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The Two Looks of Christ

Said Jesus on one occasion, “He who has been forgiven little, loves little”. I guess that’s why that old converted slave-trader, John Newton, loved so much, and why he had such insight into the deep things of grace.

I saw One hanging on a tree, In agony and blood; Who fixed His languid eyes on me, As near His cross I stood.

There’s the first surprise in Newton’s song. Many an Easter hymn describes the general vision of Jesus looking out over the many. But to imagine Jesus looking directly at me.

Sure, never to my latest breath, Can I forget that look; It seemed to charge me with His death, Though not a word He spoke.

There’s the second surprise. Most often celebrated is the grace that flows from the Cross to the sinner. But that’s only half the story. The first half is that my sins, which constitute the awful charge and penalty of death, flow to the Cross, to be borne by the Lamb.

My conscience felt and owned the guilt, And plunged me in despair; I saw my sins His blood had spilt, And helped to nail Him there.

Perhaps that sentence needs more consideration today than it usually receives. But who can blame a guilt-sore heart in wanting to begin the next verse about the look of grace!

A second look He gave, which said, “I freely all forgive; This blood is for thy ransom paid; I die that thou mayst live.”

DM 18th September 2021

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