The Demands of Calvary

–March of 1997

The Demands of Calvary

One of the most striking statements found in Holy Writ about the atoning work of Christ was penned some 700 years before Calvary ever occurred.  Isaiah lifts the veil that shrouded the future and with graphic words paints a moving portrait of our suffering Saviour.  That picture, however, does not stop with His suffering.  With the masterful strokes of a prophetic brush Isaiah shows the triumphant Son of God looking back as it were from eternity, back on all that Calvary meant and provided.  The expression of the Saviour’s heart on all that He saw was framed in these words, “He shall see the travail of his soul and be satisfied.”

He looked back upon his humiliation.  He thought equality with God not something to be grasped, but took upon Himself the form of a servant.  He laid aside the royal robes of heavenly splendor and clothed Himself with the fading garment of our humanity.  He saw all of this and was satisfied.  He saw again as we spat in His face, plowed His back with a scourge, spiked Him naked and thorn-crowned to a tree, and mocked His anguish until the sun hid its face in shame and the earth reeled in terror.  He relived drinking the bitter cup to the very last drop.  He looked upon it all – all the rejection, all the agony – and was satisfied with the travail of His soul.

The travail of His soul has provided a completely adequate atonement for the deepest needs of every man who has ever lived or ever will live.  He met every demand of a broken law, fully satisfied the justice of an offended God, and silenced every accusation of Satan.  He held nothing back.  He gave His all.  Jesus Christ is satisfied with what Calvary has wrought.

The question that surfaces immediately in my mind is this: “Is He satisfied with the full appropriation of Calvary as it touches and works its way out in my life?”  A missionary returning from Africa during the early stages of World War II went down to the bottom of the ocean in an ill-fated ship.  In one of her last letters she wrote, “The gift of forgiveness has become exceedingly precious to me when I ponder the cost to Christ to pardon mankind.  God has to curse His only child to free me from the curse of sin.  To lay nothing to my charge, He charged His own Son with all the guilt a sinful world could produce.  To give me a mother’s care He forsook His Son in His hour of loneliness and need.  To give me a taste of the sweetness of Heaven, He caused His Son to taste the bitterness of Hell.  To fill my heart with all the peace it can contain, He filled the heart of His Son with all the agony it could contain.  Oh, the fathomless love of the Father’s heart for me, a sinner sunk in fathomless sin!  Pray for me that God may get all out of my life that Calvary can get out of it.  And that in me and through me He may see the travail of His soul and be satisfied.”

 The haunting question that leaps from the pages of this missionary’s diary is this: “Has God got out of my life all that Calvary can get out of it?”  When He looks at me and remembers the travail of His soul, is He satisfied?  Have I allowed the cross of Christ to wean my heart from all other affections, from sin, from the world and from self?  Has it met and surrendered to the love that Calvary demands?

Jesus held back nothing.  He gave everything.  He did not withhold one drop of His precious blood or one fleeting second of His life.  Have I allowed Calvary to do that in my life?  Am I clutching to any of the trinkets and souvenirs of this world, or have I forsaken them all in the light of Calvary?

I’m firmly convinced that this Easter we would all shout in harmony that we are satisfied with what Jesus has done for us.  But the haunting question that still remains is this: “Has God received from my life all that Calvary can get out of it?”

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