Luke 23:33
Before reaching Calvary an interesting and instructive incident occurred. Among the tumultuous crowd that surged round the soldiers and their victims were many women. These were better away, we are disposed to think, from a scene so brutal and so harrowing as this. But we will believe that something better than curiosity, that gratitude, that affection, that womanly pity, drew them, spite of their natural shrinking, to this last sad ending. By whatever motives impelled, they were certainly moved to strong compassion as they saw the Prophet of Nazareth, the great Healer and Teacher, led forth to die. Their loud laments did not fall on the ear of One too occupied with his own impending doom to hear and heed them. Our Lord made to these weeping women the reply which is here recorded, longer and fuller than we should have supposed the circumstances would allow. It suggests to us -

I. THAT HUMAN DISTRESS NEVER FAILS TO REACH AND TOUCH HIM. If there were any moments in his life when he might have been preoccupied, and might not have noticed the sounds of sorrow, it was this hour of his agony, this hour when the weight of the world's sin rested on his soul, when the great sacrifice was in the very act of being offered. Yet even then he heard and stopped to console the troubled. An appeal to Jesus Christ in circumstances of sorrow is never ill-timed.

II. THAT SUCH SYMPATHY WITH JESUS CHRIST IS ENTIRELY OUT OF PLACE. "Weep not for me." Some men speak and act as if it were appropriate to express sympathy with the Savior on account of his sufferings. It is, indeed, impossible to read the story of his last hours, and realize what it all meant, without having our sympathetic feeling very keenly quickened; but Jesus Christ does not ask that we should express to him, or to one another, our sympathy with him as One that then suffered. These sufferings are past; they have placed him upon the throne of the world; they have made brighter than ever his celestial crown, deeper than ever his heavenly joy. So far as we are concerned, and so far as they speak of our sin, they may well humble us; in so far as he is concerned, we rejoice with him that he "was perfected through suffering.'"

III. THAT A HOLY SOLICITUDE FOR OURSELVES AND OURS IS OFTEN THE MOST APPROPRIATE SENTIMENT. "Weep for yourselves, and for your children." We know well what reason these Jewish women had, both as patriots and as mothers, to be concerned for the fate that threatened their country and their homes. Our Lord certainly would not condemn, would not disparage, an unselfish sympathy. He who wept at Bethany, and whose law of love was the law that covered and inspired a gracious burden-bearing (Galatians 6:2), could not possibly do that. Indeed, we seldom stand nearer to his side than when we "weep with them that weep." But there are many times when we are tempted to be troubled by our brother's smaller difficulty instead of being concerned about our own much greater one. Do not be blind to the bodily pains or the circumstantial struggles of your neighbor; but look eagerly and earnestly to the rent which is opening in your own reputation, to the gap that is increasingly visible in your own consistency, to the fact that you are palpably descending the slope which leads down to spiritual ruin.

IV. THAT THERE ARE SAD EXTREMITIES OF EVIL WHEN NOTHING IS LEFT BUT A HOPELESS CRY. (Ver. 30.)

V. THAT SIN AND PUNISHMENT BECOME DEEPER AND NEARER AS TIME GOES ON. The green tree is exposed to the consuming fire; but the green tree in time becomes the dry, and how much more certain and more fierce then will be the devouring flame! The nation goes from bad to worse, from the worse to the worst; from dark to darker guilt, from condemnation to calamity. So does a human soul, unguided by heavenly truth and unguarded by holy principle. At any and every time in danger, its peril becomes continually greater as its guilt becomes constantly deeper. Go not one step further in the course of sin, in the way of worldliness, into the "far country" of forgetfullness. Each step is an approach to a precipice. Return on thy way without a moment's lingering. - C.







There they crucified Him.
Theological Sketch-book.
I. THE PLACE WHERE OUR LORD SUFFERED. Calvary, or Golgotha: a small eminence, half a mile from Jerusalem; the common place of execution, where the vilest offenders were put to death.

