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From Heaven With Love

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    The Agony of Christ's Mother

    At the place of execution, the two thieves wrestled in the hands of those who placed them on the cross; but Jesus made no resistance. The mother of Jesus, supported by John, had followed the steps of her Son to Calvary. She had longed to place a supporting hand beneath His wounded head. But she was not permitted this mournful privilege. She still cherished the hope that Jesus would deliver Himself from His enemies. Again her heart would sink, as she recalled He had foretold the very scenes then taking place.HLv 497.2

    As the thieves were bound to the cross, she looked on with agonizing suspense. Would He who had given life to the dead suffer Himself to be crucified? Must she give up her faith that He was the Messiah? She saw His hands stretched on the cross; the hammer and nails were brought, and as the spikes were driven through the tender flesh, the disciples bore away from the cruel scene the fainting form of the mother of Jesus.HLv 497.3

    The Saviour made no complaint, but great drops of sweat stood on His brow. There was no pitying hand to wipe the death dew from His face; no words of sympathy and fidelity to stay His human heart. While the soldiers were doing their fearful work, Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” His mind passed from His own suffering to the terrible retribution that would be theirs. No curses were called down on the soldiers who were handling Him so roughly, no vengeance invoked on the priests and rulers. He breathed only a plea for their forgiveness—they “know not what they do.”HLv 497.4

    But their ignorance did not remove their guilt, for it was their privilege to know and accept Jesus as their Saviour. Some would yet see their sin, and repent, and be converted. Some by impenitence would make it impossible for the prayer of Christ to be answered for them. Yet, just the same, God's purpose was reaching its fulfillment. Jesus was earning the right to become the advocate of men in the Father's presence.HLv 498.1

    That prayer of Christ for His enemies took in every sinner from the beginning of the world to the end of time. Upon all rests the guilt of crucifying the Son of God. To all, forgiveness is freely offered.HLv 498.2

    As soon as Jesus was nailed to the cross, it was lifted by strong men and with violence thrust into the place prepared for it. This caused intense agony. Pilate then wrote an inscription in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, and placed it on the cross above the head of Jesus. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” This irritated the Jews. They had cried, “We have no king but Caesar.” They had declared that whoever should acknowledge any other king was a traitor. Pilate wrote what they had expressed. No offense was mentioned, except that Jesus was the King of the Jews, a virtual acknowledgment of the allegiance of the Jews to Rome. It declared that whoever might claim to be the King of Israel would be judged by them worthy of death. In order to destroy Christ, the priests had been ready to sacrifice even their national existence.HLv 498.3

    The priests asked Pilate to change the inscription. “Write not, The King of the Jews; but that He said, I am King of the Jews.” But Pilate, angry with himself, replied coldly, “What I have written I have written.”HLv 498.4

    In the providence of God that inscription was to awaken investigation of the Scriptures. People from all lands were then at Jerusalem, and the inscription declaring Jesus the Messiah would come to their notice. It was transcribed by a hand that God had guided.HLv 498.5

    In the sufferings of Christ on the cross, prophecy was fulfilled. “The assembly of the wicked have enclosed Me: they pierced My hands and My feet... . They part My garments among them, and cast lots upon My vesture.” Psalm 22:16-18. His clothing was given to the soldiers. His tunic was woven without seam, and they said, “Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be.”HLv 498.6

    In another prophecy the Saviour declared, “I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none. They gave Me also gall for my meat; and in My thirst they gave Me vinegar to drink.” Psalm 69:20, 21. To those who suffered death by the cross, it was permitted to give a stupefying drug to deaden the pain. But when Jesus had tasted it, He refused it. His faith must keep hold on God, His only strength. To becloud His senses would give Satan an advantage.HLv 499.1

    Priests, rulers, and scribes joined the mob in mocking the dying Saviour. The Father's voice from heaven, witnessing to Christ's divinity, was silent. No testimony in His favor was heard. Alone He suffered.HLv 499.2

    “If Thou be the Son of God,” they said, “come down from the cross.” “Let Him save Himself, if He be Christ, the chosen of God.” Satan and his angels, in human form, were present at the cross, cooperating with the priests and rulers, confederated in a satanic frenzy.HLv 499.3

    Jesus heard the priests declare, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” Christ could have come down from the cross. But because He would not save Himself, the sinner has hope of pardon and favor with God.HLv 499.4

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