2840. Laying The Hand On The Sacrifice

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Laying The Hand On The Sacrifice

No. 2840-49:337. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, August 12, 1877, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, July 19, 1903.

And he shall lay his hand on the head of the sin offering. {Le 4:29}

 For other sermons on this text:
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1048, “Sin Offering for the Common People, The” 1039}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2840, “Laying the Hand on the Sacrifice” 2841}

1. I might have taken, as my text, several other verses in the same chapter, for they all express the same idea as the words I have just read to you. For the sake of emphasis, let me ask you to look at the fourth verse. When a priest had committed sin, and brought a sin offering to the Lord, it is written, “He shall bring the young bull to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the Lord; and shall lay his hand on the young bull’s head.” The fifteenth verse tells us that, when the whole congregation of Israel had sinned through ignorance, the Lord said to Moses, “The elders of the congregation shall lay their hands on the head of the young bull before the Lord.” Then, in the twenty-fourth verse, we read that, when a ruler had sinned through ignorance, and brought his sin offering, “He shall lay his hand on the head of the goat, and kill it in the place where they kill the burnt offering before the Lord.” And, in the thirty-third verse, you find that, if a common person had committed a sin through ignorance, or if his sin should come to his knowledge, he was to bring a sin offering, and then it was added, “He shall lay his hand on the head of the sin offering.”

2. Any one of those verses would, therefore, have sufficed for a text. It seems to have been a necessary part of the proceedings that, when a sin offering was presented to the Lord, to be offered up before him, the offerer should first of all lay his hand on the head of the animal devoted to this sacred purpose.

3. I hope I am addressing many people who wish to know more about the way and plan of salvation, and who are anxious to partake in the benefits of Christ’s atoning sacrifice. Possibly, they are saying, “We know that there is a Saviour for sinners, but how can he be ours? We know that an atonement has been made for sin; but how can that atonement really put away our sin so that we may be pardoned, and accepted by God?” This is a very natural question, and a very proper one; it would be good if it were most solemnly and seriously asked by all who, as yet, remain without being partakers of the blessings which are stored up for us in Christ Jesus.

4. Beloved friends! it will be all in vain, as far as we are personally concerned, “that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners,” unless he shall save us. It will be of no avail to us that Jesus shed his precious blood, unless that blood washes away our guilt. It will increase rather than diminish our misery if we hear that others are saved as long as we ourselves remain unsaved. If we are finally lost, it will not make our lot in hell any more tolerable if we discover that there was a propitiation for sin, although we never had a share in its expiatory effects. Of all questions in the world, it does seem to me that this is the most urgent and pressing one, and that we ought not to rest until we get it satisfactorily answered, and put into practice, — “How can I be a partaker in the eternal life which Jesus Christ came into the world to procure for sinners by his death?” Some of you have so far totally neglected this question. If you had noticed, in The Times, an advertisement stating that someone’s next of kin was wanted, and you had suspicion that you were the person to whom the notice referred, I warrant you that you would not have let the grass grow under your feet; you would have been quick enough to secure the fortune which had been left by your relative. But now that Jesus Christ has died, and left a wonderful legacy of grace among the sons of men, you have allowed a good many years to roll over your head without making an eager and earnest search into the question whether there is anything for you. You have seen a great many people saved all around you, yet you yourself remain unsaved. You have some of your dear one’s who are in heaven, but you are not pursuing the path which will lead you there; and, all this while, you have not had the excuse, which many have had, of never having heard that there was great Saviour and great salvation to be had without money and without price. If you could plead such an excuse as that, it would be better for you than it is now, when you are sinning against light and knowledge in neglecting what would be most of all for your spiritual and eternal good. Be wise now therefore. You have been trifling far too long. Be serious now, and bend your whole mind to the earnest consideration of this all-important matter, “How can I obtain salvation? How can I get it here and now? How can sin be pardoned? How can my sins be pardoned now? I have long heard of Christ; how can I come into vital contact with him? I know that —

    There is a fountain fill’d with blood,
    Drawn from Emmanuel’s veins; —

but how can I be washed in it so that I, personally, may become whiter than snow?”

