Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12 (1897)


Ms 103, 1897

Prophecy Fulfilled in Christ


September 19, 1897

Portion of this manuscript are published in CC 325.

The crowd that followed the Saviour to Calvary taunted and reviled Him because He could nor carry the wooden cross. They all saw the weak and staggering steps of Christ, but compassion did not reveal itself in the hearts of those who had advanced from one step to another in the their abuse and torture of the Son of God. Again they lay the burden of the cross upon His bruised and mangled shoulders, and again Christ falls fainting beneath the burden; but none of the cruel mob that follows Him will stoop in the low office of lifting that cross. 12LtMs, Ms 103, 1897, par. 1

A stranger, Simon, a Cyrenian, coming to the city from the country, hears the crowd pass the taunts and ribaldry; he hears the contemptuous repetition, “Make way for the King of the Jews.” He stops in astonishment at the scene, and as he expresses his compassion in words and deeds, they seize him and compel him to lift the cross which is too heavy for Christ to bear. 12LtMs, Ms 103, 1897, par. 2

This was the work of the hardened, depraved soldiery, and a haughty, overbearing priesthood. But that wooden cross borne by him to Calvary was the means of Simon taking upon himself the cross of Christ from choice, to ever cheerfully stand beneath its burden. His compulsory companionship with Christ in bearing His cross to Calvary, in beholding the sad and dreadful work and the spectators beneath the cross, was the means of drawing his heart to Jesus. Every word from the lips of Christ was graven upon his soul. He heard the prayer, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” [Luke 23:34.] He heard the words of Christ to John and His mother, and the heart of Simon believed. 12LtMs, Ms 103, 1897, par. 3

Not a few women were in that crowd to behold the Uncondemned suffer the most cruel death. Their attention seems drawn to Jesus. Some of them have seen Him before, and have carried to Him their sick and suffering ones. Some have themselves been healed. The story of the scenes that have taken place is related. They wonder how it is that the crowd is so full of malice and hatred toward the One for whom they feel their hearts melting and ready to break. And notwithstanding the hateful, angry actions of the maddened crowd, irrespective of the scowling priests and rulers who were expressing in words and looks their triumph, these women gave expression to their sympathy. They broke forth into loud lamentations. 12LtMs, Ms 103, 1897, par. 4

This was the only thing that attracted the attention of Christ. Although full of suffering, while bearing the sins of the world, He was not indifferent to the expression of grief. Whatever may be the depth or character of the grief, He does not rebuke it. He might have said, “Behold, is there any sorrow like unto my sorrow?” [Lamentations 1:12.] But no cry of pain escaped His lips. That which Christ was to suffer was constantly before His eyes. He looked beyond the present, and His heart was drawn out in pity and remorse for the men who, while professing to be the repositories of sacred truth for their nation, so unfeeling, haughty, and pompous, were crucifying the Truth. The world’s Redeemer was suffering and dying for the very people who were treating Him as the worst of criminals. As our substitute and surety He stood at the head of the human race. All His suffering would the sinner bear who continued in sin. All the impenitent and unbelieving would know and understand a sorrow and misery that language would fail to express because deserving. 12LtMs, Ms 103, 1897, par. 5

Christ stopped and, turning to the weeping, mourning women, said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children.” [Luke 23:28.] When Jesus spoke these words He beheld the fearful doom pronounced by God upon the city of Jerusalem. This doom the priests and rulers were bringing upon themselves. Their own impenitence, their own course of stubborn resistance of the light of truth, brought the sure result. The day that His crowning miracle was wrought in raising Lazarus from the grave, the last evidence of His Messiahship rejected, left the Jews in determined warfare against God. From that time Christ could not any more walk openly among the Jews. To such lengths will religious bigotry carry its deluded followers. 12LtMs, Ms 103, 1897, par. 6

There are those who have had evidence and light, and yet have not been made tender by it. They read of the great sacrifice made for them as they would read a novel—to shed sensational tears over the facts to be easily brushed away. What shall be done to those who bear the invitation of mercy and reject it? “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16.] If God spared not His own Son, but gave Him to humiliation, suffering, and death to save man from his sins, will He spare those who continue in sin, who reject and despise His love and compassion? Will the Lord spare them in their determined rebellion? 12LtMs, Ms 103, 1897, par. 7

Joseph and Nicodemus watched every development at the condemnation and crucifixion of Christ. Not an action escaped them. These men were diligent searchers of the Scriptures, and they were deeply indignant as they saw this Man, whom the judges had pronounced to be entirely without fault, placed in the center of two thieves, “on either side one, and Jesus in the midst.” [John 19:18.] This instruction had been given by the chief priests and rulers, that by His position all might judge that Christ was the most notorious of the three. 12LtMs, Ms 103, 1897, par. 8

And they that passed by railed on Him, wagging their heads in ridicule. This, prophecy had foretold. Speaking through David Christ had declared, “All they that see me laugh me to scorn; they shoot out the lip, they shake the head saying, He trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.” [Psalm 22:7, 8.] 12LtMs, Ms 103, 1897, par. 9

Among the revilers about the cross, the priests and rulers were the boldest and most presumptuous in blaspheming the Saviour. They were acting out the inspiration of their leader. Who was he? Christ said to them, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.” [John 8:44.] “Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders said, He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be king of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him.” [Matthew 27:41, 42.] 12LtMs, Ms 103, 1897, par. 10

The angels heard this challenge, and with one word of permission, they would speedily have answered the taunting priests. But no sign was given them to do this. If Christ had come down from the cross, would this have made any difference to the blasphemers? The raising of Lazarus was the strongest evidence that could be given them, but had no weight with them. Not only did they plan the death of the Saviour, but they “consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death, because that by reason of him, many of the Jews went away, believed on Jesus.” [John 12:10, 11.] They had resisted evidence upon evidence. They had fought against the impressions of the Holy Spirit till they brought upon themselves eternal night. By their hatred and envy they showed that they were not one with God, that they did not know Him whom to know aright is life and peace and assurance forever. 12LtMs, Ms 103, 1897, par. 11

“Ah, thou destroyest the temple, and buildest it again in three days, save thyself, and come down from the cross.” [Mark 15:29, 30.] When Christ had made reference to destroying the temple, He had referred not to the temple at Jerusalem, but to the temple of His body. His words were perverted. He was the one to be destroyed. He had said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up again.” [John 2:19.] 12LtMs, Ms 103, 1897, par. 12

These sayings excited the mirth of the bystanders. Awful and terrible will be the retribution of those who, while claiming to be the repositories of sacred truth, presented the world’s Redeemer for a laughing stock and a reproach. And what a testimony were these leaders bearing! “He trusted in God.” [Matthew 27:43.] Lips never uttered a truer sentiment. But had they known the influence these words were to have on the minds of many who had come up to Jerusalem to celebrate the passover, they would never have spoken them, even in derision. They knew not that all their words were making impressions which all their philosophy and traditions and customs could never efface. 12LtMs, Ms 103, 1897, par. 13

There were many who had not identified themselves with Christ whose hearts were groaning with agony as they witnessed the behavior of the priests and rulers about the cross; and the words of Isaiah were brought to their minds: “Behold my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high. As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men: so shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.” [Isaiah 52:13-15.] This prophecy was fulfilled to the letter. How many looked upon Christ as He was passing through that mock trial, and the scourging, while wearing the crown of thorns that caused the blood to flow from the wounds. With His hands bound, He could not wipe the blood away, but no friendly hand in all that company offered Him one act of kindness or sympathy. All this was imprinted on the minds of many who had searched the Scriptures and were familiar with its teachings. 12LtMs, Ms 103, 1897, par. 14

Through His servant Christ had foretold the treatment He was to receive at His crucifixion. He said, “For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me, they pierced my hands and my feet. I may tell all my bones, they look and stare upon me. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.” [Psalm 22:16-18.] 12LtMs, Ms 103, 1897, par. 15

This was carried out to the letter by a party of heathen military, without any counsel or interference from the friends or enemies of the crucified One. Christ heard the men’s contentions as they parted His garments among them. His tunic was woven throughout without seam, and they said, “Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it whose it shall be.” [John 19:24.] 12LtMs, Ms 103, 1897, par. 16

Every incident is related, for each is essential. Christ had spoken words of comfort to the daughters of Jerusalem. He prayed for His murderers on the cross. There were no threats or maledictions, but instead the prayer, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” [Luke 23:34.] 12LtMs, Ms 103, 1897, par. 17

Simon heard the centurions and others repeat the words, “Surely this was the Son of God.” [Matthew 27:54.] All these proofs Simon witnessed, and he bore his testimony concerning them after the death of Christ. When the executioner came to Christ and found Him already dead, a soldier pierced His side, and blood and water flowed forth. Thus was given unmistakable evidence of the death of Christ, making the truth if His resurrection a certainty. 12LtMs, Ms 103, 1897, par. 18

Joseph and Nicodemus, who had not acknowledged their faith in Christ as the Messiah, now, in the darkest period of the Christian church, were prepared to act their part. When their help was most needed, these wealthy and influential men came to the front and solicited of Pilate the body of Jesus. That bruised and marred body was very precious to these men. They had been searching the Scriptures diligently for themselves, and they saw in the transactions that had taken place every specification given in prophetic history. They tenderly wrapped the body in spices to prevent decay. But this precaution was wholly unnecessary, for His body was not to see corruption. Their work for the body of Jesus was done without delay; and He was laid in a sepulcher—a new sepulcher in which man had never lain. This sepulcher was distinct from all others that there might be clearest evidence. Thus did Christ lay with the rich in His death. 12LtMs, Ms 103, 1897, par. 19