Friday, January 28, 2011


by Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892)

They shall look upon me whom they have pierced”—Zechariah 12:10

HE HOLY TENDERNESS THAT MAKES MEN MOURN FOR SIN ARISES OUT OF A DIVINE OPERATION. It is not in fallen man to renew his own heart. Can the adamant60 turn itself to wax or the granite soften itself to clay? Only He that stretcheth out the heav-ens and layeth the foundation of the earth can form and reform the spirit of man within him. The power to make the rock of our nature flow with rivers of repentance is not in the rock itself. The power lies in the omnipotent Spirit of God…When He deals with the human mind by His secret and mysterious operations, He fills it with new life, perception, and emotion. “God maketh my heart soft,” said Job (Job 23:16a); and in the best sense, this is true. The Holy Spirit makes us like wax, and we become impressible to His sacred seal…But now I come to the core and center of our subject—

TENDERNESS OF HEART AND MOURNING FOR SIN IS ACTUALLY WROUGHT BY A FAITH-LOOK AT THE PIERCED SON OF GOD. True sorrow for sin comes not without the Spirit of God. But even the Spirit of God Himself does not work it except by leading us to look to Jesus the crucified. There is no true mourning for sin until the eye has seen Christ…O soul, when thou comest to look where all eyes should look, even to Him Who was pierced, then thine eye begins to weep for that for which all eyes should weep—the sin that slew thy Savior! There is no saving repentance except within sight of the cross… Evangelical repentance is acceptable repentance and that only. The essence of evangelical repentance is that it looks to Him Whom it pierced by its sin…Mark you, wherever the Holy Spirit does really come, it always leads the soul to look to Christ. Never yet did a man receive the Spirit of God unto salvation, unless he received it to the bringing of him to look to Christ and mourn for sin.

Faith and repentance are born together, live together, and thrive together. Let no man put asunder what God hath joined together! No man can repent of sin without believing in Jesus nor believe in Jesus without repenting of sin. Look then lovingly to Him that bled upon the cross for thee, for in that look thou shalt find pardon and receive soft-ening. How wonderful that all our evils should be remedied by that one sole prescription, “Look unto me and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth” (Isa 45:22). Yet none will look until the Spirit of God inclines them so to do. He works on none to their salvation unless they yield to His influences and turn their eyes to Jesus…

The look that blesses us so as to produce tenderness of heart is a look to Jesus as the pierced One. On this, I want to dwell for a season. It is not looking to Jesus as God only that affects the heart, but looking to this same Lord and God as crucified for us. We see the Lord pierced, and then the piercing of our own heart begins. When the Lord reveals Jesus to us, we begin to have our sins revealed…

Come, dear souls, let us go together to the cross for a little while and note who it was that there received the spear thrust of the Roman soldier. Look at His side, and mark that fearful gash that has broached His heart and set the double flood in motion. The centurion said, “Truly this was the Son of God” (Mat 27:54). He, Who by nature is God over all, “without [whom] was not any thing made that was made” (Joh 1:3), took upon Himself our nature and became a man like ourselves, save that He was without taint of sin. Being found in fashion as a man, He became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. It is He that died! He, Who only hath immortality, condescended to die! He was all glory and power, yet He died! He was all tenderness and grace, yet He died! Infinite goodness was hanged upon a tree! Boundless bounty was pierced with a spear! This tragedy exceeds all others! However dark man’s ingratitude may seem in other cases, it is blackest here! However horrible his spite against virtue, that spite is cruelest here! Here hell has outdone all its former villainies, crying, “This is the heir; come, let us kill him” (Mat 21:38).

God dwelt among us, and man would have none of Him. So far as man could pierce his God and slay his God, he went about to commit the hideous crime. Man slew the Lord Christ and pierced Him with a spear! [In this, he] showed what he would do with the Eternal Himself, if he could come at Him. Man is, at heart, a deicide. He would be glad if there were no God. He says in his heart, “No God” (Psa 14:1). If his hand could go as far as his heart, God would not exist another hour. This it is which invests the piercing of our Lord with such intensity of sin: it meant the piercing of God.

