Call to Worship May 26 2019

The Lord’s Supper by Thomas Watson

“QUESTION. What was the cause of Christ’s suffering?

ANSWER. Surely not for any desert of His own. ‘The Messiah shall be cut off—but not for Himself,’ Daniel 9:26. In the original it is, ‘He shall be cut off, and there is nothing in Him.’ That is—there is no cause in Him, why He should suffer. Why, then, was His blessed body broken? It was for our sins. ‘He was wounded for our transgressions,’ Isaiah 53:5. The Hebrew word for ‘wounded’ has a double emphasis. Either it may signify that He was pierced through as with a dart, or that He was profaned. He was used as some common vile thing—and Christ can thank us for it. ‘He was wounded for our transgressions.’ So that, if the question were put to us, as once was put to Christ, ‘Prophesy to us—who smote You?’ Luke 22:64, we might soon answer that it was our sins which smote Him! Our pride made Christ wear a crown of thorns. As Zipporah said to Moses, ‘A bloody husband are you to me,’ Exodus 4:25, so may Christ say to His church, ‘A bloody spouse you have been to Me—you have cost Me My heart’s blood!’

Concerning Christ’s suffering upon the cross, observe these things:

1. It was a BITTER death. ’He was broken.’ The very thoughts of His suffering, put Him into an agony. ‘Being in agony, He prayed more earnestly, and He sweat, as it were, great drops of blood falling down to the ground!’ Luke 22:44. He was full of sorrow. ‘My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death!’ Matthew 26:38.

2. It was a LINGERING death. It was more for Christ to suffer one hour—than for us to have suffered forever. But His death was lengthened out. He hung three hours on the cross. He died many deaths before He could die one.

3. It was a PAINFUL death. His hands and feet were nailed, which parts, being full of sinews, and therefore very tender—His pain must be most acute and sharp. And to have the envenomed arrow of God’s wrath shot to His heart—this was the direful catastrophe, and caused that outcry upon the cross, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me!’ The justice of God was now inflamed and heightened to its full. ‘God spared not His Son,’ Romans 8:38. Nothing must be abated of the debt. Christ felt the pains of hell, though not locally, yet equivalently. In the Lord’s Supper, we see this tragedy acted before us.

4. It was a SHAMEFUL death. Christ was hung between two thieves, Matthew 27:38. It was as if He had been the principal malefactor. Well might the lamp of heaven withdraw its light and mask itself with darkness, as blushing to behold the Sun of righteousness in an eclipse. It is hard to say which was greater, the blood of the cross—or the shame of the cross, Hebrews 12:2.

5. It was a CURSED death. Deuteronomy 21:23. This kind of death was deemed exceedingly execrable, yet the Lord Jesus underwent this, ‘Being made a curse for us,’ Galatians 3:13. He who was God blessed forever, Romans 9:5—was under a curse!

6. Also, consider the SWEETNESS of it to us. Christ’s bruising—is our healing. ‘By His stripes, we are healed,’ Isaiah 53:5. Calvin calls the crucifixion of Christ, the hinge on which our salvation turns. Luther calls it a gospel spring opened to refresh sinners. Indeed, the suffering of Christ is a deathbed cordial. It is an antidote to expel all our fear. Does sin trouble? Christ has overcome it for us! Besides the two thieves crucified with Christ, there were two other invisible thieves crucified with Him—sin and the devil.”

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