“IN THE VOLUME OF THE BOOK IT IS WRITTEN OF HIM”
Psalm 40.6-8a & Hebrews 10.6-7
I hold in my hand a Bible. I sincerely hope you have a Bible in your possession this morning. The Bible is the Word of God, the holy scriptures, the oracles of God, or just simply The Book. We bring Bibles to the church house for worship because we strive to be people of the Book, folks who believe the Bible, who are adherents to scripture, those who have been begotten by the Word of truth.
Should you have a Bible with you, I will ask you to first turn to Psalm 40, where we will read verses 6, 7, and the first portion of verse 8, after we stand. If you do not have a Bible with you, please read along with the person nearest you:
6 Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required.
7 Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me,
8 I delight to do thy will, O my God
This is obviously a portion of scripture in which the Lord Jesus Christ’s words to His heavenly Father are recorded for our benefit. Now, turn to Hebrews 10.6-7, and read along with me:
6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure.
7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.
If there was any doubt that the writer of Hebrews lifted these two verses from Psalm 40.6-8 and applied the passage to his argument that Jesus is the predicted and the perfect sacrifice for man’s sins, Hebrews 10.10 clears the matter up once and for all: “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” It is certain, then, that the subject of the passages we read in Psalms and Hebrews is the Lord Jesus. My interest, however, is in the meaning of the parenthetical phrase, “in the volume of the book it is written of me.” What did the Lord Jesus Christ mean when He said, “in the volume of the book it is written of me”?
Some have suggested that it is the volume of God’s purposes, the archives of heaven, that is referred to here. That is, in the volume of God’s eternal purpose it was written of Him that He should come into the world to do this mighty work. While it is certainly true that He did come into the world to do His mighty work, I am inclined to hold a narrower view of our text, for the following reason: The word “volume” translates the Greek word for head, originally referring to a knob at the end of a rod about which was wound a scroll, and then eventually referred to the scroll of scripture itself. Thus, in Psalm 40.7 and Hebrews 10.7, it is the Word of God that is being referred to, specifically the Old Testament.
What the Lord Jesus Christ is declaring by this statement is that the volume of the Book is not speaking of burnt offerings when it speaks of burnt offerings, or of sin offerings when it speaks of sin offerings, or of the blood of bulls and goats when they are referred to. Hebrews 10.6 reminds us of what the Jewish people had learned a thousand years earlier when David recorded the words the Son of God said to His heavenly Father: “Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required.”
For centuries, the Jewish people observed the system of ordinances and animal sacrifices prescribed by the Law of Moses, with their sins only temporarily covered, only atoned, by the blood of bulls and goats, giving God no satisfaction whatsoever. When sins are atoned, they are only covered, rather than being removed. Then, a thousand years before the time of Christ’s birth in Bethlehem, He spoke to His Father words that were recorded for our benefit by David in Psalm 40.7: “Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.”
It is almost as if the preincarnate Christ whispered into David’s ear by inspiration, relating to David the words the Son of God had spoken to God the Father: “Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.” To confirm that the entirety of the system of sacrifices and offerings found in the Law of Moses was always really about the once for all time sacrifice of Jesus for sins, take a look at Hebrews 10.8-9:
8 Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law;
9 Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.
God has taken away the first, the system of sacrifices and the offering up of the blood of bulls and goats, so that He may establish the second, which alone gives Him great pleasure, being that unique sacrifice which actually remits or washes away sins, the blood of Jesus Christ.
this understood, I invite you to consider the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on
the cross of
all its cruel and barren appearance,
demands placed upon Jesus there were unspeakable. Our blessed Savior met
treason, treachery, and shame. Take a look at Simon of Cyrene, for instance. Analyze
his objections when he was required to assist Jesus in bearing the cross. His
Contrary to Simon, the Lord Jesus offered no resistance and voiced no protest. He was condemned to die in our place, and He accepted the judgment as if it were His very own. Yet it was His own only because of His willing substitution. He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and the things to which Simon of Cyrene objected were even more horrifying to the spotless Son of God. He despised the shame, the unspeakable disgrace, but He went without the camp, bearing the reproach. While the cross bore heavily upon His weary body, the reproach pressed more weightily upon His tender heart. The combined load, however, could not overbalance the weight of love He had for our poor, helpless, hopeless souls. Greater love hath no man than this. Instead of honor, it was dishonor. Instead of reverence, it was cursing. Instead of appreciation, it was deprecation. Instead of reception, it was rejection. Instead of a throne, it was a cross.
Observe that the position of our Lord is always central. From the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden to the Lamb upon the Throne of Glory, His place is always “in the midst.” He promised to be in the midst of those who gather in His name. John saw Him in the midst of the lamp stands in his vision in Revelation chapter one. Even in death, there was no exception, for on either side was one and Jesus was in the middle. There, silhouetted not only against the horizon, but also against the backdrop of history, “He was numbered with the transgressors.”
