The Shameful Tree
Then Jesus shouted, “Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands!” And with those words he breathed his last.
Behold the Savior of mankind nailed to the shameful tree! How vast the love that Him inclined to bleed and die for thee!
‘Tis done! the precious ransom’s paid! “Receive my soul!” He cries; see where He bows His sacred head! He bows His head and dies!
Samuel Wesley (1662-1735)
Saved from the fire
On February 9, 1709, a fire ripped through a rectory in the village of Epworth, England. The Wesley family lost nearly everything. Miraculously, their six-year-old boy named John (who would later found the Methodist church) was saved from the fire, as was a piece of paper bearing this hymn, written by the rector, Samuel Wesley.
Samuel Wesley, father of John and Charles (and seventeen other children), was scholarly and stern. His major academic project was a study of the book of Job. And he faced a great deal of suffering himself. Nine of his children died at birth or in infancy. He was frequently in debt (even spending three months in debtors’ prison). Of course, there was also that devastating fire.
This hymn, however, shows us a slightly different side of Samuel Wesley. The theme of suffering is strong, but there’s an attitude of love, of devotion. Apparently he taught his famous sons more than just discipline, but also a deep appreciation for what Christ accomplished through His suffering.
Our Holy 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 March 22.
For more reflection on Holy week, see The Passion, Tyndale’s companion book to Mel Gibson’s powerful movie about the last twelve hours of Jesus’ life.
Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House
“Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered.”
We are told that the Captain of our salvation was made perfect through suffering, therefore we who are sinful, and who are far from being perfect, must not wonder if we are called to pass through suffering too. Shall the head be crowned with thorns, and shall the other members of the body be rocked upon the dainty lap of ease? Must Christ pass through seas of his own blood to win the crown, and are we to walk to heaven dryshod in silver slippers? No, our Master’s experience teaches us that suffering is necessary, and the true-born child of God must not, would not, escape it if he might. But there is one very comforting thought in the fact of Christ’s “being made perfect through suffering”–it is, that he can have complete sympathy with us. “He is not an high priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities.” In this sympathy of Christ we find a sustaining power. One of the early martyrs said, “I can bear it all, for Jesus suffered, and he suffers in me now; he sympathizes with me, and this makes me strong.” Believer, lay hold of this thought in all times of agony. Let the thought of Jesus strengthen you as you follow in his steps. Find a sweet support in his sympathy; and remember that, to suffer is an honourable thing–to suffer for Christ is glory. The apostles rejoiced that they were counted worthy to do this. Just so far as the Lord shall give us grace to suffer for Christ, to suffer with Christ, just so far does he honour us. The jewels of a Christian are his afflictions. The regalia of the kings whom God hath anointed are their troubles, their sorrows, and their griefs. Let us not, therefore, shun being honoured. Let us not turn aside from being exalted. Griefs exalt us, and troubles lift us up. “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him.”
“I called him, but he gave me no answer.”
Song of Solomon 5:6
Prayer sometimes tarrieth, like a petitioner at the gate, until the King cometh forth to fill her bosom with the blessings which she seeketh. The Lord, when he hath given great faith, has been known to try it by long delayings. He has suffered his servants’ voices to echo in their ears as from a brazen sky. They have knocked at the golden gate, but it has remained immovable, as though it were rusted upon its hinges. Like Jeremiah, they have cried, “Thou hast covered thyself with a cloud, that our prayer should not pass through.” Thus have true saints continued long in patient waiting without reply, not because their prayers were not vehement, nor because they were unaccepted, but because it so pleased him who is a Sovereign, and who gives according to his own pleasure. If it pleases him to bid our patience exercise itself, shall he not do as he wills with his own! Beggars must not be choosers either as to time, place, or form. But we must be careful not to take delays in prayer for denials: God’s long-dated bills will be punctually honoured; we must not suffer Satan to shake our confidence in the God of truth by pointing to our unanswered prayers. Unanswered petitions are not unheard. God keeps a file for our prayers–they are not blown away by the wind, they are treasured in the King’s archives. This is a registry in the court of heaven wherein every prayer is recorded. Tried believer, thy Lord hath a tear-bottle in which the costly drops of sacred grief are put away, and a book in which thy holy groanings are numbered. By and by, thy suit shall prevail. Canst thou not be content to wait a little? Will not thy Lord’s time be better than thy time? By and by he will comfortably appear, to thy soul’s joy, and make thee put away the sackcloth and ashes of long waiting, and put on the scarlet and fine linen of full fruition.
All rights belong to the collection of Charles Spurgeon(C)
Father God, thank you for your Son, Jesus Christ1 Thank you, Jesus for loving to the point of death on a tree! Holy Spirit thank you being our life line of Truth to Father God and our Mediator, Jesus our Savior! We praise your Holy Name that is above All names. Our souls cry to the heavens, Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus quickly. Keep your loving hand of protection upon Israel and her children. Turn our nation, “America” back to you Father. You have shown me in the spirit what is coming-grant me your strength, Father God, to stand til the end!!! Allow me your grace and mercy to love others as your Son loves us. Protect my family, friends, brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ(here on the internet) and abroad. I am here, Lord, use me. Praise be to the Lord and for His grace and mercy to His children for His love, daily bread, physical health, finances, jobs and homes. Allow us to serve you mightily and stand strong in your strength and not of ourselves. Amen
- Fighting Temptation (dailymannablog.wordpress.com)
- Christ Our Remeemer (dailymannablog.wordpress.com)
- Palm Sunday (dailymannablog.wordpress.com)
- All Glory, Laud and Honor (dailymannablog.wordpress.com)
- Feeling of Fleeing and the Grace of Christ (dailymannablog.wordpress.com)
- Discernment Among Christians/david Reagan/ the Word (dailymannablog.wordpress.com)
- God Calms Our Fears (dailymannablog.wordpress.com)
- Forgiveness of God! (dailymannablog.wordpress.com)
- Foresight of God (dailymannablog.wordpress.com)
- Excellence of Christ and Perfect Savior (dailymannablog.wordpress.com)