Good Friday Gospel in Poetry

On this Good Friday 2019 I re-post poems (hymns) from two of my favorite poet/writers – Augustus Toplady and William Cowper. April is also National Poetry Month, so  we may also acknowledge this special time of celebrating good poems, especially in the Christian tradition.

May these poems give expression to our own faith-confession concerning Christ crucified. Poems are meant to be read and meditated on, as well as sung (as hymns), in order to praise the God of great grace and mighty mercy.

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Augustus M. Toplady Hymn XIV. Thanksgiving for the Sufferings of Christ

1 O Thou who didst thy glory leave,
Apostate sinners to retrieve,
From nature’s deadly fell;
Me thou hast purchas’d with a price,
Nor shall my crimes in judgment rise,
For thou hast borne them all.

2 Jesus was punish’d in my stead,
Without the gate my surety bled,
To expiate my stain;
On earth the Godhead deign’d to dwell,
And made of infinite avail,
The suff’rings of the man.

3 And was he for his rebels giv’n?
He was: th’ incarnate King of hev’n
Did for his foes expire;
Amaz’d, O earth, the tidings hear;
He bore, that we might never bear,
His Father’s righteous ire.

4 Ye saints, the man of sorrows bless,
The God for your unrighteousness,
Deputed to atone:
Praise him ’till with the heav’nly throng,
Ye sing the never-ending song,
And see him on his throne.

Hymns and Poems, Augustus M. Toplady (Cross Publishing, 1971)

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William Cowper, Olney Hymns, XV. Praise for the Fountain Opened (Zech.xiii 1)

There is a fountain fill’d with blood,
Drawn from Emmanuel’s veins;
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,
Lose all their guilty stains.
The dying thief rejoiced to see
That fountain in his day;
And there have I, as vile as he,
Wash’d all my sins away.
Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood
Shall never lose its power,
Till all the ransom’d church of God
Be saved, to sin no more.
E’er since, by faith, I saw the stream
Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die.
Then in a nobler, sweeter song,
I’ll sing Thy power to save;
When this poor lisping stammering tongue
Lies silent in the grave.
Lord, I believe Thou hast prepared
(Unworthy though I be)
For me a blood-bought free reward,
A golden harp for me!
‘Tis strung and tuned for endless years,
And form’d by power divine,
To sound in God the Father’s ears
No other name but Thine.

“…when things seem tough and against all reason, what God has ordained means more to us than anything our brain can apprehend.” ~ J. Calvin

crucifiedandrisencover-JCalvin-2020What we learn here is that God’s will should stop us in our tracks and hold us in check, so that when things seem tough and against all reason, what God has ordained means more to us than anything our brain can apprehend. Our whims and fancies must thus be trodden underfoot once we know that God has other plans. It is part of the obedience of faith to think of God as wise and as having authority to do everything as he wishes. And if we have contrary views, we should know that they are mere smoke and emptiness. God knows all things: nothing is hidden from him and his will is the measure of all wisdom and righteousness.

The fact that we reason to the contrary reflects our ignorance, for as we know, God’s wisdom is infinite, while we have scarcely three drops of common sense in us. Men should not be surprised if God does not behave the way they like. Why not? Because we are poor fools. As long as our mind and reason have the upper hand, we are quite senseless. Therefore since we cannot fathom the bottomless depths of God’s judgment, let us learn to worship what is hidden from us – worship it, I say, humbly and reverently, confessing that all that God does is entirely right and just, even though we do not understand how it is so. That is one point. [pp.42-43]

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…Let us therefore learn that, whenever the story of the passion is told to us, we should sigh and groan, since the Son of God endured so much suffering for us. Yet at the same time let us also tremble before his majesty until it should be revealed to us, and let us resolve that, when he comes, it will be to make us taste the actual fruit which he obtained for us by his death and passion.

Let us fear also lest we are among those whom he threatened when he said ‘Hereafter you will see [the Son of man seated at the right hand of God’s power.’] For the wicked and reprobate will discover how terrible is God’s seat, and how great is his power when he rises up to destroy them. When Paul sets out to describe the condemnation of the wicked and those cursed by God, he says that they will tremble before his infinite majesty and will be terrified by his sight (2 Thess.1:8,9).

