Sunday, April 08, 2012
The True Message of Easter
By Douglas V. Gibbs
The cross was the goal of Jesus from the beginning. He planted the tree that would serve as His cross. He placed the ore in the ground that would serve as the nails that would secure Him to that cross.
Jesus was born to die, so that we might live, and at that moment, death was conquered.
Crucifixion was a long and tortuous death. It was designed to prolong the pain, to bring misery upon the men who were crucified. The miserable death by crucifixion served as a warning to those that would defy Rome with mutiny and sedition.
The time of death, however long the slow, incremental suffocation may have lasted, was determined by the Romans. If a man lasted too long on the cross his death would be hastened by the Roman Soldiers by them crushing the kneecaps of the condemned so that the man may no longer support himself on the base of the cross and get air into his lungs.
As predicted in Psalms 34:20 (The Lord preserves him completely; not one of his bones is broken), no bone on Jesus' body was broken. When the soldiers came to Jesus to break his kneecaps, they did not need to break his bones, because He was gone. Jesus came and left at will.
"No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again" (John 10:18).
Jesus was laid in the tomb and His disciples believed something had gone terribly wrong. They never expected to see Him again, and did not understand why Christ's Kingdom was not commencing in their day. They were devastated, and they distanced themselves from the bloody brutality of the cross.
An innocent man who had led a virtuous life had died a horrendous death. Humanity had done his worst. The blood of Christ stained the ground of Calvary, and His life had become a short one ending with ridicule, torture, and a crown of thorns.
But God was not done. God always has the final say.
Jesus, after He was crucified and laid to rest, on the third day, rose again to walk upon the Earth, and to continue His message. He had conquered death, and lived again. Either you are for Him, or against Him, and He provided the opportunity to belong to Him by dying for our sins.
Christ told of his Resurrection, but perhaps the disciples did not understand Jesus was speaking literally. He had laid it out for them, but somehow they missed the point. Despite their past failures, however, Jesus was alive, and He made multiple appearances in his resurrected body.
He appeared to Mary as she wept alone by the tomb, asking her who she was looking for. At first she did not know it was Him she was speaking to. Then she realized the truth, and looked upon Jesus, alive from the dead. Later He appeared to Peter, and He also appeared to the disciples twice as they were gathered behind locked doors for fear of the government. Then He appeared to two disciples on the road to Emmaus. He appeared to the disciples by the Sea of Galilee, and He even appeared to 500 people at once. Jesus had risen, and it forever changed their lives.
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ assures us that we are loved and accepted by God. Jesus removed sin and the penalty that goes along with our humanity, assuring us that He has interceded for us, paying the payment of death on our behalf.
With Christ in our lives we have all the strength needed to live the Christian life. Some may think that "trying" Christianity is not for them just yet, or that it may never be, but a life in the arms of Jesus Christ is not just some product or service that works for some and not for others, or should be tried to see if the shoe fits - Christianity is a new life with Christ Himself, one that turns away from our dead lives of before, and places all that we are into His nail pierced hands.
"If God is real, why doesn't He show Himself," I am sometimes asked.
He did, He came as flesh and blood, and yet we did not recognize Him, because we do not wish to. We battle with it. We fight the changed life that Christ offers.
He can change any person who genuinely comes to him on His terms. But we must commit ourselves to Christ as we ought to. To really commit yourself to him, you can be assured that you have the power to live this life that can be so troubling at times.
The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 15:20-22, "But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive." Christ's children are given a new life. Death will come, but because of His Grace and Mercy, we shall never die eternally.
The good news of Easter is God gives us second chances, third chances, or however many we need. When we turn to Him, die onto ourselves, and repent, our lives are anew. We tend to put a distance between ourselves and the bloody cross, when we need to run to the cross for our salvation instead. Our works will never be sufficient to earn His Grace, but accepting the blood shed on that cross as payment for ours is the key to the kingdom.
Jesus Christ seemed as a prophet to the people, because when He preached the Scripture it not only seemed that He knew it, but that He had written The Word Himself - and the truth is, He did.
He offers us living water so that we may never thirst again. All we must do is accept it.
-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary