Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A "crack" and a "thwack"

One day, as I was making salad for my family to enjoy for lunch I accidentally “sliced” off the tip of my index finger. I knew I'd cut it because of the immediate throbbing pain traveling  through my finger and, of course, the onset of blood. I dropped everything, ran to the sink, turned on the water quickly poking my finger tip into the running flow. This I can tell you was not the right thing to do. The sudden sting of the water hitting the open wound was worse than the pain of the cut itself. As the minutes past the throbbing in my figure increased in intensity, I did everything I knew to stop the bleeding….nothing helped. The cut, although very small, produced incredible discomfort. Weeks later I could still feel the pain whenever the area around the cut is touched.

The cut on my finger reminds me of what happened on that Good Friday all those years ago. Even though the cut was so small, it hurt like the entire finger had been slashed off. I can't even imagine the excruciating pain (both emotionally and physically) Jesus must have felt that day. The pain would all start when two of his disciples, who had spent 3 years of their lives following him, unleashed the first emotional blow. One, Judas, would betray him for personal gain. Then Peter, who just hours earlier boldly professed he would die for Jesus, denied him…not just once but 3 times. 

Can I just tell you if my close friends did this to me, I would have been a puddle of muck….but not Jesus. He saw the bigger picture and had to carry on. His Father's plan had to be accomplished.
That night Jesus faced an unfair trial at the hands of the Jewish and Roman authorities. Emotional pain would turn to physical pain soon after Pilate ordered Jesus to be flogged. 


The prongs at the end of the whip sank deep in the beard ripping out bits and pieces as it was quickly drawn back for another pulverizing blow. Flesh covered arms and legs, that crossed racial, social, and religious boundaries, were torn to shreds with each contemptuous lash. Forty times the whip’s fury left stripe after stripe across Jesus’s back.

I sometimes wonder if Jesus knew that each stripe producing whack he endured would, one day, provide hope and healing for followers to come (Isaiah 53:5 and 1 Peter 2:24).

The suffering doesn't stop with flogging. The face that looked down over the dark expanse of the universe and said “Let there be light” was slapped bloody my mocking guards. A crown of thorns pressed firmly through his hair and into the scalp produced blood droplets that rolled down the face and over the lips of the one who spoke words of life and peace. 

He then picked up the cross he would soon be nailed to and began the journey to Calvary’s hill. Can you even begin to Imagine what he was feeling? He had just been thrashed 40 times with a spike-tipped whip which produced gaping wounds of raw flesh. With each step Jesus fulfilled a purpose.

Horizontal he laid, stretching out one arm and then the next…can you feel the tip of the spike? 


Mallet head meets spike top thrusting its tip through one wrist.


Then the other. A soldier holds one foot down and moves the other into place over the first. 


The final spike is set.

Now, nailed to a cross, the beam is shoved upward and comes to its vertical resting place. There, the creator of heaven and earth in human form hangs suspended between his two creations. Outstretched arms that once held the world are now the greatest symbol of love for the creation he breathed life into and formed in his own image. If that wasn’t enough…the spotless and clean became the filthiest of filth…sin.

And why? Why did Jesus do this? 

Because he understood the price of sin and wanted to cancel the debt for all people.

The price of sin? Death. (Romans 6:23) Eternal separation from a holy God. 

Why would Jesus want to pay for our sin? The answer is simple. He loves us and wants us to be with him for eternity. Jesus died a horrendous death so through him (our sin offering) we can be spared sin’s death grip.

John 3:16 - 18 (MSG) “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him. 

Romans 5:6 - 8 (MSG) "Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn't, and doesn't, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn't been so weak, we wouldn't have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him."

Do you know Jesus? Have you accepted Him as your savior? He died so that you could be forgiven and have eternal life. He doesn't care where you've been or what you've done...all He cares about is where you are headed from this point forward. 

Ask him into your heart today... will you pray with me?

Jesus, I know I am a sinner and have fallen so short. Please come into my heart today and forgive me of my sin. I know that you died for me so that I could spend eternity with you. Place people in my life who will encourage me as I walk with you. Amen

If you have just prayed this prayer... Welcome to the kingdom of God!!! The Bible says you are now a new creation in Christ...the old has gone and the new has come.  It's as if you've never sinned (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Please don't keep this to yourself...  tell a fellow Christian...  get into God's word and begin to grow in your faith.

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