Posts Tagged ‘crucifixion’

1 Cor 1: 22-23  For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishnessThe-Weakness-of-the-Cross-3_24_31-608x430

1 Cor 1: 24-29 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. ……But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.  And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, [yea], and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.

Why did God do what he did through the suffering of one man on a Roman Cross?

In this world Might and achievement is reckoned by the force of ones armies and the willingness to die for a cause.  For some it is in striving for great riches and wealth. In Islam those who die in Jihad are honoured with immediate paradise whilst those who don’t get to live in a conscious existence in the grave.  For others heroism and bravery is commended and cowardness is disgraces.  Bravery above weakness.  Yet God in his wisdom cuts through all this, and through weakness achieves the impossible.  He brought salvation to mankind.

The scriptures say that Gods foolishness is still wiser and his weakness stronger.

  • Now if salvation could be achieved through wisdom and intellect, then only the wise would get in and the foolish and uneducated would not.
  • If Salvation was based on strength and valour then the weak would be at a disadvantage.
  • If salvation would be found among the healthy, then the sick would loose out.
  • If salvation could be found among the rich, the poor would loose out.
  • If salvation was achieved through works, then only those with the strength of ones might be able to achieve salvation, and those who don’t loose out.
  • If salvation was based upon my goodness, then the bad have no chance.

Sadly for many in their pride are unwilling to humble themselves, they still cling to the notion that might is right.  They clamber in the belief that their efforts will be recognised and earn a reward called salvation, But its all dross and futility.

They battle strive and struggle in the belief that there are points to be mad,e and their salvation is earned as a reward. For many they can climb upon their intellect, look down upon those who don’t, and boast in their pride  believe they have made the grade whilst others cannot.

 God however cut through all this red tape and made salvation infinitely simpler.  As Paul said to his jailer, whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.  Faith as simple as trusting is all that is needed.  It does not matter if you are rich poor brave a coward, Healthy or sick.  God made the playing field equal.  Whoever comes will be saved.

You see Gods way strips me of my boasting.  I have nothing that I can hold onto that says I am better that that other person.  I have nothing that says I have earned my place along side God best.    In fact I am totally disarmed.  All my wisdom, intellect, treasures, gifting , pride, and even my  strength is laid bare before him.  As Paul said he counted it all but dross.  Even in my weakness there is still no pride because one in his weakness he chooses to endure the cross in weakness.  All I can do is look and live.  All I can do is fall down and cry out for mercy.  All I can do is place myself into the hands of the one who died and rose from the tomb.  Throw away any confidence in me and place all my confidence in him. 

Gal 2: 20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me

Its not my might but his.  Its not my goodness but his,  its not my bravery by his,  its not by my riches by his infinite riches.  It is not even by my love , but because he loved me before I knew there was a love to be loved by.

Rom 5: 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.  But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.  For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.In the end Jesus did not die just for his friends, but  for his…… ENEMIES!

One of the major deceptions which Roman Catholics fall into is the belief in the mass, a perpetual crucifixion of Christ that never ends.  When you look at a Catholic cross they always depict Jesus hanging upon it, and this is because that is where they see him.  For them he can never come down from that place of suffering.  A perpetual reminder of the agony at the hands of men.  Satan has no problem with a suffering saviour so long as he remains a suffering saviour.  The difference between the Roman Catholic and the Christian is the reality of what took place afterwards. 

Jesus did not remain on the cross.  He was taken down buried and after three days rose from the grave with triumph and glory.  Now it is important because what took place on the cross was only part of a greater whole.  Physiologically to stay at one point without moving on means that salvation for them is incomplete.  Its like counting down to launching a rocket that never gets launch.  You just keep counting and the rocket never leaves the launch pad.  The flight is incomplete.  It does not matter if the crowd cheers, and  the papers prints the headlines.  The rocket is still on the launch pad.  So for the Catholic Christ still hangs on that cross.  The price for mans sin is still being paid for. The victory that should be entered into is never realised. 