1. The place where Jesus suffered marks the malignant design of His enemies.

2. The place as mentioned by the evangelist marks His strong affection.

3. We may also add that this directs us to the place where we must look for mercy.

II. THE NATURE OF CHRIST'S SUFFERINGS — "THEY CRUCIFIED HIM."

1. The death of the cross, though selected by Jewish malignity, would be the fulfilment of prophecy.

2. In our Lord's suffering the death of the cross there was something analogous to what we as sinners had deserved; and probably it was with a view to represent this that the Jews were suffered to crucify Him.

1. A lingering death.

2. A most painful death.

3. A death attended with reproach and infamy.

4. The death of the cross was an accursed death, both in the esteem of God and man (Galatians 3:13).

III. THE COMPANY IN WHICH HE SUFFERED: THEY CRUCIFIED WITH HIM "TWO MALEFACTORS, ONE ON THE RIGHT HAND, AND THE OTHER ON THE LEFT."

1. On the part of His enemies this was designed to render His death still more ignominious and shameful, and was no doubt contrived between Pilate and the chief priests.

2. But on the part of God we may see something of the wisdom of this appointment. Prophecy was hereby fulfilled, which said that He should be numbered with transgressors (Isaiah 53:11; Mark 15:27, 28).

(Theological Sketch-book.)

There is a picture I have seen somewhere, painted by a celebrated artist, in which one aspect of the crucifixion is very significantly represented, or rather suggested. It is intended to bring before the mind the after scenes and the after hours of that memorable day, when the crowd had gone back again to pursue its wonted business in Jerusalem, when the thick gloom had been dispelled, and the clear light shone once more on that fatal spot called Calvary. The body of the Master had been conveyed to the sepulchre, the cross itself lies extended on the ground, and a band of little children, bright with the glow of childhood's innocence, led thither by curiosity or accident, are represented as bending over the signs left around of the bloody deed which has that day been accomplished. One of the children holds in his hand a nail, but a short time ago piercing the hand or the foot of the patient Sufferer, and stands, spell-bound with horror, gazing at it. And upon every face the painter has plainly depicted the verdict which innocence must ever give with regard to that dreadful tragedy. It is so we would desire to consider the subject and the scene. The heart, conceiving aright the amazing impiety culminating at the cross, may well take this attitude of wonder, surprise, horror. The cross comes to be God's great indictment against man.

I. The first word of the text may be looked upon as furnishing us with the first count of this indictment against man. IT SUPPLIES LOCALITY, FIXES THE SCENE OF THE DREADFUL TRAGEDY AS HERE UPON EARTH. "There they crucified Him." The place where the commonest criminals were led out to die a lingering death. Earth has her mysteries, and this is one of them. The mystery of iniquity culminates here. It has lifted up its impious hands against God.

II. The second word of the text furnishes us with a further point in the indictment, as indicating HUMAN AGENCY. "There they crucified Him." The actors in this eventful drama were men, those among whom Christ had wrought His miracles and exercised His pure and beneficent ministry.. And it was a typical act — such an act as man perpetrates every day. Envy, hatred, indifference, nailed Christ to the tree; and while these exist in the heart, what spirit shall stand excused?

III. The third word of the text may be looked upon as enforcing the indictment, since it implies A DEFINITE AND DELIBERATE ACT. "There they crucified Him." What hardness and callousness of heart was exhibited here! It was necessary that sin should show its exceeding sinfulness, once and for all, truly detestable that it might be detested, heinous and black as perdition, that even our sinful spirits might shrink back in awe and trembling. For this is what all sin is tending to: contempt and callousness at the sight of suffering worth, scorn of innocence, hatred of a purity which condemns our darker deeds, rejection of God Himself if His claims interfere with our selfish schemes.

IV. The final and hopeful word of the text sheds a light upon this indictment, as indicating A DIVINE REDEEMER WORKING AMID ALL. "There they crucified Him." Strangely enough, it is the Victim Himself who invests all else with worth, and makes the contemplation of such a deed alone profitable to us. When Socrates entered into prison, they said of it that it was a prison no longer; the dishonour and the infamy had passed away in the presence of such resplendent worth. So, but more memorably, it is at the cross. The place is nothing; the actors sink into insignificance; and of the act itself we care nothing, save as it stands associated with Him. There is a law of compensation in all things. Bend the bough of the giant oak for a moment, and it springs back with a momentum proportionate to its strength. And so it is with this Divine One who has bent before the strong blast of the adversary, for of Him it is written, "I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto Me."

