TOPIC:“Let's Remember Christ's Death” (Memorial Sunday)
“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree” (I Peter 2:24)
When William Carey, the great missionary to India, lay dying during those last days of his earthly life, he said to a close friend: “I have no other hope of salvation than through the death of my Lord and Savior.” To him the death of Christ was INDISPENSABLE. There was no real, genuine, life-redeeming hope without it.
It was in the same peaceful spirit that Charles Hadden Spurgeon, the prominent English preacher of past years, faced the demands of death. He said upon his death-bed: “My theology now is in four little words: “Jesus died for me.” I do not say that this is enough to preach were I to live, but it certainly is enough to die upon.” To him the death of Christ was IMPERATIVE. There was not future life without it.
And yet, if we are to have an intelligent view of the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, we must realize that His death was INEVITABLE. There was no way around it. It was sure to happen. God PREDESTINATED it. The cross of Christ was no accident, no unfortunate incident, no afterthought in the mind of God. On the contrary! The plan of Christ's death was prepared and the date was determined. God had decided in His eternal counsel that Christ would die. The Apostle Peter boldly declared: “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God” (Acts 2:23). Or as we read in Revelation 13:8 these words: “The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”
But not only did God predestinate it, the prophets PREDICTED it. Isaiah, who lived several centuries before Christ, wrote with such vivid expression: “He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53:5). And Christ Himself PROMISED it. He declared: “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up…But he spoke of the temple of his body” (John 2: 19, 21).
There you have it: The coming of Christ in bodily fashion to be crucified upon a cross. Such was foreknown by God before the flaming stars were cast into limitless space. . . .