Friday, April 2, 2010
I spent part of the day reading the Gospel accounts of the crucifixion. Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 23, and John 19 will give you the full picture.
You might take a moment to read these passages. Take a minute, I will wait.....
Thanks, you know that there are a variety of Bible study skills that you can apply to any passage of Scripture to get the most out of the message. One way to approach the text is to ask about the Place, the People, and the Purpose.
The place is clear, Golgotha. The Place of the Skull. The hill just outside of the city. One mention of the word and everyone knew...it meant pain, torture, revenge, justice, criminal behavior, and death.
There were lots of people at the cross. Simon catches the eye of a Roman solider and is forced to carry the cross of Jesus. He literally carries the cross for all of humanity. There are two criminals. One mocks while the other cries out to Jesus. Jesus responds from the heart, today, you will be with me in paradise..
Then there was Mary the mother of Jesus. She is there standing near the disciple John. Do you think she was remembering the words of Simeon in the temple at the dedication of the child...one day a sword will pierce your soul.
The disciples were there too. Some of them anyway. Judas is gone to his death. Peter is gone to his denial.
Lots of people were there. Some curious, some power hungry, some in great sadness, others celebrating a legal and spiritual victory. Some even called out...if you are the King of the Jews...save yourself.
Apparently, some things are worth dying for.
Then there is the purpose. What is the purpose anyway. Some thought it was to mock him. Others said good riddance. Some were joyful. But God, what was God's purpose. The salvation of the world. Because some things are worth dying for.
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in his name will not perish but will have eternal life.
You know, the preaching of Jesus was really very simple. Repent, the Kingdom of God is at hand. The preaching is simple, it is the teaching that really presses it all home. He unpacks the Kingdom lifestyle in the sermon on the mount in Matthew 5-7.
Some folks read that and say...that is just humanly impossible. We can never live up to that. It must just be an example for us to know that we need to keep on trying. But I don't think that is the why he took time to teach those difficult and challenging lifestyle concepts.
You see, he believed that some things are worth dying for.
For God so loved the world that he gave....
Some things are worth dying for