It was the third hour when they crucified Him.
I. THERE MAY BE A BLESSING IN ENFORCED SERVICE. Simon the Cyrenian is raised into the light of history; perhaps to teach us this. No nobler honor for the Christian than to reflect, "I have been called to bear the cross." And for some to reflect, "I was forced into carrying the cross I would have refused, or left on the ground." So with that other Simon, surnamed Peter.
II. PAIN IS RATHER TO BE STRUGGLED WITH THAN ARTIFICIALLY SUPPRESSED, We seek anodynes for our troubles. Jesus teaches us to react against them by the force of faith. In the hour of duty we are to seek presence, not absence, of mind; to collect our faculties, not to distract them.
III. WHAT IS PHYSICALLY POSSIBLE MAY BE MORALLY IMPOSSIBLE. Christ could have come down from the cross in the former sense, could not in the latter. He presents the ideal of suffering service for us, and the revelation of God's ways. There may be things which God cannot do, in our way of speaking, because he knows they are not well to be done. We, at ]cast, cannot save ourselves at the expense of duty, and must be content to appear foolish or impotent to many. Suffering and salvation are facts eternally wedded and at one. - J.
And they crucified Him.
I. ALL THE MYSTERIES OF HUMAN NATURE ARE HERE.
3. Judgment. After these things must there not be some reckoning?
II. THE MYSTERIES OF DIVINE REVELATION.
1. God's love.
2. God's meekness.
3. God's method of curing sin. By enduring its strokes He shames and vanquishes transgression.
III. THE MYSTERIES OF SALVATION.
2. Reconciliation. In the cross our love meets God's love, and we are reconciled.
3. A great inspiration. Ever since, the cross has been the pattern on the mount which holy lives have copied, and it has inspired love and sacrifice into countless hearts.
IV. ALL MYSTERIES OF CONSOLATION. Had Christ evaded death, who would have dared to face it? He has changed Jordan's streams into still waters, and its banks to green pastures. Death fixed its sting in Christ, and left and lost it there. Thus Christ's cross is our Alpha and Omega, glowing with law and gospel, comfort and restraint, power and peace; it is the new Tree of life in the midst of life's wilderness.
(R. Glover.)I. THE DEATH OF CRUCIFIXION.
2. Involving self-abasement on Christ's part.
3. Conformity in will on ours.
II. THE PLACE OF CRUCIFIXION.
1. Common execution ground for felons and outlaws. A place of desolation and horror.
2. We have to bear His reproach.
III. THE BLINDNESS OF HATE. They did all in their power against Him. But with what result?
1. That was the salvation hour for the whole world.
2. Jesus went into the realm of the dead, and revolutionized it, opening the door of Satan's stronghold and setting the captives free.
3. He has changed the aspect of death forever — rolled away its sting.
(F. B. Proctor, M. A.)
(G. Calthrop, D. D.)one; that glorious luminary," pointing to the sun, "veiled his brightness, and travelled on his course in tenfold night."I. WHY CHRIST WAS CRUCIFIED. The sufferings of our Lord were not less because He was the Son of God. His was a Divine sorrow. Natures most sensitive to all that is holy and true, most keenly aware of all that is false, suffer sharpest torture when rudely invaded. These sufferings came upon Him from the first. To John the Baptist He appeared as the Lamb of God. Christ's sufferings were public and ignominious. It was in the broad, open day, and in the most public place, that He was crucified. His most sacred sufferings were made a public spectacle. It was a part of His degradation that He did not suffer alone. Two wretched criminals from the city were crucified with Him. For one moment He lost sight of His Father's face. In that hour He was linked to all that is worst and vilest in our common humanity.
II. HOW CHRIST SUFFERED. Through it all He showed the faith of the Son of God — "My God." He suffered as a king might suffer.
III. WHY CHRIST SUFFERED. He suffered in order that He might obey the Father. "He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death." He suffered to make known the Father. "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father." He suffered that men might be redeemed.
(E. B. Mason.)
(Thos. McCrie, D. D.)I. "We may learn something from the fact that our Lord was actually put to death like an ordinary criminal. All of the evangelists call attention to the circumstance of Christ's having been associated with two malefactors crucified at the same moment. Thus Pilate makes the two robbers intensify Jesus' shame in the eyes of the multitude. Each one of the common people who saw the sad spectacle, would inevitably draw the conclusion that Christ was the chief malefactor of them all. The terrible humiliation of the death which our Saviour suffered is thus made apparent. But the power of this scene is, singularly enough, deepened by this very particular. We call to mind as an illustration of such a statement the tale of Colonel Gardiner's conversion, — a tale so remarkable that it has remained historic for more than a hundred and fifty years. He was a gay military man, without any virtues to commend him, licentious, profane, and intemperate. One Sabbath evening he had been carousing in company with some roystering comrades; late at night he retired to his chamber. There his eye accidentally lighted upon a book entitled "The Christian Soldier; or, Heaven taken by storm." He took it up to ridicule it, but fell asleep while it lay in his hand. He dreamed: he thought he saw a prodigious blaze of light shining upon the volume; raising his eyes to know what was so suddenly bright overhead, he saw suspended in the air a vivid representation of the Lord Jesus Christ upon the cross; distinctly then he heard someone saying, "This I did for thee; what hast thou done for Me?" Struck to the very depth of his conscience, he was wakened instantly; at once, filled with contrition, as a sinner he sought peace and found pardon for his soul
II. We may learn, also, something from the record that this form of death was a fulfilment of prophecy. Mark says that when Jesus was "numbered with transgressors," the scripture "was fulfilled."
III. We may learn, once more, something from the account given of the taunts which our Lord received. It would appear that all sorts of people joined in this sarcasm. The passers-by "railed," the rulers "derided," the soldiers "mocked;" even the thieves "reviled" Him. The utmost ingenuity in invention of jibes and epithets seemed to grow in demand that awful morning. The lesson here is plain; the patience of our Lord is simply wonderful. How He could bear all this contumely and reproach passes under. standing.
IV. In like manner, we may learn something from the sudden darkness which Jesus endured on that day. This darkness is to be understood as symbolical of God's horror of sin even when borne vicariously by an innocent Christ. How an impenitent man can hope to have audience with his Maker, so as to implore and obtain pardon, when even Christ was left in the darkness unpitied, passes all comprehension.
V. We may likewise learn something from the grief of our blessed Lord when He found Himself deserted.
VI. We may learn something, also, from our Lord's rejection of the draught proffered for His relief. What an example of self-sacrificing fidelity there is here for us! How little courage we have when our day of trial comes on! Jesus had always been the embodiment and pattern of dutifulness and affection in His Father's sight; He was not going to shirk and shrink and fail now. He told His disciples once in simple sincerity just what was His purpose: "I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just; because I seek not Mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent Me."
VII. Finally, we may learn something from the cry which oar Lord uttered as His "great voice" at the last. It was really a shout — a shout of triumph. There is great significance in the fact that not one of the inspired biographers says Jesus died; they all agree in an unusual form of speech which preserves the notion of His entire voluntariness in the surrender He made to death's power. He "yielded" His soul, He "gave up" His breath — such are the expressions; but the adversary did not gain the victory: it was Death that died in the conflict. What this cry was is told us in the Gospel of John — "It is finished!" His entire work was done. The Lord standeth sure now for the believer. It is recorded of a dying minister, one of the faithfullest of modern times, that in his last hour his son asked him, "Father, are you comfortable now?" And he answered, "Certainly: why not? for I lie most comfortably resting upon the finished work of my Lord Jesus Christ."
(C. S. Robinson.)
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