When Jesus declared that it is FINISHED.  The work he did was complete finished accomplished.  There is no need for a perpetual sacrifice or even a continual sacrifice; the hearts of those who weep at his sufferings soon turn to ecstatic joy that he had risen.  But for the Catholic there is a continual weeping because Jesus remains at the point of suffering.   Only by the reality that he came down can one come to the realisation that Victory had been won.  Sin had been dealt with; Satan had been defeated; Prisoners can be set free; Hope is born within the hearts of all who believe in him;  We poor sinner go through the cross, resurrected with Christ into the newness of life. 

Rom 6: 3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his deathTherefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

If there is no resurrection then we are still in our sins.

Now as long as you have men and women focused on the suffering of the cross, they are unlikely to move on from the cross.  The door is wide open; God himself beckons them to enter and enjoy his company.  But they stand refusing to enter because they cannot see beyond what their priests and their hellish dogma keeps them.    They are reminded of his sufferings but never of the victory.  They are reminded of the battle, but never the reality that it has been won.  They keep going over and over the struggle, but never see the peace.    They are prisoners to a physiology of status.  For that very reason they will pray to a saint, to Mary or whoever, because they feel they need for another who has made it to intercede on their behalf.    But there is Jesus himself willing to do that Job.  But then if he is still at that place of suffering how can they see him standing to intercede on their behalf.  For that he had to come down from the cross to do so.  That is something their church refuses to acknowledge. 

When you point this out they will say they accept what the Bible teaches, yet physiologically they are still unable to enter in.  Their own institution on the pain of anathema keeps them stuck at one point in time.  Unable to enter into the fullness of what God promises.    The cake is there to eat but they will not eat.  The countdown has finished but there is no launch.  The battle has been well and truly won, but they cannot see it.  For them to enter into the fullness is to endure the wrath of the Catholic Church, the displeasure of the priests and the curses of their popes.    The saddest part of this is whilst the Christian Church stands and a cry out that he is risen, the catholic cannot comprehend the meaning of this.  For a resurrection means no more suffering on Jesus part.  Maybe that has always been the issue looking beyond the cross.  For Movie makers alike it all focuses on the suffering, with a two sec spot afterwards for the resurrection. Yet the resurrection is as vital as the cross. For with the resurrection it herals that death had been conquered and the grave defeated.  With the resurrection the sufferings of the cross is over.  Resurrection is the materialisation that salvation is now realisation.

Phil 3: 9-10 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

You cant have one without the other.  Jesus death and resurection becomes the reality that saves us.

 The main issue of the mass is that it keeps the Catholic tied to the skirts of their priests who deems who can and cannot partake.  So obedience to a priest becomes absolute.    The cycle of despair and darkness needs to be broken and these poor people are allowed to enter into the light of day and into the joy of the resurrection.  It is heartbreaking to see hearts that cannot and will not enter.  The invitations have been sent out but they refuse to attend.  The banquet is set but they refuse to come.  God himself has written the invitations but they don’t believe it.  The joy that would welcome them is indescribable and yet they choose sackcloth’s and ashes.  The peace that is glorious and yet they choose despair.  The struggle has ended but they continue to labour.

Until they are prepared to move on from the sufferings, allow Jesus to die and realise the resurrection.  As Christians we are continually being impressed upon by God spirit of the triumph of the cross, the defeat of the grave, the assurance of eternal life.  The fullness of the glory which is to come.  We see the lights of home and press onwards and upwards.    

Acts 5: 32 And we are his witnesses of these things; and [so is] also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him

Acts 1: 3 To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God

Sometimes people love to turn around and state that maybe Jesus never really existed.  He is just another folk story like Robin Hood or something?

Whilst many would feel more comfortable simply dismissing Jesus, the reality is that historical evidence does indeed exist.

