The Triumph of Faith
Now, if the Lord did sing this Psalm on that dark night of the Passover and betrayal, what a triumph of faith it was! "I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord" (v. 17). Going straightway to Gethsemane, the trial and the Cross - "I shall not die, but live." In faith he has leapt the garden, He has leapt the trial, He has leapt the Cross, right over into the resurrection. "I shall not die, but live." What a triumph of faith through adversity, through suffering! But oh, what a meaning this gives to Gethsemane. Look at the Passover. "This is My body, which is for you" (1 Corinthians 11:24). "This is My blood... which is shed for many unto remission of sins" (Matthew 26:28). And they sang a hymn; and after the hymn, the next thing - Gethsemane. Look - "Bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar" (v. 27). What was Gethsemane? They bound Him and led Him away from the garden, but His interpretation of that binding was of "a sacrifice ... even unto the horns of the altar"; not tied to the horns of the altar, but bound with a view to being led toward the altar. That is the meaning here: 'Bind and lead to the altar.'
This puts a new light upon Gethsemane, upon the bonds, the captivity, does it not? This is not man's prevailing, this is not man overcoming, this is not man's triumph. This is the Lamb of God allowing Himself to be led to the altar. For that is the next thing after the singing. He has sung: "Bind the sacrifice ... even unto the horns of the altar"; and forthwith He goes. He goes to Gethsemane, then to the betrayal, then to the judgment hall, and then to the Cross. There is the Divine side of all that, but here you see faith taking hold of this human side, as men regard and interpret it, and turning it into the redemption of the world.
The Lord's Enlargement Through the Cross
In verse 5 again - "Out of my distress I called upon the Lord: the Lord answered me and set me in a large place." Are these words of the Lord Jesus? Yes: out of His distress He cried: "O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass away from Me." "And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly ..." "Father, if this cannot pass away, except I drink it, Thy will be done" (Matthew 26:39, 42; Luke 22:44). "Out of my distress I cried ..."; and, although it does not seem that the Lord answered and delivered, an Apostle says that He "was" heard (Hebrews 5:7). And how was He heard? Have we the proof that He was heard and answered? "The Lord answered me and set me in a large place." A large place? Yes, a very large place He is in. How enlarged was our Lord through His Cross? "How am I straitened," He said - "how am I straitened till it be accomplished!" (Luke 12:50). This was enlargement through suffering: His passion meant enlargement, release from limitation. But it is the voice of faith. As He goes to the Cross, faith goes beyond the Cross and claims the answer of life, not death; enlargement, not limitation. We could dwell quite a long time upon the enlargement that has come to the Lord Jesus through suffering by faith, and this we hope to do in later messages.
(continued with # 6 - (Life, Liberty and Enlargement For Us In Christ)