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office of the high priest, by all the types of that sacrifice for sins which Christ had now once offered : and “ by that one offering had perfected for ever them that are sanctified.”7
That was finished which Isaiah had prophesied, (liii. 7, 8,) speaking beforehand of the sufferings of Christ. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth : he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment; and who shall declare his generation ? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.”
That was finished which Christ had engaged for, when he undertook the work of redemption: all the will and counsel of God. He had “ made his soul an offering for sin ; he had borne the sin of many :” he had endured the Father's wrath, he had submitted to the curse, he had drunk the cup of suffering to the dregs. All this had been completely finished; and nothing now remained but to return to the bosom of the Father. But Jesus showed even to the end, that he had “ power to lay down his life;" that he “ laid it down of himself, and no man took it from him.” For he waited till the last prophecy had been fulfilled, and he had tasted of the vinegar which they offered him. He waited till he was able to say, It is finished. And then he added, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit:” and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
7 Heb. x. 14.
All had been completed which the Son was to perform in the work of man's redemption. Let no man doubt that the Father's part shall also be completed. Christ “once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God.” And God, who “ so loved the world, that he sent his only begotten Son,” that he might thus suffer, God “ is not unrighteous” to refuse the ransom which has been paid, or to reject those who come to him through the blood of the everlasting covenant. Christ could say, It is finished. And as the conditions have been finished, so likewise shall the covenant be fulfilled. God will make good his word.
“ He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied ; by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justily many : because he hath poured out his soul unto death : and he was numbered with transgressors : and he bare the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgres
8 Is. liii. 11, 12
THE FULFILMENT OF PROPHECY IN THE DEATH
JOHN xix. 31–42.
31. The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.
32. Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him.
33. But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs :
34. But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came thereout blood and water."
35. And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true : and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe.
36. For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken.
! Such is the case, when the regions of the heart are wounded. And St. John is thus particular, because some of the early heretics denied that Jesus actually underwent these sufferings and death, affirming that a phantom was substituted in his room. For this reason, probably, the evangelist proceeds to assert more solemnly than usual, He that saw it bare record, and his record is true. He saw what he could not have seen, unless real death had taken place.
37. And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.
passage is remarkable, in which these latter words are found. (Zech. xii. 10.)
"I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications : and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn."
Of whom could the prophet say this? In what other man has it ever been fulfilled ?
But it was fulfilled in regard to the Lord Jesus. Not two months after the event which we are considering, Peter affirmed to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, “ Let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.”? Then, says the historian,"
they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?” It came to pass according to the prophecy : “ God poured upon them the spirit of grace and of plications :” they did “ look on him whom they had pierced,” and did “mourn for him."
But Peter said further unto them, “ Repent, and be baptized every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins.”
" Then they that gladly received his word were baptized : and the same day there were added unto them about
and of sup
* Acts ii. 36, &c.
three thousand souls.' Thus they once more looked on him whom they had pierced ;—before they regarded him with contrition and sorrow; now they looked to him for remission of sins : looked to the wounds which they had given, which he had received " in the house of his friends, the wounds suffered for their transgressions, and by which they might themselves be healed.
The time, we trust, will come hereafter, when the prophecy shall have a more complete fulfilment; and the house of Israel and the house of Judah generally shall answer to the expressions of the prophet : shall mourn for the sin of their nation, which crucified the “Prince of life ;" shall look up to him whom they pierced, for reconciliation with God, and to that death which they caused, as the ransom for their sins.
Such a season appears to be foretold in Scripture, when God shall pour upon the descendants of Abraham this spirit of grace and of supplications. But we do not wait for any distant season that the words may receive an accomplishment. They are accomplished in all who believe in Christ Jesus, and look to him for salvation. On account of sin was he pierced : and the sins which pierced him were our sins. Every man's individual sin contributed to his death. And while we regard with astonishment and thankfulness the atonement which he made, we should also regard
3 Zech. xiii. 6. “ And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends."