John 19:5

Robert Hawker

My soul, thou art engaged in solemn subjects at this season, both night and morning; and here is one as solemn as any; thy Jesus coming forth in his coronation robes! Yes! For he, and he alone, is the prince of sufferers, as the prince of his people. Many of his dear children have been beset with thorns; and to many, indeed to all more or less, the Lord hedgeth up their way with thorns. But none but the ever blessed Jesus was crowned with thorns. Now, my soul, ponder well the solemn subject. And Oh! that God the Holy Ghost may open all the glories of it to thy view. And first, look at thy Jesus, crowned with thorns. None but the Lord Jesus could properly wear this crown; because the curse pronounced by God at the fall, of thorns being brought forth to the man, could belong to none but him, the God-man Christ Jesus. This curse contained an abridgment of all the curses in the bible: and which never fell upon any but the person of Christ, so as to crown him as having suffered all. He was first made sin, and then a curse for his redeemed. Now the three grand branches of this curse were never fulfilled in any but in Christ: as, first, a separation from God; secondly, a state of unequalled sorrow, subject to all the frailties of nature, in pain and misery; and thirdly, death: in dying he died; intimating thereby the very death, as comprehensive of all in one. All men in death are exposed to a cold and clammy sweat; but it was reserved to the Lord Jesus, in his death, to sweat a bloody sweat. My soul! do thou thus look at him, in his purple robe, and crown of thorns, who is here represented to thy view, and never, never forget, that in all this he was and is thy surety; the Lord thy righteousness! But there is another point to be regarded in this solemn scripture, which demands thy closest attention; and let this form a second delightful consideration for thy evening's comforts. When Jesus thus came forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe, as the translation represents the passage; it is Pilate who saith, "Behold the man!" But this is a mistake, and a sad mistake indeed: for it is not Pilate that speaks, but Christ. The word Pilate, if you well observe, is printed in italics, which denotes that it is a word not found in the original, but put in by another hand; and much to be lamented it is, that it should ever have been there. The Lord Jesus Christ had been all along pointed out in the old testament scripture as the man, the very man, that should be "a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;" who should give his back to the smiters, and his cheek to them that plucked off his hair, and that would not hide his face from shame and spitting. When, therefore, Pilate brought the Lord Jesus to the view of his people, in direct and full testimony as answerable to those characters; Jesus saith unto them, "Behold the man!" He had before, under the spirit of prophecy, cried out, "Behold me! behold me!" (Isaiah Ixv. 1.) and now, as if to shew the wonderful and complete agreement of scripture prophecy with his sacred person, he saith, "Behold the man!" Oh! how blessed is it to receive this testimony from Jesus's own mouth! Oh! how refreshing to the soul, to perceive Christ's gracious attention, in such a moment of trial, to the security and comfort of his people! And what a blessed strengthening to the faith of his redeemed, to behold all the persons Of the Godhead calling upon the church to the same contemplation! "Behold (saith God the Father) my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth?" Isa. xlii. 1. Behold (saith God the Holy Ghost) the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world!" John i. 29. "Behold the man!" saith Christ himself, as in this most blessed scripture. Lord Jesus! give me to behold thee, with an eye of faith, and so to gaze, with holy joy, and wonder, love, and praise, upon thy glories, that my ravished soul may go forth in longing desires after thee, and thus daily behold thee, until faith be swallowed up in sight, and hope be lost in absolute fruition!



Robert Hawker

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