Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

Living Bible

Now this is the Living Bible:

His name is Tim. He has wild hair, wears a T-shirt with holes in it, jeans, and no shoes. This was literally his wardrobe for his entire four years of college.

He is brilliant. Kind of profound and very, very bright. He became a Christian while attending college.

Across the street from the campus is a well-dressed, very conservative church. They want to develop a ministry to the students but are not sure how to go about it..

One day Tim decides to go there. He walks in with no shoes, jeans, his T-shirt, and wild hair. The service has already started and so Tim starts down the aisle looking for a seat.

The church is completely packed and he can’t find a seat. By now, people are really looking a bit uncomfortable, but no one says anything.

Tim gets closer and closer and closer to the pulpit, and when he realizes there are no seats, he just squats down right on the carpet.

By now the people are really uptight, and the tension in the air is thick.

About this time, the minister realizes that from way at the back of the church, a deacon is slowly making his way toward Tim.

Now the deacon is in his eighties, has silver-gray hair, and a three-piece suit. A godly man, very elegant, very dignified, very courtly. He walks with a cane and as he starts walking toward this boy, everyone is saying to themselves that you can’t blame him for what he’s going to do.

How can you expect a man of his age and of his background to understand some college kid on the floor?

It takes a long time for the man to reach the boy.

The church is utterly silent except for the clicking of the man’s cane. All eyes are focused on him. You can’t even hear anyone breathing. The minister can’t even preach the sermon until the deacon does what he has to do.

And now they see this elderly man drop his cane on the floor. With great difficulty, he lowers himself and sits down next to Tim and worships with him so he won’t be alone.

Everyone chokes up with emotion…

When the minister gains control, he says,
‘What I’m about to preach, you will never remember. What you have just seen, you will never forget.’

‘Be careful how you live. You may be the only Bible some people will ever read!’

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April 28, 2010 Posted by | Evangelism | Comments Off on Living Bible

Bearing Jesus’ Cross

The torturous journey of over half a mile from Pilate’s Judgment Hall  to the execution hill, Golgotha (Hebrew)  Calvary (Latin)  has begun.  Jesus, led by the Romans soldiers, is bearing His cross; either the entire 300 pound cross or at least the 100 pound cross piece.  Perhaps the upright piece of the cross is already in the ground.  We do not know, but probably it is the cross piece that Jesus is bearing. In either case, the weight of that cross on His exhausted, lacerated and bruised body is almost beyond human endurance. As He begins his painful journey, He stumbles and perhaps falls beneath the load.

SIMON OF CYRENE

The Roman soldiers see a strong, muscular black man coming into the city as they are leaving the city towards Golgotha. Simon has no idea of what is going on.  They commandeer Him to help Jesus carry His cross.  It may appear to be a random draw on the part of the soldiers, but there is nothing random about God’s will. 

Simon of Cyrene is from the area of Lybia in North Africa. His name is Jewish, so he is probably a Jew coming to Jerusalem to observe the Passover.  Mark 15:21 further identifies him as the father of  Alexander and Rufus, implying that the reader should know his sons.

Mark wrote his Gospel in Rome about 50-60 AD.  Romans was written by Paul about 56 AD.  So the readers of Paul’s Epistle to the Romans would know who Rufus was when he is mentioned by Paul in his greetings in Romans 16:13.  “Greet Rufus, an elect, choice man in the Lord. Also “greet his mother and mine,” Paul adds.  That would be Simon of Cyrene’s wife who was like a mother to Paul.

What happened to Simon who carried that cross for Jesus that day?  Let me surmise.  Having carried Jesus’ cross, Simon was transfixed by this man. He, no doubt,  stood close by and watched as Jesus was nailed to the cross.  He stood there, taking in everything He said and watching Him die.   I have no doubt that by the time Jesus died;  Simon, as well as the Centurion who directed the execution,  had both come to know and receive Jesus as the Son of God and as the Saviour of the world who  had come to die for sinners,   Simon went from there a changed man.

Later Simon was, no doubt, among the Christians who came from Cyrene to Antioch with the Gospel, as recorded in Acts 11:19-21.   No doubt, he was among the Christians who fasted and prayed and sent out Paul and Barnabas as missionaries in Acts 13:1-2.   Simon had not only borne the cross of Jesus, but now he was taking up his own cross and following Jesus.

If the Rufus and Alexander of the New Testament were the sons of Simon, as mentioned in Mark 15:21,  then those two sons responded differently to the Gospel.   Though both sons had the same godly influence of their parents,  Rufus became a devoted follower of Christ.  Alexander became an enemy of the Gospel and was an enemy of the Apostle Paul, we read in I Timothy 1:18-20  and  II Timothy 4:14-15. 

THE DAUGHTERS OF JERUSALEM

Let’s return now to the people who followed Jesus as He agonizingly walked to Golgotha, carrying His cross.   In the procession were the daughters of Jerusalem, mourning His impending death.  These were not just Mary and the other female friends of Jesus; they were the professional mourners who took part in events such as this, mourning those who were going to be crucified.   They probably had sympathy and respect for Jesus as they recognized  and appreciated His moral beauty.  They followed behind Jesus, beating their chests and wailing in sympathy for Him.

Jesus does not want their sympathy and He does not thank them for it.  Instead, He turns to them and commands them to stop weeping for Him. He tells them in Luke 23:28-31 to “weep for yourselves and your children.”

Jesus was making it plain that He was not the victim, but they were.  Jesus had wept over them many times through His ministry.  Now He tells them to weep for themselves for judgment is about to fall on them. Less than forty years later in 70 AD, the Roman armies surrounded Jerusalem and burned it to the ground and killed most of the population, including the women and children.  

He tells them that those women who were barren will be better off than the mothers, as they see their children massacred.

He also prophesies that there is coming a time, even worse than the Roman invasion of Jerusalem, when at the end of the Great Tribulation  the judgment will be far more severe than what took place in 70 AD.  He is talking about the coming judgment on the world when He returns at the end of the Tribulation, as described in Revelation 6:12-17.

THE CROSS WE MUST BEAR

We have considered the cross of Jesus that Simon bore.  Let’s consider the cross that we Christians are called to bear today.  The cross is not our pain or misfortune that everyone, saved and unsaved, are called to bear. That is not our cross.  Trials and trouble come to all of us, at one time or another as human beings, saved or unsaved.

Ladies, the cross you are called to bear is not simply that beautiful piece of jewelry that  you wear around your neck. It is much more than that for both men and women.

The cross that Jesus is calling us to bear is our public identification with Him as our Saviour and Lord.  Every true Christian is crucified with Christ. Read Romans 6 and Galatians 2:30 in regards to this.  In Luke 14:25-27 Jesus calls all who belong to Him to take up their cross of identification with Him daily and follow Him.

Our cross involves denying ourselves, our preferences, our desires, our wills and welcoming a life of self denial for Him.  Read Luke 9:23, Matthew 16:24,  10:32-39 and I Corinthians 4:9-14.   Paul welcomed the privilege in Philippians 3:10.

Unlike Simon of Cyrene, no one is going to compel or force  you to bear the cross of Christ. It is a choice that you must make.    Simon’s son, Rufus, chose to carry that cross.  His other son,  Alexander,  chose to reject the cross and live his own selfish, rebellious life, being a burden to those who loved him.

May God help you to trust Christ and choose to bear the cross of  Christ by publicly identifying yourself as a Christian.

April 25, 2010 Posted by | Passion Week | Comments Off on Bearing Jesus’ Cross

Always Rejoicing

Reading through Philippians it is not difficult to discover the theme.  Paul’s rejoicing in Christ is seen in each of the four chapters of  this Epistle.

The question all of us face in this troubled world is “How can I rejoice and stay strong and spiritually stable in the midst of these most trying times? How can I be calm and peaceful in times of confusion and difficulty?”

Ready for the answer?  It has absolutely nothing to do with our circumstances.  It has everything to do with our personal relationship with Christ. Repeatedly we are challenged to “Rejoice in the Lord”!   It has everything to do with the choices we make.

Joshua challenged Israel, “Choose you this day whom you will serve.” Then he added his own testimony. ” As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:14-15   This is a no-brainer choice.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO REJOICE?

 

It is a life of constant worship and praise of God; not just a rare occurrence when all is going well.  Only the righteous in Christ and surrendered to Him can rejoice,  that is, live a life of joy, Psalm 16:11 teaches us.

