Although the priest argued for forgiveness, the message was lost on students
The Archdiocese of Boston forced Daniel Moloney to resign from his chaplain role at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology after students and alumni complained that Moloney brought up George Floyd’s past criminal history in an email to students.
Although Moloney, a Catholic priest, was making an argument that Floyd’s past should not justify his death, the fact that he brought up Floyd’s rap sheet at all prompted some to protest the chaplain’s message to campus officials and file bias complaints over it.
“George Floyd was killed by a police officer, and shouldn’t have been,” Moloney wrote in his June 7 email to the Tech Catholic Community, a group of Catholic students on campus.
“He had not lived a virtuous life. He was convicted of several crimes, including armed robbery, which he seems to have committed to feed his drug habit. And he was high on drugs at the time of his arrest. But we do not kill such people. He committed sins, but we root for sinners to change their lives and convert to the Gospel,” the priest wrote.
“ … In the wake of George Floyd’s death, most people in the country have framed this as an act of racism. I don’t think we know that. Many people have claimed that racism is major problem in police forces. I don’t think we know that.”
The e-mail was republished in its entirety by New Boston Post.
Although Moloney’s argument aimed to promote justice and forgiveness, that message seemed lost on many of its readers.
An article in The Tech campus newspaper reports that MIT’s dean for student life, Suzy Nelson, said administrators and the bias response team received reports about Moloney’s email.
In an email to student and faculty leaders June 12, Nelson wrote Moloney’s message “contradicted the Institute’s values” and “was deeply disturbing” and that “by devaluing and disparaging George Floyd’s character,” Moloney did not “acknowledge the dignity of each human being and the devastating impact of systemic racism” on “African Americans, people of African descent, and communities of color,” The Tech reports.
The Archdiocese of Boston told Moloney to resign from his role as chaplain at the school on June 9, according to the Boston Globe. The move came after more than 60 people attended a forum hosted by Tech Catholic Community on June 9, according to the school newspaper.
Terrence Donilon, a spokesman for the archdiocese, told WBZ-TV “While Fr. Moloney’s comments should not reflect on the entirety of his priestly ministry, they nonetheless were wrong and by his resignation he accepts the hurt they have caused.”
Moloney told the Boston Globe on June 16, “I regret what happened, I regret it was misunderstood, I regret that [it] became difficult for me to be a voice for Christ on campus.”
Moloney is a published author at First Things, The Wall Street Journal and National Review. He used to work at the Heritage Foundation as a senior policy analyst for the DeVos Center for Religion and Society. His doctoral dissertation focused on justice and mercy, the subject of a recent book he published as well. He also maintains an active Tumblr page but has not explicitly addressed the controversy on it.
Now we come to message number 13 – I never intended that, but message number 13 in Romans 8 series on the Holy Spirit, and we certainly welcome you who are guests to our church to the end of our series. Regrettably, some of you haven’t been with us in the previous messages, so you’re a little bit behind the curve, but that’s okay. Turn to Romans 8, and while you’re doing that, I do want to make a comment about the worship book.
There’s a note about it in the Grace Today. There have been some rather careful edits in that book that has come out in past years and some added material to it, to enrich it and update it. And perhaps the most notable thing is that the final chapter in the book is on music, what is appropriate music for worship, and there are things in that chapter that are unique to the book, and I just wanted to let you know that that and another brand new chapter sort of set it apart from the past editions of it.
And speaking of worship, the series that we’re doing has one goal in mind and that is to help us worship the Holy Spirit as we should. When I gave the first message and I called for worship of the Holy Spirit, after the service was over, I didn’t get very far until I was stopped in my tracks by someone who was outraged – outraged that I would even suggest that we ought to worship, offer praise, prayer to the Holy Spirit, which points out the problem. We need to worship the Holy Spirit in the same way that we worship the Son of God and God the Father Himself.
In Revelation 22:9, there’s a very brief command and it says, “Worship God.” Worship God. The last chapter of the Bible, “Worship God.” That isn’t anything new. If you go to the beginning of the Bible, the Pentateuch, the writings of Moses, you will find there are many calls to worship God. If you get into the books of history, the books of poetry, the prophets, all the sacred writings that make up the Old Testament, everywhere you go, you will be repeatedly commanded in one way or another to worship God. In fact, Jesus tells us in John 4 that the Father seeks true worshipers. We are described by Paul in Philippians 3 as those who worship God in the Spirit, the Spirit of God. We are worshipers of God, that’s what we do, that’s why we’re here. God is the audience and we are offering Him worship as we should every day individually in our lives and do collectively when we gather like this.
When the Bible instructs us to worship God, the God we are to worship is the triune God, who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the true and living God, the only God, three in one. When we are commanded – as we are so frequently – to worship God, that must mean all three members of the Trinity. In no sense are we to offer any member of the Trinity any less worship than we offer any other member of the Trinity. We are not to assume that when Scripture says to worship God that somehow we are to worship certain persons of the Trinity and not others or certain persons more than others. Should we not assume that every command in Scripture to worship God is a command to worship the Holy Spirit who is fully God? When we get a glimpse of heaven in the fourth chapter of Revelation, and we read in verses 10 and 11 that the 24 elders, along with the living creatures, fall down before Him who sits on the throne and will worship Him who lives forever and ever, are we to assume that that is one member of the Trinity or two but not the third? When the worship is given to us, the very words of heavenly worship, “Worthy are You, our Lord, and our God to receive glory and honor and power for You created all things and because of Your Will they exist and were created,” that that is excluding the Holy Spirit? I think not.
We are to worship the God who is God, and God declares Himself to be “I am who I am” and who He is is three in one. And yet when we talk about worshiping the Holy Spirit, it sounds new and it sounds novel, and for some people it even sounds wrong. And the argument tends to be, “Well no, no, the Spirit points to Christ.” Well, of course the Spirit points to Christ, but in pointing to Christ, He does not diminish His own deity. He does not depreciate His own identity. He does not intend to diminish worship given to Him. He points us to Christ, but He is no less God, and God is to be worshiped.
The Holy Spirit is fully God, gloriously God, holy God, eternal God, worthy of worship. The Holy Spirit is equally the possessor of all divine attributes that belong to the Father and the Son. The Holy Spirit equally participates in every divine activity for the Holy Spirit is inseparable from the Father and the Son. The Holy Spirit participates in everything from creation to consummation. All true worship, then, embraces the Holy Spirit, includes the Holy Spirit. He cannot be separated from the Trinity whom we worship and whom we praise.
Why has this not been clear to us? Because for many people, that point that I made about the Holy Spirit pointing to Christ, which Jesus disclosed in His last night with the disciples in the Upper Room, seems to some people – and it’s caught traction and become part of Christian thinking – that the Holy Spirit is therefore deflecting worship toward Christ. Not so. He shows us Christ for a very clear purpose, which we studied some weeks ago, that we might see the model of perfected humanity, and as we gaze at the glory of the perfected human, He changes us into His image. To show us Christ is not to defer worship. It is another way in which we should worship Him and honor Him.
But beyond that sort of strange quirk in traditional understanding, even worse the Holy Spirit is not considered today in the same way that the Son and the Father are considered because there has been for many, many years now, coming from the third force, the third column in the Christian world – first column, Protestantism; second, Roman Catholicism; the third, Pentecostal Charismaticism – there has been coming from that third wave terrible, tragic confusion about the Holy Spirit, misrepresentation of the Holy Spirit, blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, insults directed at the Holy Spirit, and they are relentless and they are severe and they are serious.
The evangelical church’s understanding of the Holy Spirit has been mangled. Biblical truth has been depreciated and in its place have come bizarre things attributed to the Holy Spirit by people who have, in many cases, absolutely no relationship to the Holy Spirit whatsoever. Endless assaults are waged on His person and His work coming out of that third column. This movement has kidnapped the Holy Spirit and held Him hostage, and all criticisms of their aberrations and blasphemies are denounced by them as being divisive, unloving, and intolerant.
Obviously, thinking through all of this over the last three months and preaching all of this has stirred my own heart and hearts of people around me who are saying, “We need to do a book on this, we need to bring this to light, it’s been a long time since Charismatic Chaos came out, this needs to be addressed,” and so we’ve decided to do that. But one of the compelling reasons to do that was the fact that we had a discussion the other day and it was brought to our attention that in searching the literature on the Holy Spirit and the things that are being ascribed to the Spirit today that are not true about Him and about His works, the doctrine of the Holy Spirit has gone, in a sense, unprotected. The truth of the Holy Spirit has gone unaffirmed, in this sense, that it was the – maybe the early or mid-1990s since there was any definitive book produced on the true person and work of the Holy Spirit. Evangelicals have gone silent on this issue under the intimidation of that third column. This is unacceptable. We cannot allow this to go on, the Holy Spirit to be grieved, quenched, insulted, and blasphemed.
