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Christ was cut off in the prime of his days, and slain by such a death, that, as was ordered in the killing of the passover,
6 not a bone of Him was broken.” The lamb was to be slain by the “whole assembly of the congregation of Israel."
So it was on the principal festival of the year that “counsel was taken against Jesus, to put Him to death :” and the whole people made it their own act, by exclaiming, “ Crucify Him! crucify Him!”
6. His blood be on us and on our children !” The lamb, too, was slain in the evening. And so it was in the evening, “about the ninth hour, when Jesus, “knowing that all things were now accomplished” which He had undertaken for our salvation, declared,—“ It is finished;" “ and bowed his head and gave up the ghost.
And as in the manner of the sacrifice all was similar, so was the effect the
The blood of the lamb sprinkled on the doorposts of the houses preserved the people of Israel from the messenger of destruction. And so the blood of Christ, sprinkled, as it were, upon our hearts, is designed to exempt the sinner from the stroke of divine justice, and save him from “ the bitter pains of eternal death.” Thus was atonement made to the justice of God : who, in mercy to man's ruined and helpless state, has covenanted to receive the blood of one instead of the blood of many, and to be reconciled to the penitent offender for the sake of his dear Son.
Here then is the sense in which we behold Jesus as the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world—taketh away all that sin which is laid upon him by the faith of the penitent offender. The words of the Baptist show that he possessed the key of that mysterious worship which God had established, and was empowered to disclose its meaning, hitherto concealed. He points to Jesus, and exclaims, Behold the Lamb of God. And behold, in Him, the person so long prefigured by the sacrifices of the law. Behold the one righteous, designed in the counsels of God as
a substitute for many sinners. Behold the true Paschal Lamb, who is offered for us, to take away the sin of the world : who by his death shall destroy death, and by his rising to life again shall restore to us everlasting life. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive."
The application of these words of the Baptist is simple and clear. Behold the Lamb of God. Let wilful offenders against the divine command behold the testimony which God has borne to the heinousness of sin, in the fact established by the law of Moses, that “ without shedding of blood is no remission."
But let the humble and contrite behold, in the Lamb of God, an evident proof of the divine mercy, if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall he not with Him also freely give us all things 5 pertaining to life and godliness ?
JESUS CHRIST THE AUTHOR OF ETERNAL LIFE TO ALL WHO
BELIEVE IN HIM.
JOHN iii. 36. 36. “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that
believeth not the Son shall not see life ; but the wrath of God abideth on him."
John speaks here, as inspired with an ample knowledge of the blessings conveyed by “ the covenant of promise.” He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life. Who can sufficiently comprehend what is intended in that phrase? The presence of God: and in his “presence is fulness of joy :" the possession of a nature without sin and without sorrow : the deliverance from fear or danger : the exemption from all decay or change for ever.
8 Rom. v. 10.
9 Rom. viii. 32.
This is the consummation. But the sentence both here and elsewhere speaks of something in possession. He that believeth hath everlasting life. He has now the beginning, the earnest of it. He has it, in reconciliation, acceptance, adoption with God. He has it, in union with Christ. He has it, in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. He has it, in a heart raised beyond this present world, and fixed on things above. He has it, in “ righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” All these blessings are immediate: a new life given now, connected with life everlasting : a life unknown to those who do not belong to the same covenant : a secret hidden life which is animating the man within, whilst outwardly he is partaking of the cares and duties of the world below.
Is this indeed a "treasure," a pearl of great price? John here tells us to whom it belongs, and by what means it is obtained. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life. For the Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand. They, then, enjoy the blessing, who believe that God hath sent his Son, that He may give eternal life to as many as receive Him: to all who receive the offer which is made in plain and simple terms, “Whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die : but I will raise him up at the last day." “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
They who hear this offer with a hearing ear, reflect within themselves how far it
how far it may supply their need. They perceive its fitness. For they are conscious of the distance which separates them from God : that though they live, and move, and have their being in Him, their hearts are naturally strangers to the holiness which He requires. They
gladly accept the offer, and take the promise home, as simply as it is made. It is offered to the believers, and they believe. It is held out to as many as receive Christ Jesus, and they receive him : they become one with him, and He with them: they dwell in Him and he in them. In all their spiritual growth, He strengthens and cherishes them, as the tree its branches. In their fears and dangers, He is their refuge, as the ark
a refuge to Noah. In their difficulties and labours He directs them, as the head directs the members of the body. And though their life is sometimes feeble and ready to fail, and they are subject to many alternations of health and weakness; still it survives; they have life, they have everlasting life, as long as their faith keeps them united to the Saviour whom God hath sent, who speaketh the words of God. They have received his testimony, though multitudes refuse it : they have set to their seal that God is true, and that “ faithful is he who hath promised.”
It is not so with those who despise the gift of God, and set at nought his offers. Their state is described here in words few and brief, but amply comprehensive. He that believeth not the Son shall not see life: but the wrath of God abideth on him. The ark has floated near them, but they have refused to enter it for safety; therefore the flood must come, and sweep them all away. They have been nigh to the city of refuge, and have refused to take shelter within its gates ; therefore the wrath of God abideth on them.
THE FAITH OF THE SAMARITANS.
JOHN iv. 39-42.
39. “And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the
saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did. 40. “ So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him
that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days. 41. “ And many more believed because of his own word; 42. “And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy
saying ; for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the
Christ, the Saviour of the world.” All Scripture is profitable for instruction. And this account of the inhabitants of Sychar may serve a very important purpose.
It furnishes a striking example of the two sorts of faith which may exist in the mind, and which it is highly needful to distinguish.
THE FIRST is a belief grounded on the report of others. Many believed on Him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did.
THE SECOND sort of faith goes further, and depends on personal experience and conviction. Now we believe, not because of thy saying, for we have heard Him ourselves and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.
It will be useful to examine this.
The faith of the Samaritans, in the first instance, when they went out from the city and came unto Jesus, had its foundation in the report which the woman made. She had assured them that Jesus had proved Himself to be acquainted with all the acts of her life. It could only be accounted for in one way. Is not this the Christ? Can this man, to whom all hearts are open, and from whom no secrets are hid, be any other than He whom we were looking for, who was to come into