Posts Tagged ‘ Crucifixion ’

I Gotta Have Faith: Whose Fool Are You?

Welcome back, people of the internet!

Today’s topic: FAITH!

Why?

Recently, I have heard several people – including Richard Dawkins, AronRa (an atheist apologist?), Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Bill Nye the Science Guy – all call faith in general, with Christians in particular, foolish.

These people claim that Christians believe with a blind faith, that they do not believe in the Bible or God for any good reason, but just because that is what they were told to believe.

Is this true?

What is faith?

According to Hebrews 11:1 (ESV):

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

So, what does this mean?

Basically, faith is trusting and believing something based on evidence. Something that is not seen is believed because there are things we can see and test that support it.

A popular example is a chair.

The chair looks sturdy. I have seen other chairs hold people up. Therefore, I have faith this chair will hold me up.

How do I know your faith is true?

Live it out. Show me. Sit on the chair. Show your faith by sitting.

Another example is a compass.

We believe a compass points north, because we have seen so many compasses point north.

(Though, it is possible a compass can be manipulated by magnets …)

“Ah,” you may say, “But that is science!”

Conviction of things unseen …

What evidence do we see of not seeing things in science?

A lot!

What about black holes?

We have never seen black holes, because they literally eat light. So, how do we know they exist? We have evidence they are there.

An interesting example from the past few years is the Higgs boson.

The Higgs boson is, essentially, what gives matter mass (the ability to have weight and substance). It was theorized using mathematics. The so-called “God particle” (actually, the “Oh my God particle”, from a note scribbled by a physicist) was officially discovered by slamming atoms together in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and using the resulting mathematical probabilities to “see” this “thing”.

In other words, it was seen through the symbols of mathematics.

It was not actually seen with eyes. Rather, it was predicted (hoped for) and then proved through mathematics. We used these symbols to express the evidence of what we cannot see to prove (have conviction) that it is there.

In the math.

Scientists use written symbols to find evidence of things unseen.

Sound familiar?

You could say I have faith that people have faith, even when they are “faithless.” Because I see the evidence.

They say “These words made out of symbols and numbers tell me this should be here, and I am going to believe it because all of the other math checks out, too.”

So, why do we as Christians believe the Bible?

Because we have these words that tell us about Jesus.

Some of you may remember the Four Core Facts I covered a few years ago. What does this have to do with anything?

The Four Core Facts:

  1. The Crucifixion (and Resurrection) of Jesus Christ
  2. The Despair of the Disciples
  3. The Change in the Disciples (Their despair becoming willingness to die for the truth of #1)
  4. The Conversion of Paul

If you are willing to objectively look at this evidence, you can see the evidence for the truth of God and His Son, Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ.

That evidence includes that Jesus quoted the Old Testament, which we know existed before He was born, He claimed it was about Him, and then He claimed He would die and raise again.

And He did it! Thus validating what He said.

In fact, this is the ultimate evidence. Paul himself (you know, one of the most successful evangelists for the Church, having planted so many throughout the Roman Empire) said this is all that needed to be preached! (1 Corinthians 1:22-23, 2:1-2)

It could be argued that the Church itself is the biggest evidence.

Jesus proved it Himself.

So we do not believe it “Just because,” but because Jesus said He would die and come back and did.

One of many points of evidence of this kind of faith is Abraham.

God called Abraham to sacrifice his son. Some call this barbaric, but it really is not.

Abraham and his wife were way too old to have children, but God said “You will have a son.”

When God then called him to sacrifice this son, I can guarantee you that he thought something like, “Well, you said I would have a son through whom you would multiply my descendants, and here he is. You could easily bring him back to life, so though I may not like it, I will obey.”

God did not raise Isaac back to life (He did not need to), but He did do it with His own Son!

So there is faith: “I have seen the evidence. I may not see God. I may have seen Jesus Himself. I may not be able to see everything the Apostles and other disciples saw, but I see the written evidence.

People just do not want to accept the evidence.

So, whose fool are you?

Do have the foolish faith of a Christain or the foolish faith of those who say there is no God? (1 Corinthians 1-2)

I still have faith in science, even with a lot of people who do not believe the Bible, because the math and the science checks out and proves the validity.

I also have faith that God’s Word is true.

Where Jesus Spent the Passover

Here is another friendly reminder that Proverbial Thought is back! Also do not forget the first book published by Parson’s Porch!

Today is the Jewish Passover. It is a time of celebration of the freedom from slavery and living in the Promised Land.

There have been several times in history when it was merely a celebration of freedom from slavery in Egypt, and that was all because the Hebrew people could not live in their land.

