“Christ.. loved the church, and gave Himself up for it.” Ephesians 5:25
Thoughts of love nestled in His heart;
words of love lingered on His lips;
deeds of love flew from His hands; and
His steps left behind them, the impress of love!
Love threw its soft halo over His cradle at Bethlehem–and it fringed with its mellow splendors, the gloom of the cloud under which He expired on Calvary.
Love gave bounds to His reproofs–and pathos to His invitations.
Love was the magnet that guided Him in all His wanderings.
Love bound Him to the cross and held Him there–and not the iron nails which pierced His hands and His feet!
Love thrilled in His bosom, and glistened in His eye!
Love prompted Him to impart miraculous aid on every opportunity. His meekness was but one of its features. It clothed itself in forgiveness toward His enemies, and its last pulsation was in a prayer for His murderers.
Love was the spiritual atmosphere in which He lived, moved, and had His being. And all this love had His own people for its central object, around whom it ever hovered with sleepless tenderness and assiduity! “Christ loved the church–and gave Himself up for her!”
But those exhibitions of love during His life–are eclipsed by the displays of it in His death! Love shines out with novel charms amidst the gloom of death, for it did not shrink from the shame and woe of the cross!
His severest anguish was that of His soul. Oh! it was not shame, persecution, or crucifixion–for these terrible sufferings could have been easily borne! It was not the rage and malice of Satan–these also could have been trampled on! But it was the endurance in Himself of the punishment due to that sin which He had taken upon Himself–which drank up His spirit, prompted the moan in Gethsemane, and the mysterious complaint on Calvary! The ‘travail of His soul’–was induced by vicarious pangs!
In the Scriptures, Redemption is not ascribed . . .
to the birth of Christ with its mysteries,
nor to the miracles of Christ with their splendor,
nor to the life of Christ with its holy beauty
–but only to His death!
Who can estimate the depth and fervor of a love which . . .
gave itself to such agonies;
laid itself on the altar as a perfect atoning sacrifice;
suffered–that we should not eternally suffer;
and died–that we might live forever?
For in His love–He gave Himself. It was no inferior gift He selected–for no inferior gift could be the adequate expression of His love. It would be content with nothing else–and nothing less. The Divine Lover gave Himself! Surely the voice of the Redeemer’s love, speaks in thrilling accents from the cross!
Oh, then, what an amazing gift!
You members of His blood-bought church, as you look to His cross, when you see Him groaning, bleeding, and dying in agony and shame–under the deepest, most mysterious and terrible of sufferings–will you not be always reassured of His love? Will it not glow in your bosoms, and thrill in your praises?
“Unto Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood–to Him be glory and power forever and ever! Amen.” –By John Eadie, 1865