What was “posed”:http://open-dialogue.com/blog/?p=514 as merely a curiosity question and an aside ((Since I’ve switched to a widget-compatible theme, I’ve started using a new plugin for my asides so that I can continue displaying them in my sidebar. For some reason, though, my asides no longer show up in my RSS feed, so if you read my site from the feed, you won’t see any of my asides until I can figure out how to get them to show up in the feed again. Feel free to offer any solutions or suggestions, if you have any.)) has become a rather more interesting discussion than I expected it to be – an exploration of the fact that Jesus was probably not actually crucified on a Friday but more likely on Wednesday and buried later that same evening so that he could be buried for a full three days, according to both prophecy and His own words. Feel free to check out the discussion and add your own thoughts and knowledge to the topic.
It’s funny…. I just received an email from my younger brother. In it, he included a journal entry that I had shared with a bunch of people a little over four years ago. I had been think meditating on Christ’s death and what He went through. And in light of Mel Gibson’s recent release of The Passion of Christ and the upcoming Easter season, my brother felt challenged by those words from the past and felt let to share them again with a number of people, myself included. And again, I was challenged with the thought contained within those few lines. And so I share them with you….. God bless….
Friday, Februrary 18, 2000
We weep and sorrow with the pain and loss that others experience, particularly those we love and care about most. We sympathize when they are injured or undergo surgery, and we cry when they lose someone they love. We feel the frustration of a friend’s lay-off from their job, we share the burden of depression when things don;t go well, and we share the plethora of other emotions and burdens of those we cherish. But when was teh last time I wept for the pain and loss that God felt when His Son came to the earth? When was the last time I wept because God gave up Heaven to become a helpless baby? When was the last time I shed tears over the wounds that my Savior suffered in his hands, his feet, his side, his head, and his back? When was the last time I cried because God the Father could not look down on God the Son for a time because of the burden of my sins that he bore on His back? When was the last time I genuinely wept because of the ultimate sacrifice that anyone can give? WHen was the last time that I loved my God that much? I can’t help but shed tears of joy and rejoice right down to the very core of my heart and the deepest recesses of my soul when I think of the love that flowed upon my head through that act of total selflessness. I can’t help but weep with gladness that I will see my Lord on the throne of Daivd, seated in the highest of the heavens, to reign forever and ever with righteousness, turth , and love. I can’t help but cry when I think that my God will one day be declared the victor and will forever destroy sin and evil. My entire being rejoices and my soul loudly proclaims worship and praise to the One who loves me so much that He sacrifices so much for me, an imperfect creature that does not know how to return that love, so that I may spend an eternity with Him, to love Him and to praise Him and to know Him. Glory be to the Lamb that was slain. Honor and praise be to the Father, who gave His son to be the propitiation for my sins. Mere words cannot adequately proclaim the honor you deserve, Lord, nor can my actions, which are flawed, make up for the lack. Oh God, cleanse my heart and purify my wicked ways. Make me into a servant fit to bear your likeness. Amen, amen, and amen.
But He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way, and the Lord has laid upon him the inquity of us all.
I am of the opinion that the Gospel is the single most misunderstood topic in the history of mankind (even among Christians themselves). It has incited Crusades of death and persecution and yet has inspired millions to give their lives to Christ.
The most current example of this misunderstanding is the criticism of the release of The Passion of the Christ. One news periodical criticizes the movie harshly, saying, “The Reporter also says that the movie’s violence is so intense and more important than character development that audiences may have trouble with that.” I’ve not yet seen the movie (though I hope to this weekend), but the point of this particular movie is NOT to provide quality character development or shield us from the violence of that moment in history. Quite the opposite in fact. It is to show us the very graphic nature of what Christ went through to atone for our sins. And quite frankly, if you want character development, take some time to read through the Gospels for the complete view of Christ and his earthly ministry.
A local talkshow host advocated the movie during his broadcast last night, pointing out that many of the critics of this movie have yet to see it. His advice to said critics was to go see the movie and then form an opinion. And while he advocated the movie and was so close to being correct, he was also soFAR from being correct. He made the statement that Gibson’s goal in producing this movie was marketing and that local churches also are using it as marketing to get people into the pews. This is both correct and not correct (and here is a facet of the misunderstanding). On one hand, it is marketing insofar as it is intended to draw people. But that is NOT the primary goal. The primary goal is to share the Gospel, using a clear depiction of what Christ went through in His final hours to drive home the weight of that moment that has forever impacted and changed history. This is the thing that the unsaved world simply cannot understand. It is not marketing that we care about — it is souls. We desire to bring others to Christ so that they, too, may be spared from eternal damnation, as we have been. And the ONLY reason this movie has been so criticized so harshly even before its official release is because it is a religious movie, and a Christian religious movie at that. No one complains about the intense violence and lack of character development in a Jean Claude Van Damme movie (or any other movie or television show, for that matter).
..edit.. This website is a prime example of the Christian contribution to the misunderstanding of the Gospel. While I respect this organization’s attempt to exhort and correct a perceived wrong, it is Christian ‘wackos’like these who inspire hate and disgust of all those who bear the name of Christ while at the same time taking the Scriptures out of context in order to suit their own purposes and interpretations of the Bible. And it is exactly this kind of ‘Christian’ that makes me want to distance myself from everyone who claims to be a follower of Christ so as to avoid tainting my own ministry to others and to cleanse this bitter taste from my mouth.