Category Archive: Christ’s Passion

A Riveting Sacrifice

11-08-11 © traveler1116, courtesy of iStockphoto

The merit of all things lies in their difficulty.

~ Alexandre Dumas, The Three Musketeers

 

Rosie the Riveter was a bandana-clad woman who became an inspiring icon of the American spirit. She represented those women who served their roles alongside the soldiers fighting in World War II.

And what image did she display to emphasize her effort? The bared arm.

  • God saw a need for redemption.

Mankind’s war effort against its own sinfulness was a lost cause. The Lord knew this. He didn’t just come alongside our struggle as Rosie did; He assumed all responsibility for winning that war.

This was the most difficult task for an all-powerful God. To demonstrate the sincerity of His effort, Isaiah portrayed God with His arm bared:

 

The Lord has made bare His holy arm


In the eyes of all the nations;

And all the ends of the earth shall see


The salvation of our God.

~ Isaiah 52:10, NKJV

As we focus on this passage, we discover many truths.

  • Redemption required great exertion.

The Judean attire of that day didn’t cover the arms like long-sleeved shirts and jackets of our day do. The outer robes tended to flap and could be disruptive to hard labor for the workman; even more, to a soldier engaged in hand-to-hand combat.

Thus, a person of action rolled up his sleeves to have full use of his extremities in times of exertion or battle. Isaiah’s metaphor helped the people of his day see with what effort God intended to act.

Sin holds a death-grip on all of us. For God to redeem us, He had to perform a feat that only He could. And He did.

  • Redemption required a decisive choice.

Since the clothing didn’t recede naturally on its own, a laborer or soldier had to use his other hand to manage the sleeves on each side. The decision was purposeful; the action followed. Just so, God took the necessary measures to fulfill His desire.

  • Redemption required complete exposure.

The Judean workman exposed his shoulder to perform the work he had to do. The Hebrew term for arm indicated the entire limb, extending from the shoulder to the fingertips. Thus, we see that God gave it His all to save us.

  • Redemption came from the One who judged.

He revealed His holy arm in judgment against our sin so that we could see the salvation He pointed us toward – that which came through the One He judged in our stead: His Son.

The Elevation Worship song, “Raised to Life,” proclaims:

 

Sin was strong

But Jesus is stronger.[1]

Amen!

 

Have you ever considered God’s riveting sacrifice to pay for our sins?



[1]  Steven Furtick, Matt Redman, Chris Brown, Mack Brock, Raised to Life, Elevation Worship, © 2013, by Provident Label Group, LLC, CCLI # 7011534, http://elevationworship.com/onlykingforever/raisedtolife/

 

 

 

What Was God’s Most Difficult Task?

The merit of all things lies in their difficulty.

~ Alexandre Dumas, The Three Musketeers

 

07-11-09 © James Brey, courtesy of iStockphoto

 

True followers of Christ believe in an all-powerful God. Among the faithful, there’s nothing He can’t do. But in a moment of crisis, we might sometimes wonder: is there something too difficult for God?

  • What’s the most difficult thing God had to accomplish?

Christians believe that the Lord created the heavens and the earth, the continents and the oceans, the mountains and the plains, the fish and the land animals, the polar bear and the giraffe, the albatross and the salamander. We acknowledge He made mankind in His image – that He’s numbered every hair on our head and the subatomic particles in between our toes.

  • Nothing was too difficult for the Creator.

Not the Milky Way or the rings of Saturn. Not the earth or the sun that warms it. Not the complexities of the human eye. Not the T-Rex or the Dodo. Not El Nino or La Nina. Not the Beluga or the sand dollar. They’re all part of God’s magnificent creation.

  • God didn’t even break a sweat when He spoke them into existence.

Genesis 1 – 2 recounts for us that God willed it, and everything in Nature that we see and that we’ve never seen He created ex nihilo – from nothing. How did He do it? With these words: God said… and there was…

  • David describes God’s effort as mere finger-work.

