Posted tagged ‘Crucifixion’

BY MEANS OF MEN

April 14, 2017

(At the 9th hour):        “It is consummated.”           It was.

CROSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

“By means of men and their actions,  God governs the world.”*

___________________________________

.*  “What Jesus Saw From the Foot of the Cross”

by  A.G. Sertillanges

DISROBED, DEAD, AND GONE ‘AWAY’

March 25, 2016

Well . . .  “yes”  and “no” to the title.

The Son of God came for a purpose.  He had a mission.   “He came unto His own. . .”  (and “His own”  received Him not);  and he came to “seek and to save that which was lost.” (He did His part, but not all little lambs   want to be found)   “He laid down His life for the sheep”   (and that part worked – it was efficacious —  the Father accepted His life as propitiatory sacrifice.)

DISROBED:

But the Final Act of sacrifice occurs here,  on Good Friday,  this last 24-hour period of His life on earth,  beginning with a meal in preparation for the Passover.

SAMSUNG

Uncovering the Bread

At the Passover table,  the unleavened bread is presented on a plate, and the bread is covered with a white linen cloth.   Here is some bread (some Finnish bread), and the cloth is not white linen —   but this is the act of “uncovering”  the bread, because soon it will be eaten – literally,  physically.

When Jesus and His disciples did this at His Last Supper,  the uncovering of the bread foreshadowed the very soon upcoming  Disrobing of the Body of Jesus in preparation for the crucifixion..

Disrobing Jesus

The Disrobing of Jesus

“I am the Bread of Life,”  Jesus taught.

And soon the bread will soon be “broken” just as the bond between body and soul will be broken within Jesus,  the appointed Christ of God.

DEAD:

Then came insults, mockery, and rejection.    “He was despised and rejected.”     “He became a worm, and no man.”     “He who knew no sin  became sin for us.”

And He became dead.

Jesus on cross

The Bread of Life is uncovered,  exposed, and vulnerable —  and “broken.”

GONE:

We can dispense with two heresies,  two erroneous opinions which keep coming up in the incredulous minds of men:

Human nature alone:  He was a man —  specially appointed, maybe;  specially empowered by God, maybe —   but just a man like any other man.     (And if that were so,   He would have his own sins and existential separation from God to die for.    He could do nothing for us.   He would be the savior of nothing and of no one,  and God would have been making false promises.)

Divine nature alone:   He did come down from the heavenly realm,  but He only appeared to be a man so that He could perform an act for us.   He only appeared to die,  because a god can’t die.   (And if that were so,  there would be no real contact with real humans.     He would not be one of us men who need salvation.)

Only with both true natures could Christ offer Himself to die on behalf of and in place of human beings,  and then have the power to visit the poor souls who have already died and to raise Himself up back to life   . . . .

GONE AWAY:

. . . .and to return to Heaven, giving the human race enough time to hear and to respond,  “whosoever”  will.

Gives us himself now

The Bread of Life Gives To Us Himself

 

There is time now for “whosoever”   to go to Him,  to commune with Him,  to unite with Him:  Jesus,   the Bread of Life;  because there is Peace now between God and “sheep.”

Because He is eternal God,  living by nature in eternity,   He is ever-present in every place in Time —  “from the rising of the sun to its going down.”   (Malachi 1:11)   Truly present for us.

He’s been broken dead.   Gone.   But  not “away” —   That’s the “no” answer to the title of this post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A LENTEN FRIDAY

February 27, 2016

There are 26 more days to go . . .

Purple Banner 26

. . . on this 26th day of February.

I’ll bet those numbers don’t come together very often.

Every Friday is special for a Christian.   It’s a day set aside to pause and to remember that it was on a Friday that Jesus was crucified.  Fridays in Lent give us cause to think a little more deeply.

A Friday in Lent is an opportunity for us, then,  to understand the crucifixion of Christ.  As St. Paul says to his friends in Corinth:  “For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”     (That was said after the cross,  after the Resurrection,  after the Ascension . . .we don’t ever forget the crucifixion.)

Jesus in garden

So on that Friday that we are remembering today, that 24-hour last day included the Agony in the Garden, and all that implies:   a good and holy God confronting internally, in Himself, in His human nature,  the full horror and corruption of sinful human beings.  “He bore our sins. . . .”    “He became a curse, for us.”

And then,  the heavy burden of carrying that weight —

Jesus carrying cross

Unbearable, unimaginable spiritual weight, and now it’s physical.

When we see a picture like this, it’s just one moment along the way, it is still; no one is moving.    But really, along this via dolorosa Jesus is slowly moving forward, and the soldiers are moving, and the crowds, . . . moving ever closer to Mt. Calvary.  We can look down on that narrow street and feel the forward movement.

When we “do”  the Stations of the Cross,  we meditate on Simon,  the man from Africa,  who helped Jesus carry the cross,  lifting up His burden ever so slightly.

We are to put ourselves in that scene,  and when I do,  I know He is carrying the weight of my sins and impurities and indifferences —    I’m not helping to ease His burden,  I’m standing ON His cross. . . and so He’s carrying me along too.

Jesus on the cross

And then He is there on His cross,  burdened with our cares and faults and sins.    He is weighted down not so much with gravity,  but with the sins and sorrows of the world.

This weightiness.  This burden.

If  we can take these Friday hours and allow a thought to seep in,  there is a lesson there as we see Him take on such a heavy load.

We know a Christian life is to be lived in imitation of Jesus,  our Lord and Savior.  We know that.    We are to take up our crosses . . . and follow Him . . .  whatever our “crosses”  will be.

But there He is,  bearing the heavy  consequences of our sin.   He is showing us that we must bear the sorrows of each other;   share the burden of the effects of this sinful, Fallen world;   we must lighten the load of our neighbor.     “Bear ye one another’s burdens,”  He would say.

He bore the weight of our sin;  we can help Him bear that weight.

But it’s not just a “pretty story,”   an “interesting insight.     As the Cross is physically real,  as the effect of the Cross is spiritually real,  so  the Power that comes from  Christ,  crucified,  died,  and risen,  is real.

We are not left as “orphans,”  He promised.   What would please Him for us to do He gives us the actual  power to do.   A person who is “in  Christ”  is a new creation, with new power.

We can do this.

Follow Christ on the via dolorosa,  the sorrowful pathway, on Fridays.  Lent reminds us of this.

And if you like to meditate with music,  go to YouTube and look up “Via dolorosa”   —  try the one sung by Sandy Patti.

.

 

 

BEHEADINGS AND CRUCIFIXIONS — AND MEN YOU SHOULD KNOW

September 20, 2015

A terrible blog title ––  but I like to meet reality head on.

And I’d like you to “meet”  a young man.   Not yet 20 years old.

Ali-Mohammed-al-NimrHis name is Ali Mohammed al-Nimr.     He’s not a Christian,  but he’s a living soul,  and he’s the “wrong kind of”  Muslim according to the Muslim sect that controls the area of Saudi Arabia where he lives.

He has been sentenced to death by crucifixion.   His uncle will be crucified this week,  and this young man’s crucifixion will probably happen not long afterward. *

Of course all the “international appeals”  have been made.   By all accounts, there is no evidence for the charges presented to the Muslim-type court,  but there is evidence of his being tortured until he signed a false statement of guilt.

There are no knights in shining armor,  no Crusaders,   to rescue him.     Christian men don’t . . .   don’t . . .  don’t take up arms to help victims of . . . you know.   At least not in great enough numbers to change the situation in whole regions of the world.   Not enough Christians to spread Christianity . . .   There is a very small group of Christian men who are doing this on their own;  removing an Ocean of Terror with a thimble.

Not that they shouldn’t try.

Here are the names of two such Christian men:  Louis Park and Brett Royales.      And just a very few others.  They’re training Christian groups in Iraq and Afghanistan to fight off Muslim oppression.

And here is a quotation from one of them:  **

“I’ve been given a skill set. I’ve honed it over the years. I can’t sit home and watch what’s going on here — the atrocities, crucifixions, rapes, sex slaves, people being driven out from their towns. It’s unacceptable to me, so I’m here to do what I can to get people back in their homes and protect their way of life,” Royales told Radio Free Iraq.

ROMAN MARTYROLOGY

book title

It’s a good and worthy thing to read the Roman Martyrology each day.        Martyrs have been recognized and remembered   since the earliest days of Christianity.    Knowing their examples does two things:

  1.    Remembering them honors them and   can perhaps encourage us to hold on to the Faith.
  2.    Remembering their lives and deaths helps us to keep in mind that life is serious and death is always near;  and we must be ready to choose death rather than give up our Faith – so be sure you’re in the right Faith!

Here is the book I read, pretty much daily:

book frontI show that only because I want you to know where I’m getting some information from.    The names and short remarks given for each day are all actually corroborated by history and by contemporary accounts.  ***    We know their experiences to be true to actual life.

Lately, in that book,   there have been a lot of martyrs who died by crucifixion and by beheading.     There are two  historical times when this happened:  Under some Roman emperors;   and under Islamic rule in parts of Europe and Africa during several phases of history.

Hilaire Belloc warned of a third phase coming up, beginning at the end of the 20th century,  but I’ve already written about that here.    You can google his warning  too.    His warning was written for us,  for us who are alive today.

The Roman Martyrology is a witness to times of Beheadings and Crucifixions.    It doesn’t seem that that the book has been finished yet.

Look again.   Remember Ali.   Remember the uncounted other current and contemporary victims.   And the ones to come in the near future.

Ali-Mohammed-al-Nimr

The last book of the Bible says:   Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.    —     Apoc 20:4  (Rev.)

These are past, present, and future martyrs, gathered together in heaven.

Bar Cross in middle

If you’d like to read one of the articles about this young man . . . click link.

**  Here is their article . . . click link.

***     The Roman Martyrology arose out of historical times and can be confirmed by historical writings,  unlike “Foxe’s Book of Martyrs”   which was written strictly for propaganda purposes  — and much to my surprise,  when I studied history in the university,  discovered that the stories in this book were either false,  they never happened,  or the stories were so biased as to not resemble contemporary accounts.     When I was very young, I had thought it was a “true book”   —   but I began to question its motives a well as its veracity as I began to learn more about history.  

THE JUDGE, UP THERE

April 3, 2015

 

It’s Good Friday.  There is much to say,  but there is too much to say, so I make only one point today.

Judge kneeling before

Who is it up there symbolized in  history by the rough coverings,  torn off of animals, covering the sinful humans who must leave Paradise?   Death and blood. . .

… Who was symbolized in  that one dark and spooky night, full of dread and horror,  in which Abraham prepared the pathway for God to approach, a pathway made of the blood and death of animals…

…Who was symbolized by the bloody doorposts and lintels of the Israelites before their hurried escape from enslavement in “Egypt…”

…Whose justice was symbolized by the death of David’s son, to atone for his sinful behavior, and to cut off that pathway into the future…

…Whose sorrow was symbolized by the dreadful mourning of His own people who will one day in the future recognize the Piercing Lances in the prophet’s vision . . .

Judge with halo

And so many more hints throughout history, clues to Who is up there on the Cross.

It is He,  the Word,  present in  the creation of the World,  the Word which caused the world to exist.   Our rejection of that Word is what caused all the blood and sorrow and  and death throughout history . . .   It is His world which we try to wrench away from Him.

And so on the Cross today is Our Judge.

Judge golden
The Cross is the judgment for all the things we would rather believe in than His Word;  and  a judgment upon all the things that we have done that are unlike His Word, and so will be condemned forever.

This is what His mother  came to understand when she was told that “a sword shall pierce thy soul also,  that the thoughts of many hearts shall be revealed.”   

sword

The thoughts of our hearts, judged, at this event that we commemorate today.

Judge as of oldHis just judgment rests upon the Cross.