5. My text says that the guilty person, who brought the sin offering, laid his hand on its head; and this act gives a pictorial and symbolic answer to your questions, and tells you how you can come into contact with Christ, and how his great sacrifice can become available for you. You have to do to Christ, spiritually, what these Hebrews did literally; you have to imitate their action, and so to carry out these words of Dr. Watts which we often sing, —

       My faith would lay her hand
       On that dear head of thine,
    While like a penitent I stand,
       And there confess my sin.

6. I shall speak of only two things which we may learn from my text. The first is, the intent of this symbol; and the second is, the simplicity of the symbol, — this laying of the hand of the offerer on the head of the victim presented by him to God as a sin offering.

7. I. First, then, let me try to explain THE INTENT OF THE SYMBOL. What did it mean? For these things, of which I shall speak in explaining this symbol, are necessary in order that Christ should become yours. Follow me very carefully and prayerfully, dear friend, if you do indeed desire to be saved, for it may be that the Lord will lead you into everlasting life even while I am speaking. I pray that he may do so.

8. The first meaning of this laying of the hand on the head of the sacrifice is this; it was a confession of sin. The offering was a sin offering; except for sin, it would not have been needed. The man who came, and laid his hand on the head of the sin offering, acknowledged, by that act and deed, that he was a sinner. If there had been anyone who was not a sinner, he would have had no right to be there. A sin offering, for a person who had no contact with sin, would have been a superfluity; why should he bring a sin offering to the Lord? So, dear friends, if you have no sin, you are not fit subjects for Christ’s saving power and grace. If you are not guilty, you do not need forgiveness. If you have never transgressed the law of God, you need not come before him with a sin offering. Only remember that, if you do think so, you are under one of the most sorrowful delusions that ever entered the brain of a madman. You are deceiving yourself, depend on it. If you say that you have no sin, the truth is not in you. But he who brought a sin offering before the Lord said, in effect, “This is what I need, for I am a sinner. I need to have my sin taken away, for I am guilty in the sight of God. So I put my hand on this lamb, or goat, or young bull, which is about to die, by this confessing that I need a sacrifice in order that the sin, which I confess that I have committed, may be put away.”

9. Are you reluctant to confess that you are a sinner? If so, I pray very earnestly that you may speedily get rid of that reluctance. God does not ask you to confess your sins to any man. It would be a shame for you to do so, for you would pollute that man, whoever he might be, if you poured into his ear the sad tale of your filthiness and sin. God does not ask you to do any man the serious wrong of whispering into his ear the foul story of your transgressions. It is not to your fellow creature, but to your God, that you are to confess your sin. Go straight to him, and say, as the prodigal said to his father, “I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight.” What makes you so slow to do that? Do you imagine that he does not know about your sin, and think that you can hide anything from him? That is impossible, for “all things are naked and opened to the eyes of him with whom we have to deal.” Is it your pride that keeps you from confessing your sin? How can you hope that God will forgive you if you will not acknowledge that you have sinned against him? Think how you act towards your own children. How ready you are again to clasp them to your bosom when they have offended you! Yet you watch to see in them signs of relenting and repenting. So the Lord your God watches for signs of contrition and godly sorrow in you. Therefore, “take with you words, and turn to the Lord: say to him, ‘Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously.’ ” Are you not willing to do this? Then, alas! you lack the first prerequisite for obtaining acceptance through Christ. How can you, who will not admit that you have sinned, lay your hand on the head of the sin offering?

10. He who confessed his sin confessed also that he deserved to die, just as that victim was about to be slain. There stood the priest, with his sacrificial knife, ready to slay the innocent beast, and the basin in which to catch the blood of the young bull, or goat, or lamb, whichever it might be that was being offered; and he, who laid his hand on its head, said by it, “This poor animal is about to die, and to pour out its blood, and this reminds me that I deserve a just punishment from God. If he were to destroy me, he would be perfectly justified in doing so.” Soul, will you say that? Are you willing to humble yourself in the dust, and to say that? Will you put the halter around your neck, and confess that you deserve the extreme penalty that the great Judge can inflict? If so, you have begun well; for he, who will confess his guilt, and will admit that he deserves the punishment of death for it, has begun to put his hand on the head of the great Sacrifice for sin.