 

When I observe Your heavens,


the work of Your fingers,


the moon and the stars,


which You set in place…

~ Psalm 8:3, HCSB (emphasis mine)

 

For the above phrase, the psalmist employed the Hebrew term, ‘etsba’  – meaning, that God’s creation of everything around us was mere finger-work. Most would consider such activity as monotonous, not laborious. Most would associate such a task as beneath them – but not God. His creation declared His glory, and it was easy for Him.

  • What then was God’s most difficult task?

Isaiah informed us:

 

The Lord has made bare His holy arm


In the eyes of all the nations;

And all the ends of the earth shall see


The salvation of our God.

~ Isaiah 52:10, NKJV

 

The Lord bared His arm to provide for our salvation. Isaiah employed the Hebrew term, chasaph, for bare, which means: to exert oneself.

Thus, the prophet painted a word picture that indicated when God chose to redeem mankind, He had to roll up His sleeves for an exhausting task.

  • It was the most difficult thing an all-powerful, holy God could do.

It’s the most difficult thing He will ever do. And He did it so all the world could see the salvation He alone provides.

The Hand of God

The heavens declare the glory of God,


And the sky proclaims the work of His hands.

~ Psalm 19:1, HCSB

Credit: NASA/CXC/SAO/P.Slane, et al.

 

 

According to Captain Kirk, space is the final frontier to be explored. Great wonders exist throughout its expanse. People search the great unknown for signs of life beyond our own, and all they find screams of a Life far greater than our own.

What they discovered is a beautiful array of debris and gases displayed in our universe.[1] The colorful creation appears suspended against the ebony backdrop of space. It doesn’t take much imagination to see what appears to be a hand reaching out toward the darkness beyond.

This photo captured this heavenly spectacle for the world to see.

  • The exhibition occurred because a star died.

When the star exploded, it scattered gases and rubble in various directions. New x-ray technology enabled NASA astrophysicists to capture the debris field in never-before-seen images.

  • The cosmologists didn’t comprehend how right they were.

In naming this phenomenon The Hand of God, the scientists reminded us of who God is and what He has done for us.

  • The Giver of life is the Bright Morning Star.

“I, Jesus, have sent My angel to attest these things to you for the churches.

I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright Morning Star.”

~ Revelation 22:16, HCSB

 

God sent His Son, the Bright and Morning Star, to die for our sins. Because of our depravity, we nailed Him to a Roman cross, for the whole world to see. Millions witnessed it. Both secular and religious writers discussed it. No legitimate scholar can deny that Jesus died just such a death.

  • His executioners nailed His hands to that cross.

In The Hand of God, we see a remarkable depiction of the likeness of Jesus’ hands that day. In the vicinity where a Roman nail would’ve pierced the Savior’s hand, we see a prominent light formed.

  • The hand of God changed an unbelieving heart.

In just such a wound as depicted in the stellar phenomenon, Thomas placed his finger in the Savior’s hand, losing all doubt to the power of the Risen Savior. In that dark abyss where doubt had cast him, the Light of God’s glory shined anew.

  • The hand of God had reached into the darkness to save him.

This stellar phenomenon reminds me that He did the same for all mankind, but so very few accept His extended hand of saving grace.

 

Have you ever placed your faith in the hand of God?


[1] Tanya Lewis, “’Hand of God’ Spotted by NASA Space Telescope (Photo),”

January 09, 2014, http://www.space.com/24225-hand-of-god-photo-nasa-telescope.html, retrieved 02/02/14.

A Passion for Jesus

If our preaching does not have the same effect on people that Jesus had, then we must not be declaring the same message that Jesus did.

~ Timothy Keller

11-10-06 @ perefu, courtesy of iStockphoto

In the last post, I told a story that my father told many times as a preacher. He never wanted any glory for his teaching. He never sought affirmation through his successes. He wanted no earthly rewards for his service.

He’d rather have heard, “Wow! What a Savior!” at the end of every lesson than, “Wow! Great sermon, pastor.” His motivation was to glorify God in his ministry.

