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Posts Tagged ‘crucifixion’

Day 52: Who Murdered Jesus?

Posted by undergroundchurch on April 22, 2011


Scriptural Nuggets Daily DevotionScriptural Nuggets Daily Devotion

Several years ago, Mel Gibson came out with the movie The Passion of the Christ. A lot of controversy swirled because one could draw a conclusion from the movie that the Jews killed Jesus.

While there is no question from Scripture that the rejection of the Jews was the basis for Jesus murder and that the leaders of the Jews wanted Jesus killed, I propose that they were only a party to the crime.  The actual murder still lives today.

The Romans

The Roman leaders were acting in behalf of the Jewish leadership because the Jews could not, under Roman law, sentence a man to death. Pilate, Herod and company simply placed their stamp of approval on the murder of an innocent man and condemned him to death.

So who killed Jesus?

The Roman guards were the ones who beat and whipped him.  They were the ones who pulled out his beard and crowned his head with thorns. They were the brutes who made him carry his own instrument of death to the top of a dirty hill where they stripped him of his clothes, casting lots for his underwear and  nailing his hands and feet to cross beams of wood to be raised up in order to let the sun beat on his naked, battered and bruised body for six long torturous hours.

The Roman guards watched him breath his last and saw the darkness and earthquakes.  They made sure of his death by thrusting a spear in his side.  So obviously, they are guilty.

But wait…

Didn’t Jesus say from the cross, “Father, forgive them. They do not know what they are doing”?

So maybe they aren’t the only ones guilty.

So who murdered Jesus?

Judas

Let’s blame Judas.  If he didn’t betray Jesus to the Jews, maybe Jesus would still be walking the earth today.  That back-stabbing man ate dinner with Jesus just before he sold Jesus for 30 pieces of silver… the cost of a slave, and to add insult to injury, he pointed him out to the Jewish leaders with a kiss of friendship.

But wait…

Didn’t Jesus approve Judas’ task by telling him before hand, “What you are going to do, do quickly”.  That really muddies the waters.

So who murdered the perfect man?

His Father

What about God?  I mean, didn’t God send his son to earth to die? How many fathers would do that to their child? Didn’t he love Jesus? Didn’t he care? Couldn’t he have stopped the whole thing? Didn’t Jesus pray for another way and God not answer that prayer?

But wait…

Didn’t Jesus tell us that “I am in the Father and the Father is in me”. Didn’t he tell us that God so LOVED THE WORLD that he gave his son.  Maybe God’s love for the world was so great that he did what he had to do to make a way for the world to return to him. Maybe Jesus meant what he said in that same prayer when he concluded his plea with “nevertheless – not my will, but your will be done.”

So who was it really?

You and Me

What about us? You know… “the world” that God loves so much.

It started with a man named Adam and a command from God that said, “Don’t eat of this one tree, for in the day you eat of it, you will die”.

Adam defied God’s instruction, and Adam’s first sin planted a seed in each and every person ever born in this world that God loved so much.

Every person is doomed to die apart from God because of sin that rules and reigns in the hearts of men.

Sin lived in the Jews that wanted Jesus dead, the Romans that carried out their wishes, and it lives in you and me today.

It is the sin in us that murdered Jesus.  If we had not sinned, Jesus would not have died.  An innocent lamb sent to the slaughter so that by his death, anyone who believes on him won’t have to die apart from God, but can have eternal life with God.

We are all guilty.  We committed the murder of the ages, a crime beyond any every conceived. We all participated in the death of God, and yet… It is by that very death that we are forgiven for the very murder we committed.

It is the only crime that makes things right again in the heart of those that committed it, but only to those that believe on the saving work Jesus death brings to mankind.

Though we are all murderers, the wrath of God was poured out upon his only son so that we could all live in peace and freedom with God.

So yes, we are all guilty, but you can be free of that guilt by accepting what Jesus went through on your behalf. Believe in Jesus, receive the gift of salvation, ask for forgiveness, confess Jesus Christ as the master of your life and you too can be free of the crime of the ages.

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Breaking News Flash! The Day Goes Dark

Posted by undergroundchurch on April 22, 2011


The Sun Goes Dark: Day becomes Night

by Jeff Ben Les, AP

A day that just seems to be getting weirder by the minute.

It’s been a couple hours since the trial of Yeshua in which he was found innocent yet condemned to death, and the sky is going black.