11. Follow me a step further, and I trust that we may rejoice together that you, poor, guilty, self-condemned soul, have found deliverance through the one Sacrifice which God has provided for the putting away of sin. In the second place, the laying of the hand on the head of the sin offering was a consent to the plan of substitution. He who had brought the victim laid his hand on its head; and, though he did not say so, yet his action, being interpreted, meant, “God has ordained that this animal should be put into my place, and I accept the divine appointment very heartily. I agree with him that I should be pardoned through the offering of a sacrifice, and that I should be accepted by God by reason of the shedding of the blood of a sacrificial victim.” Now, what do you say to this plan, oh man? If the Jew was willing to let the death of the young bull, or the goat, or the lamb, typically stand for his own death, are you willing, with all your heart, to accept God’s plan of salvation by the substitution of his only-begotten Son suffering and dying in your place? Surely, you will not quarrel with this method of saving you if God sees it to be the right one. Whenever my conscience has raised any question about the justice of this arrangement, it has always been quite a sufficient answer for me to say that, if the thrice-holy Jehovah feels that the sacrifice of Christ, in the place of sinners, is enough to vindicate his justice, I may well be satisfied with what satisfies him. Indeed, to question the righteousness of that method of saving the lost is to assail God on a matter which lies very near to his heart, and to attack that wonderful plan of redemption which is the last and highest display of all his divine attributes, for the system of substitution is the apex of the pyramid of God’s revelation, the very highest point of the great mountain chain in which he has revealed his wisdom, power, love, mercy, and even his justice to the sons of men, “that he might be just, and the Justifier of him who believes in Jesus.” Oh soul, if the Lord, who is offended, is satisfied with the expiation offered, you, certainly, need not be so foolish as to raise questions concerning it or to criticize it!

12. Besides, if you will only think seriously about this matter you will see that the justice of God is abundantly honoured by Christ’s standing in your place. There is a well-known story of a school teacher who had one boy in his school whom he could not keep in order by any ordinary discipline. He had threatened to punish him, and, indeed, he had done so again and again; but he still remained incorrigible. At last, he threatened that, if a certain form of disobedience should be repeated, he should be publicly beaten. The time soon came for the fulfilment of the threat, but the teacher could not bear that the boy should be punished, yet, at the same time, he felt that the honour of the school, and the maintenance of his own authority in it, required that it should be so. He told the lads that he was willing to spare the erring one; “yet,” he said, “discipline will be at an end, my word will be broken, you will never believe in me again; and, moreover, the school will be dishonoured by this boy being allowed to act as he does without punishment.” Musing for a minute, he took down the ruler, put it into the hand of the disobedient boy, and then held out his own hand, told the boy to strike, and he himself received the punishment that was due to the culprit. The effect produced on the boy was not a matter of surprise to those who know what fervent love will do. He offended no more, and the school was maintained in the highest possible condition of discipline. This is a faint picture of what God has done. In the person of his well-beloved Son, he says, “I will suffer because you are guilty. Someone must be punished for your sin and if you suffer the just penalty for your evil deeds, it will crush you to the lowest hell. You cannot endure it, but I myself will bare my shoulders to receive the stripes which are your due. I will take on myself your sins; my law shall have a terrible yet complete vindication; I shall be just, and yet I shall be able fully and freely to forgive you, and to accept you.” Nothing ever did display all the attributes of God so gloriously — and especially his immutable justice, — as the atoning death of his well-beloved and only-begotten Son; so, beloved let there be no question about your assenting to the plan of substitution. God is satisfied with it. You yourself can see how it honours him, so be satisfied with it. Do not be a sceptic, doubting and questioning. There is an old proverb, which says, “Do not quarrel with your bread and butter”; but I may with even greater emphasis say, “Do not quarrel with your own salvation.” If I must criticize anything, surely I will not criticize my own soul, and try to prove that I cannot be saved, putting my wits to work to show the absurdity of God’s way of saving me. Oh, never, never, let this be the case with you; but rather cheerfully accept what infinite wisdom has arranged!

13. So, you see, that the laying of the hand of the offerer on the head of the sacrifice meant the confession of sin, and consent to the way of salvation by substitution. It also meant a great deal more than that.

