Design of the Week – True Power

April 29, 2009 at 4:33 pm | Posted in Designs of the Week | Leave a comment
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This week’s design is called True Power. Today, when most people think of power, they think of money, fame, fortune (or electricity). While all of these things could represent power, they are not true power. True power is when you allow God to change you. It is when you stop trying to live your life your way and begin to live in obedience to His Word.

True power is seen in a life that is truly Christian. It is shown in acts, words, and thoughts that are completely in line with the scriptures found in the Bible. It is the work of the Holy Trinity. It is not something that can be bought, stolen, or traded for. It must be given and it can only be given by One. To receive True Power, you must repent of your sins and put your faith in Christ and Him alone.

Where is the church?

April 27, 2009 at 3:16 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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Before I get into this blog I guess I should state up front that I know that there are churches that are actually doing the things that Scripture says they should. The thing that I wonder about is why there seem to be so few doing this and why their numbers seem to be dwindling so quickly…

 

It seems that modern churches are all about two things; money and numbers. Getting as much money from the tithe as possible and getting as many people in the seats as you can are the main goals of many preachers today. Because of this, “pastors” are willing to “preach” messages (sometimes written by other pastors) that tickle the ears of those listening. They spend their time on “uplifting” messages that fill their audience with hope. The topics often revolve around money, blessing, a positive attitude, “speaking the Word”, and what God can do for you. They entertain with funny anecdotes, relevant stories, and outrageous stunts to pad their “sermons”. The “worship” band tends to be the focus of the music while Jesus is only mentioned in passing. Nothing regarding sin, hell, or the depravity of man is ever heard or sung about. It’s all about man being free from sin and victorious.

 

The youth groups are full of teens that have taken a cue from their parents, “leaders”, and “pastor”. They know the right words to say and have all the “Sunday school” answers down, but their lives are far from real and it is hard to tell them apart from non-Christian teens. The “youth leader” (a fairly new invention of the modern church) is just as entertaining (if not more so) than the pastor; trying to lure teens into the church with lock ins, video games, and pizza in the hopes that the gospel will change their lives by osmosis (of course, they would have to hear the gospel first, but that’s a different subject). They give a cool message using examples from Twilight and other popular movies and music to try and keep the kids’ attention. They have cookouts, concerts, and rallies to try and get these “Christian” youth to bring their unsaved friends (I still can’t tell them apart). The kids are not being changed and there is no evidence that they are growing in holiness at all.

 

The adults are any better. They sit in their “Bible study” classes and talk about pretty much everything but the Bible. Gossip flows like water, all in the context of “being concerned for someone” or wanting the class to pray for them. Like their kids, it is hard to see the evidence of growth in holiness, but they can set up a church event, potluck, or revival faster than you can blink. Other than John 3:16, Psalm 23, and (maybe) a verse or two in Romans; most couldn’t tell you the address of where to find anything in Scripture. Many who can couldn’t do so in context and wouldn’t know why that’s important. Theology is pushed to the side in favor of a glazed-over, watered-down, sugar-coated version of Christianity where everything is sunshine and roses, God is only love, He only does good, and sinners should come to the church to hear the good news.

 

Is this harsh? Maybe. I don’t think so though. The church is supposed to look, act, think, and talk differently than the world but it doesn’t. It is supposed to represent Christ on earth and be an example. While it’s an example, it’s not the kind that many need. The church is often mocked and laughed at, and with good reason. It looks like cheap knock off of the world mixed with just enough spirituality to call itself a religion. Think about this for a minute. The church is supposed to be the bride of Christ. What would you do if someone were mocking your bride? How would you feel? Angry? Now, how would you feel if your bride did things that brought the mockery and laughter on her? You’d still feel angry, but you’d feel ashamed too (at least I would).

 

There is a reason that I write this and it comes from something that I was a part of last week. The area that I live in was hit by what is called a gravity wave (if you want to see what one looks like in action, check here). The wind destroyed a number of trees and power lines and did a lot of damage. My friend was one of the people affected by the gravity wave. He had damage to his house, truck, and sunroom. They were without power for days. The city took care of the trees in the road, but didn’t really help him at all. His dad, his family and a few friends, and a church did help him. The church that came to help was from a city 30-40 miles away.