(Walter Baxendale.)

I. Remember that JESUS HAD THE CHANCE OF BEING LIFTED UP AS A MONARCH ALREADY, AND HAD DECLINED IT.

1. Men offered it to Him (John 6:15; John 12:13).

2. The devil offered to make Him a king also (Matthew 4:9).

3. Jesus has been offered the true dominion of the whole world in this showy sort of way, over and over again in human history since.

II. Understand that JESUS WAS TO BE LIFTED UP AS A SACRIFICE FOR SIN; hence, lifted on a cross, not on a throne.

1. Consider the spectacle which is proposed for our imagination. Let us seem to see the Saviour already nailed in crucifixion. Christ was lifted up as an object of scorn and contumely (see Luke 10:35, 36). Christ was lifted up as an object of pity and love. At the foot of the cross a faithful few still lingered: men and women who believed in Him, and clung to Him even in these fallen fortunes to the very last.

2. Consider, once more, the force exerted by this spectacle. In the announcement of our Lord already quoted, He says that if He be lifted up He will draw all men unto Him; but in our version the single word men is printed in italics. Some have wasted time in asserting that Jesus meant what they name as "the elect"; some have said that He meant all Jews; and others have declared that He intended to include all things whatsoever, as well as men, unto His uses and His sovereignty. He would gather all money; He would collect all commerce; He would subjugate all power; He would attract all art; He would receive the trophies of all science; He would bring in to Himself the gains of all enterprise. In a word, the kingdoms of a united world should become the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ.

III. Recollect that THE FINAL GLORY OF JESUS CHRIST WILL BE TO BE LIFTED UP AS THE SON OF GOD AND THE PRINCE OF LIFE.

1. God raised Him up from the grave, having loosed the pains of death. This was the great argument of Simon Peter on the day of Pentecost. The raising of Jesus from the grave was the pledge of His exaltation to the throne of heaven (see Acts 2:30-32).

2. The Lord has lifted Christ up to a place at His right hand (see Philippians 2:9-11). Satan's kingdom is to be subdued (see Revelation 12:10). All the realms of this world are to give their tribute to that of Christ (see Revelation 11:15). The kings of the earth are to bring their honour in to beautify His capital city. The Church is to be the Lamb's wife. The King's daughter is all glorious within.

3. Believers must lift Him up as the one Saviour of lost souls. It is just Christ crucified who is the only Saviour.

(C. S. Robinson, D. D.)

I. WE PROPOSE TO NOTICE THE CIRCUMSTANCES UNDER WHICH THE CRUCIFIXION OF OUR LORD JESUS WAS PERFORMED.

1. It will be observed that the place at which He suffered deserves our notice: "The place which is called Calvary." This place appointed for the death of Jesus, to use the language of Bishop Taylor, "was a place eminent for the publication of shame, a hill of death and of dead bones, polluted and impure." Nor must we account it to be a trifling, insignificant circumstance in the Redeemer's humiliation that this was the spot upon which we find He passed His last moments, and that He was to bow the bead, and to give up the ghost.

2. You will observe that the mode of death which the Lord Jesus Christ endured at this place also deserves our notice: "When they were come to the place which is called Calvary, there they crucified Him."

(1)A most painful death.

(2)An exceedingly ignominious death.

3. It must also be observed that the society in which our Redeemer at this place suffered deserves notice.

4. The conduct of the spectators who witnessed the sufferings of our Saviour also demands our notice.

II. THE CONNECTION WHICH THE CRUCIFIXION OF THE LORD JESUS HAS WITH THE COUNSELS OF DIVINE MERCY AND THE WELFARE OF THE HUMAN RACE. Here there are three important facts to be noticed.