 

HOLY SATURDAY: THINKING ABOUT EARTHQUAKES

April 19, 2014

black
We’ve had some pretty big earthquakes lately, two  7  point somethings in Mexico and Central America this week.  They made me think about the big earthquake which occurred on the first Good Friday.

I’m thinking about all the rocks and stones and mountains and the bedrock beneath our feet, which sometimes isn’t so solid and lifeless as we think –

earthquake

And maybe the rocks and mountains and all of creation is not really so “silent”  as we think.

About one week ago,  Jesus made his triumphal entrance into the city of Jerusalem, and the people rose up to greet him, to shout his praises;  “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!”    They didn’t fullly understand who Jesus is,  but they were happy and joyous in His presence anyway.

Then the religious leaders, probably fearing the tumult would draw the attention of  the Roman authorities,  came up to Jesus and said,  “Tell your followers to quiet down,”  to which Jesus replied,  “If they didn’t shout out in praise, the very rocks would cry out.”
The stony earth beneath their feet remained silent on Palm Sunday,  because the people were singing out praises to God.

When  Jesus was crucified,   only a very few stayed with Him, sorrowing and grieving for the One they loved – yet even they did not fully understand what was happening.   There was no “tumult”  at the crucifixion.

It’s Holy Saturday today –  some disciples, friends, family,  have gathered themselves together and seem to be in stunned, silent confusion and grief.

But in other parts of the city, they were still picking up the pieces from the earthquake that had occurred when the Son of God passed out of this world.   When Jesus died,  though the humans didn’t know what to say or what to do,  the rocks and stones and solid earth beneath their feet “shouted out” with their great quaking.

On Holy Saturday,  perhaps the friends of Jesus were thinking about that quake that had tossed dead bodies out from the earth, graves could no longer hold the bodies.  And perhaps they began to ponder the meaning of the earthquake-torn veil  in the Temple –

rent in two But torn, oddly,  from top to bottom, as though the heavens had opened up the dividing veil between God and humans.  The Temple, now, and the Holy of Holies where God dwelt,  will now be located within the hearts of men and women.

A lot to ponder on Holy Saturday.     The rocks and stony ground “cried out” after all,  in a big, awful quake that heralded the beginning of new things.

 

THE LAST PASSOVER – AN UNANSWERED PRAYER

March 29, 2013

This is the scene of some of the final hours of the day of the Last Passover.

calvary 3

It’s familiar, unfortunately, because “familiarity breeds”…you know…and if not quite “contempt,”   familiarity certainly breeds spiritual blindness.   Maybe a little “boredom” too that makes us tell ourselves that we know all about this.

I like to tell my classes that there is so much more to the story, any story we are studying in the Bible, but especially this premier foundational one of the crucifixion.    Growing spiritually is like using a corkscrew –  every time you go around in a circle, you don’t end up at the beginning,  you spiral down a little deeper into the cork, into the meaning of the teaching that has come down to us.

Think more.  Read more.  Ponder and meditate more.   Allow more to come into you. . . .

And here is what I learned for this year’s Good Friday:  On this day,  it’s  almost as though God the Father loved each of us more than His own Son.

SAMSUNG

And this is the book I’ve been reading and thinking with.  Jesus Crucified, or the Science of the Cross in the Form of Meditations.  The authors are Pierre Marie and Jean Nicolas Grou. And here is the startling thought from their meditation:

“God, having sent His Son on earth, would seem to have forgotten His Divine Sonship and given all His love to men,  and all His care to their salvation.   To save them (humans) from everlasting death He condemned His Son…to death.  

“”He willed that our Lord’s life should be spent teaching them and showing them an example of all the virtues.  He willed that, in order to save men from the bondage of sin, Our Lord should be throughout His life their Master, their Model, and their Servant.

“But not only that He should spend His whole life in the work of salvation for mankind, God went still further and condemned Jesus Christ to die, that He might gain eternal life for all men.   He willed that He should consummate His life in sacrifice on the altar of the Cross and become the expiatory victim of our sins.

“The Son of God, in His mortal agony,  asked His Father to let this Cup pass from Him,  but His prayer was not answered.”

And so we have Good Friday.    Deo gratias.