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Posts Tagged ‘Good Friday’

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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Posted in Daily Devotion - Scripture Nuggets, Easter | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

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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Two Words: Good Friday

Posted by undergroundchurch on April 10, 2009


These words aren’t very descriptive of the day they represent, but they do reveal the results of that day.

Just to be a little confrontational, I don’t believe that Jesus died on Friday for one reason – Jesus said three days and three nights He’d be in the belly of the earth (Matthew 12:40). Since the day began at sunset the day before, Jesus would have to be buried at least on Thursday before sunset, but I digress.

You could say that Jesus was having a bad day.  He was going through the most brutal torture a man can face though He was completely innocent.

It was also the most important day of his ministry on earth.  He had healed the sick, raised the dead, taught life changing words, but all of this would be in vain if He failed in this one day.

I say this quite a bit, but it bares repeating here, “If Jesus failed in the temptations from Satan, He would have lost relationship with His Father. If Jesus failed to die, we would have lost relationship with the Father.”  This was the most important day since the creation, and Jesus could not fail. However, the path to victory was going to be excruciating.

I find it most amazing that Paul tells his readers that he wanted to “know Jesus in the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering” (Philippians 3:10).  This is the only real way we can approach understanding Jesus and what He represents.

The resurrection was a glorious event that shows the power of God.  It reveals his victory over Satan and his triumph over death.  It is where we really want to dwell.  It’s the happy spot.  It’s good, and right, and easy. But if the only relationship you have with Jesus is the feel good message of the resurrection, then you are missing the whole picture and the most important element – fellowship with Christ.

Paul iterates that you need to know him in the “fellowship of his suffering”.  Have you ever noticed that people tend to bond in times of trouble?  Think about it.

  • World Trade Center – America unites, patiotism, etc.
  • Two girls kidnapped in California together form a unique bond that no one else can share in.
  • Death in the family brings family closer.
  • You going through life’s struggles tend to pray more and become more aware of the presence of God in your life.

It’s not that God isn’t in the power of His resurrection, it’s that we don’t listen too well to God when the going is good.  We switch to cruise control and we move God toward the back seat.  Sometimes I wonder if God doesn’t bring about some of our troubles so that we can get to know Him more in the fellowship of suffering.

To close out this point, Paul tells us what to celebrate – Jesus’ death (1 Cor 11:26). We celebrate the death, the cross Christ bore, because it is the hope of our salvation.  The gospel message is defined in the Bible simply as Jesus died, was buried and rose again.  (1 Cor 15:1-5).  Paul understood, probably better than most the fellowship of Jesus suffering.  Remember that his call from Jesus was this, “I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.” (Acts 9:16)  How would you like that call?

The truth is that we are all called to know him in the fellowship of His suffering.  This is the only way to really know the heart of God.  If you want to have a “good Friday”, get to know the Savior who died for you through the fellowship of his suffering for you.

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Misguided Passion

Posted by undergroundchurch on April 8, 2009


 Article after article continue to look at Mel Gibson’s “The Passion” with critical eyes, even by individuals yet to see the movie.  They attempt to interpret the Jewish portrayal in a negative light and focus attention on everything the movie is NOT about. 

 I experienced the movie in January 2004 with over 4,500 others in Chicago. I found the movie powerful and intense and would never conclude that it rendered anti-Semitic thought. In fact, I think I came away with a greater compassion for the Jew after seeing the movie.  The real brutes in the movie were the Roman soldiers.  They showed aggressive tendencies, to say the least, and needed some serious counseling.  Should I hate them because they beat my Lord?  He forgave them.

 Actually, many of the Jews in the movie loved Jesus, and why not; a Jew himself, Jesus healed the sick and raised the dead. 

 But this movie avoided dwelling on any group or individual around Jesus.  Only one thing matters in this movie, and, those that try to read “hate” into everything pertaining to this movie will not like it.  It is all about Jesus… period! 

 The movie opens with the entire premise of the movie wrapped up in one scene.  Jesus is in the garden praying in agony because He knows what’s coming.  Over in the corner, beneath a tree, is Satan (a little artistic license thrown in, but it shows insight into the real war going on). Satan whispers, taunting Jesus to give up.  He sends a snake over toward Jesus (no reason given).  As Jesus slowly rises and turns to leave His place of prayer, he crushes the serpent under His foot. 

 The only enemy is Satan – and he loses. The real battle exists in the spiritual world not the physical world.  That is revealed in a very clever manner, which you will have to see to understand.  This is the real secret to the movie’s power.

 Except for the scores of prophecies fulfilled in the last week of his life, it wouldn’t matter if a Jew, Roman, or American put Him to death; His death fulfilled God’s method for salvation.  Any believer that is angry with a Jew or anyone else for Jesus’ crucifixion misses the fact that God arranged the whole thing.  You see, the Jew may have been present and part of the equation, but the fact remains that every man, woman, boy and girl in the world put Him to death because of our evil hearts.  The world still crucifies Him every day by pushing God further and further out of their lives.  However, the “passion” was His (thus the movie title – “The Passion of the Christ”). 

 Mel finished the interview at the premier I went to with this rather profound remark, “Jesus could have accomplished what He needed to accomplish by pricking his finger, but He decided, ‘It isn’t enough’”

 Jesus said it this way, “No one takes my life from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.” (John 10:18)  Why? Real love could do no less.

 So, get off of a faulty bandwagon of hate and go watch the greatest love story ever told.

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Only a Friend can Betray You

Posted by undergroundchurch on April 7, 2009


Isaiah 53:7 – He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.

If ever there was a defense that could be made in any court case, Jesus had it.  He could have brought witness after witness to show his good character, blind men could have shown his love, cripple people his kindness, deaf and mute could speak his praises, and one very thankful woman could tell all about his rescue on the night she would be stoned.

Scores of people could have come forward from lepers that were touched by his hand to men who walked on water with him.  The testimonies were everywhere – in fact, the very people condemning him to death were witnesses.

Yet, Jesus kept silent.  Why?

Jesus said it himself,

If I testify about myself, my testimony is not valid. There is another who testifies in my favor, and I know that his testimony about me is valid – John 5:30-32

First, it was the plan of God that Jesus would die.  That was the only way.  Any testimony would have just delayed, at best, the inevitable.

Second, he was a lamb.  His humility, spoken of earlier in Isaiah 53, was the key point of his ministry.  The first coming was like a lamb.  His next coming will be like a lion.

Finally, it showed us that we are wretched.  Remember all those that could come to his defense?  In his darkest hour, they fled.  Peter denied him, John ran away naked. What healed person came to his rescue?  What previously demon possessed person gathered up the courage to come before Pilate and plead for Jesus.  Not one.

He was despised and rejected – not just by the bad people, but by those who said they loved him. 

Remember who it was that betrayed him – Judas.  He was a friend. You can’t be betrayed by your enemy. You expect that of them, not a friend.

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