For this week’s Crossroads Connection, I’d like to direct your attention to a section in Thomas Watson’s (1620–1686) sermon, “The Loveliness of Christ.” In this portion of this message, Watson is placing before his congregation the loveliness of Christ in his sufferings. May it warm your heart and lift you to the heights of praise!
“Christ is lovely in His sufferings when He makes expiation for our sins. But how can He be lovely in His sufferings? Lovely when He was buffeted, spat upon, and smeared with blood? Oh, yes! He was most lovely upon the cross—because then He showed most love to us. He bled love from every vein! His drops of blood were love-drops. The more bloody, the more lovely. The more Christ endured for us, the more dear He ought to be to us. . . . Nor did Christ only endure pain in His body, but agony of soul. He conflicted with the wrath of God, which He could never have done if He had not been more than a man.
We read that the altar of wood was overlaid with brass so that the fire on the altar might not consume the wood (Exodus 27:1, 2). This altar was a type of Jesus Christ. The human nature of Christ, which was the wood, was covered with the divine nature, which was like brass, else the fire of God’s wrath would have consumed it.
All that Christ suffered was in our stead (Isaiah 53:5). We ate the sour grapes, and His teeth were set on edge. We climbed the tree, we stole the forbidden fruit—and Christ goes up the ladder of the cross and dies! Oh, how lovely ought a bleeding Savior to be in our eyes! Let us wear this blessed crucifix always in our heart. “The cross of Christ,” said Damascen [John of Damascus], “is the golden key that opens paradise to us.”
How beautiful Christ is upon the cross! The ruddiness of His blood took away the redness of our guilt. How lovely are those wounds which wounded the red dragon! When this blessed Rock was smitten, water came out of it to cleanse us and blood to cheer us (1 John 5:6). “When Christ was on the cross,” said Bernard [of Clairvaux], “then the vine was cut—and salvation came to us in the blood of the vine.” Oh, how lovely is this bleeding vine! Christ’s crucifixion is our coronation!