The following article is from the appendix to Owen’s work, “A brief Declaration and Vindication of The Doctrine of the Trinity and also of The Person and Satisfaction of Christ accomodated to the capacity and use of such as may be in danger to be seduced and the establishment of the truth.”

From the Preface to the Entire Work…

[I]n reference unto the satisfaction of Christ, and the imputation of his righteousness thereon unto our justification, [those who have long harbored abominations] I have not much to say as to the time past. In general, the doctrine wherein they boast, being first brought forth in a rude misshapen manner by the Pelagian heretics, was afterward improved by one Abelardus, a sophistical scholar in France; but owes its principal form and poison unto the endeavours of Faustus Socinus, and those who have followed him in his subtle attempt to corrupt the whole doctrine of the gospel. Of these men are those amongst us who at this day so busily dispute and write about the Trinity, the Deity of Christ, and his satisfaction — the followers and disciples. And it is much more from their masters, who were some of them men learned, diligent, and subtle, than from themselves, that they are judged to be of any great consideration. For I can truly say, that, upon the sedate examination of all that I could ever yet hear or get a sight of, either spoken or written by them, — that is, any amongst us, — I never yet observed an undertaking of so great importance managed with a greater evidence of incompetency and inability, to give any tolerable countenance unto it. If any of them shall for the future attempt to give any new countenance or props to their tottering errors, it will doubtless be attended unto by some of those many who cannot but know that it is incumbent on them “to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered unto the saints.” This present brief endeavour is only to assist and direct those who are less exercised in the ways of managing controversies in religion, that they may have a brief comprehension of the truths opposed, with the firm foundations whereon they are built, and be in a readiness to shield their faith both against the fiery darts of Satan, and secure their minds against the “cunning sleight of men, who lie in wait to deceive.”


The preceding discourse [on the Trinity], as has been declared, was written for the use of ordinary Christians, or such as might be in danger to be seduced, or any way entangled in their minds, by the late attempts against the truths pleaded for: for those to whom the dispensation of the gospel is committed, are “debtors both to the Greeks and to the Barbarians; both to the wise and to the unwise,” Rom. 1: 14. It was therefore thought meet to insist only on things necessary, and such as their faith is immediately concerned in; and not to immix therewithal any such arguments or considerations as might not, by reason of the terms wherein they are expressed, be obvious to their capacity and understanding. Unto plainness and perspicuity, brevity was also required, by such as judged this work necessary. That design, we hope, is answered, and now discharged in some useful measure. But yet, because many of our arguments on the head of the satisfaction of Christ depend upon the genuine signification and notion of the words and terms wherein the doctrine of it is delivered, – which, for the reasons before mentioned, could not conveniently be discussed in the foregoing discourse, – I shall here, in some few instances, give an account of what further confirmation the truth might receive by a due explanation of them. And I shall mention here but few of them, because a large dissertation concerning them all is intended in another way.

First. For the term of satisfaction itself, it is granted that in this matter it is not found in the Scripture, – that is, it is not so (here follows transcribed Greek:) [Greek: retoos], or syllabically, – but it is [Greek: kata to pragma anantirretoos]; the thing itself intended is asserted in it, beyond all modest contradiction. Neither, indeed, is there in the Hebrew language any word that does adequately answer unto it; no, nor yet in the Greek. As it is used in this cause, [Greek: engue], which is properly “sponsio,” or “fide-jussio,” in its actual discharge, makes the nearest approach unto it: [Greek: hikanon poiein] is used to the same purpose. But there are words and phrases, both in the Old Testament and in the New, that are equipollent unto it, and express the matter or thing intended by it: as in the Old are, (here follows transcribed Hebrew:) [Hebrew: pidjon padah] [Ps. 49: 9], and [Hebrew: kofer] This last word we render “satisfaction,” Numb. 35: 32, 33, where God denies that any compensation, sacred or civil, shall be received to free a murderer from the punishment due unto him; which properly expresses what we intend: “Thou shalt admit of no satisfaction for the life of a murderer.”

In the New Testament: [Greek: lutron, antilutron, apolutroosis, time, hilasmos] and the verbs, [Greek: lutroun, apolutroun, exagapozein, hilaskesthai], are of the same importance, and some of them accommodated to express the thing intended, beyond that which has obtained in vulgar use. For that which we intended hereby is, the voluntary obedience unto death, and the passion or suffering, of our Lord Jesus Christ, God and man, whereby and wherein he offered himself through the eternal Spirit, for a propitiatory sacrifice, that he might fulfil the law, or answer all its universal postulate; and as our sponsor, undertaking our cause, when we were under the sentence of condemnation, underwent the punishment due to us from the justice of God, being transferred on him; whereby having made a perfect and absolute propitiation or atonement for our sins, he procured for us deliverance from death and the curse, and a right unto life everlasting. Now, this is more properly expressed by some of the words before mentioned than by that of satisfaction; which yet, nevertheless, as usually explained, is comprehensive, and no way unsuited to the matter intended by it.

In general, men by this word understand either “reparationem offensae” or “solutionem debiti,” – either “reparation made for offense given unto any,” or “the payment of a debt.”Debitum” is either “criminale” or “pecuniarium;” that is, either the obnoxiousness of a man to punishment for crimes or the guilt of them, in answer to that justice and law which he is necessarily liable and subject unto; or unto a payment or compensation by and of money, or what is valued by it; – which last consideration, neither in itself nor in any seasonings from an analogy unto it, can in this matter have any proper place. Satisfaction is the effect of the doing or suffering what is required for the answering of his charge against faults or sins, who has right, authority, and power to require, exact, and inflict punishment for them. Some of the schoolmen define it by “Voluntaria redditio aequivalentis indebiti;” of which more elsewhere. The true meaning of, “to satisfy, or make satisfaction,” is “tantum facere aut pati, quantum quantum satis sit juste irato ad vindictam.” This satisfaction is impleaded as inconsistent with free remission of sins, – how causelessly we have seen. It is so far from it, that it is necessary to make way for it, in case of a righteous law transgressed, and the public order of the universal Governor and government of all disturbed. And this God directs unto, Lev. 4: 31, “The priest shall make an atonement for him, and it shall be forgiven him.” This atonement was a legal satisfaction, and it is by God himself premised to remission or pardon. And Paul prays Philemon to forgive Onesimus, though he took upon himself to make satisfaction for all the wrong or damage that he had sustained, Epist. verses 18, 19. And when God was displeased with the friends of Job, he prescribes a way to them, or what they shall do, and what they shall get done for them, that they might be accepted and pardoned, Job 42: 7, 8, “The LORD said unto Eliphaz, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt-offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly.” He plainly enjoins an atonement, that he might freely pardon them. And both these, – namely, satisfaction and pardon, with their order and consistency, – were solemnly represented by the great institution of the sacrifice of the scapegoat. For after all the sins of the people were put upon him, or the punishment of them transferred unto him in a type and representation, with “Quod in ejus caput sit,” the formal reason of all sacrifices propitiatory, he was sent away with them; denoting the oblation or forgiveness of sin, after a translation made of its punishment, Lev. 16: 21, 22. And whereas it is not expressly said that that goat suffered, or was slain, but was either [Hebrew: azazel] “hircus,” [Greek: apopompaios], “a goat sent away,” or was sent to a rock called Azazel, in the wilderness, as Vatablus so and Oleaster, with some others, think (which is not probable, seeing, though it might then be done whilst the people were in the wilderness of Sinai, yet could not, by reason of its distance, when the people were settled in Canaan, be annually observed), it was from the poverty of the types, whereof no one could fully represent that grace which it had particular respect unto. What, therefore, was wanting in that goat was supplied in the other, which was slain as a sin-offering, verses 15, 16. Neither does it follow, that, on the supposition of the satisfaction pleaded for, the freedom, pardon, or acquitment of the person originally guilty and liable to punishment must immediately and ” ipso facto” ensue. It is not of the nature of every solution or satisfaction, that deliverance must “ipso facto” follow. And the reason of it is, because this satisfaction, by a succedaneous substitution of one to undergo punishment for another, must be founded in a voluntary compact and agreement. For there is required unto it a relaxation of the law, though not as unto the punishment to be inflicted, yet as unto the person to be punished. And it is otherwise in personal guilt than in pecuniary debts. In these, the debt itself is solely intended, the person only obliged with reference whereunto. In the other, the person is firstly and principally under the obligation. And therefore, when a pecuniary debt is paid, by whomsoever it be paid, the obligation of the person himself unto payment ceases “ipso facto.” But in things criminal, the guilty person himself being firstly, immediately, and intentionally under the obligation unto punishment, when there is introduced by compact a vicarious solution, in the substitution of another to suffer, though he suffer the same absolutely which those should have done for whom he suffers, yet, because of the acceptation of his person to suffer, which might have been refused, and could not be admitted without some relaxation of the law, deliverance of the guilty persons cannot ensue “ipso facto,” but by the intervention of the terms fixed on in the covenant or agreement for an admittance of the substitution.

