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The Last Look at Life.

The Last Look at Life.

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Friedrich, Schleiermacher 1768-1834.

(Passion Sermon.)

Text: John xix. 30. "When Jesus therefore had received the
vinegar, He said, It is finished."

Friedrich, Schleiermacher 1768-1834.

(Passion Sermon.)

Text: John xix. 30. "When Jesus therefore had received the
vinegar, He said, It is finished."

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jul 30, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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THE LAST LOOK AT LIFE.Friedrich, Schleiermacher 1768-1834.(Passion Sermon.)Text: John xix. 30. "When Jesus therefore had received thevinegar, He said, It is finished."THESE greatest and most glorious of the last wordsof our Saviour on the cross come immediately afterthose v^hich are apparently of the least significance andimportance. The Lord said, " I thirst; " then the moistenedsponge was handed to Him ; and when He had received thesoothing, though not pleasant draught, He cried, " It isfinished." And we must not break the connection of thesetwo sayings, for the apostle has joined them most closety byplacing just before his report of them the words, " WhenJesus saw that all things were now finished, that the Scrip-ture might be accomplished." ow if the former is theleast important of the Saviour's last words, seeing that,considered in itself, it concerns merely the satisfying of abodily need ; the latter is indisputably the greatest of allthose words ; it is the saying which has always been, as itwere, the anchor for the faith of Christians; the word inwhich this truth is perfectly proved and made glorious tothem ; that according to the divine counsel, salvation couldbe won for men in no other way than this; that He whowas sent into the world for their salvation should beobedient even to the death of the cross. But if we direct236 THE LAST LOOK AT LIFE.our attention to this grecat word alone, we are overpoweredby the infinity of the subject, and we have reason to be gladthat the very apostle who has preserved this word for ushas also left us a key to it, which gives our thoughts a more
definite direction. Such a key we find in those precedingwords, " When Jesus saw that all things were finished, thatthe Scriptures might be fulfilled, He said, I thirst." Johnknew that the soul of the Saviour Avas engaged in thuscomparing all that had so far befallen Him, with the divinepromises, as they were uttered through the whole series of revelations in the written word of God ; and as He thus setpromise and fulfilment side by side, and so became con-scious in a human way of the completion of the divine pur-pose. He cried, " It is finished."Of course at that moment everything was not yet finished.As our redemption from sin and our justification before Godmust go together ; so also it was necessary that He whoneeded to die there for our sin should be raised again forour justification. As the fact that the disciples saw therather only in Him, was connected with this, that whenHe left the world He returned to the Father ; so also thefact that He loved the disciples implied that He could notleave them orphans, but must send them another Comforterwho should abide with them, and after them with us also ;even the Spirit of truth. But the spiritual eye of theSaviour saw everything finished in the sacred moment of His death ; and for this reason that moment is the cen-tral point of our faith. For by His obedience unto deathHe obtained for us the life-giving Spirit ; in that Hesuffered. He has been crowned with glory and honoiu\Therefore if in the moment of His death He could say, inthis sense, ''It is finished," He must have regarded Hisdeath in that infinite connection which begins with the firstpromise given to fallen man concerning the seed of thewoman, and reaches forward into that eternity in whichTHE LAST LOOK AT LIFE. 237He will bring to the Tather all those whom the Father hasgiven Him, that they may share in the praise and glorywith which He has been crowned. All this is no doubt
perfectly true ; but let us return to the definite directionthat the apostle gives us, and confine ourselves to consider-ing this word chiefly as the final look at a past life ; and letus, especially in the first place, see in it as the Saviourdid, the accomplishment of His destiny during this earthlylife ; and secondly, apply the great word of the Lord, as ourheart constrains us to do, to ourselves.I. As the Saviour said so often during His life that theSon of Man did nothing of Himself, but did the things thatHe saw wdth the Father, and spoke the words that He heardfrom Him ; we must naturally suppose that He was con-stantly engaged in the profoundest meditation on the wa3^sof God ; and that, raised as He was above all human weak-ness of mind, it was so still, even in these last painfulhours of His life; and thus all words relating to Himself in the Divine revelations of the Old Testament were presentto His soul. We have already had an example of this inHis earlier words on the cross ; when even the pains andw^eakness that He had to endure recalled to His remem-brance words of holy Scripture, and He applied one andanother of them to His own circumstances. But certainlywe should ill understand Him, if we believed that it wasthese personal details in which He found everything finishedthat the Scriptures might be fulfilled. That He was hangingthere on the cross, surrounded by the powerful enemieswho had brought about His death ; that His bones wereconsumed and His tongue clave to His jaws ; that He sawHis clothes shared among the soldiers and lots cast for Hiscoat ; — the contemplation of separate incidents like these,and the comparing of them with the words of the Psalm,might indeed to a certain extent, and perhaps more thanwould have been the case with another, turn aw^ny the238 THE LAST LOOK AT LIFE.attention of the suffering Saviour from the torturing senseof physical pain ; but to occupy entirely His soul, that was

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