Rejoicing is a part of the Fruit of the Spirit which blossoms in those surrendered to Christ.  Galatians 5:22

Rejoicing is the expression of a thankful heart.  Philippians 1:3-4 and 4:10

It is the expression of confidence  in the Lord. Philippians 1:4-6, 18-19

IN WHAT SHALL I REJOICE?

 

 

1. In the Lord Himself. Philippians 4:4

2. In our salvation.  Isaiah 61:10,  Luke 10:20, Acts 8:39, I Peter 1:3-8

3. In the presence, comfort and power of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

     John 14:15-18

4. God’s protection.  Psalm 91

5. Our privilege of prayer.  Philippians 1:4,  John 16:24

6. His inspired, infallible Word to us.  Psalm 19:8, 119:14, Jeremiah 15:16

7. God’s blessings on us.  Psalm 103

8. Even if He doesn’t bless me, I can still rejoice.  Habakkuk 3:18

9. Being persecuted for Christ sake.  Matthew 5:10-12

10. Every husband can rejoice in finding a good wife.  Proverbs 18:22

11. Parents can rejoice in their children.  Psalm 127

12. Love and harmony in our homes and churches.  Philippians 4:1-3

13. The wealth God enables us to have.  Deuteronomy 8:7-18.

14. Promotions and set-backs. James 1:9-10

15. When others are blessed.  Romans 12:15

No wonder, we can always rejoice.

IF YOU CAN’T REJOICE PERHAPS

 

Your love for Christ has grown cold. Psalm 5:11

You’re not living in His presence.  Psalm 16:11

You need revived,  Psalm 85:6

HOW CAN I REJOICE?

 

Ask God for a humble,  gracious acceptance of every difficulty and inequity, knowing that we are blessed far more than we deserve.  Philippians 4:5

Instead of crying to God with your doubts and questions and blaming God for your circumstances, start praising Him with thanksgiving.

Be assured that He is quietly working out everything for your good and His glory.

Even when you don’t feel like it, offer God your sacrifice of praise. Hebrews 13:15

WHAT IS THE ALTERNATIVE TO A LIFE OF REJOICING?

 

A life of self-centeredness,  hurt feelings, disappointment, distress,

dissatisfaction, discontent and depression, failure and regret.

The choice is yours. 

Die to self and  live  for Christ,  John 12:24-25,  Philippians 1:21

Choose you this day whom you will serve.  Joshua 24:14-15

April 25, 2010 Posted by | Philippians | Comments Off on Always Rejoicing

Marred Beyond Description

Though you and I have not yet seen Jesus in His glorified body, there is no question in my mind  that His beautiful, holy character shines through His eyes and countenance.  I have enjoyed  His spiritual presence throughout my life on earth and I long to be with Him in His physical presence throughout eternity.  I long to reflect that beauty through my own personality as I continue to spend time in His presence.

However, the night Jesus was arrested and put on trial before a kangaroo court from midnight until about 9 AM;  He was punched and slapped and spit upon and had His beard pulled out.  Then He was mercilessly flogged by Roman soldiers almost to the point of death.

Isaiah in Isaiah 52:14 prophesied that  He “would be marred more than any man.”  Anyone of us would have  been absolutely shocked to have looked on His face that morning.   In Isaiah 53:1-2  the prophet states that “there was no beauty that we should desire Him.”  Personally, I believe that throughout His short life on this earth as a young man, that though His character was absolutely beautiful; there was nothing particularly attractive about His physical features. 

That night when He was arrested, He was taken before the Sanhedrin for His mock trial.  There they blindfolded Him and punched Him in the face and slapped Him repeatedly and then mocked Him by asking Him to prophesy which of them hit Him.

In the morning He was taken before Pilate for trial.  Pilate examined Him and found Him innocent of any charges they had made.  Then He was rushed off to Herod, who also found Him innocent;  then back to Pilate for further questioning and sentencing.   Pilate continued to find Jesus innocent of any charges worthy of execution.  Pilate wanted to free Him, but feared the people and feared being reported to Caesar and being removed as governor of Palestine.

