November 09, 2015
From the desk of Dr. A.J. Higgins
Things Absent at Calvary
“No standing … without a cause … but there was none”
Psalm 69:2, 4, 20
There were many things which converged at the cross. Men and Satan joined together in that unique hour described by Luke as “their hour.” Jew and Gentile united in impaling our Savior to the tree. Our sins were made to “meet upon Him” (Isa 53:6); the sword of judgment found its marking with unerring precision (Zech 12:10).
But Calvary was also marked, in the words of Psalm 69, by the absence of many things. We immediately think of the interruption of the enjoyment of a fellowship between divine persons known from eternity. That, of course, was the greatest thing lacking. But look as well at other things absent:
No Footing to Stand
The imagery of the absence of footing is not to be taken literally. It suggests to us that there was no resistance to the sufferings He endured. He could find nothing to hold back and sustain Himself against the floods of wrath His soul endured. There was no rebellion against the will of God at Calvary. But His sufferings are pictured as a continual sinking beneath the flood waters of judgment. Psalm 40 is the great contrast with this as we are able to sing of our feet being placed on a rock (Ps 40:2).
No Fellowship to Sustain
We look at Job and feel a sense of pity that those who came to sympathize ended up by increasing his grief. Something within us cries out for comfort from friends when going through a trial. Yet at the cross, we see the Savior weary (v 3), waiting (v 3), and wanting. None were present to comfort or to encourage amidst His sufferings.
No Fault in Him
We are told in verse 4 that His enemies were many, mighty, and merciless. Their hatred was cruel as it was the hatred of envy. There was no cause within the Lord Jesus Christ for men to hate Him. The causes all lay within the sinful heart of man.
No Faltering or Self Pity
Let not them that wait on Thee … be ashamed for My sake; Let not those that seek Thee be confounded …” (v 6). Our natural default position in a trial is to self-pity and self-occupation. Not so the Savior! He was thinking of others. This deep concern is seen best in Luke’s Gospel but is expressed here in His concern that none be stumbled. Why this concern? Here was a Man Who delighted God and yet was being allowed to pass through deep suffering with no intervention from God. It is as if the Savior is saying, “This is not the norm. This is not the way God normally treats His servant.”
No Friends to Support
No one understood His grief – neither the “why” of it nor the “whence” of it. No one shared His suffering. He actually shielded His mother from His sufferings by sending her away with John. No one was there to comfort Him in His hour of deepest woe. Even Paul had Luke with Him to the end. But the Lord Jesus was alone.
No Feelings of Sympathy
He looked for some to take pity but could not find anyone. He looked to see if there was anyone who could comfort and there was no one.
Alone He suffered without a friend and without fellowship from any.
1. How many instances of Christ thinking of others can you find in Luke 22 and 23?
2. Find other links with Psalm 40 which contrast our portion now with His portion at Calvary.
3. Can you find other things that were “absent” at the cross as described in Psalm 69?