“And when they were come to the place which is called CALVARY, there they crucified Him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left” (Luke 23:33).
“The place called CALVARY.” Let us come to that place in our thoughts for a while and meditate together upon what it may teach us. For what does Calvary stand? Let us consider this for a little and link up our thoughts with the letters which form the word. Thus we may be able the better to remember that which passes before us.
First of all, then let us recall the
who suffered there. It is the glory of His person which gives efficacy to the work which was accomplished on the central cross at Calvary. Two others hung beside Him, malefactors they were, and being sinners like ourselves they suffered the due reward of their deeds. Our Lord Jesus Christ alone could accomplish the mighty work of redemption which was necessary to deliver us from the curse that rests upon us sinners. So He, the Son of God, became Man for the glory of God and for our present and everlasting blessing. “God manifest in the flesh” was here as the “Daysman between us” for whom Job longed. “He was great enough for God and little enough for me,” as has been said, and thus could “lay His hand upon us both.” The Creator of all became Man for His creatures’ good, and “suffered for sins, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God.” Thus
was made at Calvary. God was glorified about the whole question of sin and the way was opened, in righteousness, for the sinner to be brought to God.
Of old it had been said, “It is the blood which makes atonement for the soul,” and it had been shown clearly that “Without shedding of blood there is no remission.” But the blood of bulls and of goats could not take away sins. These types were but as sign-posts along the road of time pointing on to Calvary and to Christ.
In the due time He came—the great Antitype—to fulfil all that was written of Him. Perfect, spotless in all His ways, He, when His hour was come, “offered Himself without spot to God,” and became the sin offering upon the cross. At one and the same time He was the offering, the offerer, and the altar that sanctifies the gift. “Made sin” and bearing sins there, we hear the cry from an abyss that no human mind can ever measure, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” And now we rejoice that the great work is done, the offering has been accepted, Christ is risen from the dead, and the Holy Spirit witnesses to us, “The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). It was love, the love of God, which planned for us and provided the “so great salvation.” Yes,
is seen in its deepest depth and brightest colours at Calvary “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10). The Lord Jesus did not die, as some have thought and said, in order that God might love us, but God loving us gave Christ to die for us. It was God Himself who devised the way by which in righteousness His banished ones might be brought home to Him. This is oft-times forgotten, and souls remain in their thoughts at a distance from God, as though He was against the sinner, waiting to visit him with His just judgment, and that the Lord Jesus interposed and sheathed the sword of judgment in His own bosom. Many overlook the fact that John 3:16 begins with the word “For.” It is linked with what goes before, the whole passage being: “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. FOR God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
The love of God was manifested in the lifting up of the Son of Man, His beloved Son. It was for this He had given and sent Him, so that present and everlasting blessedness might be ours. What a love! What a gift! What a sacrifice! What a result!
Then Calvary stands for
“In the place where He was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was man never yet laid. There laid they Jesus” (John 19:41-42).
Eternal redemption was obtained for us. Love was manifested. The Son of God had cried, “It is finished,” and given up His spirit. Then also hidden disciples were brought to light. Emboldened by love, Joseph went to the Roman governor to ask the body of the Saviour. The rulers of the Jews would have cast His holy body into the pit with those of the malefactors, but God had prepared a clean place for it. So, as foretold in Isaiah 33:9, “His grave was appointed with the wicked, but with the rich man was His tomb, because He had done no violence, neither was guile found in His mouth.”
From that rocky sepulchre the Son of God arose in triumph, for it was not possible that God’s Holy One could see corruption. Thus the third day proclaimed His victory. The power of death was broken and the Conqueror came forth The stone was rolled away then that the disciples might go in the sepulchre and see that He was not there, and hear the angel say, “He is risen, He is not here.”
Now we see the Victim of the cross is the Victor on the throne of God. Calvary’s cross has become the victory over all Satan’s power. Christ is risen, and we who believe in Him are on the side of Victory, and only wait for His coming again to manifest this. Then in resurrection Christ bestows the spoils of His victory upon His loved ones. They share with Himself the blessed results of that which He has done. One of these spoils is
“Through Him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father” (Eph. 2:18). With holy boldness we draw near. We know that every question of our guilt and state as sinners has been settled to God’s entire and eternal satisfaction, and that there is nothing but the love of God between Himself and us who believe. Our guilty fears are gone, and having boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus we draw near as worshippers. “We joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ,” we make our boast in Him, and His presence becomes our heart’s delight. We wonder at His grace; we love Him who first loved us, and we worship before His face. God is revealed to us as Father. We are brought into
It was this which the risen Lord announced by Mary Magdalene to His disciples, saying to her, “Go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father and to my God and your God.” Having accomplished redemption our Saviour links us with Himself and brings us into this place of relationship with His Father and His God. Christ, the leader of our salvation, is bringing many sons to glory. There we shall fill the Father’s house with our praises. But already, while on our way to that everlasting home, we have the Spirit of adoption given us, teaching us to cry with glad hearts, “Abba, Father”—the same words of nearness and dearness used by our Lord in Gethsemane’s dark garden. As sons of God we know that He cares for us in every detail of our path and makes all things work together for our spiritual good. In view of all that has come before us, nothing becomes us but to place ourselves at our Lord’s disposal and live henceforth “unto Him who died for us and rose again.”
in its perfection we see in our Lord at Calvary. He gave Himself up for us in His deep, deep love. “He loved me and gave Himself for me,” each believer may say rejoicingly. Having given Himself for us, we belong to Him, and should yield our selves unreservedly to Him. So doing we shall find His service perfect freedom, and to His praise; the Holy Spirit being given us as our power for walk and testimony.
Help and Food 1926