The Intercession of Christ
A PRIEST AFTER THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK
What doctrine doth the Scripture afford more comfortable to a drooping soul than this, that God hath sworn his son for ever, to sanctify our persons, and purge our sins, and tender all our petitions to his Father? What sin is so heinous, for which such a priest cannot satisfy by the oblation of himself? What cause so desperate, in which such an advocate if he will plead, may not prevail? We may be sure that God will not be hard to be intreated of us, who himself hath appointed us such an intercessor, to whom he can deny nothing; and to that end hath appointed him to sit at his right hand to make intercession for us.
If God hides our sin or lessens it, He is faulty; if He leaves it still upon us, we die. He must then take our iniquity to Himself, make it His own, and so deliver us; for thus having taken the sin upon Himself, as lawfully He may and lovingly He does, it follows that we live if He lives; and who can desire more?
Christ calls himself "a worm" on account of the opinion that men of the world had of him. The Jews esteemed Christ as a worm, and treated him as such; he was loathsome to them and hated by them; every one trampled upon him, and trod him under foot as men do worms. The Chaldee paraphrase renders it here a weak worm; and though Christ is the mighty God, and is also the Son of man, whom God made strong for himself; yet there was a weakness in his human nature, and he was crucified through it (2 Cor. 13:4): and it has been observed by some, that the (Hebrew) word 'towla' there used signifies the scarlet worm, or the worm that is in the grain or berry with which scarlet is dyed: and like this scarlet worm did our Lord look, when by way of mockery he was clothed with a scarlet robe; and especially when he appeared in his dyed garments, and was red in his apparel, as one that treadeth in the wine fat; when his body was covered with blood when he hung upon the cross, which was shed to make crimson and scarlet sins as white as snow.
The "cross" is an expression that is used in more than one meaning in the Bible. What did Paul mean when he said, "I glory in the cross of Christ" (Gal. 6:l4)? This is the point I now wish to examine closely and make clear.
The cross sometimes means that wooden cross on which the Lord Jesus was nailed and put to death on Calvary. This is not the cross in which Paul gloried. He would have shrunk with horror from the idea of glorying in a mere piece of wood. I have no doubt he would have denounced the Roman Catholic adoration of the crucifix as profane, blasphemous, and idolatrous.
The cross sometimes means the afflictions and the trials which believers in Christ have to go through for Christ's sake. This is the sense in which our Lord uses the word when He says, "he that taketh not his cross and followeth after Me, cannot be my disciple" (Matt. l0:38). This also is not the sense in which Paul uses the words when he writes to the Galatians. He knew that cross well; he carried it patiently. But he is not speaking of it here.
John C. Ryle