The Review and Herald

913/1902

December 28, 1897

“He Was Wounded for Our Transgressions”

EGW

“Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death; but found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came two false witnesses, and said, This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days.” This was the only charge that could be brought against Christ. But these words had been misstated and misapplied. Christ had said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.... But he spake of the temple of his body.” RH December 28, 1897, par. 1

Priests and rulers, with many others, taunted him with this false statement. While he hung upon the cross, it was repeated in mockery by the scribes and Pharisees, and echoed by the multitude. “They that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, and saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself.” But though misstated, Christ's words were being fulfilled. Publicity was given to them, and they were made more impressive by the proclamations of his enemies. RH December 28, 1897, par. 2

“Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, He saved others; himself be cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him.” Would they have believed on him had he come down?—No. In the resurrection of Lazarus a convincing proof had been given of Christ's divinity. It was not evidence that the priests and rulers needed. This they had; but in spite of it, they sought for false witnesses, that they might mislead the minds of the people, and prejudice them against the truth. RH December 28, 1897, par. 3

In the parable of the rich man and Lazarus a representation is given of those who refuse light. While the rich man was suffering the punishment of his sins, he asked that Lazarus might be sent to warn his brethren, lest they also share his fate. Abraham is represented as saying to him: “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham; but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” Yet to the Jews one had come who had been raised from the dead. Among them was Lazarus, who had lain four days in the grave, but who was now a living witness of the power of Christ. But in spite of this, the priests not only plotted to put Christ to death, but Lazarus also; for he was likely to be an obstacle in the way of killing Christ. RH December 28, 1897, par. 4

Those who placed Christ before the world, hanging on the cross between two thieves, bruised and wounded, bore a testimony to his work. Many heard the words of mockery addressed to him as he hung on the cross; for they were spoken in no whispered tones. Thus a testimony to Christ's claims was borne in the hearing of thousands. Many minds entered on a track of thought that increased in intensity and earnestness as they searched the Scriptures for themselves. The conviction forced itself upon their minds that Jesus was the Messiah. RH December 28, 1897, par. 5

Those who in derision uttered the words, “He trusted in God; let him deliver him now if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God,” little thought that their testimony would sound down the ages. But although spoken in mockery, never were words more true. They led men to search the Scriptures for themselves. Wise men heard, searched, pondered, and prayed. There were those who never rested until, by searching the Scriptures and comparing passage with passage, they saw the meaning of Christ's mission. They saw that free forgiveness was provided by him whose tender mercy embraces the whole world. They read the prophecies regarding Christ, and the promises so full and free, pointing to a fountain opened for Judah and Jerusalem. Hope sprang up in their hearts as they read the words: RH December 28, 1897, par. 6

“For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name. Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God. Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land be any more termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called, Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the Lord delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married.... Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people. Behold, the Lord hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.” RH December 28, 1897, par. 7

Never before was there such a general knowledge of Jesus as when he hung upon the cross. He was lifted up from the earth, to draw all unto him. Into the hearts of many who beheld the crucifixion scene, and who heard Christ's words, was the light of truth to shine. With John they would proclaim, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” Truth is truth, and will remain truth, and in the end will triumph gloriously. The lamp of life is trimmed by the hand that lighted it. The Jewish leaders sought to remove it from the earth, but it shone on, and irradiated the world. Christ rose from the grave, and over the rent sepulcher of Joseph he proclaimed, “I am the resurrection and the life.” Men in this age will repeat the history of the past. By their falsehoods they think that they can quench the light of the world, but their efforts only make the light shine brighter. RH December 28, 1897, par. 8

“Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.” As Christ's mother stood by the cross upon which he hung, she realized the truth of the words spoken by Simeon, when he took the infant Saviour in his arms and blessed him. “Mine eyes have seen thy salvation,” he said, “which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. And Joseph and his mother marveled at those things which were spoken of him. And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” RH December 28, 1897, par. 9

That time had come. The hearts of the persecutors, the revilers, the murderers, were indeed revealed. Attributes which form character were developed. Unbelieving Israel took sides with the first great apostate. RH December 28, 1897, par. 10