  • I desire to do the same.

I’m not a pastor. I don’t even teach Sunday school at this time. I have no theological degrees that would impress anyone.

  • But I do have a passion for Jesus Christ.

I want to honor and glorify Him as my Savior and Lord. He is the One who humbled Himself to take the wrath of God due for my sin. He didn’t have to do that for me. He didn’t have to do that for anyone, and yet He died for everyone.

  • That’s why I’ve chosen to write about His Passion.

Although many of you have seen The Passion of the Christ, there’s much more that we can glean from Scripture about His agony. In Crushed: a Physician Analyzes the Agony of Jesus, I review every detail of Christ’s suffering from a medical perspective, but I do so in layman’s terms so that non-medical people can understand it.

Even more, it is biblically sound.

  • Crushed shows how God foretold of each aspect in Scripture.

That’s why prominent theologians have endorsed this manuscript. It’s not because of a novice’s style of writing, which leaves much to be desired. It’s more because of the emphasis on God’s voice, which we hear as we study God’s Word.

  • It’s more than a story about a carpenter who died two millennia ago.

It’s where our past meets our future, all wrapped up in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

  • My purpose is not about selling books.

It’s more about glorifying the One who loved each one of us enough to give His life for ours. If what I’ve written moves anyone, it’s not my words that will do it. Instead, it will be God’s Spirit. I pray He will do more with this work than I could ever hope, for His is the glory.

 

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

~ Ephesians 3:20-21, NKJV

Check out Crushed: a Physician Analyzes the Agony of Jesus. You can download it on iTunes to an iPad or to a Kindle or Kindle app at the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/Crushed-Physician-Analyzes-Agony-ebook/dp/B00BUYZK6O/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1364160776&sr=8-3&keywords=J.+Shan+Young

 

How does knowing about Jesus’ sacrifice impact you?

CRUSHED, a Book with a Purpose

If our preaching does not have the same effect on people that Jesus had, then we must not be declaring the same message that Jesus did.

~ Timothy Keller

05-12-11 @ Richard Goerg, courtesy of iStockphoto

  • “What a sermon, Pastor.”

He’d heard those words hundreds of times before. Each time, the preacher felt his congregation had affirmed that he’d conveyed his message. Yet, deep within his heart, he knew those encouragements were nothing more than luscious morsels for his pride’s insatiable appetite.

  • Every Sunday, he felt he had to best the week before.

The pastor constantly pushed the praise team to crank it up a notch. They added instruments and different styles of worship. He utilized video to capture the young people’s attention. He employed drama and played segments of movies to keep the congregation from getting bored.

Twitter. Facebook. Pinterest. Instagram. He was an expert in all things digital.

  • The pastor confessed he was nothing more than an entertainer.

He tried to cater to everyone. He felt that there was something in the Gospel with which everyone could identify. His intentions were honorable at first, but he now realized that he’d succumbed to the temptation to adapt the message he’d originally preached.

  • The stagnant immaturity of his congregation awakened him.

There was a lot of hand-raising and head-nodding. Some shouted an Amen or two every week. Yet, the people kept living the same way they always did. The gossips talked about everyone in the church. Leaders didn’t serve. People didn’t read their Bibles. Their prayer life was in absentia. The lost weren’t being reached, and the saved didn’t seem to care.

  • God impassioned him with what he had to do.

With his next sermon, the pastor taught the same lesson he had the previous week. No one seemed to notice. Instead, people filed out of the church, shook his hand, and said, “Great sermon, Pastor” … yet again.

The next week he preached the same sermon once more. He got the same response, but from less people. The members had begun to realize what was going on.

  • A murmuring echoed throughout the community.

The next week, the pastor preached the same sermon but with more fire. He took away the entertaining to present just the Gospel message this time.

  • That’s when some leaders warned him that he treaded on thin ice.

