He it was who suffered a shameful and cruel death at the hands of His own creatures!
(George Everard, "Help on the Way to the Better Land!" 1873)
"For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect!" 1 Peter 1:18-19
How great is the price which has been paid for man's redemption!
If a prisoner of war, shut up within the walls of some gloomy fortress, were to see a bag of gold sent for his ransom, by the Sovereign whom he had faithfully served — what thankfulness would fill his bosom! But much more than this has been given for us! In tender compassion for our souls, no less a price has been paid by Christ than His own precious blood!
He saw us perishing in our sins;
He saw us in captivity to the Prince of Darkness;
He saw us tied fast by chains that we ourselves could never break
— and then He came to redeem us! He poured out upon the cross, the blood that was to be the means of our everlasting salvation. This blood is infinitely precious, because it is Divine. It is the blood of one who is man's Creator, "Perfect God — and perfect man."
Oh, ponder well this deep and mysterious truth. Little can we fathom it! Yet it was God Incarnate — God in our nature — the Eternal Word made flesh — who died for man's salvation! How marvelous!
His own hand had fashioned the very wood upon which He was nailed!
He Himself gave breath to the very men who cried out, "Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!"
It was His power which gave strength and nerve to the arm which pierced His side with the cruel spear!
Yes! the Creator and Preserver of man — the King of kings and Lord of lords, He before whom angels worshiped, crying, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty!" — He it was who suffered a shameful and cruel death at the hands of His own creatures!
When the Jews saw the tears which Jesus shed at the tomb of Lazarus His friend, they rightly judged when they said, "Behold how He loved him!" When we see the drops of precious blood falling on Calvary, when we see the blood flowing from His pierced temples, from His wounded hands and feet and side — well may we say, "Behold, how He loved us!"
Bear in mind that the suffering in body, the shame and the scoffing — were but the least part of that which He endured for our sake. His holy soul was burdened with the weight of man's transgression. How agonizing was the conflict, when thrice He prayed in the garden, that if it were possible the cup might pass from Him! How great was the inner darkness of His soul, when on the cross there arose that exceeding great and bitter cry, "My God, My God! Why have You forsaken Me!"
It has been said, "Christ received into His own bosom every arrow of God's quiver — and every one dipped in the poison of the curse!" Here then is love. In the blood of the cross, we find the proof of such love as man never before could conceive: "Christ died for the ungodly!" Romans 5:6
What a mystery of love is this!
Believer, did Jesus give His precious blood for you, to save you from Hell and damnation, to make you a child of God and an heir of eternal glory? Then what will you withhold from Him? Oh, surrender yourself wholly, unreservedly to His service! Oh, think of the debt of love you owe — and endeavor to make some return for it, by laying yourself and all you have at His feet. Time, talents, influence, wealth — freely yield to the Savior who has bought you! Above all things, live daily, hourly, as in the sight of God — and adorn your profession by a very loving, holy, prayerful, Christ-like life.