RPM, Volume 16, Number 28, July 6 to July 12, 2014

The Poor Man's Portions

Numbered With the Transgressors

By Robert Hawker

And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, and he was numbered with the transgressors. - Mark xv. 28.

Look up, my soul, to the cross, and behold thy Lord hanging with two thieves; yea, in the middle of them, as if the greatest malefactor of the three; and, what is the most awful part of the subject, not only was he thus considered by the Jewish rabble, but as the sinner's representative, Jesus was thus beheld in Jehovah's view; "numbered with the transgressors," and virtually, the great surety and sponsor of them all. Pause, my soul, as thou readest this scripture and as thou beholdest it fulfilled on the cross. Will it not undeniably follow, that if Christ was so reckoned, and so numbered, then must it have been, not for himself, for he had no sin, but for his people; and if made sin and a curse, surely he hath taken away both sin and the curse, by the sacrifice of himself, that they might be made the righteousness of God in him?

There is one circumstance in this representation of Jesus being reckoned with the transgressors, as a sin and a curse, yea, sustaining the whole of sin and the curse in his own sacred person, that is particularly striking; I mean, that amidst all the shadowy representations under the law, the only type on this subject, and a most decisive one it was, is that of "the brazen serpent." Of all the creatures of God's creation, it was the serpent only that was pronounced cursed at the fall; and therefore, though the blood of many beasts may be, and indeed was made typical of redemption by the sacrifice of Christ, yet none but the serpent could represent Christ as a curse for his people. There is somewhat very striking in this. Christ, in redeeming us from the curse of the law, must be represented as a curse for us: the serpent therefore, the cursed beast, shall be lifted up in the wilderness; and Jesus himself will graciously explain it: "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, but have eternal life:" John iii. 14,15.

What a wonderful event! Who, but for the scripture, and the teaching of the Holy Ghost, would have been able to trace the affinity? "My righteous servant," saith Jehovah, " shall justify many, for he shall bear their iniquities." He is therefore numbered with the transgressors, Isaiah liii. 11,12. And agreeably to this, all the circumstances attending this sustaining of the curse, shall correspond: a drop of water is denied to none but the cursed in hell; Jesus, therefore, in his thirst, shall be denied it also. If malefactors under the curse have no one to mitigate their sorrows, here again Jesus shall be the same; for in his sufferings, "all his disciples forsook him, and fled." Is the darkness in hell an aggravation of the miseries of the cursed there? Thus also shall it be in the extreme agonies of Jesus; for darkness covered the earth during his crucifixion, from the sixth to the ninth hour. Yea, and above all, the sense of divine manifestation shall be withdrawn, as from those in the regions of everlasting misery, who have no sense of the divine presence, but in his wrath.

So that Jesus needed not to go down into hell to suffer the torments of the damned; for being numbered with the transgressors, and standing forth to the view of Jehovah, as sin and a curse for his people. the waters of the great deep were broken up, to overwhelm his precious soul; and in those tremendous hours, all the cataracts of divine wrath were poured out upon him, until the holy patient sufferer was constrained to cry out in that dolorous cry, "All thy waves and thy billows are gone over me!" Psalm xiii. 7.

Lamb of God! is it thus at Golgotha thou wert numbered with the transgressors? And was it thus that the scripture was fulfilled? Oh, for grace so to behold thee, so to fix and feast my soul upon thee, that, while conscious that thy holy soul knew no sin, though made sin for me, I, who know no righteousness, and truly have none, may be made the righteousness of God in thee!

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