by John Calvin (compiled by John H. Kromminga)
He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. — Isaiah 53:11
We know that man's sin involves not only that temporal death which is the separation of the body from the soul, but also it means feeling that God is against us and dreading his judgment. And what is that? The most unbearable and horrible thing that exists. So it was necessary that our Lord Jesus should go even to those lengths to deliver us, and it is this the Prophet now declares.
And here we see again how greatly God has loved us and what are the treasures of his grace and infinite goodness that he has displayed towards us. And we should certainly also know what care and zeal our Lord Jesus Christ had for our salvation, when he did not spare himself, and was not only willing in his body to be answerable for making satisfaction for our sins, but even to be terrified as one who had to feel the judgment of God, and who fears what this curse deserves that God himself pronounces—that it is to swallow us in hell and that it is a chasm to engulf us entirely.
So it was necessary that Jesus Christ should feel that. And indeed when we see that he sweated blood and water, that he needed angels to descend and comfort him, we must certainly say that this was an extreme sorrow; never was its like in all the world.
So this is the meaning of this word labour or trouble of the soul of our Lord Jesus Christ. Now it is true, as St. Peter says, that he could not be holden of the sorrows of hell; but he had to do battle with them. He won the victory, but not without bitter fighting and much difficulty. —Sermons
John Calvin was the premier theologian of the Reformation, but also a pious and godly Christian pastor who endeavored throughout his life to point men and women to Christ. We are grateful to Reformation Heritage Books for permission to use John Calvin's Thine Is My Heart as our daily devotional for 2013 on the OPC Web site. You can currently obtain a printed copy of that book from Reformation Heritage Books.
Dr. Joel Beeke, who is editorial director of Reformation Heritage Books, has this to say:
"Calvin shows us the piety of a Reformed theologian who speaks from the heart. Having tasted the goodness and grace of God in Jesus Christ, he pursued piety by seeking to know and do God’s will every day. He communed with Christ, practicing repentance, self-denial, and cross-bearing. Moreover, his theology worked itself out in heart-felt, Christ-honoring piety. The selections of this devotional bear this out, and hopefully will be used by God to direct pious hearts in our own day."
These devotional readings from John Calvin were compiled by John H. Kromminga. Be sure to read his "Introduction" to John Calvin's Thine Is My Heart.