Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers. And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head. And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him. And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross. And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull, They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink. And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots. And sitting down they watched him there; And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS. Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left. And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God. The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth. – Matthew 27:27-44
Following what we have mentioned about this before, we must consider still better that the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ is not of this world. For we see how He was in disgrace, they mocked Him, and instead of a Royal diadem He had a crown of thorns. Instead of a scepter He had a reed. Then everything that could be imagined to heap shame upon a man, was done to Him. If we limit our attention to what is here narrated, it will be as it were an object of scandal to alienate us from our Lord Jesus Christ, and consequently from all hope of salvation. But we have to contemplate by faith the spiritual Kingdom which was mentioned above. Then we can conclude, although men mock the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ that He never ceased to be prized according to His worth both before God and before His Angels. Indeed, we have to remember that the Son of God was thus treated in His person, in order to receive upon Himself all the shame which we deserve. For how can we stand before God while we are defiled in our iniquities? But since our Lord Jesus suffered them to spit in His face, He was willing to be buffeted on the head. He received all insults, that is how today we are recognized and avowed as children of God and therein consists our confidence. Indeed, also we have always to consider that God wishes to induce us to be more deeply touched by our faults, to hold them in horror and detestation, when we see that it was necessary that the Son of God, to make reparation for them and to acquire for us grace and absolution, so endured, and that the heavenly Father spared Him not at all. Seeing then, the confounding of our sins to be such in the person of the Son of God, we surely have to humble ourselves and to be entirely confounded in ourselves. However, we ought also to take courage, and to be grounded in such confidence that we may not doubt at all, when we shall come before God, that our Lord Jesus Christ acquired grace for us when He suffered Himself to be so vilified because of us. For He acquired for us glory and dignity before God and His Angels by this means.
Now it is here said that our Lord Jesus was led to the place which is called “Golgotha,” that is to say “the place of a Skull.” The Hebrew word from which this is derived means “to roll,” but they so used it because when a body has decayed, they find the skull dry, and it is like a ball which rolls away. They called, then, this place “Golgotha” because many evildoers were punished there, and their heads were seen there. Here we have to remember what the Apostle says in the Epistle to the Hebrews, that our Lord Jesus Christ was led outside the city, as was customary with sacrifices, that is, those that had been burned, and of which the blood was carried into the Sanctuary to wipe away the blemishes of the people. (Hebrews 13:11, 12.) It was said that such a sacrifice was as it were a curse. It must, then, be disposed of far away. Behold the Son of God Who was willing to receive this condition upon Himself, in order that we may know that in truth we are now set free and absolved before God. For we deserve that God reject us, even that He pour out His horrible vengeance upon us, while He looks at us as we are. There is, then no other means to acquire grace, except that we come to our Lord Jesus Christ, and that we have all our refuge in Him, since we are unburdened of such a load, when He was willing to be as it were cursed and detestable for our sakes, in order that we might find favor before God and that we might be acceptable to Him. For although already Pilate His judge had justified Him many times, yet He had to receive in His person everything that was required to redeem us. For He was our pledge, and in everything and by everything He had to answer for us. So then, after having known that our Lord Jesus was thus rejected, as not being worthy to be of the company of men, even, as it were, bearing such an infection that He could not be endured; seeing, I say, that, let us learn to follow Him, and to renounce the world, as we are exhorted in this passage. And if we must be mocked, cut off as rotten members, and be held in detestation, let us endure it all patiently, yielding submissively, until the day come that our sorrows are converted into joy, that God will wipe away the tears from our eyes, and indeed, that what we now judge to be shame will be converted for us into glory. For it is certain that all that we endure for our Lord Jesus Christ is more honorable before God than all the pomp of this world. That, then, is what we have to remember on this point.