Since this is so, we should humble ourselves before the Lord Jesus, and not wait until we visibly see the majesty he will display at his last coming. Let us by faith contemplate him today as our king, the head of the angels and of every creature, and let us welcome him as our sovereign ruler. Let us ascribe to him the honour due to him, knowing that because he is given to us by God his Father for wisdom, redemption, righteousness and holiness (1 Cor.1:30), we must ascribe to him all praise, and must draw from him fullness that will truly satisfy. Let us be sure we pay this honour to our Lord Jesus Christ, even though we do not yet see his judgment seat.

May we contemplate him with the eyes of faith, praying that God may enlighten us by his Holy Spirit and so strengthen us that we may call upon him in time of need. And may we be so lifted up above this world, above all thought and understanding, that we may exalt Jesus Christ today as he deserves. That, in brief, is what we must remember. [51-52]

Both parts are taken from the third sermon of John Calvin, “Arrest and Prosecution” (Matt.26:51-66), in the newly published collection of his sermons on Matthew 26-28 titled Crucified and Risen (Banner of Truth, 2020) “newly translated from the French of 1558 by Robert White.”

Both of these quotes struck me as timely and relevant as I read this sermon today. The first one in the light of the great crisis facing the nations and man’s attempt to trust his own reason, plans, and power to get him through it. And the second quote in the time of reflecting on Christ’s suffering and death, and this being the Lord’s Day, another celebration of His sovereign Lordship and victory. Truly, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing” (Rev.5:12).

“We cannot doubt that through him we may now surmount all worry, fear and dread….” ~ J. Calvin

crucifiedandrisencover-JCalvin-2020Moreover, since we have to struggle with such dread [of death, which is “as it were the pit of hell, expressive of God’s wrath.”], we need to know that our Lord Jesus Christ made provision for all our fears, and that even in the midst of death we can still come before God with our heads held high.

…If, then, we have no hope of life when we come before the heavenly Judge, we are sure to be rejected by him. He will not acknowledge us but will disown us, even though we make profession of the Christian faith. We can only await the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ if we are persuaded and convinced that he so battled with the terrors of death as to free us from them and to win for us the victory. And although we will always struggle to be conscious of our weaknesses, to turn to God for help and to be continually made to confess our sins so that God alone is seen to be righteous, we can nevertheless be sure that Jesus Christ has fought for us and gained the victory, not for himself but for us. We cannot doubt that through him we may now surmount all worry, fear and dread, and call upon God, certain that he will always receive us with outstretched arm.

It is important that we remember this. We should be clear that there is nothing speculative about the message that our Lord Jesus suffered the awful terrors of death, and that he deliberately stood surety for us before our Judge, so that, because of the battle he fought, we today may triumph over all our infirmities and may persistently call upon God’s name, never doubting that he will answer us and will always be ready in his goodness to receive us to himself. Thus we will pass through life and death, through fire and water, knowing that our Lord Jesus did not fight in vain but gives the victory to all who come to him in faith. That, in sum, is what we need to bear in mind.

Taken from the first sermon of John Calvin, “No Sorrow Like His Sorrow,” in the newly published collection of his sermons on Matthew 26-28 titled Crucified and Risen (Banner of Truth, 2020) “newly translated from the French of 1558 by Robert White.”

This particular quote shows just how relevant the gospel of Christ crucified is, no matter the place or time or circumstance. Faith in this Christ of the cross and empty tomb frees us from fear of death and gives us hope in the life to come.

One also cannot fail to note how pastoral Calvin was in his preaching. He truly ministered the Word to God’s people, convicting them of God’s truth and comforting them with the good news in Christ Jesus.

This will be a collection of sermons you will want to obtain. It makes for fine reading in this time of year.

A Prayer Said at the Lord’s Supper – John Knox

…O, Lord, we acknowledge that no creature is able to comprehend the length and breadth – the depth and height – of that Thy most excellent love, which moved Thee to show mercy where none was deserved, to promise and give life where death had gotten victory, and to receive us into Thy grace when we could do nothing but rebel against Thy justice. O Lord, the blind dullness of our corrupt nature will not suffer us sufficiently to weigh these most ample benefits; nevertheless, at the commandment of Jesus Christ our Lord, we present ourselves to this His table (which He hath left to be used in remembrance of His death until His coming again) to declare and witness before the world that by Him alone Thou dost acknowledge us Thy children and heirs, that by Him alone we have entrance to the throne of Thy grace, that by Him alone we are possessed in our spiritual kingdom, to eat and drink at His table, with whom we have our conversation presently in heaven and by whom our bodies shall be raised up again from the dust and shall be placed with Him in that endless joy, which Thou, O Father of mercy, hast prepared for Thy elect before the foundation of the world was laid. And these most inestimable benefits we acknowledge and confess to have received of Thy free mercy and grace by Thy only beloved Son Jesus Christ, for the which therefore, we Thy congregation, moved by Thy Holy Spirit, render Thee all thanks, praise, and glory, forever and ever.