They threatened to fire him if he didn’t go back to preaching like they wanted it. One said, “People here want to be entertained – not lectured to. You’ll run everyone off if we don’t tickle their ears a little.”

He knew their disobedience stymied God’s work through them. God’s Spirit impressed upon him to preach the same message until they responded as the Lord desired.

  • The pastor prayed for God’s Word to pierce their hearts.

The next Sunday the pastor preached with great fervor the same message. With tears pouring from his eyes, he shared his heart for God’s Truth. With his voice cracking at times, he proclaimed the Gospel message with everything he had, knowing it very well might be his last sermon in that church.

  • After his passionate exhortation, he left an assistant to do the closing.

The discouraged pastor made his way to the exit doors. On what he knew was his last day as the shepherd of his congregation, he mustered all he had to say goodbye to his flock. Minutes seemed like years, but soon everyone filed out.

  • On this day, he didn’t hear, “What a sermon, Pastor.”

Instead, what he heard was, “What a Savior!” That was the response he had desired to hear. Over and over the members proclaimed it. For many, it was their first time meeting Jesus. For most, it was their first time that they understood the price He’d paid for their sins.

 

For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.

~ 1 Corinthians 2:2, NASB

Please let me know what you think.

What effect does the Gospel message have on your life? Has it changed you?

Easter without Passion

 It is curious that people who are filled with horrified indignation whenever a cat kills a sparrow can hear the story of the killing of God told Sunday after Sunday and not experience any shock at all.

~ Dorothy Sayers

05-25-06 @ Mike Wiggins, courtesy of iStockphoto

Americans celebrate Easter’s traditions: Peter Rabbit, colored eggs, bonnets, and chocolates. While most have some knowledge of why Christians celebrate Easter, most aren’t comfortable with it.

Familiarity breeds apathy.

~ William Bernbach

For most Christians, the Passion is so familiar that we’ve become apathetic about it. And while we do celebrate what Jesus’ Resurrection means to those who’ve surrendered their lives to Him, there could be no such hope without what He endured on Good Friday.

That’s why …

we preach Christ crucified,

to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness …

~ 1 Corinthians 1:23, NKJV

Why was Jesus’ crucifixion a stumbling block to the religious and considered moronic to the educated? Crucifixion was the vilest form of capital punishment ever devised.

Romans mocked Christians with graffiti that portrayed a crucified donkey. In their mindset, a God wouldn’t choose to die. Even if He did, He certainly wouldn’t select the cruelest death – something reserved for the most heinous criminals, slaves, and enemies.

And yet Jesus …

humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death,

even the death of the cross.

~ Philippians 2:8, NKJV

Excruciating! That’s what describes our severest agony. It derives from the Latin term meaning: out of the cross. It was the supreme penalty Romans inflicted upon people.

God chose the worst torture for His Son, who was …

the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

~ Revelation 13:8, NKJV

John Piper indicated that redemption through Christ’s sacrifice wasn’t Plan B for God. He foreordained it to pay the penalty due for our sin. Isaiah prophesied:

Then the LORD saw it, and it displeased Him

That there was no justice.

He saw that there was no man,

And wondered that there was no intercessor;

Therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him…

~ Isaiah 59:15-16, NKJV

After mankind sinned in the Garden of Eden, God’s holy wrath required sin’s punishment to be paid, but He knew sinful man could never do it.

Before the Lord pronounced judgment on mankind for his sin, He announced that His Son would achieve victory over the serpent and death when He said:

“He shall bruise your head,

And you shall bruise His heel.”

~ Genesis 3:15, NKJV

If we look at how one dies by crucifixion, we find something very startling. People die via suffocation. The whole process slowly asphyxiates the crucified. They have to lift themselves to breathe by using their feet against the wooden cross to push themselves up for air. Such actions would bruise the Messiah’s heel – just as God foretold.

If Jesus’ death alone was needed, then His death could’ve been instantaneous. But that didn’t happen. Why? He had to suffer the full brunt of God’s vengeance due for sin. Isaiah prophesied about the Redeemer:

Yet the Lord was pleased to crush Him severely.