 

I’ve got an issue with this and I’ll tell you what it is. The church that came to help was a great witness to my friend, but that witness was hindered. You see, I live in an area of the country where there is a church pretty much on every corner. Between the city he lives in and the city where the church came from there are hundreds of churches with thousands of people. Many of the churches would have known about it (it was on the news) and none of them were anywhere to be found. But, even that isn’t my issue. The heart of my issue is the fact that I could stand in my friend’s front yard, throw a rock, and hit five churches. One of them is almost directly across the street. I am aware that the churches probably suffered damage as well and the people that attend these churches may have suffered damage to their homes too. But surely some of them escaped damage. While I seem to be ranting about this, the issue actually goes a lot deeper than this one instance. I’ve noticed for a while now that most churches have become cliques. If you’re not part of that church (and even sometimes if you are) then you don’t seem to exist. The church does what it will for whom it wants to in their congregation and that seems to be the extent of it. What irritates me most about this is the fact that my friend expects this. He is unsaved and has become cynical of the church because he’s been burned numerous times by those who call themselves “Christians” and look or act nothing like what Scripture says. I know that some would say, “that’s not all Christians”, and you’d be right. I’d have to ask though: how many times someone should go through what he has before he thumbs his nose at the church and doesn’t want anything to do with it? Should he keep the fact that this “isn’t all Christians” in the back of his mind while he gets burned again? He’s not the only one either. There are hundreds of people in the same situation who have come to expect the lack of response from “the church”. Unfortunately, it hinders the witness of those who are actually trying to look and act like believers.

 

The church of Jesus Christ (not the Latter day saints!) is alive and well, but I find it hard to believe that it’s as big as most people say it is. With all of the foolishness and so many churches falling away from the faith, I can’t help but wonder if Jesus will find faith on the earth when He returns. It would be nice for a change if people were actually honest about themselves. If you call yourself a Christian and you’re not living your life according to the Scripture found in the Bible, then please stop calling yourself a Christian. If you’re part of a cult that claims to be a part of Christianity (Mormonism, Catholicism, Universal Unitarianism, etc.), please stop. I don’t expect to be heard by many, but maybe someone will hear me and at least think about what I’ve said. The church is failing the world and it’s because they have let go of the truth in order to embrace fads and “methods” that are unnecessary and unhealthy. The church needs to get back to the simple preaching of the gospel. If the sermons last an hour or two, then so be it. People (many of whom are in the church) need to hear the truth of the gospel and get soundly saved.

 

Will you be one of the ones to help?

Design of the Week – Crossover – Pure Discipline

April 15, 2009 at 2:59 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

This week’s crossover design is from Upstream Designs and is called Pure Discipline.  The design itself is simple, which is something I like. I like “busy” designs if they are done well, but I love the challenge of presenting the depth of the message in the simplest way possible.

The design itself is a cross with the words “Pure Discipline” across the top. Underneath the cross are the words, “He became obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross”. This sums up what discipline is. It is doing what it right even when you may not like it, it may be difficult, or you may not live through it. It is obedience as well. Jesus’ death was a choice He made before the foundation of the world and it was His discipline that helped Him through.

One of the most amazing things about all of this is the fact that Jesus disciplined Himself for the cross knowing He was innocent. He didn’t have to die for wretched sinners like you and I but He did any way. Jesus is one of the greatest examples for us to follow. We must be disciplined to live, to work, to grow, and to follow Him as Christians. Do you have Pure Discipline?

Wages

April 14, 2009 at 2:40 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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Nothing’s free. I know that this may not come as a shock to many people (although there may be a number of people who refuse to admit it sometimes), it’s a surprise to some. I imagine that it also depends on what we’re talking about. If it comes to merchandise, people are always looking for free stuff. But when it comes to many important things in life, nothing is free. If you choose to spend your time doing one thing, it will cost you the ability to do something else.

