Saturday, October 16, 2010



All of us should be deeply disturbed that we hear so little direct preaching upon the cross of Christ. Let us here remember Fanny Crosby's lines:"Near the cross! O Lamb of God, Bring its scenes before me." And those of Isaac Watts in his "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross." These words must grip our hearts in awe and amazement. These, and similar, Christian hymns, cause us to ask ourselves, Have we ever truly "viewed" the cross in all its glory? Indeed, "Did e'er such love and sorrow meet, Or thorns compose so rich a crown?" And, "Help me walk from day to day, With its shadows o'er me."

Aramaic words often appear in Scripture, such as "Jegar-Sahadutha" ("heap of witness," Genesis 31:47), and "Golgotha" ("place of a skull," Matthew 27:33). The Latin word "
Calvary" is found only one time (Luke 23:33), the Greek word being Kranion (Skull). What strange words these are: "Golgotha," "Calvary," "Skull." Such words "witness" to us plainly that when the Mediator gave His life, something took place that day that no one can fully explain. Murderous men in hatred crucified Jesus of Nazareth, but those men did not realize they were fulfilling Old Testament prophecies (Matthew 27:35). And further, in the fury of Jehovah's holy wrath, Christ died a criminal's death (capital punishment) for crimes He did not even commit. Who can understand such substitution? No wonder we need "its scenes" brought before us! No wonder we absolutely must "survey the wondrous cross."

"Him, being delivered [given up] by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, you have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain" (Acts 2:23). What more strange words! Who can fathom this? "Delivered by God's counsel and decree." "Taken by wicked hands and crucified." What mystery here! God ruled over the event, but men acted out of their own choice. Men hated Christ, and they cried out, "Crucify Him," though He was the only perfect Man who ever lived. How could that be? Solely because it was the will of Almighty God. That's how Peter described the event, preaching to multitudes on the day of Pentecost. We need not doubt it, for the whole Book of God testifies that it was so (such as Genesis 22:14, I Peter 1:20, Revelation 13:8).

But still we ask, Why did it have to be? A sovereign hatred of sin is the answer, God manifesting His holiness, righteousness, and justice. "The just for the unjust." Pure grace on display. There is no other possible answer to the mission of the Lord Jesus Christ to the earth. "For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost"
(Luke 19:10). It had to be the way of the cross, for there was no other way! And there, all glory to God, "Love and mercy found me." We could not find God, being depraved and deprived. But Jesus "came down" from heaven that many of the sons of earth might be rescued (John 6:38-40). And the great glory of the cross is that Christ perfectly "finished the work" He was sent to do (John 17:4). His holy mission was accomplished. He did not fail. He could not fail. Christ saved all of "His people" there at Calvary! "It is finished." God then raised Him from the dead!

By faith, let us camp now around Jerusalem's Skull Place. May the
Spirit of God melt us to tears of contrition as we "Behold the Lamb" and "Behold the Man." Roman soldiers "watched Him there," "feared greatly" at "those things that were done," and confessed, "Truly this was the Son of God" (Matthew 27:54). May we too "fear greatly" as we view the God-Man dying at Calvary! What "scenes" come before us, and what "beams" shed around us! And with Edward Denny let us sing,

To Calvary, Lord, in spirit now, Our grateful souls repair,
To dwell upon Thy dying love, And taste its sweetness there.

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