Hymn 345, "I Will Journey All the Way"
The Old Testament contains the old covenant, and the New Testament the new covenant in Jesus. The Old Testament signifies the old covenant, in types and shadows, of the living way in Jesus. There are two types mentioned here: one is a man with his bride, living in sinless surroundings. This is the natural man and his bride living in the Garden of Eden, but it is only a type and not the real thing. In the last portion of the Bible we see a heavenly bridegroom with a heavenly bride in a sinless eternity, and we want to have a part in this.
Another type is a nation set apart, a natural nation that found itself in natural bondage down in Egypt. Then we see a nation delivered and a nation journeying to a natural promised land with natural blessings. Jesus gave the terms of the new covenant to a spiritual nation made up of individual people from every nation and tribe, of every colour, kindred, and tongue, which will be represented there.
We experience a spiritual deliverance from bondage of sin for we are making a spiritual journey to a land of spiritual promises, a land with spiritual blessings. We have a battle to fight, not with carnal weapons but with spiritual weapons. We also have a type of the Sabbath that is not the kind that the Seventh Day Adventists follow, for ours is not the first day of the week. This is a type or a sign of body rest, leading to soul rest. Jesus said "Come unto Me all ye that are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest." This is a Sabbath rest, when we cease from our own will and way, and enter into the will of God and find rest for our soul. The Old Testament Sabbath pointed to this rest. In Hebrews 4, it speaks of a rest which remains for the people of God. This is God's true rest. The old covenant did not pass away by neglect or by rejection, but by fulfillment. Jesus said that not one jot or tittle would pass from the law till all be fulfilled. Jesus came to fulfill the law and to fulfill the scriptures, and a new covenant has replaced the old.
Now I will take you to Jeremiah 3:16, "'And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land. In those days,' saith the Lord, 'They shall say no more, 'The ark of the covenant of the Lord:' neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more.'” They will not miss it any more. We are here on the first day of the week with a different thought in mind than the old seventh day Sabbath. Deuteronomy 18:15 says, "The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto Him ye shall hearken." John 12:46, “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on Me should not abide in darkness.” Verse 48, “He that rejecteth Me, and receiveth not My words, hath One that judgeth him…" The old covenant age has passed away and that is why we uphold Jesus. It has been fulfilled and we have a memorial day today, when we remember Jesus in a special way.
My heart is filled today with three things about Calvary that I want to share with you. When Jesus offered Himself as a sacrifice for sin forever, He went back to the Father and He is expecting us to take advantage of that, too. The first thing I’ll mention is that it was so timely. Sin entered into the world by one man and God could have sent Jesus on that day for He was promised, and it was foreordained that He would come without spot or blemish—but that would not have been according to the blueprint. God has formulated the blueprint and it is right on schedule. Jesus came at the right time for this generation, but it was not the right time when Adam and Eve were in the garden. God could have sent Him on the first Day of Atonement when two lambs were offered, one in sacrifice that was brought to the priest, who laid his hand on its head and confessed all the sins of the people. Then we’re told that lamb was led by a fit man and taken into the wilderness. This is a type of what God would like to do with our sins. God could have sent Jesus then, but it would not have been the right time, either. Isaiah wrote of the crucifixion 700 years before Christ came, and he wrote that Jesus would be led as a lamb to the slaughter. This is written in the past tense yet the timing wasn’t right. “In the fullness of time, God sent His Son.” He said to His brethren, "My time is not yet." Finally, the time came according to the blueprint.
