THAT MATCHLESS SPECTACLE!
The following is from Spurgeon's sermon,
"MOURNING AT THE SIGHT OF THE CRUCIFIED"
We will by faith put ourselves at the foot of the little knoll
of Calvary: there we see in the center, between two thieves,
the Son of God made flesh, nailed by his hands and feet, and
dying in an anguish which words cannot portray.
Look well, I beg you; look steadfastly and devoutly, gazing
through your tears. It is he who was worshiped of angels,
who is now dying for the sons of men!
Sit down and watch the death of death's destroyer.
I shall ask you first to smite your breasts,
as you remember that you see in him YOUR own sins.
How great he is! That thorn-crowned head was once crowned with
all the royalties of heaven and earth. He who dies there is no
common man. King of kings and Lord of lords is he who hangs on
Then see the GREATNESS OF YOUR SINS, which required so vast a
sacrifice. They must be infinite sins to require an infinite
person to lay down his life in order to their removal.
You can never compass or comprehend the greatness of your Lord
in his essential character and dignity, neither shall you ever
be able to understand the blackness and heinousness of the sin
which demanded his life as an atonement.
Brother, smite your breast, and say, "God be merciful to me,
the greatest of sinners, for I am such."
Look well into the FACE of Jesus, and see how vile they have
made him! They have stained those cheeks with spittle, they
have lashed those shoulders with a felon's scourge; they have
put him to the death which was only awarded to the lowest Roman
slave; they have hung him up between heaven and earth, as though
he were fit for neither; they have stripped him naked and left
him not a rag to cover him!
See here then, O believer, the shame of your sins.
What a shameful thing your sin must have been; what a disgraceful
and abominable thing, if Christ must be made such a shame for you!
O be ashamed of yourself, to think your Lord should thus be scorned
and made nothing of for you!
See how they aggravate his sorrows! It was not enough to crucify
him, they must insult him; nor that enough, they must mock his
prayers and turn his dying cries into themes for jest, while
they offer him vinegar to drink. See, beloved, how aggravated
were your sins and mine! Come, my brother, let us both smite
upon our breasts and say, "Oh, how our sins have piled up their
guiltiness! It was not merely that we broke the law, but we sinned
against light and knowledge; against rebukes and warnings.
As his griefs are aggravated, even so are our sins?"
LOOK STILL INTO HIS DEAR FACE, and see the lines of anguish
which indicate the deeper inward sorrow which far transcends
mere bodily pain and misery.
God, his Father, has forsaken him.
God has made him a curse for us.
Then what must the curse of God have been against us?
What must our sins have deserved?
If when sin was only imputed to Christ, and laid upon him for
awhile, his father turned his head away and made his Son cry out,
"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Oh, what an accursed
thing our sin must be, and what a curse would have come upon us;
what thunderbolts, what coals of fire, what indignation, and wrath
from the Most High must have been our portion had not Jesus
If Jehovah did not spare his Son, how little would he have spared
guilty, worthless men if he had dealt with us after our sins,
and rewarded us according to our iniquities!
I could readily keep you looking into those five wounds,
and studying that marred face, and counting every purple
drop that flowed from his hands and feet, and side,
but time would fail us.
Who could have done more for us than he, since he gave himself
for our sins? Smite your breast because you see in Christ your sin!
Surely a sight of the crucified Christ; THAT MATCHLESS
shall make a heart of stone relent and melt, by Jesus' love subdued.
O sit down and smite your breasts that Jesus should grieve;
that HEAVEN'S SUN should be eclipsed; that HEAVEN'S LILY
should be spotted with blood; and HEAVEN'S ROSE should be
whitened with a deadly pallor. Lament that PERFECTION should
be accused, INNOCENCE smitten, and LOVE murdered; and that
Christ, the happy and the holy, the ever blessed, who had
been for ages the delight of angels, should now become the
sorrowful, the acquaintance of grief, the bleeding and the
dying. Smite upon your breasts, believers, and go your way!
Have I stood at the cross foot unmoved?
Have I spoken of my dying Lord in a cold, indifferent spirit?
Have I ever preached Christ crucified with a dry eye and a heart
unmoved? Do I bow my knee in private prayer, and are my thoughts
wandering when they ought to be bound hand and foot to his dear
bleeding self? Am I accustomed to turn over the pages of the
Evangelists which record my Master's wondrous sacrifice, and
have I never stained those pages with my tears? Have I never
paused spellbound over the sacred book which recorded this
miracle of miracles, this marvel of marvels? Oh, shame upon
you, my hard heart! Well may I smite you. May God smite you
with the hammer of his Spirit, and break you to shivers.
O you my stony heart, you my granite soul, you my flinty spirit,
well may I strike the breast which harbors you, to think that I
should be so doltish in presence of love so amazing, so divine.
What! am I really pardoned? Am I in very deed washed in that warm
stream which gushed from the riven side of Jesus, and yet am I not
wholly consecrated to Christ? What! in my body do I bear the marks
of the Lord Jesus, and can I live almost without a thought of him?
Am I plucked like a brand from the burning, and have I small care
to win others from the wrath to come? Has Jesus stooped to win me,
and do I not labor to win others for him? Was he all in earnest
about me, and am I only half in earnest about him? Dare I waste
a minute, dare I trifle away an hour? Have I an evening to spend
in vain gossip and idle frivolities? O my heart, well may I smite
you, that at the sight of the death of the dear Lover of my soul,
I should not be fired by the highest zeal, and be impelled by the
most ardent love to a perfect consecration of every power of my
nature, every affection of my spirit, every faculty of my whole man?
This mournful strain might be pursued to far greater lengths.
We might follow up our confessions, still smiting, still accusing,
still regretting, still bewailing. We might continue upon the bass
notes evermore, and yet might we not express sufficient contrition
for the shameful manner in which we have treated our blessed Friend.
Since our sin pierced the side of Jesus, there is cause for unlimited
lamentation, but since the blood which flowed from the wound has
cleansed our sin, there is ground for unbounded thanksgiving!
Alas! and did my Savior bleed?
And did my Sovereign die?
Would he devote that sacred head
For such a worm as I?"
You, a spirit fit to be cast away, you whose portion must have
been with devils - you are this day forgiven, adopted, saved,
on the road to heaven!
Oh! While you think that you are saved from hell, that you are
lifted up to glory, you cannot but rejoice that your sin is put
away from you through the death of Jesus Christ, your Lord.