It’s amazing to me that the evangelical world doesn’t tolerate attacks on God the Father. When there came an attack a few years ago called the Openness theology which denied that God knew the future, denied His omniscience, it not only denied that He knew the future, it denied that He could control the future. This is a massive attack on the nature of God, and evangelicals rose up en masse to denounce that attack of Openness theology and became prolific in providing material for that denunciation. Over the last 15 years or so, 20 years, there have been assaults on the person of Christ, assaults on His nature but more directly on His work on the cross, the doctrine of justification, the biblical doctrine of justification at the heart of the gospel, most notably in a movement called “The New Perspective on Paul,” which was a denial of the doctrine of imputation and justification. There is no end of literature that has been amassed, a huge library of literature defending the doctrine of justification, defending the Son of God against these attacks. But no one member of the Trinity in the same period of time has been attacked nearly to the degree that the Holy Spirit has been attacked, and I say for about ten years there has been virtually nothing to come to the defense of a biblical understanding of the Holy Spirit. And as a result, there is confusion if not indifference toward Him and a lack of ability to worship Him for who He is, and He should be worshiped.
We understand blasphemy of the Holy Spirit from non-Christians. We understand blasphemy of the Holy Spirit from false Christians and false teachers. But we, as Christians, while not blaspheming the Holy Spirit can be guilty of grieving the Holy Spirit. And it is a grief to the Holy Spirit, of course, for us to sin because we sin against Him who is in us, but it is a grief to the Holy Spirit to think wrongly about Him, to underestimate what He does, to be unappreciative or ungrateful, to fail to worship Him out of a grasp of the wondrous grace and the wondrous power of His continuing work on our behalf all the way to eternal glory.
So we have been looking at Romans 8 to refocus on the Holy Spirit, to fully embrace Him in our worship. We know that God the Father initiated the work of salvation, God the Son validated and demonstrated the work of salvation, and the Holy Spirit activates and completes the work of salvation in the believer. We have literally begun to catalogue the work of the Holy Spirit for us as believers. He regenerates us, He participates in our justification, He sanctifies us, He confirms our adoption as sons of God, He indwells us, He baptizes us, immerses us into the union with other believers that we call the body of Christ. He gives us spiritual gifts by which we minister to one another. He strengthens us in the inner man for all righteousness. He guides us. He produces right attitudes in us. He delivers us from sin. He illuminates the Scripture to our understanding. But His greatest work and that which brings us the greatest joy is that He guarantees our future glory, He guarantees our eternal glory. And, of course, at this point the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement renders against Him one of the greatest insults of all by denying the doctrine of eternal security, perseverance of the saints, and attacking His most wondrous work by claiming that He does not necessarily keep all believers secure and safe until eternal glory.
This week I was reading the writings of Charles Finney, whose ministry attacked a lot of things in the Scripture, not the least of which was this doctrine. Finney said, “You are sealed by the Spirit but you can shatter the seal.” The testimony of the Word of God is not consistent with that error.
Listen to the words of Ephesians 1:13-14. In Him – that is, in Christ – you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation, having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory. We are God’s possession; God will redeem us to the praise of His own glory. The Holy Spirit is given as a pledge of that future redemption, which is called our inheritance, and that is why He is identified as the Spirit of promise because He is the guarantee of God’s promise of heaven.
Peter similarly writes: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who, according to His great mercy, has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you who are protected by the power of God, for a salvation to be revealed in the last time.” The Holy Spirit is the seal, the guarantee, the down payment, the first fruits, the earnest, the power, the protector of every true believer, who brings us to final glory.
That becomes the theme of Romans 8 starting in verse 17. Verse 17, you first read the word “glorified,” and from then on to verse 39, it is all focused on our future glory and the plans that God has to secure us to that end. We’ve gone through all of that in great detail. We’ve learned in verses 26 and 27 that the Holy Spirit constantly from within every true believer is interceding for us in a communion that is not in any language. It is too deep for words. It is inter-Trinitarian groaning in which the Spirit intercedes, praying for our eternal glory consistently with God who knows what His plans are and has purposed our glory. And the Spirit, as well, knows the plans of God, the heart of God. So God has a plan. Christ provided for the fulfillment of that plan. The Spirit prays for the completion of that plan in accord with the Will of God.
As a result, verse 28 says, “Everything works together for good.” Things, as we live life, God has a good purpose in them, that is true for His glory. But this is primarily talking about ultimate, final good. All things are working together for good because we have been loved by God and love Him in return according to His purpose.
So the Spirit then effects the good intention and ending and purpose of God on our behalf. The plan of God, He foreknew us, He predestined us, He called us, He justified us, and He will glorify us, and our glory will be conforming us to the image of His Son, verse 29 says. We’ve gone through all of that in detail. God has a plan to choose people that He will glorify. Christ provides the sacrifice that pays for their sin to make the plan possible. The Holy Spirit becomes the power of the plan. He regenerates us, sanctifies us, protects us, and one day will raise us to glory. We are caught up in that plan. We are as secure as the Father’s plan because what God purposes, He does. We are as secure as the Son’s provision. Christ actually paid in full for all our sins – not a potential payment, but an actual payment. And we are, thirdly, as secure as the power of the Holy Spirit who intercedes and who keeps us to glory.
Now, having said all of that great theology, come to verse 31, where we dropped off last time, and Paul knows there will be some objections. So he assumes that there would be objections from some who would say, “Well, maybe there are some persons who can change this. Maybe there are some persons who can influence a dramatic alteration in the plan of God.” Like Finney says, “You can shatter the seal.” I read a couple of other writers who hold that view and they said the same thing, “The Holy Spirit seals you as long as you don’t break the seal.” Is that possible? So we could ask the question, “Are there some humans that can do that?” What shall we say to these things? Are there some humans that can do it? The answer, verse 31: “If God is for us, who’s against us?” Are there humans stronger than God? If God is for us, does it really matter who might be against us? Does it matter who might want to destroy our faith? If God is for us, that settles it because there is no power greater than God. There is no human or human system or human religion or human influence or human society or human form of education or human pressure that is greater than God.
“Well,” you say, “maybe God would do it. Maybe God would be weary of us.” God? Verse 32 answers that. “He who didn’t spare His own Son but delivered Him over for us all”? You mean God who when we were enemies gave us the best gift, His Son? He would turn against us? The end of verse 32: “How will He not also with Him, with His Son, freely give us all things?” That’s an argument from the greater to the lesser. If when we were enemies He gave the best gift to save us, will He not now that we are children of His give us lesser gifts to keep us? That’s just logical. That’s the argument from the greater to the lesser. God, who did the most for us, gave the best gift when we were enemies of His, will do whatever lesser things He needs to do now that we’re His sons to keep us.
Somebody might say, “Well, what about Satan? Maybe Satan can pull us out of the hands of God, he’s very powerful.” He tried it with Job, he tried it with Peter, he tried it with Paul and he tried it with the high priest in Zechariah chapter 3. You have four illustrations of it in Scripture. He is identified here in verse 33: “Who will bring a charge against God’s elect?” Or verse 34: Who is the one who condemns? Who is the one who is that’s always before God condemning us? Who’s the accuser of the brethren? Revelation 12:10. Satan and his demons as well gather around the presence of God and bring endless accusations against believers night and day, it says in Scripture. Can he succeed, the accuser of the brethren? Could he break Job’s faith? No. Could he break Peter’s faith when he tried to sift Peter? Could he break Paul when messenger demons literally were tearing into the ministry of Paul? Was that enough to shatter Paul? Can he successfully bring a condemning accusation that’ll cause God to turn?
Well, for one thing, saving faith can’t be broken, the purpose of God can’t be thwarted, but you also have the additional reality of Christ at the right hand of the Father, interceding for us against all accusations and saying again and again, “For that I paid in full in My death.”
Well then, somebody might suggest, “Boy, we’re in trouble if Christ turns against us. What if Christ were to turn against us?” Verse 34: What? Christ Jesus is He who died, yea rather, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God. In other words, He died for us, He was raised for us, His death and resurrection were the perfect satisfaction of God, and thus He was exalted at the right hand of God, having fully accomplished our redemption and who also intercedes for us. He is the great high priest who intercedes for us, our great heavenly advocate.
It won’t be any humans because God is more powerful than they. Won’t be God because He gave us the best when we were enemies. It won’t be Satan because he can’t successfully bring a condemnation against us – Christ has already paid in full for them. It won’t be Christ – He ever lives to make intercession for us. Only one possibility remains then. Us. You can break the seal. You can shatter the seal, as Finney put it. Can you? Why would you do that? Oh, circumstances in life. Well, life could get pretty tough. As long as everything is going good – that was the argument with Job, wasn’t it? He’s blessed, he’s rich, he’s got it all, family, crops, animals, wealth – no wonder he’s faithful. Can we literally exercise power to sever our relationship to the Lord? Can our faith dissolve, break, crumble under certain circumstances?
So we go from persons in verses 32 to 34 – 31 to 34, to circumstances in verses 35 to 37, follow them, it’s just pretty simple. This is worst-case scenario. The question is: Who will or what will, brought by who – who – behind all these whats, there’s a who. If there’s tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, sword, somebody’s responsible for that. These are the kind of circumstances that are extreme. Can extreme circumstances destroy our faith, cause us to abandon the Holy Spirit? Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Just a reminder that what holds us is the love of Christ for us. That’s what’s hold us, the love of Christ for us. It’s mentioned in verse 39, by the way, as the love of God – the love of God. And I might add, it encompasses the love of the Holy Spirit. We are loved by the Trinity. Can something happen to cause that love to be broken?