Sadly, it took the mass murder of about six million (6,000,000) of them in World War II for them to get their land back. They also have not had all of the land restored to them.

However, about 2000 years ago there was a similar story. The Jews lived in the land, but they were under the rule of Rome. They were allowed to worship as they wanted, but it was always under the supervision of Roman leaders.

This is the same time that Jesus was born, raised, and performed His ministry. When He was about 33 years old, He went to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover with His closest disciples.

The night before Passover officially began, He was betrayed by one of His friends, arrested by the Jewish leadership, interrogated and beaten, denied by another of His friends, and then at the time the sacrificial lambs were being sacrificed He was beaten some more and nailed to a cross to die.

Thus, He became the sacrificial Lamb who washed away our sin that separated us from God.

Just before nightfall, which is when the Passover would officially begin, this is what we read in Mark 15 (ESV):

42 And when evening had come, since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath, 43 Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God, took courage and went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 44 Pilate was surprised to hear that he should have already died. And summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he was already dead. 45 And when he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the corpse to Joseph. 46 And Joseph bought a linen shroud, and taking him down, wrapped him in the linen shroud and laid him in a tomb that had been cut out of the rock. And he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. 47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where he was laid.

Therefore, the Savior of the world, Jesus of Nazareth, the Jewish Messiah (Christ), spent Passover lying dead in a tomb.

We may not always feel like celebrating. The disciples certainly did not that weekend about 2000 years ago.

Yet, when our faith and hope is found in Christ that the Father is in control, we can have peace through the Holy Spirit knowing something the disciples did not that bleak Sabbath day, found in the next chapter of Mark:

1 When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here.

Our God and Savior is ALIVE! HE IS RISEN!

We celebrate this week the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We have hope because He has overcome death and the grave!

Please Join Me At Track 22

Tune in to the voice of Wisdom at Proverbial Thought!

I was sitting in my preaching class this past week, and the conversation started tracking a certain way. It got me to thinking about something.

I love that song!

Have you had conversations about some of your favorite songs? I am sure you have.

Perhaps sometimes you start trying to sing a song but you cannot remember either the tune, the words, or both. You desperately want someone to tell you the name of that song!

How would you feel if someone simply told you the track number of that song? Would you find that helpful?

Usually, we do not refer to songs by their number (with exceptions for music like “Piano Concerto Number Five” or “No. 9” … extra points if you can give me names to go with those!) Occasionally we may know when someone says “Oh, that was track four of that album.”

Typically, the response we get (and want) is the title of the song. We may even find the lyrics rushing to our mind at the mention of the title.

We are often okay with the recitation of the first line of the song or the chorus.

My God, My God

The funny thing is, we have become so accustomed to labeling things in the Bible by number that is almost all we know anything by anymore.

Perhaps if we read the Bible as much as we really should, we would recognize references in the New Testament to passages in the Old Testament.

For example, when Jesus was hanging on the cross, it would have been much easier on all of us who were not raised Jewish if He had said “Go look up Psalm 22.”

Instead, He did what many of us would do when we are in some situation: He quoted lyrics.

Think about: how many times have you been doing something and song lyrics popped into your head that seemed to fit the situation?

Now imagine you are the Son of God, and you want people to understand something about you?

When Jesus said, “My God, My God, why have your forsaken me?” He was not suggesting that the Father had abandoned the Son. He was saying, “Hurry, someone read Psalm 22!”

Read it:

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish?
My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night, but I find no rest.

Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;
you are the one Israel praises.
In you our ancestors put their trust;
they trusted and you delivered them.
To you they cried out and were saved;
in you they trusted and were not put to shame.

But I am a worm and not a man,
scorned by everyone, despised by the people.
All who see me mock me;
they hurl insults, shaking their heads.
“He trusts in the Lord,” they say,
“let the Lord rescue him. Let him deliver him,
since he delights in him.”

Yet you brought me out of the womb;
you made me trust in you, even at my mother’s breast.
10 From birth I was cast on you;
from my mother’s womb you have been my God.

11 Do not be far from me,
for trouble is near
and there is no one to help.

12 Many bulls surround me;
    strong bulls of Bashan encircle me.
13 Roaring lions that tear their prey
    open their mouths wide against me.
14 I am poured out like water,
    and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax;
    it has melted within me.
15 My mouth is dried up like a potsherd,
    and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth;
    you lay me in the dust of death.

16 Dogs surround me,
    a pack of villains encircles me;
    they pierce my hands and my feet.
17 All my bones are on display;
    people stare and gloat over me.
18 They divide my clothes among them
    and cast lots for my garment.

