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Christ Our Example in Suffering.

Christ Our Example in Suffering.

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"The cup which my Father giveth me, shall I not drink it?"
John xviii. 11.

"The cup which my Father giveth me, shall I not drink it?"
John xviii. 11.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Nov 15, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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CHRIST OUR EXAMPLE I SUFFERIG. BY JOH HOWARD HITO"The cup which my Father giveth me, shall I not drink it?" John xviii. 11. WHAT an interesting and wonderful thought it is that Christ should be our example ! There are some divines, indeed, who teach us that Christ is our example, and nothing more; that be both lived only in order to teach us how to live, and died only to show us how willing we ought to be to die for righteousness. But I am not going to preach to you this gospel; it is not one which I can either trust for my- self, or commend to you. And, assuredly, it is not the doctrine of Holy Scripture. It is surely more than this that the prophet means when he tells us that the Lord "made his soul an offering for sin" (Isa. liii. 10); and the apostle, when he says that Christ " bare our sins in his own body on the tree" (i Pet. ii. 24). or is it less than the shedding of his blood as a sacrifice of expiation for sin that can give a solid peace to the guilty and awakened conscience. It is, nevertheless, a fact, and, as I have said, an interest- ing and wonderful fact, that Christ is our example. It is wonderful that he can be so; for, when we think of him as a divine person, it seems hard to conceive how he, being God, can have acted under the influences which determine the conduct of men. Yet we have to think of him as not divine only, but as human also; his wonderful person being constituted of the two natures in intimate combination, so that he was both God and man, and as truly and perfectly the latter as the former. As man, therefore, he properly and necessarily acted under human motives, and acted out human feelings, so that his conduct may justly be regarded as a pattern for ours. And it is a highly interesting thought that it should be so. Here is an example presented to us, as an example
should be, without defect or imperfection; and yet one CHRIST OUR EXAMPLE I SUFFERIG. 23! which is not, in its perfection, so absolutely elevated above us as to be beyond our imitation : it is perfect rectitude and consummate beauty, yet both in the exercise of faculties like our own, and in circumstances like our own. It is God clothing himself with humanity in order to show us how he would live if he were man. And it is remarkable how strikingly the life of Christ was adapted to be generally, I may say universally, exemplary to us. An ordinary life is commonly of one kind, passed in similar scenes, and having little variety; but the life of Christ partook of many aspects of human condition, and exhibited widely diverse phases of human character. He was at once poor and rich; "a man of sorrows," and of celestial gladness; of humble origin, yet heir to a throne; persecuted to the death, yet the applauded hero of a royal procession. Who among men may not find a model here? And that he meant his actions to be exemplaiy cannot be questioned. You are familiar with at least one instance in which this design was avowed. After the passover supper, he "laid aside his garments, and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. . . . So, after he had svashed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set lown again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you 1 Ye call me Master and Lord, and ye say well ; for so I am. If I, then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you" (John xiii. 4-15). It cannot be supposed that in its general design this action stands alone. His whole life is doubtless comprehended in the general statement of the
apostle, that Christ " left us an example, that we should follow his steps" (i Pet. ii. 21). I do not know, indeed, that I should say absolutely his wJtole life, since there are at least two aspects of it which may justly be deemed excep- tional. The first of these is the employment of miraculous power, in which, of course, we have no participation; and the second is the occasional assximption of indignant denun- ciation, which to him, undoubtedly, was competent, but which would not appear to be, under any circumstances, warrantable in his disciples at large. With these exceptions, 232 CHRIST OUR EXAMPLE I SUFFERIG. perhaps, the whole of Christ's life may be deemed exemplary; the simplicity and purity of his personal character, the ele- vation of his piety, his active benevolence, his meekness in provocation, his patience in suffering. It is this last feature of his character that is brought under our notice by the words of our text : " The cup which my Father giveth me, shall I not drink it 1 ?" Let us notice, in the first place, the attitude in which our blessed Lord is here exhibited; and, in the second place, the lessons which it is adapted to teach us. I. We notice, in the first place, the attitude in which our blessed Lord is here exhibited. Jesus Christ had always been "a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;" but he was now in the midst of that baptism of woe in which his sufferings were consummated, and the words which are before us exhibit his attitude as a sufferer in three aspects. i. Here is, in the first place, a devout recognition of the hand of God. He calls his sorrow "the cup which my Father giveth me."

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