The central personality of all history, and of all the race is our Lord Jesus. The central fact about our Lord Jesus is His death. His life was wonderful in its purity and strength. All men who know about Him have combined in exalting the purity and the strength of His life. His wisdom was marvellous; His teaching so simple, yet so profound. And His sympathy with man has touched the human heart everywhere.
But His death stands out above His life even as Mont Blanc stands out above the Alpine range to the eyes of all within sight of its snowy top. And the death of Christ comes to us today in that outstanding word—Calvary.
Of all the geographical names in our Master’s life, Calvary stands out biggest and brightest. Bethlehem was His birthplace. Nazareth was His life- place, where He spent that marvellous simple daily common round, which has not been magnified as it should be in our thought. The wilderness tells of temptation and victory. The Transfiguration Mount tells of His glory-life, where He drew aside the veil
of His humanity for a little while to the eyes of the inner circle. Gethsemane tells of agony. Calvary tells of a life poured out for others. The Resurrection morning tells of the greatest revealing of God’s power ever seen. And the Ascension-Mount, Olivet, stands out big with its ringing “Go Ye,” and its great cry of “All Power.”
But in that range of hill-tops of our Lord’s career Calvary stands out biggest of all, clear overtopping all the others. Because this Master was that He might die. He came that He might go out of life for us. He lived that He might pour out His life to the very last bit of it for all men, and for us and for our sins.
Calvary is God’s spelling of that great word “sacrifice.” But the word “sacrifice” takes on a new meaning when you spell it in God’s way. Our Lord’s sacrifice was the best and the worst ever made. The best because of the love at the back of it; the best because it meant and means so much for all men, and for us. It was the worst because of the bitterness, the keenness of suffering, the agony of pain, all bound up in that word—Calvary—sacrifice. And our Lord Jesus Christ endured all that for us.
Sacrifice here, in the very simplest putting of it, means this,—one dying instead of another. It means the blood of the innocent shed on behalf of the guilty. It means one dying for others who deserved to die. He would die only because of others’ sin; of Himself He need not die. I said that Calvary is God’s spelling of “sacrifice.” It is likewise God’s spelling of “substitute,” one pouring out His life to the last drop of it that other men, with the seeds of death in them, might find life and find it abundantly.
One can easily believe in the inspiration of this old Book of God from this standpoint simply. There are plenty of good arguments for the inspiration of the Word of God, for its full, complete, detailed, inspiration; but I think you can find a marvellous argument here. It is in the fact of sin, and of need because of sin, and then God’s plan for the need. You run through the old Bible and everywhere you find these three things. Go through all life and you find the same things, the terrible fact of sin, the crying need of men, and man hunting everywhere, hunting some means to get rid of his sin, both of its guilt and its grip upon his powers, and everywhere failing. Here in this old Book of God alone, you find the third thing, a Saviour for man in his sin, and out of his sin, and clear away from his sin. The Book answers to the great need of life.