To balance out the somewhat sombre content of the previous post, a reminder of what led Christ to embrace suffering and death, from a sermon by the Scottish Presbyterian minister Robert Murray M’Cheyne:
The love of Christ! Paul says: “The love of Christ passeth knowledge.” It is like the blue sky, into which you may see clearly, but the real vastness of which you cannot measure. It is like the deep, deep sea, into whose bosom you can look a little way, but its depths are unfathomable. It has a breadth without a bound, length without end, height without top, and depth without bottom. If holy Paul said this, who was so deeply taught in divine things – who had been in the third heaven, and seen the glorified face of Jesus – how much more may we, poor and weak believers, look into that love and say: It passeth knowledge!
I’m now on blog-fast for the rest of Holy Week. I hope that everyone reading this will be able to look into the love of Christ this week, the love that sent him to the cross, and say, with Paul, M’Cheyne and all the saints: “It passes knowledge!”
After the fold, a longer excerpt from the same M’Cheyne sermon, looking specifically at what Christ’s love for us cost him. The second paragraph, in particular, is gold:
What did this love cost him? When Jacob loved Rachel, he served seven years for her – he bore the summer’s heat and winter’s cold. But Jesus bore the hot wrath of God, and the winter blast of his Father’s anger, for those he loved. Jonathan loved David with more than the love of women, and for his sake he bore the cruel anger of his father, Saul. But Jesus, out of love to us, bore the wrath of his Father poured out without mixture.
It was the love of Christ that made him leave the love of his Father, the adoration of angels, and the throne of glory. It was love that made him not despise the Virgin’s womb – it was love that brought him to the manger at Bethlehem – it was love that drove him into the wilderness; love made him a man of sorrows – love made him hungry, and thirsty, and weary – love made him hasten to Jerusalem – love led him to gloomy, dark Gethsemane – love bound and dragged him to the judgment hall – love nailed him to the cross – love bowed his head beneath the amazing load of his Father’s anger.
“Greater love hath no man than this.” “I am the good Shepherd; the good Shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.”