collected-prayers-jknox-2019Taken from The Collected Prayers of John Knox, edited and introduced by Brian G. Najapfour (Reformation Heritage Books, 2019), pp.123-24 (found in the section “Prayers for Sacramental Occasions” and titled “A Prayer Said at the Lord’s Supper”).

This post was prompted by the fact that tomorrow in my home congregation (Faith PRC) we will celebrate the Lord’s Supper. I have been wanting to reference this new collection of Knox’s prayers, and when I saw this prayer, I knew it was a good time to point you to this wonderful little book and this beautiful prayer. It breathes the spirit of the true partaker: humble confession of personal sinfulness and thankful acknowledgement of God’s amazing mercy and grace in Jesus Christ. What a feast our Savior prepares for His own!

No Yeast with the Bread of Life!

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And God also directed  that his people, including every one of his children among them, had to begin to wash away every bit of their yeast with all of its stimulus, excitement, excessive agitation, and sense of amounting to something. Then by God’s design, emptied, deflated, and humbled, they would have to eat the bread of their own misery for a very long time. After that, he would bring the Bread of Life to their lips. This is the bread from heaven that needs no added, unholy, or artificial ingredient.

Now do you understand what the apostle means when he says, ‘Our Passover has been sacrificed for us, so wash away the old yeast and celebrate the feast with unleavened bread of sincerity and truth’?

Do you understand this? Will you act accordingly?

For the Lord our God will not allow his holy Christian faith to be abused by a kind of yeast that is really good for nothing but continues to work and ferment in the dough when it only gives the appearance of being good. God regards Christ as too sacred for anything like that! No, in you that dough needs to be better dough that rises on its own, without outside agitation, and produces bread that can truly feed you.

That’s how it has to be in your life. Every morning and evening your soul has to have a healthy slice of the Bread of Life, properly prepared and without any deceptive ingredients. What you pick up with your hands and what crosses your lips has to be prepared and made with complete integrity and absolute truth. It has to be bread like it’s supposed to be!

But this can’t happen with and for you as long as your soul only wants to go halfway. Not if one time you have a piece of Christ’s bread of life, baked with healthy wheat, and the next time you take a slice of leavened bread baked according to your own recipe.

It’s all about him as the Bread of Life. Nothing else!

The soul that it’s intended to nourish can never tolerate as much as a single grain of such yeast mixed in with what it eats. Only such bread can feed you. Otherwise all of its nourishing power will be of no benefit to you.

For the Bread of Life to nourish your soul, the last bit of bad yeast has to be washed out of it.

honey from the rock-ak-2018Taken from the new translation by James A. De Jong of Abraham Kuyper’s Honey from the Rock (Lexham Press, 2018), pp.219-221.

This particular meditation (#69 of Volume 1) is titled “Wash Away the Old Yeast” and is based on 1 Corinthians 5:7 (cf. above).

Vainly They Seal the Dead – An Easter Meditation

sb-logo-rfpaFrom the April 15, 2019 issue of the Standard Bearer we find this edifying meditation on Matt.27:62-66 from the pen of Rev. James Slopsema (emeritus PRC pastor). The title is taken from a line of the familiar resurrection hymn “Low in the Grace He Lay,” and is titled “Vainly They Seal the Dead.”

Believing that every Sunday is a remembrance and celebration of Jesus’s Christ’s victory over sin, death, hell, and the grave, we may again fill our minds with thoughts of His triumph on this Lord’s Day.

A significant watch!

This watch of the Roman soldiers was significant in that it was used by God further to substantiate the fact of Jesus’ resurrection.