Therefore, though he did not want to do so, He ordered Jesus to be flogged by the Roman soldiers to satisfy the fury of His accusers. Repeatedly they swung their flagrums of short sticks with long leather thongs with pieces of broken bones and lead balls tied to the end of each thong skillfully into His back ripping the skin off His body and no doubt, exposing some of His internal organs.  By the time this was over He had lost much blood and was almost to the point of death.

Pilate hoped that perhaps a severe flogging would satiate the appetite of His accusers who were clamouring for His  crucifixion; but to no avail. 

The Romans soldiers saw this as a comedy. As a big joke. After being flogged by the Roman soldiers, they formed a crown of thorns and pushed it into His scalp and put a reed in His hand and clothed Him in a royal robe, mocking Him as King of the Jews. Then taking the reed from His hands, they smote Him on the head with it, pushing the thorns deeper into His scalp. 

By the time they were finished with Him His appearance was grotesque. Blackened eyes, bruised and skin torn from His body, His appearance was beyond description. His face of love and compassion that attracted little children was so disfigured that adults as well as little children would have recoiled in horror to see Him now.

Earlier, Pilate after his conversation with Him had brought Him out to the people and had announced  Him,  “Behold the Man!”   I believe Pilate, as well as Pilate’s wife, were deeply impressed by the virtue and strength of character of this righteous man.

After the flogging, He took Him once more into His Judgment Hall and questioned Him and again was convinced of His innocence.  This time as he brought Him out to the people, He announced to the Jews, “Behold your King!”

In the articles to come we will follow Him as He carried His cross to Calvary and then watch Him die as the Lamb of God slain for our sins.

Dear friend,  He endured this agonizing death to pay for the sins of the whole world.  Have you put your trust in Him, as the One who paid the full penalty for all your sins?  Have you received Him as your sin bearer?  Have you by faith received His righteousness which is imputed to all who trust Him?

Listen to the Prophet Isaiah in Isa. 53.  “He was wounded for our transgressions.  He was bruised for our iniquities…. All we like sheep have gone astray. The Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”  

Look on this Saviour, beaten to a pulp, grotesque and ugly to look upon. Trust Him as your Saviour and He will become the most beautiful Person you have ever known. You will love Him and bow to Him as your Saviour and Lord.  If His death means nothing to you, I fear for your eternal destiny. To reject Him as Saviour now is to one day face Him as your judge and be condemned to eternal Hell.

April 20, 2010 Posted by | Passion Week | Comments Off on Marred Beyond Description

Anger and Wrath

The moment I begin to hate a man, I become his slave. He controls my thoughts. He controls my feelings. He even controls my dreams. Stress hormones constantly surge through my bloodstream and wear down my body. My work becomes drudgery. I tire easily. My windowed office seems like a cell in Alcatraz. Even while sailing the Chesapeake Bay, resentment ruins my relaxation. The spinnaker may be billowing in the breeze, but I might as well be a sea-sick galley slave.

The one I hate hounds me wherever I go. I can’t escape his mental tyranny. The waiter at the sea side restaurant may be serving up a blackened swordfish or a chocolate mousse, but I feel like a dungeon prisoner eating stale bread and musty water. My teeth chew the food, but the one I hate has stolen my pleasure. King Solomon must have had a similar experience, for he wrote, “Better a simple salad with love, than a sumptuous feast with hostility.” Proverbs 15:17

The man I hate may be soundly snoring many miles from my bedroom: but more cruel than any slave driver, he whips my thoughts into a frenzy. My Perfect Sleeper mattress becomes a rack of torture. I am, indeed, a slave to everyone I hate.

**********

Early in my ministry, I was blessed to find a book by S.I. McMillen M.D.
None of These Diseases. The first edition of this  book, published by Fleming H. Revell, made a profound impact on my life and has kept me from the negative emotions that could have ruined my health. The book, which has sold over 1 million copies, has gone through three editions with new material added for this generation. The above excerpt was worth the price of the book for me.  Sorry, the later editions of this book deleted this valuable chapter on the dangers of hating and holding a grudge.

A BIBLICAL STUDY OF ANGER AND WRATH

Anger, wrath and hatred  in themselves are not sinful.

God is angry with the wicked every day. Psalm 7:11

Sinners who reject the Gospel abide under the wrath of God NOW!

John 3:36  At death they will eternlly experience His wrath  in hell.

