The Renown Of His Death

Our Lord laid down His life.

Other men die because they have to die. Our Lord laid down His life of His own voluntary will. “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth His life for the sheep” (John 10:11). “As the Father knoweth Me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down My life for the sheep” (John 10:15). “Therefore doth My Father love Me, because I lay down My life that I might take it again. No man taketh it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of My Father” (John 10:17-18).

His death foretold from the beginning.

The very first prophecy of Christ suggested His death. God said to Satan in Eden when announcing the coming of the Conquering Seed, “It shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel” (Gen. 3:15). The words of this promise probably seemed obscure to Adam and to his wife; but the subsequent unfoldings of Scripture show plainly that this first prophecy of Christ foretold His death.

Our Lord “accomplished” His death.

When Peter, James and John were with the Lord in “the holy mount,” Luke records: “Behold there talked with Him two men, which were Moses and Elias; Who appeared in glory, and spake of His decease which He should accomplish at Jerusalem” (Luke 9:30-31).

Moses had a remarkable death. God was his undertaker. Moses did not “accomplish” his decease. The word “accomplish” does not fit any other death but the death of Christ. Death is the invasion of the territory of a man by an enemy. The best of men of old when they died were said to give up the ghost, and to be gathered to their fathers; when they could live no longer, they succumbed to death. The death of the Lord Jesus was altogether different; it was the last and perhaps the greatest of all His works.

The Greek word translated “accomplish” is a word with a great latitude of meaning. Dr. Strong in his concordance defines the word “accomplish” in this way. Pleroo—“to make replete, i. e. (lit.) to cram (a net), level up (a hollow), or (fig.) to furnish (or imbue, diffuse, influence), satisfy, execute (an office), finish (a period or task), verify (or coincide with a prediction), etc.” All these defining words are full of meaning when applied to the death of the Lord Jesus. He cried, “It is finished” when He bowed His head in death. His death made all His work replete. A net crammed with fishes is the perfect satisfaction of the fisherman, the fullness of the expectation of his toil; so was the death of our Lord.

The death of Christ leveled up the hollows, when every valley was exalted, and a highway prepared for God and for His people. His death provided the only title and fitness for sinners to come to God. The blood of Christ is a perfect satisfaction for any publican or sinner who will only trust it for cleansing and salvation. The death of Christ was the fulfillment of His office of Redeemer; it finished that period of “looking for redemption in Jerusalem”; it was the grand finishing of the work the Father gave Him to do; and that work alone verified the Old Testament prophecies by coinciding so perfectly with all that was written in the law and in the prophets and in the Psalms concerning Him.

No other word could have been found to so strikingly present our Lord’s work in His death as this word “accomplish.”

There was nothing of all the glorious things that were to happen to our Lord, to afford a subject of conversation between Him and those heavenly visitors, for that brief moment of His glory and honor on the Mount of Transfiguration, but the subject of “His decease which He should accomplish at Jerusalem.” What a thrilling subject it must have been! Usually the death of a man is his greatest defeat; the death of our Lord and Savior was His greatest victory.

His Father’s commandment.

God commanded Abraham to offer his son Isaac upon the altar as a test of Abraham’s love and obedience; but the Father commanded His beloved Son to die the death of the cross. What glorious obedience was this that “became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Phil. 2:8). Such a commandment could never have been given to a creature. The commandment to die for the sheep was given by the Father to the Son. “I lay down my life for the sheep… This commandment have I received of my Father” (John 10:15, 18). When the Lord Jesus entered the world, He said, “Lo, I come to do thy will, O God” (Heb. 10:9). When our Lord came to Gethsemane, the words of Isaiah the prophet were fulfilled, “The Lord God hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back. 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 50:5, 6). What confidence the Father must have had in the Son’s love and faithfulness, to give Him such a commandment as this! What love the Son must have had for the Father, to bear at His commandment the curse and death of the cross!

God’s wrath and curse.

On the cross our Lord sustained God’s wrath against sin; on the tree, He “was made a curse for us” (Gal. 3:13); in those hours of Calvary’s darkness, the Christ of God was forsaken (Matt. 27:46).

