3279. “Ever This Our War-Cry, — Victory, Victory!”

by Charles H. Spurgeon on July 9, 2021

No. 3279-57:577. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Published On Thursday, December 7, 1911.

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 transgressors: and he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. {Isa 53:12}


For other sermons on this text:

   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 458, “Friend of Sinners, The” 449}

   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1385, “Jesus Interceding for Transgressors” 1376}

   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2070, “Christ’s Connection with Sinners the Source of His Glory” 2071}

   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3279, “Ever This Our War Cry — Victory, Victory!” 3281}

   Exposition on Ex 29:38-46 Isa 53 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3458, “Redeeming the Unclean” 3460 @@ "Exposition"}

   Exposition on Isa 53; 55:1-7 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2534, “Greatest Gift in Time or Eternity, The” 2535 @@ "Exposition"}

   Exposition on Isa 53 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2290, “God’s Unspeakable Gift” 2291 @@ "Exposition"}

   Exposition on Isa 53 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2499, “Christopathy” 2500 @@ "Exposition"}

   Exposition on Isa 53 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2827, “Redeemer Described by Himself, The” 2828 @@ "Exposition"}

   Exposition on Isa 53 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2840, “Laying the Hand on the Sacrifice” 2841 @@ "Exposition"}

   Exposition on Isa 53 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3436, “Christ Glorified” 3438 @@ "Exposition"}

   Exposition on Ps 38 Isa 53 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2911, “Cases of Conscience” 2912 @@ "Exposition"}

   Exposition on Ro 6 Isa 53 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3347, “Things to be Remembered” 3349 @@ "Exposition"}


1. Our great concern is concerning Christ. “For him shall constant prayer be made.” It does not much matter what becomes of us, the common soldiers, as long as our great captain is to the front. Just as the men of Napoleon’s Old Guard could defy death for themselves, but were always anxious about the emperor, so every loyal soldier of Christ feels that the one question in the present conflict is, “How does it go with the King?” Is he crowned? Is he exalted? Is he winning his way among the sons of men? Brothers, it may be that our star is waning. Does it matter, if his sun is reaching its zenith? It may happen that the company with which we are associated is not so much to the front as it used to be, and the regimental flag is in the rear, but what of that? Let us do the best we can to retrieve its honour; but, after all, the main consideration is the royal standard. Where is that? “Let my name perish,” said Whitfield, “but let Christ’s name last for ever.” Such a feeling should motivate us all. What are we, my brethren, and what is our father’s house? What if ten thousand of us should fall merely to fill a ditch for him to march over? What if he took all of us, and crushed us to the dust, if he were lifted an inch higher, it would not be too costly a sacrifice for such a One as he is, who has redeemed us to God by his precious blood.

2. Our first and last concern is about the result of our great warfare in regard to Christ; and my text will be consoling to your hearts in proportion as you are consecrated to Christ. If you are a worker for Jesus, and your heart is tremulous for the cause of God, — if you feel dismayed at times, and often anxious about the progress of the kingdom, — such an assurance as this will be like a voice from the Comforter himself. It is the Father who speaks, and he says concerning the Well Beloved, “Therefore I will divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong.”

3. I. The first truth taught to us here is that THE VICTORY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST IS SURE.

4. Sure, first, because these words are a divine promise; and every word of promise that comes from God is established. “Has he said, and shall he not do it? Or has he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” God has said, “I will divide him a portion,” that portion shall be divided. If the Lord has declared that he shall divide the spoil with the strong, who is he who shall keep him back from the prey? We might have doubted if his word had been a prediction concerning the probabilities of the life of this religion or of that; we might have supposed that the religion of Christ would be crushed out by rougher faiths that could use the carnal weapon, or that its very great spirituality might cause it to wither away in an atmosphere so uncongenial. We might, I say, have had some trembling because of the ark of the Lord if this had been a mere influence or opinion; but we have none now; for as surely as this Book is the infallible Word of God, so surely must Christ win the day. As surely as God cannot lie, so surely must he, on whom the Lord laid the iniquity of men, rise from all his sorrows to a glorious victory.

