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The Shame and Spitting

Written by: Spurgeon, C.H.    Posted on: 04/07/2003

Category: Sermons

Source: CCN

                                        The Shame and Spitting by C. H. SPURGEON,                                  

              "I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face               from shame and spitting."Isaiah 50:6.

          OF WHOM SPEAKETH THE PROPHET this? Of himself or of some other? We cannot doubt but what           Isaiah here wrote concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. Is not this one of the prophecies to which our Lord           Himself referred in the incident recorded in the eighteenth chapter of Luke's Gospel at the thirty-first           verse? "Then he took unto him he twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all           things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. For he shall be delivered           unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: and they shall scourge him and put           him to death." Such a remarkable prophecy of scourging and spitting as this which is now before us must surely           refer to the Lord Jesus; its highest fulfillment is assuredly found in Him alone.               Of whom else, let me ask, could you conceive the prophet to have spoken if you read the whole chapter? Of           whom else could he say in the same breath, "I clothe the heavens with blackness and I make sackcloth their           covering. I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair" (vv. 3, 6). What a           descent from the omnipotence which veils the heavens with clouds to the gracious condescension which does not           veil its own face, but permits it to be spat upon! No other could thus have spoken of Himself but He who is both           God and man. He must be divine: how else could He say, "Behold, at my rebuke I dry up the sea, I make the           rivers a wilderness" (v. 2)? And yet he must at the same time be a "man of sorrows and acquainted with grief," for           there is a strange depth of pathos in the words, "I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that           plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting." Whatever others may say, we believe that the           speaker in this verse is Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews, the Son of God and the Son of man, our           Redeemer. It is the Judge of Israel whom they have smitten with a rod upon the cheek who here plaintively           declares the griefs which He has undergone. We have before us the language of prophecy, but it is as accurate as           though it had been written at the moment of the event. Isaiah might have been one of the Evangelists, so exactly           does he describe what our Savior endured.               I have already laid he fore you in the reading of the Scriptures some of the passages of the New Testament           wherein the scourging and the shame of our Lord Jesus are described. We saw Him first at the tribunal of His own           countrymen in Matthew 26, and we read, "Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him: and others smote him           with the palms of their hands.' It was in the hall of the high priest, among His own countrymen, that first of all the           shameful deeds of scorn were wrought upon Him. "He came unto his own, and his own received him not." His           worst foes were they of His own household; they despised and abhorred Him, and would have none of Him. His           own Father's husbandmen said among themselves"This is the heir; let us kill him, and let us seize on his           inheritance." This was His treatment at the hand of the house of Israel.               The same treatment, or the like thereto, was accorded Him in Herod's palace, where the fingering shade of a           Jewish royalty still existed. There what I might venture to call a pattern mixture of Jew and Gentile power held           court, but our Lord fared no better in the united company. By the two combined the Lord was treated with equal           derision (Luke 23:11). "Herod with his men of war set him at naught, and mocked him, and arrayed him in a           gorgeous robe."               Speedily came His third trial, and He was delivered altogether to the Gentiles. Then Pilate, the governor, gave           Him up to the cruel process of scourging. Scourging as it has been practiced in the English army is atrocious, a           barbarism which ought to make us blush for the past, and resolve to end it for the future. How is it that such a           horror has been tolerated so long in a country where we are not all savages? But the lash is nothing among us           compared with what it was among the Romans. I have heard that it was made of the sinews of oxen, and that in it           were twisted the knucklebones of sheep, with slivers of bone, in order that every stroke might more effectually           tear its way into the poor quivering flesh, which was mangled by its awful strokes. Scourging was such a           punishment that it was generally regarded as worse than death itself, and indeed, many perished while enduring it,           or soon afterwards. Our blessed Redeemer gave His back to the smiters, and the plowers made deep furrows           there. O spectacle of misery! How can we bear to look thereon? Nor was that all, for Pilate's soldier's, calling all           the band together, as if there were not enough for mockery unless all were mustered, put Him to derision by a           mock enthronement and a mimic coronations and when they had thus done they again buffeted and smote Him,           and spat in His face. There was no kind of cruelty which their heartlessness could just then invent which they did           not exercise upon His blessed Person: their brutal sport had full indulgence, for their innocent victim offered           neither resistance nor remonstrance. This is His own record of His patient endurance. "I gave my back to the           smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting."               Behold your King! I bring Him forth to you this morning in spirit and cry, "Behold the Man!" Turn hither all           your eyes and hearts and look upon the despised and rejected of men! Gaze reverently and lovingly, with awe for           His sufferings and love for His Person. The sight demands adoration. I would remind you of that which Moses did           when he saw the bush that burned and was not consumedfit emblem of our Lord on fire with griefs and yet not           destroyed; I bid you turn aside and see this great sight, but first attend to the mandate"Put off thy shoes from           off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground." All round the cross the soil is sacred. Our           suffering Lord has consecrated every place whereon He stood, and therefore our hearts must be filled with           reverence while we linger under the shadow of His passion.               