Now the Gospel-writer adds that our Lord Jesus was mocked by all those who passed by, and above all by Priests and Scribes and their kind. And what was the occasion of it? “If He is the Son of God let Him come down,” they say, “and let Him save Himself, for He surely saved others. If He is King of Israel, let Him show it.” Here we see a terrible blindness in these miserable people, who were possessed by Satan, for not having any more feeling or insight. Behold the Priests who ought to be the Messengers of God. For He had ordained them to this function, in order that His Word and His will might be known through their mouth. Behold the Scribes who are trained in the Law, and nevertheless they, supposing that they can crush our Lord Jesus, show that they tread under foot all Holy Scripture and all the religion of which they boasted. When the Messiah was previously spoken of to them, they certainly responded that He had to be born in Bethlehem. They ought also to have been warned and informed that the Redeemer Who was promised to them had to suffer such a death. This was not an obscure thing. The passage from Isaiah (Isaiah 53) was as clear as if one gave a recitation of what our Lord Jesus Christ endured. They ought, then, to have known that it was impossible to have a clearer picture of things than did the Prophet although he had spoken of them such a long time before. Then there are as in Zechariah so in Daniel the declarations that God must gather His people, and exalt His Church: (Daniel 12:1-3; Zechariah 2:11) namely, that the Redeemer of the world should suffer every reproach and curse before the world. How is it, then, that they so defied the Son of God when He exercises His office, as it had been sufficiently declared by the Prophets? So we see that Satan carried them away, when they forgot everything they had previously known.
So let us be advised so to walk in the fear of God that, after having tasted His Word, we may receive it with reverence and obey our Lord Jesus Christ Who is presented to us there. For it is also in Him that we shall find entire perfection of virtues, indeed, if we come to Him in humility. For if we presume to play with God our audacity must receive such a reward as we read here of these miserable men who were so carried away by their rage. Yet we have to profit from these blasphemies, learning from them to do the opposite. For since our Lord Jesus willed to be our King and our Head, that is why He did not save Himself. The enemies of truth said, “Let Him save Himself if He is King of Israel.” But He had to endure in His person to acquire for us salvation. Why, then, did our Lord Jesus not spare Himself? Why did He endure a death so bitter and so shameful, unless it was necessary in order that we might be delivered through such a ransom. We have, then, to defy all agents of Satan, and all his villains who vomited up such blasphemies as the Gospel-writer describes, and to be all the more sure that we really have a King Who preferred our salvation to His own life, and suffered everything that was required for our redemption, and had no other consideration except to redeem what was lost. For we would have been devoid of all hope if the Son of God had left us in our estate and condition. But when He was so swallowed up in death, that is where our deliverance lies. When He endured everything so patiently, that is the cause why God now extends His hand and His power to help us in time of need. Our Lord Jesus, then, had to be there, as it were, abandoned by God in order that today we may feel that He watches for our salvation, and He will always be ready to aid us in necessity when we require it. However, let us also learn to arm ourselves against all temptations, when the devil comes to assail us and he wishes to make us believe that God has forsaken us and that He has turned His back upon us and that it is a disappointing thing to hope in Him. Let us know, then, when Jesus Christ is the true pattern of all believers and He has shown us the way we must go, that it is sufficient reason for us to be patterned after Him. He suffered that such blasphemies were poured out against Him, and yet He constantly resisted them in such a way that by this means the victory was acquired for us. Let us fight, then, today when the devil comes to lay siege against us, as it were, to overthrow our faith and to close the door upon us, so that we may not be able to have access to God, as if He had forgotten all about us. Let us follow our Lord Jesus Christ and let us wait for the hour when God extends His arm to show that He is pitiful toward us and He is Father to us, although for a time He suffers that we are thus beaten down.
So much, then, for these taunts and mockings which were heaped upon our Lord Jesus. There are still others. “He trusted in God. Let God save Him if God loves Him.” That had already been typified in the person of David, for these very words (Psalm 22:8) are recited when he complains that his enemies have taken occasion to shoot out their tongues at him, (Psalm 22:7) and they almost put their feet on his neck, in reproaching him for the confidence he had in God. Now it is certain that this is the most fatal plague that Satan can devise against us. For, the life of men consists in faith, and in the refuge which we have in God, leaning upon His promises. If we are robbed of these, we are done, we are entirely lost and cast down. That is also why Satan tried to destroy the confidence which our Lord Jesus had in God His Father. It is true that Jesus Christ fought with a greater power than we are capable of. For He was not subject to any unbelief. Though that may be, yet He felt such fury as there was in these temptations. For as the devil had previously plotted such things, now he also doubles his efforts. He had said to Him,
“If you are the Son of God, let these stones be changed into bread, and eat, for you are a poor starved man. (Matthew 4:3.)