It appears, from what has been spoken, that, in this matter of satisfaction, God is not considered as a creditor, and sin as a debt; and the law as an obligation to the payment of that debt, and the Lord Christ as paying it; – though these notions may have been used by some for the illustration of the whole matter, and that not without countenance from sundry expressions in the Scripture to the same purpose. But God is considered as the infinitely holy and righteous author of the law, and supreme governor of all mankind, according to the tenor and sanction of it. Man is considered as a sinner, a transgressor of that law, and thereby obnoxious and liable to the punishment constituted in it and by it, – answerably unto the justice and holiness of its author. The substitution of Christ was merely voluntary on the part of God, and of himself, undertaking to be a sponsor, to answer for the sins of men by undergoing the punishment due unto them. To this end there was a relaxation of the law as to the persons that were to suffer, though not as to what was to be suffered. Without the former, the substitution mentioned could not have been admitted; and on supposition of the latter, the suffering of Christ could not have had the nature of punishment, properly so called: for punishment relates to the justice and righteousness in government of him that exacts it and inflicts it; and this the justice of God does not but by the law. Nor could the law be any way satisfied or fulfilled by the suffering of Christ, if, antecedently thereunto, its obligation, or power of obliging unto the penalty constituted in its sanction unto sin, was relaxed, dissolved, or dispensed withal. Nor was it agreeable to justice, nor would the nature of the things themselves admit of it, that another punishment should be inflicted on Christ than what we had deserved; nor could our sin be the impulsive cause of his death; nor could we have had any benefit thereby. And this may suffice to be added unto what was spoken before as to the nature of satisfaction, so far as the brevity of the discourse whereunto we are confined will bear, or the use whereunto it is designed does require.

Secondly. The nature of the doctrine contended for being declared and cleared, we may, in one or two instances, manifest how evidently it is revealed, and how fully it may be confirmed or vindicated. It is, then, in the Scripture declared, that “Christ died for us,” that he “died for our sins;” and that we are thereby delivered. This is the foundation of Christian religion as such. Without the faith and acknowledgment of it, we are not Christians. Neither is it, in these general terms, at all denied by the Socinians. It remains, therefore, that we consider, – 1. How this is revealed and affirmed in the Scripture; and, 2. What is the true meaning of the expressions: and propositions wherein it is revealed and affirmed; – for in them, as in sundry others, we affirm that the satisfaction pleaded for is contained.

1. Christ is said to die, to give himself, to be delivered, [Greek: huper hemoon], etc., for us, for his sheep, for the life of the world, for sinners, John 6: 51, 10: 15; Rom. 5: 6; 2 Cor. 5: 14, 15; Gal. 2: 20; Heb. 2: 9. Moreover, he is said to die [Greek: huper hamartioon], for sins, 1 Cor. 15: 3; Gal. 1: 4. The end whereof, everywhere expressed in the gospel, is, that we might be freed, delivered, and saved. These things, as was said, are agreed unto and acknowledged.

2. The meaning and importance, we say, of these expressions is, that Christ died in our room, place, or stead, undergoing the death or punishment which we should have undergone in the way and manner before declared. And this is the satisfaction we plead for. It remains, therefore, that from the Scripture, the nature of the things treated of, the proper signification and constant use of the expressions mentioned, the exemplification of them in the customs and usages of the nations of the world, we do evince and manifest that what we have laid down is the true and proper sense of the words wherein this revelation of Christ’s dying for us is expressed; so that they who deny Christ to have died for us in this sense do indeed deny that he properly died for us at all, – whatever benefits they grant that by his death we may obtain.

First. We may consider the use of this expression in the Scripture either indefinitely or in particular instances.

Only we must take this along with us, that dying for sins and transgressions, being added unto dying for sinners or persons, makes the substitution of one in the room and stead of another more evident than when the dying of one for another only is mentioned. For whereas all predicates are regulated by their subjects, and it is ridiculous to say that one dies in the stead of sins, the meaning can be no other but the bearing or answering of the sins of the sinner in whose stead any one dies. And this is, in the Scripture, declared to be the sense of that expression, as we shall see afterward. Let us, therefore, consider some instances: –

John 11: 50, The words of Caiaphas’ counsel are, [Greek: Sumferei hemin, hina heis anthroopos apothanei huper tou laou, kai me holon to ethnos apoletai] – “It is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not:” which is expressed again, chap. 18: 14, [Greek: apolesthai huper tou laou], “perish for the people.” Caiaphas feared that if Christ were spared, the people would be destroyed by the Romans. The way to free them, he thought, was by the destruction of Christ; him, therefore, he devoted to death, in lieu of the people. As he, – “Unum pro multi dabitur caput;” – “One head shall be given for many.” Not unlike the speech of Otho the emperor in Xiphilin, when he slew himself to preserve his army; for when they would have persuaded him to renew the war after the defeat of some of his forces, and offered to lay down their lives to secure him, he replied, that he would not, adding this reason, [Greek: Polu gar pou kai kreitton, kai dikaioteron estin, hena huper pantoon e pollous huper henos apolethai] – “It is far better, and more just, that one should perish or die for all, than that many should perish for one;” that is, one in the stead of many, that they may go free; or as another speaks, – “[Greek: Exon pro pahtoon mian huperdounai thanein]” – Eurip. Frag. Erec. “Let one be given up to die in the stead of all.”

John 13: 37, [Greek: ten psuchen mou huper sou thesoo]. They are the words of St. Peter unto Christ, “I will lay down my life for thee;” – “To free thee, I will expose my own head to danger, my life to death, – that thou mayest live, and I die.” It is plain that he intended the same thing with the celebrated [Greek: antipsuchoi] of old, who exposed their own lives [Greek: psuchen anti psuches] for one another. Such were Damon and Pythias, Orestes and Pylades, Nisus and Euryalus. Whence is that saying of Seneca, “Succurram perituro, set ut ipse non peream; nisi si futures era magni hominis, aut magnae rei merces;” – “I will relieve or succour one that is ready to perish; yet so as that I perish not myself, – unless thereby I be taken in lieu of some great man, or great matter;” – “For a great man, a man of great worth and usefulness, I could perish or die in his stead, that he might live and go free.”

We have a great example, also, of the importance of this expression in these words of David concerning Absalom, 2 Sam. 18:33, [Hebrew: mi-yiten muti ani tachteicha] – “Who will grant me to die, I for thee,” or in thy stead, “my son Absalom?” [Literal rendering of the Hebrew.] It was never doubted but that David wished that he had died in the stead of his son, and to have undergone the death which he did, to have preserved him alive. As to the same purpose, though in another sense, Mezentius in Virgil expresses himself, when his son Lausus, interposing between him and danger in battle, was slain Aeneas: – “Tantane me tenuit vivendi, nate, voluptas, Ut pro me hostile paterer succedere dextrae Quem genui? tuane haec genitor per vulnera servor, Morte tua vivens?” – Aen. 10. 846. “Hast thou, O son, fallen under the enemies’ hand in my stead? Am I saved by thy wounds? Do I live by thy death?”

And the word [Hebrew: tachat], used by David, does signify, when applied unto persons, either a succession or a substitution; still the coming of one into the place and room of another. When one succeeded to another in government, it is expressed by that word, 2 Sam. 10: 1; 1 Kings 1: 35, 19: 16. In other cases it denotes a substitution. So Jehu tells his guard, that if any one of them let any of Baal’s priests escape, [Hebrew: nafsho tachat nafsho] – his life should go in the stead of the life that he had suffered to escape. And this answers unto [Greek: anti] in the Greek; which is also used in this matter, and ever denotes either equality, contrariety, or substitution. The two former senses can here have no place; the latter alone has. So it is said, that Archelaus reigned [Greek: anti Herodou tou patros outou], Matt. 2: 22, – “in the room” or stead “of his father Herod.” So [Greek: ofthalmos anti ofthalmou, hodous anti hodontos], Matt. 5: 38, is “an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.” And this word also is used in expressing the death of Christ for us. He came [Greek: dounai ten psuchen hautou lutron anti polloon}, Matt. 20: 28, – “to give his life a ransom for many;” that is, in their stead to die. So the words are used again, Mark 10: 45. And both these notes of a succedaneous substitution are joined together, 1 Tim. 2: 6, [Greek: Ho dous heauton antilutron huper pantoon]. And this the Greeks call [Greek: tes psuchen priasthai], – to buy any thing, to purchase or procure any thing, with the price of one’s life. So Tigranes in Xenophon, when Cyrus asked him what he would give or do for the liberty of his wife, whom he had taken prisoner, answered, [Greek: Kan tes psuches priaimen hooste latreusai tauten] – “I will purchase her liberty with my life,” or “the price of my soul.” Whereon the woman being freed, affirmed afterward, that she considered none in the company, but him who said, [Greek: hoos tes psuches an priaito hooste me me douleuein], “that he would purchase my liberty with his own life,” [Cyrop. lib. iii.]

And these things are added on the occasion of the instances mentioned in the Scripture; whence it appears, that this expression of “dying for another” has no other sense or meaning, but only dying instead of another, undergoing the death that he should undergo, that he might go free. And in this matter of Christ’s dying for us, add that he so died for us as that he also died for our sins; that is, either to bear their punishment or to expiate their guilt (for other sense the words cannot admit); and he that pretends to give any other sense of them than that contended for, which implies the whole of what lies in the doctrine of satisfaction, “erit mihi magnus Apollo,” even he who was the author of all ambiguous oracles of old.

And this is the common sense of “mori pro alio,” and “pati pro aito,” or “pro alio discrimen capitis subire;” a substitution is still denoted by that expression: which suffices us in this whole cause, for we know both into whose room he came, and what they were to suffer. Thus Entellus, killing and sacrificing an ox to Eryx in the stead of Dares, whom he was ready to have slain, when he was taken from him, expresses himself, –

“Hanc tibia, Eryx, meliorem animam pro morte Daretis Persolvo.” – Aen. v. 483. He offered the ox, a better sacrifice, in the stead of Dares, taken from him. So, – “Fratrem Pollux alterna morte redemit.” – Aen. vi. 121. And they speak so not only with respect unto death, but wherever any thing of durance or suffering is intended. So the angry master in the comedian: – “Verberibus caesum te in pistrinum, Dave, dedam usque ad necem; Ea lege atque omine, ut, si te inde exemerim, ego pro te molam.” – Ter. And., i. 2, 28. He threatened his servant, to cast him into prison, to be macerated to death with labour; and that with this engagement, that if he ever let him out, he would grind for him; – that is, in his stead. Wherefore, without offering violence to the common means of understanding things amongst men, another sense cannot be affixed to these words.

The nature of the thing itself will admit of no other exposition than that given unto it; and it has been manifoldly exemplified among the nations of the world. For suppose a man guilty of any crime, and on the account thereof to be exposed unto danger from God or man, in a way of justice, wrath, or vengeance, and when he is ready to be given up unto suffering according unto his demerit, another should tender himself to die for him, that he might be freed; let an appeal be made to the common reason and understandings of all men, whether the intention of this his dying for another be not, that he substitutes himself in his stead, to undergo what he should have done, however the translation of punishment from one to another may be brought about and asserted; for at present we treat not of the right, but of the fact, or the thing itself. And to deny this to be the case as to the sufferings of Christ, is, as far as I can understand, to subvert the whole gospel.

Moreover, as was said, this has been variously exemplified among the nations of the world; whose acting in such cases, because they excellently shadow out the general notion of the death of Christ for others, for sinners, and are appealed unto directly by the apostle to this purpose, Rom. 5: 7, 8, I shall in a few instances reflect upon.

Not to insist on the voluntary surrogations of private persons, one into the room of another, mutually to undergo dangers and death for one another, as before mentioned, I shall only remember some public transactions, in reference unto communities, in nations, cities, or armies. Nothing is more celebrated amongst the ancients than this, that when they supposed themselves in danger, from the anger and displeasure of their gods, by reason of any guilt or crimes among them, some one person should either devote himself or be devoted by the people, to die for them; and therein to be made, as it wets, an expiatory sacrifice. For where sin is the cause, and God is the object respected; the making of satisfaction by undergoing punishment, and expiating of sin by a propitiatory sacrifice, are but various expressions of the same thing. Now, those who so devoted themselves, as was said, to die in the stead of others, or to expiate their sins, and turn away the anger of God they feared, by their death, designed two things in what they did. First, That the evils which were impendent on the people, and feared, might fall on themselves, so that the people might go free. Secondly, That all good things which themselves desired, might be conferred on the people. Which things have a notable shadow in them of the great expiatory sacrifice, concerning which we treat, and expound the expressions wherein it is declared. The instance of the Decii is known; of whom the poet, – “Plebeiae Deciornm animae, plebeian fuerunt Nomina; pro totis legionibus Hi tamen, et pro Omnibus auxiliis, atque omni plebe Latina, Sufficiunt Diis infernis.”

The two Decii, father and son, in imminent dangers of the people, devoted themselves, at several times, unto death and destruction. And says he, “Sufficiunt Diis infernis,- “they satisfied for the whole people; adding the reason whence so it might be: – “Pluris denim Decii quam qui servntur ab illis.” Juv., Sat. vii. 254-8 They were more to be valued than all that were saved by them. And the great historian does excellently describe both the actions and expectations of the one and the other in what they did. The father, when the Roman army, commanded by himself and Titus Manlius, was near a total ruin by the Latins, called for the public priest, and caused him, with the usual solemn ceremonies, to devote him to death for the deliverance and safety of the army; after which, making his requests to his gods, (“dii quorum est potestas nostrorum hostiumque,”) “the gods that had power over them and their adversaries,” as he supposed, he cast himself into death by the swords of the enemy. “Conspectus ab utraque acie aliquanto augustior humano visu, sicut coelo missus piaculum omnis deorum irae, qui pestam ab suis aversam in hostes ferret;” – “He was looked on by both armies as one more august than a man, as one sent from heaven, to be a piacular sacrifice, to appease the anger of the gods, and to transfer destruction from their own army to the enemies,” Liv., Hist. viii. 9. His son, in like manner, in a great and dangerous battle against the Gauls and Samnites, wherein he commanded in chief, devoting himself, as his father had done, added unto the former solemn deprecations’: – “Prae se agere sese formidinem ac fugam, caedemque ac cruorem, coelestum, inferorum iras,” lib. x. 28; – “That he carried away before him, from those for whom he devoted himself, ‘fear and flight, slaughter and blood, the anger of the celestial and infernal gods.'” And as they did, in this devoting of themselves, design “averruncare malum, deum iras, lustrare populum, aut exercitum, piaculum fieri,” or [Greek: peripsema, anathema, apokatharma], – “expiare crimina, scelus, raetum,” “or to remove all evil from others, by taking it on themselves in their stead; so also they thought they might, and intended in what they did, to covenant and contract for the good things they desired. So did these Decii; and so is Menoeceus reported to have done, when he devoted himself for the city of Thebes, in danger to be destroyed by the Argives. So Papinius Statius introduces him treating with his gods: – “Armorum superi, tuque o qui funere tanto Indulges mihi, Phoebe, mori, date gaudia Thebis, Quae pepigi, et toto quae sanguine prodigus emi.” – [Theb. x. 757.] He reckoned that he had not only repelled all death and danger from Thebes, by his own, but that he had purchased joy, in peace and liberty, for the people.

And where there was none in public calamities that did voluntarily devote themselves, the people were wont to take some obnoxious person, to make him execrable, and to lay on him, according to their superstition, all the wrath of their gods, and so give him up to destruction. Such the apostle alludes unto, Rom. 9: 3; 1 Cor. 4: 9, 13. So the Massilians were wont to expiate their city by taking a person devoted, imprecating on his head all the evil that the city was obnoxious unto, casting him into the sea with these words, [Greek: Peripsema hemoon genou] – “Be thou our expiatory sacrifice.” To which purpose were the solemn words that many used in their expiatory sacrifices, as Herodotus [lib ii. 39] testifies of the Egyptians, bringing their offerings. Says he, [Greek: Katapeontai de, tade legontes, teisi kefaleisin, ei ti melloi e sfisi toisi thuousi, e Aiguptooi tei sunapasei kakon genesthai es kefalen tauten trapesthai] – “They laid these imprecations on their heads, that if any evil were happening towards the sacrificer, or all Egypt, let it be all turned and laid on this devoted head.”

And the persons whom they thus dealt withal, and made execrate, were commonly of the vilest of the people, or such as had rendered themselves detestable by their own crimes; whence was the complaint of the mother of Menaeceus upon her son’s devoting himself: – “Lustralemne feris, ego te puer inclyte Thebis, Devotumque caput, ilis seu mater alebam?” – [Statius, Theb. x. 788, 789.]

I have recounted these instances to evince the common intention, sense, and understanding of that expression, of one dying for another, and to manifest by examples what is the sense of mankind about any one’s being devoted and substituted in the room of others, to deliver them from death and danger; the consideration whereof, added to the constant use of the words mentioned in the Scripture, is sufficient to found and confirm this conclusion: – “That whereas it is frequently affirmed in the Scripture, that ‘Christ died for us, and for our sins,’ etc., to deny that he died and suffered in our stead, undergoing the death whereunto we were obnoxcious, and the punishment due to our sins, is, – if we respect in what we say or believe the constant use of those words in the Scripture, the nature of the thing itself concerning which they are used, the uncontrolled use of that expression in all sorts of writers in expressing the same thing, with the instances and examples of its meaning and intention among the nations of the world, – to deny that he died for us at all.”

