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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  1. This must be the longest paragraph in the world!

    I started reading it but then gave up when I saw there were no breaks.

    Break it up an little (no, a lot) and it will become much more readable and acceptable.

    Peace and blessings!

  2. Sorry about that…lol I think the Apostle Paul rubbed off on me there a little. 🙂 It seems that the formatting that I had was lost somehow. I hope that it reads better now!

  3. You bet, much better. Thanks. I think you’ll get some readers now.

    Grace and blessings

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