14. In the third place, it meant the acceptance of that particular victim in the sinner’s place. By laying his hand on it, he practically said, “This animal is to stand instead of me.” Here is the main point, the essential point of the whole matter. Will you accept Christ as standing in your place, — the divine yet human Saviour, perfect in his humanity, yet perfect also in his deity? He has lived; he has suffered; he has died; he has risen again; he has gone back into glory at his Father’s right hand. God has honoured him with full acceptance; will you also accept him? The root of the matter lies there. Oh, may his blessed Spirit sweetly guide your will so that you shall say as I do, “Accept him? Ah, blessed be his holy name that he permits me to accept him! Surely I will do so, I will trust him; he shall be mine.” If you have done so, then he is yours, for that is all he asks of you, — to receive him, — to lay your hand on him, and to say, “There! Jesus Christ shall be the Sacrifice for me; I will rest in him, and in him alone.” I hope that I do not need to multiply words in urging this decision on you; I trust that the softening influence of the Holy Spirit is already at work among you, leading some of you, who have delayed until now, to say, “We will accept Jesus as our Substitute, and accept him now.” Why should you delay any longer to stretch out your hand, and lay it on Jesus, by faith, even as the offerer laid his hand on the head of the sacrifice?

15. But this laying on of the hand meant even more than that, though that was the very essence of it all. It also meant a belief in the transference of the sin. He who laid his hand on the sin offering did, as it were, as far as he could, put his sin from himself on to that young bull, or goat, or lamb, which was about to die, because it had become the sinner’s substitute. That laying on of his hand was a sign of the transference of his guilt to the appointed victim; and if you will have Christ to be your Saviour, you must believe that he, “himself bore our sins in his own body on the tree.” Do you believe this? Then, see what follows from it. Sin cannot be in two places at the same time; if it is laid on Jesus, it is taken off from you. If you do, in your very soul, accept Christ as your Substitute, then it is clear that the Lord has laid on him your iniquity; and, therefore, your iniquity has passed away from you, and your sin is gone for ever. Christ has taken all your iniquities, and carried them away where they shall never be mentioned against you any more for ever. Oh, what a blessed truth this is! If a man, who has been blind for fifty years, could have his eyes opened, and could be taken out to see the stars, or to look up to the sun, how he would clap his hands, and cry, “What a wonderful sight it is!” And I know that, when I first perceived that Christ stood in my place, and that I stood in his place, — that I was accepted because he was rejected, that I was beloved because he endured his Father’s wrath on my account, — my soul felt as if it had never lived before, and had never known anything that was worth knowing until it perceived that wonderful truth. May the Lord give you, dear heart, to perceive that it is even so in your case, for then you also will be truly glad.

16. That laying of the hand on the head of the sin offering also meant one more thing, — it was dependence, a leaning on the victim. According to the Rabbis, the offerer was to lean with great pressure on the young bull or the goat. If it was so, there is great significance about that act, for it teaches that you should depend like that on Jesus; lean hard on him, lean with all your weight of sin, and all your load of iniquity, on him whom God has appointed to stand in the sinner’s place. Accept him as your Substitute, lean on him, rest on him. Say in your soul, “If I perish,” — though that can never be, — “I will perish leaning on Christ. He shall be my soul’s only Dependence.”

17. The Puritans speak of faith as a recumbency, a leaning. It needs no power to lean; it is a cessation from our own strength, and allowing our weakness to depend on another’s power. Let no man say, “I cannot lean”; it is not a question of what you can do, but a confession of what you cannot do, and a leaving of the whole matter with Jesus. No woman could say, “I cannot swoon”: it is not a matter of power. Die into the life of Christ; let him be All-in-all while you are nothing at all.

18. “Well,” one says, “but I can hardly think that I shall be saved simply by depending on Christ.” Then, let me tell you that this was all that any of the saints of old ever had to depend on, and this is all that any of the children of God, who are now alive, have to depend on. I bear my own personal testimony that my only hope for everlasting life lies in the death of him who suffered in my place. I have trusted in him, I have accepted him as standing in my place; I have gladly seen my sin transferred to him, and his righteousness transferred to me. I have no other hope, nor even the shadow of another hope. Prayers, tears, repentances, preachings, alms-giving, indeed, and faith itself, — all these put together are just nothing at all as a basis of dependence for the soul. It is the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ, the one great Substitute for sinners, on which we must all rely. There, soul, if you have nothing else to depend on, you have as much as I have; and if you do accept Jesus Christ to be your Saviour, you have the same hope that I have. I will even dare to be bondsman for you, and to perish with you, if you can perish, trusting in Christ; but that can never be. Since this blessed Book is true, and since Christ lives for ever, there is not a soul, that shall rely on him, whom he will not assuredly bless and pardon here below, and take to himself to dwell in his bosom for ever and ever in glory.