Well, let’s paint a picture of extremity. Seven hypothetical realities escalating, tribulation – tribulation, that’s outside pressure. Things are going bad on the outside and this assumes attacks coming at us. The word thlipsis means – it’s a squeezing, outward difficulty, rejection, trouble, harm. It’s putting pressure on us on the outside. The next word, distress, is a word that refers to inside pressure. It’s two words that mean to be crunched into a narrow space but it has to do with the inside. When outside pressure comes, it has an effect on the inside, right? You start to react to it, fear, anxiety, doubt, questions, dread, and you become victimized by a certain level of panic. You lose your sense of confidence because the pressure is so great.
Can pressure come on the outside that can cause you to be so compressed on the inside that you literally are led into fear and anxiety and it gets worse? And then persecution. This is abuse – abuse – and for the purpose of this argument by Paul, it would be abuse for the testimony of Jesus, physical suffering, mental suffering, things are really going badly for you now. This is the worst-case scenario. You got all kinds of issues on the outside crushing you in, they get on the inside and they begin to produce anxiety, fear, and dread and then it gets worse, outright persecution, digmos breaks out at the hands of Christ rejecters. It gets extreme because famine follows. You don’t get food. You’re deprived, maybe you’re in jail, you’re in prison. That is not the end of it, it gets even worse. You’re in rags. There’s no provision for you. You end up naked, you need clothes. It gets worse. You’re in peril, you’re on the dangerous edge, and finally they start rattling a sword. It’s the end.
Can that do it? That’s the worst-case scenario. You’re about to be martyred. You’re about to have your head hacked off. Well, by the way, that’s Paul’s personal testimony, and it happened more than once that he got to the brink of peril. And it finally happened that his head was cut off by a sword. Can that drive you to doubt? Can that drive you to reject Jesus Christ? Can that drive you to turn away from Christ? Turn away from God? Can that do it? And he quotes from Psalm 44 to say that this is kind of the experience that the people of God have had through history, not just us. He’s quoting from Psalm 44. There’s a plea from the people of God in the Old Testament for God to deliver them because they’re in distress. “For Your sake we’re being put to death all day long, we’re considered sheep to be slaughtered.” They were suffering in the past. As you know, Israel suffered at the hands of its enemies many times. Being connected to God can be a very dangerous situation. It happened then, it happens now. And when it happens, is that enough to shatter us? Smash the seal?
One of the wonderful treasures that I have is a original set of the Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. Three volumes. You stack them up, they’re that thick and they’re this big – huge things. Foxe’s Book of Martyrs contains the testimony of literally hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people who went through that process that Paul just described here and ended up at the sword or the flame, burned at the stake, or myriad ways that they were executed. And the books are a testimony to the fact that their faith did not fail – could not fail – because they had a faith designed by God, a supernatural faith just like yours.
“In this you greatly rejoice,” Peter goes on to say, “for a little while if necessary you’ve been distressed” – there’s that same word – “by various trials so that the proof of your faith being more precious than gold, which is perishable, even though tested by fire may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” And then he says this: “Though you don’t see Him, you love Him.” Even then you love Him. You don’t turn on Him, you don’t resent Him, you love Him. You love Him all the way to death.
Verse 37 sums it up: “In all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.” We love Him because what? He loved us first. No, there’s no circumstance that’s going to break this. There is no circumstance that’ll separate us from the love of Christ. There’s no circumstance that will separate us from the love of God. There is no person who will separate us from that love, the love of the Trinity. It is not possible. There is no power that can shatter our faith. There is no power that can break the seal of the Spirit. There is no accusation against us that Christ has not paid for in full. There is no higher court than God, and there’s no greater power than the secure power of the Holy Spirit. We come out hupernikmen, hupernika. You get the word Nike from the Greek verb to conquer, to be the victor, super-victor, huper-victor. We are more than conquerors; we overwhelmingly conquer, not in in our own strength, but through Him who loved us. Through Him who loved us.
Trial, no matter how severe, tests our faith and proves it true. Therefore, it’s to our greater good and our greater joy, even in the most severe suffering. It does something else. It earns an eternal weight of glory in the life to come. This kind of extremity/severity makes a nobler Christian here and a stronger Christian, not a weaker one, and one whose faith is firm and whose assurance is settled. It’s the proof of your faith when it stands that test. It proves you have the real thing, and that’s a gift of God to rejoice over, and it also leads to a greater reward.
Paul wrote this while he was in Corinth in the winter, and he had no idea, nor did the church at Rome to whom he wrote, that a short time would elapse and then they would see him in this very situation. He would stand in need of the very comforting truths which he wrote in this chapter because all the things that are written in the list, he would experience. He would himself be this time killed by a sword. And the readers in Rome would be caught up in persecution, men and women whose blood would soak the sands of the great Roman arenas and amphitheaters. But the honor of Christ and the love of Christ was safe in their keeping because they were safe in His keeping. They didn’t need to fear any of these things, including death. They were mauled by wild beasts, they were soaked in tar and lit as torches, they fought with men and beasts and hell’s demons, but they were safe in the love of Christ, safe in the love of God, safe in the protecting love of the Holy Spirit. Safe until they entered into glory.
Paul ends by saying, “We’re super conquerors.” And then there’s a beautiful closing refrain, verses 38 and 39, that almost shouldn’t be explained, it should just be read or sung. For I am convinced – are you? Are you convinced of this great truth? I am persuaded, I am confident, I have come to a settled conclusion that neither death, the great enemy, or life with all its dangers and difficulties, its temptations and troubles, nor angels, holy angels, hypothetically, nor principalities, unholy angels, demons, nor things present, nor things to come, the here and now or the future, nor powers – that’s plural in the New Testament and when it’s used plural in the New Testament, the Greek form, it refers to miracles, mighty works, some supernatural power – nothing, so far, not death, not life, not holy angels, not fallen angels, not anything happening now or anything in the future, not any supernatural, mighty, transcendent power, nor height – that is a term that refers to a star at the apex of its orbit – nor depth, bathos – that’s the star at the lowest point of its orbit, nothing at the highest point of the universe or the lowest point of the universe – nothing, nor any other created thing, nothing in life, nothing in death, nothing in the world of angels, nothing in the world of demons, nothing in time, nothing in eternity, no miracle power, nothing on earth, nothing in heaven from the edges of space, nothing, no created thing in the entire created universe will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Jeremiah 31:3: God says, “I’ve loved you with an everlasting love.” That, dear friends, is because we are kept by the Holy Spirit. We need to worship Him for that gracious work. Let’s pray.
Lord, we thank You that we have been able to look at the glory of our salvation in this wonderful way, through the ministry in particular of the Holy Spirit. We know that Christ even went to the cross in the power of the Holy Spirit. As we come to remember His death for us, we want to be grateful from the bottom of our hearts for this massive work of salvation that began in eternity past with election, went through the cross, out the open tomb, and is produced in us by the ongoing ministry of the dear Holy Spirit. We worship You, O God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, for this mighty work of amazing grace. We thank You for it. As we come now to remember the cross of Christ, cleanse our hearts, fill us with praise – praise as it should be offered to You, our great God.
2 people are trudging along the road, trying to make sense of all that’s happened that week.
– They’ve been in Jerusalem for the Passover — now they’re heading home.
– When they’d gone to Jerusalem, they had no inkling of what would happen.
– They’d been followers of Jesus Christ and had witnessed His Triumphal
entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, and seen His arrest, torture, and
crucifixion by the weekend.
– What an ordeal they’ve been through!
It’s like a picture of life because we’re all heading toward home and we all experience horrific ordeals from time to time.
We don’t know who these 2 were. One was named Cleopas — we’re not told the other name.
– One source thought they might be husband and wife — the 2nd person was Mrs. Cleopas.
I like the idea of God walking with couples as they travel hand-in-hand along the Road of Life.
– We all travel the Road of Life — Watergate Senator Sam Ervin: “My Fellow travelers to the tomb.”
Let’s see how this story resembles life.
– It’s a road on which for one reason or another, we all tend at times to feel sad.
Luke 24:17– And He said to them, “What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?”
What a waste Christ’s death seemed to be!
– He was young, energetic, popular, exciting — NOW HE WAS DEAD!
Often things happen that we can’t make sense out of because we can’t see them from God’s perspective.
– Going up in the Space Needle…………
If we saw the whole picture like God does, we’d realize the beauty of what’s happening to us.
– We’ve a tendency to stop and feel sorry for ourselves and complain about our lot in life.
– How things just never go right!
May 11, 1996, Demingo Pacheco was on a tight schedule to catch a plane out of Miami.
– The left rear tire of his Cadillac blew on the Palmetto Expressway.
– For an hour he sweated under the broiling sun changing that tire.
– As he finished, his mother called on his cell phone and said, “Where areyou?”
– He said, “I’m stuck on the freeway changing a flat tire — I’ve missed myflight!”
