Wednesdays with Watson is a weekly reading taken from my favorite Puritan writer, Thomas Watson. This week’s selection is taken from The Lord’s Supper, Chapter 4: “Christ’s Love Displayed in the Sacrament.”
Behold the amazing love of Christ. His body was broken. The cross, says St Augustine, was a pulpit in which Christ preached his love to the world. Let us see in the cross, a holy culmination of the love of Christ.
i. It was wonderful love that Christ who never had the viper of sin fastened on him should he reputed a sinner: that he who hated sin, should be ‘made sin’ (2 Cor 5:21); that he who is numbered among the Persons of the Trinity should be ‘numbered with the transgressors’ (Isa. 53:12).
ii. It was wonderful love that Christ should suffer death. ‘Lord,’ says Bernard, ‘thou hast loved me more than thyself, for thou didst lay down thy life for me.” The Emperor Trajan rent off a piece of his own robe, to bind up one of his soldier’s wounds. Christ rent off his own flesh for us; nay, that Christ should die as the ‘greatest sinner’ (Luther), having the weight of all men’s sins laid upon him, here was love usque ad stuporem dulcis (sweet to the point of astonishment). It sets all the angels in heaven wondering.
iii. It was wonderful love that Christ should die freely: ‘I lay down my life’ (John 10:17); ‘[His acts] were not by necessity, but by choice’ (Jerome). There was no law to enjoin him, no force to compel him. It is called the ‘offering of the body of Jesus Christ’ (Heb. 10:10). What could fasten him to the cross but the golden link of love?
iv. It was wonderful love that Christ should die for such as we are. What are we? Not only vanity, but enmity. When we were fighting, he was dying; when we had the weapons in our hands, then he had the spear in his side (Rom. 5:8).
v. It was wonderful love that Christ died for us, when he could not expect to he at all bettered by us. We were reduced to penury; we were in such a condition, that we could neither merit Christ’s love nor requite it; for Christ to die for us, when we were at such a low ebb, was the very quintessence of love.
One man will extend kindness to another, so long as he is able to requite him; but if he be fallen to decay, then love begins to slacken and cool. But when we were engulfed in misery, and were fallen to decay, when we had lost our beauty, stained our blood, spent our portion, then Christ died for us. Oh, amazing love, which may swallow up all our thoughts!