"Master, Where Dwellest Thou?"

 •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 6
A Perfect Life
“God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with Him” (Acts 10:3838How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. (Acts 10:38)). Here, in a few words, is a simple summary of the public life of the Lord Jesus in this world. He “went about doing good,” anointed with the Holy Spirit and ever displaying the heart of God in the midst of the people. What a marvelous testimony to the Trinity!
After a few, short years of such a life of perfection and service to God, man’s hatred of perfect love and goodness reaches its climax. Satan concentrates his efforts to motivate and support man in his evil intent to crucify the Son of God. There’s a mock trial, and eventually the governor, Pilate, delivers Jesus “to their will” (Luke 23:2525And he released unto them him that for sedition and murder was cast into prison, whom they had desired; but he delivered Jesus to their will. (Luke 23:25)). As if to reinforce their wicked assessment of Jesus’ worth, they make sure that He hangs between two of their worst criminals.
Where is God in all of this? Can any of these proceedings catch Him by surprise? Ah, blessed be His holy name! Absolutely not! In eternity the Godhead determines the sublime purpose that the Son would come to accomplish redemption. He is “delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God” (Acts 2:2323Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: (Acts 2:23)). The Son offers Himself: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us? Then said I, Here am I; send Me” (Isa. 6:88Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. (Isaiah 6:8)). “When He cometh into the world, He saith, Sacrifice and offering Thou wouldest not, but a body hast Thou prepared Me: In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin Thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of Me,) to do Thy will, O God” (Heb. 10:5-75Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: 6In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. 7Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. (Hebrews 10:5‑7)).
The Martyr Sufferings
Here at the cross, the will of God and the will of man converge. Here the love in the heart of God and the evil in the heart of man meet. Here, too, the power of God and the power of Satan come into full display.
Who can tell the horror of the martyr sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ—what He endured from the hands of His creature man? He weaves a crown out of thorns and puts it on His head; he then beats Him on the head with a reed. He spits on Him. He gives Him vinegar mixed with gall to drink. In many ways he mocks and reviles this blessed One, perhaps the worst of which is that wicked, ignorant taunt, “He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now, if He will have Him: for He said, I am the Son of God” (Matt. 27:4343He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God. (Matthew 27:43)). In every way possible, Satan leads man to vent the cruelty and hatred that are in his heart against perfect goodness.
The Atoning Sufferings
Then comes “the sixth hour”—the very middle of the day—and “there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour” (Matt. 27:4545Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. (Matthew 27:45)). The transaction that then takes place must be between God and the Lord Jesus Christ alone. “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities;  .  .  . Jehovah hath laid upon Him the iniquity of us all.  .  .  .  It pleased Jehovah to bruise Him; He hath subjected Him to suffering.  .  .  .  Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin.  .  .  .  He bore the sin of many” (Isa. 53:56,10,1210Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. (Isaiah 53:10)
12Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53:12)
JND). “Him who knew not sin He has made sin for us” (2 Cor. 5:2121For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (2 Corinthians 5:21) JND). “Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:2424Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. (1 Peter 2:24)).
In this mighty work He is utterly alone. Not only has all human support fled—indeed, the scene is completely beyond man’s ability to comprehend or endure—but even God, in His abhorrence of sin, must turn His back on this holy Sufferer. “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (Psa. 22:11<<To the chief Musician upon Aijeleth Shahar, A Psalm of David.>> My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? (Psalm 22:1)). Only this blessed One—God and Man in one Person—can sustain this load, fully bear the suffering that it entails and complete it to the glory of God.
The Finished Work
At the end of those three hours of darkness, we hear those peace-giving words of victory: “It is finished” (John 19:3030When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. (John 19:30)). Being a divine Person, He pronounces His own statement concerning the work that He has just accomplished. Then “He bowed His head, and gave up the ghost” (vs. 30).
After the darkness has ended, the heart of man is unchanged. He continues on in his course of outward religion while his heart is empty and cold toward God and His beloved Son. “The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain [or, abide—same word] upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away” (John 19:3131The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. (John 19:31)).
Without dwelling on man’s side of this verse, let’s apply what it says in this way: We want to learn where the Lord Jesus dwells—or abides—and one place where we will not find Him is on the cross. The glorious work of redemption is finished. He Himself says, “I have glorified Thee on the earth: I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do” (John 17:44I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. (John 17:4)). He’s not on the cross; He’s not in the grave. “Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father” (Rom. 6:44Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:4)). “This man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God” (Heb. 10:1212But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; (Hebrews 10:12)).
What peace it gives to our souls to know that the work that the Lord Jesus did on Calvary is entirely to God’s satisfaction. It completely answers what God’s holiness demands and completely pays what our sins deserve. It never can be or will be repeated. Hallelujah! What a Saviour!
D. R. Macy