Saturday, April 07, 2007
Fresh Manna for Easter Weekend 2007 by Pastor Tim Burt
Heb 12:3-4 “If you want to keep from becoming fainthearted and weary, think about his patience as sinful men did such terrible things to him. After all, you have never yet struggled against sin and temptation until you sweat great drops of blood”
If you are like most people, you don't like to read or view things about tragedy and suffering. Today I am passing on something that one of my readers passed on to me. It is an account of what happens to the human body during a crucifixion. As hard as it is to read this, you should. It's Easter and we need to put ourselves in remembrance of what our Lord did for us. I would like to make this comment though. The scripture reminds us of how wimpy we get in resisting the ungodly things that the Lord would like us to separate ourselves from. In this day of self-indulgence - the thought of holding ourselves back from sin and ungodly pleasure seems like a ludicrous idea. Jesus' entire life and death was standing against sin and keeping Himself pure so that He could be used of God. His choices of standing pure out of a love for others cost Him a rejected life and a gruesome death.
As gruesome as the death that Jesus went through is, it's not the worst death that anyone has ever suffered. That very fact used to be a stumbling block to me. You see I had a friend and neighbor who jumped on a hand grenade in the Viet Nam war to save those in his company. To me that seemed pretty gruesome. I saw Jesus' death and compared it to my friends. I was only comparing deaths. It's not just about death. Jesus suffered far more than that. He left Heaven to come and live as a man in this earth. This earth was His creation – which became fully corrupted by the sin of man. The very man He created did not even recognize Him. The very man He created, rejected Him, tortured Him, lied about Him and put Him to this terrible death – because of Satan’s deception. Upon death, Jesus went into the belly of Hell as the falsely accused so that He might suffer the punishment that every single human being deserved for their sin. Hell found that it could not hold an innocent man and had to release Him as His Father then rose Him from the dead. Suddenly, the punishment that you and I deserve had been paid. The Savior had arisen and to those who would believe in what He did for them, they would be saved. This isn't just about a gruesome death. It is about the greatest act of love ever committed and that by Almighty God Himself. He could save His own creation from the wrong decision of sin. Praise God for His love toward all mankind.
What is crucifixion?
A medical doctor provides this physical description:
The cross is placed on the ground and the exhausted man is quickly thrown backwards with his shoulders against the wood. The legionnaire feels for the depression at the front of the wrist. He drives a heavy, square wrought iron nail through the wrist deep into the wood. Quickly he moves to the other side and repeats the action, being careful not to pull the arms too tightly, but to allow some flex and movement. The cross is then lifted into place. The left foot is pressed backward against the right foot, and with both feet extended, toes down, a nail is driven through the arch of each, leaving the knees flexed. The victim is now crucified. As he slowly sags down with more weight on the nails in the wrists, excruciating fiery pain shoots along the fingers and up the arms to explode in the brain- the nails in the wrists are putting pressure on the median nerves. As he pushes himself upward to avoid this stretching torment, he places the full weight on the nail through his feet. Again he feels the searing agony of the nail tearing through the nerves between the bones of his feet. As the arms fatigue, cramps sweep through his muscles, knotting them with deep relentless, throbbing pain. With these cramps comes the inability to push himself upward to breathe. Air can be drawn into the lungs but not exhaled. He fights to raise himself in order to get even one small breath.
Finally, carbon dioxide builds up in the lungs and in the blood stream, and the cramps partially subsided. Spasmodically, he is able to push himself upward to exhale and bring in life-giving oxygen. Hours of limitless pain, cycles of twisting, joint-renting cramps, intermittent partial asphyxiation, searing pain as tissue is torn from his lacerated back as he moves up and down against rough timber. Then another agony begins: a deep, crushing pain deep in the chest as the pericardium slowly fills with serum and begins to compress the heart. It is now almost over-the loss of tissue fluids has reached a critical level- the compressed heart is struggling to pump heavy, thick, sluggish blood into the tissues the tortured lungs are making frantic effort to gasp in small gulps of air. He can feel the chill of death creeping through his tissues... Finally, he can allow his body to die... All this the Bible records with the simple words, "and they crucified Him" (Mark 15:24).
What wondrous love is this? Many people don't know that pain and suffering our Lord, Jesus Christ went through for us. Because of the brutality, crucifixion was given a sentence to only its worst offenders of the law. Thieves, murderers, and rapists would be the types of creeps who got crucified. Yet, here Jesus is being crucified between two hardened criminals... What did Jesus do? Did he murder anyone? Did he steal anything? The answer, as we all know, is NO! Jesus did nothing to deserve this type of death, yet he went willing to die, in between two thieves, so that we might be saved. And there, in between the sinners, was our slain savior for our sins. God's love was with a specific purpose - to rescue all men (who would believe) from the grips of the great liar and deceiver - Satan! 1 Tim 2:3-4 says, "... God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." Acts 4:12 says, "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." This verse turns the key that opens the prison door of sin and Hell and releases man with then transferring him into the Kingdom of God, the family of God and a life of truth and power in God. Romans 10:9 "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and BELIEVE IN YOUR HEART that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."
What can I do to be saved? Making this a prayer, sincerely repenting of your sins and asking Jesus to be your personal Savior is all you have to do. If you do lift this simple prayer sincerely before the Lord, and upon doing so, simply tell someone that you did - then the promise to you is the forgiveness of all your sins and the cleansing from all wrong doing. God also promises a miracle to happen within you. He promises to put His Holy Spirit within you. He does this so that as His new child, He can begin to speak to you, teach you of Himself and lead you in a life with Him. If you pray this prayer for the first time, be assured this will be the most special Easter you will ever live. Pick up your Bible and read the gospel of Luke and John. It will have new meaning to you. God bless you richly and have a wonderful Easter celebrating His glorious love toward all.
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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