Christ, bearing the sin of the world, seemed to be deserted; but he was not wholly left alone. John stood close by the cross. Mary had fainted in her anguish, and John had taken her to his house, away from the harrowing scene. But he saw that the end was near, and he brought her again to the cross. Even in his dying hour, Christ remembered his mother. He saw her distress, and he said to her, “Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.” This thoughtful care lifted a weight from Mary's mind; she would no longer be obliged to choose her own home, and run the risk of offending her relatives; for Christ's wish was law. Christ knew what she most needed,—the tender sympathy of one who loved her because she loved Jesus. RH December 28, 1897, par. 11

“Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour.” Human passions were raging at the foot of the cross when the earth was bereft of the light of the sun. The Sun of Righteousness was withdrawing his light from the world, and nature sympathized with her dying Author. A great darkness clothed the earth as with sackcloth of hair, and enshrouded the cross. It was as if the sun in its noonday splendor had been blotted out. Thus was represented the night of woe that was settling down on the Jewish nation. RH December 28, 1897, par. 12

“And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” These words would not be misunderstood, but priests and rulers interpreted them to suit their own understanding. With bitter contempt and scorn, they said, “This man calleth for Elias.” Jesus said, “I thirst.” These words, which should have awakened compassion in every heart, were held up to ridicule by the priests, in whose hearts humanity was eclipsed by satanic malignity. One of the hardened Roman soldiers, touched with pity as he looked at the parched lips, took a stalk of hyssop, and dipping it in a vessel of vinegar, lifted it to the Saviour's lips. But from the mockers came the words, “Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him.” RH December 28, 1897, par. 13

This scene was transacted in the sight of heaven and earth. Angels beheld the pitiless scorn and contempt shown to Jesus by those who should have acknowledged him as the Messiah. To this length they were led when unrestrained by the Lord of heaven. So it is with all religious zealots who separate from heavenly influences. RH December 28, 1897, par. 14

Again came the cry, as of one in mortal agony, “It is finished.” “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.” Christ, the Majesty of heaven, the King of glory, was dead. The Jewish leaders had crucified the Son of God, the long-expected Messiah, him (so the people had hoped) who was to bring about so many reforms. They refused the only One who could save them from national ruin. RH December 28, 1897, par. 15

“And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent.” Those who had induced the people to release Barabbas and crucify Christ, now trembled with terror. They were conscious of the wicked deed they had done. They realized that they had shed the blood of the Son of God. This blood they had invoked on themselves, saying, “His blood be on us, and on our children.” Christ had prayed, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” But they made this prayer an impossibility; for they would not be convicted, they would not repent and be converted. RH December 28, 1897, par. 16

Christ has said, “If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you.” There is no greater evidence that Satan is working than that those who profess to be sanctified to God's service persecute their fellow beings because they do not believe the same doctrine that they themselves believe. These will rush with fury against God's people, stating as true that which they know to be untrue. Thus they show that they are inspired by him who is an accuser of the brethren, and a murderer of the saints of God. But if God permits tyrants to do with us as the priests did with his Son, shall we give up our faith, and go back to perdition? It is not because God does not care for us that he permits these things to be; for he declares, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” RH December 28, 1897, par. 17

With Satan at their head to imbue them with his spirit, men may afflict God's people, they may cause pain to the body, they may take away their temporal life; but they cannot touch the life that is hid with Christ. We are not our own. Soul and body, we have been bought with the price paid on the cross of Calvary; and we are to remember that we are in the hands of him who created us. Whatever Satan may inspire evil men to do, we are to rest in the assurance that we are under God's charge, and that by his Spirit he will strengthen us to endure. “He shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper. He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy. He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence: and precious shall their blood be in his sight.” RH December 28, 1897, par. 18

The time is soon to come when the Lord will say, “Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.” Those who love God need not be surprised if those who claim to be Christians are filled with hatred because they cannot force the consciences of God's people. Not long hence they will stand before the Judge of all the earth, to render an account for the pain they have caused to the bodies and souls of God's heritage. They may indulge in false accusations now, they may deride those whom God has appointed to do his work, they may consign his believing ones to prison, to the chain-gang, to banishment, to death; but for every pang of anguish, every tear shed, they must answer. For every drop of blood drawn forth by torture, for all they have burned with fire, they will receive punishment. God will reward them double for their sins. They have drunk the blood of the saints, and have become intoxicated with exultation. God says to his ministers of judgment: “Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double. How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.” RH December 28, 1897, par. 19