Jesus’ resurrection is of greatest importance. It is God’s seal of approval on Jesus’ atonement at the cross. It is God’s pledge that He will one day also raise us up from the grave as He did Jesus. And we need a living Savior who can from heaven shower upon us the blessings of the cross for our salvation, beginning with a spiritual resurrection of our dead hearts. As the apostle Paul reminded the Corinthian church, if Christ be not risen, then is our faith vain and we are yet in our sins. (I Corinthians 15:17)

But Jesus’ resurrection was so different than any resurrection before. His resurrection was not a return to this life to remain here a little longer and then to die again. His resurrection was an advancement from the earthly to the heavenly. His mortal, perishable body became immortal and imperishable. His flesh and blood body, adapted to live here on the physical earth, was changed into a spiritual body adapted for heavenly glory. This is why no one saw Jesus rise from the dead. Earthly eyes cannot behold the heavenly.

But because the fact of Jesus’ resurrection is so important for our salvation, God left behind many infallible proof of the resurrection. There was the empty grave discovered by the women. There were the grave clothes left undisturbed, through which Jesus had simply passed. There was the explanation of the angels to the women that Jesus is risen as He said. And then there were the ten appearances of the risen Jesus to His disciples in the forty-day period between His resurrection and ascension into heaven. These all were necessary to convince the disciples of Jesus’ resurrection.

But now with the Roman soldiers set to watch Jesus’ tomb there is something added. To let the women in to discover the empty grave, the Lord sent an angel from heaven to role away the stone that sealed the grave. Not only did the soldiers witness this, but it terrified them so that they became as dead men. After gathering their wits they returned to Jerusalem to inform the Jewish leaders of what had happened. This only verified the truth of the witness of the disciples to Jesus’ resurrection. Even Jesus’ unbelieving enemies had concrete proof of Jesus’ resurrection.

The unbelieving leaders would not accept the fact of the resurrection, even in the face of clear proof. In fact, they paid the soldiers money to spread a false report that, while they slept, the disciples stole his body. That and other preposterous lies have been perpetuated by the unbelieving world to explain away the fact of Jesus’ resurrection. The unbeliever will accept the fact of Jesus’ crucifixion. But he will not and cannot accept the fact of His resurrection. This is because Jesus’ resurrection exposes his unbelief for what it is. It is an evil and foolish rejection of the greatest reality of history – God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself (2 Cor. 5:19).

Let us by faith embrace and confess the resurrection of Jesus Christ!

By that faith we will find the great salvation of God.

A Curse for Us: The Supreme Malediction

Galatians_3-13Today, on this Good Friday, this blog post was made on Ligonier’s website. It is worth re-posting here, as we remember and reflect on our Savior’s crucifixion, also in anticipation of Resurrection Sunday. Let us remember, there is no rejoicing on Easter without the cross of Christ on Friday.

The author is the late R.C. Sproul, and the writing is vintage R.C.

One image, one aspect, of the atonement has receded in our day almost into obscurity. We have been made aware of present-day attempts to preach a more gentle and kind gospel. In our effort to communicate the work of Christ more kindly we flee from any mention of a curse inflicted by God upon his Son. We shrink in horror from the words of the prophet Isaiah (chap. 53) that describe the ministry of the suffering servant of Israel and tells us that it pleased the Lord to bruise him. Can you take that in? Somehow the Father took pleasure in bruising the Son when he set before him that awful cup of divine wrath. How could the Father be pleased by bruising his Son were it not for his eternal purpose through that bruising to restore us as his children?

But there is the curse motif that seems utterly foreign to us, particularly in this time in history. When we speak today of the idea of curse, what do we think of? We think perhaps of a voodoo witch doctor that places pins in a doll made to replicate his enemy. We think of an occultist who is involved in witchcraft, putting spells and hexes upon people. The very word curse in our culture suggests some kind of superstition, but in biblical categories there is nothing superstitious about it.

The Hebrew Benediction

If you really want to understand what it meant to a Jew to be cursed, I think the simplest way is to look at the famous Hebrew benediction in the Old Testament, one which clergy often use as the concluding benediction in a church service:

“The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.”
(Num. 6:24–26)

…We see in the benediction three stanzas with two elements in each one: “bless” and “keep”; “face shine” and “be gracious”; and “lift up the light of his countenance” and “give you peace.” For the Jew, to be blessed by God was to be bathed in the refulgent glory that emanates from his face. “The Lord bless you” means “the Lord make his face to shine upon you.” Is this not what Moses begged for on the mountain when he asked to see God? Yet God told him that no man can see him and live. So God carved out a niche in the rock and placed Moses in the cleft of it, and God allowed Moses to see a glimpse of his backward parts but not of his face.