19. There you see what is the intent of the laying of the hand on the head of the sin offering. If you have been helped to follow me so far, if you have really laid your hand on Christ, I bless and praise the name of the Lord.

20. II. Now I have only a few minutes left for speaking, in the second place, on THE SIMPLICITY OF THIS SYMBOL. What was required was just the laying of the hand of the offerer on the victim’s head; that and nothing more.

21. Notice that there was no preparatory ceremony. There was the animal provided for a sacrifice, just as God has provided our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ to be the Lamb of God; and the one thing to be done was for the sinner to lay his hand on the head of the sacrifice. In the same way, there is no preliminary ceremony needed before coming to Christ. This is the first thing, sinner, that you have to do, — to come, and lay your hand on him, and to say, “He is mine.” “But must I not be prepared in a certain way, so that I may come to him properly? Must I not do, or feel, or be something?” No, the cross is at the head of the way of life; it is the true wicket-gate which leads to everlasting life. Believing in Jesus is the first thing you have to do; you do not live until you believe in him. Come, then, to Jesus; come now; the first thing for you to do is to accept him as your Substitute, and to rely totally on him.

22. You also perceive, dear friends, that the hand that was to be laid on the head of the sacrifice had nothing in it. The man, who came like this to confess his guilt, did not bring a silver shekel or talent of gold in his hand. That was not at all necessary. All he had to do was to lay his hand on the sin offering; and, in the same way, you must say, with Toplady, —

    Nothing in my hand I bring:
    Simply to thy cross I cling.

23. And, just as there was to be nothing in the hand of the sinner, so there was to be nothing on his hand. If he had a dozen diamond rings on his fingers, he could not lay his hand on the young bull’s head any the better. He who had no ornaments at all could do it just as well; and if you have no virtues, and no excellencies, — if you are poor, if you are illiterate, if you have even lost your character, if your hand is a foul hand, a black hand, yet if you lay it, by faith, on the head of Jesus Christ, if you take him to be your Saviour, you have made the all-important decision.

    “’Tis done, the great transaction’s done.”

You are your Lord’s, and he is yours, for “he who believes in the Son has everlasting life.” He has it already in present possession, so let him go in peace, rejoicing in the blessing that he has received from the Substitute and Saviour.

24. Observe, too, that there was nothing to be done with that hand, except to lay it on the head of the sacrifice. There were to be no mystical crossings or movings to and fro, no cunning sleight of hand; but the sinner was just to lay his hand on the head of the animal that was to die as his substitute. You know that, in the Revelation, the woman arrayed in purple and scarlet, that is, the Church of Rome, has on her forehead the name Mystery, and you probably remember what follows, “Babylon the great, the mother of prostitutes.” But the chaste bride of Christ, the Church which he has redeemed by his blood, is not a partaker of that mystery; and Christ, in the gospel, gives us nothing but simplicities. Just as the laying of the hand on the head of the sacrifice was all that was needed for the forgiveness of the sinner under the law, so all that you need now is to take Christ to be your Substitute and Saviour. Therefore, by the eternity of bliss or woe which depends on your decision, in the name of God, who has sent me to proclaim his gospel, I demand of you, man or woman, that you should come to the right decision on this all-important matter. Let there be no putting off, and no offering to do something else; what is required is that you should lay your hand, by faith, on the head of the sin-atoning Lamb of God. Have you done so? If not, you have neither part nor lot in him; and if you do remain in your present condition, you will perish in your sin. But if you will accept Christ as your Substitute, you need no earthly priest or mediator. So, take him as yours.

    “Take him now, and happy be.”

25. The symbol was one of extreme simplicity; for, finally, there was nothing to be done to the man’s hand. The priest was not to wash it, or to read the lines on it by the aid of palmistry, or to tattoo it with some sacred sign. No; the man came, remember, because he was a sinner; and he laid his hand on the sacrifice because he was a sinner. The hand that he laid there was a sinner’s hand, and I believe in Jesus Christ with a sinner’s faith. I say to him, at this moment, as I said when I first trusted him, —

    Just I am — without one plea
    But that thy blood was shed for me,
    And that thou bidd’st me come to thee,
       Oh Lamb of God, I come.

