by John Calvin (compiled by John H. Kromminga)
Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. —Isaiah 53:12
After all this, he adds: he prayed for the wicked. This is especially added to show that in his death and passion, Jesus Christ bore the priestly office. Without this we should not have everything necessary for the assurance of our salvation.
It is true that, since the death and passion of our Lord Jesus Christ is the sacrifice by which our sins are wiped out, his blood is our cleansing, the purpose of his obedience is to abolish all our rebellions and to win righteousness for us. We have something to rejoice at in this.
But it is not all; for we are told that when we call upon the name of God we shall be saved. But how can we have access to God? What boldness it is, to come to pray to him! yes, to call him plainly and openly our Father.
Is it not too great presumption for us to come so familiarly to God, and to boast that we are his children, unless we have one who is our spokesman? And where shall we find an advocate or attorney who could do so much for us, until we come to Jesus Christ? This, then, is what the Prophet wanted to add to round off what he is saying—Jesus Christ prayed for the wicked.
When we are humbled like this, we can come to our Lord Jesus Christ in the knowledge that it is he who is spokesman for us, and that it is also through him that we can boldly call ourselves the children of God.
So when we come to pray, and say: "Our Father, who art in heaven," we must recognize that, as far as we are concerned, our lips are unclean, and we are not even worthy to call him God our Creator, let alone being so presumptuous as to regard ourselves as his children.
But in spite of this, our Lord Jesus Christ is our spokesman, and our prayers and intercessions are sanctified by him, just as it says in the last chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews, that it is through him that we render to God the sacrifices of praise and all our prayers, and that he is our Mediator and today we call upon God our Father in his Name. We can indeed boldly glory that he regards us as his children. —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.