And, of course, if there be a Calvary in your life and in mine, it means the bit that came after. It means a burial. It means that you go down and bury yourself dear out of sight in the soil of the lives of men. There can be no resurrection except as there is a burial; and, blessed be God, by His grace, there can be both a Calvary and a burial.
And then the glory-side shines out,—after burial comes the resurrection. There will be a daily rising into a new resurrection life in our own experience; a daily rising up, with the stone rolled away, and the dawn of a new day breaking, and the morning sun shining. And then just as surely as we follow Him down, and bury ourselves out of sight there will be a rising up into a new life in the lives of men.
And the resurrection is followed by Olivet. And Olivet here means simply two things, an eye that can see the uttermost parts of the earth, and feet going there, really or representatively. The Christ-controlled heart makes the eye see the vision of a world’s need, and impels both hands and feet to action.
And one thing more, it means an Ascension-life. What did His Ascension life mean? Our Lord Jesus Christ when He went back home engaged in intercessory prayer. That is His present marvellous occupation, praying at the Father’s right hand for others. He ever liveth to make intercession, pleading, claiming for others. And if we follow Him there will be an Ascension life, an intercessor’s life reaching out, and above, that is, by way of His throne, and through to the uttermost parts of the whole earth.
But, please underscore this, that just as in our Lord’s life, Calvary overtopped every other peak in the great range of His life, and stands out tallest and highest; even so, in your life and mine Calvary, our Calvary, is meant to overtop every other peak. Need I repeat again, that you may not misunderstand, not the Calvary, but a Calvary ? His Calvary stands alone; it is a solitary thing; it means the Son of God pouring out His life for the sins of men. It means for us forgiveness, righteousness, the whole score settled, and ourselves taken into the Father’s presence and heart and home. It means that only through that sacrifice can we come back home, and have the sin-score settled. There is only one Calvary.
But, shall I make it a bit clearer maybe, by saying this, there must be a Calvary spirit, a Calvary sacrifice, a Calvary shadow in every life? That means simply this, that as we follow along after Him there will be continuous suffering. Perhaps I should stop right here and say this, sacrifice does not simply mean giving up. It means this, that you give up your life if need be so that something may come to others.
And because, through your sacrifice, there comes new life to others, you are singing; even while the knife is cutting your song is singing itself in your heart. The Twenty-second Psalm throbs with sobs, but it is a joyous song as well at the end. The sobs and the song are in the one Psalm. Suffering means this,—the knife cutting, actual pain, and you feel it, you feel it keenly, but you are singing as you feel it. The sweet music of the song comes because you have fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ in His Calvary suffering; and there is the joy of bringing His blessing to others through your suffering. And that song keeps singing, even while the knife is cutting and cutting, and jagging and jagging. The music is the dominant note always of your life, even while the cutting pain goes on. That is what the Calvary spirit means.
It does not mean simply suffering. Suffering may be something you cannot prevent; privation is the thing that comes to you that you cannot overcome or overrule. Sacrifice means this, that when you need not do a thing unless you choose to, you still choose to do it, to suffer, that through that suffering others may be blessed. And higher yet, it means that we may fill up, as dear St. Paul said, fill up that which is left behind in the sufferings of Christ.