 

When we go to work, our time is worth money. The companies that we work for have to pay wages for our time and effort. Our time also costs us (as those in the U.S. know at about this time every year…). If we know that nothing’s free, then it is important for us to evaluate the worth of everything so that we don’t have to pay for something that is worthless to us. Unfortunately, we often find ourselves paying for things that we shouldn’t have done. There are also times that we just plain don’t want to admit that something is costing us because we enjoy it too much.

 

There is no place that this is more evident than when it comes to eternal life. Many people through the ages have deluded themselves into thinking that their lifestyles, choices, and actions are not costing them anything when they are. They have hidden their consciences in the ethereal emotions and fleeting pleasures of sin. Because they don’t see the cost of their actions, they don’t look for a solution to the problem. Unbeknownst to them, the debt continues to add up.

 

When the time comes and the account is reconciled, if the sin remains unpaid for, then the account holder will be responsible for paying for their sins. The payment for sins is a terrible thing. If a person is still in their sins when they die, they must spend eternity in hell as the just payment for those sins. Many people today scoff at this and say a loving God would never send someone to hell. I disagree. It is precisely because God is love that He sends people to hell. It must be remembered that God is holy, just, righteous, and perfect as well as loving, gracious, and merciful (contrary to many contemporary preachers). Because God must always act in accord with all of His attributes, He must punish sin. That is the just and righteous thing to do. Because God is holy and eternal, the only just punishment for sin is an eternal hell. But, because God is loving, He has made an alternate way for the payment of their sins. The cost of this payment was no less terrible. The alternate payment for sins required that God’s perfect Son Jesus die on a wicked cross, even though He was innocent. Jesus took the wrath of God on Himself so that those who repent of their sins and put their trust in Him alone as their Savior would be spared God’s wrath. Because Jesus is God, He is perfect and eternal. As the substitutionary sacrifice for sin, this means that the sacrifice that He made was able to pay for all sins once. He doesn’t need to die again.

 

Sin has a cost. The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus (Romans 6:23). Sin will be paid for either way. It will be paid by those being punished in hell or it will be paid by the blood of Jesus. I ask anyone who reads this to take some advice from Jesus Himself and count the cost. I know that when Jesus said this, He was talking about following Him, but I think that it could apply here too. Understand what the cost will be to you if you die in your sins. You will spend your days in eternal torment where the fire is never quenched and the worm never dies (Mark 9:48). However, if you will admit that you are a sinner and have transgressed the law of God (see Exodus 20); and if you will repent of your sins (turn away from them) and put your complete trust in Jesus alone as your Savior, the Bible says that you will be saved from the wrath of God and can know without a shadow of a doubt that you will be in heaven when you die.

 

I mentioned the cost of following Jesus and it would be unfair for me to present the truth without talking about what it will cost you if you receive the gift of salvation. If you choose to follow Jesus Christ, then your life will not be a bed of roses. There is no guarantee that you will be blessed, healthy, rich, famous, or have an easy life. There is a guarantee from the Lord Jesus Himself that you will be mocked, hated, ridiculed, and may even be beaten or killed for Him. All you have to do is look outside the US to see this is true. I pray that you understand that what your life may be like should not discourage you from receiving salvation. What your eternity will be like if you don’t will be infinitely worse than anything that you can face here on earth.

 

Please consider where you stand in God’s eyes. If you don’t believe that He exists, then ask yourself why. Is it really because you honestly believe that all of this came about by chance random processes? Is it because you really believe that you can work your way to heaven (whether it’s by the system in Islam, Catholicism, Hinduism, or Mormonism)? Is it because you really can’t reconcile the “problems” with Christianity? Or, is it because you are too attached to your sin and living life the way that you want it rather than sacrifice your self in order to admit the truth? Whatever the reason, God challenges it and says that if you are willing to honestly look at what His Word says and come to Him on His terms, He will reveal Himself to you (not audibly or visually) and you can know that He is real and His Word is true.

