Triumph and Contrast, Part 4

One of the most difficult things to understand about Jesus is the contrast of His dual nature – fully God and fully man. How can Jesus be God’s Son and human at the same time? This paradox about  Jesus is difficult for many people to fully understand and accept.

Hebrews 2:5-18 describes how God took on the form of mankind through His Son, Jesus, so that mankind could be saved from sin and wickedness that permeates this world.

 

Crucifixion

Despair

In yesterday’s post, we saw Jesus demonstrating humanity and compassion. Today we see Jesus exhibiting despair. Another contrast to His deity.

The Gospel of Mark records the 4th statement uttered by Jesus while He hung on the cross. In a loud and strong voice, He shouted, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” (Mark 15:34)

Why in the world would Jesus, the Son of God, utter such a thing? Jesus became the sacrificial lamb who bore the sins of the world. The Apostle Mark recorded in verse 33 that at noon, the sky became very dark. And it remained dark for three hours before Jesus shout the question of despair. What caused this unexplained darkness?

God is morally perfect and holy. He hates sin and cannot be in the presence of sin. When Jesus took on the sin of the world, God could no longer look at him. The sky went dark. God essentially turned His back on His only begotten son. The pain of that momentary separation was more agonizing than the physical torture Jesus endured.

Have you ever uttered the question, “God, why have you forsaken me?” If you are a Christian, God will never turn His back on you. Jesus has paid the price for your sin. “I leave never you; I will never forsake you.” (Hebrews 5:13 NCV). To be continued…


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Triumph and Contrast, Part 3

Jesus interceding for those “who know not what they do” and announcing assurance are examples of Jesus’ deity.

The Apostle John, the one Jesus was closest to, wrote:

But if we confess our sins, he will forgive our sins, because we can trust God to do what is right. He will cleanse us from all the wrongs we have done.” 1 John 1:9 NCV

Forgiveness and assurance go hand in hand. Jesus demonstrated that from the cross by His first two statements.


Crucifixion

The Cross at Groom
Groom, Texas

 

Compassion and Humanity

With the third statement from the cross, Jesus demonstrates His compassion and humanity, a contrast to His deity.

25 Standing near his cross were Jesus’ mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother and the follower he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son.” 27 Then he said to the follower, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, the follower took her to live in his home. (John 19:25-27, NCV)

Jesus’ expression of concern for Mary was beyond that of a Savior. His expression demonstrates compassion as a son would have for his mother. This act demonstrates Jesus not only cares for His mother Mary, but also for our well-being and direction in life, even if we do not understand God’s plan. Jesus call us His friend (John 15:9-15). As friends of Christ, we should demonstrate a similar compassion of others on His behalf.

Have you experienced the compassion and humanity of Jesus? Is Jesus your friend? He is mine.  To be continued…


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Triumph and Contrast, Part 2

Today is Palm Sunday. Traditionally this is the day that Jesus made His Triumphant entry into Jerusalem – riding on a donkey. What a contrast. His followers knew He was coming to Jerusalem. But to see their KING riding on a donkey? I can only imagine how confused the throngs of people were. Yet they still met Him with a joyous heart. Take a moment to read the account from Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:28-44, or John 12:12-16.


As you look at the image of Jesus hanging on the cross, ask your self the same question that Matthew’s Gospel asked – Who is this man? (Mat 21:10)

Assurance

The Cross at Groom
Groom, Texas

While hanging on the cross, two other criminals where also being crucified for their crimes. Listen to contrast in their dialog with Jesus –

39 One of the criminals on a cross began to shout insults at Jesus: “Aren’t you the Christ? Then save yourself and us.”

40 But the other criminal stopped him and said, “You should fear God! You are getting the same punishment he is. 41 We are punished justly, getting what we deserve for what we did. But this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

43 Jesus said to him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:39-43, NCV)

One criminal continued the mocking begun by the guards. The other knew in his heart who this man was. He recognized that this man, Jesus, was indeed the Son of God.

And notice the response of Jesus: Today you will be with me in paradise.” What a triumphant statement of assurance.


 Blessed Assurance

This is the title of an old hymn sung in many churches through the ages. Blessed Assurance was penned by Fanny Crosby in 1873. Modern day physicians believe she was born blind. Fanny Crosby rock solid faith enabled her to pen these words. Read through the words of this classic hymn:

vs.1
Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

Refrain:
This is my story, this is my song,
praising my Savior all the day long;
this is my story, this is my song,
praising my Savior all the day long.

vs.2
Perfect submission, perfect delight!
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels descending bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

(Refrain)

vs.3
Perfect submission, all is at rest!
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.
(Refrain)

This is the assurance Jesus spoke of on the cross when He stated: Today you will be with me in paradise.

Can you personalize the words from this hymn? I know I can. This is truly my story. I certainly hope it is your story also. To be continued…


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Triumph and Contrast Part 1

Friday’s post displayed two photos. The first is a photo of Jesus of Nazareth being nailed to an old wooden cross by a Roman soldier. The second is a photo of the broken body of Jesus being held Mary’s arms prior to His burial in a tomb belonging to Joseph of Aramithea. I purposely omitted a photo of Jesus on that cross.

Crucifixion

The Cross at Groom
Groom, Texas

Jesus on the cross is such a contrast to what His followers expected. They did not understand what had just happened. Other than Mary and the Disciple John, all the others had scattered. They had just lost their Leader. They had no idea what was about to happen, even though He told them over and over. As Jesus hung on that cross, He uttered seven crucial statements that demonstrates His character.

Forgiveness

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, because they don’t know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34 New Century Version

As the Roman soldiers at the foot of the cross wagered over the garments Jesus had worn, Jesus uttered these words. Was He speaking about these soldiers? Was He speaking about His tormentors? Perhaps He was speaking about the world that did not understand him.

Jesus’ ministry was about forgiveness. The Apostle Luke wrote in Luke 5:21 – “The Jewish teachers of the law and the Pharisees thought to themselves, ‘Who is this man who is speaking as if he were God? Only God can forgive sins.'” The Jewish teachers did not understand that Jesus was the Son of God and was doing the work of God.

The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 3:25, “We receive forgiveness through faith in the blood of Jesus’ death.” Do you know the forgiveness Jesus speaks of?

To be continued…


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Photography101 – Day Twenty: Triumph & Contrast

What an exciting finish for Photography101.  And a hardy Thank You for the Happiness Engineers at WordPress for moderating this and other wonderful courses.


Triumph & Contrast

It was a dark Friday, so many years ago. The Roman Government had just arrested Jesus of Nazareth. They considered him a radical and a threat to their control over the people, especial those impacted by the teachings of Jesus.

On that dark day, Jesus was mocked, scourged and nailed to an old rugged cross. He was about to be crucified – a sentence reserved for criminals who commented heinous crimes.

For several hours, Jesus hung on that cross, writhing in pain. Shortly before sundown, he gave up his spirit and breathe his last.

Jesus was buried in a borrowed tomb. The Romans got rid of the problem; they were triumphant or so they thought.

There is more to this story than meets the eye. To be continued…


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