“Thy wrath lieth hard upon me, and thou hast afflicted me with all thy waves” (Psa. 88:7). “Thy fierce wrath goeth over me; thy terrors have cut me off” (Ps. 88:16). “Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? Behold and see if there be any sorrow like unto My sorrow, which is done unto Me, wherewith the Lord hath afflicted Me in the day of His fierce anger. From above hath He sent fire into My bones and it prevaileth against them” (Lam. 1:12, 13).

This is what death meant to the Lord Jesus Christ; made a curse; visited with the wrath of God against sin; in darkness, forsaken, and alone, He died for us. As another has said, “Utterly solitary He died that none of us might have to face death alone.” Or as we often sing, “Crowned with thorns upon the tree; Silent in Thine agony; Dying crushed beneath the load, Of the wrath and curse of God.”

This was the heart-breaking anguish of His death. God left Him alone in the hour of His deepest suffering. Never in his day had David seen the righteous forsaken. The sorrowing One of Psalm 22 pleaded, “Our fathers trusted in Thee: they trusted and Thou didst deliver them. They cried unto Thee and were delivered: they trusted in Thee and were not confounded. But I am a worm and no man; a reproach of men and despised of the people” (Psalm 22:4-6). The One who was the most faithful and the most beloved was the first to know the bitter sorrow of being left alone by God in the hour of His deep distress.

The honor of Christ’s Person gave infinite value to His sufferings. The pain of His obedience made the precious-ness of that loving surrender to the will of God of supremely greater worth and richer fragrance. When He Who became a servant, of His own unfettered will, showed His love and submission to God’s word and at such tremendous cost to Himself as He did at Calvary, how gloriously precious it was!

The death of God’s saints had always been precious in His sight (Ps. 116:15), but never had there been a death that so filled the heart of God with unspeakable satisfaction as the death of Him Who hung in blood and shame upon the cross at Golgotha.

What a combining of defeat and victory, of disappointment and glory, that death was! The first verses of Isaiah 49 speak plainly of the life and death of Christ. Those verses clearly reveal the disappointment of our Lord over Israel not being gathered. Not discouragement but disappointment. Hear our Lord say in prophecy in verse 4, “Then I said, I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nought and in vain: yet surely my judgment is with the Lord, and my work with my God.” Then notice the answer of the Father to Him in the verse that follows, “And now, saith the Lord that formed me from the womb to be His servant, to bring Jacob again to Him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, and my God shall be my strength.” Read also verses 6 and 7. All the rest of that chapter is taken up with a detailed prophecy of all the blessed results of the cross and death of Christ that seemed so disappointing.

Yes, He Who died at Calvary was “glorious in the eyes of the Lord,” and He is God’s “salvation unto the ends of the earth” (verses 5 and 6).

Our Lord died as a sacrifice for the sins of others.

This is another peculiar glory of the death of Christ. He died as a sacrifice for the sins of His people!

“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” (Isaiah 53:5).

“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all’ (Isaiah 53:6).

“When He had by Himself purged our sins, (He) sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Heb. 1:3).

“Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree” (1 Pet. 2:24).

“Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and… He was buried, and… He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Cor. 15:3, 4).

Zelophehad, and every other son of Adam “died in his own sin” (Numbers 27:3); but our Lord “did no sin” (1 Peter 2:22), and “knew no sin” (2 Cor. 5:21), but was “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens (Hebrews 7:26). He never earned death, the wages of sin (Romans 6:23), and when He died, He gave Himself “for our sins” (Gal. 1:4), and “redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us” (Gal. 3:13).

His unjust condemnation.

The guilt of the death of Christ lies heavily upon Israel and upon the world. When sentence was pronounced upon Christ, the judge, Pilate, first proclaimed the innocence of the accused and then condemned Him to the most horrible and most shameful death that diabolical wickedness ever invented. What a travesty of justice this was! Did any court of any land ever treat an accused person so unjustly?

Christ was compassionate even in death.

Our Lord thought of others with compassion when crushed, cursed and dying. In prophecy it was written of Him, “Let not them that wait on thee, O Lord God of hosts, be ashamed for my sake: let not those that seek thee be confounded for my sake, O God of Israel. Because for thy sake I have borne reproach; shame hath covered my face” (Psalm 69:6, 7).