5. The text is a promise placed very exceptionally in connection with facts which have been accomplished. We are told that Christ shall divide the spoil with the strong, but that promise is set side by side with the declaration that he is “brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opens not his mouth.” Just as surely, then, as that part of the prophecy is fulfilled in which Christ suffers, so surely shall that be fulfilled in which he triumphs. You have no doubt whatever about his being taken from prison and from judgment, about his making his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death. Well, the same Book and the same chapter which contains the prophesy of those sorrowful facts contains this prophecy that he shall divide the spoil with the strong. Therefore the ultimate victory of Christ is made sure by a divine promise.

6. Notice, moreover, that it is the Father himself who here pledges himself to guarantee the victory. He writes, “Therefore I will divide him a portion with the great.” “I will do it; I will see that he conquers; I will see that he has the reward for his labour. My own right hand and my holy arm shall be with him so that he shall tread down his enemies, and he shall take from them mountains of prey.” Who is this who says, “I will divide him a portion?” It is he at whose voice the earth trembles.


   The pillars of heaven’s starry roof

   Tremble and start at his reproof.


When he says, “I will do it,” who shall restrain his hand, or resist his will? God, the everlasting Father, has staked his honour and his glory on the success of Christ. I am bold to say that if Christ does not win the world, and if he is not crowned King of kings and Lord of lords, it is not Jesus who is dishonoured so much as the Great Father by whom he was ordained, sent, and anointed. The stain would not only be on the manhood but on the Godhead too; for God himself appointed the Lord Jesus, and said concerning him, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” He must see the Messiah through with it. It is the pleasure of the Lord that is in his hand, and that pleasure must prosper there, or else God’s name would be dishonoured. How sure I am that Jesus will win the victory.

7. I am delighted to notice a change of expression in the next sentence. The Son of God himself also puts his hand to the work of ultimate victory. Read the text again: “Therefore I will divide him a portion,” “and he shall divide.” God gives him the victory, and he takes it himself. The Father grants it, and the Son grasps it by his own right hand. The glorious Jehovah cries, “He shall divide,” and the ever-blessed Son of the Highest as a conqueror comes out actually to divide the spoil. Oh my brethren, Jesus is as gentle as a lamb; but I might say of him as those at the Red Sea said of Jehovah, “The Lord is a man of war: the Lord is his name.” The Lamb is the Lion of the tribe of Judah, and who shall stand before him when he goes out to war? Who shall rouse him up? Those who came against him to take him in the days of his humiliation stumbled and fell when he uttered the words “I AM”; and if the full power of that “I AM”: had been let loose on them, they would not merely have staggered to their falling, but each man among them would have stumbled into his grave. It is he who stilled the waves on Gennesaret: it is he who ruled the powers of the deep, and made the demons flee at his bidding: if he puts his hand to the battle, woe to those who strive against him! The defeat of Christ! Laugh the idea to scorn. Indeed, the thorn-crowned Prince is victorious. Well spoke the apostate Julian in his dying moments, “Nazarene, you have conquered.” All his foes will have to admit it. In the day of judgment trembling and in the lowest pit of hell despairing, they shall acknowledge his supremacy. The despised and rejected by men with a rod of iron shall break his enemies in pieces, yes, he shall break them in pieces like potters’ vessels. “Be wise now therefore, oh you kings: be instructed, you judges of the earth. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled only a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in him.”

8. That is this the first thing, then; the Christ will conquer. It is a divine promise; its fulfilment is guaranteed by the Father, it will certainly be achieved by the Son.

9. II. Secondly, THE VICTORY IS AS GLORIOUS AS IT IS SURE: “Therefore I will divide him a portion with the great.”

10. The great King rewards our Champion. You have heard of great champions who have been knighted on the battle-field by their sovereigns; deeds of special prowess have been rewarded like this. Others, amid the acclamations of their troops, and while yet their hands were unwashed from gore, have been crowned on the field only because of their superior valour and the decisive nature of the battle. Now, what is it to be knighted or crowned by kings or nations? It is as nothing. But to be crowned by God! For God himself to give the reward in the light of eternity! What must such a victory be? I think that many an act which man applauds is despised by the Most High, and many a fierce fight that has stirred the heart of nations, and made the poets ring out their hymns for centuries, has been not only despicable but also abominable in the sight of the Most High. But when God rewards, what must be the glory of the achievement! And here we have it: God, even the Father, the very same One whom it pleased to bruise his Son when he made the iniquity of us all to meet on him, — that very same God who knows all things, and weighs all things properly, and is the very source and soul of honour, he shall crown our Lord Jesus. Must it not be a glorious victory? He has crowned him; he is crowning him; he shall continue to crown him; for so it is written, “Therefore I will divide him a portion with the great.”

