"And sitting down, they watched Him there." Matthew 27:36
The place where they sat was called Golgotha — Calvary, or the place of a skull. It was a hill or a rising on the north-west side of Jerusalem, and was appropriated for the execution of malefactors.
Here sin appeared in its most hideous form, bringing forth a painful, shameful death!
Here death triumphed in the most cruel way!
And here man was degraded to the lowest degree.
To this spot, the Lamb of God came to be sacrificed;
here the Shepherd appears, to lay down His life for His sheep;
here we see Jesus, saving His people from their sins.
The object is most striking: Jesus is crucified — dying the death of a Roman slave; never was such an object seen before. Many had been executed here — but all were criminals. No one ever professed what Jesus did — He said He was the Messiah, the Savior, the Son of God. No one ever walked so correctly as He, even His judge was obliged to say, "I find in him no fault at all!" He did justly, loved mercy, and walked humbly with His God. He was condemned, though acknowledged guiltless; delivered over to a base people, to die a cruel death — and yet pronounced innocent!
How striking His manner, how singular His conduct! He . .
comforts His mourners,
pities His bitterest foes, and
even prays for His murderers!
He was grossly-misrepresented; very few took a right view of His character, or spoke of Him as He justly deserved.
How deeply interesting is this sufferer to every spiritual mind — though hanging on a cross, though bleeding, groaning, and dying.
He is seen to be Jehovah's equal. His fellow, God by nature.
He is man's friend, without whom all must have perished forever, without help, and without hope.
He is Satan's antagonist, engaging him in the nature he had conquered, and overcoming him under the most disadvantageous circumstances.
He is mercy's representative, setting forth its depth, its tenderness, its power, and its constancy.
He is death's destroyer, overcoming it in its own dominions, by enduring it in its most cruel form.
He is making an atonement for sin, offering a sacrifice of expiation, and securing salvation to every humble believer.
Every view of Him is wonderful.
Every character He sustains is full of interest.
Every word He utters is full of meaning.
Oh to watch Him, to love Him, and to know that He suffered all for me!
They "watched" Him there. The soldiers watched Him, as a military guard, that no one should comfort or deliver Him. But others watched Him from different motives, and with different feelings.
Our God and His Father watched Him, and saw His patience, His purity, His pity, His filial obedience, His perfect love; and how exactly He did and suffered all He had engaged to accomplish — all that was written of Him.
Angels watched Him — they had seen Him on His throne and worshiped Him; they had observed Him all the time He had sojourned on earth — but they never watched Him with such thoughts, such feelings, such wonder as now!
Devils watched Him; and strove and fought, and tried their utmost to overcome Him; and surely they must have wondered at His constancy and love.
Mary, John, and a few other disciples watched Him. With bleeding hearts, desponding spirits, and souls bewildered with confusion — they stood, and gazed, and wept!
Lost sinners watched Him — and were the only spectators who remained unaffected. How hard is the heart of man! How stubborn, how unfeeling! Sitting down, they observed His writhing frame; they watched His death-stricken contenance; they marked His quivering lips, and His dying sentences; they saw His eye-lids close, His head sink on His bosom, and knew the vital spark had fled. They watched Him, and saw the treatment he received, and the spirit He manifested.
Let us join them, let us sit on the brow of Calvary, and watch Him there.
Christian friend, does guilt oppress or alarm you! Sit down and see Jesus die the just for the unjust; see Him offer a sacrifice for your sins, and make an atonement for your guilt; He dies in your stead, and procures for you pardon, peace, and everlasting life.
Are you suffering? Go to Golgotha, and see your Savior suffer. Behold and see, was ever sorrow like unto His sorrow? Watch Him, and see His patience, fortitude, and deep submission. He drains the bitter cup; He extracts the curse from all your afflictions, and only leaves behind what is medicinal and useful.
Are you happy? Sit down and see what your comforts cost. If Jesus had not suffered — you would not have been comforted. All your comforts, joys, and bright prospects — are the effects of His agonies, bloody sweat, and dying groans! Never forget, in your happiest moments, the sorrows of your Savior — nor your vast obligations to Him.
Are you at leisure? Sit down and watch Jesus, in His last, His dying hours. You cannot spend your leisure moments more profitably, or more consistently.
Watch Him — and wonder; wonder . . .
at His love,
at the effects of sin, and
at His amazing attachment to you.
Watch Him — and believe; could He possibly give greater proof of the truth of His promises, the tenderness of His compassion, and the power of His grace? What more could He do to deserve your confidence, gain your trust, or banish your unbelieving doubts?
Watch Him — and praise; praise His dear name, commend His finished work, speak of His amazing love.
Watch Him — and consecrate yourself entirely to His service; devote body, soul, time, talents — all to His glory and praise, in time and for evermore.