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Let us look then at the scene of our Lord's first coronation as they present it. Jesus is handed over to men of blood. Behold him stripped of his raiments ! His wasted form-for it is he who speaks in the prophetic words, “I may tell all my bones; they look and stare upon me, moves no pity; no more, his meek and patient looks.
They tie him to a post. They plough long furrows on his back. And now, cruel work is to be followed by more cruel sport. Laughing at the happy thought, his guards summon all the band, and hurry off their faint and bleeding prisoner to some spacious hall. The expression may seem coarse, but it is true—they make game of the Lord of Glory. And when the shocking play is at its height, what a sight there to any disciple who should venture to look in! Mute and meek, Jesus sits in that hall—a spectacle of woe; an old purple robe on his bleeding back; in his hand a reed; and on his head a wreath—not of laurel, but of thorns, while the blood, trickling down from many wounds over his face, falls on a breast that is heaving with a sea of sorrows. Angels look on, fixed with astonishment; devils stand back, amazed to see themselves outdone; while all around his sacred person the brutal crowd swells and surges. They gibe; they jeer; they laugh ; some in bitter mockery bend the knee, as to imperial Cæsar; while others, to give variety to the hellish sport, pluck the reed from his unresisting hand, and beat the thorns deep into his brows; and ever and anon they join in wild chorus, making the hall ring to the cry, “ Hail, King of the Jews.”
The people of Bethlehem, one day as they looked out at their doors, saw a poor widow, bent and grey with grief and age, walking up their street, who was accompanied by a Moabitess-poorly clad and widowed like herself. She is at length recognised. It is Naomi! The news flies through the town. But when her old acquaintances who hastened to greet her, beheld in such poor guise one who had left them in circumstances of envied affluence, happy with a loving husband at her side, and at her back two gallant sons, they were seized with blank ainazement. They held up their hands to cry, “Is this Naomi?” And how might the angels, who had adored the Son as he lay in the bosom of the Father, or, singing in the skies of that same Bethlehem, had bent down to gaze with wonder and admiration on the babe of Mary's breast, regard the spectacle in that hall with greater bewilderment—exclaiming, “Is this the Son of God?"
These twisted thorns formed the crown wherewith “his mother crowned him in the day of his espousals." Nor should we leave that to turn our eyes on another scene, till we have thought with godly sorrow of the sins, and with deep affection of the love, which brought Jesus from heaven to meet such sufferings. In these wounds and blows he took our sins upon him ; in these indignities he was wounded for our transgressions ; he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
Turn now from this cruel mockery to the other
scene where he received a different crown, in a different assembly, and from very different hands.
The cross is standing vacant and lonely on Calvary—the crowd all dispersed; the tomb is standing empty and open in the garden—the Roman sentinels all withdrawn; and from the vine-covered sides of Olivet a band of men are hastily descending-joy, mingled with amazement, in their looks. With the bearing of those that have a high enterprise before them, they are rushing down the mountain upon the world--a stream of life which is destined to roll on till salvation reaches the ends of the earth. While the disciples come down to the world, Jesus, whom a cloud received from their sight, goes up to heaven; and, corresponding to the custom of those olden days, when the successful champion was carried home in triumph from the field, borne bigh through applauding throngs on the shields of his companions, our Lord enters into glory, escorted by a host of angels. His battle over, and the great victory won, the conqueror is now to be crowned, throned, installed into the kingdom. Behold the scene as revealed by anticipation to the rapt eyes of Daniel :-"I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.”
Thus our Lord received the crown from his own Father's hand ; and then, it might be said, was the Scripture fulfilled, “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied.”
Yet observe, I pray you, that, in a sense, he is not satisfied. Is there no satisfying of the greedy grave ? None. Death has been feeding its voracious maw these many thousand years; and yet, how does it open that wide black mouth to cry, “Give,.give, give ?” Nor, in one sense, is there any satisfying of the love of Christ. It is deeper than the grave; and its desires grow with their gratification. Incessantly pleading for more saved ones, Jesus entreats his Father-his cry also, “Give, give." Yes; he would rather hear one poor sinner pray, than all these angels sing ; see one true penitent lying at his feet, than all these brilliant crowns. In glory, where every eye is turned upon himself, his eyes are bent down on earth. I fancy that amid the pomp of state, and splendid enjoyments of the palace, it is little that the sovereign thinks of the poor felon who pines in lonely prison, crushed and terror-stricken, with haggard face and heavy heart, waiting the death to which the law has doomed him ; seldom, perhaps, in fancy, does that pallid wretch intrude himself where all wear smiles, or send a hollow groan from his cell to move one thought of pity, or disturb the sparkling flow of royal pleasures. But Jesus does not forget the wretchedness of the lost amid the happiness of the saved. Their miseries are before him; and amid the high hallelujahs of the upper sanctuary, he hearkens to
the groans of the prisoner and the cry of the perishing. And—like a mother, whose loving heart is not so much with the children housed at home, as with the fallen, beguiled, and lost one, who is the most in her thoughts, and oftenest mentioned in her prayers—Jesus is thinking now of every poor careless sinner with his lost soul, and the sentence of death hanging over his guilty head. He pities you from his heart. He would save you, would you consent to be saved. And you, who were never honoured with an invitation to a palace on earth, you who are never likely to be so honoured, you, by whom this world's pettiest monarch would haughtily sweep, nor deem you worthy of the smallest notice, Jesus, bending from his throne, invites to share his glory, and become with him kings and priests unto God.
III. Let us enquire in what character Jesus holds this
It is not as God, nor as man, he holds it; but as both God and man, Mediator of the New Covenant, the monarch of a new kingdom. What he was on earth he is still in heaven-God and man for ever.
Our Lord appeared in both these characters by the grave of Lazarus.
“ Jesus wept." Brief but blessed record! These were precious tears. The passing air kissed them from his cheek, or they were drunk up of the earth, or they glistened but for a little, like dew-drops on some lowly flower; yet assuring us of his sympathy in our hours of sorrow, their memory has been healing