Jesus Volunteered to Suffer
For Christ also suffered once for sins —1 Peter 3:18 (NIV).
I was reading this morning of a sailor who had just got ashore, and was telling about his last experience at sea. He said: “The last time I crossed the ocean, we had a terrific time. After we had been out three or four days, the machinery got disarranged and the steam began to escape, and the captain gathering the people and the crew on deck, said: ‘Unless some one shall go down and shut off that steam and arrange that machinery at the peril of his life, we must all be destroyed.’ He was not willing to go down himself. No one seemed willing to go. The passengers gathered at one end of the steamer waiting for their fate. The captain said: ‘I give you a last warning. If there is no one here willing to imperil his life and go down and fix that machinery, we must all be lost.’ A plain sailor said: ‘I’ll go sir,’ and he wrapped himself in a coarse piece of canvas and went down, and was gone but a few moments, when the escaping steam stopped and the machinery was corrected. The captain cried out to the passengers: ‘All saved! Let us go down below and see what has become of the poor fellow.’” They went down. There he lay dead.
Vicarious suffering! Died for all! Oh, do you suppose that those people on the ship ever forgot, ever can forget that poor fellow? “No!” they say, “it was through his sacrifice that I got ashore.” The time came when our whole race must die unless some one should endure torture, sorrow and shame. Who shall come to the rescue? Shall it be one of the seraphim? Not one. Shall it be one of the cherubim? Not one. Shall it be an inhabitant of some pure and unfallen world? Not one. Then Christ said: “Lo! I come to do Thy will, O God” and He went down through the dark stairs of our sin, and wretchedness, and misery, and woe, and He stopped the peril, and He died that you and I might be free. Oh, the love, oh, the endurance, oh, the horrors of the sacrifice! Shall not our souls this morning go out towards Him saying: “Lord Jesus Christ, take my soul. Thou art worthy to have it. Thou hast died to save it.”
About the author and the source
Rev. Thomas De Witt Talmage (1832–1902) was a famous 19th-century preacher, clergyman, author, and editor in both Reformed and Presbyterian churches.
T. De Witt Talmage. Daily Thoughts, edited by J.V. D. Shurts. New York: Dodd & Mead, 1875.