The politics that existed at that time.
The people that existed at that time
The writings that existed at that time.
The culture that existed at that time. 
The places that existed at that time.
Even Christ’s enemies who hated feared and loathed him have never once denied his existence.
The overwhelming amount of prophecies that Jesus fulfilled

To even deny that Jesus existed in the face of so much evidence would be the same as denying that John F Kennedy was assassinated. Would anyone dare to deny what the world saw on that day, or would they believe some future writer that writes a book denying what everyone knows?

We have stated categorically that Jesus did indeed exist, was crucified and died. Those who followed him and became convinced that what took place were willing to give their lives for the truths they discovered. After His resurrection there were 500 witnesses who saw Him alive, better than many football games. In the face of Roman oppression they were filled by the Holy Spirit and went out spreading the good news like men who were possessed.  Even the fear of death did not stop them.   They did not question that Jesus might have been resurrected from the dead, they knew he had.

Jesus was no stranger to them, they knew him. Those who took up the torch to proclaim his resurrection were not just convinced by some passing stranger.  They had lived and walked with him for three years.  They had heard his message; they saw the miracles that he did.  They saw the dead rise and the wounded healed.  They saw a man who had been crucified and beaten present himself alive whilst still retaining the wounds on his hands feet and side.  No a ghost but a living person.  Most of all what he said before he was killed became the corner stone of what took place afterwards.  His testimony gave life and meaning to what now takes place.

In the face of possible Roman oppression these same quivering men who hide after Jesus Crucifixion became firebrands for the faith. Death did not slow them down. The threats of violence simply spurned them on. Even Roman governors could not ignore this move. The life of Christ became a shining light in the Middle East in a way no army could conquer. No insurrection could slow down and no lion could tame.

The apostle John who was probably the nearest to those who knew Jesus, willing endured the indignity of being boiled in oil in some attempt to execute him. God delivered him and he was probably the only one to survive martyrdom. He died in Ephesus around about 100AD. Their testimonies we have with us today. We share the same experiences they have of salvation. So that today we are still witnesses to Jesus resurrection. What the Bible says would happen to the believer is still the same as what these disciples experienced then.

We know he exists because he lives in every true believer.

There are many historical figures which have appeared on the scene and there are few who would reject their historical existence and yet we have far less historical data on them.  Could it be that for many they don’t demand a moral response from us in the way Jesus does?  They can be embraced and our lives would not be changed.  But this man there is a difference.   His claims demand everything we have.  Rocks the very foundations of our lives; Exposes our selfishness;   will not excuse out wickedness; lays bare our souls before him.  Before such a man we become like dead men walking or a frantic soul that is going down for the last time, in a sea of raging waves and torrential rain. Before this man the nice status quo of our lives is overturned and will never ever be the same again.

For many this makes them very very uncomfortable.  But the life he gives in return is far greater than the one we gave up.  The hope we receive becomes that glorious illuminating reality.  So that we can also say “I KNOW, I KNOW HE LIVES, BECAUSE HE LIVES IN ME”

The witness continues within the believer,  To them, Within them and By them

1 JOHN 4: 13 Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit

2 COR 6: 16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in [them]; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

John 14: 21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

John 14: 23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

So the answer is absolutely HE LIVES AND HE EXISTS AND HE NOW INTERCEEDS FOR ME AT THE RIGHT HAND OF THE FATHER.

The fundamental nature of God is LOVE, in the Greek Agape..  There are many themes which runs throughout scripture and this is one of them.  Like a silver thread which runs too and fro connecting scripture into one revelation, presenting the reader with a wondrous tapestry of revelation.   From the outset of Scripture we are presented with Adam walking with God in the cool of the day. It speaks of a garden where God could come down and share time with Adam.

KOINŌNIA / FRIENDSHIP

1 john 1: 3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship [is] with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ

There lies this glorious and wondrous revelation that God and man would be called into fellowship.  God with man and man in turn could respond in kind to his creator.

From time to time God would visit and speak to the prophets and patriarchs of old.  Abraham Isaac Jacob Moses Elijah and many others.  All experienced God on a personal level , which forever changed their lives.  Many were given the title as men who WALKED WITH GOD.

