Him there

In Matthew’s account of the Crucifixion, we read: Sitting down, they (the Roman soldiers) kept watch over Him there. (Matthew 27:36)

Him. There.  An awesome juxtaposition.

Who were they watching?

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist… For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell… (Colossians 1:15-17,19)

God has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He had appointed heir of all things, through who He also made the worlds, who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high… (Hebrews 1:2,3)

No wonder Isaac Watts could write: Well might the sun in darkness hide… when God, the mighty Maker, died, for man, the creature’s sin.

And where were they?

Golgotha, the Place of a Skull. The place where condemned criminals received the punishment for their crimes. A place of humiliation and shame, of suffering and death. Even more; the place where the sinless Son of God was made a curse for us:

Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”). (Galatians 3:13)

The Lord Jesus Himself spoke of it to Nicodemus: And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up… (John 3:14)

Must be?  Yes, indeed.

Q Since then, by the righteous judgement of God, we deserve temporal and eternal punishment, is there no way by which we may escape that punishment, and be again received into favour?

A God will have His justice satisfied, and therefore we must make this full satisfaction, either by ourselves, or by another.

Q Can we ourselves then make this satisfaction?

A By no means; but on the contrary we daily increase our debt.

Q Can there be found anywhere one, who is a mere creature, able to satisfy for us?

A None; for first, God will not punish any other creature for the sin which man has committed; and further, no mere creature can sustain the burden of God’s eternal wrath against sin, so as to deliver others from it.

Q What sort of mediator and deliverer must we then seek for?

A For one who is very man, and perfectly righteous, and yet more powerful than all creatures; that is, one who is also very God.

Q Why must he be very man, and also perfectly righteous?

A Because the justice of God requires that the same human nature which has sinned should likewise make satisfaction for sin; and one who is himself a sinner cannot satisfy for others.

Q Why must he be in one person also very God?

A That he might by the power of his Godhead sustain in his human nature the burden of God’s wrath; and might obtain for, and restore to us, righteousness and life.

Q Who then is that Mediator, who is in one person both very God, and a real, righteous man?

A Our Lord Jesus Christ, “who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.”

(Heidelberg Catechism Questions 12-18)

There was – there is – no other way. It was the purpose for which the worlds were made.

Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:4-6)

To God be the glory!

O Christ, what burdens bowed Thy head!

Our load was laid on Thee;

Thou stoodest in the sinner’s stead,

Didst bear all ill for me.

A Victim led, Thy blood was shed;

Now there’s no load for me.


Death and the curse were in our cup,

O Christ, twas full for Thee!

But Thou hast drained the last dark drop

Tis empty now for me.

That bitter cup – love drank it up;

Now blessings’ draught for me.


Jehovah lifted up His rod,

O Christ, it fell on Thee!

Thou wast sore stricken of Thy God;

There’s not one stroke for me.

Thy tears, Thy blood, beneath it flowed;

Thy bruising healeth me.


The tempest's awful voice was heard,

O Christ, it broke on Thee!

Thy open bosom was my ward,

It braved the storm for me.

Thy form was scarred, Thy visage marred;

Now cloudless peace for me.


Jehovah bade His sword awake,

O Christ, it woke gainst Thee!

Thy blood the flaming blade must slake;

Thy heart its sheath must be

All for my sake, my peace to make;

Now sleeps that sword for me.


For me, Lord Jesus, Thou hast died,

And I have died in Thee;

Thou’rt risen, my bands are all untied,

And now Thou liv’st in me.

When purified, made white, and tried,

Thy glory then for me!


Anne Ross Cousin