Sunday, April 24, 2011

Do you know Him?

He Has Risen!

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. 

There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb. rolled back the stone and sat on it.  His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.  He is not here; he had risen, just as he said.  Come and see the place where he lay.  Then go quickly and tell his disciples: 'He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee.  There you will see him.'  Now I have told you."

Matthew 28:5 - 7

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday

I was not raised in a home where we studied the bible or even discussed much about what things like Easter or good Friday meant.  To me it was all about the hunt!  My folks believe in Christ and we went to church, we just didn't really bring it home, like some do, and even to this day I first think of Easter eggs but through study I am brought to tears for what God did through Christ on the cross for me.

Isaiah 53:5 
But he was pierced for out transgressions, he was crushed for out iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by His wounds we are healed.

Not long ago I was given the opportunity to write a talk about the body of Christ, the church, and in that talk I focused on Christ body during the crucifixion.

I was going to quote something out of the movie Passion of the Christ about the flogging but then decided I better not take a movie's word for it, I better look to the bible and see what it says.  IT says and I quote, "and they had him flogged" in both Matthew and Mark.  I thought "well what EXACTLY is flogging"?  I mean I can understand a beating but then my mind immediately numbs because really I have never seen violence.  I can not watch movies or TV shows that have too much violence in it and even with what little I have seen most of that is through my fingers, so when I say I don't know much about it, I mean I don't know much!  I wanted to really understand it, though, to be able to truly visualize how Christ suffered and died for me.

So I googled "what was flogging like in Jesus' day"?  And an interview between Lee Strobel author of the book "Case for Christ" and Dr. Alexander Metherell came up.  Needless to say after reading that I can easily understand, visualize and empathise with the passion of Christ and what He went through to pay the penalty for our sins.   Here is a detailed account of what our Savior went through on Good Friday from the interview between these two men;

"Roman floggings were known to be terribly brutal.  They usually consisted of thirty-nine lashes but frequently were a lot more than that, depending on the mood of the soldier applying the blows.

The soldier would use a whip of braided leather thongs with metal balls woven into them.  When the whip would strike the flesh, these balls would cause deep bruises or contusions, which would break open with further blows.  And the whip had pieces of sharp bone as well, which would cut the flesh severely.  The back would be so shredded that part of the spine was sometimes exposed by the deep, deep cuts.
The whipping would have gone all the way from the shoulders, down the back, the buttocks, and the back of the legs.

One physician who has studied Roman beatings said, 'as the flogging continued, the lacerations would tear into the underlying skeletal muscles and produce quivering ribbons of bleeding flesh.'  A third-century historian described a flogging by saying, the sufferer's veins were laid bare, and the very muscles, sinews, and bowels of the victim were open to exposure.  

Because of the terrible effects of this beating, there is not question that Jesus was already in serious to critical condition even before the nails were driven through his hands and feet.  And as distasteful as this description is there is more to come.

The Romans used spikes that were five to seven inches long and tapered to a sharp point.  They were driven through the wrist, this was a solid position that would lock the hand; if the nails had been driven through the palms, his weight would have caused the skin to tear, and he could have fallen off the cross.  So the nails went through the wrists.  

It is important to understand that the nail would go through the place where the median nerve runs.  This is the largest nerve going out of the hand, and it would be crushed by the nail that was being pounded in.  The pain would feel like when you hit your elbow and hit your funny bone, that is another verve called the ulna nerve and it is extremely painful when you accidentally hit it.  Well picture taking a pair of pliers and squeezing and crushing that nerve.  That effect would be similar to what Jesus experience.  The pain was absolutely unbearable, In fact it was literally beyond words to describe; they had to invent a new word: excruciating, meaning 'out of the cross.'"  

Think of that they needed to create a new word, because there was nothing in the language of that day to use to describe the intense anguish caused during the crucifixion!  And even with all this, there is still more, but I will stop here.

Isaiah 52:14-15, 
Just as there were many who were appalled at him--his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness--so will he sprinkle many nations, and kings will shut their mouths because of him.  For what they were not told, they will see, and what they have not heard, they will understand.

John 1:1-5
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.
Through Him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.  In him was life, and that life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

John 1:14
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.  We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 3:16  
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 

John 13:34
"A new command I give you: Love on another.  AS I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this all men will know that you are my disciples. if you love one another."

John 14: 27
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

John 15:12 - 17
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one that this, that he lay down his life for his friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command.  I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business.  Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned form my Father I have made know to you.  You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit - fruit that will last.  Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my mane.  This is my command: Love each other.

John 16:22 -
Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.  

John 16:27
  ,the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.  I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.

John 17:20 - 26  Jesus prays for future believers
  "My prayer is not for them alone.  I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.  May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.  I have given them the glory that you gave me.  May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.  
  "Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. 
  "Righteous Father,though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me.  I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them."

After all that, the letters in black and the letters in red, it all boils down to just on word -


Amazing, isn't it?  God truly is love.  

Be kind to one another, make it plan to see what Christ did on the cross for us so that everyone who sees you 
sees Christ.  

I love you.

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