She shouted, “Turn your radio on and thank God. The plane you were going to be on crashed in the Everglades!”
– Demingo Pacheco would’ve been aboard Value Jet Flight 592 except for that flat tire.
Normally, thanking God for a flat tire seems crazy, but we’re to give thanks “in all things.”
– Good doesn’t necessarily mean health — not all Christians are healthy.
– It doesn’t necessarily mean wealth — not all Christians are wealthy.
– God’s purpose for you isn’t to be healthy, happy, rich or famous.
His purpose is found in Romans 8:29 — For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Paul said, we’ve been “predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son.”
– God’s purpose for you is that you be like Jesus.
We need to learn to trust God for what He’s accomplishing — for His Blessings…
After two failed attempts at landing, a balloonist panicked. Frantically, he searched for a third spot to attempt a touchdown, but all he could see for miles was thick woods. He had only half of one tank of propane left. Nevertheless, he felt his only option was to hit the burners and try to find a clearing.
Nearly paralyzed with fear, he cried out to God, “Help me. Take control of this situation. Lord, find me a safe place to land!”
With that prayer, a feeling of calm came over him. His fingers unclenched and he felt a wave of peace.
Even so, the landscape below sped by and he had no idea where his ground crew might be.
Then he spotted a small clearing directly ahead – and in it, two of the biggest bulls he’d ever seen.
– “Lord, I trusted You to find me a safe place to land, and I trust You completelywith those bulls!”
He held on tightly as the basket hit the ground roughly, tipped over, and was dragged along the ground for about fifty yards.
To his amazement, the bulls seemed oblivious to all the commotion.
Almost instantly, his ground crew came racing toward him.
– One of them said, “You got caught in some nasty wind shear. It’s a miracles you kept control.”
The balloonist knew the true miracle. The true miracle was that he had given up control.
God may not always answer our prayers the way we think they ought to be answered.
– When we give up all control, and simply trust Him, He will handle any obstacle that gets in our way.
Once we quit worrying and complaining and start praising — it’ll change our perspective.
– Moth on rag rug
We must learn to trust God in any and all circumstances.
It’s a road on which all of us may meet a “Mysterious Stranger,” who knows the answers to all our problems and offers us His tender friendship.
Luke 24:18 — Then the one whose name was Cleopas answered and said to Him, “Are You the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have You not known the things which happened there in these days?”
These 2 people on the road to Emmaus felt like total losers.
Luke 24:19-21 —And He said to them, “What things?” So they said to Him, “The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and crucified Him. 21 But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened.
They’d invested their hopes, dreams, trust, plans in Christ — NOW HE WAS GONE!
– Had they been scammed — duped?
How could the bottom have fallen out so completely and quickly?
– Where could they go from here?
– NOTICE: Christ wasn’t very far away!…………
We’re all a bunch of losers!
– Me and my plans and ambitions.
“Most of us feel like losers!” — That’s true! Sometimes that’s good!
– We have to come to that place in our lives before we surrender to God and let
Him make us winners — Apostle Paul.
Thank God for failure because it’ll drive us right to Him.
– Sometimes we don’t realize this fact.
Luke 24:25-31 — Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” 27 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. 28 Then they drew near to the village where they were going, and He indicated that He would have gone farther. 29 But they constrained Him, saying, “Abide with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.” And He went in to stay with them. 30 Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight.
Christ puts things in proper perspective when we let Him into our lives and homes.
– He can meet our needs and give us the strength we need for today.
They came to a fork in the road and Christ indicated that He would go on. They asked Him to spend the night at their place.
They served Him supper, He took over the duties of a Host and broke and distributed the bread.
As He did this, they suddenly recognized Him.
That’s what He promises He will do in Revelation 3:20 — “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”
What an experience these 2 had when they finally figured out they’d been with Christ!
– Suddenly, their lives took on new purpose and meaning.
– What they’d done before wasn’t wasted!
– Jesus would help them piece together the pieces of their lives.
Suddenly He disappeared, but listen to their conversation after this wonderful experience.
““Didn’t our hearts feel strangely warm as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?” — Luke 24:32
– Every need they had was now satisfied.
– We worry, fret, borrow trouble — but Christ satisfies!
– He can and will satisfy your needs today too!
Often what we think is difficult almost impossible to cope with just might be the exact thing we need to strengthen us and give us victory.
This couple had been through some very harrowing and turbulent times, but what a difference now that Christ had calmed the turbulence.
Turbulent times can help us be overcomers if we will let them.
TURBULENT WINDS CAUSE THE EAGLE TO FLY HIGHER.
Life’s troubles should cause the Christian to seek closer fellowship with the Lord. Troubles should cause us to fly higher.
TURBULENT WINDS GIVE THE EAGLE A LARGER VIEW.
When our lives are touched by troubles and we flee to God we begin to see the reason and result of lower living.
TURBULENT WINDS LIFT THE EAGLE ABOVE HARRASSMENT FROM OTHER BIRDOF PREY.
As we walk with the Lord it is difficult, if not impossible, for us to be harassed by the troubles or troubler of life.
TURBULENT WINDS ALLOW THE EAGLE TO USE LESS EFFORT.
We struggle the most when we live in lower spiritual altitudes. If we draw nigh to God, we will find how really simple life is meant to be.
TURBULENT WINDS ALLOW THE EAGLE TO STAY UP LONGER.
When we experience fellowship with God; His peace, comfort and love, there will be a desire to remain close to Him. When troubles come we learn immediately to stretch forth our wings and fly high into the presence of the Lord.
TURBULENT WINDS HELP THE EAGLE TO FLY FASTER.
The more we soar above the cares and troubles of life, the more effective we will be in accomplishing the work God has called every Christian to – Glorifying Him and evangelizing the world in which we live.
He goes before us — don’t worry about tomorrow — Live today!
Then, this is the picture of the road that leads home at last.
I’m intrigued that when they reached their destination, Jesus was able to answer all their questions as to,“Why?”
In a Palm Sunday sermon titled “Chosen for Him,” California pastor and author John MacArthur warned that America is already experiencing the judgment of God, in part for its sexual sins. Like the Old Testament Israelites and the Jews of Jesus’ day, he said, “It is too late. Judgment is already in motion.” Only for a “remnant,” or “the elect,” is that not the case, MacArthur added.
The controversial preacher, who has repeatedly pushed back against coronavirus-related church closures, spoke Sunday at Grace Community Church in Sun Valley. His main text for the hour-long sermon was the parable of the vineyard owner in Mark 12, a parable MacArthur labeled as one of judgment and destruction. In that story, the tenants kill the landowner’s servants—and even his beloved son, the heir.
The Judgment of God: Destroyed Due to Willing Unbelief
The chapter preceding that parable features Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, as well as his cursing of the barren fig tree and his clearing of the moneychangers’ tables in the temple courts. Those acts of cursing and clearing are the opposite of what people would have expected from Jesus on Palm Sunday, MacArthur said. “The people welcomed Jesus as a king; he came as a judge. The people wanted him to bless them; he cursed them. The people thought they were the people of God; Jesus described them as the children of the devil.”
Although the people of Jesus’ generation received signs, said MacArthur, many still refused to believe (John 12:37). In the final verses of Acts, the Apostle Paul also describes willing unbelief, noted MacArthur, resulting in God’s salvation being sent instead to the Gentiles.
In his sermon, MacArthur also referenced Isaiah chapter 1 and its series of “woes.” God, as the vineyard owner, sent numerous Old Testament prophets to warn his people, but the Israelites rejected them all, and vengeance resulted.
“A generation of people can come too late to Christ,” MacArthur said, adding that it was too late for the Old Testament Israelites, who were taken into captivity in Babylon, and also too late for first-century Jews, who endured the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 70 AD and had to scatter. “It can be too late for every nation,” MacArthur said, pointing to Acts 14:16, which says God allows all nations to “go their own way.”
Both Isaiah’s generation and Jesus’ generation “had their opportunities,” MacArthur noted, but for both it became too late. “The temple was never rebuilt, the priesthood was never recovered. No sacrifices, no ceremonies, no Sadducees, no Pharisees, no priests, no chief priests to this day. The whole system ended.” Meanwhile, the rejected “stone”—Jesus Christ—became the cornerstone, which is “marvelous in our eyes” (Mark 12:10-11).
John MacArthur: This Also Applies Today
Next, MacArthur turned to Romans 1:18, which refers to wicked people suppressing the truth in unrighteousness. “How do you know when a nation passes the point where salvation is possible for a people?” asked the pastor. “When any society suppresses the truth continually, it can go past the point where God will hear. It can be too late.”
Citing other verses in Romans 1, MacArthur said, “God gave them over to a reprobate mind, a non-functioning mind. When you see a nation deep in sexual sin, pervasively affirming of homosexuality, and the insanity of a reprobate mind, where they make laws to criminalize righteousness and to legalize gross evil, you know that nation’s under judgment.”
For Christians, said MacArthur, our message to America is this: “It’s too late” because “we’re under judgment” already. “Judgment has been unleashed. You can hear, but not understand. You can see, but not perceive.” But, the pastor added, “It’s not too late for the elect.” Though most Americans’ hearts have been hardened by God, a remnant remains. “God has his people,” MacArthur said. “So we warn, because we don’t know who those people are, and we also offer the grace of the Gospel. That’s our calling.”