 

This is the most important thing that you can spend your time considering and it is my hope and prayer that you will take the time to do so seriously…

Design of the Week 04/08/09 – Eggs

April 8, 2009 at 3:10 pm | Posted in Designs of the Week | Leave a comment
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This weekend, many children will wake up on Sunday morning and spend at least some of the day hunting colored hard-boiled eggs and little baskets (and not so little ones) full of goodies that the “Easter Bunny” brought them. They will then proceed to eat as little of one egg as possible and every last piece of chocolate in their basket and possible some of the chocolate in another basket. How do I know all this? Am I a prophet or psychic? Nope. I just remember being a kid…

The problem is that the children that are doing this are missing out on the real gift that has been given to all those who will receive it. The true meaning of “Easter” is not bunnies, eggs, or chocolate. It’s something much more important and lasting that all of that. If you truly want to find something this Sunday, then look for Jesus. Not only is it worth the time you spend, it is guaranteed to happen! On top of that, He will make sure that you find Him! Sure, it’s not eggs, chocolate, or cheap plastic toys, but the novelty of all of that wears off when the sugar rush goes away. On the other hand, when you have received the free gift of salvation through repentance and faith in Jesus, you will have something that lasts forever.

The problem that seems to be occurring more and more often is that many people look to those who call themselves Christians to find Jesus and see people that are no better (and many times worse) than they are. They lie, cheat, steal, hate, and pretend that it’s all ok. They preach a false gospel and no one blinks an eye. They neglect to tell people the truth of what’s coming and warn people of the wrath of God, instead settling for a lack-luster gospel that will bring people into the church only to make them false converts.

This weekend, have your fun and spend time with your families. Spend time telling them what they need to hear whether they want to hear it or not. Enjoy the eggs, chocolate, and gifts. Instead of hiding eggs why not reveal Christ?

The glory of Easter

April 6, 2009 at 3:30 pm | Posted in Christianity | 3 Comments
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For many people around the world, this week is special. This week begins the remembrance of the passion of Jesus Christ. It is a time to reflect on the most important event in Christianity. It was almost 2000 years ago that Christ entered Jerusalem to the cries of “Hosanna” and was tormented and killed at the request “Crucify” made by those same lips. It was this week that He suffered intense pain, betrayal by a close friend, and mockery and scorn from those He came to save.

Sadly, not much has changed in all this time. Jesus is still being betrayed by those who call Him friend. Many who name the name of Christ live like the world and betray Him for gold, fame, or power. He is mocked now more than ever and it’s only going to get worse before He comes back. Aggressive attacks on Christians (99% of which are outside the U.S.) by Muslims (isn’t Islam supposed to be the religion of peace?) and Hindus are bad enough, but I would expect no less from non-Christians who are told by their leaders and the religious writings to kill Christians. What bothers and aggravates me the most are the people who call themselves Christians and look nothing like what they claim to be. Prosperity preachers are leading people away to chase after money and “blessing”. Others are preaching a social gospel that all but ignores sin and God’s wrath. Still others are “preaching” a positive message, telling those who will listen all about how God loves them so much and only has good things for them. How He wants to bless them and be their “Daddy” and how it’s all about love. And then there are those who claim to be Christians that go out and teach rank heresy; denying the exclusivity of Jesus, accepting homosexuality, and convoluting many of the foundational beliefs of orthodox Christianity (justification, sanctification, salvation). These “emergents” are embracing everything and therefore are really holding to nothing.

The views of Christianity as found in scripture go directly against the teachings of every other religion in the world. This applies to Judaism as well, even though Jews and Christians share the Old Testament. Two of the most special events in Christianity are the Incarnation and the Resurrection. The Incarnation is when God the Son became a man in the person of Jesus Christ. This was foretold hundreds of years before the actual event took place. It is completely mind-boggling to think about an infinite God pouring Himself into a human body, but that’s exactly what happened. The Resurrection is the event commonly known as Easter today. Many will celebrate it with colored eggs, baskets, chocolate and a good meal. Unfortunately, those who only celebrate it this way miss out on so much more. When most people think of the Resurrection of Christ, they think about the actual event where Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of the week. Many also think about the passion that He went through suffering immensely at the hands of the Romans. What most people seem to forget is that the Resurrection goes back to the very beginning of mankind and was orchestrated to the utmost detail by God Himself.

When Adam and Eve sinned against God in the garden of Eden, they tried to hide from God. This may sound funny (how do you hide from someone who sees everything and is everywhere?) until you think about the large number of people who think that they can hide from God today (He can still see everything and is still everywhere…). When they finally came out of hiding, God cursed the earth and the serpent and pronounced the death sentence on mankind. Sin had entered the world and through sin, death had followed (Romans 5:12). The sacrifice of two innocent animals provided covering for Adam and Eve in an awesome foreshadowing of the cross. When God made His pronouncement to Adam and Eve, it included this important point: Gen 3:15 And I will put enmity Between you [the serpent] and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.” This is the first reference to both the incarnation and the resurrection. God tells the serpent (He was actually talking to Satan who was in the serpent) of the “woman’s seed”. Anyone with a simple understanding of biology knows that women don’t have “seed”, men do. He then said that the woman’s seed would bruise (crush) the serpent’s head and that the serpent would in turn bruise (crush) His heel. This can only be the death and resurrection of Christ. No other event in human history comes close to fitting this. This then, was to be the pinnacle of God’s plan and was to be expected by those who followed God.

In time, the earth became full of wickedness (Gen. 6:5) and violence (Gen. 6:11) and it grieved God to the point that He decided to “blot out” all of mankind from the face of the earth. However, not all of the people of the earth were this way. One man, Noah, “found favor in the eyes of the Lord”. Because of this favor, God tells Noah to build an ark of gopher wood and gives him the exact plans of how it should be built. It can be safely assumed that Noah spent much of his time building the ark (he was given about 100 years to do it), but that’s not all he did. 2 Peter 5 says that Noah was a “preacher of righteousness”. It is believed by a growing number of scientists who hold to Christianity that the ark was more than big enough to hold all of the animals that Noah brought on to the ark. Some have also suggested that the extra room that would remain was for those who would listen to the preaching of Noah and come aboard. Sadly, no one did this. In obedience to God, Noah and his family boarded the ark. What is amazing here is that it wasn’t Noah who closed the door of the ark, but God Himself (Gen. 7:16), showing that it is God who is responsible for salvation and no one else.

In keeping with His promise, God flooded the entire earth. All the high mountains under the heavens were covered (Gen. 7:19), and all flesh that moved on the earth and all mankind perished (Gen. 7:21-22). It wasn’t a local flood (the water would have just found its own level and Noah would have had to just move out of the area – as would those God was going to destroy). Gen 7:23 Thus He blotted out every living thing that was upon the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky, and they were blotted out from the earth; and only Noah was left, together with those that were with him in the ark. The ark was the salvation of mankind. It protected those who put their faith in it and saved them from the wrath of God. The ark is another foreshadowing of Christ and shows exactly what Jesus has done for those who put their faith in Him. He protects those who love Him and keeps them from the wrath of God.

As the earth was replenished and man again grew in number, they rebelled against the command of God to go forth and multiply and fill the earth (Gen. 9:1) and decided to build a tower to heaven (Gen. 11:4). Because of the rebellion, God came down and confused the languages of the people causing different families to spread out and fill the earth (Gen. 11:7-9).

As the generations went on, God chose Abram out of all men to be the forefather of His chosen people. He promised him many things including a land of his own, that he would become a great nation, (Gen 12:1-3) and that he would have a descendant of his own even though Sarai (his wife) was barren (Gen. 15:4). When Isaac finally came (25 years after God called Abraham and made the promises), God’s promise was fulfilled. Thirteen years later, God put Abraham to the test by asking him to sacrifice his only son. Abraham followed in obedience and was prepared to kill his son in obedience to God. As Abraham was bringing the knife down, God stopped him and showed him a ram caught in a thicket. This was again a foreshadowing of the sacrifice that Christ would make on behalf of those who would recognize Him as their Savior.