…The Jews’ ultimate hope was the same hope that is given to us in the New Testament, the final eschatological hope of the beatific vision: “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2). Don’t you want to see him? The hardest thing about being a Christian is serving a God you have never seen, which is why the Jew asked for that.

The Supreme Malediction

But my purpose here is not to explain the blessing of God but its polar opposite, its antithesis, which again can be seen in vivid contrast to the benediction. The supreme malediction would read something like this:

“May the Lord curse you and abandon you.
May the Lord keep you in darkness and give you only judgment without grace.
May the Lord turn his back upon you and remove his peace from you forever.”

When on the cross, not only was the Father’s justice satisfied by the atoning work of the Son, but in bearing our sins the Lamb of God removed our sins from us as far as the east is from the west. He did it by being cursed. “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree’” (Gal. 3:13). He who is the incarnation of the glory of God became the very incarnation of the divine curse.

He Bore Our Griefs – J. Revius (1586-1658)

JRevius-dutch-poetAs we mark National Poetry month (April) and Good Friday this week, we may well ponder this poem by Dutch Calvinist Jacobus Revius (1586-1658), “a Protestant Baroque poet of the Netherlands.” The title is “He Bore Our Griefs” and is based on Isaiah 53.

No, it was not the Jews who crucified,
Nor who, Lord Jesus, spat into your face,
Nor who betrayed you in the judgment place,
Nor who with buffets struck you as you died.

No, it was not the soldiers fisted bold
Who lifted up the hammer and the nail,
Or raised the cross on Calvary’s cursed hill,
Or cast the dice to win your seamless robe.

I am the one, O Lord, who brought you there,
I am the heavy cross you had to bear,
I am the rope that bound you to the tree,

The whip, the nail, the hammer, and the spear,
The bloody, thorny crown you had to wear:
It was my sin, O Lord, it was for me.

by Jacobus Revius (Translated by Henrietta ten Harmsel)

This poem can be found in multiple places in print and online. It was published in The Reformed Journal, as well as in Leland Ryken’s collection of poems, titled The Soul in Paraphrase: A Treasury of Classic Devotional Poems (Crossway, 2018). At that link you may also find Ryken’s helpful commentary on this poem, which includes these words:

The poem is a confession of guilt addressed directly to Christ in a prayer-like stance. …Jesus’ death was an atoning substitutionary death for sinners, so that every sinner for whom Christ died can be said to be the one who killed him. In this poem, Revius does what his contemporary Dutch artist Rembrandt did when he painted himself at the foot of the cross as Christ is raised on it (in Raising of the Cross).

Below is an image of the original poem in Dutch.

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Published in: on April 17, 2019 at 11:03 PM  Leave a Comment  

Christ and Him Crucified – April “Tabletalk”

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The above is the fitting theme of this month’s Tabletalk devotional magazine – “Christ and Him Crucified.” And an edifying theological and practical reflection on the death of Christ the issue is.

Editor Burk Parsons gets it started with his passionate introduction titled “Theology of the Cross.” Here is part of what he says about the importance of this doctrine for Christians:

All professing Christians know that the cross is important, but we often fail to grasp the all-encompassing significance of it—that the cross is not only at the heart of our faith, but it encompasses the entire existence of our faith, our life, and our worship. In order for us to possess a proper theology of the cross, the reality of Christ and Him crucified must possess us in all that we believe and in all that we do. The cross should not just be at the top of our theological priority list; it should be at the center of all our theological priorities. If we become bored with the cross of Christ, and if we lose our astonishment of Christ and Him crucified, we will quickly begin to lose the entirety of Christian doctrine and practice.

The other article I point you to tonight is Dr. L. Michael Morales’ (Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary) “Expiation and Propitiation.” Perhaps that does not sound like the most exciting subject, but as he shows, you cannot grasp the meaning of Christ’s saving work by His suffering and death without these two terms. Both are rooted in the Old Testament sacrificial system and if you have never paid attention to these terms, now is a good time to learn them.

