Calvary is God’s spelling of the word “sacrifice.” It is God’s spelling of the word “substitute.” Because sacrifice has been used in so many meanings we must remember that God’s meaning is the highest; it means a substitutionary sacrifice.
The word “sacrifice” gets its standard meaning from our Lord Jesus Christ. Its first meaning, and its fullest meaning, and its finest meaning it gets from Him, not simply in His life but in His death on the Cross of Calvary. But beside that, it has a secondary meaning.
We have been considering in our earlier studies the first meaning. That meaning given to it by our Lord Jesus Himself must always stand as the standard meaning. Every other is less, and is minor, and is secondary. But there is a secondary meaning. There is a first meaning for us all, and a second. And the second meaning is this, that there is to be for us a Calvary of sacrifice likewise. The Master meant and means that not only are we to trust in His sacrifice, as a thing all by itself, but that we, in turn, are to live His sacrifice, in a secondary manner, so far as His is concerned, but in a manner which shall take all the grip of our lives, so far as we arc concerned.
There were two characteristic words of invitation always on our Lord’s lips when He was down here, spoken many times. The first was this, “Come to Me”; and the result of that coming, the purpose of that coming, is salvation through His blood. We are to come for cleansing on the ground of His blood shed for us. There must be a first coming when the whole relationship is settled between Him and us; and then, as many of us as have found out, and are finding out all afresh in the thick of life, there needs to be a continual coming to Him as Saviour for the cleansing and purifying effects of His blood. That is the meaning of His first invitation word, “Come.”
There is a second invitation word, “Follow Me.” It has to do with our life for the Lord Jesus out in the crowd, in the common ministry of life. “Come to Me” means our own personal cleansing by His blood. “Follow Me” means our relationship to the crowd of needy folks all round about us. In this chapter I read this afternoon, this John chapter (John 12), the Master says distinctly, “If any man would serve Me, let him follow Me.” And if you will in your thought reach through the Master’s life from cradle to Calvary, you can easily call to mind very simply just what “Follow Me” means to us as it comes from His lips.