A new meaning for the Cross
Because of this, God raised him up to the heights of heaven and gave him a name that is above every other name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
The head that once was crowned with thorns, is crowned with glory now; a royal diadem adorns the mighty Victor’s brow.
The cross He bore is life and health, tho’ shame and death to Him. His people’s hope, His people’s wealth, their everlasting theme.
Thomas Kelly (1769-1855)
A simple image of stark contrast
Thomas Kelly wrote 765 hymn texts in the span of fifty-one years. That’s more than one a month for half a century. Kelly was also known as a popular preacher, and many of his hymns were written to accompany his sermon texts.
Studying law at Trinity College, Dublin, Kelly had a strong conversion experience that redirected his life toward the ministry. He preached powerfully, staunchly defending the doctrine of justification by faith. The Anglican church, still in the wake of reaction against the Wesleys, wanted no more troublemakers, so they kicked Kelly out. He landed with the Congregationalists and gained an even greater reputation. He was not only a gifted preacher but was also very generous, openly contributing to the poor, especially during the Dublin famine of 1847.
The simple image of this hymn is a strong one, a before-and-after picture of stark contrast: the head that once was crowned with thorns is crowned with glory now.
Our “Resurrection Week” readings are adapted from The One Year® Book of Hymns by Mark Norton and Robert Brown, Tyndale House Publishers (1995). Today’s is taken from the entry for April 7.
Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House
“Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth.”
Song of Solomon 1:2
For several days we have been dwelling upon the Saviour’s passion, and for some little time to come we shall linger there. In beginning a new month, let us seek the same desires after our Lord as those which glowed in the heart of the elect spouse. See how she leaps at once to him; there are no prefatory words; she does not even mention his name; she is in the heart of her theme at once, for she speaks of him who was the only him in the world to her. How bold is her love! It was much condescension which permitted the weeping penitent to anoint his feet with spikenard–it was rich love which allowed the gentle Mary to sit at his feet and learn of him–but here, love, strong, fervent love, aspires to higher tokens of regard, and closer signs of fellowship. Esther trembled in the presence of Ahasuerus, but the spouse in joyful liberty of perfect love knows no fear. If we have received the same free spirit, we also may ask the like. By kisses we suppose to be intended those varied manifestations of affection by which the believer is made to enjoy the love of Jesus. The kiss of reconciliation we enjoyed at our conversion, and it was sweet as honey dropping from the comb. The kiss of acceptance is still warm on our brow, as we know that he hath accepted our persons and our works through rich grace. The kiss of daily, present communion is that which we pant after to be repeated day after day, till it is changed into the kiss of reception, which removes the soul from earth, and the kiss of consummation which fills it with the joy of heaven. Faith is our walk, but fellowship sensibly felt is our rest. Faith is the road, but communion with Jesus is the well from which the pilgrim drinks. O lover of our souls, be not strange to us; let the lips of thy blessing meet the lips of our asking; let the lips of thy fulness touch the lips of our need, and straightway the kiss will be effected.
“It is time to seek the Lord.”
This month of April is said to derive its name from the Latin verb aperio, which signifies to open, because all the buds and blossoms are now opening, and we have arrived at the gates of the flowery year. Reader, if you are yet unsaved, may your heart, in accord with the universal awakening of nature, be opened to receive the Lord. Every blossoming flower warns you that it is time to seek the Lord; be not out of tune with nature, but let your heart bud and bloom with holy desires. Do you tell me that the warm blood of youth leaps in your veins? then, I entreat you, give your vigour to the Lord. It was my unspeakable happiness to be called in early youth, and I could fain praise the Lord every day for it. Salvation is priceless, let it come when it may, but oh! an early salvation has a double value in it. Young men and maidens, since you may perish ere you reach your prime, “It is time to seek the Lord.” Ye who feel the first signs of decay, quicken your pace: that hollow cough, that hectic flush, are warnings which you must not trifle with; with you it is indeed time to seek the Lord. Did I observe a little grey mingled with your once luxurious tresses? Years are stealing on apace, and death is drawing nearer by hasty marches, let each return of spring arouse you to set your house in order. Dear reader, if you are now advanced in life, let me entreat and implore you to delay no longer. There is a day of grace for you now–be thankful for that, but it is a limited season and grows shorter every time that clock ticks. Here in this silent chamber, on this first night of another month, I speak to you as best I can by paper and ink, and from my inmost soul, as God’s servant, I lay before you this warning, “It is time to seek the Lord.” Slight not that work, it may be your last call from destruction, the final syllable from the lip of grace.
All rights belong to the collection of Charles Spurgeon(C)
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