1. The crucifixion of the Lord Jesus was the special result of the Divine foreknowledge and determination.

2. And more particularly, The crucifixion of our Lord Jesus, was a perfect and efficacious atonement for human sin.

3. The crucifixion of our Lord Jesus being clearly the result of the Divine foreknowledge and determination, and being a proper and efficacious atonement for human sin, "it was at the foundation of the mighty mediatorial empire."

III. THE PRACTICAL VIEWS IN WHICH THE CRUCIFIXION OF OUR LORD JESUS SHOULD BE CONTEMPLATED.

1. We shall contemplate it as affording the most affecting exhibition of the exceeding sinfulness of sin.

2. We must contemplate our Lord's crucifixion as being an astonishing display of the riches of Divine love.

3. We must contemplate the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus, as furnishing the grand theme for ministerial proclamation.

(J. Parsons.)

Scripture depends more upon the power of facts than of figures and illustrations. In human literature big words are used to overlay small ideas.; verbiage is laid on as paint; the theme is smothered under the gaudy clothing; and sense is rendered tributary to sound. Not so here. When the sacred writers have anything to describe, they depend upon the force of the thing itself, and not upon the manner of its telling. All they seem to strive at is plainness; simply to chronicle the event, and let it speak for itself.

I. THERE they crucified Him. Where? What land contracted the disgrace of such an act as crucifying the Lord of glory? Surely some land where He had not become known; some foreign country where His holy words bad never fallen on the people's ears; some distant principality where the music of His voice had never touched the echoes into sympathy. It must have been in some uncultured territory where no temples were erected; where civilization left no footprint, and where no god was known. Was it in some savage wild where barbarism revelled? and where untrained passion clamoured for a holocaust, and for drink-offerings of blood? No; it was not in such a land that they crucified Him. It was in the laud where He was best known — the land He had hallowed by His advent, and blessed with His ministry; the land of His labours, where His mightiest miracles had been done, and His tenderest teachings had been uttered. Not in a godless realm without a temple or a shrine; but where they bowed the knee, and built the altar, and burned the sacrifice. A realm where they cried, "Lord, Lord"; where, with broad phylactery, the Pharisee rehearsed the law; and where the temple lifted its golden vanes beneath the sky, as the tribes went up with offerings to the Lord. It was in no barbarous seclusion, but in a region where the borrowed arts of tutored Rome flourished, and where the legacies of Solomon were respected and enshrined. It was in Galilee, on whose soil He made His first alighting, and whose fields and lanes, gardens and mountain groves, He had hallowed with His public ministries and His private communions. In Jewry, whose coasts were consecrated by His labours, THERE. they crucified Him!

II. There THEY crucified Him. Who are "they"? Who did this deed? What wicked hands were red with this precious blood? Were they those of some hireling assassins from afar, who were running riot in Jerusalem for a time?. Had violence got the upper hand of law and order, and was Jesus the victim of a turbulent incursion of foreign marauders? Or had the Roman tyrant despatched some myrmidon to put to death a teacher of doctrines which wrapped up liberty in their articles, lest men should grow too free in mind to brook subserviency as citizens? No; neither hypothesis is right. The execution bore the imprimatur of the government. It was a State transaction. Preceded by a trial, and surrounded with all the pomps and formulas of law. It was the act of the people. What people? The Jews. The very men whom He had chosen as His own peculiar and anointed ones.

III. There they CRUCIFIED Him. Look at the deed. Crucified Him! In a place which should have for ever resounded with the praises of His name; and by a people who should have enshrined Him in their hearts, and handed down His worship to their children's children, He was crucified. They did not decorate the land with sculptured memorials of His fame; they did not build altars to His praise; they did not wait upon Him, adore Him, love Him., No; they crucified Him.