Rev. 20:11-15

We can hate sin, Satan, his false teachers who pervert the Gospel and lead people into sin, and his sinful world system, including the sinful entertainment system, that draws us and those we love away from God.

We can hate all of this with a perfect hatred and we can count all those servants of Satan as our own personal enemies.  Psalm 139:19-22

At the same time, we need to ask God to search our hearts and our thoughts  and expose our meanness and vengefulness and  anything hidden there that is displeasing to Him.Psalm 139:23-24.

In Ephesians 4:26-32 we learn more about anger.

1. God gives us as Christians permission to be angry   4:26

Anger is going to rise up in our hearts at time just because we are human.

2. But when we feel anger rising up, we are not to give in to our angry feelings and sin by exploding in wrath and harming others with unkind words and actions.  James 1:19-20  Rather, we are to allow His Holy Spirit to control our feelings and our words and actions, so that we edify them and minister God’s grace to them. Eph. 4:29

3. When we do give in to our angry feelings and explode in wrath hurting others, we are to immediately confess it as sin to God and admit we were wrong to  those we have offended and do what we can to make it right with them.

4. Nothing should come out of our mouths except that which edifies and ministers grace to our hearers.  Eph. 4:29

5. Never should we go to bed at night without being right with God, with our spouse, with our children and with anyone with whom  we’ve been angry during the day.  Eph. 4:26  In almost sixty years of marriage, my wife and I have NEVER gone to bed angry.  I have always taken the initiative to confess my wrong and make things right and she has always responded with forgiveness and love.

Once, years ago, I heard from another that a certain deacon, a dairy farmer, was angry with me.  I immediatetly drove to his house and found him out in his field working.  As I approached him, I saw he was furious with me.  We talked things out and went away as friends and brothers in the Lord.

The fear of  offending God is a wonderful motivation for me to run from sin and to stay sheltered in the secret place of the Most High.

God has used that through the years as a warning to turn from wrath:

1.  because my sin offends God and breaks my fellowship with Him,

2.  because my sin breaks my fellowship with others

3.  because my sin is going to affect my health and well being.

April 13, 2010 Posted by | Anger and Wrath | Comments Off on Anger and Wrath

Standing and Compromising

Note, that the title of this message is standing and compromising; not standing or compromising.   We must stand without compromise on God’s Word; but there is a time for compromising our preferences for the good of others. To compromise God’s Word is evil. To compromise our preferences for the good of others is good.

We  live in an unstable world. In all my years, America has never been as politically unstable as we are presently (April 2010); and the Christian Church has never been as unstable as it is right now as it majors in seeking to attract a lost world and not offend by speaking the Truth and as it offers emotional worship experiences that make us feel good about ourselves and minors or even ignores  Biblical, doctrinal preaching that makes us think and often feel uncomfortable and guilty.

LITE BEER, LITE SODAS, LITE CALORIC FOOD, LITE DOCTRINE

 

This is the age of lite beer, lite sodas,  lite caloric foods and lite doctrine. Crowds do not  flock to churches to hear about their sins and salvation through faith in the shed blood of Christ. They’re not interested in God’s Biblical, moral standards for Christians. They want lite, guilt-free preaching. Such churches are producing Biblically ignorant and spiritually unstable Christians with good self-images.

Many such Christians would brand Bible preaching as being “out-of-touch with this present generation”; however,  this is not just a phenomenon of this generation.  Bible preaching has been “out of touch with modern thinking” throughout  my fifty-four years of ministry.

WE MUST STAND UNCOMPROMISINGLY ON GOD’S WORD

 

We can’t afford to compromise on Biblical truth and principles of right and wrong.   To do so would destroy the heart and purpose of our church and make us totally ineffective and bring disgrace to the name of Jesus.

Oh, we might get larger crowds and help people feel good about themselves and give them feel-good experiences; but like the Laodicean Church  of Revelation 3:14-22,  we would make Christ sick  and He would “spew us out of His mouth”.

We would be better off to close down our Church and Christian School, sell the property and give the money to the poor and needy.

We would be better off to quit talking about our Christianity, ignore God and the Bible, and go totally secular in our thinking and live as we please. That’s what Peter tells us in II Peter 2:20-22.

