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by Dr. Robert Hymers

A Communion Service Message at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Evening, January 1, 2006

“They shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek” (Micah 5:1).

This is a remarkable prophecy of the beating Christ would receive the night before He was crucified. His own people hit the judge of Israel, the Lord Jesus Christ, with a wooden rod on the cheek, before they dragged Him away to be crucified.

There can be no question that “the judge” spoken of prophetically here would be our Lord Jesus Christ. The next verse makes that perfectly clear.

“But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2).

Micah 5:2 makes it clear that the “judge” spoken of in verse one is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ, born in Bethlehem, but whose “goings forth [had] been from of old,” for Christ appeared in preincarnate form throughout the Old Testament Scripture. “From everlasting,” for “In the beginning was the Word…and the Word was God” (John 1:1). And the Word was Jesus, who was with God the Father from the beginning, the eternally begotten Son of God.

Is it not remarkable, then, that the Holy Saviour, “the judge of Israel,” should be beaten in the face with a wooden rod by His own people? Seven hundred years before Christ was born from the Virgin Mary, the prophet Micah prophesied,

“They shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek” (Micah 5:1).

And that is exactly what they did to Jesus the night before He was nailed to the Cross. They beat Him in the face with a wooden rod, just as Micah had foretold seven hundred years earlier. The Gospel of Matthew tells us,

“They spit upon him, and took the reed [a wooden rod], and smote him on the head” (Matthew 27:30).

As Joseph Hart put it, in the song we just sang,

See how patient Jesus stands,
Insulted in His lowest case!
Sinners have bound the Almighty hands,
And spit in their Creator’s face.

With thorns His temple gored and gashed,
Sends streams of blood to every part;
His back with knotted scourges lashed,
But sharper scourges tear His heart.
   (“His Passion” by Joseph Hart, 1759).

As we approach the Lord’s Table tonight, to partake of the bread and the cup, let us never forget what was foretold by the prophet Micah 700 years before Christ’s birth,

“They shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek” (Micah 5:1).

In remembering Jesus’ suffering to pay the penalty for our sins, let us partake of the Lord’s Supper with thoughtful and thankful hearts.

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