Why Didn’t God Do Something? (Whyte)

Alexander Whyte (d. 1921) was a well-known Scottish preacher who pastored a congregation in the Free Church of Scotland over 100 years ago. Many were touched by his sermons and his teaching. Whyte also wrote several books, including Lord, Teach Us to Pray. After reading several other authors mention Whyte, I picked up a book of some of his sermons. The book is called With Mercy and with Judgment. Today’s reading was Whyte’s wonderful Lord’s Supper meditation he titled “The Ransom.” Here’s an excerpt:

You have heard sometimes about hell being let loose. Yes, but hear this. Come to Caiaphas’ palace on the Passover night, and look at this.

Then they spit in His face, and whipped Him: they blindfolded Him and then they struck Him with the palms of their hands, saying: 'Prophesy to us, Thou Christ, who is it that struck Thee?' And they stripped Him and put on Him a scarlet robe. And when they had made a crown of thorns...they put it upon His head, and a reed in His right hand; and they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying: Hail! King of the Jews! And they spit on Him again, and took the reed out of His hand, and struck Him on the head. Then Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him.  After which they brought Jesus forth wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And when the Chief Priests saw Jesus, they cried out, Crucify Him! crucify Him! Then Pilate delivered Him to them to be crucified."

My brethren, these are dreadful, most dreadful, things. And all the time, God Almighty, the God and Father of Jesus Christ, restrained Himself, He held Himself in, and sat as still as a stone, seeing and hearing all that. The arrest, the trial, the buffeting, the spitting, the jesting and the jeering, the bloody scourging, the crown of thorns, the reed, and the purple robe. Why? In the name of amazement, why did the Judge of all the earth sit still and see all that was said and done? Do you know what made Him sit still? Did you ever think about it? And would you like to be told how it could be? God Almighty, my brethren, not only sat still, but He ordained it all; His Son endured it all – in order to take away sin.  In order to take away the curse of sin, to take away the very existence of sin forever. You will find the explanation of that terrible night’s work, and of the still more terrible morning just about to dawn. You will find the explanation, the justification and the complete key to it all in your own heart.

Did you ever see yourself to be such a despicable creature that you wondered why all men did not spit upon you? Did you ever wonder that, not friendship and family life only, but very human society itself, did not dissolve and fall in pieces, such is the meanness, the despicableness, the duplicity, the selfishness, the cruelty, and the diabolical wickedness of the human heart – but above all human hearts, of yours? You will understand the spitting scene that night when God lets you see your own heart. There was no surplus shame; there was no scorn too much; the contumely was not one iota overdone that night. They are in every congregation, at every Communion Table, and they are the salt and the ornament of it, who say as they sit down at the Table: ‘He hid not his face from shame and from spitting for me! He loved me in my sin and my shame, and he gave himself for me!’

Alexander Whyte, With Mercy and with Judgment, p. 151-152.

Shane Lems
Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC)
Hammond, WI, 54015

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