Do not come to Christ as saints; come as sinners. Come just as you are, sinful, vile, and polluted, and lay the hand of simple yet trembling confidence on the head of Jesus, and say, “He shall be mine.” If you come to him like this, he will not refuse or reject you, for he has said, “Whoever comes to me I will in no wise cast out.”

26. There are some of you, who have been here for a long time, and you are not yet converted. If you do go to hell, I am clear of your blood. Often I have wept over you when preaching here, and I have set Christ before you as the only one and open door of salvation, and I have entreated and besought you to enter; but, if you will not enter, I can do no more, the rest must lie with yourselves. You will melt the wax that seals your own death-warrant. The responsibility rests entirely on you; do not lay it on God. If any man is saved, it is by God’s grace, and God’s grace alone; but if any man is lost, it is by his own free will, and his free will alone. The will of man is the source of damnation, and the will of God is the source of salvation. Both those statements are true; therefore, if you reject the gospel of the grace of God, you bring on yourselves the just punishment for your sin.

27. I do not know that I can say any more on this theme, except just this. There may be someone who is saying, “This plan of salvation is too simple.” Surely, you will not quarrel with it on that account. I warrant you that, if a man were going to be hanged, and he could be delivered simply by accepting free pardon, he would not say that such a plan was too simple. After all, the best things in the world are very simple. If I want to go from here to Glasgow, it is a simple method that I have to follow. I have to get to the proper railway station, buy my ticket, and enter the right carriage; then, if all goes well, I shall get there all right. If I want to go to heaven, it is just as simple. I go by faith to Christ, and trust myself entirely on him, and so I get there. It is really a matter of trust when you enter a railway carriage, and you reach your destination by a power above your own. If I want to communicate with a friend at the very ends of the earth, I have nothing to do but to step into a telegraph office, write down what I want to say, and pay the proper charge, and the message will go all right. Though I cannot trace the wire which connects the office with my distant friend, I know that he will get my cablegram in due course. There may be some mystery about the matter; yet, practically, it is a very simple thing; and believing in the Lord Jesus Christ is just as simple as that. If a farmer wants a harvest, all the philosophers in the world cannot tell him how wheat grows, nor can they make it grow; but he only has to drop his seed into the earth at the right time, and it will grow by night and by day, though he does not know how. Therefore, act in the same simple, common sense way. Stop enquiring into mysteries which you cannot understand, and puzzling over difficulties which your poor brain cannot comprehend.

    Let artful doubts and reasonings be
    Nailed with Jesus to the tree; —

and, as a little child, fully trust Jesus as your Saviour, and so you shall be saved. May God help you to do this now, for Christ’s sake! Amen.

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Isa 53}

1. Who has believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?

It is sometimes the lot of God’s most faithful servants to labour unsuccessfully. As old Thomas Fuller quaintly says, “He makes some to be as the clouds that empty their rain over Arabia the stony while others are pouring down their showers over Arabia the happy.” Yet we are accepted with God, not according to our success, but according to our faithfulness. Still, no true minister of Christ can be contented unless men believe his report. It will be a matter for sighing and groaning if unbelief is the only answer to our earnest declarations concerning Christ.

2. For he —

That is, Jesus —

2. Shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he has no form nor beauty; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.

Carnal minds are unbelieving minds. They are so because the beauties of Christ are spiritual, and in their natural state they do not have the power to discern them. Jesus Christ has no loveliness in the eyes of self-righteous, self-sufficient men. What do they want with a Saviour? What do they care for his atoning sacrifice? They cannot truly admire the love and the holiness of Jesus Christ, for they do not know their own unloveliness or their own unholiness. Alas! that God’s own Son, who is the loveliest of all beings, should be without form or beauty to unspiritual eyes.

3. He is despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we did not esteem him.

While the Redeemer was here below, his state of poverty, obscurity, suffering, and shame, was of such a character that few would believe in him; and even those, who later received him, at the first did not do so. He was despised; and we, even we, his own people, did not esteem him. Christ has forgiven us for all this, but shall we ever forgive ourselves? Oh eyes, shall you ever cease to weep over your former blindness? Oh heart, shall you ever cease to grieve over your former hardness? He, who was heaven’s darling, was despised and rejected by men, and we partook in the guilt, for we also despised and rejected him.