And do you not see that you must experiment to see if you have any power or not?” Now in that Jesus Christ was not insensible, any more than when they reproach Him for the confidence He here had in God. So now, although we may not have the same power to resist, so that we may not come to grief, yet we ought to be strengthened in Him, knowing that it is for us and to our profit that He conquered such assaults and rose above them.
There are also those who say, “He saved others and He cannot save Himself.” We see once again how they were confounded. For was not the fact that He had saved others a certain and infallible mark of His Divine power? Jesus Christ had raised the dead. This was not unknown to them. He had given sight to the blind; He had healed paralytics, the lame, even demoniacs. Behold, then, Jesus Christ, Who unfolded the great treasures of His goodness and power in all the miracles which were done by Him. Yet that is still an objection against Him. We see, then, how these poor madmen, unless someone restrains them, are their judges to deprive them of every excuse; so that, when they will come before the great judgment-seat of our Lord Jesus Christ, they will not be able to allege anything to cover themselves. For there they are, condemned by their own mouths. If our Lord saved others, it is certain that He could have saved Himself, unless He preferred others to Himself. What can be perceived there except an admirable goodness, that He wished to be cast into the abyss according to men in order to draw us out of the depth of the abysses, that He was willing to suffer everything we deserved in order to acquit us from it, briefly, that He renounced all temporal salvation, that is, He did not wish at all to bring His own life into consideration, He did not wish at all to spare His person, in order that we might have such a gage and such a ransom. All the more, then, ought we to be confirmed in our faith. Seeing everything the devil plots to trouble us and to hinder us from coming to our Lord Jesus, ought to serve to make us all the more sure. May we know how to profit from all this. Now it is certain that the devil makes all his efforts to hinder us at this point. For knowing wherein rests our salvation, he applies every means in order to be able to deprive us of it. For he knows, if he can induce us to be scandalized in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ, that he has won his case. And we experiment with him too much. Besides, all the scandals which the devil raises up and puts before our eyes, to make us turn away from the Son of God, ought to serve us as confirmation. For when it is said that Jesus Christ saved others and does not save Himself, it is a proposition which, according to our human judgment, should be to make us conceive some disdain against the person of the Son of God, to reject Him, and not to put our hope in Him. But quite the contrary, let us know when the Son of God had no regard for Himself and He had no concern at all for His own life, it is because He held the salvation of souls so dear and so precious that He wished to employ everything to that end. Since it is so, we ought boldly to be founded upon Him to call upon Him and to be made entirely sure that it is not in vain that He suffered so for our sakes.
As for their saying “Here is He who destroys the Temple and rebuilds it in three days,” there is too villainous a malice in contriving that Jesus had said that He would destroy the Temple. But He had said, “Destroy this Temple and I shall rebuild it at the end of three days.” It was not, then, referred to the destruction of the Temple, except by His enemies. And when they crucified Him, should they not have known that the thing already began to be fulfilled? For they were not ignorant of the fact that Jesus Christ had declared Himself to be the true Temple of God with respect to His human body. For since He is God manifest in the flesh and His Divine essence is united to His nature which He took from us, since, I say, all fullness of the Godhead dwells in Him, it is very certain that His body deserves to be called “Temple,” more than the one in Jerusalem and more than all the heavens. Now they destroyed it, inasmuch as He was among them, and He rebuilt it at the end of three days. Also they did not forget that; for they knew well afterwards what to say to Pilate. (Matthew 27:63.) But by that we see that if the devil possesses men he makes them so stupid that they can no longer distinguish between good and evil. They are full of such fury that they throw themselves with abandon against God, as if they wished to defy Him fully and with deliberate purpose. Let us see that, that we may be admonished to walk all the more in the fear of God, when we know how He worked by His admirable power to declare that it was not in vain that Jesus Christ had pronounced by His mouth, “Destroy this Temple and I shall rebuild it.” For we see only confounding in His death according to appearances and according to the common sense of men. But Jesus Christ repaired every thing by His resurrection. Since it is so, then, all the more ought we to be confirmed in the faith, and to defy Satan with all the gestures he can make to shake us and to cause us to doubt.
Concerning the saying “They gave our Lord Jesus vinegar mixed with gall and myrrh to drink,” it is proper to assume that this was done according to the custom of that time to shorten the death of evil-doers. All the same, Jesus Christ, having tasted it, did not wish to drink, because He knew that His hour had not yet come. They were accustomed, then, before evil-doers were raised on the cross, to give them this drink in order that the blood might be stirred up and they gave up their spirits sooner. For this kind of death was cruel enough, and they needed to be helped through it. In fact, we shall see later how the robbers had their bones broken and snapped in order that they might not languish any further. Though that may be, our Lord Jesus did not wish to drink this beverage, to declare that He was ready to receive in obedience the condition which was committed to Him by God His Father. It is true that this death was very hard for Him. For apart from its being dreadful, He had in it spiritual torments, of which we shall treat tomorrow, God willing. All that, then, might well have induced our Lord Jesus Christ to approach death as soon as it was possible for Him, But He wished to place Himself with entire obedience to endure until He might be delivered without any human means. That, then, in summary, is what we have to remember. But it is in these articles, when His clothing was divided among them and they cast lots over them, that the Scripture was fulfilled. David, a type of our Lord Jesus Christ, makes such complaints. It is true that this is by figure of speech, when he says that they have put gall in his drink, and vinegar, and they have divided his garments, and that in his affliction they still stung him and put him in further agony, (Psalm 69:20, 21; Psalm 22:18) as cruel and inhuman people would still like to molest their poor victim who can make no resistance. David, then, uses such a figure of speech when he says that his wealth was divided among them. (Psalm 22:18.) Under that word he speaks of his wife, of his house, of all his goods, and of all his estate. But in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ this had to be seen with the eye. They gave Him, then, vinegar and gall, in order that it might be known that David was really the type of Him, and that He was the true Redeemer Who had been promised from all time. For why was the Kingdom raised in the house of David, unless with promise that it would endure longer than sun or moon? There was, then, this eternal Kingdom which today has been established in the person of the Redeemer. For these things, which were, as it were, in shadow and type in the person of David, had to have their perfection in Jesus Christ, as we see here.
Besides, as for the Gospel-writer’s adding that even the robbers who were with our Lord Jesus mocked Him, it was said by only one, as it appears by St. Luke, who declares these things more at length. But it is a common enough manner of speaking, as when one says, “One speaks even to little children,” Although there may be only one, the speaker takes the plural number. “There must be women among them.” Yet there need be only one. In this way, then, it is said that our Lord Jesus was spited, mocked, and blasphemed by all, even by the malefactors. For when He was identified with two robbers, it is in order to aggravate all the more the shame of His death. It is true that this was the place where they were accustomed to executing evil-doers. All the same, they are not satisfied with such a shame. But He had to be considered worse and more detestable than all the robbers in the world, when they put one on each of His two sides, to say that He is the chief of them all. And in that, as says St. Mark, was verified what, is said by the Prophet,
“He was reputed among the transgressors.” (Mark 15:28; Isaiah 53:12)
Now without this reputation, today in what place and condition would we be before God? For we cannot obtain grace without righteousness. God must hate us and reject us until we are righteous and purged of all spots and offenses before Him. And that it be so, can God renounce Himself? Can He strip Himself of His holiness, justice, and integrity? Since, then, we bring before Him our stains, we must be abominable to Him. Now, how shall we now be justified before God, except inasmuch as our Lord Jesus Christ was reputed among the malefactors? We are, then, exempt from this class and God receives us, and we are as acceptable to Him as if we were entirely pure and innocent, inasmuch as our Lord Jesus suffered being in such shame and disgrace before men. That, in summary, is what we have to remember about the robbers.
