"And there followed him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented him."
Amid the rabble rout which hounded the Redeemer to his doom, there were some gracious souls whose bitter anguish sought vent in wailing and lamentations--fit music to accompany that march of woe. When my soul can, in imagination, see the Saviour bearing his cross to Calvary, she joins the godly women and weeps with them; for, indeed, there is true cause for grief--cause lying deeper than those mourning women thought. They bewailed innocence maltreated, goodness persecuted, love bleeding, meekness about to die; but my heart has a deeper and more bitter cause to mourn. My sins were the scourges which lacerated those blessed shoulders, and crowned with thorn those bleeding brows: my sins cried "Crucify him! crucify him!" and laid the cross upon his gracious shoulders. His being led forth to die is sorrow enough for one eternity: but my having been his murderer, is more, infinitely more, grief than one poor fountain of tears can express.
Why those women loved and wept it were not hard to guess: but they could not have had greater reasons for love and grief than my heart has. Nain's widow saw her son restored--but I myself have been raised to newness of life. Peter's wife's mother was cured of the fever--but I of the greater plague of sin. Out of Magdalene seven devils were cast--but a whole legion out of me. Mary and Martha were favoured with visits--but he dwells with me. His mother bare his body--but he is formed in me the hope of glory. In nothing behind the holy women in debt, let me not be behind them in gratitude or sorrow.
"Love and grief my heart dividing,
With my tears his feet I'll lave--
Constant still in heart abiding,
Weep for him who died to save."
"thy gentleness hath made me great."
The words are capable of being translated, "thy goodness hath made me great." David gratefully ascribed all his greatness not to his own goodness, but the goodness of God. "Thy providence," is another reading; and providence is nothing more than goodness in action. Goodness is the bud of which providence is the flower, or goodness is the seed of which providence is the harvest. Some render it, "thy help," which is but another word for providence; providence being the firm ally of the saints, aiding them in the service of their Lord. Or again, "thy humility hath made me great." "Thy condescension" may, perhaps, serve as a comprehensive reading, combining the ideas mentioned, including that of humility. It is God's making himself little which is the cause of our being made great. We are so little, that if God should manifest his greatness without condescension, we should be trampled under his feet; but God, who must stoop to view the skies, and bow to see what angels do, turns his eye yet lower, and looks to the lowly and contrite, and makes them great. There are yet other readings, as for instance, the Septuagint, which reads, "thy discipline"--thy fatherly correction--"hath made me great;" while the Chaldee paraphrase reads, "thy word hath increased me." Still the idea is the same. David ascribes all his own greatness to the condescending goodness of his Father in heaven. May this sentiment be echoed in our hearts this evening while we cast our crowns at Jesus' feet, and cry, "thy gentleness hath made me great." How marvellous has been our experience of God's gentleness! How gentle have been his corrections! How gentle his forbearance! How gentle his teachings! How gentle his drawings! Meditate upon this theme, O believer. Let gratitude be awakened; let humility be deepened; let love be quickened ere thou fallest asleep tonight.===
Today's reading: 1 Samuel 13-14, Luke 10:1-24 (NIV)View today's reading on Bible Gateway
Today's Old Testament reading: 1 Samuel 13-14
Samuel Rebukes Saul
1 Saul was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned over Israel forty-two years.
2 Saul chose three thousand men from Israel; two thousand were with him at Mikmash and in the hill country of Bethel, and a thousand were with Jonathan at Gibeah in Benjamin. The rest of the men he sent back to their homes.
3 Jonathan attacked the Philistine outpost at Geba, and the Philistines heard about it. Then Saul had the trumpet blown throughout the land and said, "Let the Hebrews hear!" 4 So all Israel heard the news: "Saul has attacked the Philistine outpost, and now Israel has become obnoxious to the Philistines." And the people were summoned to join Saul at Gilgal....
Today's New Testament reading: Luke 10:1-24
Jesus Sends Out the Seventy-Two
1 After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. 2 He told them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. 3 Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. 4 Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.
5 "When you enter a house, first say, 'Peace to this house.' 6If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you. 7 Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house....===
BETTER THAN SILVER OR GOLD
Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.... Even angels long to look into these things. For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God. (1 Peter 1:10-23)
Years after Jesus’ death and resurrection Peter wrote about the mystery of Christ, things that “angels long to look into.” These highest and best truths about God include the mighty act of redemption. Jesus had said he came to gave his life as a ransom (Mk. 10:45), and here Peter says that we were redeemed not by silver or gold (the richest of the world’s riches) but by “the precious blood of Christ” (the richest of God’s treasures, the life of the very Son of God).
Redemption or ransom is at the heart of the Old Testament pictures of salvation. It means to liberate someone by buying them back. God asked the Hebrews to make a sacrifice of every firstborn. For sheep, goats and the like this meant death, but God told the Hebrews to substitute a lamb for their firstborn children. This liberation was ransom. A lamb instead of a son. But in the case of Jesus it was the Son instead of us.
Remember three “s”s when you think of salvation through Jesus: sacrifice (his death), substitution (him instead of us), satisfaction (the fulfillment of the justice of God). A mystery to us? Yes! One that even angels would love to peer into, if they could.
Ponder This: What is something that you know about Christ today that angels would sing about?
Today's Lent reading: Luke 23-24 (NIV)View today's Lent reading on Bible Gateway
1 Then the whole assembly rose and led him off to Pilate. 2And they began to accuse him, saying, "We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Messiah, a king."
3 So Pilate asked Jesus, "Are you the king of the Jews?"
"You have said so," Jesus replied.
4 Then Pilate announced to the chief priests and the crowd, "I find no basis for a charge against this man."
5 But they insisted, "He stirs up the people all over Judea by his teaching. He started in Galilee and has come all the way here."
6 On hearing this, Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean. 7When he learned that Jesus was under Herod's jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time....