ROM. x. 21. “But to Israel
He saith, All day long I have stretched forth My hands unto a
disobedient and gainsaying people.”
ST. PAUL is quoting the prophet Isaiah, and Isaiah is
speaking to Israel in the name of God. To stretch out
the hands is to make appeal or entreaty with silent
imploring earnestness; and this appeal God made to His
“disobedient and gainsaying people.”
” All day long.” It is a pregnant expression which
may well enlarge its scope with the lapse of time, which
opens one vista to the Jewish prophet, and another to the
Christian apostle, and another to us of to-day. For St.
Paul the expression means that new epoch which, when he
writes, has already opened upon the world—the day or age
of the Messiah.
One day there was unlike any other, which probably St.
Paul had in his mind when quoting these words—the day
of Calvary. From the first moment of our Lord’s mental
agony in the garden begins this supreme appeal to the
heart and conscience of Israel and of the world, and it
lasts until He bows His head in death on the cross. It is
eloquent for all who have ears to hear. Israel at the foot
of the cross is still what Israel has been throughout the
ages; and over this unhappy race the Divine Sufferer must
cry, “All day long I have stretched forth My hands to a
disobedient and gainsaying people.” We too have each of
us his place somewhere on Mount Calvary. Christ cruci-
fied belongs to no one age or place.
I. Jesus Christ, with His hands stretched out upon the
cross, makes an appeal to the hearts of Christians on be-
half of God’s standard of holiness, and against the sin of
man. And He makes this appeal by the force of His own
II. He makes an appeal to our sense of what He has
done for us. He is there, because otherwise we are lost.
When we review our lives seriously, that which must strike
us most is the persevering, overshadowing, “ever-pleading,”
mercy of God. Through all the past years of life, as we
look back, we see the perpetual stretching out over us of
the hands of the Crucified.
III. The first lesson is, that Jesus stretching out hands
of compassion on the cross is a model for all Christians
who have positions of authority. Mere law, mere right,
is all very well for a man of the world, but the children of
the Crucified ought to have caught sight of a higher ideal—
Love. The other lesson is, that Jesus will not always
stretch out hands of mercy. Christ crucified has no re-
demptive relations with the dead.
Henry Parry Liddon, D.C.L.