Vicarious Sermon Illustrations

Vicarious Sermon Illustrations

Vicarious Death

In peace let me resign my breath
And Thy salvation see.
My sins deserve eternal death,
But Jesus died for me.

These lines were written by Dr. Valpy, who gave them to a friend Dr. Marsh, the author of the Life of Captain Hedley Vicars, and the verse became a great blessing to him. Dr. Marsh gave the lines to his friend, Lord Roden, who was so impressed that he got Dr. Marsh to write them out, and then fastened the paper over the mantelpiece in his study. There, yellow with age, they hung for many years.

Some time after this an old friend, General Taylor, one of the heroes of Waterloo, came to visit Lord Roden at Tollymore Park. Lord Roden noticed that the eyes of the old veteran were fixed for a few moments on the motto over the mantelpiece.

`Why, General,' said Lord Roden, 'you will soon know those lines by heart.'

`I know them now by heart,' replied the General with feeling—and the simple words were the means of bringing him to know the way of salvation. Some two years after, the physician who had been with the old General while he lay dying, wrote to Lord Roden to say that his friend had gone, and that his last words were Dr. Valpy's lines which he had learnt to love in his lifetime.

Years afterwards, at the house of a neighbour, Lord Roden happened to tell the story of the old General and these lines; and among those who heard it was a young officer in the British army. He listened carelessly enough. A few months later, Lord Roden received a message from the officer that he wanted to see him, as he was in a rapid decline. As the Earl entered, the dying officer extended both his hands and repeated the lines, adding, `That is God's message of comfort and peace to me in this illness.'

And so the simple lines presenting the vicarious death of the Lord Jesus Christ for sinners became a blessing to many.

(1 Cor. 15. 3; Gal. 2. 20; 1 Pet. 3. 18)


In the North of Scotland, where the main railway line crosses a gulley—bridged by a viaduct—one night a fearful storm raged, and the little burn under the viaduct became a raging torrent.

A young shepherd, a Highland laddie, sheltered his sheep as best he could for the night, and in the morning, long before dawn, he set out to see how they fared. As he made his way up the hillside he noticed, to his dismay, that the central column of the viaduct had gone, and the bridge was broken. He knew the mail train was due and, if not warned, would be dashed to pieces and many lives lost. He made his way up as best he could, wonder­ing if he would be in time. As soon as he reached the rails he heard the pound of the mighty engine. He stood and beckoned wildly, but the engine-driver, making up time, drove on. The train drew nearer, and still he stood, beckoning it to stop. At last it came to where he stood, and he flung himself in front of the engine. The driver applied the brakes and managed to stop the train in its own length. The stop was sudden and the passengers, awakened, came to see what was the matter. The driver said,

'It has been a close shave this time. We might all have been lost. Come and I'll show you the one who saved us tonight.'

A little way along they saw the mangled remains of the shepherd laddie who gave his life for them, dying that they might live.

(1 Thess. 5. 10; Tit. 2. 13, 14)


Vicarious Sufferings

Wounded for me, wounded for me:
There on the cross He was wounded for me.

Lady Kinnaird used to relate the following story. The Duke of Windsor, then Prince of Wales, arranged to visit a hospital in London where some of the sorest wounded and mutilated soldiers in the first Great World War were being treated. The Medical Superintendent met him and was showing him round. 'I hear you have in this hospital some of the worst-wounded men in the War,' said the Prince. 'How many altogether?' On learning that there were 36, the Prince asked to be permitted to go round their ward and see them all. He was taken into a ward, and saw badly wounded soldiers all lying comfortable in the hospital beds, and receiving the best attention. He went round the ward, had a cheery word for all, made enquiries as to their near relatives, wives, families, etc., and encouraged them with words of hopefulness. Then, turning to the Medical Officer, he said, `Doctor! you told me there were 36 badly wounded men: I have only seen 30 in this ward. Where are the other six?' Your Highness!' said the doctor, 'the others are in such a pitiable condition that we thought it well to spare you the pain of visiting them."But, doctor, I must see them all, every one.' So they went on into another ward where lay five men, terribly disfigured and wounded, some of them blind, some having lost limbs, and all just physical wrecks. The Prince was deeply moved, and showed his affection for the men in every possible way, speaking words of cheer and comfort. 'But where is the thirty-sixth man?' he asked. 'I must see him also.' The Medical Superintendent, realizing that the Prince was not to be put off, led him into a ward apart, where lay a young man in a very pitiable condition—blind, disfigured, maimed —a wreck of a fine physique he had once possessed. The Prince, stooping down, kissed the man on the forehead, and, as he rose, with tears streaming down his cheeks, he turned to the doctor and said, 'Doctor, wounded for me, wounded for me.'

(Isa. 53. 5; Rom. 4. 25)

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