How gracious of that holy Sufferer to have such a concern as this for His disciples in the hours of His deepest agony and reproach! See the tender regard of His heart for His mother and for the women with her: “Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene” (John 19:25). How His tender feelings of love and sympathy went out for His mother! He understood the “sword” that was “piercing her own soul also,” and then He showed His deep concern for her.

“When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple standing by whom He loved, He saith unto His mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith He to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home” (John 19:26, 27).

Mary did not linger to see the death of Him who had brought such joy to her heart. At the Lord’s bidding, John took her away before He bowed His head upon the tree. Not only did our Lord think of His disciples and His mother, He even thought mercifully of His bitter enemies.

Immediately following the account of the worst that His enemies did to Him in Luke’s Gospel, you have the words of the intercession of our Lord for them.

“And when they came to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:33, 34).

What grace this was in the Lord to think of the ignorance of His persecutors when they were making Him suffer such torments! Not only to think of their ignorance Himself, but to plead this ignorance before God for their forgiveness. Surely grace in Him was without limit. It was deeper than the ocean and higher than the everlasting hills.

Rotherham, in his emphasized version of the New Testament, renders verse 34 thus: “Jesus kept saying, Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” He did not just say the words once, but He kept saying, over and over again. What intercession this was for the transgressors (Isa. 53:12)!

The victory of His death.

Those who sat around the cross to watch the Savior die thought that His death was His utter and irretrievable defeat. Our Lord had said, “Verily, Verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy” (John 16:20).

The cross for the time blasted all the hopes of the chosen disciples. Then they forsook Him and fled. They mourned and wept, hiding away for fear of the Jews. Some were so filled with black despair that even the report of His resurrection did not sufficiently interest them to take them to the grave to see for themselves. They turned their backs sadly on Jerusalem and went home to Emmaus. The companionable Stranger who walked with them made their heart burn within them as He opened to them the Scriptures. Complete despair so filled their spirits that they even told this Stranger of the witness of the angels to the women at the grave, and ended with the hopeless words, “but Him they saw not.”

Calculating Thomas, guileless Nathaneal, outspoken Peter, devoted John, and all the others of the twelve with the women of His acquaintance looked upon the cross where Christ was so shamefully crucified, as His collapse and defeat. They could not see His death in any other light. It was an immeasurable sorrow to them. It blasted hope and joy from every bosom.

His enemies.

The taunts and jeers of our Lord’s enemies while He hung forsaken on that middle cross, showed that they were completely satisfied that this was to Him the end of His words and His works. More absolute helplessness they could not conceive. Without a friend to espouse His cause; without a follower bold enough to fight for Him; and without an acquaintance loyal enough to own His name in the hour of His rejection; it looked like the most heart-rending defeat any leader could possibly suffer.

Instead of defeat, the death of Christ was the grandest and most complete victory the Son of God had ever won. Evidences of that triumph began to follow each other in rapid succession. Even before He died, supernatural darkness spread over the land. Then when the Savior cried aloud, “It is finished,” the earth quaked and the rocks rent like an old garment when it is torn by a mighty hand.

Then Joseph and Nicodemus came and gave Him the burial of a king. With all their hate and exasperation, the priests and elders of the Jews were not able to hinder the loving service to Him of these two Sanhedrin counsellors. The consternation of the Jewish leaders must have resembled that of Haman of old when he had to walk the streets of Shushan with Mordecai, the man he hated, riding on the king’s mule and he crying, “Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delighteth to honor.” In the end Haman died on the very gallows he built for the man he despised and hated.

It was exactly so in this case. Both the devil and the servants he employed to hasten the Christ of God to a malefactor’s cross shall find in that cross their eternal undoing and destruction.

It is written in the Scriptures of the victory of Calvary:

“Forasmuch as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Heb. 2:14, 15).

Before the death and resurrection of Christ, death seems to have been like a walled city with gates and bars, and with the devil holding the keys of that city. No one had been able to break that stronghold. “The power of death” was in the hand of the devil.