11. The glory of this victory may be seen, next, not only in the reward coming from so high a source, but from its being obviously a great reward in the esteem of men, since our Lord is to have “a portion with the great.” It is difficult to say what makes a great man. When I look over the lists of great men, some of them seem to me to be very little; but still men have among themselves a kind of standard by which to measure, and they say of such and such people that they are “great.” From different points of view they are so. Now, Christ is to have a portion with the great. Perhaps you have been grieved to see how certain ungodly men in these times make nothing of Christ; like Herod, they set him at naught; but these people are mostly very second-rate individuals, of little account even among their own order. Almost all intelligent men, even if they do not accept all that Christ says, agree that he is a great man, and many confess that there never was such another man as he. There have been sceptics whose admiration of Christ has been extreme. I, for one, cannot understand how any honest mind can do other than reverence his marvellous character and the grandeur of the truths which he has revealed. He is great, inexpressibly great, and the day will come, must come, is every day coming nearer, when Christ will be seen even by his enemies to be supremely great. His cross today towers over the wrecks of time, and he himself rises before my faith’s vision so much above all the sons of men that I see all philosophies, theories, and human dogmas crouching at his feet. His victories are not victories among pygmies, but victories among the great, such as shall make all men see that he himself is the great, such as shall make all men see that he himself is the greatest of the great.

12. My brethren, think for a minute what a battle Christ has waged with all the powers of evil; with all the wit, and craft, and unbelief, and pride, and lust of man; with all the foul devices, and cruelties, and wickedness of the devil, and all the principalities and powers that obey his bidding; and with death and all that goes with it, and shall come from it. Against all these he has set the battle in array, and over all these he has triumphed, so that he divides the spoil with the great. Your adversaries, oh Prince Emmanuel, are not such as a common warrior might rout; they are foes worthy of your steel! What desperate tugs they gave you when they forced the bloody sweat out of you in the moment of your sternest wrestling; but you have flung them to the ground, and trodden down strength.

13. Of course, this language can only be used as speaking part of the truth, because the portion which God has given to his dear Son is indisputably greater than the greatest things that earth can hold. I take it that the question that Christ has come to answer is the greatest question that ever moved eternity. The work that Christ has come to do is the grandest work that ever stirred the ages. It is God’s work and God’s question. How shall evil be driven out of the world? How shall justice, without a stain, smile on a sinner? How shall God be seen as the holy One with all the glory of his character revealed, receiving to his bosom the guilty sons of men? The grandest work that ever was done by God himself Christ has come to perform, and not only has he his portion with the great, but of all the great he is the greatest, and his portion is greater than their portion. They are not to be mentioned in the very same breath.

14. Notice, too, that a part of the description of this victory represents the Lord as himself dividing the spoil “with the strong.” Not merely with great enemies did Christ wrestle, but with strong powers. I might give you a hundred illustrations of this, but I prefer to give you one. When the Lord Jesus Christ came into my heart, — came to battle there, — he did, indeed, divide the spoil with the strong, for I was strong willed, and desperately set on mischief, and for a while I was in the hand of a strong despair, out of which it seemed impossible that I should escape. The bands which held me were of iron, tough as steel, hardened in the fires of hell; and yet today I am his, for he has won me, and taken the prey from the mighty. I have been just now to see our venerable Elder White. He is dying. I looked at his venerable beard as he sat up in the bed, and I looked at the bright face that shone above it, and I was charmed by the joyful sight. He said, “I have no trouble; I do not have a troubled thought; I am the happiest man in the world; I am going home, and I rejoice in it; though I am perfectly satisfied to wait.” Death is just nothing at all to him. Just like a dear sister who went from us some time ago; when I went to see her, you might have thought she was going to be married, she was so happy in the prospect of departing. Charles Wesley once said, “They may say what they wish about Methodism, but our people die well.” That is my comfort; our people die well, they die gloriously triumphant in the Lord. When I think of it, I can see how my Lord divides the spoil with the strong. Death comes, and he says, “That is mine.” He has taken the poor, wrinkled body; and Christ smiles, and lets him have it; for he takes for his share the soul, the life, and as he bears him off, he takes the best part of the spoil. He has left death the husk, but he has himself secured the kernel. Yes, the day will come when he will take the body, too, out of the custody of death; for not a wreck or a rag of all his saints shall remain in the dominions of death. There is a resurrection of dead bodies as well as an immortality of spirits. Glory be to Christ! In this way, here and hereafter, he divides the spoil with the strong. Strong is death, but even stronger is the omnipotent Son of God.