The guards just brought three men to the top of skull hill to impale them upon wooden beams.  It is a horrific practice of execution invented by the Romans where they nail or tie the victim to a horizontal wooden beam and place it atop a vertical beam planted in the ground.

Suspended between heaven and earth, with their naked bodies completely exposed, they slowly suffocate in agonizing pain while the sun beats down upon their wounded bodies.  It is a death designed for the worst criminals.

In fact, two thieves are being put to death in this manner along side this innocent man found guilty.  In a conversation between the two thieves, one was overheard mocking Yeshua.

The other thief jumped to his defense proclaiming their guilt and recognizing Yeshua’s innocence.

In one of the few words heard from Yeshua throughout this ordeal, he responded to his defender by stating that he would be with him in Paradise.

This seems to go against the tradition of thieves spending eternity in Sheol, but then again, this man is coming to be known as one who defies traditions.

After six hours pass, he is heard again praying to God.  His prayer, though, does not follow reason.  First he speaks in Aramaic asking why God has forsaken him, then he actually  starts praying for the forgiveness of those that are actually killing him while they are killing him.

It could be a mild form of delusion from the stress, but then again, it does seem to follow the pattern of his life.

A few moments ago, he was even making sure that his mother was taken care of by giving her to another man that was standing at his feet.

When asked about this, the man simply replied, “I don’t know why, but He just loved me.”

As the darkness continued to grow, and clouds began to build Yeshua was heard over the wind and the rain as he shouted with his final breath, “It is Finished!”

As soon as he said it, and earthquake tore through the city.  It was such a powerful moment that the guard standing their proclaimed that this man must be the son of God.

There are reports of people that had died, good people,  roaming the streets because their tombs had opened.  However, the claim has not yet been substantiated.

One thing this reporter can say is that even in death, this man, Yeshua, has a huge impact and influence upon those around him.  He death brought his killers forgiveness, which you just don’t see everyday.

Reporting from a hill just outside of Jerusalem, I’m Jeff Ben Les.

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Breaking News Flash! Innocent Man Found Guilty

Posted by undergroundchurch on April 22, 2011


Innocent Man Found Guilty

Judge goes against his own decision

by Jeff Ben Les

In a strange turn of events, the judge in the case against Yeshua, a construction worker and part-time speaker from the middle country, pleaded with the accusers asking, “What did he do that was so wrong?”

It seemed that the judge, Pontius Pilate, couldn’t find any actual charges against Yeshua, so in an attempt to set him free, he pleaded with the Jewish leaders who were yelling and accusing Pilate that if he did not kill Yeshua, he was no friend of the king.

Pilate gave into the rant of the accusers and handed Yeshua over to be executed. Looking at Yeshua, one could tell that he had already been severely beaten and whipped.  His garments were saturated in blood, and he was wearing some sort of head dressing made from what looks like a vine with huge thorns.

When Pilate was asked about the ruling, he grabbed a bowl of water, and in a symbolic act, washed his hands of the whole matter proclaiming, “His blood be on the heads of those that accused him.”

The guards promptly took Yeshua down below the court to the guard house, where rumor has it, they aren’t very kind to the prisoners.

The court was filled with the noise of weeping and wailing, but most of that came from the poor people and some outcasts.

One rather short IRS agent was asked about the matter and he responded, “I was on top of the world, but an outcast to my own people. One day this fellow Jew came to town with a mass of people following him.  His message seemed different than the message I’d heard from the other local teachers. ”

He went on to say, “I couldn’t see everything that was happening, so i climbed a tree… something I hadn’t done for quite some time.”

“He saw me and called out my name… I don’t know how he knew me. He told me that he had to have lunch with me.”

“Me… lunch with me?  I couldn’t believe my ears.  Nobody every wanted to eat with me, especially a Jew.”

“I jumped at the opportunity!  I climbed out of that tree and immediately began pledging the riches that I had acquired in questionable ways back to those I had wronged.”

“He told me that salvation had come to my house.  Me, an outcast tax collector… I just didn’t know what to say.”

“Now they are killing him, and I just don’t get it.  All he ever did was change peoples lives; now what ever will happen to us?  Will God ever forgive us?”

More to come as it unfolds on this increasingly bleak day.