Our Lord was “crucified through weakness” (2 Cor. 13:4); it was the love and obedience of the Lord Jesus that held Him a dying Savior to the cross. In those dread hours the devil and men did their worst to Him. There was no restraint upon the hatred and cruelties of wicked men. God in heaven left Christ alone to die. He did not come down from the cross, though priests and malefactors challenged Him to do so. They all concluded He was not the Son of God, and that He could not come down. The devil knew well who He was, but in his consummate pride, he imagined that he had the Prince of Life entirely in his power. Satan felt like the Philistine Gazites when Samson, the mighty man of Israel, was in their walled city with its gates and bars (Judges 16:2, 3). They said, “In the morning when it is day, we shall kill him” (Judges 16:2). The Philistines never dreamed there was the possibility of their prisoner escaping in the night time. The mighty Samson lifted gates, bars, posts and all on his powerful shoulders and carried them to the top of a hill that “is before Hebron.” Hebron was the place where Caleb dispossessed the Anakims, and where later David was crowned king.

Our Lord entered the devil’s stronghold when He entered death. Satan discovered that He who seemed so helpless on the cross was the “Lord strong and mighty” when He passed into the nether regions. “Through death He destroyed him that had the power of death.” The devil was spoiled of all his weapons and armor. When, in resurrection, our Lord came out of the city of death, He carried gates, bars, posts and all to the top of a hill. All the powers of darkness will never be able to carry them back again. Like Gaza, after Samson’s humbling of her pride, death after the victory of our Redeemer was left without its gates of brass and without its bars of iron. The keys of hell and of death were in the hands of the Lord Jesus when He spoke to John in resurrection: “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death” (Rev. 1:18).

The death of the Lord Jesus was a glorious victory. He “spoiled principalities and powers, He made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Col. 2:15). When prophets or kings died, their work was done, but the evidences of the invincible might of our Lord were never manifest till then in all their conquering and delivering power. It was noticed by the Rabbis long ago, and it baffled their understanding, that most of the glorious deeds of Messiah recorded in Isaiah 53 come after the mentioning of His death in verse 10. How could He “see His seed?” How could He “prolong His days?” How could “the pleasure of the Lord prosper in His hand” after His death? How could He “see of the travail of His soul and be satisfied?” How could He “divide the spoil with the strong,” after He had died? It was a problem without a solution to those who rejected the death and resurrection of Messiah.

Again, that chapter in Isaiah’s prophecy (chapter 49) that contains the account of Messiah’s disappointment over Israel not being gathered (verse 5), contains this question also, “Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered?” (verse 24). The answer is given immediately, “But thus saith the Lord, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered” (verse 25). Thus even in the Old Testament Scriptures the victory of the death and cross of our Lord Jesus Christ is found.

Death swallowed up in victory.

The blessed application of the death and resurrection of Christ to the nation of Israel in the day of its restoration is expressed by the prophet in these words, “He will swallow up death in victory” (Isa. 25:8). This again is enlarged in Hosea 13:14, “I will ransom them from the power of the grave. I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction.”

Before Israel knows the redemption of Messiah’s victory, as foretold in these thrilling words, we who are of the Church of Christ shall first enter the glory of it as is declared in 1 Corinthians 15:51-57. Then our happy hearts will shout for joy:

“O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15:55-57).

This jubilant and triumphant song of praise belongs to that blissful moment for which the church of Christ is waiting, even the moment of the redemption of our bodies at His coming.

The resurrection of God’s saints at the coming of the Lord to the air (1 Thess. 4:17), and the gathering and restoration of Israel at His appearing, will be most blessed and glorious manifestations of the victory of Immanuel at Jerusalem, in His death and resurrection. It was then He gained the victory. It was He alone who there and then fought that battle that will never have to be fought again. When He returned to glory, as pictured in Psalm 24:7-10, the Lord of Hosts, who was crucified, was acclaimed as “The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.” All Heaven knew the forces He had vanquished. All the dwellers in glory knew the meaning of the victory He had won. It was jubilee in Heaven when Jesus went back again.

David and Goliath.

David, the shepherd lad, without a sword or spear, meeting Goliath, the mighty giant of the Philistines, who was striding proudly with his spear and sword and shield to mortal combat in the valley of Elah; is one of the striking pictures in the Old Testament of that unequal battle at Golgotha.