But we must insist to the end upon the account of St. Luke, that is, that one of the robbers rebukes his companion when he sees him so obstinate. “How now?” says he, “will there never be a time when you will be humiliated? For the condemnation and the punishment which you endure are for your misdeeds and for your crimes. You are a man plunged into every curse, and though during your entire lifetime you were so brutish as to take pleasure in your faults, so now you must begin to groan.” For a man, however undone he may be, although he makes merry his whole lifetime, and thinks he will never come to account at all, he mocks justice, and even defies it, inasmuch as he trusts that he will remain unpunished, yet when he is captured, he must drop his cackling. “Now here you are,” says he, “in great torment. You see that God and men are now bringing you to account. Also your conscience rebukes you that it is for your crimes that you endure. And must you still defy God?” Here is a sentence which well shows that this robber had been taught by the Spirit of God. Although we shall soon see it incomparably more, already in this word we can judge what kind of a teacher the Spirit of God is, when He gives such instruction to those who have been entirely led astray, indeed, made brutes; that they not only recognize their faults and prepare themselves so as to obtain grace, but they can speak just like learned doctors, and people who for a long time have been trained in Holy Scripture. For the principal remonstrance that we can make against a man so hardened and who still does not cease to storm against God when he ought to bend and come to repentance, is it not what this poor robber did? But though that may be, such an admonition profited nothing except to render inexcusable him who was so possessed by Satan. Even though it served no purpose toward him to whom it was addressed, it certainly ought to be useful to us today.
So let us learn to fear God, although He spares us. But above all if we are beaten by His rods, and He makes us feel that He is offended against us, then may we be all the more incited to groan, and may we also have constancy to endure patiently our afflictions, as we see that this poor robber did, and not to raise ourselves at all in pride and fury like the other. What is more, in these two we see, as it were, mirrors of all mankind. For we see the miseries with which we are surrounded. This life is, as it were, a depth of all privations, and these are the fruits of our sins. For we have been deprived of the blessing of God in the fall of Adam. It is true that although God by His inestimable goodness rises above this curse, when He always declares Himself Father in many ways and makes us feel His gentleness and the love which He bears toward us and the care which He had for us, yet we have many marks of our sins, and high and low we ought to perceive that we are cursed by God. Death finally is common to all. When we shall have languished in this world, when we shall all have been subject to many maladies, to heat and to cold, when we shall have been tormented in one way and another, briefly, when we shall have endured infinite miseries, what will be the issue of it? We must return to corruption and ashes. However, we see those who are touched by God in such a way that the afflictions which they endure serve for their salvation and turn to their aid, as St. Paul speaks in the 8th chapter of Romans. Others grow worse and worse, and instead of humbling themselves and being touched with any repentance, only make themselves to fester still more, and increasingly provoke the wrath of God and light still more fire to be consumed by. We see that, then. So, let us cast our eyes upon these two robbers as upon mirrors of all the world. For from the greatest to the least we are all blame-worthy before God. And if all together we shall endure, who will boast of his innocence? Who will be able to be absolved? Being then plunged into condemnation, we endure rightly for our sins. However, we do not all make equal confession of it. For there are those who grow from bad to worse, and their rebellion which they make against God is manifest. They gnash their teeth, they foam at the mouth in their rage and cruelty. And they do not wish in any wise to come to this condemnation. Or perhaps they take the bit in their teeth and show a willful contempt to say that God will not get them anything at all and that they will have no master over them.