All throughout the history of Israel, Jesus has been prophesied and looked for by those who trust in God, including Job (Job 19:25-27), David (Psalm 22), Abraham (Gen. 15:6, Gal. 3:8), Isaiah (9:6 / 53), and Jeremiah (Jer. 23:5-6). These weren’t the only people looking for the Messiah. Many of the Jews were looking for the Messiah as well because God promised them the He would save them. From the beginning, Jesus, the Son of God, chose to be the One who would be sacrificed for the sins of the world so that those who repent of their sins and put their trust in Him would be saved from the wrath of God. This came to pass when the Holy Spirit overshadowed a young woman named Mary, causing her to become pregnant. The Son of God was wrapped in flesh and grew up in complete obedience to God. He amazed the elders in the synagogue at age 12 (Luke 2:46-47), and started His ministry at age 30. For the next three years He preached the truth to the people of Israel (Matt. 4:17).

While many of the “common” people followed Him and enjoyed what He did, many didn’t hear what He was saying. They loved being fed by the bread and fishes, they loved getting healed or raised from the dead, but they didn’t want to hear when He talked about their sin. The religious leaders didn’t like Jesus from the start. They feared that He would destroy the works related system that they had built up for themselves.  This, too, still goes on today… As He continued His ministry, the Pharisees and Sadducees ended up joining together to put Him to death because they hated Him. When His time had come to finish what He had started, He entered Jerusalem to shouts of “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” as the people waved palm branches and laid them before Him.

In His final days, Jesus told the disciples that He would be killed numerous times. As the Passover drew near, Jesus had His disciples prepare the meal. All the while, the Pharisees and Sadducees looked for their chance to kill Him. They found it in Judas Iscariot and began to plot their murder. Judas promised to deliver Jesus to the religious leaders for thirty pieces of silver, the price of a slave. At the Passover meal, Jesus announced that one of His own disciples would betray Him. Each of the disciples asked if they would be the one, and when Jesus told them who it would be they still didn’t understand: Joh 13:25-26 He, leaning back thus on Jesus’ bosom, *said to Him, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus then *answered, “That is the one for whom I shall dip the morsel and give it to him.” So when He had dipped the morsel, He *took and *gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. Judas left to betray the Lord and Jesus took His disciples to the garden of Gethsemane.

Here, the Son of God prayed by Himself (the disciples kept falling asleep) and was under so much stress and pressure that He sweat drops of blood. Judas knew that He would be there and led the both the temple guards and a Roman cohort (up to 1,000 Roman soldiers) to take Him. Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss and Jesus stepped forward to ask a simple question:

Joh 18:4-6 So Jesus, knowing all the things that were coming upon Him, went forth and *said to them, “Whom do you seek?” They answered Him, “Jesus the Nazarene.” He *said to them, “I am He.” And Judas also, who was betraying Him, was standing with them. So when He said to them, “I am He,” they drew back and fell to the ground.

Jesus spoke three words and over a thousand people fell to the ground! Peter rushed forward to protect the Lord and cuts off the ear of Malchus. In the midst of the tumult and His arrest, Jesus stooped down and healed the man on the spot.

After being bound, Jesus was taken to the high priest and put on trial for blasphemy. Here, Jesus was struck by a guard, beaten, mocked, and spit upon. Those holding Him blindfolded Him, struck Him, and dared Him to tell them which one of them hit Him. It was also at this time that Peter denied knowing the Lord three times. Jesus was then taken to Pilate and called an evildoer. Pilate found nothing wrong with Him and sent Him to Herod. Herod wanted Jesus to entertain him by doing miracles but Jesus didn’t speak at all. The leaders were there speaking against Him the whole time, but Jesus wouldn’t say a word. Herod mocked Him, put a robe on Him, and sent Him back to Pilate. Pilate reiterated that He found no guilt in Jesus and would scourge Him and release Him.