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Breaking News Flash! Man Arrested Last Night Goes on Trial this Morning

Posted by undergroundchurch on April 22, 2011


Man Arrested in Garden Gets Planted in Court

by Jeff Ben Les, AP

At about six this morning, just before sunrise, Israel Daylight Time, a ruckus broke out in the halls of local leaders as they dragged a man before the local procurator. After about an hour of questioning, with no apparent results, the procurator sent the man over to the king’s chambers for further investigation.

After another hour of questions that went without answers, the king, Herod, sent the man back over to the procurator, Pontius Pilate.

Further investigation revealed that the man’s name is Yeshua.  He is from a small hillside town in Galilee from which, reportedly, nothing good comes.

One fisherman, wishing to remain nameless, said, “This man was a good man.  My mother-in-law was sick and he healed her… a blessing I did not ask for.”  When asked if the man knew him personally, he denied it.

Another person said of Yeshua, “I know him. He was always hanging out with the wrong crowd.  He’d eat at the houses of the refuse among us.  I think he was even hanging out with prostitutes and leprous people.  Any man like that should be put on trial.”

In contrast, another man with a big smile on his face just kept saying, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I do not know; one thing I do know… I was blind, but now I see!”

More from the trial as it happens.

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Day 11: Power and Suffering (shhhh!)

Posted by undergroundchurch on January 11, 2011


Scriptural Nuggets Daily DevotionScriptural Nuggets Daily Devotion

Philippians 3:10 – “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection” [STOP!]… Don’t read any further.

That’s far enough! Whatever you do in your Christian walk, all you need to know is Christ in the “power of His resurrection”. All you have to do is walk in the love, walk in the effortless joy of the Lord.

We all want that resurrection experience with Christ.  All too often, we read our Bibles only looking for those “resurrection moment” verses and cling to them like they are magic; however, you will never see Paul doing that.

Remember Paul, the one called by God where God said of him to Ananias?

“I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.” – Acts 9:16

How many American’s, if presented with that calling from God, would actually give their lives to Christ?  Similarly, how many American Christians would gladly take on that calling?

We can’t stop a thought of Paul mid-sentence…

“… and the fellowship of His sufferings…” (Philippians 3:10, continued)

Paul knows that you can’t just know Jesus the way you “want” to know him.  You must know him the way God wants you to know him.

Why?

“…to become LIKE HIM in his DEATH.” (Philippians 3:10, continued)

The expressed work of the Holy Spirit is to make you into the image of Christ.  If we think that is a “living” image, we’d be gravely mistaken.  We die with Christ; we die to self; we carry our cross (our instrument of death); we are baptized into Christ’s death; we must humble ourselves and become living sacrifices (though you are alive, you are dead because you don’t get a sacrifice back).

In short, we need to die daily and let the power of God live through us. 1 Corinthians 15:31

Only then will we find real JOY!

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Hope isn’t What You Think

Posted by undergroundchurch on January 2, 2010


Day 2 – Scriptural Nuggets Daily Devotion

Scriptural Nuggets Daily Devotion

And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. – Romans 5:5

What do you think of when you see the word “hope”?

Do you hearken back to the time when you were a child on Christmas morning?  You dart down the stairs as quick as a Jack Russell Terrier on Red Bull. You shake each gift carefully wrapped under the ornate tannenbaum.  With x-ray vision and a keen sense of hearing you attempt to peer into the package hoping beyond hope that what awaits you in the disguise matches the description you gave to Santa (or your parents). Your assurance may not be 100%, but you sure hope your parents or Santa got it right.

This type of hope carries in it an inherent flaw – You might be wrong.  Oh, you bet your emotions that the contents match your wish, but reality could dash your dreams.

Real Hope

Fortunately, the hope in Scripture reflects a 100% assurance that what you hope for will, in fact, come to pass.

Paul stated in one of his testimonies before the Sanhedrin, “I stand on trial because of my hope in the resurrection of the dead.” (Acts 23:6) Paul walked in complete knowledge and trust of the resurrection of Jesus and one day of his own body.

Hope fueled the early church and enabled them to endure persecution, the likes of which, we do not see yet in America.  Hope empowered them to sing hymns while chained to prison walls. Hope helped them forgive those that killed them while being crucified, burned or thrown to wild beasts.  Christian hope only comes in one type – complete assurance.

“We hope” means, “We know.”  We know Christ is coming. We know that to live is Christ and to die is gain (Philippians 1:21). We know that when trials come, God in us will help us overcome, and that kind of assurance gives us power to press on toward the high calling, which is in Christ Jesus.

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