Morning Reading for December 1

Matthew 27:45-49
(Luke 23:46)

Suggested further reading: Isaiah 53

There is a deep mystery in our Lord's words recorded by Matthew (v. 46), which no mortal man can fathom. No doubt they were not wrung from our Lord by mere bodily pain. Such an explanation is entirely unsatisfactory and dishonourable to our blessed Saviour. They were meant to express the real pressure on his soul of the enormous burden of a world's sins. They were meant to show how truly and literally he was our Substitute, was made sin, and a curse for us, and endured God's righteous anger against a world's sins in his own person. At that awful moment the iniquity of us all was laid on him to the uttermost. It pleased the Lord to bruise him and to put him to grief (Isa. 53:10). He bore our sins. He carried our transgressions. Heavy must have been that burden, real and literal must have been our Lord's substitution for us when he, the eternal Son of God, could speak of himself as for a time `forsaken'. We have no stronger proof of the sinfulness of sin nor the vicarious nature of our Lord's sufferings than his cry (v. 46). It should stir us to hate sin and encourage us to trust in Christ.

There is something mysterious, no doubt, in our Lord's words as recorded by Luke (23:46) which we have no line to fathom. He who spoke these words was God as well as man. His divine and human nature were inseparably united. His divine nature, of course, could not die. He died of his own free will, voluntarily (John 10:17-18). His death was in some respects dissimilar to ours.

There is a sense, however, in which our Lord's words supply a true lesson to all Christians. They afford an example of how we ought to die. Like our Master we should not be afraid to confront the king of terrors. We should regard him as a vanquished enemy whose sting has been taken away by Christ's death. We should think of him as a foe who can hurt the body for a little season and after that do no more. We should await his approaches with calmness and patience, with the spirit of a Paul (2 Tim. 1:12) and a Stephen (Acts 7:59).

For meditation: Through his death Christ liberates us from the fear of death (Heb. 2:15).

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