I POSED THE QUESTION TO SOME MOSLEMS:  WAS THERE ANYTHING IN THE KORAN THAT CAME ANYWHERE NEAR TO THIS EXPERIENCE?

Only one Moslem attempted to debate the issue and all he wanted to do was change the subject.

Af far as I can see they don’t have anything similar.  A revelation which is very much absent from the Koran.  Allah it appears  only to loves those who loved him.  But this does not express the agape love which scripture abounds with.  Nor a god that openly goes out to deceive others.  Brethren this is not love.

Say (O Mohammed) “If you do love Allah, follow me, Allah will love you, and forgive your sins, as Allah is All-Forgiving, All-Merciful”. Surah Imrân (3:31)

The Hadith:   ”Allah almighty said: If My servant loves to meet Me, I love to meet him, and if he hates to meet Me, I hate to meet him.” (Al- Bukhari)

And We never sent a messenger save with the language of his folk, that he might make (the message) clear for them. Then Allah sendeth whom He will astray, and guideth whom He will. He is the Mighty, the Wise.                                                          Surah 14: 4

Contrast this with what scripture says:

Rom 5: 8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Contrast the conditional love of Allah for the unconditional love of God. Nowhere does God take any delight in sending people deliberately astray for the sheer fun of it.  ON the contrary the Bible is rich with imagery, history and prophecy concerning God love and desire towards a people who will come to know him.

AGAPE IN ACTION

Agape : A love that seeks the highest good in another.  The highest good is for man to enjoy God  forever.  That is the ultimate expression of Gods love for man.  An expression which is so sacrificial that God had to step out of eternity, clothe himself with humility and be sacrificed so that man can be reunited with God.   Man has yet to understand the eternal scope of such a love.  How high, how deep and how wide Gods love is.   

WHEN MAN STUMBLES AT THE LOVE OF GOD.

1Cr 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

The crucifixion of Jesus is derided and reviled by Islam.  They simply do not realise they are rejecting the ultimate expression of sacrificial love.   As a concept it is totally alien to them. Preferring to believe that Allah set about a mass deception by substituting another in Jesus place.  So someone else died in Jesus place rather than having Jesus die in our place.  For they believe that they can and must atone for their own sins via good deeds and works of self-righteousness. 

As the cross was the downfall of Satan and his hosts, Should we be surprised that Satan would raise up a religion which so hates and malign it as foolish. 

The irony of a substitution being substituted is not lost, for Satan must hate such an expression of divine love.  Because of this men stumble and deride it as foolishness.  Because their minds can’t conceive it they refuse to believe it.   It is not just that God became flesh and blood but that upsets them so much, but that God made a conscious decision to personally interact with sinners.  He became up close and personnel with his creation.  For some a God who is that close is just unacceptable, they prefer to have a pagan deity who is remote, distant and untouchable.

Mat 8:17 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare [our] sicknesses

Hbr 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as [we are, yet] without sin.

Yet for many this is just too close and personal for a God to bother with.

But it shows that at the heart of God is a desire to restore what man is incapable of restoring.  The gap between man and God was just too far and lies too deep to cross. An eternal darkness that would have remained so, had God not have chosen to light the way.

Moslems may be quick to remind others that Moslem means to submit themselves to god, yet in submitting they are actually rejecting the will of GOD by submitting themselves to another deity. In so doing rejecting the greatest offer of love God can offer.   Many preferring to climb the steps to some Islamic paradise without help.  Unfortunately those steps don’t lead upwards but downwards.

The Islamic paradise consists of perpetual brothels, perpetual virgins, whore houses, slavery and bribes to keep the Moslem looking to their own lustful pleasures.  This might have worked to bribe the Bedouins of Muhammad’s day who had little.  But it is totally alien to the truth of scripture. There is no place in this paradise for an intimacy with a HOLY and RIGHTEOUS GOD.