15. There is another aspect under which we may speak of the glory of Christ’s victory, he will share it with his people. The second paragraph of the text is, “he shall divide the spoil with the strong.” That is, he will divide it out, and allot portions to all those who came to the help of the Lord against the mighty. Just as David after Ziklag when he had taken the prey from the Amalekites, sent portions all around to his friends in Judah, so, when the King Eternal takes the spoil, he will give a share to you and to me, if we have been faithful to him. There shall be a portion even for us whom the Lord made strong for himself in the day of battle. Does it not make your heart laugh to think of it? Jesus wins the victory, but he will not enjoy it alone; he will glorify his people. Even the sick folk who do not go down to the battle, shall have their share of the spoil; for this is David’s law, and the law of the Son of David, that those who remain with the baggage shall share with those who go down to the fight. He will give to each faithful sufferer or worker a portion of the prey. Make haste, oh Champion, make haste to give to every one of us a prey of various colours, fit for the necks of those who take the spoil!

16. III. So we have seen that Christ will win the victory, and the victory will be glorious. Now let us declare, thirdly, that THE RESULTS OF THIS VICTORY WILL BE VERY SUBSTANTIAL.

17. Let me remind you that, as a result of what our Lord has done, myriads of souls will be redeemed. How many will escape from sin and death and hell to live for ever is not revealed. We have every reason to believe that a number that no man can number, out of every nation, and people, and kindred, and language, shall praise their redeeming Lord. Christ’s death will not spend its force in the conversion of one here and there, but he will see the labour of his soul, and will be satisfied; and we are convinced that no little thing will satisfy him. The great result of our Lord’s death will be the eternal salvation of untold myriads.

18. Next to that will be the overthrow of every form of evil which now reigns in the world, and the extermination of religious falsehood, vice, drunkenness, war, and every horrible mischief born from the Fall and from human depravity. Christ will conquer these, and there shall be new heavens and a new earth, in which shall dwell righteousness. For ever and ever boundless honours shall be given to Christ for his victory over every force of evil. The seed of the woman shall trample on the serpent.

19. As the result of Christ’s death, Satan’s power will be broken. He will no longer go out to rule among the nations.

20. Death also will have lost its dominion over the sons of men. The Son of David shall restore what he did not take away. Christ shall bring back more than our first father lost. There shall be glory substantial to himself in the lives of his people on earth, in their deaths, and in their lives for ever. Glory shall be brought to God of a new and unusual kind. A light will be shed on the character of God which, as far as we know, could not have come to us by any other means except by the death of the Only Begotten. Hallelujahs louder than before shall rise up before the throne. Praises shall ascend to God such as creation never produced, “for you were slain, and have redeemed us to God by your blood, and we shall reign for ever and ever.”

21. Now, my brethren, do not get into a state of fright and fear about the Christian religion. Do not go to your rooms and sigh, “Everything is going to the dogs, and we shall be all eaten up by the devil.” Nonsense! There is a stronger arm yet than that black arm of Satan. In God’s eternal goodness resides a power and majesty that cannot be found in the infernal malevolence of the devil. I know which is the winning side, — I am sure of it. Though we may drearily imagine that things go amiss, and imagine that the vessel is ready to break up, and become a wreck, she will enter the harbour yet with all her cargo safe, and from every wave that tossed her and every wind that beat on her she shall derive eternal advantage. Courage, brethren, we are not beaten, and we are not going to be beaten. We are succeeding all along the line. Shout victory, universal victory, from stem to stern of the good old ship. Not a foe has been able to live on her deck. Give the enemy’s black hull another broadside. When you think that the crew of the Black Prince are about to board us, grab your swords and give them a warm reception. This good ship bears the red cross at her masthead, and shall never be taken, but shall win the victory as surely as God lives, and his Son lives who has risen from the dead.

22. IV. So I close with this last remark, THIS ENTIRE VICTORY RESULTS FROM CHRIST’S OWN WORK.

23. Lend me your best attention for two or three minutes, because this is the pith and marrow of it all: “Therefore I will divide him a portion” — that is logic. Why is this “therefore”? What is the argument? Christ shall divide with the strong because — . How does it run? “Because his doctrinal teaching is especially in keeping with the progress of the age”? I have heard that observation, and smiled at it. “Because his gospel is preached with such remarkable eloquence and exceptional clarity?” Indeed, no. Why, then, will Christ win the victory? The answer is, “Because he has poured out his soul to death.” If God himself condescends to take upon himself our nature, and in that nature pours out his life like a libation even to death, — if, I say, he pours out his life like this, it is impossible to conceive that he will be defeated. Blasphemy may imagine it, profanity may speak it, but truth abhors the idea that Jesus can be baffled. A dying God! It is an inaccurate expression, yet I know of no expression that is so accurate; God putting himself into human form, so as to be capable of suffering and death, cannot suffer and die in vain. He must, he shall, he will win that for which he died. He must reign, because he has poured out his soul to death.

24. Listen again, here is the second reason, “He was numbered with the transgressors“; this is mentioned secondly, as if there was something even more in that than in the first. To die is amazing condescension; but for the pure and holy One to condescend to be numbered with the transgressors, and stand as if he had himself transgressed, though he never did transgress, nor could, — I say this is even more amazing. If Jesus did that, then he must win the victory. When I am dispirited, where do I find encouragement? Where the stars of Bethlehem burn, and where men make merry on their Christmas days? No, their mirth is weariness to a heavy heart. I will tell you where I go for comfort, — to Gethsemane, to Golgotha, to the garden, and to the tomb. Christ cannot have suffered there in vain; Christ cannot have been despised, slandered, and actually numbered with transgressors, and all for nothing. It cannot be; it cannot be. Death and hell, you can defeat armies of men, but the Crucified treads you down. When our Champion of the pierced hand comes to the front, the battle no longer wavers. We glory in his death, and in his making common cause with transgressors.

25. But this is not all; it is added, “and he bore the sin of many.” This denotes his actual and literal substitution, — his acting as the Sin Bearer. This is something more than being numbered with the transgressors; he actually takes the sin of the transgressors, and bears their burden on his own shoulders by an amazing system of substitution which is easier to be believed than to be explained. Because he did this he must conquer. He must conquer. Sin cannot be victorious if Jesus has carried it on his shoulders and hurled it into his sepulchre. If the darkest days were to come, and all the churches of Christ were to be extinguished, if there were left only one Christian, and he as good as dead by reason of weakness, yet he might believe that God would raise up seed from the dead for his Son, and fulfil his covenant, and keep his word. It must be so. The offering of Christ’s soul for sin secures for him a seed for ever.

26. And lastly, there is this fourth reason given, “He made intercession for the transgressors.” I can conceive you praying, my dear friend, and God is not hearing you; but if the Man who was despised and rejected should say, “Rise, poor supplicant, rise, and I will take your place”; and if the Blessed and Beloved of the Father whose eyes are as the eyes of the morning, and whose lips are as lilies dropping sweet-smelling myrrh, kneels down and prays, “My Father, by my blood, and wounds, and agony, save this sinner,” why, it must be done! And if he says, “Father, give me those whom I have redeemed,” it must be done. And if he pleads, “Father, keep them by your word,” it must be done. And if he prays, “Father, make them one, as we are,” it must be done. And when he shall ask, “Father, give them power and victory,” it must be done. And when he shall ask, “Father, let my servants all become champions, and send them out, east, west, north, and south, against idolatry, and infidelity, and Popery, and clothe them with the Holy Spirit,” why then it must be done! The power of Christ’s intercession is irresistible. Queen Mary considered the prayers of John Knox to be worth may regiments; but what shall I say of the prayers of Jesus, the Son of God? You are with us today. While we are sitting here, and troubling our minds about the Lord’s work, and saying, “What shall we do?” and, “What will come of it?” and all that, Jesus is pleading. Hush, until your hearts stop beating — until not a thought is heard! You may hear him saying, “Father, I will.” Here is the power of the Church. The plea of Christ with authority before the throne is the majestic force on which the Church depends. “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Therefore pluck up courage. Jesus will yet win. You weak, faint-hearted ones, rejoice. The victory is sure, not because of anything you are, or of anything you can do, but for Jesus’ sake. In the name of the Lord we set up our banners. Hallelujah!

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Joh 19:14-37}

14. And it was the preparation of the Passover, and about the sixth hour: and he says to the Jews, “Behold your King!” {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1353, “Ecce Rex” 1344}

They had accused him of being a King, or of pretending to be one. Pilate had scourged him, the soldiers had mocked him, and there he stood, pathetic spectacle of woe. What cruel sarcasm there was in the tones of the Governor when he said to the Jews, “Behold your King.”

15. But they cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him.” Pilate says to them, “Shall I crucify your King?”

“How could you call him King, and bring against him a charge of setting up a rival kingdom when you, who would be his subjects, are all crying out, ‘Crucify him’? ‘Shall I crucify your King?’” Their own actions proved how false they were.

15. The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.”

They said this with all the coolness in the world. The mob had been stirred up and aroused, but the chief priests, the principal ecclesiastics of the day, coolly said, “We have no king but Caesar.” Did they not remember that the sceptre was not to pass away from Judah until Shiloh came; so that, since it had evidently passed away, Shiloh must have come? After all their Bible-reading, did they not know that? Oh, how easy it is to read much of Scripture and yet to know little about its teaching!

Dear friends, let us not join the Jews in refusing to have Christ as King. They cried, “Away with him, away with him,” when he was set before them as King. Let us not do that, but let us rather accept the Crucified as our Master and Lord, and cheerfully bow at his feet.

16. Then he delivered him therefore to them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away. {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 497, “The Procession of Sorrow” 488}

So he was led as a sheep to the slaughter, as Isaiah had long before foretold that he would be.

17. And he bearing his cross went out into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in Hebrew Golgotha:

Probably a knoll of rock which today stands outside the city gate looking amazingly like a skull, with two depressions in the rock which at a distance appear like eyes. This was the commonplace of execution, the Tyburn, {a} the Old Bailey of Jerusalem.

18, 19. Where they crucified him, and two others with him, one on either side, and Jesus in the midst. And Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS.

What could have moved Pilate to write that title? Perhaps he did it just to let the Jews know that they had forced him to put the Christ to death; he would put over him their accusation without any endorsement of his own: “JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS”; and so he is, and King of the Gentiles, too.

20. Then many of the Jews read this title: for the place where Jesus was crucified was close to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin.

So that everyone could read it, for some one or other of these languages would be known to everyone in the crowd; they were not dead languages then as they now are.

21, 22. Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews’; but that he said, ‘I am King of the Jews.’” Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”

He could sometimes be firm; perhaps when there was least excuse for it; but when there was need for firmness, this vacillating Governor was swayed by the will of cruel men.

23. Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments,

It was the custom with executioners to take the garments of the criminal.

23. And made four parts, for every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was woven without seam, woven from the top throughout.

The common robe of the country, for Christ assumed no garment or vesture that would make him seem great. He was too great to need the adornment of any special style of clothes.

24. They said therefore among themselves, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be”: so that the Scripture might be fulfilled, which says, “They parted my clothing among them, and for my vesture they cast lots.” Therefore the soldiers did these things.

Those rough Roman soldiers knew nothing about the ancient prophecy, yet a divine destiny guided them. God’s Word must be fulfilled; and they, in the freedom of their will, did exactly what God had ordained, and the Spirit had long before prophesied. There are two things that are true; — that men act freely and are therefore responsible when they sin, but that there is a divine predestination that rules all things according to the purpose and will of God. It would have puzzled us to explain how such a prophecy could be fulfilled at all, — parting Christ’s clothing among them, and then casting lots for his vesture; yet so it was, they divided what could be divided, and they cast lots on what would have been spoiled if they had torn it. I think that no Christian man will ever like the rattle of dice when he remembers that they were used at the cross; all games of chance should be put away from us, for we can, as it were, see our Master’s blood spattered on them.

25, 26. Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he says to his mother, “Woman, behold your son!”

“See in John one who will act as a son to you.”

27. Then he says to the disciple, “Behold your mother!”

“John, take her home, and treat her as a mother should be treated.”

27. And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.

He was the disciple whom Jesus especially loved, so as a sign of Christ’s great love for him, he left his mother in his charge. Do you have any poor folk dependent on you? Do you know any of God’s very poor people? Take care of them, and do not think the charge to be a burden; but do it for the sake of him who loves you so much that he entrusts his poor ones to you. Oh, that everyone would look at this matter of caring for God’s poor in that light!

28. After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, so that the Scripture might be fulfilled, says, “I thirst!”

It seems a strange thing that Jesus should have said, “I thirst,” because, out of all the pains that he endured on the cross, and they were very many and very sharp, he never mentions one except thirst. A person in such terrible agony as he was enduring might have mentioned fifty things, but he singles out this one because there was a prophecy concerning it.

29. Now a vessel full of vinegar was sitting there: and they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it on hyssop, and put it to his mouth.

Why is hyssop mentioned here? You remember that the hyssop was used in the cleansing of the leper, and that David prayed, “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” The hyssop was also used in the sprinkling of blood under the law, so it is introduced here with a set purpose. The sponge is introduced here too; it always seems to me very remarkable that, in the death of Christ, the circle of life was completed. The sponge is the very lowest form of animal life, and Christ is the very highest type of life of any kind. The sponge was lifted to the lip of the King of glory, and carried refreshment to him; and you and I, like the sponge, the very least of God’s living ones, may yet bring refreshment to our Saviour’s lips.

30. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, “It is finished”; and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 421, “It Is Finished!” 412}

It is not that he died, and that then his head fell forward; but while he yet lived, having before maintained an erect, noble bearing even in the pangs of death, he now, to show his perfect resignation to his Father’s will, bows his head, and yields up that sacred spirit of his which dwelt within his body.

31. The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath day, (for that Sabbath day was a high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.

The breaking of the legs was intended to hasten death, — a very cruel method, but a very effective one.

Passing by Christ hanging in the centre; it was a strange thing for them to do, yet it had to be done, although they were quite unconscious of the reason why they acted so.

32-34. Then the soldier came, and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who was crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they did not break his legs: but one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, — 

To make sure that he should not survive, — 

34-37. And immediately blood and water came out from there. And he who saw it bore record, and his record is true; and he knows what he says is true, so that you might believe. For these things were done, so that the Scripture should be fulfilled, “A bone of him shall not be broken.” And again another Scripture says, “They shall look at him whom they pierced.” {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1956, “On the Cross After Death” 1957}

So his side must be pierced, but his bones must not be broken. See how the hand of God carries out the Word of God, and values every line of Scripture. Our Lord Jesus Christ seemed to go out of his way so as to ensure that every single word in the Old Testament in reference to himself should be fulfilled, so take care that you do not think little of the Old Testament which he so highly prized.

{a} Tyburn was used for centuries as the primary location of the execution of London criminals; the Old Bailey was the main criminal court of London. Editor.

Just Published.

Spurgeon’s Illustrated Almanac for 1912


John Ploughman’s Almanac for 1912

Price one penny each; to be obtained from Messrs. Marshall Brothers Limited, Keswick House, 47, Paternoster Row, London, E. C., or from all booksellers.

“The New Theology”

One of the most prominent preachers of the so-called “New Theology” has recently given fresh currency to the old Jewish idea that Isaiah 53 applies to the prophet Jeremiah! The following Sermons by C. H. Spurgeon, all on various verses of this chapter, show what he thought about the matter: — 


{See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1075, “A Root out of a Dry Ground” 1066}

{See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1099, “The Man of Sorrows” 1090}

{See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3033, “Why Christ Is Not Esteemed” 3034}

{See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2499, “Christopathy” 2500}

{See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 834, “The Universal Remedy” 825}

{See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1068, “A Simple Remedy” 1059}

{See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2000, “Healing by the Stripes of Jesus” 2001}

{See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2887, “A Dire Disease Strangely Cured” 2888}

{See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 694, “Sin Laid on Jesus” 685}

{See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 925, “Individual Sin Laid on Jesus” 916}

{See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1543, “The Sheep before the Shearers” 1543}

{See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 173, “The Death of Christ” 166}

{See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 561, “Expiation” 552}

{See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2186, “Our Expectation” 2187}

{See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2963, “Unmitigated Prosperity” 2964}

{See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 458, “The Friend of Sinners” 449}

{See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1385, “Jesus Interceding for Transgressors” 1376}

{See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2070, “Christ’s Connection with Sinners the Source of his glory.” 2071}


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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