David was misjudged by his brethren. Eliab, his eldest brother, said in anger, “Why earnest thou down hither? and with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know thy pride and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle” (1 Sam. 17:28). What stinging sarcasm and evil surmising! How untrue the charge of pride and idle curiosity! David was one of the noblest examples of meekness and lowliness in the Scriptures.

“To see the battle.” There was no battle till David came. There would have been no battle had he not come. David was there because his father sent him. David was there because he was needed there.

David despised Goliath.

“Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the Living God?” (1 Sam. 17:26). David was fired with zeal for the dishonor that was done to the name of God. “Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield; but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of Hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou has defied” (1 Sam. 17:45).

See the courage and the confidence of David as he meets the towering giant. “David hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine” (1 Sam. 17:48). How soon it was all over! Goliath, like Dagon his god, lay stretched out with his face upon the earth. In the forehead of his pride, Goliath was pierced with the stone from David’s sling. Before the men of Israel could scarcely get their breath, there was David standing on the carcass of the giant, swinging the sword he had pulled from Goliath’s sheath above his head. Tears of admiration were in many an eye as David quietly returned to the ranks of Israel carrying the head of the boasting enemy of God in his hand.

The record says suggestively, “But there was no sword in the hand of David” (1 Sam. 17:50). God wanted David to be a type of Him who would,

“By weakness and defeat, win the mead and crown;
Tread all his foes beneath His feet, by being trodden down;
He hell in hell laid low, made sin He sin o’er threw;
Bowed to the grave destroyed it so, and death by dying slew.”

You cannot think of David “slaying his tens of thousands” at Ephes-Dammim, without thinking of David’s greater Son spoiling Satan of his power, and sin of its victory, at Calvary.

Samson at Lehi.

Samson, the mighty deliverer of God’s people, bound by his brethren (Judges 15:13), delivered to the Gentile Philistines, who shouted against him, is another type of Christ our Lord. The Philistines thought they had Samson secure. But when the Philistines shouted with joy, “the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him” (verse 14). Those new cords that bound Samson had never been broken. The might of the Spirit of God made those cords like flax that had been burned in the fire. Samson was just as free as if he had never been bound at all. He arose in his strength and utterly discomforted all his enemies.

Samson took hold of the symbol of death and with the jawbone of an ass slew a thousand men. Thus should we mortify or make dead the deeds of our bodies. Our enemies are those lusts and sins that once led us captive. Our warfare is a spiritual warfare.

“We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Eph. 6:12).

“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:4, 5).

“Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin” (1 Pet. 4:1).

The victory of Samson was victory for the people of God. The victory of the death of Christ is victory for us to lay hold of, that we might walk in triumph over sin, for sin shall not have dominion over us, for we are not under the law but under grace (Rom. 6:14).


Joseph, who was beloved of his father, was hated by his brethren; he was sold to the Ishmaelites; he was numbered with transgressors, when he suffered for righteousness sake. When they hurt Joseph’s feet, “his soul came into iron” (Ps. 105:18, marg.). But Joseph came up out of prison to be “ruler over all the land of Egypt” (Gen. 41:43); and to be called “Zaphnath-paaneah” (the savior of the world).

So here again, in Joseph, God tells the secret of Christ, who was hated, sold, and made to suffer, that He might save the lives of others by “a great deliverance” (Gen. 45:7).


When the turbulent sea was raging against the mariners in the ship, Jonah said, “Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you” (Jonah 1:12). Jonah went down to the “bottoms of the mountains” for three days and three nights. Thus the prophet Jonah was a substitute for others. He went into the angry billows that the trembling mariners might be saved from being ingulfed in their fury. Our Lord said many years later, “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matt. 12:40).

Isaac and the ram.

Loving obedience took Isaac, the son of his father’s love, to the altar of sacrifice. There the ram in all the might of its mature strength was held and consumed to ashes on Mount Moriah (Genesis 22:1-14). Abraham saw the day of Christ (John 8:56) on that occasion and was glad. The father of all who believe said, “the name of this place is Jehovah-Jireh” for here “in the mount of the Lord it shall be seen” (Gen. 22:14). Again and again, the Spirit of God gave portrayals of this eternally glorious achievement, the death of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Serpent on the pole.

The brazen serpent Moses lifted up in the wilderness (John 3:14) tells the same story. When the people were dying everywhere with the venemous poison in their veins, the way of God, for their life and salvation, was revealed by God to Moses: “Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it shall live” (Numbers 21:8).

