Phyllis Hackman - Silverdale II Convention, New South Wales, Australia - Before 1987 Hymnbook

Two Battles: Calvary, Isarel vs. Waterloo, Belgium

I have two battles in my mind. I don't think nearly enough of the great victory that Christ gained in Gethsemane, in the Judgment Hall and then out on Calvary's hillside. I have purposed to try to think more and more of this. The victory of Christ on Calvary and in Gethsemane is best understood from experiences in our own lives.

The battle at Waterloo, Belgium. There, Napoleon, in his great desire for world power, was defeated. There are comparisons between Christ's battle and Napoleon's battle. One was a battle because of the love of power, and the other battle because of the power of love. Therefore, they were fought in entirely different ways. When we visited Waterloo in Belgium, we were taken to a little table representing the little room in a farm house where, the night before the battle, Napoleon had sat with his generals mapping the battle. He was going out to fight on an entirely unknown battlefield himself. He had never been at those battlefields. His first general had failed to let him know that those fields were crossed by so many water brooks.

Jesus, when He knew that the time for the battle had come, went to the most familiar spot. He crossed the brook and went into the place of prayer, where He had, through His lifetime, fought His battles and there, He set the battle in array in His own heart. It is a lovely picture. He went just a little further than before. He took Himself a stone's cast away from the 3 disciples - that brought Him out of earshot of their voices. He would remember Peter had said, "Pity Thyself." James and John had suggested sending fire down from heaven. He knew it wasn't going to be a battle like that. Our greatest battles must be fought alone in the presence of God - no human voice is needed there.

Waterloo - another disaster! - Just an error of judgment. Napoleon had planned that the re-enforcements would arrive at about 3 p.m. - just at the moment he'd planned to make the last assault against the enemy. The re-enforcements never came in time, and when they came the battle was already in wild disarray.

Jesus, all through His battle, never asked for any reinforcements to come, but His Father, looking down from heaven knew the moment when He needed it most and sent just one angel to strengthen Him. Then Christ settled it completely in His heart, that this battle was going to be ordered according to the will of His Father. That was the first step to victory and no other reinforcements were needed that day.

The scene in the garden changes. The wild rabble came in with swords and staves. Peter was so quickly on the offensive and struck the first blow. Christ gave him the only command that He gave in the day of battle to His followers. He only spoke to them once - so clearly and definitely: "Put up again thy sword into its place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword." They knew from that moment that it as going to be a different battle. He told them that He knew, from the experience in the garden that all heaven was on His side and had He wished it, twelve legions of angels would have appeared, filling the garden and the sky - but He knew that wouldn't be the right kind of battle. That wouldn't have gained the victory for poor mankind.

Battles go in stages.

The battle of Christ in the Judgment Hall. He appears as a lonely figure. Peter denied Him, the other disciples had fled, and He stands alone before the rulers. In Western Australia, we heard that death by crucifixion was reserved for the lowest criminal. To all this were added terrible indignities, the scarlet robe, the crown of thorns, mocking and spitting, which were completely illegal - the work of the Roman soldiers, and should never have been committed at all. Anything illegal always seems to stir up a spirit of resentment in me. Christ could so easily have lost His Spirit, but He held it. If He'd lost His Spirit, He would soon have lost His peace which He'd promised to the disciples in the upper room. He knew if He lost His peace, He would have nothing to leave the disciples. Have you ever noticed, it is often such a small thing that causes us to lose our spirits.

A very little mistake can cause you to lose the battle.
"For the want of a nail, a horse shoe was lost, For the want of a horse's shoe, a horse was lost. For the want of a horse, the rider was lost. For the want of a rider, the leader was lost. For the want of a leader, the battle was lost, and all through the loss of a horse's shoe nail."

Napoleon - at Waterloo, we stood before a circular portrait of the battle. We looked at the front of the battle and couldn't see him at all. He was right at the back of the battle, his body guard around him, messengers around him, giving directions. You don't put the leader in front in earthly battles - if you lose the leader the battle is lost. But oh! - how different - the victory of Christ! They led Him away to Caiaphas, to Pilate, to Calvary. They didn't lead Him at all. They thought they had to guard Him and lead Him away, but He was being led by the hand of God. He took all the battle to Himself.

