O Wedding-guest, this soul
Alone on a wide, wide sea:
So lonely ’twas, that God himself
Scarce seemed there to be.
So Jesus handles the problem of sin, but that is only half the story, for there remains the problem of Redemption. The treatment of sin is far profounder and truer than John the Baptist or any other teacher has achieved; and it implies that Jesus will handle Redemption in a way no less profound and effective. If he does not, then he had better not have preached a gospel. If, in dealing with sin, he touches reality at every point, we may expect him in the matter of Redemption to reach the very centre of life. How else can he, with his serious view of sin, say to a man, “Thy sins are forgiven thee”? (Mark 2:5). But it is quite clear from our records that, while Jesus laid bare in this relentless way the ugliness and hopelessness of sin, he did not despair: his tone is always one of hope and confidence. The strong man armed may find a stronger man come upon him and take from him the panoply in which he trusted (Luke 11:21, 22). There is a great gulf that cannot be crossed (Luke 16:26)—yes, but if the experience of Christendom tells us anything, it tells us that Jesus crossed it himself, and did the impossible. “The great matter is that Jesus believed God was willing to take the human soul, and make it new and young and clean again.” But the human soul did not believe it, till Jesus convinced it, and won it, by action of his own. “The Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost”; and he did not come in vain.
THE CHOICE OF THE CROSS
By what they said, I perceived that he had been a great warrior, and had fought with and slain him that had the power of death (Hebrews 2:14), but not without great danger to himself, which made me love him the more—“Pilgrims Progress”, Part I
The subject before us is one of the greatest difficulty. Why Jesus chose the cross has exercised the thought of the Christian world ever since he did so. He told his disciples beforehand of what lay before him, of what he was choosing, but it was long before they realized that he meant any such thing. The cross was to them a strange idea, and for a long time they did not seriously face the matter. Once the cross was an accomplished fact, Christians could not, and did not wish to, avoid thinking out what had meant so much to their Master; but it has mostly been with a sense of facing a mystery that in some measure eluded them, with a feeling that there is more beyond, something always to be attained hereafter.