Death of Jesus Christ
by G.C. Morgan
" . . . I lay down My life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father"
-- John 10:17-18.
"From the beginning Christ knew that the culminating fact in His ministry was death." Perhaps no one preached from the Gospels as did G. Campbell Morgan. His grasp of the life of Christ was profound.
. . . Judas came with an armed mob of men. Jesus confronted them, with that poor little handful of men standing behind Him. He asked then naturally, "Whom seek ye?" The answer was quick and ready, "Jesus of Nazareth." He said, "I am," and they fell backward to the ground. There is no possibility of escape from the conviction that there was something--whether in the tone of the voice or in the flash of the eye, I know not--by which these men were made conscious of power which they feared; and for the moment they dared lay no arresting hand on Him. There followed an almost greater marvel. These men recovered themselves . . . Herein is the wonder that He Who could so say, "I am," as to compel men to prostration and to overpowering weakness, permitted Himself to be bound. This was a demonstration of the truth of His assertion, "No man taketh My life from Me, I lay it down of Myself." This was Jesus of Nazareth, but He was more. This is a mystery, a marvel, but yet it is the solution of the first problem. So much was He Jesus of Nazareth that they could seize Him and bind Him; so much more was He than Jesus of Nazareth that, when He but said, "I am," they became as dead men in His presence.
. . . . Pilate, perplexed, astonished, and harassed, at last looked into the face of this Man in the loneliness of the inner chamber to which he had taken Him, and said in effect: You know I have power over you; You are in my hands, Jesus looked back into the face of Pilate and said, "Thou wouldest have no power against Me, except it were given thee from above." From that time Pilate worked hard to set Him free, but he was unable to do it. The explanation is to be found in His declaration, "I lay down My life . . . . no one takes it from Me."
. . . In all the mystery of the wounding and the darkness never lose sight of the regal dignity of His dying. When He knew that all things were accomplished He said, "I thirst." That is Jesus of Nazareth. Then He said, "It is finished; and He bowed His head, and gave up His Spirit." That is the Christ, dying by His own will and act.
. . . It is evident that He clearly apprehended His death, but He definitely accepted it as the issue of His ministry.
. . . Christ was supernatural, and therefore His death must be considered in the light of that fact. . . Therefore the death of Christ was unique. . . . It is the story of the death of One Who was at once Son of God and Son of Man.
It was a death in which the consciousness of God and the consciousness of man were identified. God's consciousness of man found expression when the dying One said, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" That was the cry of God as He gathered into His own heart all the consciousness of humanity in its lack of Him.
Man's consciousness of God found expression as the One upon the Cross said, "It is finished," and "Father, into Thy hands I commend My Spirit."
"God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself" (2 Corinthians 5:19).