Neither will his dying for our good or advantage only, in what way or sense soever, answer or make good or true the assertion of his dying for us and our sins. And this is evident in the death of the apostles and martyrs. They all died for our good; our advantage and benefit was one end of their sufferings, in the will and appointment of God: and yet it cannot be said that they died for us, or our sins.

And if Christ died only for our good, though in a more effectual manner than they did, yet this alters not the kind of his dying for us; nor can he thence be said, properly, according to the only due sense of that expression, so to do.

I shall, in this brief and hasty discourse, add only one consideration more about the death of Christ, to confirm the truth pleaded for; it and that is, that he is said, in dying for sinners, “to bear their sins.”. Isa. 53: 11, “He shall bear their iniquities;” verse 12, “He bare the sin of many;” explained, verse 5, “He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him.” 1 Pet. 2: 24, “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree,” etc.

This expression is purely sacred. It occurs not directly in other authors, though the sense of it in other words do frequently. They call it “luere peccata;” that is, “delictorum supplicium ferre,” – “to bear the punishment of sins.” The meaning, therefore, of this phrase of speech is to be taken from the Scripture alone, and principally from the Old Testament, where it is originally used; and from whence it is transferred into the New Testament, in the same sense, and no other. Let us consider some of the places: –

Isa. 53: 11, [Hebrew: awonotam hu yisbol]. The same word, [Hebrew: saval], is used verse 4, [Hebrew: umach’oveinu svalam], – “And our griefs, he has borne them.” The word signifies, properly, to bear a weight or a burden, as a man bears it on his shoulders, – “bajulo, porto.” And it is never used with respect unto sin, but openly and plainly it signifies the undergoing of the punishment due unto it. So it occurs directly to our purpose, Lam. 5: 7 [Hebrew: avoteinu chat’u einam anachnu awonoteihem savalnu] – “Our fathes have sinned, and are not; and we have borne their iniquities;” the punishment due to their sins. And why a new sense should be forged for these words when they are spoken concerning Christ, who can give a just reason?

Again; [Hebrew: nasa] is used to the same purpose, [Hebrew: wehu chet-rabim nasa] Isa. 53: 12, “And he bare the sin of many. [Hebrew: nasa] is often used with respect unto sin; sometimes with reference unto God’s acting about it, and sometimes with reference unto men’s concerns in it. In the first way, or when it denotes an act of God, it signifies to lift up, to take away or pardon sin; and leaves the word [Hebrew: awon], wherewith it is joined under its first signification, of iniquity, or the guilt of sin, with respect unto punishment ensuing as its consequent; for God pardoning the guilt of sin, the removal of the punishment does necessarily ensue, guilt containing an obligation unto punishment. In the latter way, as it respects men or sinners, it constantly denotes the bearing of the punishment of sin, and gives that sense unto [Hebrew: awon], with respect unto the guilt of sin as its cause. And hence arises the ambiguity of these words of Cain, Gen. 4: 13, [Hebrew: gadol awoni minso]. If [Hebrew: nasa] denotes an act of God, if the words be spoken with reference, in the first p]ace, to any acting of his towards Cain, [Hebrew: awon] retains the sense of iniquity, and the words are rightly rendered, “My sin is greater than to be forgiven.” If it respect Cain himself firstly, [Hebrew: awon] assumes the signification of punishment, and the words are to be rendered, “My punishment is greater than I can bear,” or “is to be borne by me.”

This, I say, is the constant sense of this expression, nor can any instance to the contrary be produced. Some may be mentioned in the confirmation of it. Numb. 19: 33, “Your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years,” [Hebrew: wenasu et-znuteichem] “and shall bear your whoredoms.” Verse 34, [Hebrew: tisu et-awonoteichem arba’im shanah] – “Ye shall bear your iniquities forty years;” that is, the punishment due to your whoredoms and iniquities, according to God’s providential dealings with them at that time. Lev. 19: 8, “He that eateth it [Hebrew: awono yisa] shall bear his iniquity. How? [Hebrew: nichretah hanefesh hahi] – “That soul shall be cut off.” To be cut off for sin by the punishment of it, and for its guilt, is to bear iniquity. So chap. 20: 16-18, for a man to bear his iniquity, and to be killed, slain, or put to death for it, are the same.

Ezek. 18: 20, [Hebrew: hanefesh hachotet hi tamoet ben lo-yisa ba’awon ha’av] – “The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the sin of the father.” To bear sin, and to die for sin, are the same. More instances might be added, all uniformly speaking the same sense of the words.

And as this sense is sufficiently, indeed invincibly, established by the invariable use of that expression in the Scripture so the manner whereby it is affirmed that the Lord Christ bare our iniquities, sets it absolutely free from all danger by opposition. For he bare our iniquities when [Hebrew: wa’adonai hifnia bo et awon kulanu] – “the LORD made to meet on him, or laid on him; the iniquity of us all,” Isa. 53: 6; which words the LXX render, [Greek: Kai Kurios paredooken auton tais hamartiais hemoon] – “The LORD gave him up, or delivered him unto our sins;” that is, to be punished for them, for other sense the words can have none. “He made him in sin for us,” 2 Cor. 5: 21. So “he bare our sins,” Isa. 53: 12. How? “In his own body on the tree,” 1 Pet. 2: 24; that when he was, and in his being stricken, smitten, afflicted, wounded bruised, slain, so was the chastisement of our peace upon him.

Wherefore, to deny that the Lord Christ, in his death and suffering for us, underwent the punishment due to our sins, what we had deserved, that we might be delivered, as it everts the great foundation of the gospel, so, by an open perverting of the plain words of the scripture, because not suited in their sense and importance to the sin imaginations of men, it gives no small countenance to infidelity and atheism.


John 20 ESV
1. Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. 2 So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” 3 So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. 4 Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, 7 and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; 9 for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went back to their homes. 11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14 Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her. 19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.” 24 Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” 26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” 30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

Isaiah 53:5,12 ESV
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his stripes we are healed.
12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
because he poured out his soul to death
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressors.

Matthew 27:32-54 ESV
32 As they went out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. They compelled this man to carry his cross. 33 And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull), 34 they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall, but when he tasted it, he would not drink it. 35 And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots. 36 Then they sat down and kept watch over him there. 37 And over his head they put the charge against him, which read, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” 38 Then two robbers were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left. 39 And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads 40 and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” 41 So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying, 42 “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” 44 And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way.45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 47 And some of the bystanders, hearing it, said, “This man is calling Elijah.” 48 And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine, and put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink. 49 But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.” 50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.51 And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. 52 The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, 53 and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. 54 When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”

Mark 15:21-39 ESV
21 And they compelled a passerby, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross. 22 And they brought him to the place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull). 23 And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. 24 And they crucified him and divided his garments among them, casting lots for them, to decide what each should take. 25 And it was the third hour when they crucified him. 26 And the inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.” 27 And with him they crucified two robbers, one on his right and one on his left. 29 And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, 30 save yourself, and come down from the cross!” 31 So also the chief priests with the scribes mocked him to one another, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. 32 Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also reviled him.33 And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 35 And some of the bystanders hearing it said, “Behold, he is calling Elijah.” 36 And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” 37 And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. 38 And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. 39 And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”

Luke 23:26-29 ESV
26 And as they led him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus. 27 And there followed him a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for him. 28 But turning to them Jesus said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ 30 Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ 31 For if they do these things when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?”32 Two others, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. 33 And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. 34 And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments. 35 And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!” 36 The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine 37 and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” 38 There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.”39 One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” 44 It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, 45 while the sun’s light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last. 47 Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God, saying, “Certainly this man was innocent!” 48 And all the crowds that had assembled for this spectacle, when they saw what had taken place, returned home beating their breasts. 49 And all his acquaintances and the women who had followed him from Galilee stood at a distance watching these things.

John 19:16-42 ESV
16 So he delivered him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus, 17 and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. 18 There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them. 19 Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” 20 Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek. 21 So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but rather, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.’” 22 Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.” 23 When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, 24 so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfill the Scripture which says,“They divided my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.” So the soldiers did these things, 25 but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home. 28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” 29 A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. 30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.31 Since it was the day of Preparation, and so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away. 32 So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him. 33 But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. 35 He who saw it has borne witness—his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth—that you also may believe. 36 For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.” 37 And again another Scripture says, “They will look on him whom they have pierced.” 38 After these things Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took away his body. 39 Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight. 40 So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. 41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. 42 So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.

The Shame and Spitting

A Sermon
(No. 1486)
Delivered on Lord’s-Day Morning, July 27th, 1879, by
At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

“I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.”—Isaiah 50:6.

Of whom speaketh the prophet this? Of himself or of some other? We cannot doubt but what Isaiah here wrote concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. Is not this one of the prophecies to which our Lord Himself referred in the incident recorded in the eighteenth chapter of Luke’s Gospel at the thirty-first verse? “Then he took unto him he twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: and they shall scourge him and put him to death.” Such a remarkable prophecy of scourging and spitting as this which is now before us must surely refer to the Lord Jesus; its highest fulfillment is assuredly found in Him alone.
Of whom else, let me ask, could you conceive the prophet to have spoken if you read the whole chapter? Of whom else could he say in the same breath, “I clothe the heavens with blackness and I make sackcloth their covering. I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair” (vv. 3, 6). What a descent from the omnipotence which veils the heavens with clouds to the gracious condescension which does not veil its own face, but permits it to be spat upon! No other could thus have spoken of Himself but He who is both God and man. He must be divine: how else could He say, “Behold, at my rebuke I dry up the sea, I make the rivers a wilderness” (v. 2)? And yet he must at the same time be a “man of sorrows and acquainted with grief,” for there is a strange depth of pathos in the words, “I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.” Whatever others may say, we believe that the speaker in this verse is Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews, the Son of God and the Son of man, our Redeemer. It is the Judge of Israel whom they have smitten with a rod upon the cheek who here plaintively declares the griefs which He has undergone. We have before us the language of prophecy, but it is as accurate as though it had been written at the moment of the event. Isaiah might have been one of the Evangelists, so exactly does he describe what our Saviour endured.
I have already laid he fore you in the reading of the Scriptures some of the passages of the New Testament wherein the scourging and the shame of our Lord Jesus are described. We saw Him first at the tribunal of His own countrymen in Matthew 26, and we read, “Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him: and others smote him with the palms of their hands.” It was in the hall of the high priest, among His own countrymen, that first of all the shameful deeds of scorn were wrought upon Him. “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” His worst foes were they of His own household; they despised and abhorred Him, and would have none of Him. His own Father’s husbandmen said among themselves—”This is the heir; let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.” This was His treatment at the hand of the house of Israel.
The same treatment, or the like thereto, was accorded Him in Herod’s palace, where the fingering shade of a Jewish royalty still existed. There what I might venture to call a pattern mixture of Jew and Gentile power held court, but our Lord fared no better in the united company. By the two combined the Lord was treated with equal derision (Luke 23:11). “Herod with his men of war set him at naught, and mocked him, and arrayed him in a gorgeous robe.”
Speedily came His third trial, and He was delivered altogether to the Gentiles. Then Pilate, the governor, gave Him up to the cruel process of scourging. Scourging as it has been practiced in the English army is atrocious, a barbarism which ought to make us blush for the past, and resolve to end it for the future. How is it that such a horror has been tolerated so long in a country where we are not all savages? But the lash is nothing among us compared with what it was among the Romans. I have heard that it was made of the sinews of oxen, and that in it were twisted the knucklebones of sheep, with slivers of bone, in order that every stroke might more effectually tear its way into the poor quivering flesh, which was mangled by its awful strokes. Scourging was such a punishment that it was generally regarded as worse than death itself, and indeed, many perished while enduring it, or soon afterwards. Our blessed Redeemer gave His back to the smiters, and the plowers made deep furrows there. O spectacle of misery! How can we bear to look thereon? Nor was that all, for Pilate’s soldier’s, calling all the band together, as if there were not enough for mockery unless all were mustered, put Him to derision by a mock enthronement and a mimic coronations and when they had thus done they again buffeted and smote Him, and spat in His face. There was no kind of cruelty which their heartlessness could just then invent which they did not exercise upon His blessed Person: their brutal sport had full indulgence, for their innocent victim offered neither resistance nor remonstrance. This is His own record of His patient endurance. “I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.”
Behold your King! I bring Him forth to you this morning in spirit and cry, “Behold the Man!” Turn hither all your eyes and hearts and look upon the despised and rejected of men! Gaze reverently and lovingly, with awe for His sufferings and love for His Person. The sight demands adoration. I would remind you of that which Moses did when he saw the bush that burned and was not consumed—fit emblem of our Lord on fire with griefs and yet not destroyed; I bid you turn aside and see this great sight, but first attend to the mandate—”Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.” All round the cross the soil is sacred. Our suffering Lord has consecrated every place whereon He stood, and therefore our hearts must be filled with reverence while we linger under the shadow of His passion.
May the Holy Spirit help you to see Jesus in four lights at this time. In each view He is worthy of devout attention. Let us view Him first as the representative of God; secondly, as the substitute of His people, thirdly, as the servant of Jehovah; and fourthly, as the Comforter of his redeemed.
I. First, I invite you to gaze upon your despised and rejected Lord as THE REPRESENTATIVE OF GOD. In the Person of Christ Jesus, God Himself came into the world, making a special visitation to Jerusalem and the Jewish people, but at the same time coming very near to all mankind. The Lord called to the people whom He had favored so long and whom He was intent to favor still. He says, in the second verse, “I came” and “I called.” God did in very deed come down into the midst of mankind.
Be it noted, that when our Lord came into this world as the Representative of God, He came with all His divine power about Him. The chapter before us says, “Is my hand shortened at all, that it cannot redeem? or have I no power to deliver? behold, at my rebuke I dry up the sea, I make the rivers a wilderness.” The Son of God, when He was here, did not perform those exact miracles, because He was bent upon marvels of beneficence rather than of judgment. He did not repeat the plagues of Egypt, for He did not come to smite, but to save; but He did greater wonders and wrought miracles which ought far more powerfully to have won men’s confidence in Him because they were full of goodness and mercy. He fed the hungry, He healed the sick, He raised the dead, and He cast out devils. He did equal marvels to those which were wrought in Egypt when the arm of the Lord was made bare in the eyes of all the people. It is true He did not change water into blood, but He turned water into wine. It is true He did nor make their fish to stink, but by His word He caused the net to be filled even to bursting with great fishes. He did not break the whole staff of bread as He did in Egypt, but He multiplied loaves and fishes so that thousands of men and women and children were fed from His bounteous hand. He did not slay their first-born, but He restored the dead. I grant you that the glory of the Godhead was somewhat hidden in the Person of Jesus of Nazareth, but it was still there, even as the glory was upon the face of Moses when he covered it with a veil. No essential attribute of God was absent in Christ, and every one might have been seen in Him if the people had not been willfully blind. He did the works of His Father, and those works bore witness of Him that He was come in His Father’s name. Yes, God was personally in the world when Jesus walked the blessed fields of the Holy land, now, alas, laid under the curse for rejecting Him.
But when God thus came among, men He was unacknowledged. What saith the prophet? “Wherefore when I came was there no man? when I called was there none to answer?” A few, taught by the Spirit of God, discerned Him and rejoiced; but they were so very few that we may say of the whole generation that they knew Him not. Those who had some dim idea of His excellence and majesty yet rejected Him. Herod, because he feared that He was King, sought to slay Him. The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers took counsel together, against the Lord, and against His anointed. He was emphatically and beyond all others “despised and rejected of men.” Though, as I have said, the Godhead in Him was but scantily veiled, and gleams of its glory burst forth ever and anon, yet still the people would have none of it, and the cry, “Away with him. away with him, let him be crucified,” was the verdict of the age upon which He descended. He called and there was none to answer; He spread out His hands all the day long unto a rebellious people who utterly rejected Him.
Yet our Lord when He came into the world was admirably adapted to be the Representative of God, not only because He was God Himself, but because as man His whole human nature was consecrated to the work, and in Him was neither flaw nor spot. He was untouched by any motive other than the one desire of manifesting the Father and blessing the sons of men. Oh, beloved, there was never One who had His ear so near the mouth of God as Jesus had. His Father had no need to speak to Him in dreams and visions of the night, for when all His faculties were wide awake there was nothing in them to hinder His understanding the mind of God; and therefore every morning when His Father wakened Him He spoke into His ear. Jesus sat as a scholar at the Father’s feet that He might learn first, and then teach. The things which He heard of the Father He made known unto men. He says that He spoke not His own words but the words of Him that sent Him, and He did not His own deeds, but “my Father,” saith He, “that dwelleth in me, he doeth the work.” Now, a man thus entirely agreeable to the mind and will of the great God was fitted to be the Representative of God. Both the alliance of His manhood with the Godhead and its perfect character qualified it to he the fittest dwelling of God among men. Yes, dear friends, our Saviour came in a way which should at once have commanded the reverent homage of all men. Even His great Father said, “They will reverence my Son.” Enough of the Godhead was manifested to impress and nor more, lest it should alarm. With a soul of gentlest mold and a body like our own He was altogether adapted to be the Representative of God. His errand, too, was all gentleness and love, for He came to speak words in season to the weary, and to comfort those that were cast down: surely such an errand should have secured Him a welcome. His course and conduct were most conciliatory, for He went among the people, and ate with publicans and sinners; so gentle was He that He took little children in His arms, and blessed them; for this, if for nothing else, they ought to have welcomed Him right heartily and rejoiced at the sight of Him. Our text tells us how contrary was their conduct towards Him to that which He deserved instead of being welcomed He was scourged, and instead of being honored He was scorned. Cruelty smote His back and plucked off the hair from His face, while derision jeered at Him and cast its spittle upon Him. Shame and contempt were poured upon Him, though He was God Himself. That spectacle of Christ spat upon, and scourged represents what man virtually does to his God, what he would do to the Most High if he could. Hart well puts it—
See how the patient Jesus stands,
Insulted in his lowest case!
Sinners have bound the Almighty hands,
And spit in their Creator’s face.

When our parents broke the command of their Maker, obeying the advice of the devil rather than the Word of God, and preferring a poor apple to the divine favor, they did as it were spit into the face of God; and every sin committed since has been a repetition of the same contempt of the Eternal One. When a man will have his pleasure, even though it displeases God, he as good as declares that he despises God, prefers himself, and defies the wrath of the Most High. When a man acts contrary to the command of God he does as good as say to God, “This is better for me to do than what Thou bidst me do. Either Thou art mistaken, in thy prohibitions, or else Thou dost willfully deny me the highest pleasure, and I, being a better judge of my own interests than Thou art, snatch at the pleasure which Thou dost refuse me. I judge Thee either to be unwise or unkind.” Every act of sin does despite to the sovereignty of God: it denies Him to be supreme and refuses Him obedience. Every act of sin does dishonor to the love and wisdom of God, for it seems to say that it would have been greater love to have permitted us to do evil than to have commanded us to abstain from it. All sin is in many ways an insult to the majesty of the thrice Holy God, and He regards it as such.
Dear friends, this is especially the sin of those who have heard the gospel and yet reject the Saviour, for in their case the Lord has come to them in the most gracious form, and yet they have refused Him. The Lord might well say, “I have come to you to save you, and you will not regard me. I have come saying to you, ‘Look unto me and be ye saved all the ends of the earth,’ and you close your eyes in unbelief. I have come saying, ‘Let us reason together: though your sins be as crimson, they shall be as wool,’ but you will not be cleansed from your iniquity. I have come with the promise, ‘All manner of sin and iniquity shall be forgiven unto men.’ What is your reply?” In the case of many the answer is, “We prefer our own righteousness to the righteousness of God.” If that is not casting spittle into the face of God I know not what is, for our righteousnesses are well described as “filthy rags,” and we have the impudence to say that these are better than the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. Or if we do not say this when we reject the Saviour we tell Him that we do not want Him, for we do not need a Saviour: this is as good as to say that God has played the fool with the life and death of His own Son. What greater derision can be cast upon God than to consider the blood of atonement to be a superfluity? He who chooses sin sooner than repentance prefers to suffer the wrath of God rather than be holy and dwell in heaven forever. For the sake of a few paltry pleasures men forego the love of God, and are ready to run the risk of an eternity of divine wrath. They think so little of God that He is of no account with them at all. All this is in reality a scorning and despising of the Lord God, and is well set forth by the insults which were poured upon the Lord Jesus.
Woe’s me that it should ever be so. My God! My God! To what a sinful race do I belong. Alas, that it should treat thine infinite goodness so despitefully! That Thou shouldst be rejected at all, but especially that Thou shouldest be rejected when dressed in robes of love and arrayed in gentleness and pity is horrible to think upon. Do you mean it, O men? Can you really mean it? Can you deride the Lord Jesus who died for men? For which of His works do ye stone Him, when He lived only to do good? For which of His griefs do you refuse Him, when He died only that He might save? “He saved others, himself he cannot save,” for He had so much love that He could spare Himself. I can understand your resisting the thunder of Jehovah’s power, for I know your insanity; but can you resist the tenderness of Jehovah’s love? If you do I must charge you with brutality, but therein I wrong the brutes, to whom such crimes are impossible. I may not even call this cruel scorning diabolical, for it is a sin which devils never did commit, perhaps would not have committed had it been possible to them. They have never trifled with a Redeemer, nor rejected the blood of the seed of Abraham. Shall the favored race spit upon its friend? God grant we may be brought to a better mind. But there is the picture before you. God Himself set at naught, despised, rejected, put to shame, perpetually dishonored in the Person of His dear Son. The sight should breed repentance in us. We should look to Him whom we have scourged, and mourn for Him. O Holy Spirit, work this tender grace in all our hearts.
II. And now, secondly, I want to set the Lord Jesus before you in another light, or rather beseech Him to shine in His own light before your eyes:—AS THE SUBSTITUTE FOR HIS PEOPLE. Recollect when our Lord Jesus Christ suffered thus it was not on His own account nor purely for the sake of His Father, but He “was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” There has risen up a modern idea which I cannot too much reprobate, that Christ made no atonement for our sin except upon the cross: whereas in this passage of Isaiah we are taught as plainly as possible that by His bruising and His stripes, as well as by His death, we are healed. Never divide between the life and the death of Christ. How could He have died if He had not lived? How could He suffer except while He lived? Death is not suffering, but the end of it. Guard also against the evil notion that you have nothing to do with the righteousness of Christ, for He could not have made an atonement by His blood if He had not been perfect in His life. He could not have been acceptable if He had not first been proven to be holy, harmless, and undefiled. The victim must be spotless, or it cannot be presented for sacrifice. Draw no nice lines and raise no quibbling questions, but look at your Lord as He is and bow before Him.
Understand, my dear brothers and sisters, that Jesus took upon Himself our sin, and being found bearing that sin He had to be treated as sin should be treated. Now, of all the things that ever existed sin is the most shameful thing that can be. It deserves to be scourged, it deserves to be spit upon, it deserves to be crucified; and because our Lord had taken upon Himself our sin, therefore must He be put to shame, therefore must He be scourged. If you want to see what God thinks of sin, see His only Son spat upon by the soldiers when He was made sin for us. In God’s sight sin is a shameful, horrible, loathsome, abominable thing, and when Jesus takes it He must be forsaken and given up to scorn. This sight will be the more wonderful to you when you recollect who it was that was spat upon, for if you and I, being sinners, were scourged, and smitten, and despised, there would be no wonder in it; but He who took our sin was God, before whom angels bow with reverent awe, and yet, seeing the sin was upon Him, He was made subject to the most intense degree of shame. Seeing that Jesus stood in our stead, it is written of the eternal Father that “He spared not his own Son.” “It pleased the Father to bruise him: he hath put him to grief”; He made His soul an offering for sin. Yes, beloved, sin is condemned in the flesh and made to appear exceeding shameful when you recollect that, even though it was only laid on our blessed Lord by imputation, yet it threw Him into the very depths of shame and woe ere it could be removed.
Reflect, also, upon the voluntariness of all this. He willingly submitted to the endurance of suffering and scorn. It is said in the text, “He gave his back to the smiters.” They did not seize and compel Him, or; if they did, yet they could nor have done it without His consent. He gave His back to the smiters He gave His cheek to those that plucked off the hair. He did not hide His face from shame and spitting: He did not seek in any way to escape from insults. It was the voluntariness of His grief which constituted in great measure the merit of it. That Christ should stand in our stead by force were a little thing, even had it been possible; but that He should stand there of His own free will, and that being there He should willingly be treated with derision, this is grace indeed. The Son of God was willingly made a curse for us, and at His own desire was made subject to shame on our account. I do not know how you feel in listening to me, but while I am speaking I feel as if language ought scarcely to touch such a theme as this: it is too feeble for its task. I want you to get beyond my words if you can, and for yourselves meditate upon the fact that He who covers the heavens with blackness, yet did not cover His own face, and He who binds up the universe with the girdle which holds it in one, yet was bound and blindfolded by the men He had Himself made; He whose face is as the brightness of the sun that shineth in its strength was once spit upon. Surely we shall need faith in heaven to believe this wondrous fact. Can it have been true, that the glorious Son of God was jeered and jested at? I have often heard that there is no faith wanted in heaven, but I rather judge that we shall want as much faith to believe that these things were ever done as the patriarchs had to believe that they would be done. How shall I sit down and gaze upon Him and think that His dear face was once profaned with spittle? When all heaven shall lie prostrate at His feet in awful silence of adoration will it seem possible that once He was mocked? When angels and principalities, and powers shall all be roused to rapture of harmonious music in His praise, will it seem possible that once the most abject of men plucked out the hair? Will it not appear incredible that those sacred hands, which are “as gold rings set with the beryl,” were once nailed to a gibbet, and that those cheeks which are “as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers,” should have been battered and bruised? We shall be quite certain of the fact, and yet we shall never cease to wonder, that His side was gashed, and His face was spit upon? The sin of man in this instance will always amaze us. How could you commit this crime? Oh, ye sons of men, how could ye treat such an One with cruel scorn? O thou brazen thing called sin, thou hast, indeed, as the prophet saith, “a whores forehead”; thou hast a demons heart, hell burns within thee. Why couldst thou not spit upon earthly splendors? Why must heaven be thy scorn? Or if heaven, why not spit on angels! Was there no place for thy spittle but His face? His face! Woe is me! His face! Should such loveliness receive such shame as this? I could wish that man had never been created, or that being created, he had been swept into nothingness rather than have lived to commit such horror.
Yet, here is matter for our faith to rest upon, Beloved, trust yourselves in the hands of your great Substitute. Did He bear all this shame? Then there must be more than enough merit and efficacy in this, which was the prelude of His precious death—and especially in His death itself—there must be merit sufficient to put away all transgression, iniquity, and sin. Our shame is ended, for He has borne it! Our punishment is removed: He has endured it all. Double for all our sins has our Redeemer paid. Return unto thy rest, O my soul, and let peace take full possession of thy weeping heart.
III. But time fails us, and therefore we will mention, next, the third light in which it is our desire to see the Saviour. Beloved, we desire to see the Lord Jesus Christ AS THE SERVANT OF GOD. He took upon Himself the form of a servant when He was made in the likeness of man. Observe how He performed this service right thoroughly, and remember we are to look upon this third picture as our copy, which is to be the guide of our life. I know that many of you are glad to call yourselves the servants of God; take not the name in vain. As Jesus was, so are you also in this world, and you are to seek to be like Him.
First, as a servant, Christ was personally prepared for service. He was thirty years and more here below, learning obedience in His Father’s house, and the after years were spent in learning obedience by the things which He suffered. What a servant He was, for He never went about His own errands nor went by His own will, but He waited always upon His Father. He was in constant communication with heaven, both by day and by night. He says, “He wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned.” The blessed Lord or ever the day broke heard that gentle voice which called Him, and at its whisper He arose before the sunrise, and there the dawning found Him, on the mountain side, waiting upon God in wrestling prayer, taking His message from the Father that He might go and deliver it to the children of men. He loved man much, but He loved His Father more, and He never came to tell out the love of God without having as man received it fresh from the divine heart. He knew that His Father heard Him always, and He lived in the spirit of conscious acceptance. Have you ever noticed that sometimes a passage will begin, “At that time Jesus answered and said,” and yet there is no notice that He had been speaking to anybody before, or that anybody had been speaking to Him? What He said was an answer to a voice which no ear heard but His own, for He was always standing with opened ear, listening to the eternal voice. Such service did Jesus render, and you must render the same. You cannot do your Lord’s will except you live near to Him. It is of no use trying to preach with power unless we get our message from our heavenly Father’s own Self. I am sure you as hearers know the difference between a dead word which comes from a man’s own brain and lip, and a living word which the preacher delivers fresh as the manna which fell from heaven. The word should come from the minister like bread hot from the oven, or better still, like a seed with life in it; not as a parched grain with the germ dead and killed, but as a living seed which roots itself in your souls, and springs up to a harvest. This made our Lord such a good servant that He listened to His Father’s voice and yielded Himself to the Father’s will to perfection.
Our text assures us that this service knew no reserve in its consecration. We generally draw back somewhere. I am ashamed to say it, but I mourn that I have done so. Many of us could give to Christ all our health and strength, and all the money we have, very heartily and cheerfully; but when it comes to a point of reputation we feel the pinch. To be slandered, to have some filthy thing said of you; this is too much for flesh and blood. You seem to say, “I cannot be made a fool of, I cannot bear to be regarded as a mere impostor”; but a true servant of Christ must make himself of no reputation when he takes upon himself the work of his Lord. Our blessed Master was willing to be scoffed at by the lewdest and lowest of men. The abjects jeered at Him; the reproach of them that reproached God fell upon Him. He became the song of the drunkard, and when the rough soldiery detained Him in the guard-room they heaped up their ridicule, as though He were not worthy of the name of man.