19 But you, Lord, do not be far from me.
You are my strength; come quickly to help me.
20 Deliver me from the sword,
my precious life from the power of the dogs.
21 Rescue me from the mouth of the lions;
save me from the horns of the wild oxen.

22 I will declare your name to my people;
in the assembly I will praise you.
23 You who fear the Lord, praise him!
All you descendants of Jacob, honor him!
Revere him, all you descendants of Israel!
24 For he has not despised or scorned
    the suffering of the afflicted one;
he has not hidden his face from him
    but has listened to his cry for help.

25 From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly;
before those who fear you I will fulfill my vows.
26 The poor will eat and be satisfied;
those who seek the Lord will praise him—
may your hearts live forever!

27 All the ends of the earth
    will remember and turn to the Lord,
and all the families of the nations
    will bow down before him,
28 for dominion belongs to the Lord
    and he rules over the nations.

29 All the rich of the earth will feast and worship;
    all who go down to the dust will kneel before him—
    those who cannot keep themselves alive.
30 Posterity will serve him;
    future generations will be told about the Lord.
31 They will proclaim his righteousness,
    declaring to a people yet unborn:
    He has done it!

Did you notice that all of the bolded sections describe the crucifixion, and this Psalm declares the greatness of God and His salvation.

This not only shows how Jesus fulfilled prophecy and the Law, but it shows the importance of the Old Testament.

We may not always refer to things as has always been done, but we are not too different from those in the past.

We may use numbers to refer to ancient songs, but we are better prepared to understand the connection between them and the gospel message.

Now, join me in Track 119, a psalm of praise to God for His Word!

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 04/21/2013

Make sure you grow in the wealth of wisdom by going to Proverbial Thought!

What is the greatest expression of love in history?

If you have followed my blog for any length of time, you probably know the answer. (For a hint, just read the title of the poem today)

I love you                   from on a cross

why would anyone love me
why should they choose me
i cannot find a reason
i cannot see why they would

i am a filthy rag
i have covered myself in stains
my life has been wasted
my life has no real value

this thing called me is worthless
this tiny piece of flesh nothing
who could want to love me
i have to ask aloud who could

there is a Being out there
He has heard my laments
He died in my place of pain
just to say to me
I love you

God says that He loves me
God chooses constantly to use me
He only has one reason
He acts in me for His love

He has cleaned this rag
He washed me with His blood
my life in Him has meaning
my life now loves out much

this Savior redeems my soul
this God loves me all the time
if i turn to Him  He helps
if i turn to Him  i am absolved

with God i have real life
with Him is a reason to live
my Lord has shown me love
and it was shown
from on a cross

Crucified, Dead and Buried, and Rose Again to Life

(Proverbial Thought. Go. Get wisdom.)

We have been looking at the Hard Knocks Life. I am not going to write much this week. Instead, I will let the Word speak for itself, because it tells about some of the hardest knocks anyone can face.

The Crucifixion of Jesus

As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ Then

“‘they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!”
and to the hills, “Cover us!”’

For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

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.”

There was a written notice above him, which read: this is the king of the jews.

One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”

But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

The Death of Jesus

It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.

The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.

The Burial of Jesus

Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea, and he himself was waiting for the kingdom of God. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body. Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid. It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.

The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.

Jesus Has Risen

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” Then they remembered his words.

When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.

Luke 23:26-24:12, NIV

Let us remember this week: HE IS RISEN!

The Core Facts: The Crucifixion

I may not be the most eloquent nor wise, but to get some good truth and wisdom go check out Proverbial Thought. If nothing else, the proverbs are excellent!

Also, the youth pastor with whom I work speaks on all of this. Find Jesse Bollinger at Fervent Youth.

Last week I implicitly made some bold assertions: Christians have faith in provable facts, and only a handful of facts should be enough to prove that assertion.

In other words, Christians should not and do not have a blind faith (though there are some who claim it is, both within and outside of the Church), and it is justifiable to say so.

And right off the bat, let me say that if someone says there is no evidence that Jesus of Nazareth even existed, they are being intellectually dishonest. The mere fact that Christianity has existed since the first century is more than enough evidence. I will even make the statement now that I will delete comments that seriously offer that argument. It is not censorship, it is keeping the garbage and the trolls out.

Also, one great resource to find all of this information (though not necessarily an exhaustive source, though they source very well) is I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist by Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek (Crossway, 2004).