May the Holy Spirit help you to see Jesus in four lights at this time. In each view He is worthy of devout           attention. Let us view Him first as the representative of God; secondly, as the substitute of His people, thirdly, as           the servant of Jehovah; and fourthly, as the Comforter of his redeemed.               I. First, I invite you to gaze upon your despised and rejected Lord as THE REPRESENTATIVE OF GOD. In           the Person of Christ Jesus, God Himself came into the world, making a special visitation to Jerusalem and the           Jewish people, but at the same time coming very near to all mankind. The Lord called to the people whom He had           favored so long and whom He was intent to favor still. He says, in the second verse, "I came" and "I called." God           did in very deed come down into the midst of mankind.               Be it noted, that when our Lord came into this world as the Representative of God, He came with all His           divine power about Him. The chapter before us says, "Is my hand shortened at all, that it cannot redeem? or have           I no power to deliver? behold, at my rebuke I dry up the sea, I make the rivers a wilderness." The Son of God,           when He was here, did not perform those exact miracles, because He was bent upon marvels of beneficence           rather than of judgment. He did not repeat the plagues of Egypt, for He did not come to smite, but to save; but He           did greater wonders and wrought miracles which ought far more powerfully to have won men's confidence in Him           because they were full of goodness and mercy. He fed the hungry, He healed the sick, He raised the dead, and He           cast out devils. He did equal marvels to those which were wrought in Egypt when the arm of the Lord was made           bare in the eyes of all the people. It is true He did not change water into blood, but He turned water into wine. It is           true He did nor make their fish to stink, but by His word He caused the net to be filled even to bursting with great           fishes. He did not break the whole staff of bread as He did in Egypt, but He multiplied loaves and fishes so that           thousands of men and women and children were fed from His bounteous hand. He did not slay their first-born,           but He restored the dead. I grant you that the glory of the Godhead was somewhat hidden in the Person of Jesus           of Nazareth, but it was still there, even as the glory was upon the face of Moses when he covered it with a veil.           No essential attribute of God was absent in Christ, and every one might have been seen in Him if the people had           not been willfully blind. He did the works of His Father, and those works bore witness of Him that He was come           in His Father's name. Yes, God was personally in the world when Jesus walked the blessed fields of the Holy land,           now, alas, laid under the curse for rejecting Him.               But when God thus came among, men He was unacknowledged. What saith the prophet? "Wherefore when I           came was there no man? when I called was there none to answer?" A few, taught by the Spirit of God, discerned           Him and rejoiced; but they were so very few that we may say of the whole generation that they knew Him not.           Those who had some dim idea of His excellence and majesty yet rejected Him. Herod, because he feared that He           was King, sought to slay Him. The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers took counsel together, against           the Lord, and against His anointed. He was emphatically and beyond all others "despised and rejected of men."           Though, as I have said, the Godhead in Him was but scantily veiled, and gleams of its glory burst forth ever and           anon, yet still the people would have none of it, and the cry, "Away with him. away with him, let him be           crucified," was the verdict of the age upon which He descended. He called and there was none to answer; He           spread out His hands all the day long unto a rebellious people who utterly rejected Him.               Yet our Lord when He came into the world was admirably adapted to be the Representative of God, not only           because He was God Himself, but because as man His whole human nature was consecrated to the work, and in           Him was neither flaw nor spot. He was untouched by any motive other than the one desire of manifesting the           Father and blessing the sons of men. Oh, beloved, there was never One who had His ear so near the mouth of           God as Jesus had. His Father had no need to speak to Him in dreams and visions of the night, for when all His           faculties were wide awake there was nothing in them to hinder His understanding the mind of God; and therefore           every morning when His Father wakened Him He spoke into His ear. Jesus sat as a scholar at the Father's feet           that He might learn first, and then teach. The things which He heard of the Father He made known unto men. He           says that He spoke not His own words but the words of Him that sent Him, and He did not His own deeds, but           "my Father," saith He, "that dwelleth in me, he doeth the work." Now, a man thus entirely agreeable to the mind           and will of the great God was fitted to be the Representative of God. Both the alliance of His manhood with the           Godhead and its perfect character qualified it to he the fittest dwelling of God among men. Yes, dear friends, our           Savior came in a way which should at once have commanded the reverent homage of all men. Even His great           Father said, "They will reverence my Son." Enough of the Godhead was manifested to impress and nor more, lest           it should alarm. With a soul of gentlest mold and a body like our own He was altogether adapted to be the           Representative of God. His errand, too, was all gentleness and love, for He came to speak words in season to the           weary, and to comfort those that were cast down: surely such an errand should have secured Him a welcome. His           course and conduct were most conciliatory, for He went among the people, and ate with publicans and sinners; so           gentle was He that He took little children in His arms, and blessed them; for this, if for nothing else, they ought to           have welcomed Him right heartily and rejoiced at the sight of Him. Our text tells us how contrary was their           conduct towards Him to that which He deserved instead of being welcomed He was scourged, and instead of           being honored He was scorned. Cruelty smote His back and plucked off the hair from His face, while derision           jeered at Him and cast its spittle upon Him. Shame and contempt were poured upon Him, though He was God           Himself. That spectacle of Christ spat upon, and scourged represents what man virtually does to his God, what he           would do to the Most High if he could. Hart well puts it