~ Isaiah 53:10, HCSB

Only such a sacrifice could avenge God’s wrath against all ungodliness. Jesus understood this because He wouldn’t partake of the narcotic offered to Him to numb the writhing anguish. He had to suffer the full effects of God’s fury against our sin.

Again, this was no light affliction, for Scripture portrays the Savior:

His appearance was so disfigured
that He did not look like a man,


and His form did not resemble a human being …

~ Isaiah 52:14, HCSB

He not only endured the crucifixion as bad as it was, but He allowed the barbarians to mutilate His flesh so that He no longer looked human. Just as Adam had marred his body with sin so that it no longer bore God’s holiness, mankind disfigured the Savior so that He no longer appeared human.

He was despised and forsaken of men,


A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;


And like one from whom men hide their face


He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

~ Isaiah 53:3, NASB

As we look upon our Savior this Easter, will we esteem Him for what He did for us?

Or, will we look away?

Will we trample underfoot once again the blood He shed for us?

The answer to these questions lies in how we live our lives from this day.

If our preaching does not have the same effect on people that Jesus had, then we must not be declaring the same message that Jesus did.

~ Timothy Keller

Are we willing to live for Him with the same passion He had for us?

(For more information, please check out Crushed: a Physician Analyzes the Agony of Jesus.

Gossip Is the Devil’s Work

Double, double, toil and trouble;

Fire burn, and cauldron bubble!

~ Witches, Macbeth, Act IV, Scene 1

01-18-04 @ Bonita Hein

The witches of Macbeth voiced the will of Hecate, the supernatural power who desired chaos among the mortals.

King James I, the ruling monarch when Shakespeare penned Macbeth, wrote that a witch’s motive was to harm men and their possessions. Not only were sorceresses political traitors, but also they were spiritual insurrectionists. Common opinion saw them as disruptive to the work of Christ.[1]

  • Witches instilled moral confusion.

They desired to turn good to evil and to make evil seem as good. Their introductory lines declare as much:

Fair is foul, and foul is fair.

~ Witches, Macbeth, Act I, scene 1

By their own admission, they desired to inflict double trouble upon mankind.

  • The witches put the devil’s seed into a fertile mind.

In Shakespeare’s day, the common belief was that the devil influenced a sinner toward evil by playing with his thoughts. The witches planted the idea in Macbeth’s head, and it swayed him toward a destructive path that took the whole country down with him.

That Shakespeare set the play in Scotland where warring clans needed little motivation to hurt one another wasn’t happenstance. (Neither is it in the church.)

  • The witches stirred their pot with a little bit of everything.

Look at their recipe for disaster:

Fillet of a fenny snake,

In the cauldron boil and bake;

Eye of newt and toe of frog,

Wool of bat and tongue of dog,

Adder’s fork and blindworm’s sting,

Lizard’s leg and howlet’s wing.

For charm of powerful trouble,

Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

~ Second Witch, Act IV, Scene 1

From this grocery list, we see a little of this and a tad of that. They didn’t use the whole of anything, only those tidbits they needed for their purposes. And in the end, they stoked the fires of hell to rustle up their curse.

  • Thus, it always is with those who stir the pot with gossip.

They take a bit of truth here and a half-truth there as they concoct their version of a story. They usually add in their own special ingredients to spice the tale up.

  • The gossip puts the devil’s idea into the ear of the listener.

The Greek word used in Scripture for gossip is diabolos – a name also used for Satan, a devil, a malicious slanderer, the arch-enemy of good.

The religious leaders of Jesus’ day were guilty of the work of diabolos. Jesus proclaimed a warning:

“You are of your father the Devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and has not stood in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks from his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of liars.”

~ John 8:44, HCSB

 

How should Christians respond to those who gossip?


