Ellen G. White Writings

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The Present Truth (UK)

January 7, 1886

The Sufferings of Christ

By Mrs. E. G. White

(Continued from page 314, Vol. 1.)

At the Cross

The Son of God was led to the judgment-hall of an earthly court to be derided and condemned to death by sinful men. “He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities.” The Majesty of Heaven submitted to insult, mockery, and shameful abuse, “as a reproach of men, and despised of the people.” He “gave his back to the smiters, and his cheeks to them that plucked off the hair. He hid not his face from shame and spitting.”

Satan instigated the cruel abuse of the debased mob led on by the priests and rulers, to provoke, if possible, retaliation from the world's Redeemer, or to drive him to deliver himself by a miracle from the hands of his persecutors, and thus break up the plan of salvation. One stain upon his human life, one failure of his humanity to bear the terrible test imposed upon it, would make the Lamb of God an imperfect offering, and the redemption of man would be a failure. But He who could command the heavenly hosts, and in an instant call to his aid legions of holy angels, one of whom could have immediately overpowered that cruel mob,—He who could have stricken down his tormentors by the flashing forth of his Divine majesty,—submitted with dignified composure to the coarsest insult and outrage.

“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.” It was in the plan of redemption that he should suffer the scorn and abuse of wicked men, and he consented to all this when he became the Redeemer of man. In the character of humanity he was meekly to endure taunts and stripes, leaving to the children of men an example of patient forbearance.

Angels of God faithfully recorded every insulting look, word, and act directed against their beloved Commander; and the base men who scorned and spit upon the calm, pale face of Christ, were one day to look upon it in its glory, shining brighter than the sun. In that awful time they would pray to the rocks and the mountains: “Hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb.”

Satan's rage was great as he saw that all the cruelty which he had led the Jews to inflict upon Jesus had not forced from his lips the slightest murmur. Although he had taken upon himself the nature of man, he manifested a Godlike fortitude, and departed in no particular from the will of his Father.

Wonder, O Heavens! and be astonished, O Earth! Behold the oppressor and the oppressed! A vast multitude inclose the Saviour of the world. Mocking and jeering are mingled with the coarse oaths of blasphemy. His lowly birth and his humble life are commented upon by unfeeling wretches. His claim to be the Son of God is ridiculed by the chief priests and elders, and the vulgar jest and insulting sneer are passed from lip to lip. Satan has full control of the minds of his servants. In order to do this effectually, he commenced with the Jewish leaders, and imbued them with religious frenzy. This they communicated to the rude and uncultivated mob, until there was a corrupt harmony in the feelings of all, from the hypocritical priests and elders down to the most debased outcast in the throng.

Jesus, the Son of God, was delivered to the people to be crucified. With shouts of triumph they led the Saviour away toward Calvary. The news of his condemnation had spread through all Jerusalem, striking terror and anguish to thousands of hearts, but bringing a malicious joy to many who had been reproved by his teachings. The priests had been bound by a promise not to molest any of his disciples if Jesus were delivered up to them; so all classes of people flocked to the scene of the outrage, and Jerusalem was left almost empty.

The disciples and believers from the region round about joined the throng that followed Jesus. His mother was also there, her heart stricken with unutterable anguish; yet she, with the disciples, hoped that the painful scene would change, and that Jesus would assert his power, and appear before his enemies as the Son of God. Then again her mother's heart would sink as she remembered words in which he had briefly referred to the things which were that day being enacted.

Jesus had hardly passed the gate of Pilate's house when the cross which had been prepared for Barabbas was brought out and laid upon his bruised and bleeding shoulders. Crosses were also placed upon the companions of Barabbas, who were to suffer death at the same time with Jesus. The Saviour had borne his burden but a few rods, when, from loss of blood and excessive weariness and pain, he fell fainting to the ground. As he lay beneath the heavy burden of the cross, how the heart of his mother longed to place a supporting hand beneath his wounded head, and bathe that brow that had once been pillowed upon her bosom. But, alas! that mournful privilege was denied her.

When Jesus revived, the cross was again placed upon his shoulders, and he was forced forward. He staggered on for a few steps, bearing his heavy load, then fell as one lifeless to the ground. The priests and rulers felt no compassion for their suffering victim; but they saw that it was impossible for him to carry the instrument of torture farther. They were puzzled to find any one who would humiliate himself to bear the cross to the place of execution.

While they were considering what to do, Simon, a Cyrenian, coming from an opposite direction, met the crowd, was seized at the instigation of the priests, and compelled to carry the cross of Christ. The sons of Simon were disciples of Jesus, but he himself had never been connected with him. This occasion was a profitable one for him. The cross he was forced to bear became the means of his conversion. His sympathies were deeply stirred in favor of Jesus; and the events of Calvary, and the words uttered by the Saviour caused him to acknowledge that he was the Son of God. Simon ever after felt grateful to God for the providence which placed him in a position to receive evidence for himself that Jesus was the world's Redeemer.

A great multitude followed the Saviour to Calvary; many were mocking and deriding, but some were weeping and recounting his praise. Those whom he had healed of various infirmities, and those whom he had raised from the dead, declared his marvellous works with earnest voice, and demanded to know what Jesus had done that he should be treated as a malefactor. Only a few days before, they had attended him with joyful hosannas and the waving of palm-branches, as he rode triumphantly to Jerusalem. But many who had then shouted his praise, because it was popular to do so, now swelled the cry of “Crucify him! Crucify him!”

Upon the occasion of Christ's riding into Jerusalem, the disciples had been raised to the highest pitch of expectation. They had pressed close about their Master, and had felt that they were highly honoured to be connected with him. Now they followed him in his humiliation at a distance. They were filled with inexpressible grief and disappointed hopes. How were the words of Jesus verified: “All ye shall be offended because of me this night; for it is written, I will smite the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.” Yet the disciples still had faint hope that their Master would manifest his power at the last moment, and deliver himself from his enemies.

(To be continued.)

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