The Signs of the Times


November 25, 1889

The Love of God

[Sermon at Chicago, ILL., April 9, 1889.]



Jesus was hunted from place to place during his ministry. Priests and rulers were on his track. They misrepresented his mission and labor. He came unto his own and his own received him not. Angels watched the conflict at every step. They saw the spirit and work of the enemy. They looked with amazement upon the devices of Satan against the divine Son of God. They saw that he who had only been second to Jesus in power and glory had fallen so low that he could influence men to hunt the steps of Christ from city to city. When Christ sought the garden of Gethsemane, the enemy pressed darkness upon his soul. Even his disciples did not watch with him through that hour of trial. They heard the agony of prayer that came from his pale and quivering lips, but they soon allowed sleep to overcome them, and left their suffering Master to wrestle with the powers of darkness alone. ST November 25, 1889, par. 1

It was in the garden of Gethsemane that the mysterious cup trembled in his hand. Would he drink of the bitter portion and save a lost world? or would he forbear and let it perish? The destiny of the fallen race trembled in the balance. If he drank of the cup of suffering, he must open his breast to the griefs and woes and sins of humanity. He prayed, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” He had said to his disciples, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.” His suffering almost extinguished his life. The drops of blood beaded his forehead, and dewed the sod of Gethsemane. “His visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men.” When he fainted as in death, an angel came to the divine Sufferer, and offered him the cup of consolation to strengthen him for the conflict. ST November 25, 1889, par. 2

The Saviour of the world arose, and for the third time sought his disciples, and found them sleeping. He looked sorrowfully upon them, and his words aroused them: “Sleep on now, and take your rest; behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.” ST November 25, 1889, par. 3

Even while these words were upon his lips, the footsteps of the mob that was in search of him were heard. Judas took the lead, and was closely followed by the murderous throng. Jesus turned to his disciples, as his enemies approached, and said, “Rise, let us be going; behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.” The countenance of the Saviour wore an expression of calm dignity; no traces of his recent agony were visible as he stepped forth to meet his betrayer. ST November 25, 1889, par. 4

He suffered himself to be taken by the murderous throng, and was dragged from one tribunal to another. Although Isaiah had written, “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of peace,” yet he was now mocked, derided, spit upon, scourged, and maltreated. Was he innocent?—Yes; but innocence does not save men from persecution when the evil one controls the minds of their tormentors. Jesus is our pattern. He has given us an example that we should follow in his steps. Many will have to pass through scenes similar to those through which Jesus passed. After he was judged, he was brought forth to the people, and Pilate declared, “I find no fault in this man,” but the people cried, “Crucify him, crucify him.” “When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person; see ye to it. Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.” ST November 25, 1889, par. 5

Christ was the Son of God, equal with the Father; and yet he was abused, ridiculed, scourged, and crucified. There are many who have thought that the Father had no part in the sufferings of the Son; but this is a mistake. The Father suffered with the Son. When the Son of God hung upon Calvary, the darkness gathered like the pall of death about the cross. All nature sympathized with its dying Author. There were thunderings and lightnings, and a mighty earthquake, but the hearts of men were so hardened that they could quarrel at the foot of the cross upon which hung the world's Redeemer, about the dividing of his vesture. Their hearts seemed to be wholly under the control of the powers of darkness. Angels looked upon the scene with sorrow and amazement. As man's substitute and surety, the iniquity of men was laid upon Christ; he was counted a transgressor that he might redeem them from the curse of the law. The guilt of every descendant of Adam was pressing upon his heart; and the wrath of God, and the terrible manifestation of his displeasure because of iniquity, filled the soul of his Son with consternation. The withdrawal of the divine countenance from the Saviour, in this hour of supreme anguish, pierced his heart with a sorrow that can never be fully understood by man. Sin, so hateful to his sight, was heaped upon him till he groaned beneath its weight. The despairing agony of the Son of God was so much greater than his physical pain, that the latter was hardly felt by him. The hosts of Heaven veiled their faces from the fearful sight. They heard his despairing cry, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” they saw the divine Sufferer die beneath the sins of the world. ST November 25, 1889, par. 6

Jesus was laid in the tomb. He went into the darkness of the grave, and tasted death for every man. But he did not long remain under the power of the enemy. A mighty angel came from heaven and rolled back the stone from the sepulcher, and for fear of him the keepers did fear and quake, and became as dead men. Christ came forth from the tomb a triumphant conqueror, and led forth from their graves a multitude of captives. ST November 25, 1889, par. 7

The Roman guard hastened to tell the rulers what had occurred, and they were bribed to testify that his disciples had stolen his body away by night. When the women who had followed Jesus came to the sepulcher, the angel said unto them: “Fear not ye; for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here; for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him; lo, I have told you.” ST November 25, 1889, par. 8

We have a risen Saviour; he has ascended up on high, and ever liveth to make intercession for us. Through him those who believe in him shall be crowned with glory, honor, and immortality; for “the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” ST November 25, 1889, par. 9