Jesus was always conscious of the end to which He would come. He so informed His disciples a number of times. We come upon Him as one day He “began to teach them.” The outline of His lesson on this occasion can be listed as follows:
1. The Son of man must suffer.
2. The Son of man must be rejected.
3. The Son of man must be killed.
4. The Son of man must be raised.
This lesson taught before Jesus was taken to
place of execution was always outside the gate, beyond the city. “Wherefore
Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered
without the gate.”
he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a
skull.” He went;
He went to a place; He went to a place of shame; He went bearing His cross. And
never forget it, He went in our place. It is a momentous thing that the Lord of
Glory should thus be humbled. Surely, He made Himself of “no reputation.” The
Egyptian bondage, the lions’ den, the fiery furnace, the Philippian jail, the
Isle of Patmos — what were these in comparison with the Place of the Skull when
it came to the public spectacle of an unmitigated disgrace? Is it to be
wondered that the sun refused to shine? Is it surprising that the heavens
groaned with thunder? Is it to be thought strange that the earth should
tremble? Wicked men led the King eternal, God incarnate, to a place of shameful
indignity and in the company of condemned criminals. In Luke’s gospel, it bears
the sweet-sounding name of
“And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads,” Matthew 27.39. This verse has given rise to the prevailing impression of commentators that the crucifixion took place beside a public highway, since that was the Roman habit. However, do not think this was the conduct of quiet travelers who chanced to pass at this particular time. No. This is the victory celebration of those who cried for His death and hounded Him to this place of execution. Their evil hearts in blood lust are now reaching the pinnacle of enthusiasm as they march back and forth before the crucified Creator they followed to this place of crucifixion. From the very time it was said, “There was no room for them in the inn,” until this present moment, it has been most evident that this world has had no desire for the Savior. However, let us witness more closely the verse at hand.
the single word, “They.” It is the designation of the Christ-rejecters. In
Noah’s time, before the judgment of God fell, “They” were eating and drinking,
marrying and giving in marriage. When Abraham interceded with heart stirring
prayers for the people of
Next, we are told they “passed by,” the most unpardonable of all their acts. They were passing by the only Door to heaven, for it was He who said, “I am the door; by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved.” They were passing by the only Savior, for “there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” They were passing to their doom. Sometimes we sing, “Pass me not, O gentle Savior, hear my humble cry; while on others Thou art calling, do not pass me by.” More accurately, it is not the Savior who is passing by men; it is men passing by the Savior. Even though the sinners at the cross taunted Him, jeered, mocked, smote, pierced and mistreated Him in a multitude of ways, paradise would have been their prospect — indeed, their realization, if only they had joined with the one thief in saying, “Lord, remember me.” But they passed by.
also “reviled.” The offensive stench of their corrupt nature. The heckles and
taunts which were hurled at the dying Savior in these moments of His intense
agony were the results of mob psychology. It is likely that one spoke up first
while others joined their voices in a chorus of railing, filling the air with
their loud denunciation of the spotless Lamb of God. “Thou that destroyest the
temple and buildest it in three days, save thyself,” they shouted with wicked
glee. “If thou
be the Son of God, come down from the cross.” It is unmistakably clear that
this was the Father of Lies motivating his children in an attempt to disprove
the truth of Jesus’ statements. As he once brought Samson into the temple of
Dagon to “make sport” for the three thousand hissing, depraved people who
looked on, even so he seeks now to put our Lord to shame in this solemn hour. Yes,
could be seen “wagging their heads,” a gesture of rejection. It would seem that
their wicked emotions had been whipped into such a froth of intensity that
gestures were needed to express their animosity for the sake of emphasis. Perhaps
the superscription above the head of Jesus had caused this. Pilate had written,
over the persecutors’ protest, “This is Jesus of Nazareth the King of the
Jews.” As the nodding of the head is a positive gesture, signaling agreement or
acceptance, so the wagging of the head is a negative motion, indicating
disagreement or rejection. When they saw the word “JESUS”, which means Savior,
they wagged their heads violently. He was not their savior. When they saw the
words “KING OF THE JEWS”, they wagged their heads in firm denial. He was not
their king. They had no king but Caesar. Thousands came to pay their respects
when Michael Jackson died, and many voiced their respects when Eunice Shriver
died. However, these people passed by the cross of Christ to show their
disrespect. Actions speak louder than words.
they crucified him.” This is precisely why they placed a cross upon the Lord
and paraded Him to this particular point. Since every other detail developed
with prophetic precision, is it not reasonable to assume that the Place of the
Skull was also marked in the blueprints of God’s plans? This was true of His
birth: “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands
bald, bleak, skull-like mound reeked with the very atmosphere of death. It did
not need to have skeletons strewn around, as some suppose, in order to give it
the ghastly cast of a life-destroying scene. It was commonly known as the place
of death. People referred to
seems incredible that our Mighty Maker should be fitted into such a picture —
the Creator of the Creation crucified! The explanation, of course, is that God
“hath made him to be sin (the sin-offering) for us.” The verdict against us was
death. As our substitute, He died for us — at the place of execution.
The Lord Jesus Christ told David what words He had spoken to the Father. A portion of His statement reads, “in the volume of the book it is written of me.” Thus, the sin offerings, the trespass offerings, the altars, the atonement, and the entire system of ordinances and sacrifices speaks of One who is greater, “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”
all points to
will you do with
 A. T. Robertson, Word Pictures In The New Testament, Vol V, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1932), page 407.
 I would like to acknowledge S. Franklin Logsdon, Lingering At Calvary, (Toronto, Canada: Evangelical Publishers, 1950), pages 15-21 for much of the material contained in the body of this sermon.
 Isaiah 53.12
 Hebrews 13.12
 Luke 23.26
 John 19.17
 John 10.9
 Acts 4.12
 Matthew 27.40
 Micah 5.2
 Zechariah 14.4
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