Previous Warnings Against Moral Decline
Warnings about immorality, unbelief, and the judgment of God aren’t new for MacArthur. While appearing on Laura Ingraham’s show last November, the pastor proclaimed, “America is in a moral free-fall.” He said, “This is a nation so far down in the sewer of immorality and wickedness that nothing surprises me.” A month later, MacArthur preached about the state of the world, saying it “appears to be perfectly suited for the Antichrist to come.”
In a 2012 sermon titled “Homosexuality and the Campaign for Immorality,” MacArthur said, “Romans 2 says the Law of God is written in the heart. But when man abandons God as revealed in creation; when man abandons God as revealed in conscience; when man abandons God as revealed in Holy Scripture, suppressing the truth, God judges that society. And though that society may consider itself to be wise, it is, in reality, the ultimate ship of fools. The heart becomes darkened when God is abandoned, and then God abandons the darkened heart.”
Later in that sermon, MacArthur said America’s Democratic Party has made “the sins of Romans 1” its “agenda.” He continued, “The Democratic Party has become the anti-God party, the sin-promoting party”—but then rejected the claim that he was being political. “Romans 1 is not politics,” said the pastor. “The Bible is not politics.”
As for the consequences facing America from the judgment of God, MacArthur stated: “If you want to see a picture of God’s attitude toward homosexuality, what’s going to happen when Romans 1 reaches its ultimate culmination and judgment comes, or when God does what he said he was going to do, in the writings of Moses, to nations that are defiled, that he would bring about their spewing out, here’s an illustration in Genesis 19.”
He then described how God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, adding, “That’s an illustration of how God feels about a society that affirms homosexuality and people that conduct themselves this way.” Homosexuality, MacArthur added, “is always a deadly sin, and always a defining sin, and always a damning sin.”
“For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18
Oh, what we miss out on when we rush past the cross of Christ. Oh the richness and reward when we stop to linger before it, when we take the time to “consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself” (Heb. 12:3). In a culture where crosses have become commonplace as architecture and jewelry, how we need to truly gaze upon the cross of Christ in all of its ugliness and beauty, in its death and in its healing, in the painful price paid there, and in its free gift of grace. Jesus, keep us near the cross. — Nancy Guthrie, from Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross
We Shall Be Like Him
We have an example in Scripture of what a resurrection body is like. We’re told a great deal about Christ’s resurrected body, and we’re told that our bodies will be like his. The empty tomb is the ultimate proof that Christ’s resurrection body was the same body that died on the cross. If resurrection meant the creation of a new body, Christ’s original body would have remained in the tomb.
When Jesus said to his disciples after his resurrection, “It is I myself,” he was emphasizing to them that he was the same person—in spirit and body—who had gone to the cross (Luke 24:39). His disciples saw the marks of his crucifixion, unmistakable evidence that this was the same body.
Jesus walked the earth in his resurrection body for 40 days, showing us how we would live as resurrected human beings. In effect, he also demonstrated where we would live as resurrected human beings—on Earth. Christ’s resurrection body was suited for life on Earth, not primarily life in the intermediate Heaven. As Jesus was raised to come back to live on Earth, so we will be raised to come back to live on Earth (1 Thessalonians 4:14; Revelation 21:1-3).
The two told what had happened … and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread. While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them. … He said to them, “Why are you troubled … ? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself!” Luke 24:35-36, 38-39
Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” John 20:26-27—Excerpted from Life Promises for Eternity by Randy Alcorn
Rejoice, O Christian—He Is Risen
“Come, see the place where the Lord lay,” with joy and gladness. He does not lie there now. Weep, when ye see the tomb of Christ, but rejoice because it is empty. Thy sin slew him, but his divinity raised him up. Thy guilt hath murdered him, but his righteousness hath restored him. Oh! He hath burst the bonds of death, he hath …come out more than conqueror, crushing death beneath his feet. Rejoice, O Christian, for he is not there—he is risen. — Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Our Lord has written the promise of the resurrection not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime. — Martin Luther
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is one of the most important biblical truths there is. Next to the crucifixion, it is the most significant event in church history. It isn’t a peripheral issue; it’s foundational. It’s bedrock. It’s the bottom line.
Not only does the resurrection tell us that we will live beyond the grave, but it also tells us there is hope beyond this life.
In fact, the Bible says, “Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died. So you see, just as death came into the world through a man, now the resurrection from the dead has begun through another man. Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life” (1 Corinthians 15:20–22 NLT).
Yet inevitably, we have those who offer up their liberal concepts regarding what took place as they try to discredit the resurrection and the message of Scripture.
One of the most commonly held theories, for example, is the swoon theory, which proposes that Jesus didn’t actually die on the cross. Rather, proponents of this theory assert that He went into a deep coma, or so-called swoon, from the severe pain and trauma of the crucifixion. Then, in the cool atmosphere of the tomb, He supposedly revived.
Now, keep in mind that the Roman guards were the first to report the death of Jesus. They were experts at execution, and they would be put to death themselves if they allowed a condemned man to escape death. It clearly was in their best interest that someone in their custody would be unmistakably dead.
So when they went to Jesus as He hung on the cross and prepared to break His legs (which would hasten his death), they didn’t do it. Why? Because He already was gone (see John 19:31–33). The Scriptures had prophesied that the Messiah would not have one of his bones broken, and this fulfilled that prophecy (see John 19:36).
Then they thrust a spear into his side, and out came blood and water, which occurs when the heart stops beating. This gave them the final proof they needed.
For the swoon theory to be valid, Jesus would have had to survive the massive blood loss from scourging, the nail wounds, and the spear thrust. And in His impossibly weakened condition, He would have had to endure 40 hours without food or drink, manage to unwrap Himself from the burial cloths, single-handedly roll away the massive stone that sealed the tomb, and then convince His followers that He’d risen from the dead.
Additionally, He would have had to travel countless miles in that condition to make numerous appearances to His disciples over a period of 40 days and also delude His disciples into thinking He could simply appear in a room without using a door. Still, there are people today who hang their doubts on this absurd assumption.
Another idea is the no-burial theory, which suggests that Jesus was never placed in the tomb to begin with. Instead, this theory proposes that Jesus was put into a mass grave that was reserved, according to Roman customs, for criminals.
It’s true that the Romans would throw the bodies of the deceased into a large heap. But if this were true of Jesus’ body, then neither the Jewish leaders nor the Roman soldiers would have bothered to seal the tomb.
Not only that, but to disprove Jesus’ resurrection, they only would have needed to retrieve His body and put it on display.
Another suggestion is the mass hallucination theory, which maintains that everyone who claimed to see the risen Jesus was hallucinating as a result of their earnest desire to see him alive again.
However, the resurrection of Jesus came as a shock to his disciples. Though he spoke of it and his impending crucifixion repeatedly, somehow it went right over their heads. In addition the Bible tells us that on one occasion at least 500 people saw the resurrected Christ at once (see 1 Corinthians 15:3–8).
Probably the oldest assertion of all is that the disciples stole his body. This is what they were saying in the first century. Yet claiming that the body of Jesus was stolen actually proves His resurrection.
His friends couldn’t have taken it, because they left the scene and were convinced that Jesus was dead. And when the women reported His resurrection to the 11 apostles, the Bible says their words sounded like nonsense to them (see Luke 24:11).
And most importantly, if the resurrection were a lie, how could all the apostles go to an early grave saying so? Whenever there’s a conspiracy, someone always breaks, especially when the indictments start flying.
As we look over church history, we know that Matthew was martyred by being thrust through with a sword in distant Ethiopia. Mark died in Alexandria after being cruelly dragged through the streets of that city. Luke was hung on an olive tree in Greece. John was put into a cauldron of boiling oil, but, according to church tradition, he didn’t die. So he was banished to the island of Patmos.
Peter was crucified upside down in Rome. James the greater was beheaded in Jerusalem. James the lesser was thrown off the temple and then beaten with a club. Bartholomew was flayed alive. Andrew was bound to a cross, where he preached to his persecutors until he died. Thomas was thrust through with a lance in the East Indies. And Jude was shot to death with arrows.
If their lives would have been spared, don’t you think at least one of them would have suddenly exposed such a lie—if it were a lie? But none of them did, because they couldn’t deny what was true. Christ is risen. He is alive.
Yes, there is life beyond the grave, even for the nonbeliever. Life doesn’t stop here on this place called Earth. The real us, our soul, will live on. And according to the Bible, the soul will go to one of two destinations: Heaven or Hell.
The last thing God wants is for any person to face eternity in Hell. That is why Jesus died and rose from the dead for you and me.
Despite a global lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, some 117,000 people from around the world expressed an interest in committing their faith in Jesus after hearing the Gospel through virtual events hosted by evangelist Nick Hall and his young-adult ministry Pulse during the week of Easter.
Pulse led two major events during the week, namely, Leader Check-In and a Good Friday service that featured several high-profile Christian speakers, including Francis Chan, founder of Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, California, who now lives in Hong Kong.
