Friday, August 19, 2011

He need not have died at all

A substitutionary death for love’s sake in ordinary cases would be but a slightly premature payment of that debt of nature which must be paid by all. But such is not the case with Jesus. Jesus needed not die at all; there was no ground or reason why he should die apart from his laying down his life in the room and place and stead of his friends. Up there in the glory was the Christ of God for ever with the Father, eternal and everlasting; no age passed over his brow; we may say of him, “Thy locks are bushy and black as the raven, thou hast the dew of thy youth.” He came to earth and assumed our nature that he might be capable of death, yet remember, though capable of death, his body need not have died; as it was it never saw corruption, because there was not in it the element of sin which necessitated death and decay.

Our Lord Jesus, and none but he, could stand at the brink of the grave and say, “No man taketh my life from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down and I have power to take it again.” We poor mortal men have only power to die, but Christ had power to live. Crown him, then! Set a new crown upon his beloved head! Let other lovers who have died for their friends be crowned with silver, but for Jesus bring forth the golden diadem, and set it upon the head of the Immortal who never needed to have died, and yet became a mortal, yielding himself to death’s pangs without necessity, except the necessity of his mighty love.

From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled "Love's Crowning Deed," delivered August 24, 1873. Image by joiseyshowaa on Flickr under Creative Commons License.

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