He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter…
I. OUR SAVIOUR'S PATIENCE. Our Lord was brought to the shearers that He might be shorn of His comfort, and of His honour, shorn even of His good name, and shorn at last of life itself; but when under the shearers He was as silent as a sheep. How patient He was before Pilate, and Herod, and Caiaphas, and on the cross.
1. Our lord was dumb and opened not His mouth against His adversaries, and did not accuse one of them of cruelty or injustice.
2. As He did not utter a word against His adversaries, so He did not say a word against any one of us. Zipporah said to Moses, "Surely a bloody husband art thou to me," as she saw her child bleeding; and surely Jesus might have said to His Church, "Thou art a costly spouse to Me, to bring Me all this shame and bloodshedding." But He giveth liberally, He openeth the very fountain of His heart, and upbraideth not.
3. There was not a word against His Father, nor a syllable of repining at the severity of the chastisement laid upon Him for our sakes. You and I have murmured when under a comparatively light grief, thinking ourselves hardly done by. But not so the Saviour. Many are the Lamentations of Jeremiah, but few are the lamentations of Jesus. Jesus wept, and Jesus sweat great drops of blood, but He never murmured nor felt rebellion in, His heart. I see in this our Lord's complete submission. There was complete self-conquest too. There was complete absorption in His work.
II. VIEW OUR OWN CASE UNDER THE SAME METAPHOR AS THAT WHICH IS USED IN REFERENCE TO OUR LORD. As He is so are we also in this world. Just as a sheep is taken by the shearer, and its wool is cut off, so doth the Lord take His people and shear them, taking away all their earthly comforts, and leaving them bare.
1. A sheep rewards its owner for all his care and trouble by being shorn. Some of God s people can give to Christ a tribute of gratitude by active service, and they should do so gladly every day of their lives; but many others cannot do much in active service, and about the only reward they can give to their Lord is to render up their fleece by suffering when He calls upon them to suffer, submissively yielding to be shorn of their personal comfort when the time comes for patient endurance. The husband, or perhaps the wife, is removed, little children are taken away, property is shorn off, and health is gone. Sometimes the shears cut off the man's good name; slander follows; comforts vanish. Well, it may be that you are not able to glorify God to any very large extent except by undergoing this process.
2. The sheep is itself benefited by the operation of shearing. Before they begin to shear the sheep the wool is long and old, and every bush and briar tears off a bit of the wool, until the sheep looks ragged and forlorn. If the wool were left, when the heat of summer came the sheep would not be able to bear itself. So when the Lord shears us, we do not like the operation any more than the sheep do; but first, it is for His glory; and secondly, it is for our benefit, and therefore we are bound most willingly to submit. There are many things which we should like to have kept which, if we had kept them, would not have proved blessings but curses. A stale blessing is a curse.
3. Before sheep are shorn they are always washed. If the Good Shepherd is going to clip your wool, ask Him to wash it before He takes it off; ask to be cleansed in spirit, soul and body.
4. After the washing, when the sheep has been dried, it actually loses what was its comfort. You also will have to part with your comforts. The next time you receive a fresh blessing call it a loan. A loan, they say, should go laughing home, and so should we rejoice when the Lord takes back that which He had lent us.
5. The shearers take care not to hurt the sheep: they clip as close as they can, but they do not cut the skin. When they do make a gash, it is because the sheep does not lie still: but a careful shearer has bloodless shears. The Lord may clip wonderfully close: I have known Him clip some so close that they did not seem to have a bit of wool left, for they were stripped entirely.
6. The shearers always shear at a suitable time. It would be a very wicked, cruel, and unwise thing to begin sheep-shearing in winter time. Have you ever noticed that whenever the Lord afflicts us He selects the best possible time?
7. It is with us as with the sheep, there is new wool coming. Whenever the Lord takes away our earthly comforts with one hand, one, two, three, He restores with the other hand, six, a score, a hundred; we are crying and whining about the little loss, and yet it is necessary in order that we may be able to receive the great gain. If the Lord takes away the manna, as He did from His people Israel, it is because they have the old corn of the land of Canaan to live upon. If the water of the rock did not follow the tribes any longer, it was because they drank of the Jordan, and of the brooks.
III. LET US ENDEAVOUR TO IMITATE THE EXAMPLE OF OUR BLESSED LORD WHEN OUR TURN COMES TO BE SHORN.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.