“I’m guessing this is the strangest Good Friday you’ve ever had,” Chan told viewers during his quarantined Good Friday presentation broadcast in nearly 100 countries, including Japan, China, Nepal, Thailand, India, Kenya, Nigeria, Ukraine, and Russia, and was translated into 40 different languages.
“You’re used to being in a church building with a crowd of people celebrating the cross of Jesus, but I actually think that there’s something fitting about you being alone because most of you are watching this by yourself or maybe with your family in just a small group,” he said, noting that being alone can be a golden opportunity to connect with God.
“That’s why there’s something good about you being alone right now. It’s one thing to yearn for Him and scream for Him when everyone else is there because the crowd may move you to that. But this Good Friday [it’s good] for you to have some quiet and some isolation so that the core of your being, not just your lips, the core of your being will connect with Him,” Chan said.
Other speakers featured during the Good Friday service were: renowned apologist Ravi Zacharias, bestselling author Max Lucado, NFL Super Bowl Champion and Hall of Fame Coach Tony Dungy, and the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez. Worship was courtesy of Christian singers Lauren Daigle, Michael W. Smith, Kari Jobe and Cody Carnes.
“We were literally getting smartphone photos from all over the world — from Nigeria to India and China — of families gathering in their living rooms, around 18-inch cathode-ray TVs, laptops and HD screens watching our services,” Hall said in a release shared with The Christian Post about the collective reaction to the event. “The doors to our church buildings may have been closed, but the church has not closed. We are living through a Great Quarantine Revival, and I think God is just getting started.”
At the Leader Check-In event hosted on April 8, ministry leaders and pastors were encouraged ahead of the Easter weekend. Bible teachers and bestselling authors such as Ann Voskamp, Beth Moore, Chan, David Platt, Rodriguez, Priscilla Shirer and Lecrae offered practical advice anchored in the Word of God.
“This Easter may have been the most significant in a century,” Hall said. “The fields have never been more ripe for harvest as people search for hope and meaning during this global pandemic. It may very well be the greatest opportunity we’ve had to share the Gospel — but we will miss it if we don’t care for our pastors and ministers now.”
The idea of human sacrifice is repugnant to our modern sense of decency and civility. We feel that those who practiced this act of appeasing the gods were ignorant savages of by-gone times. However, it is beyond question that Jesus of Nazareth, the only begotten Son of God, was crucified—sacrificed—for the forgiveness of our sins. He is the propitiation, the appeasing force, by which we can enter into God’s presence. God, the righteous Judge of all mankind, provided Jesus Christ to pay the incalculable price for sin.
God’s judgment is perfect. Notice how the psalmist describes the quality of His judgments in Psalm 111:2-4, 6-9:
The works of the LORD are great, studied by all who have pleasure in them. His work is honorable and glorious, and His righteousness endures forever. He has made His wonderful works to be remembered; the LORD is gracious and full of compassion. . . . He has declared to His people the power of His works, in giving them the heritage of the nations. The works of His hands are verity and justice; all His precepts are sure. They stand fast forever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness. He has sent redemption to His people; He has commanded His covenant forever; holy and awesome is His name.
God’s judgments are great! But only those who have experienced and deeply considered them know how truly great andexalted they are. In addition, all of His judgments and works are righteous, a characteristic that points to eternal rather than temporary effects. God’s judgments are not only right, they are eternally right! God does not deal in situation ethics—His laws, His morals, His ethics, work every time, all the time!
Further, He never makes decisions or exercises His power arbitrarily. Because His Word and works always harmonize with the immutable dictates of what is right, they are sure and trustworthy guides for us. Thus, trusting in them and making them a part of our lives will always be right. For this, among many other things, God should be reverenced.
The Word of God
When we compare God’s works with man’s, what a difference we see! The closer we look at man’s works, the more flaws we see. Yet, when we scrutinize God’s works, we just see more perfection. Man is finite; God is infinite. Man is mutable; God is immutable. Man is imperfect; God is perfect.
Consider how adept God is in using one creation to do many different jobs. Air, for instance, is invisible and appears to be weightless, yet it will support the flight of an airplane weighing many tons. In supplying the lungs with oxygen, it supports life. Air also supports combustion, but when separated into its component parts, some of its gases can put out a fire (carbon dioxide), while others greatly intensify fire (oxygen, hydrogen). Air conveys heat and cold, scents and sounds. It holds moisture, moves ships, and does many other things besides. In contrast, man must create special tools for every purpose, and our attempts are often quite clumsy.
Because we have been subtly trained since infancy to seek quick answers, our studies of His Word tend to overlook how profound He is. We often just accept what God says without really searching it out. But like His works, God’s Word is just as much His creation as air.
How infinitely deep and broad God’s Word is! Its uses are virtually inexhaustible. Consider how the ministry applies a familiar scripture to one subject, and a few weeks later, another will use the same scripture to illustrate a different subject altogether!
The writer of Psalm 119 waxes rhapsodic about God’s Word: “Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law. I am a stranger in the earth; do not hide Your commandments from me. My soul breaks with longing for Your judgments at all times” (verses 18-20). He had the correct idea! We are pilgrims on our way to the Kingdom. We have no idea how long the journey will be, nor have we ever been this way before. If we ignore God’s Word, we will surely wander aimlessly; we will stray from the path.
So we cannot merely look on its surface—we must delve into the Bible! Digging is hard work! God’s instruction is scattered throughout His Book (Isaiah 28:9-10). Each section—even each verse!—may have multiple purposes, even as air does in the physical creation. From this principle, it is easy to see that we can understand the Bible on many levels and give them several applications.
What Is He?
Think of this principle in relation to Christ. Notice how the people of His own day perceived Him:
For even His brothers did not believe in Him. . . . And there was much murmuring among the people concerning Him. Some said “He is good”; others said, “No, on the contrary, He deceives the people.” . . . The people answered and said, “You have a demon. Who is seeking to kill You?” . . . “But look! He speaks boldly, and they say nothing to Him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is truly the Christ?” (John 7:5, 12, 20, 26)
Even then, opinion was greatly divided about Him.
» To the average Jew, He was a mysterious fellow, a Man not really understood but liked. Jesus did fantastic things on behalf of the common man, which appealed to his curiosity and sense of wonder. » The Pharisees and Sadducees considered Him an arch-rival, a competitor, the ringleader of a new cult, and a threat to their authority and popularity. » Generally, the Romans saw Him at first as little more than a curiosity, a magician, but in the end they condemned Him as a troublemaker, a traitor. Pilate called Him “just” (Matthew 27:24) and found “no fault in Him at all” (John 18:38), yet to avoid a seditious riot, he sentenced Him to be crucified.
But what is He to us? It is very important to answer this because Passover is all about what He is. The Bible shows Christ as Creator, Prophet, High Priest, and King. He is the Redeemer of Israel and in a multitude of situations, Savior and Deliverer. He is Provider, Healer, Apostle, Judge, Avenger, and Forerunner. In all, the Bible gives Him over two hundred guises. At Passover, though, the focus centers on Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God slain for the sins of the world, a human sacrifice of the most sublime quality.
When we ponder what Christ means to us, we should include Romans 10:4: “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” In this regard, Paul says that Christ is the object of the Bible. The law, as one aspect that represents the whole plan of salvation, is the instrument that broadly describes God’s righteousness. Like everything in God’s purpose, the end—the goal—of the law is to bring us “to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13).
Jesus fulfilled the law in that He perfectly exemplified God’s desires in everything He did (see Matthew 5:17). He personifies perfect love and government. He is the perfect Man yet also God in the flesh. He is the Standard toward which men are to strive.
Not a Mystery to Us
Christ, Paul, and John use the term “mystery” to refer to Christianity itself or some aspect of it. Jesus uses it in Matthew 13:10-11:
And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.”
To a Greek-speaking person, a mystery was not a difficult puzzle to solve, but a secret impossible to penetrate. A biblical mystery is a teaching that is impossible to understand until the meaning is revealed, then it becomes plain. Greeks used the term to describe something that was crystal clear to insiders, but unintelligible to outsiders.
Only “insiders,” those who are obedient to God’s will (Psalm 111:10), can understand the fullness of Christianity. As a result of our submission, we understand the plan of salvation far better than any “outsider,” no matter how intelligent. Much of our enlightenment comes from keeping God’s festivals, which outline His plan and help us stay on course.
Despite this, we often develop “blind spots,” areas where we overlook weaknesses in our understanding and practice. For example, we tend to recoil in disgust at how “Christianity” presents Christ rather than how He truly is. The churches of this world depict Him as Savior in a maudlin, overly sentimental way that turns our stomachs because it makes Him seem weak. On the other hand, some of us have fallen into the opposite ditch. In the past, we have described Him as an angry, conquering Warrior, Lawgiver, and Judge who seems bent on taking human life.
