I would like to present some words of devotion to you. These words have been spoken to the church in different times. I have placed them together to tell the story of the Incarnation, the death and resurrection, and at the ‘end’ of all things. It is my pleasure to bring them together in one place for you today. – Ben Alexander
May these words direct your eyes to our Lord Jesus Christ.
“Yet the LORD set his heart in love on your fathers and chose their offspring after them, you above all peoples, as you are this day.” – Deut 10:15
The story in quotes…
“For the Word, realizing that in no other way would the corruption of human beings be undone except, simply, by dying, yet being immortal and the Son of the Father the Word was not able to die, for this reason he takes to himself a body capable of death, in order that it, participating in the Word who is above all, might be sufficient for death on behalf of all, and through the indwelling Word would remain incorruptible, and so corruption might henceforth cease from all by the grace of the resurrection.” (St. Athanasius, On the Incarnation)
The Betrayal, Agony, and Death.
“He laid down his life for us.” 1 John 3:16
Then I seemed to look into His soul and I saw torrents of unutterable anguish—wells of torment of such an awful character that mortal lips dare not sip, lest they should be burned with scalding heat. I said, “Who is this mighty sufferer? Why does He suffer thus? … But a voice came forth from the excellent glory and it said, “This is My beloved Son, but He took the sinner’s sin upon Himself and He must bear its penalty.”
O God! I thought I never saw sin till that hour, when I saw it tear Christ’s glories from His head— when it seemed, for a moment, even to withdraw the loving kindness of God from Him—when I saw Him covered with His own blood and plunged into the uttermost depths of oceans of grief. Then I said, “Now shall I know what you are, O sin, as never before I knew it!” Though those other sights might teach me something of the dire character of evil, yet never, till I saw the Savior on the tree, did I understand how base a traitor man’s guilt was to man’s God.
O heir of heaven, lift now your eye and behold the scenes of suffering through which your Lord passed for your sake! Come in the moonlight and stand between those olives. See Him sweat great drops of blood. Go from that garden and follow Him to Pilate’s bar. See your Master subjected to the grossest and filthiest insults. Gaze upon the face of spotless beauty defiled with the spittle of soldiers. See His head pierced with thorns. Mark His back, all rent, and torn, and scarred, and bruised, and bleeding beneath the terrible lash.
And O Christian, see Him die! Go and stand where His mother stood, and hear Him say to you, “Man, behold your Savior!” Come you tonight and stand where John stood. Hear Him cry, “I thirst,” and find yourself unable either to assuage His griefs or to comprehend their bitterness. Then, when you have wept there, lift your hands and cry, “Revenge!” Bring out the traitors. Where are they? And when your sins are brought forth as the murderers of Christ, let no death be too painful for them. Though it should involve the cutting off of right arms, or the quenching of right eyes, and putting out their light forever, do it! For if these murderers murdered Christ, then let them die. Die terribly they may, but die they must. Oh! that God the Holy Ghost would teach you that first lesson, my brethren, the boundless wickedness of sin, for Christ had to lay down his life before your sin could be wiped away.
II. Now we will come to the second head and here we will lift up our hearts from the depths of sadness to the heights of affection. Did the Savior lay down his life for me? We will read it now, “He laid down his life for me,” and I pray the Lord to help each of you, by faith, to read it so, because when we say “us,” that is dealing in generalities—blessed generalities, it is true—but let us, at this time, deal in specialities and say, each one of us, who can do so truthfully, “He laid down his life for me.” Then, HOW GREATLY HE MUST HAVE LOVED ME!
Ah, Lord Jesus! I never knew Your love till I understood the meaning of Your death. Beloved, we shall try again, if we can, to tell the story of our own experience to let you see how God’s love is to be learned. Come, saint, sit down and meditate on your creation. Note how marvelously you have been formed and all your bones fitted to one another and see love there.
Mark next, that predestination which placed you where you are, for the lines have fallen unto you in pleasant places and notwithstanding all your troubles, you have, compared with many a poor soul, “a goodly heritage.” Mark, then, the love of God displayed in the predestination that has made you what you are and placed you where you are.
Then look back and see the loving kindness of your Lord as displayed to you in all your journey up till now. You are getting old and your hair is whitening above your brow, but He has carried you all the days of old, not one good thing has failed of all that the Lord your God has promised. Recall your life story. Go back, now, and look at the tapestry of your life, which God has been working every day with the golden filament of His love, and see what pictures of grace there are upon it. Can you not say that Jesus has loved you?
Turn your eye back and read the ancient rolls of the everlasting covenant and see your name amongst the first-born, the elect, the Church of the living God. Say, did He not love you when He wrote
your name there? Go and remember how the eternal settlements were made and how God decreed and arranged all things so that your salvation should come to pass. Say, was there not love there?
Pause at the remembrance of your convictions. Think of your conversion. Recollect your preservation and how God’s grace has been working upon you in adoption, in justification, and in every item of the new covenant. And when you have summed up all these things, let me ask you this question—Do all these things produce in you such a sense of gratitude as the one thing that I shall mention now, the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ?
For, my brother, if your mind is like mine, although you will think highly enough of all these things that God has given you, you will be obliged to confess that the thought of the death of Christ upon the cross swallows them all up. This I know, my brethren I may look back, I may look forward, but whether I look back to the decrees of eternity or look forward to the pearl-gated city, and all the splendors that God has prepared for His own beloved children, I can never see my Father’s love so beaming forth, in all its effulgence, as when I look at the cross of Christ and see Him die thereon. – The Death of Christ For His People No. 2656, A sermon delivered by C. H. Spurgeon at New Park Street Chapel, Southwark on a Lord’s-Day evening, in the winter of 1857.
The Resurrection of Christ
“Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,” – St. Paul, I Corinthians 15
Our Hope to Come
And as He spoke He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the great story, which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.” – C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle