October 06, 2014
From the desk of Dr. A.J. Higgins
The Choice of Christ
“But as for Me, My prayer is unto Thee,
O Lord, in an acceptable time,
in the multitude of Thy mercy, hear Me”
The nation made the choice of rejecting Him: “I am become a stranger unto My brethren” (v 8). They treated Him as someone they did not know. It was not ignorance but willful rejection. They recognized the Heir and His claims; yet they chose to reject Him (Matt 21:38).
His family repudiated Him: “and an alien unto My mother’s children” (v 8). His own family, His brothers and sisters, James and Jude included, did not believe in Him (John 7:5). Imagine being privileged to grow up in the same home as the Lord Jesus; to view His kindness and hear His words of grace. It is very likely that He also worked to provide for them, if Joseph, as many suggest, had died when they were young. Yet they did not want Him or accept Him. Rejection from those nearest is the most difficult to endure.
The enemies of God reviled Him: “The reproaches of them that reproached Thee, fell upon Me” (v 9). Hatred, scorn, verbal abuse, and reproach were heaped upon Christ by those who were by nature enemies of God. They chose to revile Him rather than to reverence Him.
The judges chose to renounce Him: “They that sit in the gate speak against Me” (v 12). Those who sat in the gate were the elders and rulers. The gate was the ancient place of city administration (Ruth 4). The rulers of the people took the lead in the pursuit of Christ. They plotted and schemed, they set traps and baited Him; eventually they bribed one of His own to deliver Him to them. They renounced Him before Pilate and demanded His death.
The drunkards ridiculed Him: “I was the song of the drunkards” (v 12). What patience on the part of God was displayed when He withheld judgment as drunkards used His name in their bawdy ballads and revelry! Drunkards took His name in blasphemy and ridicule, seeking to drag it into the gutter of their sin.
Amidst all the shame and humiliation, how did Christ respond? “But as for Me, My prayer is unto Thee, O Lord” (v 13). He responded with perfect trust in His God. He would make His prayer to God and would not respond to the cruelty of men. He displayed a complete contentment with God’s time for deliverance: “In an acceptable time.” He was marked by trust in God’s tender-mercies: “In the multitude of Thy mercies hear Me” (v 13). In these words, the Lord Jesus was worshiping the hand that was smiting Him at Calvary. He spoke of God’s “tender mercies” while enduring God’s wrath! Perfect trust, perfect confidence, and unwavering devotion marked Him.
He displayed, as well, submission to the truth of God when He said, “In the truth of Thy salvation” (v 13). In effect He was saying, “Let whatever happens to Me be in total consistency with Thy plan of salvation.” He was totally consecrated to the will and work of God.
Men may surround the cross, filling the air with abuse and scorn, but He chose to turn His heart Godward and in perfect reliance, leave everything with His God.