They bow their knees to me, and cry, “Hail, King”:
Whatever scoffs or scornfulness can bring,
I am the floor. the sink, where they it fling:
Was ever grief like mine?
The soldiers also spit upon that face
Which angels did desire to have the grace
And prophets once to see, but found no place:
Was ever grief like mine?

Herod and Pilate were the very dross of men, and yet He permitted them to judge Him. Their servants were vile fellows, and yet He resigned Himself to them. If He had breathed upon them with angry breath, He might have flashed devouring fire upon them, and burned them up as stubble; but His omnipotent patience restrained His indignation, and He remained as a sheep before her shearers. He allowed His own creatures to pluck His hair and spit in His face. Such patience should be yours as servants of God. We are to be willing to be made nothing of, and even to be counted as the offscouring of all things. It is pitiful for the Christian to refuse to suffer, and to become a fighting man, crying, “We must stand up for our rights.” Did you ever see Jesus in that posture? There is a propensity in us to say, “I will have it out.” Yes, but you cannot picture Jesus in that attitude. I defy a painter to depict Him so: it is somebody else, and not Christ. No! He said, “I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.”
There is something more here than perfect consecration in the mere form of it, for its heart and essence are manifest in an obedient delight in the will of the Father. The words seem to me to express alacrity. It is not said that He reluctantly permitted His enemies to pluck His hair, or smite His back, but it is written, “I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair.” He could not delight in it; how could He delight in suffering and shame? These things were even more repugnant to His sensitive nature than they can be to us; and yet, “For the joy that was set before him he endured the cross, despising the shame.” He was ready for this dreadful treatment, for He said, “I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how am I straitened until it be accomplished!” He was ready for the cup of gall, and willing to drink it to its dregs, though it was bitterness itself to Him. He gave His back to the smiters.
All this while—now follow me in this next point—there was no flinching in Him. They spat in His face, but what says He in the seventh verse. “I have set my face like a flint.” If they are about to defile His face He is resolved to bear it; He girds up His loins and makes Himself more determined. Oh, the bravery of our Master’s silence! Cruelty and shame could not make Him speak. Have not your lips sometimes longed to speak out a denial and a defense? Have you not felt it wise to be quiet, but then the charge has been so excessively cruel, and it has stung you so terribly that you hungered to resent it. Base falsehoods aroused your indignation, and you felt you must speak and probably you did speak, though you tried to keep your lips as with a bridle while the wicked were before you. But our own beloved Lord in the omnipotence of His patience and love would not utter a word, but like a lamb at the slaughter He opened not His mouth. He witnessed a good confession by His matchless silence. Oh, how might—how gloriously mighty was His patience! We must copy it if we are to be His disciples. We, too, must set our faces like flints, to move or to sit still, according to the Father’s will, to be silent or to speak, as most shall honor Him. “I have set my face like a flint,” saith He, even though in another place He cries, “My heart is like wax, it is melted in the midst of my bowels.”
And do you notice all the while the confidence and quiet of His spirit? He almost seems to say, “You may spit upon Me, but you cannot find fault with Me. You may pluck my hair, but you cannot impugn my integrity; you may lash my shoulders, but you cannot impute a fault to Me. Your false witnesses dare not look Me in the face: let Me know who is mine adversary, let him come near to Me. Behold, Adonai Jehovah will keep Me, who is he that shall condemn me! Lo, they all shall wax old as a garment, the moth shall eat them up.” Be calm then, O true servant of God! In patience possess your soul. Serve God steadily and steadfastly though all men should belie you. Go to the bottom of the service, dive even to the very depth, and be content even to lie in Christ’s grave, for you shall share in Christ’s resurrection. Do not dream that the path to heaven is up the hill of honor, it winds down into the valley of humiliation. Imagine not that you can grow great eternally by being great here. You must become less, and less, and less, even though you should be despised and rejected of men, for this is the path to everlasting glory.
I have not time to expound the last two verses of the chapter, but they read you a noble lesson. “He gave his back to the smiters”; if, then, any of you walk in darkness and have no light, this is no new thing for a servant of God. The chief of all servants persevered, though men despised Him. Follow Him, then. Stay yourselves upon God as He did, and look for a bright ending of your trials. He came out into the light ultimately, and there He sits in inconceivable splendor at His Father’s right hand, and so shall all the faithful come out of the cloud and shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Only bear on with resolute patience, and glory shall be your reward, even as it is His.
IV. Lastly, I am to set Him forth in His fourth character, as THE COMFORTER OF HIS PEOPLE; but I must ask you to do this, while I just, as it were, make a charcoal sketch of the picture I would have painted.
Remember, first, our blessed Lord is well qualified to speak a word in season to him that is weary, because He Himself is lowly, and meek, and so accessible to us. When men are in low spirits they feel as if they could not take comfort from persons who are harsh and proud. The Comforter must come as a sufferer; He must come in a lowly broken spirit, if He would cheer the afflicted. You must not put on your best dress to go and visit the daughter of poverty, or go with your jewels about you to show how much better off you are than she. Sit down by the side of the downcast man and let him know that you are meek and lowly of heart. Your Master “gave his back to the smiters, and his cheek to them that plucked off the hair,” and therefore He is the Comforter you want.
Remark not only His lowliness, but His sympathy. Are you full of aches and pains this morning? Jesus knows all about them, for He “gave his back to the smiters.” Do you suffer from what is worse than pain, from scandal and slander? “He hid not his face from shame and spitting.” Have you been ridiculed of late? Have the graceless made fun of your godliness? Jesus can sympathize with you, for you. know what unholy mirth they made out of Him. In every pang that rends your heart your Lord has borne His share. Go and tell Him. Many will not understand you. You are a speckled bird, differing from all the rest, and they will all peck at you; but Jesus Christ knows this, for He was a speckled bird, too. He was “holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners,” but not separate from such as you. Get you to Him and He will sympathize with you.
In addition to His gentle spirit and His power to sympathize, there is this to help to comfort us—namely, His example, for He can argue thus with you, “I gave my back to the smiters. Cannot you do the like? Shall the disciple be above his Master?” If I can but get on the doorstep of heaven and sit down in the meanest place there I shall feel I have an infinitely better position than I deserve, and shall I think of my dear, blessed Lord and Master giving His face to be spit upon, and then give myself airs, and say, “I cannot bear this scorn, I cannot bear this pain!” What, does the King pass over the brook Kedron, and must there be no brook Kedron for you? Does the Master bear the cross, and must your shoulders never be galled? Did they call the Master of the house “Beelzebub,” and must they call you “Reverend Sir?” Did they laugh at Him, and scoff at Him, and must you be honored? Are you to be “gentleman” and “lady” where Christ was “that fellow”? For His birth they loaned Him a stable, and for His burial He borrowed a grave. O friends, let pride disappear, and let us count it our highest honor to he permitted to stoop as low as ever we can.
And, then, His example further comforts us by the fact that He was calm amid it all. Oh, the deep rest of the Saviours heart! They set Him up upon chat mock throne, but He did not answer with an angry word; they put a reed into His hand, but He did not change it to an iron rod, and break them like potters’ vessels, as He might have done. There was no wincing and no pleading for mercy. Sighs of pain were forced from Him, and He said, “I thirst,” for He was not a stoic; but there was no fear of man, or timorous shrinking of heart.
The King of Martyrs well deserves to wear the martyr’s crown, for right royally did He endure: there was never a patience like to His. That is your copy, brother, that is your copy, sister—you must write very carefully to write as well as that. You had need your Master held your hand; in fact, whenever children in Christ’s school do write according to His copy, it is always because He holds their hand by His Spirit.
Last of all, our Saviour’s triumph is meant to be a stimulus and encouragement to us. He stands before us this morning as the Comforter of His people. Consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself lest ye be weary and faint in your minds; for though He was once abased and despised, yet now He sitteth at the right hand of God, and reigns over all things; and the day is coming when every knee shall bow before Him, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. They that spat upon Him will rue the day. Come hither, ye that derided Him! He has raised you from the dead, come hither and spit upon Him now! Ye that scourged Him, bring your rods, see what ye can do in this day of his glory! See, they fly before Him, they invoke the hills to shelter them, they ask the rocks to open and conceal them. Yet it is nothing but His face, that selfsame face they spat upon, which is making earth and heaven to flee away. Yea, all things flee before the majesty of his frown who once gave His back to the smiters, and His cheeks to them that plucked off the hair. Be like Him, then, ye who bear His name; trust Him, and live for Him, and you shall reign with Him in glory forever and ever. Amen.

