Saturday, April 23, 2011

Reflection of Christ's Suffering, Death and Resurrection

I was reflecting on why we celebrate Easter this evening. What an amazing story it is. I am going to start at the Lord’s Supper. They went into the upper room to eat the Passover together. They eat and then the Lord’s Supper is instituted. Judas had left before this had happened. The Lord went out with the eleven disciples and walked to the Garden of Gethsemane. We will stop here and think about what Christ went through here. As He went to pray, he told the disciples to keep watch (Which they didn’t do well at and fell asleep. Three times Christ came and woke them up throughout the time Jesus spent in prayer.) Jesus went and prayed that the Fathers will be done and that if there was any way for God’s wrath to be satisfied, then let that happen. His sweat was like drops of blood. He was there pleading with His Father, yet He always wanted the Father’s will to be done. In Luke, it tells us that an angel came to Him and strengthened Him. Christ knew what He was going to go through and He was ready. It was time. He got up and asked them for the third time “why are you sleeping?” Immediately, Judas came with a Roman Cohort (around 600 soldiers) and officers. They were ready for a fight and ready to take Jesus away. Judas came to Him having told the Romans that the one he kisses is the one they are to take captive. Peter being the “brave one” goes and cuts off the high priests slaves’ ear. Jesus stops Peter and then heals the slaves’ ear. He showed love even for those that hated Him and that were taking Him to His death. He went to several different leaders both Jewish and Roman. I will not account these is detail, but I will look at what our Lord had to suffer during these trials. First of all it was an illegal trial that He was taken to, held at night. When He answered the High priest with the truth, an officer strike’s Him. Many times during that night Jesus was beaten and struck. Early in the morning He was taken to Pilate. Pilate could find no guilt in Him but, it was his custom to let go a prisoner during the Passover celebration. So he gave the Jews a choice between a notorious robber named Barabbas and Jesus Christ. The Jews chose Barabbas. Think about how Jesus felt. He came to the Jews as the Messiah they had been waiting for and they were shouting Crucify Him, Crucify Him. There was a greater and better plan then anyone could have ever imagined. All the people wanted was Jesus to be crucified. Pilate then took Jesus and gave him over to the soldiers to be scourged. When Jesus was scourged it was done with a whip that had barbed hooks, glass and sharp metal in it and it wouldn’t just bruise up the skin, but it would tear into the skin. There would be nothing but a mess of muscle exposed on His back. The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns. These thorns were not small thorns like on a rose bush. These were big thorns. They put it on His head and it wasn’t just a gentle placement, but they made sure it was on his head. Blood came running down around His face. They mocked Him saying, “Hail, King of the Jews.” They spat on Him. They took a reed and beat Him on the head. The blows driving the thorns deeper into His head. Then they took him to be crucified. When Jesus walked up that hill he was only carrying the cross beam and as He carried it on His shoulders and back it was heavy. The wood splinters went deep into the exposed wounds of His back, from the scourging that took place. The clots that were once there were ripped away. It became so heavy that Jesus could no longer carry it. The Romans pressed a man named Simon into service to carry the cross for Jesus. They then crucified him. The drove the nails into His hands and His feet and even more blood came out of His body. With every stroke of the hammer there was pain and the nails were driven deep into the wood. They hoisted the cross upright and there He hung while the people jeered at Him and spat upon Him. The soldiers gambled for His garments. Even the men that were crucified with Him made fun of Him at first. For three hours darkness fell upon the land. Then Jesus cried out with a loud voice My God, My God why have you forsaken me. The Father had laid the sins of the whole world and had left Him alone. He left Him to bear the tremendous burden of the sins of the whole world by Himself. The Father’s wrath that was meant for us was on Christ, the perfect spotless Lamb of God. Jesus Christ was the only one that could satisfy the Fathers wrath toward mankind. Why did the Father do this? Because He loved us. Jesus then cried out with a loud voice “It is finished” and gave up His spirit. Jesus Christ conquered sin and satisfied God’s wrath. It wasn’t the Romans that killed Him. Yes, they crucified Him, but He willingly gave up His spirit. He willingly went through this pain and suffering with one goal in mind. That goal was to pay the penalty for our sins. All of this was for us, so that the wrath of God would not come upon us, sinners. Jesus Christ did this out of love for us, even when he was reviled and beaten. What love is this that the Son of God would lay down His life for me and everyone in the whole world? The Jews needed to get Jesus’ body off the cross so Pilate told the guards to go break the legs of the crucified ones. When the guards came to Jesus, He was already dead, but to make sure they stabbed him in the side and blood and water came out. Joseph of Arimathea had His tomb ready for the body of Jesus and they took Him and put Him in the grave. Guards were put around the tomb to guard the body in case someone came and stole it. At this point most stories end. That is most stories end in death. But this story is different. The Jews don’t count days by twenty-four hours, but by the first day being the night Jesus was buried and then the next day being the second day and then the day after that being the third day. On that third day, Jesus rose from the grave. The day before was Sabbath so no one came to put spices of Jesus body. But on the third day a group of women came and they were surprised to find that the tomb was open, the stone was rolled away and it was empty. An Angel spoke to them and told them He has risen. Come and see for yourself and go tell the others. JESUS HAS RISEN. What an amazing truth. That is what Easter is all about, celebrating Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection. What an awesome God we have that sent His Son, Jesus Christ to this earth to die on the cross for our sins to pay the penalty for our sins and to conquer sin once for all time, but it didn’t just stop there. He rose again to show He had conquered death for all time. He rose again to that we could have eternal life. So that when God looks at us He sees us as Holy and righteous. He sees us as justified and He sees the perfect spotless Lamb of God, who took our place so that we do not have to pay the penalty for our sins but if we believe in Jesus Christ, that He did all of this for us, we have eternal life. What a story of true love. This is the best love story ever. So during Easter let us remember what our Savior has done for us and went through for us, because it is the greatest gift given to all of mankind. Jesus Christ Has RISEN, Praise His Holy name!!!!!

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