<u>The Earliest Calvary Picture.</u>
There’s a great passion burning in the heart of God. It is tenderly warm and tenaciously strong. Its fires never burn low, nor lose their fine glow. That passion is to win man back home again. The whole world of man is included in its warm, eager reach.
The old home hearth-fire of God is lonely since man went away. The family circle is broken. God will not rest until that old home circle is complete again, and every voice joining in the home songs.
It is an overmastering passion, the overmastering passion of God’s heart. It has guided and controlled all His thoughts and plans for man from the first. The purpose of winning man, and the whole race, back again is the dominant gripping passion of God’s heart to-day. Everything is made to bend to this one end.
When Eden’s tragedy came so early, to darken the pages of this old Book, and, far worse, to darken the pages of human life, there is a great glimpse of this passion of God’s heart in the guarding of those Eden gates. The presence of the angels with their sword of flame told plainly of a day when man would be coming back again to the old Eden home of God. The place must be carefully guarded for him.
This is a love passion, a passion of love. And love itself is the master passion both of the human heart and of God’s heart. Nothing can grip and fill and sway the heart either of man or God like that.
We would all easily agree that the greatest picture of God’s marvellous, overmastering passion of love is seen in the cross. All men as they have come to know that story have stood with heads bowed and bared before the love revealed there. They have not understood it. They have quarrelled about its meaning. But they have acknowledged its love and power as beyond that of any other story or picture.
However men may differ as to why Jesus died, and how His dying affects us, they all agree that the scene of the cross is the greatest revelation of love ever known or ever shown. All theories of the atonement seem to be lost sight of in one thought of grateful acknowledgment of a stupendous love, as men are drawn together by the magnetism of the hill-top of Calvary.
But there is a wondrously clear foreshadowing of that tremendous cross scene in the earliest page of this old Book. Nowhere is love, God’s passion of love, made to stand out more distinctly and vividly than in the first chapter of Genesis. The after-scene of the cross uses intenser coloring; the blacks are inkier in their blackness; the reds deeper and redder; the contrasts sharper to the startling-point; yet there is nothing in the cross chapters of the Gospels not included fully in this first leaf of revelation. But it has taken the light of the cross to open our eyes to see how much is plainly there. Let us look at it a bit.