But why? Why and wherefore is the good God thus persecuted? By the lovingkindness of the Lord Jesus, by the glory of His person, and by the perfection of His character, I beseech you—be amazed and ashamed that He should be pierced! This is no common death! This murder is no ordinary crime. O man, He that was pierced with the spear was thy God! On the cross, behold thy Maker, thy Benefactor, thy best Friend!

Look steadily at the pierced One, and note the suffering that is covered by the word pierced. Our Lord suffered greatly and grievously. I cannot in one discourse rehearse the story of His sorrows—the griefs of His life of poverty and persecution; the griefs of Gethsemane and the bloody sweat; the griefs of His desertion, denial, and betrayal; the griefs of Pilate’s hall; the scourging, the spitting, and the mockery; the griefs of the cross with its dishonor and agony…Our Lord was made a curse for us. The penalty for sin, or that which was equivalent thereto, He endured: “His own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree” (1Pe 2:24). “The chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed” (Isa 53:5).

Brethren, the sufferings of Jesus ought to melt our hearts! I mourn this morning that I do not mourn as I should. I accuse myself of that hardness of heart that I condemn, since I can tell you this story without breaking down. My Lord’s griefs are untellable. Behold and see if there was ever sorrow like unto His sorrow! Here we lean over a dread abyss and look down into fathomless gulfs…If you will steadfastly consider Jesus pierced for our sins and all that is meant thereby, your hearts must relent. Sooner or later, the cross will bring out all the feeling of which you are capable and give you capacity for more. When the Holy Spirit puts the cross into the heart, the heart is dissolved in tenderness…The hardness of the heart dies when we see Jesus die in woe so great.

It behooves us further to note who it was that pierced Him: “They shall look on me whom they have pierced.” The “they,” in each case, relates to the same persons. We slew the Savior, even we, who look to Him and live…In the Savior’s case, sin was the cause of His death. Transgression pierced Him. But whose transgression? Whose? It was not His own, for He knew no sin, neither was guile found in His lips. Pilate said, “I find no fault in this man” (Luk 23:4). Brethren, the Messiah was cut off, but not for Himself. Our sins slew the Savior. He suffered because there was no other way of vindicating the justice of God and allowing us to escape. The sword, which else had smitten us, was awakened against the Lord’s Shepherd, against the Man that was Jehovah’s Fellow (Zec 13:7)…If this does not break and melt our hearts, let us note why He came into a position in which He could be pierced by our sins. It was love, mighty love, nothing else but love that led Him to the cross. No other charge can ever be laid at His door but this: He was “found guilty of excess of love.”64 He put Himself in the way of piercing because He was resolved to save us…Shall we hear of this, think of this, consider this, and remain unmoved? Are we worse than brutes? Has all that is human quitted our humanity? If God the Holy Ghost is now at work, a sight of Christ will surely melt our heart of stone…

Let me also say to you, beloved, that the more you look at Jesus crucified, the more you will mourn for sin. Growing thought will bring growing tenderness. I would have you look much at the pierced One, that you may hate sin much. Books that set forth the passion of our Lord and hymns that sing of His cross have ever been most dear to saintly minds because of their holy influence upon the heart and conscience. Live at Calvary, beloved, for there you will live at your best. Live at Calvary, and love at Calvary, until live and love become the same thing. I would say, look to the pierced One until your own heart is pierced. An old divine saith, “Look at the cross until all that is on the cross is in your heart.” He further says, “Look at Jesus until He looks at you.” Steadily view His suffering person until He seems to turn His head and look at you, as He did at Peter when he went out and wept bitterly. See Jesus until you see yourself: mourn for Him until you mourn for your sin…He suffered in the room, place, and stead of guilty men. This is the Gospel. Whatever others may preach, “We preach Christ crucified” (1Co 1:23). We will ever bear the cross in the forefront. The substitution of Christ for the sinner is the essence of the Gospel. We do not keep back the doctrine of the Second Advent; but, first and foremost, we preach the pierced One—this it is that shall lead to evangelical repentance, when the Spirit of grace is poured out.

From a sermon delivered on Lord’s Day morning, September 18, 1887, at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.


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