Thy rebuke hath broken my heart.—Psalm 69:21.
Hast thou, my soul, still upon thee the solemn savour of thy morning meditation? Surely Gethsemane is not forgotten by thee! Pause over the subject; and from the whole mass of the soul sufferings of thy Lord, behold what crowned the whole: “Thy rebuke,” (saith Jesus to the Father,) “thy rebuke hath broken my heart.” To search into the depths of this meditation is impossible; for who shall describe if? What human, or even angelic intellect can fathom the profound subject? That this was the greatest and heaviest weight in the whole curse, we may venture to suppose: because we read of nothing which bore so hard upon the holy Jesus, amidst all his agonies, as the Father’s rebuke. It was this which “broke his heart.” My soul! repeat the solemn scripture, as if Jesus was in the moment uttering the words: “Thy rebuke hath broken my heart.” Precious Lord! could not this have been spared thee?—Pause, my soul!—Lamb of God! must the rebuke of thy Father be also in the curse?—Pause again, my soul! When Jesus made his soul an offering for sin, would not the Father of mercies, and God of all consolation, show the least portion of favour to his dear, his beloved, his only begotten Son?—Pause, my soul! yet once again, and ponder over the solemn subject! “It pleased the Father to bruise him, to put him to grief.”—But, my soul! though, neither thou, nor perhaps angels of light, can explain the extremity of the Redeemer’s sufferings, in the rebuke of the Father for sin, which broke his heart, yet in the contemplation of the lesser sorrows of the curse which Jesus endured, thou wilt be led to form some faint idea, however small in comparison of the real state of it, to induce a train of the most solemn meditations. When the Son of God assumed our nature, though in a holy portion of that nature, untainted by the fall, being not derived by ordinary generation, yet coming as the sinner’s surety, he took upon him the curse for sin, he was first made sin (2 Cor. 5:21) and then a curse for us, (Gal. 3:13;) as such, he was invested with every thing belonging to the frailties of our nature, which might expose that nature to sorrow, and suffering, and death. The sentence of the fall was, “Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return,” (Gen. 3:19:) so that the curse, then seizing the human nature of Christ, at once tended to waste all the animal spirits, and to induce a state of mind peculiarly low and dejected. Agreeably to this, we find that the holy Jesus, though it is once said of him, that in that hour “he rejoiced in spirit,” when the devils were subject to his name, (Luke 10:18–21,) yet is it never said of him, that he was once seen to laugh. As the sinner’s surety, he sustained every thing of sorrow which belonged to God’s curse against sin, and became eminently marked with affliction; and in a way which none but himself ever waded through. Yea, to make the horrors of death more tremendous and bitter, the very sun became darkened at mid-day; not so much, I humbly conceive, as some have thought, to intimate, by the miracle, God’s displeasure at the act of the Jews in the crucifixion of Christ, as to manifest the Father’s rebuke of sin, which Jesus then stood as the sinner’s surety to answer for, and which Christ, as if summing up the whole of his misery, declared to be the finishing stroke, which had “broken his heart.” My soul! look up, and thus behold the Lamb of God! O thou precious, precious Redeemer! the sons of thy Zion, but for this blessed undertaking of thine, “would have fainted for ever!” They would have lain “at the head of all the streets as a wild bull in a net: they would have been full of the fury of the Lord, the rebuke of thy God.” But now, Lord, thou hast swallowed up death in victory: “the Lord God hath wiped away tears from off all faces: and the rebuke of thy people thou hast taken away from off all the earth; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.”