A Savior to Die or a Nation to Perish

John 11:49‑52  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 7
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There are two thoughts of immense moral power in these words, “one man should die”... “that the whole nation perish not,” they bring before the heart the great truth of man’s ruin and God’s salvation in a striking way.
Caiaphas, the high priest, (in this the unconscious mouth piece of the Holy Ghost,) gives expression to it in the above words: viz., “It is expedient for us that one man should die for the people;” and as you read those words and ponder them, the words of the Lord Jesus Christ come to your mind, “ought not Christ to suffer”— “it behooved Christ to suffer.”
Let us now examine a little together, wherein consists this “ought not” —this divine moral necessity, if I may thus reverently speak.
It was because of what God in His own being is, and ever was, a righteous, holy, sin-hating God; and at the same time gracious, merciful, long-suffering God, who would spare sinners; a God of love?
In the second place it was because of what man was, and is, a self-willed, rebellious, sin-loving creature. God had made the world, and all was very good; last of all He made man in His own image; placed him in the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it, surrounded him with the tokens of God’s care, and restricted him from eating tire fruit of one tree, viz., the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Here in this garden where everything was a perpetual reminder of the interest and care of his Creator, man willingly believes the lie of Satan harbors in his breast a slander against God, and acting under its influence, sets up his own will; and in the exercise of it appropriates to himself what God under penalty had restricted. What a picture! the creature of the handiwork of God, in opposition to the will of his Creator, has acted for himself, and has forfeited the place of blessing in which God had placed him, and the life in which he was to enjoy the blessing given him there. He has subjected himself to the penalty which God has announced, and is driven out from the presence of God-a fallen man.
We now have man, the head of God’s creation, outside of Eden, in the wide waste of this world, having a nature at variance with God, and with only a forfeited life between him and the judgment, which ends in being cast into the lake of fire! What a scene! What a desolation!
What now is to be done? On whose side would you say the first movement towards reconciliation should take place? Of course on man’s; because it was he who brought about this distance from God. It was man, therefore, that was bound in every way to repair the breach; which, the following his own will, had introduced between him and his Creator. Instead of this, from God Himself in His wondrous rich grace, super-abounding grace; from God, the offended One, the first movement comes! He discloses that He desires not that the breach should continue; and as man would not, and. still further cannot repair it, the blessed God undertakes to do so, and hence it becomes necessary that the Divine requirements should be met, and the penalty which man had incurred should be borne. Hence the blessed God gave His. Son, who was perfect and spotless, to be chargeable with His people’s guilt: and He, the Lord Jesus Christ, bore the judgment, endured the sinner’s penalty in grace, gave up His own life, that the love of God, who gave Him to die, might travel out worldwide to all!
Now we can understand the “Ought not Christ to suffer, and enter into His glory.” The expediency that one man should die? What a penalty, and with what a price was it not paid! God’s dear Son laying down His life for us: and more, that He might read to us the heart of the living God!
How can we then allow the will and nature for which He had to die! No! It is the very sequence of love; the answer of heart to His is, that we must hate that nature and will, out of which, and from which, His death alone could save! —T.