Our Lord explained the meaning of this type to Nicodemus when He said, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:14, 15).

The Sacrifices.

The lamb on Abel’s altar was Christ at Calvary. The Passover lamb “roast with fire” (Exodus 12:9); whose sprinkled blood sheltered the firstborn in Egypt, is typically “Christ our passover sacrificed for us” (1 Cor. 5:7). The “burnt offering” that was “killed before the Lord” and utterly consumed “for a sweet savor” (Lev. 1:1-9); whether it were a bullock “strong to labor;” or a lamb patient to suffer; or a goat surefooted to walk on high places; or turtle doves or young pigeons, birds of the heavens; was the same blessed One giving Himself for us, a sacrifice and an offering to God for a sweet smelling savor (Eph. 5:2).

The peace offering of Leviticus 3 is Christ again, making “peace by the blood of His cross” (Col. 1:20). He has brought God and men together in perfect peace without sacrificing righteousness or offending truth. The sin offering of Leviticus 4 and the trespass offering of Leviticus 5 add the further truth that the work of Christ meets the need of what I am and of what I have done.

Every one of all the millions of sacrifices offered on Jewish altars gave the same testimony to Christ, the perfect offering; and to His work, the perfect sacrifice. The blood of bulls and goats never put away sin (Heb. 10:4). Those sacrifices only had value insofar as they pointed to Christ. He “offered one sacrifice for sin forever, (and) sat down on the right hand of God” (Heb. 10:12). His death and blood shedding, “purged our sins” (Heb. 1:3); and “perfected for ever them that are sanctified” (Heb. 10:14).

All the prophets give witness to Him.

The Spirit of Christ in the prophets of old “testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow” (1 Peter 1:11). The “testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Rev. 19:10).

The despondent and hopeless disciples who sadly turned from Jerusalem where their Lord was crucified and took that down-hearted journey to Emmaus had their hearts warmed by the conversation of a Stranger who joined them. They never dreamed who that supposed Stranger was. Their eyes were holden that they should not know Him. After they had breathed their grief and despair into His ear, He said to them, “O fools and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Luke 24:25-27).

When they knew Him, they said to each other, “Did not our heart burn within us, while He talked with us by the way, and while He opened to us the Scriptures?” (Luke 24:32). The wonder is that devout persons could read the Old Testament so long and overlook this ever repeated reference to the sufferings and death of Emmanuel.

Put the testimony of Moses, Isaiah and Zechariah in the prophets, with the testimony of David in the Psalms and every detail of the rejection, sufferings, and death of our Lord is told.

The Spirit of God in the Scriptures had dwelt upon this theme continuously for long centuries of prophetic witness. It was sung day and night in the psalms at the temple. It was portrayed in the slaying of the sacrifices every day of the year, on special occasions scores of times in a day. The whole procedure was told again and again by the inspired prophets. The very feelings of the Sufferer were described. Whole psalms spoke beforehand the very words of the heart and lips of the Savior at Calvary. It was all so clearly told that we wonder at the blindness of Israel in not knowing that they were fulfilling their own Scriptures when they did these things to Him. As Paul preached at Antioch,

“For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew Him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every Sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning Him. And though they found no cause of death in Him, yet desired they Pilate that He should be slain. And when they had fulfilled ALL THAT WAS WRITTEN OF HIM, they took Him down from the tree, and laid Him in a sepulchre. But God raised Him from the dead” (Acts 13:27-30).

Christ died for our sins.

Those sins were sins against God. They were sins against infinite Majesty, and thus were infinitely insulting and base. They were sins against infinite authority, and thus were infinitely rebellious and wicked. They were sins against infinite goodness and thus were infinitely ungrateful and mean.

Had only an angel been offended, an angel could have made restitution. But when the Eternal God had been so defiantly sinned against, and so wickedly transgressed, only God Himself could honor Majesty, make amends to Justice and Government, and satisfy the desires of Goodness and Love. Only the infinite God could deal with infinite sin with the approval of unswerving righteousness and truth.