IV. Once more we shift the emphasis from the deed to the victim. There they crucified HIM. O look at Him — Him who is thus pierced; look at Him, and mourn! Whom did they crucify? It was customary to wreak this punishment upon their greatest criminals. But here is Barabbas walking free; the notable robber, suspected of crimes untold, loose on the pavements of Jerusalem. Yet, "He," this Jesus, is handed over to be crucified. What! then is He a greater robber than Barabbas, that He is to be crucified? Is this why He may not be released? He has stolen away that which Barabbas could not touch. He has taken from the law its curse. He has torn from death its sting. He has despoiled the grave of its terror and its victory. Is not this a notable robber? But, O unnatural retribution which clamours for the cross, for such an One as this! Yet so it is. They crucified "Him" — Him, "the Lord of life and glory." The meek, the kind, the gentle, Man of Nazareth; they crucified Him — who goes about teaching good, spreading good, doing good; lifting the fallen, helping the needy, lighting the dark; they crucify Him. And, alas! brethren, Calvary is not merely at Jerusalem; the place of a skull is not only at Golgotha. Look over the arena you have crossed during the last week of your life, and you will traverse a Calvary there. You may see the place where the cross has been reared afresh there. You may trace the details of the drama there. Oh! think not, ye daily triflers with the grace of the loving God, that there is no place near you where Jesus is not crucified. Every spot you stain by sin; everywhere where you have trampled on the fair commands of God; everywhere where the Spirit has been quenched, and the restraint neglected — is a Calvary; and THERE, in that unwilling and listless heart of yours — THERE you "crucify afresh the Lord of glory, and put Him to an open shame."

(A. Mursell.)

I. In meditating upon these words, I would direct your attention, first, to the MANNER of Jesus' death, and then to its EFFECTS.

1. Jesus dies with a sense of inward freedom. The Bible speaks of the bondage of death. What a tad impression does a death-bed give of the bondage of man, how painfully does it bring home to us the fact that man is not free, that he is in servitude to death! Hence men have given Death a sceptre and a sword, have put a scythe into his hand and a crown upon his head. But in the death of our Lord we see nothing of all this. Very different is His death from ours. When death comes upon us, it generally takes us by surprise, and herein too does it prove its might, in that it makes men its captives and its prey, before ever they are aware of its approach. In most cases, Death administers a sleeping-draught before he deals the final blow; and it is in a state of sleep and of dreaminess that by far the greater proportion of the dying go their way into that long slumber. But when death came to Jesus, it found Him waking. How regal is the impression it conveys! And let me here remind you, to what an apparent chance it is we owe it, that we see Jesus die in such a kingly way.

2. Christ dies with the clearest consciousness. Would that the experience of each of you in that hour may be, that when all earthly lights have faded from your view, God, as a great sun, will fill the eye of your soul! What a genial warmth would then be shed upon the cold last hour! how would the thought of God bridge the gulf which separates time from eternity! Even Christ had thoughts of His own in the closing hours of His life; He thought on His people; He thought on all the past of His earthly history. But when the last moment came, the thought with which He bowed His head was the thought of God. He died with a clear consciousness of what lay before Him.

3. He dies with the fullest assurance. This is testified by His dying cry. He knows that it is into the hands of the Father that He is giving up His Spirit. We are not, God be praised! without instances of blessed death-beds among ourselves.

II. Such a death cannot be without effect upon those who witness it. It will quicken the pious and susceptible; it will awe the hard-hearted and ungodly. When the centurion of the Roman guard saw what had happened, he glorified God, saying, "Truly this was a righteous man," or "Truly this was the Son of God." To die with perfect consciousness, like Jesus, is, indeed, a privilege which is not granted to every child of God; and it is this that makes death so sad, if not to him who suffers, at least to. the relatives and friends who stand by. To witness a Christian die fully conscious and self-possessed, is such a sublime and elevating scene! And the full assurance on a bed of death with which Christ commended His spirit to His Father, He grants in mercy to His children too.

(A. Tholuck.)

I. We should notice that these sufferings of our blessed Lord were most REAL; that He did indeed suffer all this, most truly; that in that body which "was prepared" for Him, He did bear every possible sting of physical agony; that He was held up in this fierce strife with pain, until He had explored all its secrets. His mind and human spirit were really the seat of every storm of deepest sorrow which the heart of man could know.

II. Next to it we should ever bear in mind, beneath the Cross, that all these sufferings were — FOR US. We must "look on Him whom we have pierced."

III. That these sufferings were NEEDFUL. It becomes us to speak with the deepest reverence when we say that anything is rendered needful by the character of God. Rather is it the truest reverence to see that thus it must have been, if man wore to be redeemed at all; that there was, in the very perfection of God's character — the one fixed centre of all being — a necessity for this infinite suffering; that the nature which had sinned must pay the price of sinning, must bear the wrath it had deserved; that without it there could not be, in the world of God's holy and righteous love, forgiveness and restoration for the fallen and the separated; that "Christ must needs have suffered."

(Bishop Samuel Wilberforce.)

I. THE CRUCIFIXION OF CHRIST, AS ILLUSTRATING THE FEARFUL POSSIBILITIES OF THE HATRED OF MAN.

1. This is seen in the central act of this awful tragedy.

(1)The most painful of all forms of punishment.

(2)The most degrading. Not a Jewish, but heathen, punishment, and that on the worst of criminals.

2. This is shown in the scene.

(1)The place (Hebrews 13:11-13).

(2)The companionship.

(3)The insulting taunts.

II. THE CRUCIFIXION OF CHRIST, AS ILLUSTRATING HIS ALL-POWERFUL LOVE.

1. AS seen in the infinite contrast between Christ and His taunting murderers.

(1)The nature of the contrast.

(2)The elevation and matchlessness of the spirit of this conquest of love.

2. As seen in Christ's readiness and ability to save.

(1)The contrast in the spirit of the two thieves.

(2)The contrast in the eternal destiny of the thieves.

(3)The condition on which their respective destiny hung.

III. THE CRUCIFIXION OF CHRIST, AS ILLUSTRATED IN ITS BEARING ON THE MATERIAL DESTINY OF THIS GLOBE, AND ON THE PRESENT SALVATION OF MEN.

1. The illustration which the darkness furnishes in respect to the changes which this earth is to undergo.

(1)The greatness of the change (2 Peter 3:8-12).

(2)The purpose of the change (2 Peter 3:13; Romans 8:19-22).

2. The illustration which the rending of the temple's veil furnishes in respect to present salvation (Hebrews 10:19, 20).Lessons:

1. The ignorance of sinners of the possibilities of the evil nature within them.

2. The ignorance of sinners of the real enormity of their sins.

3. The ignorance of sinners of what God is doing for them, even when they are hating Him.

(D. C. Hughes, M. A.)

