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THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 15 - Verse 3
Verse 3. For even Christ. The apostle proceeds, in his usual manner, to illustrate what he had said by the example of the Saviour. To a Christian, the example of the Lord Jesus will furnish the most ready, certain, and happy illustration of the nature and extent of his duty.
Pleased not himself. This is not to be understood as if the Lord Jesus did not voluntarily and cheerfully engage in his great work. He was not compelled to come and suffer. Nor is it to be understood as if he did not approve the work, or see its propriety and fitness. If he had not, he would never have engaged in its sacrifices and self-denials. But the meaning may be expressed in the following particulars:
(1.) He came to do the will or desire of God, in undertaking the work of salvation. It was the will of God; it was agreeable to the Divine purposes, and the Mediator did not consult his own happiness and honour in heaven, but cheerfully came to do the will of God, Ps 40:7,8. Comp. Heb 10:4-10; Php 2:6; Joh 17:5
Christ, when on earth, made it his great object to do the will of God, to finish the work which God had given him to do, and not to seek his own comfort and enjoyment. This he expressly affirms, Joh 6:38; Joh 5:30:
(3.) He was willing for this to endure whatever trials and pains the will of God might demand, not seeking to avoid them, or to shrink from them. See particularly his prayer in the garden, Lu 22:42.
(4.) In his life he did not seek personal comfort, wealth, or friends, or honours. He denied himself to promote the welfare of others; he was poor that they might be rich; he was in lonely places that he might seek out the needy and provide for them. Nay, he did not seek to preserve his own life when the appointed time came to die, but gave himself up for all.
(5.) There may be another idea which the apostle had here. He bore with patience the ignorance, blindness, erroneous views, and ambitious projects of his disciples. He evinced kindness to them when in error; and was not harsh, censorious, or unkind, when they were filled with vain projects of ambition, or perverted his words, or were dull of apprehension. So, says the apostle, we ought to do in relation to our brethren.
The reproaches. The calumnies, censures, harsh, opprobrious speeches.
Of them that reproached thee. Of the wicked, who vilified and abused the law and government of God.
Fell on me. In other words, Christ was willing to suffer reproach and contempt in order to do good to others. He endured calumny and contempt all his life, from those who by their lips and lives calumniated God, or reproached their Maker. We may learn here,
(1.) that the contempt of Jesus Christ is contempt of him who appointed him.
(2.) We may see the kindness of the Lord Jesus in being willing thus to throw himself between the sinner and God; to intercept, as it were, our sins, and to bear the effects of them in his own person. He stood between us and God; and both the reproaches and the Divine displeasure due to them, met on his sacred Person, and produced the sorrows of the atonement—his bitter agony in the garden and on the cross. Jesus thus showed his love of God in being willing to bear the reproaches aimed at him; and his love to men in being willing to endure the sufferings necessary to atone for these very sins.
(3.) If Jesus thus bore reproaches, we should be willing also to endure them. We suffer in the cause where he has gone before us, and where he has set us the example; and as he was abused and vilified, we should be willing to be so also.
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