April—6 The Poor Man’s Evening Portion

A place called Golgotha.—Matthew 27:33.

And wherefore called Golgotha? It was a “place of skulls;” not a charnel house; not a sepulchre for the great; but probably where a number of unburied skulls of poor criminals lay together, or scattered here and there, as the feet of those who visited this place of sorrow might kick them. Luke calls it Calvary, (Luke 23:33;) but both mean one and the same place. And was this a place suited for thee, O thou Lord of life and glory? Yes, blessed Jesus! if thou wilt become sin and a curse for thy redeemed, then surely this of all places becomes thee, where thy people must have lain for ever, hadst thou not interposed, and undertaken all that behoved them to suffer, that they might be made “the righteousness of God in thee!” My soul! did Jesus suffer at Golgotha? Go thou forth to him, “without the camp, bearing his reproach.” And is this Golgotha? And was it here that Jesus “then restored that which he took not away?” Oh, how blessed the review! how memorable, how sacred the spot! Who would have thought that a place so wretched should have produced so much good! Confusion had been introduced into all the works of God by reason of sin; here Jesus restored perfect order to all. God’s glory had been tarnished; God’s law had been broken; God’s justice despised. At Golgotha, Jesus restored all. And as man had lost the image of God, the favour of God, the acquaintance with God, at this memorable spot Jesus restored to God his glory, and to man God’s favour. My soul! do thou often visit the place called Golgotha; and to endear the sacred haunt still more, look at thy Lord as thou goest thither, and figure to thyself thy Jesus going with thee. Here it was that his person and all his sacred offices were blasphemed. Is Jesus the Lord God of the prophets? Then will the rabble vilify his prophetical office: “Prophecy,” say they, “thou Christ, who is he that smote thee?” Is Jesus the great “High-Priest” of Jehovah, after the order of Melchisedek? This also shall be despised. “Save thyself and us!” said the scoffing multitude. And is Jesus a King? “Come down, then,” say they, “from the cross, and we will believe.” Yea, and as the most aggravating circumstance of cruelty, and which, as far as I have ever heard, or read, was never practised upon the most abject criminal, his very prayers were turned into ridicule. “My God, my God,” said the holy Sufferer, “why hast thou forsaken me?” “This man calleth for Elias,” said they; “let be, let us see whether Elias will come to take him down!” Pause, my soul, over the solemn view! And as thou takest thy evening stand at Golgotha, ask thine heart, is this Jesus, who is “the brightness of his Father’s glory, and the express image of his person?” Is this he whom angels worship, and at whose name “every knee shall bow, of things in heaven and things in earth, and things under the earth?” O thou bleeding Lamb, that art now in the midst of the throne! often let my soul ruminate over the affecting scenes of Golgotha. Solemn is the place, but blessed also. Here would I sit down, and as I contemplate Jesus, in this endearing part of his character, I would hear his voice speaking in the tenderest manner: “Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? Behold, and see, if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow which is done unto me, wherewith the Lord hath afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger.”[1]

 

[1] Hawker, R. (1845). The Poor Man’s Evening Portion (A New Edition, pp. 101–102). Philadelphia: Thomas Wardle.

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