With cruel mockings to the cross they urge Thee;
They give Thee gall to drink, they still decry Thee;
They crucify Thee.
3. Whence come these sorrows, whence this mortal anguish?
It is my sins for which Thou, Lord, must languish;
Yea, all the wrath, the woe, Thou dost inherit,
This I do merit.
Stanza 2 picks up where stanza 1 left off (see previous post), but rather than asking why, it simply explains in summary the details of Christ's passion.
It's stanza 3 that moves things along. The question is asked: Whence come these sorrows, whence this mortal anguish?
And the answer is deafening: It is my sins! My sins are the reason for his sorrows and anguish. My sins put him on the cross. It is for my sins that the only truly innocent man suffered and died.
All the wrath of God that I have merited, he inherits. All the wrath that should have been poured out on me for all eternity was poured out on him (the picture with this post illustrates that beautifully).
What is the cause of all of this? My sins.
I love the way that Gerhard explains this: He was pierced with thorns, that He might heal our sin-pierced hearts. He bore the burden of the cross, so that He might remove from us the awful burden of eternal punishment. He exclaimed that He was forsaken by God, that He might prepare for us an everlasting habitation with God. He thirsted upon the cross, that He might meritoriously earn for us the dews of divine grace, and prevent our dying of an eternal soul-thirst. He was willing to be scorched by the flames of divine wrath, that He might deliver us from the flames of hell.
Thy sins must be punished, but God has already punished them in the person of His own Son. Great are the wounds of thy sins, but precious is the balm of Christ’s blood. Moses, in the law, pronounces a curse upon thee (Deut. 27:26) because thou hast not observed all things written in the book of the law, to do them; but Christ was made a curse for thee when He hung upon the tree (Gal. 3:13). The handwriting was written against thee in the heavenly court; but that has been erased by the blood of Christ (Col. 2:14).
Thy passion, then, O holy and gracious Christ, is my last and only refuge!