Where is the balance point? What is His true nature? Is not the gospel of the Kingdom of God the totality of the message, life, works, and promises embodied in Jesus Christ of Nazareth? The gospel reveals Jesus as:
» The Creator, the One through whom the Father made all things. » The very Son of God who revealed the Father. » The Head of the church and Dispenser of the Holy Spirit. » The Savior who was crucified and resurrected after three days according to the Scriptures. » The Conqueror of Satan and the soon-coming King of kings. » The High Priest of the rank of Melchizedek, who sits at our Father’s right hand to make intercession for us. » The Firstborn, our Elder Brother, the Captain of our personal salvation, who loves us with an intensity we cannot fathom even in our deepest, most profound moments.
In short, Jesus Christ is everything we are not yet are striving to become! He is the Standard, the Example, to whose stature we are conforming ourselves. Therefore, we cannot ever allow what He was and what He accomplished, what He now is and what He will accomplish, to stray very far from our minds.
Though people could look at Jesus with their eyes and hear Him speak with their ears, they could not understand who He was or grasp the implications of His message to them personally. But a miracle has happened to us. God has opened our minds and revealed the truth to us.
Thus, Jesus says in Matthew 13 that His parables—in reality, most of the Bible’s teachings—are not just general illustrations of moral and spiritual truths, but powerful, life-changing messages! Grasping their fuller and deeper meanings depends on our active recognition and application of Jesus as Savior, King, and High Priest in our lives. He reminds us of this in John 15:5, “Without Me you can do nothing.”
Preparing for Passover
Every holy day requires some preparation, but a day that is not even a holy day—Passover—demands the most significant personal preparations. Passover itself is preparatory. It prepares us spiritually to participate in the rest of God’s plan as outlined by the holy days.
The apostle Paul gives these instructions regarding Passover:
And when He had given thanks, He broke [bread] and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes. Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. (I Corinthians 11:24-29)
The “cup” symbolizes the blood Jesus spilled in sacrificing His life. God is saying that through the blood of Christ, He is “sealing” His agreement of salvation with us. Though He had already promised it, Christ’s blood certifies His agreement to justify us in preparation for salvation (Romans 5:9-10).
Such a monumental sacrifice must be fittingly remembered! If Passover becomes a mere ritual or pious habit, it loses its significance because Christ is not really being remembered with understanding and appreciation. In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul describes the brethren as rushing through the service, their minds so focused on their own bellies that they were treating each other with selfish disregard. Passover’s purpose is not just to remember certain historical events, but to grasp the point of Christ’s death. If we fail to comprehend its meaning, we are much more likely to treat His death unworthily.
Though we will not deal with them here, Paul covers three major subjects in I Corinthians 11 and the chapters surrounding it: 1) our relationship with God, 2) our relationship with other members of the church, and 3) spiritual liberty. Their common factor—the unique means by which all three are made possible—is the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
Taking Passover Worthily
Understanding Christ’s sacrifice properly determines the quality of our observance of the Passover. To prevent taking it in a careless and unappreciative manner, Paul charges us to examine ourselves, discerning the Lord’s body (I Corinthians 11:28-29). Examine means “to test, prove or scrutinize to determine whether a thing is genuine.” Discern means “to separate, discriminate, to make a distinction for the purpose of giving preference.”
An example will help to illustrate what this should accomplish. I have twice had the opportunity to observe a day’s play of The Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Georgia. After a short time, I became aware that the spectators there were different from fans at other professional sporting events. Besides enjoying the professional golf, I began watching and listening to the spectators just as closely and found them to be the most appreciative spectators I had ever seen. I soon discovered why. They had, for the most part, personally attempted to make the same shots that the professionals seemed to do so effortlessly. And most of them had failed! This realization drove the spectators to appreciate deeply the professional golfers’ skills.
Our pre-Passover preparations should involve this principle. A major factor that enables us to take Passover in a “worthy” manner is seriously reviewing our spiritual and moral failures in contrast to the perfect glory of our Savior, Jesus Christ. This Man lived 33½ years without committing even one sin!
To avoid taking Passover unworthily, we should not take it without seriously considering its meaning. If we fail to do this, instead of honoring Christ’s sacrifice, we share in the guilt of those who crucified Him. However, awareness of sin should not keep us from taking Passover. It should drive us to it, for our grateful participation in eating and drinking the symbols enables our sins to be paid.
Despite our self-examination, the focus at Passover is not on ourselves but on the payment for our sins, the means by which we are forgiven. It is a time to concentrate on the most elementary precepts of our salvation, especially on the part Jesus Christ plays in it. Only by a thorough understanding of the fundamentals of any discipline, and energetically and skillfully using them, will we produce success in an endeavor. In this way of life, if we do not understand and use the fundamentals, we will not overcome sin.
We understand that we are to examine ourselves in the weeks preceding Passover and Unleavened Bread. Sometimes, however, we miss the purpose of the examination. Consider these two scriptures in relation to self-examination:
» Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Prove yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified. (II Corinthians 13:5)
» For we dare not to class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. (II Corinthians 10:12)
If we are not careful in this, we can easily fall into two snares, both of which center on the self.
The most obvious one, expressed in II Corinthians 10:12, is that we will judge ourselves in light of other people. This fatal trap deceitfully provides us with self-justification for the way we are. The result is that we will not change or grow because we will be judging according to our own standards—and why change perfection? Self-examination by our own code produces self-righteousness.
The other dangerous snare occurs when our self-examination is so rigorous that we become very depressed and feel salvation is impossible. This is just as utterly self-indulgent as the other! This “woe is me” approach is a not-too-subtle blast against God’s judgment and grace for calling us and making things so difficult for us.
Anyone who compares himself to others is not exhibiting faith in God. He is telling God that His Son’s life means little to him. Likewise, anyone who feels so morose with guilt that he threatens not to take the Passover is not exhibiting faith in God. He is telling God that He is unable to forgive that much.
At Passover, our focus should be on the payment for sin through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. God in His grace is willing to forgive our transgressions on the basis of Christ’s death. During Unleavened Bread, the focus shifts to overcoming sin and coming out of this world through God’s power, which is also part of His grace. At Passover, it is the grace of God to justify us through Christ’s blood. At Unleavened Bread, it is the grace of God to sanctify us as we move toward His Kingdom and glorification.
The Value of Christ’s Blood
I Peter 1:18-21 adds more information as to why we should value the sacrifice of Christ.
. . . knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
Jesus lay dead and buried three days and three nights. His resurrection is the foundation of our faith, and His glorification is God’s pledge to us that there is hope for our future. I Peter 1:20 emphasizes that “He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world” to be that sacrifice. That is not merely foresight, that is planning! God’s plan included redemption from the very beginning.
Verse 19 stresses the value of His sacrifice by using the word “precious,” translated as “honor” three times in chapters 2 and 3. The Greek word means “to place a value upon,” and this is exactly what we are to do in preparation for Passover. We are to assess the value of His sacrifice to us personally. What would we be willing to pay for His sacrifice?
On the ring finger of my right hand, I wear a gold ring with a small diamond in it. Its material value to a disinterested party would be minimal. But it has great value to me! My dad wore it all of his adult life, and when he died, I inherited it. It would please me very much to hand it back to him at the second resurrection. This ring, then, has value to me far out of proportion to its market value. Those who know Jesus Christ well place a similar, immeasurably higher value on His sacrifice than do others who are acquainted with Him only casually or intellectually.
Verse 18 emphasizes “knowing.” The Christian lives his life knowing the redemption Christ accomplished. The price of our redemption is the value we place on the Life given for our forgiveness. Our former lives were “aimless” because of the value we placed on possessions and our own satisfaction. Now our lives have direction because we count Christ’s sacrifice as priceless!
Perhaps Hebrews 10:26-29 can help us realize the awesome value God places on His Son’s sacrifice and provoke us to value it more highly.
For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?
This is what the unpardonable sin ultimately accomplishes. Through willfully practicing sin, the sinner rejects the very basis of his covenant with God, the blood of Jesus Christ. If one deeply appreciates and values His sacrifice, he will not willfully practice the very actions that made that sacrifice necessary. God forgives with the understanding that the one forgiven has turned from sin and will continue to overcome it.
When God designed this creation, He considered His purpose along with our free-moral agency. He concluded that He had to devise a payment for sin so profound in its implications that the heirs of salvation, out of overwhelming gratitude, would drive themselves from sin. Such a price of redemption could not be the death of any common person or animal, for these have neither the worth nor the ability to pay for all sin. Only the sacrifice of the sinless God-Man, Jesus Christ, could meet these qualifications.
What we see in Hebrews 10:26-29 is the end of a person who, by the very conduct of his life, reveals his pitiful assessment of that sacrifice. The author makes a three-fold indictment against this person. First, he repudiates the oath taken at baptism. Second, he contemptuously rejects Christ. Third, he commits an insulting outrage against the merciful judgment of God.
The Lamb of God
Remember, the focus at Passover is on the Lamb, not our sins. Certainly, we should be aware of our sins to provide the contrast to the sinless, spotless, and unblemished Lamb, but we ought not wallow in them. On the contrary, we should rather glory in the unique One who makes our deliverance possible.
Under the Old Covenant Passover, the lamb was separated from the flock on the tenth day of Nisan, giving each family four days to observe it more closely. Perhaps, at its birth or purchase, only the father of the family saw and examined it. But from the time of separation until the lamb was slaughtered, the family came to know it more intimately.
