Friday, April 10, 2009

Some say he is just a Man!

It amazes me to think that there are some that still think that Jesus Christ was just a man. They say that he was a lunatic or a blasphemer. He, Himself told those living in his day that he was the Son of God! He performed miracles and raised people from the dead. He has saved me from a life of desperation and destruction. He couldn't do that if he was just a man.

We had a missionary that was very learned in the torture that Jesus endured prior to and during his time on the cross give us the message last two Sunday's ago. It has taken me this long to process the information. It was horrible. The paintings that we have depicting our Jesus do nothing to set that picture in our minds. Our puny human minds could not imagine what his poor body looked like before he went on the cross.

The first thing that was mentioned by our missionary was that no Jew was ever arrested at night. Except for Jesus. A Jewish tribunal would never have been held at night yet Jesus stood before that group after his arrest at night. Jesus had three trials. First in front of the Romans, then in front of the Jews and then back in front of the Romans. Between this trials Jesus was beaten, given a crown of thorns, mocked, ridiculed and given lashes. Yet, he did not say a word in his own defense.

Second, the Crown of thorns was talked about. We Americans think about the thorns of the rose bush. Those thorns can poke you until you bleed but those are not the thorns that were used for Jesus. The Thorns used in Jesus crown were much longer, sharper and stronger. The crown was not simply placed on his head, it was mashed into the skin of the scalp and face. His beautiful face had already been beaten and was swollen, battered and bruised. This extra insult would have resulted in many rivers of blood running down his face. My poor Savior took the insults, the pain and the humiliation so that I would not have to go through that. He did not cry out and did not say a word in his own defense.

Third, the lashings. This was probably more horrific than it is made out to be in most churches. Most people think of a lash as a whip. In fact that is the way that it is depicted in most of the major movie productions. That was not the rule of the day. They did not use a whip, they used a cat'o'nine tails. This was a whip with nine strips of leather at the end of a handle. At the tip of the leather straps was a small hook. The hook would bite into the skin of the back and rip the flesh from the body. After the number of lashes that Jesus took his back would have been ripped open and the muscle and bones would have been showing.

Then he was forced to carry the cross to the hill of Golgotha. Once there the cross was laid on the ground next to a hole that had been dug there. Jesus was laid on the cross and nails were driven into his wrists. Nails that were 15-20 cm long and 6 cm around. Not everyone who died on the cross were nailed to it. This particular procedure was held for only the worst of the worst! This was for the meanest and cruelest criminals, yet my Savior endured it. He lived on that Cross for 3 hours and granted salvation to one of the thieves with him.

Here is what I find very interesting. Not that all of this is not, but when they put Jesus up on the remember I talked about a hole that had been dug....the foot of the cross sits in that hole. When the Roman Soldiers hoisted the Cross with my beloved Savior on in the literally dropped the cross into the hole. Not gently mind you, but hard enough that it was to break every joint in the body. If you have ever dislocated a joint you know how painful that can be. Yet, Jesus endured this and stayed on that cross for 3 hours.

He also endured a spear being jabbed into his side.

What is amazing is that not one internal organ was pierced. It says so in the bible. It says that not a bone was broken nor an organ was pierced. You see that is how the Romans made sure that a criminal was dead. They brought them off of the cross and broke the legs or stabbed them in the chest. With Jesus it wasn't necessary. They knew he had died. There was no blood left in his body. That is why he was leaking water.

Then, the MOST GLORIOUS thing happened! He rose from the dead! He neatly folded his burial head cloth. He appeared to more than 3000 people! The diciples didn't take his body from the tomb, it was the sabbath! No work is to be done! The Roman soldiers didn't see a thing. When it happened they ran away! Want to know why they ran? Because, some of Jesus fate would have fallen on them. They would have had to been lashed for shirking their duties. So they ran away. They were men. Jesus was and is God!

This is Easter. This is the celebration of what our Wonderful, Marvelous Savior did for us. At one point on the cross Jesus asks the Father, "My Lord, My Lord why have you forsaken me?" For that one moment the Father turned his face from his Son because he could not look upon the sin that Jesus had received from the world. Your sin, my sin, everyone's sin. Jesus took it all. Now all you have to do is accept his gift of salvation. Your works won't get you into heaven. You can be the most giving, caring, wonderful human being, but unless you have Jesus Christ and have accepted him into your heart, the gates of heaven will remain closed. Jesus said, "There is no way to the Father except through Me."

I pray that you all have a very Happy Easter. Easter is a time to rejoice in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is a time for family. It is a time to join together in the Lord.

God Bless you all!

Monday, March 23, 2009

In the Shadow of the Cross

This morning, as I was going to work, we hit a red light at one of the most violent street corners in North Minneapolis. It seems that this is the corner where most of the drug sales, prostution and other unsavory acts happen. I often go the the drug store and grocery on this corner and don't feel unsafe, but then I know that at any moment something could happen between rival gangs or drug dealers and police officers. Let's just say I don't go down there at night. Only during the daytime. This morning all was quiet and nothing was going on. The reason I bring up the history and possibilities of this place is because this morning I looked up. I have gone this route several times a day for the last 10 years and never noticed it before. I was amazed and in awe. Standing like a sentry, past Cub Foods, above all other buildings, it is there. On the steeple of the Catholic church....The Cross.

This dangerous street corner sits in the shadow of that cross. I wonder if this is a sign of how deeply our society has fallen. Is this what Christ sees when he looks down on America from heaven? Does he see how far we have fallen from what we once were? 90% of all Americans say that they are Christian. Yet we have forced God out of our schools, government, court systems and lives. Generally, we don't look up when we have problems but instead look inward. We don't rely on each other to help in time of need, we look to the government. Our Country has become a country of self-centered individuals that care for no one but themselves. The only time, it seems, that we look to help our fellow man is when there is a disaster. It seems to be the only thing that brings us from our reverence of self.

As I sit and write this, I think about the catastrophe of Huricane Katrena. The reports were angry because of the governments indifference. They could have, should have gotten busses to the people so that they could evacuate. They could have, should have seen this coming and come to the aid of those poor people. My questions: Where was the owner of the bus company? Why didn't he step up and send the school busses? Where were the taxi driver's? Why didn't they go into the area of town that had the most to lose and bring people out? Where was the outcry over this injustice? Our society does not look to the individual, nor do we blame the individual that didn't consider his fellow man.

There is something else that sits in the shadow of that cross. I noticed this some months ago. Up a block from the corner where I sat this morning is a Mosque. They have recently renovated this mosque and made it larger. Yet, it sits in the shadow of the Catholic Church and the cross on that steeple. This is a unique parallel to what will happen for us at the end of days. Jesus will win! And for all of us that believe on him, look to him and rejoice in him it will be a glorious day.

God Bless each and every person that reads this. This is a message of hope. If you haven't accepted Jesus Christ as your Personal Savior and would like to, please pray the prayer at the bottom of this post. Jesus walked the earth as Man, but was wholy God. He came to save each of us from our sins. The only difference between me and the unsaved person is that I have an intercessor before the Father. It does not mean that I will never commit another sin, although I try not to, it just means that when I get to heaven and am standing in front of the Great Judge, Jesus will step forward and say she is mine. Then I will be pardoned of all that I have done.

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, I know that I am a sinner and I know I need you in my life. You are the everlasting Lord, the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last. Lord I ask that you come into my heart today and clean me white as snow. I can't go another day without you ruling my life. I know that I am not worthy that you do this by grace and not works. Please, Dear Jesus, I want the gift that you present. These things I ask in Jesus name. Amen.