Now, and finally, on to the first of the Four Core Facts:

Jesus’ Death on the Cross

First for the obvious argument: A crucifixion is not hard to believe in area of Palestine 2,000 years ago. People were crucified left and right throughout the Roman Empire, rather literally.

Secondly, we know there were many people claiming to be the Messiah since at least the Maccabean Revolt until the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D. (Yeah, I used A.D. and am not afraid to use it!) It is not unheard of to have “messiahs” crucified. They were calling for the downfall (or at the very least to be left alone by) the Roman Empire. We still treat treason as a capital offense today.

Poor Pontius Pilate, while by no means innocent, is given a bad rap during the trial and crucifixion of Jesus. Most scholars agree that Barabbas (the man released when Jesus was crucified) was one of these messiahs. We need to remember that Pilate was in charge of keeping the peace. He would want to squelch any insurrection before it happened, if possible. He knew that Jesus was not trying to overthrow Rome, but he also knew that the Jews might very well all rise up if he did not acquiesce to their demand to kill Jesus.

This man just wanted to keep the peace (even if he hated the Jews).

Thirdly, Hebrews have long and largely believed that the Messiah, or Christ, would be a man who would arise and defeat all of Israel’s enemies, effectively making them not only a viable world power but perhaps even the strongest (depending on to whom you talk). This man would not be defeated but be more triumphant than King David ever was!

Further, the Jews have believed that there would be only one resurrection in all of history: at the very end of history as we understand it!

Fourthly, there are many arguments about Jesus fainting on the cross (“Swoon Theory”), that the Disciples stole the body, that the Jews/Romans hid the body, or that there was mass hallucination within the Disciples making them think they saw a resurrected Jesus.

  • This first point also works within the third Core Fact, but it must be explained here, as well. If the Disciples stole the body, they would know the Resurrection was a lie. People generally do not die willingly for a lie (though a lot of movies and TV shows have people doing it quite a bit). Especially when faced with intense and prolonged pain or death, people usually come clean.
  • If the Jews and/or Roman authorities hid the body, they could have easily stopped the expansion of the Church by revealing the dead body.
  • The same argument can be made for mass hallucination: the authorities could have easily stopped the Church by revealing the dead body.
  • I am still surprised people still use the argument of “Swoon Theory”. Here is why: 1) He was flogged with a whip with metal balls or pieces of metal and/or glass fragments in the tails. He was bleeding from all over His body before even making it to the cross. 2) He had a crown of thorns (thorns up to two or three inches long) pushed on his head … more blood. 3) He was wrapped in a purple robe, which would have rubbed on his fresh wounds and pulled out any scabs when it was pulled off. He lost even more blood. 4) He was crucified by having his arms stretched out to either side (potentially dislocating His shoulders), having nails run through His wrists (more blood) causing paralysis of his hands, having a nail run through His feet (more blood) effectively making Him crippled, and having a spear thrust into His side (more blood, if there was much of any left). 5) He was buried for at least 36 hours and as much as 80 hours without any food or water to help revive Him. 6) He would have had to roll away a heavy stone and overpower two Roman soldiers to escape … after all of that other stuff having happened to Him.

Not likely.

Lastly, even though the Gospels may not have been written for at least 30-40 years, they were written to a) spread the Gospel to people and b) combat stories which had arisen contrary to the truth. This means the story was definitely well-circulated before they were even written, and there was plenty of time to have fact-checked the story before then.

Even after the gospels were written, it would have been possible to fact-check most if not all of the story being presented. Whether that be by people were still alive and had been there or by checking with the government and locals! (“Were those governors and kings really there?” “Are these places really in existence?”)

In truth, this post could go on for another thousand words briefly covering other evidences for the Crucifixion.

I think this is more than enough evidence, though.

Next week, I delve into Core Fact #2: The Despair of the Disciples

I would like to think you found this informative, or at least a good reminder of some points.

Are there any other thoughts on the matter?

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 05/27/2012

The Bible is full of events in which angels fight, celebrate, mourn, and proclaim (perhaps even sing). Today’s poem is about one of those moments when … not much happened … while the greatest miracle in history was happening.

When Heaven Was Silent

Throughout time

God has spoken

Angels celebrated

Or they mourned

New believers

Brought them joy

Satan winning

Made them cry

There was a time

They were silent

All forgiven

One Man spent

This one Man

Was the reason

He is the one

To silence Heaven

For this Man

Gave His life

And in the moment

That He died

There was no noise

To be made

During the time

Our debts were paid

This was respect

Shown for Him

The only time it was

Silent in Heaven

Taken from deeper words for God from a simple man of God by daniel m  klem, page 68.