Now let us conclude that, when poor sinners recognize themselves, when they humble themselves, when they confess their debt, when they give glory to God, declaring that He treats them in all equity and uprightness, and that there is good reason why they are suffered to be so chastised, when, I say, poor sinners are drawn to such reasonableness, let us know that God has put His hand upon them, that He has touched them by His Holy Spirit and that in this one can observe an infinite goodness, when He so draws back from perdition and hell, those who were, as it were, devoid of all hope. Now, in summary we see in the person of this poor robber an example of faith which is as excellent as any there ever was. So much more ought we to be carried away and astonished by such a miracle which God performed. For in what estate is he? There he is near death, he endures horrible torments, he waits for someone to come and break and snap his legs, for himself to be dismembered there, who is still in a torment so bitter and dreadful that it is to make him lose sense and memory, he sees our Lord Jesus Who is also in the same desperate situation, indeed, with greater shame, and how does he speak? Not only does he recognize his faults to humble himself before God, not only does he exercise the office of teacher to convert his companion and to lead him back to the good way, but he makes a confession which deserves to be preferred to all others, if we consider well such circumstances. “Remember me,” says he, “when Thou comest into Thy Kingdom.”
How is it that he is able to conceive of a Kingdom in Jesus Christ? He there perishing on the cross, He is cursed both by God and by men. For this sentence of the law had been pronounced by the mouth of God,
“Cursed is he who will hang on the tree. (Deuteronomy 21:23.)
And that was not done in a chance case, but God put there His only Son. When, then, he sees Jesus Christ to be there under the curse both before God and before men, indeed in the depth of despair from the human point of view, he cannot collect his thoughts to say that Jesus Christ is King, except it be in faith and in spirit. So then, he sees there things which could turn him away from the Son of God and which could make him conclude that it would only be an abuse and a mockery to trust in Him. Yet he calls Him King, seeing Him in His death. “Save me,” says he, “Give me life. For if You will remember me, in that will consist all my bliss.” Now when we shall have well pondered all these circumstances, it is certain that the faith which was in this robber was as excellent as was in any man who ever lived. However, let us not be ashamed to be his disciples, for in fact the death of our Lord Jesus Christ will not profit us unless we are, as it were, condemned in ourselves, in order to obtain salvation in Him. And we cannot be absolved before God, unless we have confessed that there is in us only iniquity and filth. Since it is true, then, that we are blameworthy before God, and that our own conscience judges and condemns us, let us not be ashamed to follow this robber, seeing that he can be to us a good teacher.
And even now that our Lord Jesus has ascended into heaven, that He has taken possession of the glory which was given to Him by God His Father, in order that every knee may bow before Him, let us not doubt that we are fully restored to His keeping, and conclude that there is wherein consists all our bliss, to know that Jesus Christ remembers us and that He governs us. Inasmuch as He has been ordained our Shepherd, He watches over our salvation, in order that we may be secure under His hand and under His protection. Besides, may we learn to bear patiently the miseries of this present life, and may that not turn us aside from coming to our Lord Jesus Christ. The robber was heard, as we see. Yet he did not escape death, which was very hard and terrible. So then, may we so esteem the spiritual grace which is given us in our Lord Jesus Christ, and which is offered us every day by the preaching of the Gospel, that it may be to make us rise above all the anguishes, quarrels, cares, troubles, and assaults which we could experience. May all our afflictions be sweetened, inasmuch as we know that all will turn out for our good and salvation, by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
That, then, is what we have to observe. Besides, let us add to it the answer of our Lord Jesus Christ, when He promises to the robber that he will be with Him that day in Paradise. Although, then, our Lord Jesus was not yet raised from the dead, and He had not even fulfilled all that was required for our redemption and salvation, already He displayed the power and the fruit of His death and passion. It is true that the fulfillment was in the resurrection. But since it is conjoined to His death and passion, and since we know that, as He suffered in the infirmity of His flesh, so, He is raised in the power of His Spirit. As He endured for our sins in order that we might be acceptable before God, also He is raised for our justification. When, I say, we know all that, with how much greater courage may we come freely to Him. May we not doubt at all, when it will please Him to remember us, and to hide us under the shadow of His wings, that we can defy Satan, death and all miseries, and glory in our infirmity. Although according to the world we are poor ill-starred creatures, may we never cease to rejoice in God, from the foretaste He gives us by faith of the heavenly glory and of this inheritance which He has acquired at such a price and from the hope of which we can never be cheated.
Now we shall bow in humble, reverence before the majesty of our God.