                                              See how the patient Jesus stands,                                                   Insulted in his lowest case!                                             Sinners have bound the Almighty hands,                                                 And spit in their Creator's face.

          When our parents broke the command of their Maker, obeying the advice of the devil rather than the Word of           God, and preferring a poor apple to the divine favor, they did as it were spit into the face of God; and every sin           committed since has been a repetition of the same contempt of the Eternal One. When a man will have his           pleasure, even though it displeases God, he as good as declares that he despises God, prefers himself, and defies           the wrath of the Most High. When a man acts contrary to the command of God he does as good as say to God,           "This is better for me to do than what Thou bidst me do. Either Thou art mistaken, in thy prohibitions, or else           Thou dost willfully deny me the highest pleasure, and I, being a better judge of my own interests than Thou art,           snatch at the pleasure which Thou dost refuse me. I judge Thee either to be unwise or unkind." Every act of sin           does despite to the sovereignty of God: it denies Him to be supreme and refuses Him obedience. Every act of sin           does dishonor to the love and wisdom of God, for it seems to say that it would have been greater love to have           permitted us to do evil than to have commanded us to abstain from it. All sin is in many ways an insult to the           majesty of the thrice Holy God, and He regards it as such.               Dear friends, this is especially the sin of those who have heard the gospel and yet reject the Savior, for in their           case the Lord has come to them in the most gracious form, and yet they have refused Him. The Lord might well           say, "I have come to you to save you, and you will not regard me. I have come saying to you, 'Look unto me and           be ye saved all the ends of the earth,' and you close your eyes in unbelief. I have come saying, 'Let us reason           together: though your sins be as crimson, they shall be as wool,' but you will not be cleansed from your iniquity. I           have come with the promise, 'All manner of sin and iniquity shall be forgiven unto men.' What is your reply?" In           the case of many the answer is, "We prefer our own righteousness to the righteousness of God." If that is not           casting spittle into the face of God I know not what is, for our righteousnesses are well described as "filthy rags,"           and we have the impudence to say that these are better than the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. Or if we do           not say this when we reject the Savior we tell Him that we do not want Him, for we do not need a Savior: this is           as good as to say that God has played the fool with the life and death of His own Son. What greater derision can           be cast upon God than to consider the blood of atonement to be a superfluity? He who chooses sin sooner than           repentance prefers to suffer the wrath of God rather than be holy and dwell in heaven forever. For the sake of a           few paltry pleasures men forego the love of God, and are ready to run the risk of an eternity of divine wrath. They           think so little of God that He is of no account with them at all. All this is in reality a scorning and despising of the           Lord God, and is well set forth by the insults which were poured upon the Lord Jesus.               Woe's me that it should ever be so. My God! My God! To what a sinful race do I belong. Alas, that it should           treat thine infinite goodness so despitefully! That Thou shouldst be rejected at all, but especially that Thou           shouldest be rejected when dressed in robes of love and arrayed in gentleness and pity is horrible to think upon.           Do you mean it, O men? Can you really mean it? Can you deride the Lord Jesus who died for men? For which of           His works do ye stone Him, when He lived only to do good? For which of His griefs do you refuse Him, when He           died only that He might save? "He saved others, himself he cannot save," for He had so much love that He could           spare Himself. I can understand your resisting the thunder of Jehovah's power, for I know your insanity; but can           you resist the tenderness of Jehovah's love? If you do I must charge you with brutality, but therein I wrong the           brutes, to whom such crimes are impossible. I may not even call this cruel scorning diabolical, for it is a sin which           devils never did commit, perhaps would not have committed had it been possible to them. They have never trifled           with a Redeemer, nor rejected the blood of the seed of Abraham. Shall the favored race spit upon its friend? God           grant we may be brought to a better mind. But there is the picture before you. God Himself set at naught,           despised, rejected, put to shame, perpetually dishonored in the Person of His dear Son. The sight should breed           repentance in us. We should look to Him whom we have scourged, and mourn for Him. O Holy Spirit, work this           tender grace in all our hearts.               