“And they took Jesus, and led him away.” —John 19:16
But further, my brethren; this, I think, is the great lesson from Christ’s being slaughtered without the gate of the city — let us go forth, therefore, without the camp, bearing his reproach. You see there the multitude are leading him forth from the temple. He is not allowed to worship with them. The ceremonial of the Jewish religion denies him any participation in its pomps; the priests condemn him never again to tread the hallowed floors, never again to look upon the consecrated altars in the place of his people’s worship. He is exiled from their friendship, too. No man dare call him friend now, or whisper a word of comfort to him. Nay more; he is banished from their society, as if he were a leper whose breath would be infectious whose presence would scatter plague. They force him without the walls, and are not satisfied till they have rid themselves of his obnoxious presence. For him they have no tolerance. Barrabas may go free; the thief and the murderer may be spared; but for Christ there is no word, but “Away with such a fellow from the earth! It is not fit that he should live.” Jesus is therefore hunted out of the city, beyond the gate, with the will and force of his oven nation, but he journeys not against his own will; even as the lamb goeth as willingly to the shambles as to the meadow, so doth Christ cheerfully take up his cross and go without the camp. See, brethren, here is a picture of what we may expect from men if we are faithful to our Master. It is not likely that we shall be able to worship with their worship. They prefer a ceremonial pompous and gaudy; the swell of music, the glitter of costly garments, the parade of learning all these must minister grandeur to the world’s religion, and thus shut out the simple followers of the Lamb. The high places of earth’s worship and honor are not for us. If we be true to our Master we shall soon lose the friendship of the world. The sinful find our conversation distasteful; in our pursuits the carnal have no interest; things dear to us are dross to worldlings, while things precious to them are contemptible to us.
—Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892)
Delivered Sunday Morning, March 1, 1863 at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington
Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Vol. 9 Sermon No. 497, “The Procession of Sorrow”