 

ONLY TWO STANDARDS

 

There are only two standards and ways of life.  God and His Biblical standards  vs.  the Satan-dominated world system with her standards. There are no other choices and no middle ground.

THE BIBLE ON SEPARATION

 

Listen to God’s commands for separation from false doctrine and sin. 

Sin and false doctrine ALWAYS go together. In fact, false doctrine and compromising preaching produces sinful living.

I’ll simply give you some references on separation.  You can read and obey them or simply ignore them and take the consequences.  It’s your choice.

Matthew 7:15-20

Romans 16:17-18

II Corinthians 6:14-18

II Corinthians 11:1-4,  13-15

Galatians 1:6-9

II Timothy 2:15-19

II Timothy 3:1-7

Titus 1:6-16

I Peter 5:8

II Peter 2:1-3, 9-22

II John 7-11

Jude 3-4

Revelation 3:14-22

Revelation 18:1-4

IS IT EVER RIGHT TO COMPROMISE?

 

Though it is never right to compromise in teaching and preaching the Word of God; compromise is  essential for learning to get along with one another. That’s what Paul encouraged the two ladies, Euodias and Syntyche, to do in their relationship with one another and in their work together  in the church. Philippians 4:2.

Certainly in marriage, compromise is essential as two individuals from two different families come together to live as one.  Marriage and other interpersonal relationships will not survive without humble compromise, nor can a church work without it.

SPIRITUAL STABILITY, THE QUALITY WE ALL ADMIRE AND NEED

 

Spiritual stability is the ability to stand true, resolute and uncompromising on Biblical and moral issues.  We can’t be bought, bribed or intimidated. How badly we need such men and women in the political arena as well as in our churches.

WHERE DO WE FIND THAT STABILITY?

 

Psalm 1 describes and contrasts the stable and the unstable man.  The difference is found in his attitude towards the Word of God.  Stability is found  by being saturated in the Word of God. Instability is caused by ignoring God’s Word and going our own way,

STABLE CHRISTIANS DESCRIBED  

They  work out their differences peacefully and get along in love.         Philippians 4:1-3

 They maintain a spirit of joy.  Philippians 4:4

 They maintain a spirit of forbearance.  Philippians 4:5

There is a sweet reasonableness about them. 

They are gentle with the fragile feelings of people.

They are merciful towards those who fail and show the patience and graciousness of humility  in spite of mistreatment.

They are not self-centered, nor do they demand their rights.

Remember, we and our rights and opinions are never the issue. God’s glory is the only issue.

 Let us all adopt John the Baptist’s motto as found in John 3:20

“HE MUST INCREASE, BUT I MUST DECREASE.”

 

 

WHY SHOULD WE LIVE THIS WAY?

 

“The Lord is at hand.”   Philippians 4:5

That doesn’t just mean that death or Christ’s return is near.

It also means that He is with us constantly.  He lives in our heart by His Holy Spirit.  When we think a thought, He is near enough to read it.

When we breathe a prayer to Him, He is near enough to hear and answer.

 God help us to learn to stand up uncompromisingly for the Word of God and to sit down and be willing to compromise when it comes to our opinions and preferences.

April 12, 2010 Posted by | Philippians | Comments Off on Standing and Compromising

Calvary Road

After Jesus’ mock trial in which the religious leaders had brought Him before Pilate to be judged and executed and Pilate had found Him innocent of any  charges requiring execution;  Pilate, to satisfy the Jews and  to try to protect his position as the Roman Procurator of Palestine, turned Jesus over  to the Roman soldiers for execution.

Luke 23:26 says, “They led Him away.”  The question before us in this message is WHO led Him away?

GOD LED HIM AWAY

 

First and foremost, God the Father led His Son, the Lord Jesus, up  Calvary Road to be tortured and executed on a cross as the only suitable, perfect sacrifice for our sins.  Nothing less than the blood of the sinless, holy Son of God would suffice.

According to Revelation 13:8 God determined from before the foundation of the world that He would send His Son, Jesus,  into the world to live among men and then be crucified, shedding His innocent blood as the only atonement for the sins of mankind.

Isaiah 53:4 and 10 makes it clear that it was God Himself who led His beloved Son Jesus up that Calvary Road to be tortured and executed on a Roman cross for our sins. 

