jesus experience the first outpourings of his Almighty Father’s wrath. Here it was, that his righteous soul became exceeding sorrowful, even unto death. Here it was, that the spotless victim began to feel the dreadful weight of imputed guilt, and the terrors of avenging justice.

—Augustus Toplady

Let us meditate a moment on the passion of Christ.

Some do so falsely in that they merely rail against Judas and the Jews. Some carry crucifixes to protect themselves from water, fire, and sword, and turn the suffering of Christ into an amulet against suffering. Some weep, and that is the end of it.

The true contemplation is that in which the heart is crushed and the conscience smitten. You must be overwhelmed by the frightful wrath of God who so hated sin that he spared not his only begotten Son. What can the sinner expect if the beloved Son was so afflicted? It must be an inexpressible and unendurable yearning that causes God’s Son himself so to suffer. Ponder this and you will tremble, and the more you ponder, the deeper you will tremble.

Take this to heart and doubt not that you are the one who killed Christ. Your sins certainly did, and when you see the nails driven through his hands, be sure that you are pounding, and when the thorns pierce his brow, know that they are your evil thoughts. Consider that if one thorn pierced Christ you deserve one hundred thousand.

The whole value of the meditation of the suffering of Christ lies in this, that man should come to the knowledge of himself and sink and tremble.

If you are so hardened that you do not tremble, then you have reason to tremble. Pray to God that he may soften your heart and make fruitful your meditation upon the suffering of Christ, for we of ourselves are incapable of proper reflection unless God instills it.

—Martin Luther

Than this there is no subject more mysterious and yet more sacred in the whole realm of revealed truth. This is the heart of that mystery of the love and wisdom of God, which wrought towards, and made possible the salvation of man. At the commencement of this study I would place on record not idly, and not for the mere sake of doing so, but under the urgency of a great conviction, that I am deeply conscious of approaching things too high, and too profound for any finality of statement. Personally I increasingly shrink from any attempt to speak in detail of the great fact of the Cross. This is not because I am growing away from it, but rather on account of the fact that I am more deeply conscious every day of my need of all it stands for, and as I have pressed closer to its heart, I have become almost overwhelmed with its unfathomable deeps, and its infinite majesty.

—G. C. Morgan


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