It was man who sinned, and man must make restitution. This problem admitted of only one solution; the great God must become a man to be a kinsman Redeemer; and to be able at the same time to uphold all the requirements of God’s throne and to make restitution for iniquity. None but God could do it, and none but a man would be permitted by justice to take the responsibility of man who had transgressed. There was only One who could redeem; thank God that One was willing. There was One who “was with God;” and “who was God” (John 1:1, 2); He was “the only begotten of the Father” (John 1:14). He alone knew the infinite wrong that sin had done. He alone knew the infinite character of every sin and all evil. The Son alone, who knew God perfectly, could know what it meant to sin against Him. He knew that there was no other but Himself able to meet the situation; to display justice and to make love known. All praise forever to His name, the One who alone was able, was also willing, and willing with delight. “Then said I, Lo, I come; in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will O God” (Psalm 40:7, 8).

No words are more glorious than these, “Christ came” (Rom. 9:5). “Christ both died and rose and revived” (Rom. 14:9). “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures” (1 Cor. 15:3).

This is the grandest proclamation that ever has been made in human language. These stupendous facts will be the wonder of all holy intelligences forever. That the great God should become a man, should be charged with the dreadful sins of men, should take upon Himself not merely the matter of the effects of sins, but even those sins themselves. This is the foundation and the fullness of the gospel. “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.”

May His cross be our glory. May His precious blood be our confidence and joy. May His conscious presence be our most coveted possession. May His Word strengthen our faith, and may His coming again be our daily hope and expectation.

The death of Christ was the great revelation of God. The work of the cross infinitely transcends even the whole work of creation. Calvary was the master stroke of victory, assuring defeat both final and forever to all the mighty projects of Satan and his kingdom of darkness. The blood of Christ brings peace to our souls, and it will eventually bring peace founded upon righteousness in Heaven and on earth.

“Calvary, O Calvary! Mercy’s vast unfaihomed sea;
Love, eternal love to me; Savior, we adore Thee.”

Love’s Victory

As fades the subtle mirage in the Arab’s desert land
To leave the heart-crushed pilgrim, in a hopeless sea of sand;
As a brightening and a quiet, ’mid the thunder’s prolonged roar,
Fades and ends with blacker tempest, than had churned the sea before.

So did pass from every bosom, hope which made the children sing,
And the vision of the glory, at the coming of the King;
Passed that little rift of sunshine, in the gathering judgment clouds,
When the Savior, meek and lowly, rode acclaimed by Zion’s crowds.

Weep! ye keepers of the temple, who the Lord of Heaven refused;
Weep for coming retribution, who God’s love and grace abused;
As the pilgrim on the desert, as the sailor on the sea,
Wept for bitter disappointment, in their death doomed misery.

Hark! ye Satan goaded elders, priests of proud Jerusalem,
Stifling children’s glad Hosannas, lest the Son of God should reign
You have earned your condemnation, you have brought your judgment down,
Curse and hatred laid on Jesus! Thorns on Mercy for a crown!

Would you stop God’s streams of mercy? Dam up all His flowing love?
Stay their coming freely to us, while Jehovah reigns above?
Fools! to think your hand had triumphed, when you bound Him to the tree,
Fastened up the door of Heawn, with the nails of Calvary!

Could you keep the Nile from Egypt? turn its waters whence they came?
Can your wisdom stop the showers, when the clouds distill in rain?
Crucify Him! Crucify Him! Ah, thou cruel Pharisee!
Pride and sin thy heart have blinded, grace shall reign in spite of thee.

Never was dispensed such bounty, as from hands by iron bound,
Never grace, as when the Savior, neither love nor mercy found,
Wrath but broke the dam for mercy, brought its blessings from above,
Hate which pierced Immanuel’s bosom, made a way for boundless love.

Power and might may vaunt o’er weakness, praying in Gethsemane,
Give to Christ a mocking sceptre, and a throne at Calvary,
Now He reigns in power and glory, in the Father’s house above,
Then He reigned in dying patience, Prince of Peace, and Lord of Love.

We shall see the kingly glory, which His heavenly brow adorns,
But His heart enthralling honors, are the cross and crown of thorns,
Man of Sin! your Armageddon shall your doom and downfall see,
But no battle’s like Golgotha, where love gained the victory.

—Reprint from Moody Monthly