GOD’S ETERNAL PLAN

This event did not catch God by surprise nor unprepared. It resulted in His ultimate glory according to Philippians 2:1-11  and Revelation 5:11-14.

So none of this has been a bad dream or God’s plans gone awry.  It was all according to His sovereign plans.

Simeon, the elderly man who held the baby Jesus in his arms in the temple prophesied of  His future sufferings for sin, we read in Luke 2:21-35.

Jesus had warned His disciples throughout His ministry of His coming trial and crucifixion.  Follow these prophesies of Christ in Luke 9:22-24, 12:50,  13:34-35,  17:22-25, 18:31-34 and 19:14.  Note the details that are prophesied concerning Jesus’ arrest, including: being scourged, spit upon, crucified and raised from the dead.  Warned repeatedly by Jesus, His disciples never quite understood.  It was beyond their imaginations and, no doubt, they just didn’t want to think of such a horrid thing, so they just shut it out of their minds.

In the final moments of Jesus life as He traveled up the Calvary Road, we meet some people, who for better or for worse,  help us better understand God’s purpose in all this seeming tragedy.    

But we do not see His disciples.  They have scattered in fear and dismay, as prophesied in Zechariah 13:7.  The Apostle John will reappear at the cross with Mary, the mother of Jesus in the final moments of Jesus’ life.  But the rest of His disciples are gone or are watching from a safe distance.

THE TREACHEROUS PRIESTS AND SANHEDRIN

 

Humanly speaking, they are behind the arrest and execution of Jesus.  True, we are all guilty. It was our sins that sent Jesus to the cross.  However, the chief priests and the Sanhedrin, (the Jewish court system), with the help of  the traitor, Judas Iscariot, were the arch villains responsible for plotting Jesus’ death.

PILATE, THE ROMAN GOVERNOR OF PALESTINE

 

Pilate, according to John 19:10-11,  vainly thought that he had Jesus life and future in his hands when in reality, Jesus was in His Father’s hands.  Both Pilate and his wife were convinced that Jesus was innocent. However he sold out Jesus to keep his political position in Palestine.

KING HEROD

 

This wicked king also found no guilt in Jesus according to Luke 23:7-16.

BARABBAS

 

Barabbas, the insurrectionist and murderer lay in a cell awaiting crucifixion that day.  The amazing fact, found in Matthew 27:15-26,  is that when Pilate gave the Jews a choice as to who should be released, they with one accord chose Barabbas and cried for Jesus to be crucified.

EVERY SINNER

 

In this, Barabbas is the proto-type of every sinner.  He who deserved to die that day, was freed as Jesus took His place dying on the cross on which Barabbas should have hung.   Can you imagine the amazement and gratitude Barabbas had for Jesus as He understood that Jesus had taken His place?  That’s exactly what salvation is all about:  Jesus taking my place and dying for my sins. See it prophesied in Isaiah 53:5-6 and explained so well in II Corinthians 5:21.  

JESUS, MY SUBSTITUTE; NOT MY SELF EFFORTS

 

Get this please and never forget it!  Salvation is all about Jesus, my substitute, taking the hell that I deserved.  It has absolutely nothing to do with me being saved through my self efforts.  When you grasp this simple, but profound truth, and receive Jesus as your substitute you will pass from death to life.  Your future will no longer be Hell, but Heaven!!!  God help you to understand this and receive it by faith.  You’ll never be the same!

FINALLY, THE FICKLE, MANIPULATED CROWD

 

The crowd shouted and roared for His crucifixion and took part in the procession that led Jesus to Calvary.  Yes, it was the same crowd that less than a week earlier had shouted “Hosanna” to Jesus, lauding Him as their Messiah and King.

How easily mindless crowds, can be swayed and turned from honoring and praising one,  into hateful mobs who cry for that one’s death.  I challenge and encourage you, especially young people, who so desire the approval of the crowd.  Don’t follow the crowd. The crowd is always wrong. Like mindless zombies, the crowds roared for Jesus’ crucifixion.  Will you stand against the crowd and this day stand with Jesus your Saviour and Lord, who went through the agony of Calvary for your salvation?

 

April 10, 2010 Posted by | Passion Week | Comments Off on Calvary Road