PORTIONS OF SCRIPTURE READ BEFORE SERMON—Isaiah l; 53:1-7; Matthew 26:62—68; Luke 23:8—11; Matthew 27:27—30.


C.H. Spurgeon was a great pastor, one of the greatest that has ever lived. His influence has spread across evangelical christianity and continues strong to this day. He was Christ centered and staunchly biblical in his ministry. He provided for his church a catechism that he compiled from the Westminster Standards and from the London Baptist confession of Faith. Let’s look at what it says about our Lord and Redeemer Jesus Christ.

20. Q. Who is the Redeemer of God’s elect?
A. The only Redeemer of God’s elect is the Lord Jesus Christ, (1 Timothy 2:5)
who being the eternal Son of God, became man, (John 1:14) and so was and
continues to be God and man, in two distinct natures and one person for ever. (1
Timothy 3:16; Colossians 2:9)

1 Timothy 2:5 ESV
5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,

John 1:14 ESV
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

1 Timothy 3:16 ESV
16 Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness:
He was manifested in the flesh,
vindicated by the Spirit,
seen by angels,
proclaimed among the nations,
believed on in the world,
taken up in glory.

Colossians 2:9 ESV
9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily,

I thank God for Christ and his Word. I thank God for men like pastor Spurgeon who He raised up to teach His Word to us. There is no more wonderful truth a man can preach but the truth of Jesus Christ and who he is. I highly recommend pastor Spurgeon’s catechism as a guide to anyone who would like to take out their Bible and study deep into the Word of God.

So, we see that Christ was manifested in the flesh and paid for the sins of all who will repent of their sins and trust in him and his work alone for their salvation.

Romans 5:1-11 ESV
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. 6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Romans 10:9-13 ESV
9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

John 3:16 ESV
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

I pray you will place your faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, repent of your sins, and be redeemed.


The Lamb of God

April 3, 2011

The Lamb of God

Genesis 22: 1-8 ESV
After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.” 2 He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” 3 So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. 4 On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. 5 Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.” 6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together. 7 And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here am I, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” 8 Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together.

Here we see one of the earliest and greatest prophecies of the future atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. Abraham and Issac are on Mt. Moriah, the mountain that would be the temple mount. Abraham tells his beloved son that the Lord would provide the Lamb. We see that indeed the Lord stopped Abraham’s hand.

Genesis 22:9-14 ESV
9 When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.” 12 He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” 13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called the name of that place, “The Lord will provide”;  as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.” 

That day was long ago. The recorded event occurred approximately 2050 B.C. Moses the man God inspired to write Genesis wrote this approximately 1425 B.C. The Temple of God was built on that location years later approximately 966 B.C. It was a house of prayer and worship for those who were seeking God.

Isaiah 56:7 ESV
7 these I will bring to my holy mountain,
and make them joyful in my house of prayer;
their burnt offerings and their sacrifices
will be accepted on my altar;
for my house shall be called a house of prayer
for all peoples.”

From Abraham throughout the Old Testament the Lamb God would provide as atonement for sin was foretold.

Isaiah 53:5-7 ESV
But he was wounded for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he opened not his mouth.

Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God. John the Baptist professed this to all who could hear him:

John 1:29-34 ESV
29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32 And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33 I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”

In the year 29 A.D at a place called Golgotha on the same mount Moriah not far from the temple God fulfilled these prophecies concerning Jesus Christ and provided the lamb.

Mark 15:22-39 ESV
22 And they brought him to the place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull). 23 And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. 24 And they crucified him and divided his garments among them, casting lots for them, to decide what each should take. 25 And it was the third hour when they crucified him. 26 And the inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.” 27 And with him they crucified two robbers, one on his right and one on his left. 29 And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, 30 save yourself, and come down from the cross!” 31 So also the chief priests with the scribes mocked him to one another, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. 32 Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also reviled him. 33 And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 35 And some of the bystanders hearing it said, “Behold, he is calling Elijah.” 36 And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” 37 And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. 38 And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. 39 And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”

He rose from the dead:

John 20:1-16 ESV
Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. 2 So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” 3 So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. 4 Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, 7 and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; 9 for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went back to their homes. 11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14 Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher).

John 20:24-28 ESV
24 Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” 26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”

Worthy is the Lamb:

Revelation 5 ESV
Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. 2 And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” 3 And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, 4 and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. 5 And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.” 6 And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7 And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. 8 And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation,
10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
and they shall reign on the earth.” 11 Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” 13 And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” 14 And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.


God and Man

March 31, 2011

Jesus Christ is both fully God and fully man. This is something difficult for our minds to understand, however it is revealed biblical teaching and is orthodox church doctrine.

We call the truth the hypostatic union. The word hypostatic is rooted in the greek word hupostasis. That is the word used in Hebrews 1:3

Hebrews 1:3 ESV

3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

This is a doctrine that is taken from more than one passage however. It is spread out over the New Testament.

Jesus is shown as man:

He was tempted.

Matthew 4:1ESV

1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

He is spoken of as a mediator for men.

1 Timothy 2:5 ESV

5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,

He died.

Romans 5:8 ESV

8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Jesus is shown as God:

John 1:1 ESV

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Colossians 2:9 ESV

9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily,

John 20:28 ESV

28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”

John 10:30 ESV

30 I and the Father are one.”

Jesus is shown as both God and man:

John 1:14 ESV

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Philippians 2:6-11 ESV

6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

So we see that biblically Jesus Christ is both God and man. In order for him to be our savior it needed to be that way. Since the fall, only God can be sinless naturally and only a sinless man can make atonement for other men.

Isaiah 53:11-12 ESV

11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see  and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, 
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, 
because he poured out his soul to death
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressors.