The Third Day

…and the third day He shall rise again. – Matthew 20:19

Behold Him! Behold Him! His hands are extended and cruelly nailed to the wood. His feet are fastened to the tree, and He Himself is left to bear the weight of His body upon His hand and feet. See how the nails tear through the flesh as the weight drags the body down and enlarges the wounds! See, He is in a fever! His mouth is dried up and has become like an oven, and His tongue cleaves to the roof thereof! Crucifixion was an inhuman death, and the Savior was “obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” The wonder is, that He could foresee this, and speak of it so calmly. He meditates upon it and speaks to choice familiar friends about it. Oh, the mastery of love, strong as death! He contemplates the cross and despises its shame.

Thus He dwells on it all, and then closes by saying, “and the third day He shall rise again.” We must never forgot that, for He never forgets it. Ah! you may think as much as ever you will of Calvary and let your tears flow like rivers. You may sit at Gethsemane, and say, “Oh, that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for my Lord!” But, after all, you must wipe those tears away, for He is not in the grave; He rose again on the third day. O blessed morning!. The first day of the week stands for ever the remembrance of our risen Lord, and on that day, He renews His special communings with His people. We believe in Him; we rise in Him; we triumph in Him; and “He ever liveth to make intercession for us.”

God bless this meditation to you by His Holy Spirit! ~ C.H. Spurgeon

For Jehovah’s Glory

Saying, Father, if Thou be willing, remove this cup from Me: nevertheless, not My will, but Thine, be done. – Luke 22:42

On the third day, it would all be over, and the recompense would begin. A few hours of bitter grief; a night of bloody sweat, a night and a morning of mockery, when He should be flouted by the abjects and made nothing of by the profane; a direful afternoon of deadly anguish on the cross, and of dark desertion by Jehovah; and then the bowing of the head, and a little rest in the grave for His body; and on the third day the light would break upon mankind, for the Sun of righteousness would arise with healing in His wings. The light that would come when He should rise would lighten the Gentiles and be the glory of His people Israel…He would shortly afterward ascend to reap His reward in personal glorification, and in receiving gifts for men-yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them.

Surely our Lord’s thoughts were all the while upon His Father! He remembered ever the beloved Father to whom He was to be “obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” That twenty-second psalm, which might well be our Lord’s on the Cross, is full of God: it is an appeal to God. As our Lord went on His way with the twelve, conversing upon the road, they must have seen that He was in close communion with God. There was about Him a deep solemnity of spirit a rapt communion with the Unseen, a heavenly walking with God, even beyond His usual wont. This, mixed with His deeply fixed resolve, and that stern joy which only they can feel who are resolved to accomplish a great purpose through bowing to the divine will, let it cost what it may. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus was everything to Him, and in all His acts His heart was set upon Jehovah’s glory. – C.H. Spurgeon

His Suffering Was for Us

But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished! – Luke 12:50

For He shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: and they shall scourge Him, and put Him to death… – Luke 18:32,33

The thought of our perishing He could not bear: that was not to be tolerated. He would suffer all imaginable and unimaginable woe sooner than desert the cause He had espoused. He was straitened-so He described it-straitened till His labor was accomplished. He was like a man pent up against His will: He longed to be discharging His tremendous task. He had an awful work to do, an agonizing suffering to bear, and He felt fettered until He could be at it: “How am I straitened till it be accomplished!” He was as a hostage bound for others, longing to be set free. He longed to be bearing the penalty to which He had voluntarily subjected Himself by His covenant suretyship. He therefore thought upon that “obedience unto death” which He was determined and resolved to render.

He had an eye all the while to you and to me. While He was thinking of death, He was chiefly regarding those for whom He would suffer. I doubt not that there flashed before that mighty mind the individuals who make up the vast host of His redeemed; and among them there were insignificant individuals, such as we are. Out of His strong love to us, even to us, He determined to pay our ransom price in death: it was part of His solace that He would deliver you and me. “He loved me and gave Himself for me.” ~ C.H. Spurgeon

Christ’s Pledge

Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn Him to death, and shall deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify Him… – Matthew 20:18,19

Our Lord was forecasting His death in all its mournful details. Do you not know that frequently it is more painful to anticipate death than it is actually to die? Yet our Lord dwelt upon His sufferings, even to their minutiae…Our Lord was like a grain of wheat which is cast into the ground and lies there awhile before it dies. He was buried, as it were, in prospective agony; immersed in suffering, which He foresaw. In the thought of the cross He endured it before He felt the nails. The shadow of His death was upon Him before He reached the tree of doom. Yet He did not put away the thought but dwelt upon it as one who tastes a cup before he drinks it to the dregs. After so deliberate a testing, is it not all the more marvellous that He did not refuse the draught? Did He not remember His engagement to go through with our redemption? “Lo, I come”, said He: “in the volume of the Book it is written of Me.” He had pledged Himself by solemn covenant, and in the Book it was written that He would stand in our stead and give His life an offering for sin. From this suretiship He never departed. He knew that the Father would bruise Him and put Him to grief in the approaching day of His anger. He knew that the wicked would pierce His hands and His feet. He knew all that would occur, and He started not back from the pledge which He had given in the council chamber of eternity- that His life should be rendered up as a ransom for many. It were well if we also remembered our vows to God, and the obligations under which we are placed by His great love. ~ C.H. Spurgeon

The Plain Truth

And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken. – Luke 18:34

They listened to this private talk, but we are told by Luke that it was very much lost upon them, because they did not understand Him. “And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.”…Numbers of people imagine that they understand mysteries, and yet the simplicities of the faith are hid from their eyes because they are gazing after abstruse doctrines. They search after difficult things and miss the plain truth. We groan as we wantonly dive into a profound abyss; and yet we stand confounded over a little transparent stream, which, to wade through, would bring us bliss. When our Lord told the twelve that He would die, they imagined that it was a parable, concealing some deep mystery. They looked at one another, and they tried to fathom where there was no depth, but where the truth lay on the surface. The deep things of God thousands will pry into; but yet these are not saving matters, nor are they of any great practical value. Fixed fate, free-will, predestination, prophecy, and the like, these have small bearings upon our salvation from sin; but in the death of our Lord lies the kernel of the matter. Beloved, when we try to commune with Jesus, let us wear the garments of simplicity. It is the serpent who trades in subtlety, but I would have you remember “the simplicity which is in Christ Jesus.” There is in Him a depth which we cannot fathom; but His every word is pure truth, and those things which are necessary are made so plain that he who runs may read, and he who reads may run. Believe Him to mean what He says, and take His promises as they stand, and His precepts in their plain meaning; and, oh, if we do this, we shall be made greatly wise! ~ C.H. Spurgeon

This is Our Lord Jesus Christ

…And shall deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify Him: and the third day He shall rise again. – Matthew 20:19

“The third day He shall rise again.” Oh, that blessed doctrine of the resurrection! If our Lord’s record ended at the cross, it might drive us to despair; but He is declared to be the Son of God with power by His resurrection from the dead. That He was raised from the dead makes us see the merit, the power, the great reward of His death. He that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the everlasting covenant, even He will make us perfect in every good work to do His will. Whenever the Master comes very near to us in His gracious condescension, He shows us not only that He shed His blood for us, but that He rose again, and ever liveth to carry on our cause. When you worship most closely, you will worship Him that lived, and died, and rose again, and now liveth for ever and ever. This is our Lord Jesus Christ. He is not a teacher only, or a bright example merely; but the One whose death is the source of our salvation, and whose resurrection and eternal glory are the guarantee and foretaste of our everlasting bliss. A living, dying, risen Christ is the One with whom we have joyful fellowship; and if we know Him not in this character, we do not know Him at all. It was well for Him to speak to them on such a practical theme: they would be cheered and comforted on after days when they remembered that He had told them of these things. He will draw us into very intimate communion if we are willing to take up His cross and bear His reproach. We lose much when we quit the separated path because it is rough, for we lose our Lord’s sweet company. Oh, for grace to love the rough paths, because we see His footprints upon them! ~ C.H. Spurgeon

He is Lifted Up in Every Grateful Heart

And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent. – John 17:3

Beloved, our Lord Jesus has said many delightful things; and let Him say what He will, His voice is as angels’ music to our ear; but from the cross His voice is richest in consolation. We never come so near to Jesus-at least, such is my experience-as when we gaze upon His bloody sweat, or see Him robed in shame, crowned with thorns, and enthroned upon the cross. Our Lord’s incomparable beauties are most visible amid His griefs. When I see Him on the cross, I feel that I must borrow Pilate’s words, and cry, “Behold the man!” Covered with His own blood from the scourging, and about to be led away to be crucified between two thieves, you look into His inmost heart, and behold what manner of love He bore towards guilty men. We know not Christ till He putteth on His crimson garments. I know not my Beloved when He is only to me as the snow-white lily for purity; but when, in His wounding, He is red as the rose, then I perceive Him. “My Beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand.” A suffering Savior bears the palm for me: a wounded Savior is my Lord and my God. The lower He went for my redemption, the higher does He rise in my soul’s loving esteem. He saw this when He said, “I, if I be lifted up”; for indeed it was a lifting up for Him to die upon the cruel gibbet. To the wondering universe the Son of God is lifted to a height of wondering admiration, by His becoming obedient unto death, out of love to His chosen. He is lifted up in every grateful heart and shall be lifted up for ever. Our fellowship with Jesus largely flows along the great deep of His suffering; and to me, at least, it is then deepest, truest, and sweetest. ~ C.H. Spurgeon