In the cross, we see what is in man. In the cross, man has spoken out. He has exhibited himself, and made unconscious confession of his feelings, especially in reference to God–to His Being, His authority, His character, His law, His love. It was man who erected
the cross, and nailed the Son of God to it! Permitted by God to give vent to the feelings of his heart, and placed in circumstances the least likely to call forth anything but love–he thus expressed the feelings of his heart in hatred to God and to His incarnate Son!
Reckoning the death of the cross, the worst of all deaths–man deems it the fittest for the Son of God! Thus, the enmity of the natural heart speaks out, and man not only confesses publicly that he is a hater of God–but he takes pains to show the intensity of his hatred! More–he glories in his shame, crying aloud, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”
The cross thus interprets what is in man’s heart. The cross rips the mask of pretended religion from his face; and exhibits man overflowing with the malignity of hell!
You say, “I don’t hate God! I may be indifferent to Him. He may not be in all my thoughts; but I don’t hate Him!” Then, what does that cross mean? Love, hatred, indifference–which? Does love demand the death of the loved One? Does indifference crucify its objects? Look at your hands! Are they not red with blood? Whose blood is that? The blood of God’s own Son! No–neither love nor indifference shed His blood.
It was hatred that did it! Enmity–the enmity of the carnal heart!
You say that I have no right to judge you. I am not judging you. It is yon cross which judges you, and I am asking you to judge yourselves by it. It is yon cross that interprets your purposes, and reveals the thoughts and intents of your heart!
Oh, what a revelation! Man hating God–and hating most, when God is loving most! Man acting as a devil–and taking the devil’s side against God!
The cross, then, was the public declaration of man’s hatred of God, man’s rejection of His Son, and man’s avowal of his belief that he needs no Savior!
“What do you think of Christ?” was God’s question. Man’s answer was, “Crucify Him!”
O what must man be–when he can hate, condemn, mock, scourge, spit upon, crucify, the Lamb of God; when coming to him clothed in love, and with the garments of salvation?
And what must sin be–when, in order to expiate it, the Lord of glory must die upon the tree–an outcast, a criminal, a curse!