4, 5. Surely he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we esteemed him struck, struck by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was on him; and with his stripes, we are healed.

It is substitution, you see, all through, — Christ suffering instead of us, — the Innocent dying for the guilty, — the Lord of glory bearing the sin of rebellious men. Why do men object to this precious truth? It is their only hope of salvation. Why do we still have to say, “Who has believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?” But those who are enlightened from above, and led to see their own state of ruin, and their absolute need of a Saviour, will rejoice to know that the Lord has laid help on One who is mighty, and that he has anointed his only-begotten Son to stand in our room, and place, and stead.

6. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

There is a universal sin: “All we like sheep have gone astray.” There is also a personal sin, a sin unique to each individual: “We have turned everyone to his own way.” But Christ gathers up the sin, — all kinds of sin of all kinds of men, and of his whole Church it is truly said, “The Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

7. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he did not open mouth:

When a word could have released him, he would not speak it. His was indeed golden silence. Oh, the amazing eloquence of that patient speechlessness when he stood before Herod and Pilate, and answered them not a word! He could have spoken with such authority as to have called legions of angels from heaven for his protection, or a single word of his could have destroyed his enemies, as the leaves of autumn lie withered and dead; but “he did not open his mouth.”

7, 8. He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearer is dumb, so he does not open his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation?

Who shall speak up for him? It was the custom of the Jews, when a man was condemned to death, to allow a certain interval, during which the heralds went through the streets, and made proclamation that, if any man knew any reason why the criminal should be spared, he should at once appear at the court, and declare it. Someone often came forward, with one plea or another, in arrest of judgment; but when our Lord was condemned to death, no one would speak up for him.

8, 9. For he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people he was struck. And he made his grave with the wicked, —

Dying between two thieves, as though he had been the greatest criminal of the three: “He made his grave with the wicked,” —

9. And with the rich in his death;

Lying in the new tomb of Joseph of Arimathaea.

9. Because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.

If he had used either violence or deceit, he might have escaped; but because he was harmless and true, therefore he must die.

10. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he has put him to grief: when you shall make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, —

The grain of wheat, sown in the ground, does not remain alone, but produces much fruit. Our blessed Saviour presented both soul and body as an offering for sin, but he knew what he was doing, for “he shall see his seed,” —

10. He shall prolong his days, —

Up from the grave he arose in newness of life, and back to heaven he returned to immortal life: “He shall prolong his days,” —

10, 11. And the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see the labour of his soul, and shall be satisfied:

Christ did not die in vain. He will never miss the great object of his death, you may depend on that. Those drops of blood are far too precious to fall in vain on the earth.

11. By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many;

That is, by their knowledge of him, by their trusting him, many shall be justified, and saved.

11. For he shall bear their iniquities.

How very exact this is, — that Christ does not merely bear the punishment of his people, but their iniquities, too! There is a literal substitution of Christ in the place of his people, and a most distinct imputation of their sin to him, and of his righteousness to them.

12. Therefore I will divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he has poured out his soul to death; and he was numbered with the transgressor; and he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

Blessed Intercessor, let your almighty intercession avail for each one of us, for your own name’s sake! Amen.

Spurgeon Sermons

These sermons from Charles Spurgeon are a series that is for reference and not necessarily a position of Answers in Genesis. Spurgeon did not entirely agree with six days of creation and dives into subjects that are beyond the AiG focus (e.g., Calvinism vs. Arminianism, modes of baptism, and so on).

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Modernized Edition of Spurgeon’s Sermons. Copyright © 2010, Larry and Marion Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario, Canada. Used by Answers in Genesis by permission of the copyright owner. The modernized edition of the material published in these sermons may not be reproduced or distributed by any electronic means without express written permission of the copyright owner. A limited license is hereby granted for the non-commercial printing and distribution of the material in hard copy form, provided this is done without charge to the recipient and the copyright information remains intact. Any charge or cost for distribution of the material is expressly forbidden under the terms of this limited license and automatically voids such permission. You may not prepare, manufacture, copy, use, promote, distribute, or sell a derivative work of the copyrighted work without the express written permission of the copyright owner.

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