Perhaps this sacrifice will have more impact on us if we realize that for many Israelite families, the lamb may have been the family pet. Most Israelites were not ranchers with large flocks, but farmers with very few animals for meat. In such a situation, their animals became much like members of the family.
How often have you killed an animal you love? Even if you have had to do so, you probably avoided putting a knife to its throat! God devised an object lesson in Passover to illustrate its price as forcefully as only the death of an innocent can.
Sacrifice—THE Holy Act
Jesus says, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you” (John 6:53). He is everything to us. Words inadequately describe how much we need Him. He is our Savior, Lord, Intercessor, Brother, Teacher, Example, Strength, and King. Passover forces us to focus on our weakness and Christ’s strength, our need and His abundance, our sinfulness and His perfection, our sentence of death and His offer of life.
The Bible sees sacrifice as the holy act. It is the very essence of love. “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son” (John 3:16)—in sacrifice!
Therefore, when He came into the world, He said, “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You have prepared for Me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come—in the volume of the book it is written of Me—to do Your will, O God.'” Previously saying, “Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them” (which are offered according to the law), then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” He takes away the first that He may establish the second. By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (Hebrews 10:5-10)
Here, Jesus is recognizing His body as a gift given so that the Father’s will may be done. Animal sacrifices could not accomplish God’s will, but the sacrifice of the sinless God-Man, Jesus of Nazareth, could. It has the power to cleanse from sin so that a New Covenant, a whole new religious order, may be established based on a personal relationship—unparalleled in its intimacy—with our Creator.
A major weakness of animal sacrifices is their failure to produce a desire in the offerer to obey God. No animal life is equal in value to a human life. Though we may grieve at the loss of a pet, an animal’s sacrificial death cannot have a real impact because it will not motivate us to do anything. But when a human dies for us, we feel it! We feel we owe something in return; indebtedness arises from our gratitude for what the sacrifice accomplished.
In our case,the most valuable Life ever lived was given. Gratitude, worship, and obedience are the only appropriate responses to such a sacrificial gift as the body of Jesus Christ. There is no other acceptable sacrifice for sin that will allow us to continue living.
The theme of Passover is the awesome cost of salvation, which is manifested in the sinless sacrifice of Jesus Christ. His was not a mechanical sinlessness, but He was sinless, innocent, even while encumbered with the frailties of human nature just as we are. His was sinlessness with sympathy, empathy, compassion, kindness, and concern for the helpless slaves of sin. Understanding this, we should feel revulsion that our sins caused such an injustice as His death to occur. At the same time, we should also express appreciation, indebtedness, and thanksgiving by departing from sin.
The works of the LORD are great, studied by all who take pleasure in them. His work is honorable and glorious, and His righteousness endures forever. . . . He has sent redemption to His people; He has commanded His covenant forever; holy and awesome is His name. (Psalm 111:2-3, 9)
His name is Savior, Redeemer, and Lamb of God.
Human sacrifice? Just one, with the approval of the Father and the selfless participation of a unique God-Man, Jesus Christ, was enough for all time.
Drive Thru History with Dave Stotts: The Resurrection of Jesus (Full Episode)
The Resurrection of Jesus (Full Episode): Drive Thru History host, Dave Stotts, visits Israel as he explores the accounts of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. Join in as he walks the Emmaus Road and explores Galilee, where Jesus gave the Great Commission.
What happened on Good Friday? How is Good Friday celebrated? These are amazing quotes from Good Friday.
After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled, *said, ‘I am thirsty.’ A jar full of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop, and brought it up to His mouth. When Jesus therefore had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head, and gave up His spirit. John 19:1-30 (NASV) Tom Shepard in Living In Troubled Times – A Good Friday Meditation Series
“Good Friday services are not intended to make you feel good. They are intended to make you reflect on the fact that – bad stuff happens to good people – because it does. Bad stuff happened to Jesus – and it happens to us and sometimes it does not make sense.” Tom Shepard in Living In Troubled Times – A Good Friday Meditation Series
The CROSS GRIEVED the disciples. They were GRIEVED because of Christ’s death. Had He died by accident or from robbers they could have accepted it. But to voluntarily SURRENDER to His enemies just didn’t make sense. His death seemed so senseless, so futile, so wasteful. It could have been avoided, but He chose, to die.” From Danny Presswood in The Lamb and The Cross
The disciples had seen Jesus perform many miracles. They had seen Him raise people from the dead. They knew He could have saved Himself if He wanted to. But He didn’t. He actually let them kill Him.” From Danny Presswood in The Lamb And The Cross
The most AMAZING thing about the Easter Story is not the RESURRECTION OF CHRIST! As truly astounding and miraculous as that was, Jesus promised it would happen! I believe the MOST AMAZING thing about the Easter story is the men Jesus entrusted with His Kingdom and His Kingdom’s work! Do you see it? Fishermen like Andrew, Peter, James, and John. Matthew the tax collector and Simon the zealot! COMMON MEN. ORDINARY MEN. That is the AWESOMENESS of God, that His belief and trust in common men could not be daunted or shaken! He believes in us. Jesus believes in US! COMMON MEN! ORDINARY MEN! Teachers, businessmen, construction workers, secretaries, homemakers, salesmen, mechanics, white collar workers, blue collar workers, even preachers! Jesus believes that you and I CAN make a DIFFERENCE in the world in which we live!” From Danny Presswood in The Lamb and the Cross
Jesus told the thief, ‘Today you will be with me in paradise.’ This meant the thief would be with Jesus right then upon the thief’s repentance and confession. Oh what a glorious day it was for him and what a glorious day it is for you and me. Is today, your day?” From Maria Saunders in Listen, It’s Not Too Late…there’s Always Hope!
The message of the cross, while terrible, contains a message of hope for us who benefit from it. Through the power of Christ on the cross beams there is forgiveness and a new chance at life because of what Jesus accomplished there for us. While the cross is a symbol of grievous suffering and a torturous death, it is also a symbol of the great compassion of our God.” From Garth Wehrfritz-Hanson in Good Friday
Good Friday was not so good. We like the story of the Conquering King – but we squirm at the thought of a Suffering Servant. Yet that is what Jesus was – He was our Suffering Servant – before He became our Conquering King.” From Garth Wehrfritz-Hanson in Good Friday
But there is one man in history whose last words not only tell us a great deal about Him, but also tell us a great deal about how we should live our lives.” From David Barnes in Famous Last Words
If Good Friday were all there were, then we as Christians would be the most depressed and depressing people on Earth. But we know Good Friday is not the whole story, is it? We know that there is a resurrection Sunday. It is a day of victory. We call it Easter.” From Tom Shepard in Good Friday: Why?
Good Friday is Good News, especially if we are experiencing something of the pain and anguish of Good Friday ourselves. God knows and God cares. God has been there Himself, in Jesus.: From Warner Pidgeon in Good News on Friday
Heroes have emblems that identify them (Superman, Batman), I suggest that the cross is the emblem of our faith . . . it identifies us with our Christ.” From Mike Fogerson in Good Friday 2016
The genuine existential certainty of God’s love for you by dying on the Cross is what enables coping with whatever God wants the outcome to be, be that joining Him in heaven.” From Paul Andrew in The Nailing of Jesus
The death of Christ on the cross has the power to forgive our sins and grant us salvation. By the stripes of Jesus we are healed from our sicknesses and diseases. Through His death on the cross we are delivered from the scourge of curses and receive the blessings of God. We receive comfort in all our sorrows because He carried our sorrows and grief on the cross.” Claude Alexander in What Jesus Accomplished on the Cross
And because of Jesus’ death on the Cross, for our salvation, we can now take our stand: not betraying Jesus, not denying Him, not judging Him, not condemning Him, not rejecting Him, not mocking Him, not cursing Him, not flogging Him, not killing Him–but standing there at the foot of the Cross with others who love Him, and putting our arms around one another for comfort and strength so that when we are asked later what happened we can say: ‘I was standing at the foot of the Cross… ” From Kenneth Sauer in It Is Finished
“Today we are filled with the stark reality that the cross is a symbol of death, death which was meant for us. On Easter, we see the joyous glory that the cross is a symbol of hope as we walk the road of life.” From Tim Zingale in Good Friday”
See His great love again for you today child of God. He paid the price so that you would never have to be punished before a holy God. The very Son of God died for your sins, every wrong thought, action, deed. Imagine a room full of candles and as each one goes out, see the last one shining dimly in the room–the Son of God there dying for this dark wicked world. Then His light goes out. He has died for you and me. Bear in yourself these thoughts today, reflect on this awesome sacrifice of God Himself. Feel the pain and the wounds of Him who did such a thing for you and me.” From Greg Gordon in A Good Friday Meditation
Drive Thru History with Dave Stotts: The Trial of Jesus (Full Episode)
The Trial of Jesus (Full Episode): Drive Thru History host, Dave Stotts, visits Israel and follows Jesus’ path to trial where he was ultimately sentenced to death. Beginning in the Garden of Gethsemane, join in as Dave Stotts unpacks Jesus’ journey to trial on His way to the cross.