Saturday, 30 March 2013

This Easter Weekend: some thoughts about Jesus

Reading through the Bible is not for the faint of heart. This, a journey of a thousand miles in words no doubt. I think I've said this before. Yes, I'm pretty sure that I have. Then again, I do get to passages like this one in Isaiah 53 and I am reminded...again why I'm doing this. To know God. To know His heart. And to know what is exactly in the Bible though I might not understand every jot and tittle.

 Here are some of the parts of Isaiah 53 verses 5-7.

But He was [h]pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our [i]well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed.
6 All of us like sheep have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to his own way;
But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all
To [j]fall on Him.
7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He did not open His mouth;
Like a lamb that is led to slaughter,
And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers,
So He did not open His mouth.

Did you know that at the time of the writing of Isaiah that crucifixion had not even been "invented" yet? Did you know that the word excruciating means, "from the cross"? The cross was such a terrible experience that a word had to be made up to describe it.

And here verses 8 and 9: 
 
By oppression and judgement He was taken away;
And as for His generation, who considered
That He was cut off out of the land of the [k]living
For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due?
9 His grave was assigned with wicked men,
Yet He was with a rich man in His death,
Because He had done no violence,
Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.
 
You see there is no such thing as blind faith. If you look at the whole of Scripture, you will find a complete story from the very beginning of Genesis to the end of Revelation and the whole of the text points to Jesus! Did you know that According to the Scriptures:
 
~ Isaiah 7:14 says that the Messiah would be born of a virgin. (fulfilled in Jesus Matt. 1:23)
 
~ Micah 5:2 states the the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. (fulfilled in Jesus Matt. 2:5-6)
 
~ A forerunner would prepare the way for the Messiah according to Isaiah 40:3-5 and Malachi 3:1. (fulfilled in John the Baptist Luke 2:3-6)
 
~ Isaiah also states in chapters 29:18-19 and 34:4-6 that the Messiah will heal the blind and do great Miracles. (fulfilled in Jesus Matt. 11:5)
 
~The Messiah will humbly present himself riding on a donkey in Zechariah 9:9. (fulfilled in Jesus Matt. 21:4-5 and John 12:15)
 
~Zechariah 11:12-13 says that the Messiah will be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver. (fulfilled in Jesus Matt.26:15, 27:9-10)
 
~ The Messiah would die for the sins of everyone is stated in 53: 5-9. (fulfilled in Jesus John 1:29, 1 Cor. 15:3)
 
~The Messiah would rise from the dead and not see decay stated in Psalm 16:10. (fulfilled in Jesus Acts 2: 31-32, 1 Cor. 15:4)
 
Scholars estimate that Jesus fulfilled about 300 Old Testament prophesies. The odds of a person fulfilling just 8 of these prophecies (as seen here by Jesus) that the mathematical probability of this is one in 10 to the 17th power. Now you all know I'm not so good at math, but that is a 10 with 17 zeros. That's a lot of zeros! The equivalent of this would be to fill the state of Texas with silver dollars, mark one of them with an X and then mix thoroughly. The odds of having a blindfolded man pick out the X marked silver dollar is the same as 10 to the 17th power. Jesus didn't just fufill a mere 8, he fulfilled hundreds of them and maybe this is why reading through the Old Testament has firmed up my faith.
 
Yes, there are things that I just don't understand culturally, or even things God has decided to do that I think seem unfair. But at the end of the day the question always is, what do I do with Jesus? Because if he is who he says he is...then that radically changes every. single. thing. in my entire life.
 
Which reminds me of one of CS Lewis' most famous quotes:
 
"I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronising nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to."
~from Mere Christianity
 
I encourage you, dear readers to look for yourself...to ponder...to question this Easter weekend. Who is this Jesus? Read through Isaiah 53. Read through a gospel book (Matt., Mark, Luke or John) and parallel what was said hundred years before. This is no blind faith!
 
Because there came a time in my life where the very nature of this question was scary because though I had grown up in a Christian family, I merely knew the answers to the most basic questions in my head.  What I didn't have was a changed heart. I didn't know why I thought I believed what I believed. And that is exactly what Jesus came here to do....die a bloody, wretched death on the cross so that we might know life, freedom, and joy in Him....so that he can change our hearts of stone....into hearts of flesh (Ezekiel 26:36).
 
 
joy
life
faith
hope
grace
mercy
all
found in the
One
found on the
cross
found in
Him
who rose from the dead
on the third day
proving himself God.
 
Happy Easter, friends.
 
**A special thank you to Pastor Dwight Oswald at Southview Bible Church who basically let me plagiarise a tract that he made. Thank you for grace, Dwight!**
 
 

 

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