He loves you…….
Yesterday many people all over the world reflected on the crucifixion of Jesus.
Cicero described crucifixion as ‘the most cruel and hideous of tortures’. Jesus was stripped and tied to a whipping post. He was flogged with four or five thongs of leather interwoven with sharp jagged bone and lead. Eusebius, the third-century church historian, described Roman flogging in these terms: the sufferer’s ‘veins were laid bare, and the very muscles, sinews and bowels of the victim were open to exposure’.
Then a crown of thorns was thrust onto his head. He was mocked by a battalion of about 600 men and hit about the face and head. He was then forced to carry a heavy cross bar on his bleeding shoulders until he collapsed, and Simon of Cyrene was press-ganged into carrying it for him.
When they reached the site of crucifixion, he was again stripped naked. He was laid on the cross, and six-inch nails were driven into his forearms, just above the wrist. His knees were twisted sideways so that the ankles could be nailed between the tibia and the Achilles’ tendon. He was lifted up on the cross which was then dropped into a socket in the ground. There he was left to hang in intense heat and unbearable thirst, exposed to the ridicule of the crowd. He hung there in unthinkable pain for six hours while his life slowly drained away.
Yet the worst part of his suffering was not the physical trauma of torture and crucifixion nor even the emotional pain of being rejected by the world and deserted by his friends, but the spiritual agony of being cut off from his Father for us – as he carried our sins.
All because “he loves you”
His death speaks of love and victory, on the cross he took sin, pain, sickness, brokenness, addictions, and broke the holding power of those things. Its not that we don’t still experience these things in life but when we follow Jesus we not only can know him in the midst of our suffering but also He can break the power of those things that stop us living a full life.
He did it all because “he loves you”
Tomorrow as we eat chocolate and spend time with family its also a time to remember Jesus’ resurrection. The victory in His death is in His resurrection, over coming death and all the holding powers that led Him to the cross in the first place.
The resurrection makes Christianity unique among the world’s religions.
True Christianity, which is following Jesus, is the only religion in the world that stands or falls on whether its founder was raised from the dead.
No Buddhist claims that Buddha rose from the dead. No Jew claims that Abraham was raised from the dead. His bones are buried in the land of Israel. No Muslim claims that Mohammed rose from the dead. According to tradition, Mohammed died in 632 AD at the age of 61 and his tomb is visited annually by thousands of devout Muslims as they make their pilgrimages to Medina.
2 years ago at Gateway we looked at the historical evidence for the resurrection, tomorrow some people will be sharing what Jesus has done in their life, and He can only be working in peoples lives today if He is alive.
He is alive and making a difference in peoples lives today, because he loves you.
Why not come along.