Just look at the one on the right. Its victim dies scoffing. More tremendous than his physical anguish is his scorn and hatred of Him on the middle cross. If the scoffer could get one hand loose, and lie were within reach, he would smite the middle sufferer in the face. lie hates Him with a perfect hatred. I think he wishes he were down on the ground, that he might spear Him. He envies the mechanics who, with their nails, have nailed Him fast. It was in some such hate that Voltaire, in his death hour, because he thought he saw Christ in his bedroom, got up on his elbow, and cried out: "Crush that wretch!" What had the middle cross done to arouse up this right-hand cross? Nothing. Oh, the enmity of the natural heart against Christ! The world likes a sentimental Christ or a philanthropic Christ; but a Christ who comes to snatch men from their sins, away with Hirer Men say: "Back with Him from the heart. I will not let Him take my sins. If He will die, let Him die for Himself, not for me." There has always been a war between this right hand cross and the middle cross, and wherever there is an unbelieving heart, there the fight goes on. Here from the right-hand cross I go to the left. Pass clear to the other side. That victim also twists himself upon the nails to look at the centre cross — yet not to scoff. It is to worship. He, too, would like to get his hand loose, not to smite, but to deliver the sufferer of the middle cross. He cries to the railer cursing on the other side: "Silence! between us is innocence in agony. We suffer for our crimes. Silence !" Gather around this left-hand cross. O! ye people, be not afraid. Bitter herbs are sometimes a tonic for the body, and the bitter aloes that grow on this tree shall give strength and life to thy soul. This left-hand cross is a repenting cross. Likewise must we repent. You say: "I have stolen nothing." I reply: We have all been guilty of the mightiest felony of the universe, for we have robbed God — robbed Him of our time, robbed Him of our talents, robbed Him of our services. This left-hand cross was a believing cross. There was no guess-work in that prayer; no "if" in that supplication. The left-hand cross flung itself at the foot of the middle cross, expecting mercy. Faith is only just opening the hand to take what Christ offers us. Tap not at the door of God's mercy with the tip of your fingers, but as a warrior, with gauntleted fists, beats at the castle gate, so, with all the aroused energies of our souls, let us pound at the gate of heaven. That gate is locked. You go to it with a bunch of keys. You try philosophy: that will not open it. You try good works: that will not open it. A large door generally has a ponderous key. I take the Cross and place the foot of it in the socket of the lock, and by the two arms of the Cross I turn the lock and the door opens. Now come to the middle cross. We stood at the one and found it yielded poison. We stood at the other and found it yielded bitter aloes. Come now to the middle cross, and shake down apples of love. You never saw so tender a scene as this. You may have seen father, or mother, or companion, or child die, but never so affecting a scene as this. It was a suffering cross. It was a vicarious cross — the right-hand cross suffered for itself; the left-hand cross for itself; but the middle cross for you. My hand is free now, because Christ's was crushed. My brow is painless now, because Christ's was torn. My soul escapes, because Christ's was bound. When the Swiss were, many years ago, contending against their enemies they saw these enemies standing in solid phalanx, and knew not how to break their ranks; but one of their heroes rushed out in front of his regiment and shouted — "Make way for liberty!" The weapons of the enemy were plunged into his heart, but while they were slaying him of course their ranks were broken, and through that gap in the ranks the Swiss marched to victory. Christ saw all the powers of darkness assailing men. He cried out: "Make way for the redemption of the world." All the weapons of infernal wrath struck Him, but as they struck Him our race marched out free. To this middle cross, my dying hearers, look, that your souls may live.

(Dr. Talmage.)

I. THE CRUCIFIXION. The horrible fact.

(1)This form of punishment was most painful, lingering, ignominious.

(2)In the case of our Lord, in every sense, unjust, unpardonable, and an exhibition of frenzied selfishness and cruelty.

2. The prophetic place — "Calvary."(1) Outside the city (Hebrews 13:11, 12; Leviticus 16:27).

3. The wonderful prayer.

(1)The lovingness of its plea.

(2)The strength of its argument.

(3)A model for all Christians.

(4)A proof of Christ's interest in all sinners.

4. The meanness of human nature (vers. 35-37, 39).

5. The significant superscription.

(1)Significant in the title given to Jesus.

(2)Significant in the languages in which it was written.

II. LESSONS.

1. The crucifixion of Christ reveals the fearful prerogative of free agency.

2. The unfathomable depths of human depravity.

3. What horrible crimes may be perpetrated in name of holiest principles.

4. How God's most gracious purposes may be wrought out by man's most heinous malevolence.

(D. C. Hughes, M. A.)

? — He that says he did not crucify Christ is His greatest crucifier; he that will confess that they were his blasphemies which spat upon His face, his briberies that nailed His hands to the cross, his gluttony and drunkenness that gave Him gall to drink, his wrath and malice that pierced Him in the side, his disobedience against magistrates that bruised Him in the head, his wanton apparel that stripped Him of His robe, he that will not only die with Christ in his arms, as old Simeon did, but acknowledge that Christ died by his arms, he shall find peace at the last, and righteousness with the God of his salvation. What became of our Saviour's reed, and of His robe, we find in holy Scripture — they were taken from Him by the soldiers; but it is not written whether any man took up the crown of thorns, as if that were our share, or any man's else who is goaded with true compunction. And to say truth, all the sins which we do commit, let us make the best of them, are but thorns and briers; but if we confess them in humility, and ask pardon in tears and contrition, then they are corona spinea, a crown of thorns.

(Bishop Hacket.)

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