Morales’ entire article is profitable, but we quote from the end of it here:

Jesus fulfilled the Levitical system of sacrifice only because He offered Himself up to God on the cross as One who had fulfilled the law. In His tormented night of prayer in Gethsemane He had prayed, “My Father . . . not as I will, but as you will” (Matt. 26:39), and then He drank the cup of divine judgment as our blameless substitute. Jesus’ life of complete and loving devotion to God, offered up to the Father by the Spirit and through the cross—this is the assuaging of God’s wrath.

Because Jesus’ suffering was as a vicarious penal substitute, sinners can find rest for their souls. The impending thunderstorm of divine judgment that ever threatens us, overshadowing our vain attempts at happiness, cannot be dispelled by wishful thinking or misguided assertions. A Christian basks securely in the warm rays of the Father’s favor only because that storm of judgment has already broken in the full measure of its fury on the crucified Son of God. His shed blood cleanses us from our sins, removing our guilt from the sight of God. His wholehearted, law-keeping life offered up to God through the cross, even as He bore our penalty, rises to heaven as a pleasing aroma. Here, at last, the chief of sinners finds cause to boast in nothing at all except in the One who “loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Eph. 5:2).

To read this issue online, visit the Tabletalk website and browse the various articles. During this week in which we remember the passion of our Savior, you will feed your soul with good food from this issue.

“Everything Fulfilled”: Christ’s Suffering Perfectly Prophesied and Predetermined

For the Lord Jesus, prophecy thoroughly and uniquely presented his program of suffering. It was a program that with unwavering eye and absolute certainty he read, saw, and examined ahead of time. He grasped it all: the entire process of his suffering, shame, and death in all its vivid color and all its terrible contours. On those prophetic pages, he saw himself portrayed just as he would be – humiliated, oppressed, and broken.

…When he finally took every step on the way to the cross, when he waded through the torrent of his continuous suffering, when all the details and parts of this divine tragedy were complete, he drank the last drops from his cup of suffering. It was a cup whose carefully measured portion he accepted in fear. He did this all with the clearheaded awareness that then everything had been fulfilled. Then he gave up his spirit.

This is how it happened. This is the way it was predicted. Is this also how you confess and believe it?

In the counsel and foreknowledge of God, everything had been predetermined. This was true not only of suffering in general, but down to the smallest details of what would happen.

‘Predetermined,’ so that any appearance that as much as one moment, one derisive word, or one lash with whips in the life of the Son of Blessedness happened by the will of sinners simply doesn’t hold up.

‘Predetermined,’ so that you could never suppose that the powers of destruction overwhelmed what is sacred and holy on Golgotha, but so that you would understand that even the most terrible forces of destruction served to achieve God’s purposes.

‘Predetermined,’ so that instead of bewildering and confusing people, the cross of God’s Son would seal the truth of God’s Word to us.

‘Predetermined,’ not least of all, so that Christ himself, in experiencing everything that he did, would in effect undergo a thousand deaths before he died. In doing so with a clear head, that is, with morally grounded willpower and submissiveness and not in some stupor that flooded over him, he grappled with sufferings that he discerned ahead of time with sober clarity.

…And if that’s the case, and if you are convinced that Golgotha was at the center of God’s thinking already at the time of creation and covenant making, why do you still hold back? Why do you hold back when you know that this happened out of love and for the sake of your blessing? Why, when it couldn’t be any other way than that God the Father was involved with his Son’s suffering? Why, when all throughout his work of creating and giving life, he always had squarely in his sovereign vision the somber spectacle of the cross? Tell me, brothers and sisters, why do you still hesitate?

honey from the rock-ak-2018Taken from the new translation of Abraham Kuyper’s Honey from the Rock (Lexham Press, 2018; James A. De Jong, transl.), pp.58-59.

This particular meditation (#18) is based on Luke 18:31 and titled “Everything Fulfilled.” That text reads, “Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished.”

You will see how Kuyper takes us from the power of God’s prophetic Word concerning the suffering and death of His Son to the deeper truth of His sovereign counsel concerning every detail of it. The program of Jesus’ passion was entirely predetermined in the plan of God! That’s how it could be prophesied in such detail and recorded with such precision in the Scriptures. And that for the salvation of His people – for our blessing! Rooted in God’s free mercy and love! Amazing grace!

A plan and a program that call for deep pondering, and even deeper praise. May we do that on the morrow, through Word and worship.