II. And now, secondly, I want to set the Lord Jesus before you in another light, or rather beseech Him to           shine in His own light before your eyes:AS THE SUBSTITUTE FOR HIS PEOPLE. Recollect when our Lord           Jesus Christ suffered thus it was not on His own account nor purely for the sake of His Father, but He "was           wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him;           and with his stripes we are healed." There has risen up a modern idea which I cannot too much reprobate, that           Christ made no atonement for our sin except upon the cross: whereas in this passage of Isaiah we are taught as           plainly as possible that by His bruising and His stripes, as well as by His death, we are healed. Never divide           between the life and the death of Christ. How could He have died if He had not lived? How could He suffer           except while He lived? Death is not suffering, but the end of it. Guard also against the evil notion that you have           nothing to do with the righteousness of Christ, for He could not have made an atonement by His blood if He had           not been perfect in His life. He could not have been acceptable if He had not first been proven to be holy,           harmless, and undefiled. The victim must be spotless, or it cannot be presented for sacrifice. Draw no nice lines           and raise no quibbling questions, but look at your Lord as He is and bow before Him.               Understand, my dear brothers and sisters, that Jesus took upon Himself our sin, and being found bearing that           sin He had to be treated as sin should be treated. Now, of all the things that ever existed sin is the most shameful           thing that can be. It deserves to be scourged, it deserves to be spit upon, it deserves to be crucified; and because           our Lord had taken upon Himself our sin, therefore must He be put to shame, therefore must He be scourged. If           you want to see what God thinks of sin, see His only Son spat upon by the soldiers when He was made sin for us.           In God's sight sin is a shameful, horrible, loathsome, abominable thing, and when Jesus takes it He must be           forsaken and given up to scorn. This sight will be the more wonderful to you when you recollect who it was that           was spat upon, for if you and I, being sinners, were scourged, and smitten, and despised, there would be no           wonder in it; but He who took our sin was God, before whom angels bow with reverent awe, and yet, seeing the           sin was upon Him, He was made subject to the most intense degree of shame. Seeing that Jesus stood in our           stead, it is written of the eternal Father that "He spared not his own Son." "It pleased the Father to bruise him: he           hath put him to grief"; He made His soul an offering for sin. Yes, beloved, sin is condemned in the flesh and made           to appear exceeding shameful when you recollect that, even though it was only laid on our blessed Lord by           imputation, yet it threw Him into the very depths of shame and woe ere it could be removed.               Reflect, also, upon the voluntariness of all this. He willingly submitted to the endurance of suffering and scorn.           It is said in the text, "He gave his back to the smiters." They did not seize and compel Him, or; if they did, yet           they could nor have done it without His consent. He gave His back to the smiters He gave His cheek to those that           plucked off the hair. He did not hide His face from shame and spitting: He did not seek in any way to escape from           insults. It was the voluntariness of His grief which constituted in great measure the merit of it. That Christ should           stand in our stead by force were a little thing, even had it been possible; but that He should stand there of His own           free will, and that being there He should willingly be treated with derision, this is grace indeed. The Son of God           was willingly made a curse for us, and at His own desire was made subject to shame on our account. I do not           know how you feel in listening to me, but while I am speaking I feel as if language ought scarcely to touch such a           theme as this: it is too feeble for its task. I want you to get beyond my words if you can, and for yourselves           meditate upon the fact that He who covers the heavens with blackness, yet did not cover His own face, and He           who binds up the universe with the girdle which holds it in one, yet was bound and blindfolded by the men He had           Himself made; He whose face is as the brightness of the sun that shineth in its strength was once spit upon. Surely           we shall need faith in heaven to believe this wondrous fact. Can it have been true, that the glorious Son of God           was jeered and jested at? I have often heard that there is no faith wanted in heaven, but I rather judge that we           shall want as much faith to believe that these things were ever done as the patriarchs had to believe that they           would be done. How shall I sit down and gaze upon Him and think that His dear face was once profaned with           spittle? When all heaven shall lie prostrate at His feet in awful silence of adoration will it seem possible that once           He was mocked? When angels and principalities, and powers shall all be roused to rapture of harmonious music in           His praise, will it seem possible that once the most abject of men plucked out the hair? Will it not appear incredible           that those sacred hands, which are "as gold rings set with the beryl," were once nailed to a gibbet, and that those           cheeks which are "as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers," should have been battered and bruised? We shall be quite        

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