Sunday, March 26, 2017

"He was led as a sheep to the slaughter."

And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple from him, and
put his own clothes on him, and led him out to crucify him.                                     
                                                                                 Mark 15:20

....."He was led as a sheep to the slaughter."  Alas, that the Emancipator of
our race should be led forth as a captive to die!
     The direction in which he is led is outside the city.  He must not die in
Jerusalem, though multitudes of prophets had perished there.  Though the
temple was the central place of sacrifice, yet must not the Son of God be
offered there, for he was an offering of another kind, and must not lie upon
their altars.  Outside the city, because by the Jews he was treated as a flagrant
offender who must be executed at the Tyburn of the city, in the appointed place
of doom known as Calvary or Golgotha.  When Naboth was unjustly condemned
 for blasphemy, they carried him forth out of the city, and stoned him with stones
that he died; and afterwards Stephen,—when they cried out against him as a
blasphemer, they cast him out of the city, and there they stoned him.  Our
Saviour therefore must die in the ordinary place of execution, that in all respects
he might be numbered with the transgressors.  The rulers of the city so loathed
and detested their great Reprover that they rejected him, and would not suffer
him to die within their city walls.  Alas, poor Jerusalem, in casting out the
Son of David, thou didst cast out thy last hope:  now art thou bound over to
     He was led outside of the city because from that time no acceptable
sacrifice could be offered there.  They might go on with their offering of daily
lambs, and they might sacrifice their bullocks, and burn the fat of fed beasts;
but from that day the substance of the sacrifice had gone away from them, and
Israel's offerings were vain oblations.  Because the true sacrifice is rejected of
 them the Lord leaves them nothing but a vain show.
     Still more forcible is the fact that our Lord must die outside the city because
he was to be consumed as a sin-offering.  It is written in the law, "And the
skin of the bullock, and all his flesh, with his head, and with his legs, and his
inwards, and his dung, even the whole bullock shall he carry forth without the
camp unto a clean place, where the ashes are poured out, and burn him on the
wood with fire."  There were several sorts of offerings under the law:  the
sweet-savour offerings were presented upon the altar, and were accepted of God,
but sin-offerings were burnt without the camp or gate, because God can have no
fellowship with sin.  Once let sin be imputed to the sacrifice and it becomes abhorrent
to God, and must not be presented in the tabernacle or the temple, but burned outside
the circle wherein his people have their habitations.  And here let our hearts gratefully
contemplate how truly our Lord Jesus became a sin-offering for us, and how in every
point he followed out the type.  With his face turned away from his Father's house he
must go to die:  with his face turned away from what were once his Father's people
he must be led forth to be crucified.  Like a thing accursed, he is to be hung up
where felons suffer condign punishment.  Because we were sinners, and because
sin had turned our backs to God, and because sin had broken our communion
with God's accepted ones, therefore must he endure this banishment.  In that
sorrowful march of the cross-bearing Saviour my soul with sorrow sees herself
represented as deserving thus to be made to depart unto death; and yet joy mingles
with this emotion, for the glorious Sin-bearer hath thus taken away our sin, and we
return from our exile:  his substitution is infinitely effectual.  Well may those live for
whom Jesus died.  Well may those return in whose place the Son of God was
banished.  There is entrance into the holy city now, there is entrance into the
temple now, there is access unto God himself now, because the Lord hath put
away our sin through him who was led to be crucified outside the city gate.
     Nor do I think that even this exhausts the teaching.  Jesus dies outside
Jerusalem because he died, not for Jerusalem alone, nor for Israel alone. 
The effect of his atonement is not circumscribed by the walls of a city nor by
the bounds of a race.  In him shall all the nations of the earth be blessed. 
Out in the open he must die, to show that he reconciled both Jews and
Gentiles unto God.  "For he is the propitiation for our sins,'' saith Paul,
who was himself a Jew, "and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the
whole world."  Had he been the Saviour of Jews only, seclusion in the place
of his offering would have been appropriate, but as he dies for all nations, he
is hung up without the city.
     And yet, once more, he suffered outside the gate that we might go forth
unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.  "Come ye out from among
them; be ye separate, touch not the unclean thing," henceforth becomes the
command of God to all his sons and daughters:  behold the Son of sons, his Only-
begotten, leads the way in nonconformity to this present evil world, being himself
officially severed from the old Jewish church, whose elders seek his life.  He dies
in sacred separation from the false and corrupt corporation which vaunted itself to
be the chosen of God.  He protested against all evil, and for this he died, so far
as his murderers were concerned.  Even so must his followers take up their
cross and follow him withersoever he goeth, even though it be to be despised
and rejected of men.....
                                                                                Charles H. Spurgeon   

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