The awful tragedy of Calvary!
("Heavenly Aspirations!" John MacDuff, 1818-1895)
"Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a slave, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death — even death on a cross!" Philippians 2:6-8
Our Lord's earthly condition was one of extreme poverty. "The foxes had holes, and the birds of the air had nests, but the Son of man had nowhere to lay his head." Not merely did He assume our nature in its lowest form, but He endured opposition, indignities, and sufferings of every kind!
His cheeks were smitten,
His face was spat upon,
His temples were pierced with prickly thorns,
His back was ploughed with scourges,
His hands and feet were fixed with iron spikes to the accursed tree,
His burning thirst was tantalized with vinegar and gall,
His last prayers were turned to ridicule, and
His dying groans were converted into impious mockeries.
Men reviled Him,
Satan buffeted Him; and,
in His last extremity, even God forsook Him!
But He bore it all without a single murmur!
The awful tragedy of Calvary, in all its circumstances of woe, stands in dread prominence above all that the annals of time have ever recorded. Many strange events had taken place before now, but never was there such an event as this! "The sun stopped shining!" Luke 23:45
In the past, the sun shone upon heart-rending spectacles in abundance — but he veiled his face in mourning when the Prince of life expired!
On the disastrous flood,
on the burning cities of the plain,
on the sea-sunk legions of Egypt,
on the armies of Sennacherib prostrate beneath the angel's blast
— he looked down, as it were, with bright indifference. But when the atoning Substitute was suspended on the cross, to gaze at such a spectacle unappalled, was impossible!