Archive for June, 2010

24
Jun
10

WHO KILLED JESUS?

But the LORD was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief…  Isaiah 53:10 (NASB)

When Mel Gibson produced his film “The Passion of the Christ” a few years ago, there was a lot of discussion regarding the subject of who actually put Christ to death.

There was some controversy regarding the movie, as many in the Jewish community feared an anti-Semitic backlash as they feared the movie portrayed the Jews as a bloodthirsty group bent on murder, and who preferred to free a murderer in Barabas.

Others said that it was the fault of the Romans, as Pilate committed Jesus to be crucified, even when he found no fault in Jesus.  Mel Gibson, himself, stated that it was each and every one of us who nailed Jesus to the cross.

In searching for the answer, perhaps we should more deeply examine the story of Abraham and Isaac.  God commanded Abraham to take his son on a mountain to make Isaac a sacrifice to God.  Abraham made the journey to Moriah and told his entourage that he and the boy would go to worship the Lord and return.  He then built an altar with wood and a fire ready to burn the offering.  From there, of course, we remember that before Abraham thrust the knife into his son, he was stopped by an angel of the Lord.

We always focus on Isaac in this story being a picture of Christ, the only son, willingly allowing himself to be sacrificed.  But perhaps we miss the loving, graceful picture of Abraham, the father who willingly leads his only son to the slaughter as a sacrifice.  He symbolized God, who crushed Him and put Him to grief.

Yes, it is true that Jesus gave up His spirit to the Father, but, ultimately, according to Isaiah, it was God the Father, Himself, who put Jesus through the process of death on the cross.  He willingly sacrificed His only begotten Son, so that whosoever would believe in Him could be a partaker of eternal life.

It was God the Father, on Golgotha, with the cross.

Thank you, God!

“Yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God…” Isaiah 53:4

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17
Jun
10

HOW CRAZY ARE YOU?

And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.  Matthew 5:29-30

There have been recent stories in the news and on the internet of a man who had his hand stuck in a furnace for days, only to come to the conclusion that he would be forced to cut off his arm in order to save his life.  One could only imagine what reasoning must have been going through his mind to come to such a conclusion.

Another incident happened a few years ago with a man in the wild.  He was hiking and rock climbing when a huge boulder trapped his arm.  After a few days, his only chance for survival was to cut off part of his arm, cutting through the bone without medicine to mask the pain.

What kind of bravery would these actions take?  What kind of pain did they think they would endure versus what they truly had to endure?  Were they crazy?

In the verses above, Jesus asks us the same questions.  What kind of bravery do you have to “take up your cross” and follow Him, wholly forsaking the world and embracing His suffering?  What kind of pain are you willing to endure for the cause of the cross?  Do you have a love for Him as crazy as His love is for you?

Jesus Christ was willing to give up His life for you.  Are you willing to give up your life for Him?  How crazy are you?

11
Jun
10

NO FEAR

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.  Psalms 23:4

The Shepherd’s Psalm is a favorite of so many who are born-again, and this verse from Psalm 23 is my favorite verse in this rich passage.

First, we are told that we will encounter trouble.  “Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble.” (Job 14:1)  James warned us that we would encounter “divers temptations”, or adversities and trials.  But even though we will be forced to travel though the “valley of the shadow of death,” we can still be confident, and “fear no evil.”

It is such a blessing to know that we are not setting up camp in the “valley of the shadow of death”, but that we are just passing through.  And even though we do pass through there, we can “fear no evil” because our wonderful shepherd, God Almighty, is with us.  Jesus said, “Lo, I am with you always, even until the end of the world.” (Matthew 28:20)

In addition to knowing that He is with us, we know that he also protects us and guides us:  “Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”  His rod, from the Hebrew, can also be translated tribe, shaft (of a spear or a dart), or sceptre.  That His rod can be translated tribe shows that “I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine.” (Song of Solomon 6:3)  That it can be a shaft shows that He is there to fight our battles and protect us:  “He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler” (Psalms 91:4)  That the rod is a sceptre shows that He has authority, for His name is written on His thigh, His robe is dipped in blood, and He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

This verse says that we are not only comforted by his rod, but also His staff.  The staff can mean that it is a support.  God has no need of support.  But to us, He is an ever-present help in our time of need.  “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)

Perhaps the one sweet trait of this verse is that we travel through the “valley of the SHADOW of death.”  Death is but a shadow to those who know God Almighty as their Lord.  But always remember that where there is a shadow, there is a light on the other side!  “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” (Psalms 30:5)

03
Jun
10

IT CAN’T BE DONE

For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. – Galatians 3:10

I love to try to live by, and honor, the laws of my community, county, state and country.  I count it as a privilege to do my best to be a law-abiding citizen, in spite of my lead foot.

In my 41+ years as a citizen of the state of West Virginia, if I strived every day of my life to keep every single law that is on the books, that would be quite a feat.  If I were able to do so, however, I do not think that our governor would show up at our doorstep to give me a big, heavy medal for that accomplishment.  But if I did keep every single law, every day of my life, and just once drive by a trooper going 80mph – guess what?  I am going to get a ticket.  It does not matter if I have kept every law all my life.  By virtue of the fact that I broke that one law that one time makes me a lawbreaker.  And the trooper will not give me a medal for my past accomplishments, but he will give me a ticket for my transgression.

In like form, we can try to do our best to keep every letter of the law.  But we will never get an award or reward for keeping it, because eventually, we will break the law.  As the Bible tells us, “All your righteousness is as filthy rags.”  And even if we were able to accomplish such a huge feat, when we would break the law, and that will cause us to be a lawbreaker.  And we would not receive a reward for our past accomplishments, but we will receive punishment for our transgression.

We must realize that we cannot keep the law (Romans 3:23).  We are all under the curse.  But Jesus took on our curse and redeemed us from our own sin so that we can have the privilege of having a relationship with Him, and have the honor to serve, glorify, and praise Him.

“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us…” Galatians 3:13.

02
Jun
10

PAID AND SATISFIED

“It is finished.”

I will never forget when my late wife and I had finally paid off our car after six long years of payments.  For better or worse, it was totally ours.  Fully and completely ours.  After we made the last payment to the bank, they sent us the title and a document that was our loan agreement.  At the top of that loan agreement was a stamp with a signature and a date hastily scribbled.  The stamp said, “PAID AND SATISFIED.”  It was a legal requirement to fully complete the debt that was paid and the obligation that had been satisfied.

The words “It is finished” are some of the last words that Jesus spoke before He committed His spirit to God the Father and gave up the ghost.  The Greek word for “It is finished” is derived from the word teleo.  This word has also been found on legal documents where a debt was owed and had been paid and satisfied.

How awesome it is to know that when Jesus uttered the word teleo, He was serving notice to God, satan and all mankind that He had completely paid our debt to sin and that the obligation for our souls had been satisfied.  Jesus paid it all.  My chains are gone, and I’ve been set free, because my God and my saviour has ransomed me!

“He who knew no sin, became sin for us…”




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