ISRAEL AND GODS PRESENCE

From the moment the children of Israel were delivered from their captivity .  God began to establish the children of Israel into a nation.  God would be at the centre of that nation.  God said to Moses and the people to build for himself a tabernacle, and construct the Ark of the Covenant. Upon the ark two cherubim’s and between the cherubim was the mercy-seat.   Before that Tabernacle was the outward symbol of a fire by night and a cloud by day.  The fire would light their way and the cloud would shelter them.  When this mighty cloud moved from before the tabernacle it was Gods way of saying that it was time to move.  As chieftains of old when they moved their rod/ symbol  of power from before his tent, it was time to pack up and go.  Where that rod was placed was where his tent would be placed.  God was saying that here he would dwell with his people and he was their chief.  The Ark of the Covenant came to represent Gods presence with his people.   But the tabernacle and the ark were only for a time.  God had bigger plans.

THE PROMISE OF THE AGES

Sin did not just change mans nature, but it also saw man separated from God.  From   intimacy of a garden to a place of wandering, separated and alienated from God. However God intention was to restore man.  God does not give up just because man is a rebel

Zec 2:11 And many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and shall be my people: and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto thee.

Zech 8:8 And I will bring them, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness

The imagery throughout scripture continues with this theme of God and man united in a bond fellowship.  At each step God bringing  man into an ever deeper relationship with himself.

Friendship cannot be imposed or legislated, it has to grow and be worked at,  and this is what we see in scripture.

SHEPHERD  WITH HIS SHEEP

Psa 23:4-6  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou [art] with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

The intimacy of the shepherd with his sheep is another aspect that speaks of the continual fellowship of man and God.  How many times we have read this and not realise the full significance of the revelation.  In those days the shepherd stayed with his sheep and protected them , lived with then and suffered with them.

THE ULTIMATE PLAN; WE ARE TO BE FAMILY.

Isa 53:10 -11 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put [him] to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see [his] seed, he shall prolong [his] days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, [and] shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.

The saviour would see the fruits of his sufferings.  He would see his seed and the fruit of his travail and be satisfied.  We who believe are that seed.  Seed speaks so closely of family.  The spiritual offspring of God.  Restored relationship and the void has been crossed so that now man can make his way home.

This is the hope all believers. These prophecies were to find their ultimate fulfilment in the NT

ADOPTION = FAMILY

 Full adoption does not exist in Islam.  The concept of a child being embraced and accepted with full rights as any natural-born child is also alien to Islam.  However it does reveal Gods continual desire to restore a relationship with  man.  It is not that God has needs, but love must have an ultimate object.  That object is a restored relationship with a holy and loving God.  Man was made to worship and enjoy God forever.

Eph 1: 3 Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly [places] in Christ:

Eph 2: 19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

The language of scripture fully testifies to this reality.  The imagery and prophecy declares this is Gods ultimate plan.  But more than God dwelling in a tent but now dwelling within the lives of his people. 

John 14: 23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him

Finally a redeemed mankind would share and enjoy the presence of God for ever.  A people who would continually reflect the nature and aspirations of a loving God.

Rev 22: 4-5 And they shall see his face; and his name [shall be] in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.

What was started in the garden finds its ultimate expression in a new world and a New Jerusalem.

What started in the temple and an ark is finished by God dwelling in the hearts of those who know him.  NO such revelation is recorded by Allah .

Rom 8:15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

  1. In Islam god is remote, But the Bible tells us that this is not what GOD wants.
  2. In Islam god is unknown, but in the Bible Gods wants to be known.
  3. In Islam god keeps his distance, but in the bible God drew near before man even knew he was there.
  4. In Islam there is no relationship with god, but in the Bible everything God does speaks of relationship.
  5. In Islam god only loves those who love him, In the Bible long before man could ever reciprocate love, God was the one who was pouring out his love.

Allah demands all but gives nothing.  God emptied himself off all but love and gave everything.  Now this God, MY GOD is worthy to be worshipped.  He loved me before I knew what that love was.  How can I do anything less but respond to such a love as this?  He woos us with strings of love.  What else can I do but respond?