Store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven
where moth and rust cannot destroy and thieves cannot break in and steal

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Notice Something Different?

Have you noticed that when a book is written about a historically relevant figure, the vast majority of the book is dedicated to the person’s life; to what s/he was doing when that person was alive? Have you noticed that usually only the last chapter talks about that person’s death?

Fully one third of the Gospels is devoted to Jesus’ death.

No other major religion celebrates the death of it’s leader. In all other major religions, it’s the person’s life that has had the major impact on society, not h/his death. Not so with Christianity. Jesus’ death and especially His resurrection are the meat of Christianity.

Another thing about Jesus, something that is different from other people upon whom religions have been founded, is that Jesus went to his death willingly and deliberately. Prior to His death, Jesus told His followers:

That He would die

When He would die

How He would die

Who would kill Him,

Why He needed to die in this manner

That He would rise again from the dead

When He would rise from the dead, and

Why it was important that He rise from the dead.

The importance of His death and resurrection of course have to do with making possible the forgiveness of our sins and the reconciliation, the renewing of a healed relationship for us with our Creator.

Our sin is what separates us from God.
The sin that Jesus took upon Himself is what separated God the Son from God the Father.
My sins, the punishment that I deserved was taken upon Himself by Jesus.
Your sins, the punishment that you deserve was taken upon Himself by Jesus for your sake.

Sadly the humility required to accept that forgiveness is too much for some people.

Now, while there is only one way to experience reconciliation with Creator God, there are several ways in which you can respond to the offer of reconciliation. These different ways of responding are highlighted in the reactions of those who were involved in Jesus’ death.

The soldiers divided His clothes. They just went about their daily duties in life and completely missed the meaning of Jesus and the cross.

The religious leaders mocked Jesus. The self righteous believe they don’t need Jesus in order to be good. They most certainly see no need for forgiveness. I’m always amazed at how similar atheists are to the Pharisees of Jesus’ day.

Pontius Pilate knew that Jesus was innocent. He even rightly called Him King of the Jews, but he caved to the opinion of others.

The Bystanders were totally detached. They knew all about Jesus and what happened, but His death had no effect on them.

The Roman Centurian, this battle hardened soldier, accustomed to death and dying, after seeing how Jesus died voluntarily and with power said, “Surely this man was the Son of God.”

What's Your Reaction?

If we are guilty, and our Creator say that we are, then justice states that justice must be served.

The sword of justice fell on Jesus.

Jesus said that He came to give His life as a ransom for many, including you.

We can either let Him pay the debt for our sins, or we WILL take our guilt with us to the grave and then begin to pay down the debt ourselves, a debt so great that even a lifetime in hell will not suffice.

Now, before your last breath, you still have time to adjust your response to this offer of forgiveness and reconciliation.


  1. The fact that he came back after dying sort of drills a hole in your theory.

  2. Christians are nearly as obbessed with death as they are with blood.

  3. The fact that he came back after dying sort of drills a hole in your theory."

    Well, the chances of me being wrong about something are extremely low :-) but how so?

  4. The Roman Centurian, this battle hardened soldier, accustomed to death and dying, after seeing how Jesus died voluntarily and with power said, “Surely this man was the Son of God.

    This doesn't ring true.
    A soldier standing around going "Dude! Look at how well that guy dies! He must've been the son of God!" Even when I was a Christian kid, believing in the resurrection and all that other magic, this part screamed bullshit.

  5. "this part screamed bullshit."

    Of course as a child you never asked youself,
    the question -
    So how else do we explain:

    . The empty tomb

    . The conversion of the sceptic and Christian killer Paul

    . The converion of Jesus' brother and sceptic James. Ask yourself, What would your brother have to do to make you believe - to really believe - to believe to such an extent that you'd be willing to die for that belief, that he was God incarnate? For me? The ONLY thing that would do the job is him rising from the dead.

    . The dramatic change in the disciple's character from cowards to fearless evangelists

    . The rise of the Christian Church.

    Of course dead people don't NATURALLY rise from the dead. In fact it's impossible.

    BUT if God exists, then someone supernaturally rising from the dead is not impossible and someone supernaturally rising from the dead IS the best explanation for all five of the historical facts just listed.

    Obviously you didn't ask yourself those questions as a child. Are you willing to consider them now?

    You'll know your degree of willingness to honestly explore the issue based on the degree of desire to flip to, "Well, all these accounts are lies, made up by a bunch of liars." Paul never existed. James never existed, Jesus never existed - blah, blah blah.

  6. Paul never existed.

    Of course Paul existed, who do you think started Christianity?

  7. "this part screamed bullshit."

    I notice you managed not to even mention the part that "screamed bullshit" to 9999...

  8. Fine - The account doesn't say, "How well He died," caused the soldier to say, "This was indeed the Son of God" or whatever. It says, "How He died," cause the soldier to say . . ..

    Jesus life was not taken from Him. He gave it up freely, and took it back again three days later. "He breathed His last," means He died, purposely as planned.

    If His hands hadn't been nailed down, Jesus' comment, "It is finished," probably would have been yelled with a fist punched into the air.

    The proof of His death was when He was run through with the spear and separated serum or plasma and red blood cells gushed out.

    Now go to bed, it's getting late.

  9. "BUT if God exists, then someone supernaturally rising from the dead is not impossible and . . ."

    That's a big "if" that makes everything in the New Testament very suspect to an atheist. But I don't think it's necessarily all lies. People who believe in God often convince themselves something happened that probably didn't, such as going to a cave and coming out with a book dictated by God, or digging up golden plates previously buried by an angel. They become so convinced that what their brain thinks it experienced is true that they could probably pass a lie detector test about it, and they can certainly convince other people that it's true. The list of martyrs for various non-Protestant and non-Catholic beliefs tends to weaken martyrdom as an argument for the resurrection being true.

    The mention of so many other gods in the Bible seems like pretty good evidence that people back then tended to believe in a supreme being with very little evidence. Either they believed in a bunch of false gods that didn't exist, or they believed in a bunch of gods that do (or did) exist. If those other gods didn't exist, I see no reason not to add Yahweh (Jesus' dad) to that list. If those other gods did exist, I'd really like to know what they're doing now.

    So if you're trying to convert someone from Judaism to Christianity it makes sense to talk about the New Testament since you can assume they're on board with the Old Testament. But the New Testament doesn't hold any water (holy or otherwise) for someone who doesn't believe in the God of the Old Testament.