Napoleon came out of that battle completely unscathed (physically) - but lost ambition and broken pride. But, Christ in the battle - oh, how sorely wounded was He! Only the Captain was wounded! - Head, hands, feet, and even after death, a Roman sword pierced His side. But these marks of wounding became, later on, the sure impression of His wonderful victory. Christ went alone. Now we can see what strength He had in Calvary. Cruel weapons used against Him - those piercing thorns, those heavy nails in His hands and feet, but from Calvary's tree, His eyes weren't dimmed with pain. He looked down and saw His mother standing there.

He was still clear in mind and gave those two simple sentences. To John, "Behold thy mother." Then He looked on His mother saying, "Woman, behold thy son." Just two simple sentences which made an assurance for the rest of the days of Mary's life. Have you ever noticed? When I make my own plans it takes such a lot of arranging, but if it is not in the will of God it falls into pieces before it comes into operation, very often disappointing. But for Christ, this great arrangement was made according to the will of God with two simple sentences. The will of God is very quickly and easily explained to us.

One other thing Jesus did. He had the strength to gather on Calvary's hillside one more lost sheep into the fold. Wasn't that wonderful? - All part of His victory. He was gathered into Christ's fold. He said, "Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom." Jesus was able to say, "Today shalt thou be with Me in paradise." The lost sheep was gathered in before the end came. Hymn 298 - that forgiven thief - that hymn belongs to him. He would have enjoyed it so much - just that line that says: "With enemies on every side, we lean on Thee, the crucified." "Thou hast passed on before our face." Christ was the first to leave Calvary. He was gone before the thieves. The repentant thief followed Christ into paradise.

At Waterloo, we saw all those young men writhing in pain on the battlefield. I couldn't help but think, "What terrible lingering deaths there must have been here." I used to think of Christ's death like that, that it was a lingering death. But I have a feeling that once redemption's work was done, once He had taken the place of the sin-bearer and passed through the hours of darkness, and once the full work was done, I don't think He lingered there a second longer. God hearing those words, "It is finished," didn't leave Him a second longer and the victory was won! Waterloo - how quickly the victory of the other side was published! Riders waiting with horses to ride to the coast. Beacons lit on the hillside and the news of the victory was just the news of the defeat of the great man who had this love of power.

Isn't it amazing to think that, after Christ died and He was laid in the tomb - no banners fluttered over Jerusalem, no beacons were lit, in fact, His victory wasn't published until 3 days and 3 nights had passed. When the victory is eternal, nobody needs to hurry about it at all. It was all in God's plan that Christ should be in the grave those three days and nights, and when His Son rose three days later, great victory was proclaimed. It was just proclaimed by one angel, but his face was like lightning and his clothes white as snow. And he just announced that victory to two of the humblest followers of Christ who had lingered. There was no boasting in the victory.

As they took the road home again, hastily, to tell the disciples, "He is risen! - victory is won!" - the glorious conqueror met them Himself. Christ came forward to those whose broken spirits had been taken into sweet captivity to Himself. He greeted them with the words, "All hail." You see, it was a different battle. In those days, it was the liberated people who proclaimed the words: "All hail." Here, it was the conquering One greeting those two humble followers as if it was their victory. They could "glory in His triumph and share His victory."

Later, on that mountainside, eleven gathered and they were told of the great extent of the victory - only 11. Christ came and said, "All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth." The victory for all time, by Christ, the Man of Sorrows. Then He went on to tell them of the great obligation laid on them. "Go ye into all the world and teach all nations." We all have a part in spreading the victory of Christ. He laid upon them the thought of the great security that would be with them if they did this. "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."

Napoleon, defeated at Waterloo. And a few months ago, we heard that the workers in Belgium had obeyed Christ's command and a mission is being worked at Waterloo, the scene of that Emperor's defeat. The interest still holds at Waterloo. That great Emperor was banished to that little rocky mountain, way out in the Atlantic, off the West African coast, and there he sadly finished his days. Several years ago, the gospel message was taken to that rocky little island. It is far out in the sea, no plane can land there, very few boats pass that way. Such a little Church there and such a lonely one and every year as the lists come out, they look down with the hope that workers will come again to St. Helena. They have in their mind the hope that still others will be gathered in.

When Isaiah felt at his lowest he heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?" He was so stirred by the thought of God needing someone and he answered so spontaneously himself, "Here am I, send me." The harvest is great and the labourers are few and God is still asking in heaven, "Who will go?" Isaiah said, "Here am I, send me."