Pilate was amazed but offered the people his customary choice of prisoners to be released as a good will gesture. The people were given a choice between Jesus and Barabbas, who was a known rebel and murderer. The people chose Barabbas. Pilate questioned their choice and it was then that the religious leaders incited the crowd to shout for Jesus’ crucifixion. During this, Pilate’s wife warned him not to have anything to do with Jesus because she suffered in a dream the previous night. Wishing to please the crowds, Pilate released Barabbas, washed his hands of Jesus’ blood, and had Jesus taken away to be scourged.

Before I go into the actual crucifixion, it’s important to remember all that Jesus has been through already. It is now Friday morning and He hasn’t slept since Tuesday night. He’s agonized in the garden to the point of sweating blood. He’s been bound, beaten, mocked, and spit upon. He’s walked a mile from the Praetorium to Herod’s palace. There He was again mocked and spit upon. He was then taken another mile back to Pilate. When Jesus returned from Herod’s palace and the crowd shouted for His crucifixion, Pilate granted it.

Jesus was then taken away and scourged. The whips that the Romans used were called flagellum and are more commonly known as a “cat-o’-nine tails”. These whips had nine leather thongs, which were embedded with glass, bone, metal, or shells to lacerate and cut the skin and flesh of the one being whipped. Jesus was whipped numerous times (some believe 39) by Roman men who knew well how to inflict the most damage and pain to someone while keeping them alive. Scripture says that He was marred more than any man (Is. 52:14). After His flaying, the whole cohort took Him into the palace and placed a purple robe on Him. They twisted a crown of thorns and forced it on His head and began to beat His head with a reed. They also spit on Him and mocked Him. When they had finished, they took the robe off of Him (remember, He’s bleeding profusely and it would cause the robe to stick to His open flesh) and put His garments back on Him. They then began the march to Golgotha where He would be crucified.

Jesus was forced to carry the cross (there is some debate as to whether it was the whole cross or just the patibulum) 600 yards from the Praetorium to the hill of Calvary. During the march, Jesus was so weak that He collapsed under the cross and Simon the Cyrene was chosen to carry the cross the rest of the way. When they reached the Place of the Skull, they removed His garments and laid Him on the cross. The soldiers then drove nine-inch nails into each of His wrists. When they did this, the nine-inch long, half-inch wide nails would have been driven directly through the main nerve that runs to the hand. This would have caused excruciating pain. They then stretched Him out and dislocated His shoulders as they repeated the process for the other wrist. Then, they placed a block under His feet and proceeded to drive another nine-inch nail into both feet, shattering bone and again hitting nerves running up the legs. He was then raised up to hang by the nails.

The bloodied body of the Lord Jesus hung there from the cross for hours while the religious leaders (who professed to know God and obey Him) mocked and ridiculed Him. All the while, Jesus prayed that God would forgive them. While He hung there struggling to draw breath (which is how many of those crucified eventually died), He prayed for those who hated Him. From noon until 3 PM, darkness covered the whole land. Finally, when the wrath of God had been satisfied, Jesus died. When He yielded up His spirit, the earth shook and the veil that separated the holy place from the holy of holies was torn in half from top to bottom. Tombs of the saints opened up and many were raised back to life, entered into Jerusalem, and were seen by many (Matt. 27:50-53).

After three days in the grave, the Lord Jesus arose bodily and appeared to numerous people over the next 50 days. He was seen by up to 500 people at one time.

This event is the single most important event in the history of mankind. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ has satisfied the wrath of God. It has made payment for the legal requirement of God’s law, but this does not mean that all mankind is now saved. The payment must be applied to your account for you to receive the gift of salvation. To receive payment for your sins, you must repent of those sins (turn from them and not go back to them) and put your trust in Jesus (and nothing/no one else) as your Savior. If you’ll do this, you can know that you will be saved. I can’t understand for the life of me why so many hate a God who is so loving that He would come down and die in our place. It makes absolutely no sense why people would reject so great a salvation. But they do. Please don’t be one of those people. Hell is real and it lasts forever, but God has made a way for you to escape His justice and the punishment that comes with it. Please repent of your sins and put your trust in Jesus alone. It is the only way to be saved.


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