[1] King James I, Daemonologie, Second Book, Chapter 3, referenced by Mabillard, Amanda. The Relationship Between Macbeth and the Witches. Shakespeare Online. 20 Aug. 2000, (retrieved February 1, 2013) < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/faq/macbethfaq/macbethdarkness.html >.

Living in Mad Hatter’s Wonderland

If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn’t. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn’t be. And what it wouldn’t be, it would. You see?

~ Mad Hatter, Alice in Wonderland

11-19-12 @ Duncan Walker, courtesy of iStockphoto

Mad Hatter lived in a fantasy world known as Wonderland. In Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the eccentric was loveable but odd nonetheless.

In Carroll’s satire, Mad Hatter’s role is a commentary on the consequences of the Industrial Revolution in Victorian England. Carroll’s character can also serve as a warning to us who live in the current computer age.

  • Not all poisons are labeled with a skull-and-crossbones.

In the 1800s, hatters used mercury to cure felt in manufacturing hats. The constant inhalation of the caustic fumes led to mercury poisoning, producing irreversible neurological damages in the brain.

But no one understood this at the time.

It wasn’t until the twentieth century that researchers realized mercury’s impact on the human body. The link to Minamata Disease in the 1950s began to make the association more clear. A toxic chemical plant dumped tons of mercury into the waters off the coast of Japan, where the local diet featured the contaminated fish. Now, we discern the risks of eating seafood, in part, due to the effects that mercury poisoning had on these people.

  • The silent poison leads to memory impairment, emotional lability, and insomnia.

Thus, we see the odd behavior of the Mad Hatter who speaks gibberish. Poor Alice can’t decipher much of what he’s saying, leading to confusion and frustration for everyone. His responses and his actions are inappropriate. He’s bonkers, and we know it.

  • Mad Hatter murders time.

Time halts itself in the Hatter’s world. He’s stuck in the constant pleasure of  “Tea Time,” where even the teenage Alice recognizes the futility of such exercise. He’s lost all capacity to move on with his life. And he’s helpless to do anything about it.

  • Mad Hatter was a changed man – but not necessarily for the better.

Mad didn’t mean angry in Carroll’s time, for it derived from the Indo-European term, mei, which meant: changed. From this same base, mutate also originated.[1] The mercury had changed the hatter for the worst by mutating his brain function.

As pitiful as the Hatter was, there’s something more sinister affecting far more people than just the hatmakers. It’s something that’s invaded into every American home. And it’s causing issues with people’s memory, productivity, mood, and sleep.

  • What bane has already changed millions of us?

The technological advances of the computer age: social media, video gaming, and the video industries.[2] If we’re not careful, they could make us as mad as a hatter, for we live in a Mad Hatter wonderland where everything is at our fingertips. Where things aren’t always as they seem. Where even nonsense and untruths are heralded as truth.

Maybe the Mad Hatter got his wish after all.

The Bible warns us:

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…

~ Proverbs 23:7, KJV

I invite you to visit Dr. Dobson’s link to see what you think.


[1] (John Ayto, Dictionary of Word Origins (New York: Arcade Publishing, 1990), 332.

[2] http://www.drjamesdobson.org/Broadcasts/Broadcast?i=dec0871a-45ad-46f9-93ee-20a6ec7d7560

 

The Jesus Who Never Existed

When He hung on the cross, they said let Him come down and we’ll believe Him. That’s what the world is saying today… The world would take Him without the cross. But a cross-less Christ would mean no more than a Christ-less cross.

~ Vance Havner

Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem, courtesy of Mike Roberts

In Talladega Nights: the Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Will Ferrell’s character begins to pray to Baby Jesus. His reasoning is that he likes Jesus as a baby – not what He did as a man. He then mocks Christ with irreverent sacrilege.

What Ferrell’s character does for laughs, many live out daily. The very ones eager to celebrate Christmas have no interest in the Passion or the Resurrection. They prefer Jesus in the manger and not on the cross. They fence Him in a cage, like the one at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

  • The infant Messiah’s more palatable than the Gospel Christ.

