The Death of Christ A Wonderful Event.
Matthew xxvii:45-54.The history of our world, if faithfully written, would contain the record of many wonderful events; but the death of Christ would be the most wonderful. I feel authorized to say, that no occurrence equally astonishing and equally important has taken place in the universe. The Cross of Calvary may well attract the attention, and monopolize the contemplations of all worlds. On that cross the Lord of glory expired - there infinitely precious blood was shed - and there we learn more of the character and purposes of God than from all other sources combined.
The Death of Christ a Wonderful Event, is my Theme
Illustration of this theme, I remark,
I. The death of Christ was a wonderful event, because before it could occur, it was necessary for him to assume a mortal nature. - We can never fully appreciate this view of the subject, because the necessity of death is imposed on us. We must die. And if we were to lay down our lives for others, it would only be an anticipation of
the period of natural death. The uncreated Word had dwelt in the bosom of the Father from eternity. He was truly divine. Possessed of divinity, to die was to him a sublime, a glorious impossibility - out of which we may well imagine the most exalted joy to have arisen. Was it not wonderful that such a being, in whose essential nature there was not an element on which death could operate, should assume a nature that could die - and assume it expressly that he might die? There is a love of life pervading the sentient universe. Creatures possess it and the Creator likewise. The love of life must be infinitely greater in the Creator than in the creature, owing to the infinite capacity of the divine mind, and the intensely exquisite sensibilities of the divine nature. Yet the Lord of Life became a man and fell a victim to death. Was not his death a wonderful event?
II. It was wonderful in the love that induced it. - Love led the Savior from the throne to the manger, the garden, the cross. And this love fixed its tenacious grasp on sinners. 1 Timothy i:15. It was not love of friends, but of enemies. This fact must forever peculiarize the love of Christ. Who can conceive the strength of this love? It was so strong as to lead him to make sacrifices, the magnitude of which no finite mind can ever appreciate. It prompted him to lay aside his glory and his crown - it prompted him to die. We judge of the ardor of love by what it leads its possessor to do for the welfare of
those loved. Test the Savior's love by this criterion. He saw that he could not secure the salvation of sinners without coming down from heaven and dying on the cross. He might have created a world for every redeemed sinner with infinitely more ease than he procured salvation. Worlds are made by words - salvation is bought with blood. Our Redeemer travailed in the greatness of his strength when he passed through the scenes of the garden and the cross - and never was his strength so fully tested. Love influenced him to do all. this. Was not his death wonderful in the love that induced it?
III. The manner in which the Savior's death occurred, shows it to have been a wonderful event. - He who went about doing good was betrayed into the hands of sinners - betrayed by a professed disciple. Who would have supposed that the covetous principle could get such possession of the heart of Judas as to make him act the traitor for thirty pieces of silver? Jesus was apprehended as an evil-doer - charged with blasphemy and sedition. The charge of blasphemy was intended to excite the Jews - that of sedition, the Romans. Both Jews and Romans acted freely. Pilate was selfishness incarnate. Notwithstanding the wickedness of the Jews and Romans in procuring the death of Christ, he died voluntarily. The victim went willingly to the sacrificial altar. It was his choice to die. His death occurred in accordance with the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, and
yet he was crucified with "wicked hands." Do not all these considerations, taken together, prove the death of Christ to have been a wonderful event?
IV. The death of Christ was wonderful in its accompanying circumstances. - The earth quaked - the rocks rent asunder - the vail of the temple was torn "in twain from the top to the bottom" - graves were opened - the sun concealed his bright face, and darkness covered the earth from the sixth to the ninth hour. These were sympathizing nature's impressive attestations to the wonderfulness of that great event - the death of Christ.
V. The death of Christ is wonderful in the influences resulting from it. -
1. It gloriously unvails the perfections of the divine character. More of God is to be seen in the cross than anywhere else in the universe. The divine attributes shine forth in harmonious and eternal splendor. Wisdom, holiness, justice and love appear in all their glory.
2. It makes God just in the justification of those who believe in Jesus. The reason is, the atoning death of Christ magnified the violated law of God, sustained its dignity, vindicated its majesty. In consequence of this, mercy is extended to sinners consistently with law and justice.
3. It places our apostate race in a salvable condition. The possibility of the salvation of sinners is unquestionable. Law and justice interpose no
objection to the salvation of any sinner who trusts in Christ. The gospel is preached to every creature.
4. It secures the actual salvation of countless myriads. John, in vision, saw before the throne a multitude which no man could number.
No one can take the census of heaven's redeemed population. It is so great as to render an enumeration a happy mpracticability. Is not the death of Christ a wonderful event, in these and ten thousand other influences resulting from it?
1. So far as we know, our world has been more highly honored than any other world - Jesus died in it.
2. In celebrating the Lord's Supper we commemorate the most wonderful of events - the wonder of the universe, into which angels desire to look.
3. Happy are those who receive Christ as their Savior.
4. Those who reject him are wretched now, and will be unspeakably miserable in the world to come.
[From J. M. Pendleton, Short Sermons on Important Subjects, 1859. This book is from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary Library, Wake Forest, NC via ILL through Boone County Public Library, Burlington, KY. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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