Our Lord Jesus is greater than anything that can be said about Him. He is more than the truth that is told of Him. If you are talking about Him, and you say something that you mean to be great, and simple, and tender about Him, the moment you have said it you become conscious of this, that He is far more than the words you have spoken about Him.
And so our Lord Jesus is greater in His experience than any foreshadowing of Him in the Old Testament. Calvary is, in fact, immensely more than Calvary foreshadowed. The fact is always greater than the promise; the fulfilment is always more than the prophecy, the real is always so much more than the shadow beforehand.
Calvary, in its intensity, in its reality, in its personal meaning to all men and to us, is immensely more than any shadowing or inklings of it in the Old Testament. Joseph suffered. He suffered sacrificially. He suffered very really as a substitute for his people. His suffering was keen and cutting; it went to the very depths of his soul. David’s suffering meant agony, and bitterness, and cutting keenness, as we can read in between the lines and under the lines of that Twenty-second Psalm. And I think that Isaiah’s own suffering is the basis of the Fifty-third of Isaiah.
But none of these suffered as our Lord Jesus Christ suffered. He had greater suffering capacity; He was far more sensitive to suffering. The things that would make us suffer would make Him, as a Man, suffer far more, because of the greater sensitiveness of His spirit. And then He actually suffered far more, infinitely more, and with a deeper significance, than any man in that time, or at any time has, or could. Calvary means immensely more than any foreshadowings of it could mean.
In these foreshadowings there is a distinct element of sacrifice plainly there. There is a distinct element of substitution plainly there; one suffering that others might not suffer, and might have life. But, when you come to the fact of Calvary, the sacrifice, the substitution of the Old falls away before the marvellous, wonderful sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ on Calvary. The shedding of His blood was for the remission of the sin of all the world; and He suffered as none ever did, or could.
You read the Old Testament pages and, immersed in them, you are caught with their sacrifice and substitution and suffering. Yet you forget it all as you come with bared and bowed head, into the presence of our Lord Jesus, pouring out His life-blood as a Substitute for the whole race of men.
I have said that Calvary is God’s spelling of “sacrifice.” I want to remind you of this, that the letters of that word were chiselled by the Son of God in His own flesh with spear and nail and thong. Every letter of the word “sacrifice” and of the word “substitute” was traced by Him in the dripping red of His own blood, while the agony of it was breaking His heart.