Jesus didn’t hold back any punches. He called it as He saw it. He fumed against false religion, calling its practitioners rotting corpses in foul-smelling tombs. He exposed linen-clad religious leaders as the sons of Satan. Jesus barked that a political leader was nothing more than a wily fox.

He didn’t follow the Dale Carnegie course material about winning friends and influencing people.

  • The infant Messiah’s not controversial to the world system.

The baby Jesus didn’t command followers to pick up their crosses to follow Him. He didn’t tell the people to sell all they had. He didn’t condemn their ways of living. He didn’t claim as a Child that He was the only way.

Of course, the world wants Baby Jesus because they can’t put a pacifier in the mouth of the Lord who rose from the grave.

  • The infant’s not offensive like the bloodied Christ hanging on a cross.

Vance Havner said it correctly: the world will take the Savior if there were no cross. While He hung there, people taunted Him to come down so that they could worship His show of power. They didn’t expect Him to do so, or they wouldn’t have derided Him as they did.

Today people do the same thing – just in a different way. People don’t want the Jesus who died on a cross. They want the innocent baby cooing away in a manger. People want a savior who loves every sinful lifestyle there is – not the Lord who said that all who reject Him suffer judgment already.

Modernists don’t want Jesus on that cross because that Messiah is offensive to others. They want to keep Baby Jesus in that cage in Bethlehem.

Why?

Unbelievers want the politically-correct Jesus, a man who never existed.

Sweating It Out

We didn’t have Gatorade. That made the difference.

~ Bobby Dodd

© Matt Matthews, courtesy of iStockphoto

In 1965, Coach Ray Graves had requested researchers at the University of Florida create a rehydrating drink for his football team. These scientists noted their concoction seemed to enable the test subjects to achieve greater performances. Every Florida Gator then joined the experiment.

When the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets lost the 1967 Orange Bowl to the Gators, Coach Bobby Dodd’s proclamation above made sports’ drinks a staple among athletics. Now, competing brands have joined the sweat-replacing market.

  • Losing bodily fluids can be detrimental to one’s health.

For athletes, it’s a myriad of related risks. Leg cramps. Greater tendencies for injuries. Heat strokes. Even death.

  • But a more dire peril awaited those tortured by processes such as crucifixion.

Naked. Exposed to the sun and the wind. Wounds bleeding. Constantly struggling to breathe by pulling up the body to inspire. Hyperventilating. And no way to rehydrate.

Copious perspiration accompanied crucifixion. We get some idea of this from the Nazi torture we’ve discussed.[1] [2] [3]

  • Sweating profusely occurred in aufbinden.

An eyewitness noticed that the victim’s sweat drenched the floor beneath where he hung. The Nazi tormentors experimented with this condition. They placed some prisoners they tortured in freezing conditions. Even the icy temperatures didn’t halt the dying man from perspiring copious amounts.[4]

We’ve covered many facets of what someone crucified suffers. Profuse sweating is yet another condition we can add to this woe.

  • Jesus perspired copious amounts in Gethsemane.

We’ve also covered this in another post.[5] [6] Luke wrote:

And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

~ Luke 22:44, NKJV

  • Luke, a Greek physician, used the term thrombos.

His word usage describes the size and the amount of fluid falling from Jesus’ body. From thrombos, we get the medical term for blood clot. What Luke notes is that the Christ perspired profusely as he suffered for us. And this was before He ever got to the cross.

  • At Calvary, He would sweat more.

We know one of the very few statements Jesus made on the cross was: “I thirst!”[7] It pictures for us just how dehydrated Jesus was when He died. Only He didn’t have a method to rehydrate like today’s athletes do.

  • Instead, He poured His life out like water for you and me.

And it made all the difference in the world.

 



[4] Pierre Barbet, A Doctor Looks at Calvary: the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ as Described by a Surgeon (Fort Collins, CO: Roman Catholic Books, 1953), 174.

[7] John 19:28, NKJV.