How would you feel if a building were burning, and a little boy were being burnt to death right before your eyes, and nobody could help him? See, the boy twists and squirms and cries in dreadful agony. What do you do? You grow pale and sick; you just feel his awful pains; you cry and moan too. Now you should try to think so much of the sufferings of Jesus, at this time especially, that they become just that real to you and you suffer with Him and want to ease His pain by loving Him with your whole heart and soul.
The suffering Jesus is compared to a lamb: "He was like a lamb to the slaughter." What a gentle creature a woolly little lamb is! What a lovely pet! suppose you had a sweet, snuggling, trusting lambkin. And then suppose bad men would come and take your lambkin that had done no wrong and that could not help itself. And suppose they would drive stakes through its quivering body, and fasten it against the wall and slash its body right and left with a big knife and then leave it there to die. Oh, how that would break your heart, how bitterly you would weep over your poor little lamb.
But then why don't you weep or at least feel very, very badly over Jesus, the Lamb of God?
He was gentler, sweeter, more trustful, and more loving than anything we can imagine. He never did anybody any wrong, but did good to all. And yet bad men came and cut and gashed His Body from head to foot with terrible whips, and drove long, sharp thorns into His head, and threw Him down on the rough beams of the cross, and drove big iron nails through His hands and feet into the wood, and raised the cross up and let it drop into a hole, and then left Him there to die! Oh, ask Jesus to help you feel sad for Him! And how you just hate those who nailed the innocent Lamb of God to the cruel cross! But now, He died for our sins; sin nailed Him to the cross - also your sins. How you must hate all sin and promise Jesus never again to commit it!
Isn't a little baby that's just beginning to walk a darling thing too sweet for anything but one soft kiss and one loving hug after the other? Suppose you had such a dear babe at home. And suppose that someday dreadful men would come, as once they came to butcher the boy babies in and around Bethlehem. And suppose they would take the baby in their rough hands and tear its clothes away, and stretch it out on the wall and fasten it tight by driving big nails through its little hands and feet, and then leave it there to die. Oh, how terrible! Wouldn't you scream and moan in terror and in fright and wouldn't your heart just burst with grief to see that tender baby treated like that? And still every time you look upon your crucifix you are reminded of the more frightful sufferings of our dear Jesus, Who was sweeter, lovelier, dearer, more innocent than ever a little child could be. You were shocked when I told you about the baby nailed to the wall. Are you shocked when the crucifix tells you about Jesus nailed to the cross? Why are you shocked at the one and not at the other? Ask the Saviour to help you feel sad, to be grateful, to hate sin, and to love Him more when you look upon the cross.
O, my boys and girls, it must surely make us love Jesus and be very good, this thinking of His passion and death. Surely, if we don't love Jesus when contemplating Him dying on the cross, well never love at all. Isn't it all sad though! It reminds me of the Old Testament story about Joseph. You remember how his wicked brothers took him and cast him into a deep pit and then sold him into slavery. And, remember, Joseph, their younger brother, did them no wrong. He came to see how they were getting along and to do them good. So it was with Jesus; He came from Heaven for our salvation; He went about doing good. But
those for whom He did so very much did not cast Him into a pit and sell Him into slavery.
No; they did worse; they sent upon Him torments of unspeakable sufferings and finally put Him to death on the cross.
Once there was a boy who wouldn't take the medicine the doctor had prescribed. It was too bitter. But his mother showed him a crucifix and said, "See what he suffered for you. Take the medicine out of love for Him." And the boy took it.
In how many ways are you going to show the love you feel for Jesus crucified by little acts
of self-denial after this?
Source: Talks to Boys and Girls, Imprimatur 1930