For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest you be wearied and faint in your minds.
All heaven considers or looks at Christ. The angels look at Him with reverence and adoring wonder, as their Lord and King. All hell considers or looks at Christ. The devils look at Him with terror and alarm, as their Judge and the Author of their punishment. But neither heaven nor hell can get such precious views of Christ as can those whom Christ came to redeem. They consider Him as the Lawgiver who shows the path of duty, as the Redeemer who shows the way of life. They consider Him as the Physician who heals their spiritual diseases, as the Pattern after which they are themselves to copy. They consider Him who endured the contradiction of sinners, in order that they may be not wearied, nor faint in their minds. The flowers that bloom upon a thousand hills, in more than royal stateliness, are rich in fragrant moisture; but it is not every gaudy insect that can extract the honey they yield. So, Christ, however rich and precious He be to those who know Him, is rich and precious to them alone. The ungodly get nothing by their contemplation of Him, except, indeed, a greater aversion ever to contemplate Him again. Believers are always benefited by this exercise. They are made better, wiser, holier, happier, by it. Looking unto Jesus is the attitude of spiritual health, the posture of spiritual activity, the habit of spiritual enjoyment: it is a blessed exercise — it strengthens the soul, it animates the heart, it enlivens the whole frame of the inner man. And while it is beneficial to all who engage heartily in it, be their circumstances what they may, it is peculiarly beneficial to all those who are in distress or perplexity. The contemplation of Him who suffered the contradiction of sinners hinders the mind from becoming weary and faint.
I. LOOK AT THE PICTURE WHICH THE APOSTLE HERE EXHIBITS. It is the picture of Him who endured such contradiction of sinners. It is the picture of a mighty Being, Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It represents Him, however, as man. It represents Him as suffering contradiction, that is, animosity, hatred, and persecution. It represents Him as suffering all this from sinners. It represents the suffering as being in every respect intense, aggravated, and indescribable. Let us seek to fill our minds with a sense of what He underwent.
1. The sufferings of Christ were Divinely appointed and tremendously severe. They were not the mere natural evils which are shed upon us, all in consequence of Adam's disobedience. They were singular, peculiar, and transcendental. They had no like, no parallel. They were infinite sufferings.
2. The subject of Christ's suffering is deserving of consideration because, had He chosen, He could have avoided them. But He did not so choose. He did not spare Himself. He gave Himself up to death for us all.
3. Again, in estimating the contradiction of sinners endured by Christ, let us remember that He was, through out the whole of it, actuated by disinterested motives.
4. Once more, Jesus did not deserve the punishment that was inflicted upon Him.
5. Lastly, the nature of Christ's endurance will be still more strikingly manifested when it is recollected that it was borne for the sake of those who inflicted it.
II. Let us now speak of THE LESSONS CONVEYED BY THE PICTURE on which we have been meditating.
1. By looking to the afflictions of Christ we derive materials for encouragement, because we could not of ourselves do what Christ has done for us. We may endure contradiction of sinners, as Christ Himself did; but ours will never be such contradiction as His.
2. Again, by looking to the tribulations of Christ we derive materials of encouragement, because we should not expect to be treated better than He Himself was.
3. By looking to the tribulations of Christ we derive materials of encouragement, because, as our great Model and Exemplar, He has exhibited to us a specimen of patient endurance and submission under the most dreadful inflictions.
4. By looking to the tribulations of Christ we derive materials of encouragement, because we find that, as our great High Priest and Redeemer, He is able to sympathise with us in all our afflictions.
5. Lastly, by looking to the tribulations of Christ we derive materials of encouragement, because, as He triumphed over all His enemies, so shall we if we be partakers of His salvation. Christians are one with their Redeemer.
Parallel VersesKJV: For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.