November 18, 2013
From the desk of Dr. A.J. Higgins
How He Suffered
Yet He opened not His mouth.
What men accomplish is often marred by the “why” and the “how” that is linked with their accomplishment. Motive and manner either add to, or detract from, the value of any action. So often we grieve when, having done the right thing, we recognize motives that are so often tainted by self-interest and self-awareness. As well, we often attempt to do the right thing, but find afterwards, that we did not do it in the right manner.
He is so different!
All that He did, He did with the right motive, in the right manner, and at the right moment in time. Isaiah tells us something of this in his seminal chapter on the sufferings of Christ. We are told that He suffered sinlessly. He was as pure on the tree as on the throne above. When Paul writes that God made Him “sin for us” (2 Cor 5:21), he did not mean that Christ somehow became “sin incarnate.” God dealt with Him as though dealing with sin; but He was still holy and pure.
He suffered with sensitivity to all that the cross inflicted upon Him. He was never hardened by the deceitfulness of sin or by the experiences of life. He felt everything with the keenness and sensibility which only a pure and holy Man could feel. He was a tender plant, sensitive to every ray of sunshine from above; and equally sensitive to the withdrawal of the fellowship of God in those hours upon the cross.
He suffered submissively. There was no resistance to all that Calvary meant. He went willingly and intelligently to face the wrath of God. Link with this the fact that His sufferings were self-appointed. He planned Calvary as part of the Godhead. He went in perfect harmony with His Father and in perfect agreement that it must be so. Every detail of the cross was planned by Him.
But He also suffered silently. His silence revealed His submission, but also revealed His majesty. There was meekness and a majesty seen in Christ which must have brought infinite pleasure to the heart of God. No word of rebuke, retaliation, or revenge came from His lips. Another has penned:
Without a murmur, suffering so
The righteous wrath of God to know
The righteous love of God to show
Our blessed Lord.
1. Our meditation has only touched on the manner in which He suffered. Add to this the motive and begin to appreciate something of the magnitude of Calvary’s work. Can you find other indications in the chapter of “how” He suffered?
2. Does suffering alone add to grief or diminish it? As the solitary Sufferer was His grief greater because there was no one to understand, sympathize, or support Him in His suffering?
3. In rejecting Christ, men were rejecting His Father. Did that add anything to Christ’s sorrow on the cross?