"AND THE PEOPLE STOOD BEHOLDING;"
Luke xxiii. 35—37.

Robert Hawker
(1753-1827)


"And the people stood beholding; and the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God. And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar, and saying, if thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself."
—Luke xxiii. 35—37.

My soul! thou art not tired, I hope, of taking thy stand, night by night, and morning by morning, at the foot of the cross. Surely it is blessed to sit down by the fountain, which was opened by the soldier's spear, in the heart of Jesus, and contemplate, one by one, the mercies which flow in it to the souls of his redeemed. There are more to be seen, more to be discovered at every renewed review; for in the death of Christ, is the life of the soul. It is not the smallest part of the excellencies which Jesus discovered in his death, that it was "the death of the cross;" for the apostle joins this with his sufferings. He not only endured the cross, but he despised the shame; and yet that shame, in all the parts of it, forms a wonderful branch in the subject. My soul! look at the cross in this point of view, and see whether thou wilt not draw sweet consolation from it, under the grand consideration, that as thy sins have caused shame before God, so the shame thy blessed Surety endured, has more than made satisfaction to the divine glory. Behold the people, with the rulers, deriding Christ with taunts and reproaches; and even the Roman soldiers mocking Jesus, though they knew him not. Indeed, every thing in Christ became the subject of their resentment. Through his whole life, this had been the case; and now, in the close of it, the whole is summoned up into the most finished contempt. His person most daringly despised: "if he be the Son of God, let God save him if he will have him," say they! His offices blasphemed: "art thou a king then," said Pilate, in the most sovereign contempt. "If thou be the King of Israel," said the rabble," save thyself and come down from the cross." "Prophecy, thou Christ," said one of them in the hall," who is he that smote thee. "And as a priest, when Jesus was stretched forth on the cross, as in the act of blessing, and truly in the act of dying for them, the taunt was, "He saved others, himself he cannot save." Thus the Lord of life and glory, as the prophet had foretold, hid not his face from shame and spitting! And, as if to crown all with the highest possible instance of shame and disgrace, while the multitude counted him for a deceiver, and all his disciples forsook him and fled, as from a person with whom it was dangerous to be found, he is hung up as a malefactor, and that between two thieves; yea, God himself allowed him, nay, appointed him to be reckoned among the transgressors. Pause, my soul, over this blissful subject; and most blessed it is, when Christ is thus beheld in relation to his people. For surely whatever shame and confusion of face is the sinner's, due by reason of sin, the Lord Jesus hath fully paid it, yea, more than paid it, as the sinner's representative. And herein is that scripture completely explained and applied: "Comfort ye, comfort ye, my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins." Surely this was literally and truly the case in the person of her Almighty Surety and Representative, when Jesus endured the cross, and bore the shame for all his people!

From the POOR MAN'S MORNING AND EVENING PORTIONS.

apr14e


Robert Hawker



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