The greatest tragedy of human history is the cross of Christ. And yet, as Charles Spurgeon puts it in today’s Morning and Evening…
No scene in sacred history ever gladdens the soul like Calvary’s tragedy.
How can one act both sadden and gladden the soul? I am so thankful for Romans 5:6-9. It says:
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by His blood, much more shall we be saved by Him from the wrath of God.
God’s love and wrath are found in the cross. As agonizing as it would be to see my Savior crucified, I could never “take the nails from His hands…” (sorry, Jeremy Camp). In anguish, He took the cup and bore my sin as it pleased the Father to crush Him. He was obedient unto death. The cross is the greatest tragedy of human history, but also the greatest act of love that mankind has ever known.
Here is Alistair Begg’s modern phrasing of the Spurgeon classic.
* * * * *
And when they came to the place that is called The Skull,
there they crucified Him… — Luke 23:33
The hill of comfort is the hill that is called The Skull or Calvary; the house of consolation is built with the wood of the cross; the temple of heavenly blessing is based upon the riven rock—riven by the spear that pierced His side. No scene in sacred history ever gladdens the soul like Calvary’s tragedy.
Is it not strange, the darkest hour
That ever dawned on sinful earth,
Should touch the heart with softer power,
For comfort, than an angel’s mirth?
That to the Cross the mourner’s eye should turn,
Sooner than where the stars of Bethlehem burn?
Light springs from the midday-midnight of Golgotha, and every herb of the field blooms sweetly beneath the shadow of the once accursed tree. In that place of thirst, grace has dug a fountain that runs continually with water pure as crystal, each drop capable of alleviating the woes of mankind. You who have had your seasons of conflict will confess that it was not at Olivet that you ever found comfort, not on the hill of Sinai, nor on Tabor; but Gethsemane and Golgotha have been a means of comfort to you. The bitter herbs of Gethsemane have often taken away the pains in your life; and the groans of Calvary yield rare and rich comfort.
We never would have known Christ’s love in all its heights and depths if He had not died; nor could we guess the Father’s deep affection if He had not given His Son to die. The common mercies we enjoy all sing of love, just as the seashell, when we put it to our ears, whispers the sounds of the deep sea from which it came; but if we desire to hear the ocean itself, we must not look at everyday blessings, but at the transactions of the crucifixion. If you want to know love, then go afresh to Calvary and see the Man of Sorrows die.