“Brother, sister, what art thou doing for Jesus? I charge thee by the nail-prints of his hands, unless thou be a liar unto him, labour for him!”
According to Charles Spurgeon, “there [was] no remedy for sorrow underneath the sun like the sorrows of Immanuel.” For Spurgeon this truth was essential and precious. This was because the young, world famous, mega-church pastor suffered greatly.
First it was chronic depression. Arthritis and gout followed quickly in tow, only to be joined later by Bright’s disease, now medically diagnosed as lupus. But that was not all. The young pastor would eventually bear the weight of sixty-six parachurch ministries dependent upon his fundraising efforts. And in addition to this, Spurgeon was deeply concerned for his congregation, his sheep.
Yet as Spurgeon argued in this sermon, the best medicine for a suffering soul was the “sorrows of the Saviour.” Indeed, he said, “Troubled spirits turn not so much to Bethlehem as to Calvary.” According to Spurgeon the crown of thorns became a crown “of sovereignty” just as the “nails and spear” gave way to “the scepter.” In his victory over death Jesus Christ had made it possible for “sowing in tears” to be followed by “reaping in joy.”
In the first section of his sermon Spurgeon focused his attention on “A Man,” that is the incarnate man, Jesus Christ.
At the outset Spurgeon acknowledged, “There is no novelty to any here present in the doctrine of the real and actual manhood of the Lord Jesus Christ, but, although there be nothing novel in it, there is everything important in it.” Indeed, Spurgeon would later insist that, “We can never meditate too much upon Christ’s blessed person as God and man.”
The incarnation was a glorious reality to Spurgeon. In that act the “Highest stooped to become the lowest,” and the “Greatest to his place among the least.” Now, the eternal God “could be touched,” “handled,” and even “made to bleed.”
For Spurgeon the real manhood of Christ was a sweet foundation for sympathy. Indeed, the gash in Christ’s side was made into a “high-way to his heart” where weak saints could find comfort and rest. The sympathy of Christ was so sweet that Charles called it “the next most precious thing to his sacrifice.” Simply, in “every pain which racks his people the Lord Jesus has a fellow feeling.” For Spurgeon, knowing that Christ suffered the same took the “bitterness out of grief.”
In the second section of his sermon Spurgeon focused his attention on Christ as “A Man of Sorrows.”
Here Spurgeon turned to examine how fitting a title “Man of Sorrows” was for the Lord Jesus Christ. According to Spurgeon, Christ and sorrow were on such intimate terms they “might have changed names.” In his view, sorrow was Christ’s “peculiar token and mark.”
Christ was the “lord of grief, the prince of pain,” and “the emperor of anguish.” He was “pre-eminent among the sorrowful.” Others may “sip at sorrows bowl,” but Spurgeon said, “he drains it dry.” Bringing his thoughts to a point, Spurgeon said, “All men’s sorrows were his sorrows. His heart was so large, that it was inevitable that he should become ‘a man of sorrows.’”
In the third, and final, section of his sermon Spurgeon focused on Christ being “Acquainted with Grief.”
Here Spurgeon again examined the grief of Jesus Christ, but followed it with a call to action. Having again drawn attention to Christ’s “intimate acquaintance” with grief, Spurgeon exclaimed, “let us admire the superlative love of Jesus. O love, love, what hast thou done! What hast thou not done! Thou art omnipotent in suffering.”
Then, Spurgeon rhetorically stated, “We sometimes wonder why the church of God grows so slowly,” and asserted the issue was “what scant consecration to Christ there is in the church of God.” This led Spurgeon to issue his bold challenge, asking, “Brother, sister, what art thou doing for Jesus?”
However, Spurgeon did not let up, he continued in his conclusion to exclaim, “I charge thee by the nail-prints of his hands, unless thou be a liar unto him, labour for him!”
“Live in his service, and die in his service!”
“Lay not down thy harness, but work on as long as thou shalt live.”
“Whilst thou livest let this be thy motto – ‘All for Jesus, all for Jesus; all for the man of sorrows, all for the man of sorrows!’”
Why You Should Take Up and Read
For Charles Haddon Spurgeon the exquisite suffering of the dying and rising Saviour was not only a great comfort, but the superlative love above all loves which demanded action. Thus, the only acceptable result of receiving such love was entire consecration to the Lord Jesus Christ. Both for the suffering, and the one in need of a call to action, the reader is encouraged to take up and read.
Here is the link to the Sermon of the Week: https://www.spurgeon.org/resource-library/sermons/the-man-of-sorrows#flipbook/
Phillip Ort serves at the Director of The Spurgeon Library at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City where he is also pursuing a Master of Divinity degree.