The Centre of the Universe -- Jesus in the Midst
John 19:17-25
And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha:…

1. All men have looked up to the heavenly bodies. This fact invests them with additional interest. We have not seen the men of past ages; we cannot see those of distant continents; but we can look at the same objects as they all have looked at.

2. In a higher degree, when we look into the pages of the Word of God, and consider how many eyes have looked at the same words — wondering, weeping, inquiring, praying, and scoffing; and how many hearts have beat over the same book, do we feel that this great light of time has been uniting the generations.

3. In a still higher degree do we feel the uniting power of one great central object — "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever." As we look, our gaze is drawn to Calvary and its three crosses — resting at last upon the middle cross. On one cross the physical suffering is doubly darkened by the gloom of despair; on another it is lighted up by hope and faith; on the middle cross it is crowned and glorified by the infinite and unutterable love of God. Many executions took place on Golgotha. Why then should these three have remained, burning like beacons in the night of time? It is because "Jesus is in the midst." And, as around that central cross there were all kinds of lookers at the time, so has it been in every time. There fell on that cross the look of hate, and of love, of indifference, and of interest.


1. Jerusalem was in the middle of Palestine, and Palestine in the middle of the civilized world. The cross, then, was literally in the midst of the visible world: and its position there is symbolical of Christ's position, for His life was lived between the two great continents of history — the ancient and the modern. A new civilization dates from His birth — the old civilization died in His death. And thus, in relation to human history, as developed in place and time, it is a simple geographical and chronological fact that "Jesus is in the midst."

2. Nature is a part of the visible world, and Christ is the centre of nature, for He is its Creator. "All thing were made by Him," &c., and "by Him all things consist" — the whole material universe is held together by Him.

3. The Hebrew Theocracy was a part of the visible world, and Christ Jesus was in the midst of it.

(1) The Tribes went up to Jerusalem as their centre. The centre of Jerusalem was the Temple. The centre of the Temple was the Holy of Holies, and the centre of the Holy of Holies was the mercy-seat, sprinkled with blood, containing the Law, of which the shed blood was the satisfaction; all of which represented our Saviour's mediatorial work.

(2) This was His position in relation to the whole life and history of the Jews. In so far as they were children of God, they were moulded after the image of the Son of God. His Spirit inspired the prophets. In the dark house of bondage, and at the bitterest hour of their history, Jesus is found in the midst, making a fourth in the furnace of Babylon.

4. Heathendom is a part of the visible world, and Jesus is in the midst of it. For what mean those victims slain in sacrifice all over the world? Jesus is "the desire of all nations," and is in their midst — if only in this negative sense, that the void at the heart of humanity can be filled only by Him.

5. Coming to Christendom, Christ is the visible centre of it. Europe embraces the highest life in the world, and the centre of that highest life is Christ. The great Church in the middle of every capital city is called a Christian Church. Jesus is acknowledged to be the source of all our moral and spiritual activities. And if we enter the world of thought, most emphatically is Jesus in the midst here. His Person includes the inmost and ultimate question in every sphere. Do we try to form a science of theology? The foundation must be our doctrine of the Person of Christ. The view we take of that will determine our view of God, man, sin, atonement. Jesus very soon became the central figure in the schools. At twelve years of age He was found in the Temple. If we take any ultimate question, we find Jesus the living and practical solution of it, Do we take the question, How can finite man ever know the infinite God? Jesus is the Man who knows God fully. Hence the variety of forms in which the account of His life is ever appearing in modern times.

6. The political world is a part of the visible world; and the rightful place of Christ is in the midst of it, too. If any one rules a nation in the name of any one but Christ, he is a usurper. Christ's cross has been the centre of the past; His crown will be the centre of the future. "All kings shall fall down before Him," &c.


1. The true Church on earth is a part of the invisible world; and Jesus is in the midst of it. In the midst of —

(1) The individual life. He is the most intimate Counsellor, Friend, and Companion of every Christian soul.

(2) The Christian family. His presence is the bond of its perfectness.

(3) The little prayer-meeting. "Where two or three," &c.

(4) The Christian Church on earth viewed as a whole. "Lo! I am with you alway," &c. "In the midst of the candlesticks, one like unto the Son of Man." All true lights are fed by the hand of Christ.

2. Lifting our eyes to the Church in heaven, it is still the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne. The throne itself is in the midst; the first position of dignity and power in the universe, and Christ sits upon it. He must, therefore, be God — King of kings, and Lord of lords. Further, it is as the Lamb that He is on the throne — showing that the centre of His work is His sacrifice of Himself. His highest value to the world is not that He is a pattern of virtue merely, or a moral Reformer. The Apostle conducts us from company to company until we come to Him who is in the midst. "Ye are come unto Mount Sion," &c.

3. But, higher still, Jesus is in the midst of the Godhead. In the threefold name, Jesus is in the midst; and in the manifestation of the three-one God, He occupies the same position. In the First Dispensation there was the revelation of the Unity or first Person of the Godhead. Our dispensation is that of the Holy Spirit, for in it we have a revelation of the work of the third Person. But in the midst of the two, there is the manifestation of the second Person.

4. Jesus is in the midst: of all the Divine attributes. They have their harmonious meeting-place in Him. He is love, and love is the bond of the Divine perfectness as well as of human. In Him the problem has been solved, how God can be just and yet the Justifier of him that believes in Jesus.


1. He descended into the visible that He might translate us into the invisible. He is the only Door between the two worlds. Through that, ministering angels, and all Divine and saving influences, come forth to enlighten and enliven this lower world; and through it there pours in return the multitude of sinners saved by grace. He is the spiritual reality symbolized in Jacob's ladder. He has this position became He is in the midst — between God and man. In the translation of sinners from the: kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light, Jesus is in the midst. He was lifted up on the cross between the two worlds that He might draw all men unto Him.

2. At the moment of death Jesus stands on "the dark frontier," to receive the soul of the believer. There are weeping friends on the one side, and rejoicing angels on the other; and the Saviour is between the two.

3. And, last of all, who is this sitting on the great white throne — the holy angels with Him? The Son of man; "Jesus is in the midst!" In conclusion: Is all this true of Jesus of Nazareth?Then —

1. He is indeed "the Wonderful, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father."

2. What sort of a universe would this be without Christ? It would not be a universe — a cosmos, or a well-ordered system of thing; but a chaos. Yea, if there were no Christ, evil would triumph.

3. Consider what the life and heart of the individual man is without Christ. It has no centre. All its pursuits, however refined, are worse than useless. All its pleasures are short-lived and false. Apart from Christ, there can be no aim in a human life adequate to the worth of that life.

(F. Ferguson, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha:

WEB: He went out, bearing his cross, to the place called "The Place of a Skull," which is called in Hebrew, "Golgotha,"

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