It's Killing Time...Again!
Easter...the spring-time celebration event that unites Christianity much like Christmas time.
God's chosen people put to death the Author of Life because he didn't fit their description of the Messiah. Jesus couldn't be the One they wanted as their king.
The ceremonial system of sacrifices became soaked with blood, the blood of animals. Do you think God enjoyed watching the life of animals being ended in a blood bath? What about his only Son? Did God the Father enjoy watching his Son's life end?
What would you have done at Calvary 2,000 years ago had you been there? Do you need the blood of the Author of Life?
Why Did Jesus Have to Die?
Each year, as Easter season approaches, have you ever said to yourself, or perhaps to others: "I'm so glad Jesus died for me?" Might I ask: Had you been in Pilate's court 2,000 years ago, would you have been part of the religious mob shouting for Jesus' death: "Crucify him! Crucify him! He deserves death!" Imagine for a moment:
Had you been there, would you have voiced any opposition to what was happening? Had you been there, would you have been shouting: "I need your blood, Jesus?" Had you been there, would you have had the courage to say: "Here, give me that hammer and those nails - I'll drive them through! He needs to die for me. I need his blood!"
Could you have done it? And after you watch him suffer and die, you worship him by saying: "I love you, Jesus! Thank you for your blood, Jesus!" And then you announce to all of your acquaintances: "I'm so glad Jesus died for me!"
"The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin." 1 John 1:7.
At the foot of the Cross when Jesus died, would you have wanted to stand there, hoping that some of the drops of blood would splatter on your face, or hands, or arms? Consider Mary, the mother of Jesus. Had you been her, would you have applauded his suffering and his pain - your own son? What questions would you have asked Jesus as you stood there? Does the Author of Life have to die in order to give life to the world?
The Crucifixion - a person has been killed, put to death by the cruelest of cruel methods. It was a public demonstration, and the accusers were not just anyone - they were the most religious people of the day. And no one voiced any opposition. Two thousand years later that same event is rehearsed and dramatized by Christianity worldwide. It's a spectacle without precedence, an emotional experience that grips people with awe and exuberance: "Jesus died for me! I'm so glad! Thank you, Jesus!" Is it possible that religious people of today would crucify the Son of God,...again?
On the other hand, what else does Calvary reveal? According to Romans 3:21-26, God demonstrated his righteousness by showing his Son publicly dying. How did the Father treat his Son? Did he torture him or inflict pain? What the Father did to the Son is exactly what he will do in the end to all of the lost beings: nothing, absolutely nothing! This is the Father's wrath: He will let them go...and they will die.
But what about hell, and the burning flames? Isn't God going to punish the lost for as long as God shall live? Question: Would you be disappointed in the end if God does not burn people forever? Why? Do you seek retribution on those who have offended you? Are you like Hitler and want people to burn forever?
But won't there always be a place in the Universe, in the new heavens and new earth, where there will be no end to the pain, suffering and torture? Question: Do you think God would enjoy torturing and burning his created beings forever, never to end? What kind of God would do something like that? Could you trust a God with that attitude? Would you feel safe and secure in the hereafter knowing that perhaps, if you messed up just a little bit a thousand years or ten thousand years sometime in the future, God might toss you over to the flames? Would fear come into play?
How did Jesus treat his tormentors while dying on the Cross? Was there a cruel or mean look on his face? Did he utter words of anger or remorse? Did he display a mannerism that the Father disapproved? Would the Father have done the same thing? John 14:9 records Jesus saying: "If you've seen me, you've seen the Father!" And in verse 7 of the same chapter Jesus says: "If you know me, you know the Father!"
I once read on a local church marquee: Jesus died so we could live.
My thought about that is: The Author of Life has to die, for us to have life? Is that right thinking? Is that reasonable, logical? Does that make sense? But I believe many sincere Christians believe exactly that whole-heartedly. What do you think?
I've watched and listened to many present-day, popular, well-known and admired evangelists. Among the many statements that come from the lips of these men and women concerning everyone's eternal condition is a statement similar to this: "You're either going to spend eternity in heaven with God, or you're going to burn in hell for all eternity with the devil and his angels!" And then these same evangelists ask those in attendance of their crusades to "receive Christ!" When people hear a message that the God of the Universe will burn them unless they surrender their lives and "receive Christ," are those people accepting God on the basis of trust or on the basis of fear? Does God use scare tactics?
Did Jesus ever say:
In the end, will God be laughing and taunting the devil, his angels, and all the others who are lost? What kind of God would do something like that? Do you like a God like that?
On the contrary, is it possible to imagine that God will weep over the loss of his created beings, even the angels who initially inhabited Heaven? Can you picture the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit shedding tears over Lucifer, the Light Bearer who became Satan, the devil? It was Satan who led a third of the angels to rebel against their Creator, and there was nothing left that God could do to convince them that the road they were going down was the road to death. He offered them life; they chose otherwise.
I sometimes watch and listen to Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) on television. One particular speaker from a mega-church in Texas said on one occasion: "God demands we love and obey him!" Another time the same speaker said: "When Jesus comes again he will rule the earth with a rod of iron. He won't ask people to obey him, he will make people obey him." If that is true, it sure is going to be a fine time in the hereafter if God is like that, isn't it? If God is like that, would you want to be around him? Could you trust a God like that? There is something very, very wrong with that kind of message; it puts God in such a bad light. Can you think of anything worse than a loving God burning and torturing people forever? It's a hideous picture of God!
Satan's original sin: to misrepresent God's character.
I believe misrepresenting God is the worst sin anyone can commit.
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