The second thing about Calvary I would like to mention is—Jesus was so innocent. He was made sin for us who knew no sin, and when He was reviled, He reviled not again, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously. He was tempted in all points like we but without sin. He was pronounced guilty and sentenced to be crucified. There were three people who witnessed His innocence: the first one was Judas himself, who went to the chief priests and elders and said, "I have sinned; I have betrayed innocent blood,” but they said, “What is that to us? See thou to it.” It tells us that Judas threw the money on the floor and left. The sacrifice of Jesus would have been sufficient for the cleansing of that man’s sin, but he repented before the elders and went to the wrong place to do it. The second one was Pilate's wife. Pilate was the Roman governor, who had the highest authority as he was governor in Jerusalem. His wife had a dream that troubled her, and it troubled her enough that she sent word to the Judgment Hall and told her husband to have nothing to do with this just man. There is no neutral ground with Jesus—we are either for or against Him. Pilate could prevail nothing against the angry mob. He took a basin of water and washed his hands in their presence, and said, "I am innocent of the blood of this just man,” then he released Barabbas and scourged Jesus. I have read that scourging means to tie a man up and lash him with a cat-of-nine-tails. The ends of those braids have either a piece of glass or stone tied in them and when it is brought down, it wraps itself around the body and tears the skin. When the chief priests mentioned Galilee, Pilate thought this was his way out, for Jesus was under Herod's jurisdiction. Herod had heard of Jesus and desired to see a miracle performed by Him. Keep in mind - this is the same Herod that slaughtered all the baby boys and had John the Baptist’s head severed from his body. Jesus was speechless before Herod and answered him not a word. We read how they mocked Jesus and put a royal robe on Him, and sent Him back to Pilate saying, "I find nothing worthy of death in this man." When Jesus went to the cross, we hear those words from His lips, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." On the cross beside Him that day hung a thief, and in his midnight hour that man heard those words and thought, "Maybe there is hope for me." He turned to Jesus and said, "Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom," and Jesus answered, "Today, thou wilt be with Me in paradise." That other man, who hung on the opposite side of Jesus, railed on Him and represents to us the rest of humanity throughout time and eternity. These men represent saved and unsaved sinners. Eternity will be populated with these two groups of people. To one the message will be, "Depart," and to the other, "Come, ye blessed of My Father." We all get our just reward. A period of darkness fell upon the earth, and after six hours, Jesus gave up the ghost. A centurion, responsible for seeing the crucifixion carried out, smote his breast and said, "Certainly this was a righteous man; truly this was the Son of God." So here we have six people, all of whom declared His innocence.
Now we come to the third thing I want to mention today and that is Jesus’ death on Calvary was so necessary—the shedding of His blood was necessary. There are some golden verses in Micah 6, where the prophet asks a question, “Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God?" And the answer came—it wasn't enough. It was not possible to compile a number of animals whose blood was shed under the Old Testament order, it was not enough; God had a plan in the eternal past to send His Lamb without spot and blemish, who had a redeeming power. "…Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old?" This was the best offering under the old covenant and it was not enough.
Then we have the next best offering. “Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams?" It was not enough. "…or with ten thousands of rivers of oil?" Olive oil was connected with sacrifice. I asked a worker in Italy once how much oil an olive tree produced in a year and he told me that a good tree would produce 25 gallons. Then we have a hundred gallons, a thousand gallons, and a little stream creates a river—one hundred rivers, one thousand rivers, ten thousand rivers. Look at this verse: “…or ten thousands of rivers of oil.” The answer is still not enough.
It is a wonderful thing to think of Jesus and His sacrifice for you and for me, and our privilege to have and to come under the benefit of it. We are not only forgiven our past, but I am not nearly so troubled about the sin of my past as the sin of my present after becoming a child of God. Our enemy knows us better than we know ourselves and he gets us to doubt that our present sin is forgiven.
When it comes to having a part in this ministry, I ask myself, "Can God forgive me in the Work for the things I know have not pleased Him?" I like that verse, "If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we will have fellowship one with another; and the blood of Jesus will cleanse us from all sin." I like to be reminded time and time again, that it was so necessary for Jesus to show us how to live—so necessary for Him to die to pay the ransom price. He did not shrink from the suffering of a physical death.
Martyrs go to their death with a song on their lips, but He shrank from tasting the separation that came from His Father. There was never a moment in His eternal past, never in His thirty-three and a half years that He did not have the presence of His Father with Him, and now He faced the three darkest hours alone… darkness… bearing your sin and mine. He knew what separation from His Father meant. He tasted that death and separation so we would not need to taste that suffering.
When we think of Jesus and look upon Him when we pass the emblems in a Sunday morning meeting, are we not thankful all over again for the plan that God arranged? And that Jesus died for us that we might enjoy His blessing?