Christ is lovely in His sufferings when He makes expiation for our sins. But, what, lovely in His sufferings? Lovely when He was buffeted, spat upon, and smeared with blood? Oh, yes! He was most lovely upon the cross because then He showed most love to us. He bled love from every vein. His drops of blood were love-drops. The more bloody, the more lovely. The more Christ endured for us, the more dear He ought to be to us. Osorius, writing of the sufferings of Christ, said that the crown of thorns bored His head with seventhy-two wounds; and Tully, when he speaks of the death of the cross, shows his rhetoric best by a silence: “What shall I say of this death?” Though he was a great orator, he lacked words to express it.
Nor did Christ only endure pain in His body, but agony in His soul. He conflicted with the wrath of God, which He could never have done if He had not been more than a man. We read that the altar of wood was overlaid with brass so that the fire on the altar might not consume the wood (Exodus 27:1-2). This altar was a type of Jesus Christ. The human nature of Christ, which was the wood, was covered with the divine nature, which was like brass, else the fire of God’s wrath would have consumed it; and all that Christ suffered was in our stead (Isaiah 53:5). We ate the sour grapes and His teeth were set on edge. We cliombed the tree, we stole the forbidden fruit, and Christ goes up the ladder of the cross and died. Ho, how lovely ought a bleeding Saviour to be in our eyes? Let us wear this blessed crucifix always in our heart. “The cross of Christ,” said Damascen, “is the golden key that opens paradise to us.”
How beautiful Christ is upon the cross! The ruddiness of His blood took away the redness of our guilt. How lovely are those wounds which wounded the red dragon! When this blesssed Rock was smitten, water came out of it to cleanse us and blood to cheer us (1 John 5:6). “When Christ was on the cross,” said Bernard, “then the vine was cut, and salvation came to us in the blood of the vine.” Oh, how lovely is this bleeding Vine! Christ’s crucifixion is our coronation.
Those are the words of Puritan Thomas Watson (The Puritan Pulpit: The English Puritans: Thomas Watson, Soli Deo Gloria Publications, 2004). I don’t wax that eloquent! I love the line at the conclusion of the section: Christ’s crucifixion is our coronation. Indeed! Sunday moring you will have the opportunity of gathering with followers of Jesus Christ who love to sing of His glorious resurrection. Sing with them!
Happy Easter, and thanks for reading these Passion Perspectives!