By Hal Lindsey
They called Charles Spurgeon “the prince of preachers.” Reading his words on paper and imagining them presented by a great orator, it’s easy to imagine why.
Spurgeon’s Morning & Evening devotion for April 9th, uses his commentary on Luke 23:27. “And there were following Him a great multitude of the people, and of women who were mourning and lamenting Him.”
Spurgeon explained their lamentation. “They bewailed innocence maltreated, goodness persecuted, love bleeding, meekness about to die.”
I was struck by the phrase “love bleeding” because it’s an all too common element of life. We saw it on 911 as firefighters and police officers ran into danger even as every instinct in their bodies told them to run away. They ran toward rescue — as love does.
At 12:55 AM on February 3, 1943, a German U-boat torpedoed the US troop ship, SS Dorchester. The torpedo did severe damage. Boiler power was lost, leaving too little steam to sound the full signal to abandon ship. The Dorchester sank in 20 minutes. Of the 904 men aboard, only 239 were saved.
On board that day were four relatively new chaplains, all holding a rank of first lieutenant — a Methodist minister, a Jewish rabbi, a Roman Catholic priest, and a minister of the Reformed Church in America. These four worked heroically to calm the men and organize an orderly evacuation of the ship. They handed out life jackets until the life jackets ran out. And then the chaplains took off their own life jackets and gave them to the men. Even then, they kept working to get men into lifeboats. When there were no more lifejackets to pass out, and no more room on the lifeboats, they locked their arms together, prayed and sang hymns.
One of the survivors told what he saw. “As I swam away from the ship, I looked back. The flares had lighted everything. The bow came up high and she slid under. The last thing I saw, the Four Chaplains were up there praying for the safety of the men. They had done everything they could.”
Sometimes “love bleeds.” What good is it if it won’t? How real is it if it refuses? Jesus said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).
And Jesus did. The only perfectly innocent Life ever taken was in fact given — laid down for love. Jesus received in Himself the full weight of God’s judgment against sin. By His act, you and I can now live free from sin and from the fear of death.
1 Corinthians 15:54-57 says, “So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
In the verse that follows, Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, finishes this glorious declaration with a simple statement on how we should live in light of a such a stupendous truth.
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.”