“And Pilate went out again, and saith to them, Behold, I bring him out to you, that ye may know that I find no crime in him. Jesus therefore came out, wearing a crown of thorns and the purple garment. And Pilate saith to them, Behold the man!” (John 19:4-5).
What a person looks at is not a matter of indifference. The power of sight affords a direct avenue to the soul; what we see contributes to the formation of our lives, either for better or for worse. It was so in the very beginning of our race, and from that time onward a person’s future has frequently been determined by what he has seen.
Eve looked at the tree and saw that it was good for food, that it was a delight to the eye, and much to be desired to make one wise. So she took of the fruit and ate. Samson saw a woman of the Philistines; later she robbed him of all his strength. David saw — and was led into a sin which brought much grief to him and his household. Lot’s wife looked back to Sodom; she became a pillar of salt. Peter looked at the waves, became frightened, and sank. The thief sees, and proceeds to steal. A man looks at a lewd woman and is lured into sin. A despairing man looks down into the whirlpool, and is drawn to his death.
* * *
Just as dangerous as it is to look at that which is evil, so desirable is it to look at that which is good. It is indeed remarkable that as a look brought sin and death into the world, so a look will bring forgiveness and life to us. “Blessed are the eyes which see what ye see,” said Jesus to His disciples. The Bible frequently admonishes us to look. “Come, behold the works of the Lord.” “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the children of God.” “We shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”
Stated plainly and simply, to be saved is to see Jesus. We are saved the moment we see Him.
“Look and live,” my brother, live,
Look to Jesus now and live;
‘Tis recorded in His Word, Hallelujah!
It is only that you “look and live.”
We must not forget that it is not a physical look that brings salvation. The majority of those who saw Jesus here on earth were not saved. For that reason Jesus said to His own, Blessed are the eyes which see what ye see.” The others who were there did not see what the disciples saw.
We have an inward, spiritual eye. If the Spirit can anoint that eye with God’s spiritual eye_salve, and turn the eye toward Jesus, salvation becomes ours.
Let us pray for open eyes, and turn to the suffering Savior.
Probably few of those who see Christ on the cross can fail to be moved by that sight. One is gripped by the fact that an innocent one must suffer so unjustly. It is bad enough that a criminal is mistreated; but that a pure and innocent person shall be thus treated is shocking. What grips us most of all is that Jesus voluntarily chose this road; His only compulsion was that of a loving heart. Of His own free will He plunged Himself into the jaws of Satan. With every step toward Gethsemane He was made to feel more and more the power that sin has. He was forsaken by God and man. In that dark hour He shuddered as a true human being in anguish and pain. Then it was that He prayed, “Father, all things are possible unto thee; remove this cup from me. Howbeit, not what I will, but what thou wilt.” (Mark 14:36).
The cup could not be removed, and Jesus voluntarily offered to take it and to bear the judgment. In the hour of trial His words came as a mournful complaint, though without bitterness: “My soul is exceeding sorrowful even unto death.” (Mark i: 34). “Could ye not watch with me one hour?” (Matt. 26:40).
They could not. He trod the winepress alone. “He went out, bearing the cross for Himself, unto the place called The place of a skull, which is called in Hebrew Golgotha; where they crucified Him, and with Him two others, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst.” (John 19:17-18).
Behold the Man!
When I the love of God will know,
To Golgotha at once I go.
There on the cross in bitter pain
He died that I might live again.
What is so remarkable about this drama of suffering? ‘What took place on this cross and in this Man?
Here God and man meet again in the Man, Jesus Christ. Here all that is sinful meets all that is holy. Christ has become the battleground where the two forces meet. Here sin is expiated, the debt paid, and judgment meted out. Here Satan is to lose his power over us. Here peace between us and God is to be sealed by the blood of the Son of God and man.
“For it was the good pleasure of the father that in him should all fulness dwell; and through him to reconcile all things unto himself, having made peace through the blood of his cross; through him, I say, whether things on earth, or things in the heavens.” (Col. 1:19-20).
“And might reconcile them both in one body unto God through the cross, having slain the enmity thereby.” (Eph. 2: !6).
"-so making peace.” (Eph. 2:15).
Behold the Man!
Who is able to comprehend this mystery of salvation? Who can plumb the depths of this sea? Jesus is standing before God and the prince of this world. Evil and good are met in Him. He suffers all, pays all, and is victorious over all.
Praise God! The depth of such love is past understanding. This mystery is the great and ever new theme for every saved sinner on earth; it will be the theme of the song of the saints throughout eternity.
I would ask you this question: Do you see the Savior, bound, beaten, and suffering? Do you see Him, sorrowful unto death, with drops of blood as sweat dripping from His brow? Do you see hell opened and heaven closed to Him — that heaven might be opened and hell closed for us?
Can you look upon this and still live in sin? Can you behold Him and still be careless about your soul’s salvation?
* * *
Golgotha does not end the scene. We have Easter morning with life bursting from the grave. Then were established the words Christ spoke before going to Calvary, “I live, and ye shall live also.”
Christian friend! Think of that day when “Behold the Man!” shall resound through the heavens! When hosts “as thousand snowclad mountains bright” shall greet Him with jubilant song! When every book shall be opened by Him who has earned the right to break all seals! When every page shall be pure and spotless in God’s eyes eternally!
That will not be a Good Friday with doleful dirges; it will not be a world in blood and tears. It will be the saved of earth in eternal communion with the living God in joy unspeakable.
“And they shall see his face; and his name shall be on their foreheads.” (Rev. 22:4).
Innumerous choirs before the shining throne
Their joyful anthems raise,
Till heaven’s glad halls are echoing with the tone
Of that great hymn of praise,
And all its host rejoices,
And all its blessed throng
Unite their myriad voices
In one eternal song!
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