the First Week of Advent
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Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
“Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom.”
Dr. Hanna has beautifully said: “Here, amid the triumph of enemies, and the failure of the faith of friends, is one who discerns, even through the dark envelope which covers it, the hidden glory of the Redeemer, and openly hails him as his Lord and King. Marvellous, indeed, the faith in our Lord’s divinity which sprung up so suddenly in such an unlikely region. Are we wrong in saying that, at the particular moment when that testimony to Christ’s divinity was borne, there was not another fill believer in that divinity but the dying thief?... And what a tenderness of conscience is here; what deep reverence for God; what devout submission to the divine will; what entire relinquishment of all personal grounds of confidence before God; what a vivid realising of the world of spirits; what a humble trust in Jesus; what a zeal for the Saviour’s honour; what an indignation at the unworthy treatment he was receiving! May we not take that catalogue of the fruits of genuine repentance which an apostle has drawn up for us, and applying it here, say of this man’s repentance: Behold what carefulness it wrought in him; yea, what clearing of himself; yea, what indignation; yea, what fear; yea, what vehement desire; yea, what zeal; yea, what revenge! In all things he approved himself to be a changed man, in all the desires and dispositions and purposes of his heart.”
The dying Saviour reigns on the cross, and allots a place in paradise to his companion in death. Here is no hint of purgatory, the pardoned thief is with Jesus that very day. So also shall all believers be with Jesus immediately they leave the body.
A cry in which every word is emphatic. Read it over as many times as there are words, and see a new force of meaning each time. Jesus cried in this manner, that none of his saints might ever need to do so.
Thus jesting at his prayer. Oh, horrid cruelty!
What a grand utterance! Now are we safe, for salvation is complete.
These were early proofs of his resurrection power. These firstfruits prove that the harvest is sure.
“They shall look on Him whom they pierced.”
The men who could commit this murder without shame were, nevertheless, great sticklers for every point of ceremony, whatever cruelty it might involve. This proves that riles and ceremonies leave men as dad as they find them. Romanists, with a thousand pompous performances, yet rejoiced in the burning of pious men and women, and invented racks and tortures for them. Let this teach us to mind most the spiritual requirements of the gospel, and remember that the religion which does not change the heart and teach us to be merciful is good for nothing.
This was done to hasten death. Verily, the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.
And he that saw it bare record that is to say, John himself
He was sure of what he saw, he was under no delusion, he asserts it with the utmost confidence.
The two secret but true followers of our Lord now came out in their true colours. The cross is the great revealer of the thoughts of men’s hearts. Blessed are they who are not ashamed of Christ Crucified.
Their jealous hatred led them to mar their own Sabbath and Passover by appeals to a heathen ruler. Little did they know of that spiritual Sabbath-keeping, which makes us lay aside our cares and even our own thoughts upon the hallowed day of rest.
Thus, unwittingly, helping to secure testimony for the resurrection such as none could gainsay. It was now impossible for his body to be stolen, and if he came forth it must be by supernatural power. Oh, blind Jews, thus to ensure their own confusion! Blinder yet are they who believe that Jesus rose, and yet do not put their trust in him.