Saturday 23 April 2011

Condemned, Mocked, Tortured, Crucified

Jesus was condemned to death, mocked, tortured, stripped naked, nailed to a wooden cross, and left to die:
  • Matt 26:65-67: The high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy.  What do you think?”  “He is worthy of death,” they answered. Then they spit in his face and struck him with their fists. Others slapped him and said, “Prophesy to us, Messiah. Who hit you?”
  • Matt 27:28-31: They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said.  They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again.  After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.
  • Luke 23:32-36: Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left.  Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.  The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.”  The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”
As I mentioned in my post on Jesus as the Suffering Servant (December 2010), the Bible makes it clear that the main reason that Jesus had to die was to pay the price for the sins of humanity.  Nevertheless, it seems to me that Jesus did something else very important when he suffered and died: He showed that God was (and is) willing to share in the sufferings of His creatures --- even suffering of the very worst kind.  This is also implied by the following verses:
  • Psalm 56:8: You record my misery; You put my tears in your bottle.
  • Isaiah 53:4: Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering.
  • Isaiah 63:9: In all their suffering He also suffered, and He personally rescued them. In his love and mercy He redeemed them.
  • John 11:33-36: When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled... Jesus wept.
  • Acts 9:4: [Jesus said:] "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?"
It is a great mystery to me that the Almighty God, the King of the Universe, the Eternal Holy Trinity, is capable of suffering and allows Himself to suffer.  I don't understand it, but I praise and thank Him for it.

Sunday 10 April 2011

Radiant and Glorious

In this post, I will explain the title of this blog.  As usual, let's begin with some relevant scriptures:
  • Mark 9:2-3: Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them.
  • Col 1:15-20: The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
  • 2 Cor 4:4: The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
  • Heb 1:3: The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.
  • 2 Thess 1:8-9: He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed.
  • 1 John 1:4-5: In him was life, and that life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
  • Rev 1:13-17: Among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest.  The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.  When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead.
Scriptures like these make it clear than Jesus is indeed radiantly glorious.

Now, let's take a step back from the Bible, and just think about our universe.  Think about things that inspire you and fill you with awe.  (In my case, this includes music, flowers, sunsets, stars, mountains, waterfalls, sapphires, rubies and emeralds, fireworks, beautiful women, friendship and maternal love.)  Now consider the fact that God "dreamt up" all those things, like an incredibly creative artist.  Also consider the fact that Jesus is infinitely greater, lovelier, more beautiful and more majestic than all of those things put together.  Not only that, but this incredible Jesus humbled Himself and chose to go to the cross, in order to provide a way for sinners to be saved.

All I can say is, how absolutely wonderful Jesus is!  How can anybody not love and adore Him?

Another amazing thing is that Jesus promises to share His glory with all those who truly repent and choose to follow Him!  See for example these verses:
  • Prov 4:18: The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.
  • Dan 12:3:  Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.
  • Matt 13:43: [Jesus said:] "The righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father."
  • John 17:22-23: [Jesus prays for the church:] "I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me."
    Rom 2:7: To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.
    2 Cor 3:18: And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
    Col 1:27: God was pleased to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
These scriptures fill me with so much joy, I want to dance!  I pray that they will fill you with joy, too.