Cross-Eyed

March 23, 2016 at 11:32 am | Posted in Biblical Eyesight, Common Expressions, Mark | 5 Comments
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The sight of Jesus hanging on the Cross must have been gut-wrenching for those who followed Him and loved Him (and who had not fled and abandoned Him by this point). For most of the spectators, however, including the chief priests and the scribes, it was an occasion for mocking and cruel derision.

And they that passed by railed on him, wagging their heads, and saying, Ah, thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, Save thyself, and come down from the cross. Likewise also the chief priests mocking said among themselves with the scribes, He saved others; himself he cannot save.

Mark 15:29-31

They were not at all ashamed to look fixedly at the Cross, jeering and taunting the Lord, making a jest that, if only He could get Himself down from there right in front of their eyes, then they would become believers.

Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him.

Mark 15:32

You may have heard the expression “cross-eyed,” which is used for a person whose eyes both appear to look independently inward toward his nose, instead of looking in the same direction. Children who are able to make their eyes do this intentionally are sometimes warned by a parent or teacher: “You had better stop making that face, or it will freeze like that!”

Today, as Christians, we ought to look fixedly with our mind’s eye at the Cross, as we consider Christ’s great sacrifice there. Refusing to take the bait and get down from the Cross in His Own power, He instead remained there, paying our sin debt in full, and ultimately laying down His Own life before being taken down and buried, only to rise again victoriously from the grave on the third day! We don’t think of contemplating the Cross of our Savior as “getting stuck like that,” but we should often and regularly meditate upon it with hearts of gratitude, affection, repentance, faith, wonder, amazement, reverence, and obedience. Had He come down from the Cross before death, the religious leaders who mocked Jesus would have no more been convinced of His Deity and glory than they were by His miracles, compassion, and Words of Truth. For us, though, we place our trust in the crucified and resurrected King of Israel because He died and rose again.

Catechism Question 17

February 9, 2015 at 4:28 pm | Posted in Children's Bible Catechism, John | 6 Comments
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Question 17: How did Jesus die?
Answer: He was crucified.
Prove it.

Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst.

John 19:18

Despite the horror, humiliation, and hurtfulness of death on a cross, there can be no denying that it was precisely the type of death ordained by God the Father to be experienced by God the Son. Why did He choose this type of death?

I do not know if we can answer that question with 100% certainty. Traditionally, I have heard it explained that this was the cruelest, most painful death possible, and that the physical suffering of Christ had to be immense beyond measure in order to pay the outrageous sin debt that was owed by His people. I do not want to minimize or denigrate the physical suffering of Christ on the Cross. There can be no doubt it was horrific. However, I have read of the deaths of many of the martyrs, and – physically speaking – there may be more torturous, drawn-out, and even intensely painful ways to die.

I think, first of all, as we explain the suffering of Christ to our children, we would do better to explain it in terms of the transaction of bearing the weight of sin and its guilt by the perfect sinless Savior, and experiencing the indescribable wrath of God poured out against sin. There is a sense in which this transaction took place in the eternal realm between God the Father and Christ the Son, and was a unique type of painfully propitiatory sacrifice which our finite brains can not come close to fathoming.

Second, I also think we need to teach our kids the significance of death by hanging on a tree-like Cross as a picture of the curse of sin being dealt with, and as a fulfillment of prophecy by which God made known the commingling of His forgiveness and His justice. The Cross of Christ had been illustrated in the Old Testament, and was now being orchestrated to prove God’s love and truth.

Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

I Peter 2:24

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:

John 3:14

Give Him Your Heart

November 9, 2009 at 10:14 am | Posted in Salvation | 6 Comments
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Proverbs 23:26 says, “My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.” This is the plea of an earthly parent to his child, but God may be saying the same thing to you today. Have you given the Lord your heart? If so, do you know when, where, and can you describe it in detail?

Maybe you never have. Maybe everybody you know thinks you’re a Christian, but you know you’re not, and God knows you’re not. Your sin has separated you from God. Jesus Christ took your sin on Himself, and He took the punishment for it in your place on the Cross. He was sinless and perfect, yet He was tortured and crucified for every sin you and I ever committed.

The good news is that God accepted Him as the perfect and only possible sacrifice for sin, and showed His acceptance by resurrecting Him from the dead. He lives today, and you have only two choices: You must believe on Him, rejecting your own self-righteousness, or you must reject Him.

The Most Obvious Difference between Jesus and Us

August 21, 2009 at 11:13 am | Posted in I Peter, Salvation | 17 Comments
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Most people will say that they believe in God. But many people do not really understand much about God’s nature. Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son, showed us the true nature of God (Colossians 2:9). Jesus Christ was completely sinless (Hebrews 4:15). Even His earthly enemies, who would have stooped to any level to find fault in Him, had to admit that He was perfectly without fault (John 8:46). As you read this, of all the differences between you and the Lord Jesus, this is the one that should be most obvious: He never sinned; you sin all the time (Romans 3:10-12). Your sin has brought you in line for God’s judgment. God’s holiness and justice require that His judgment be carried out (Ezekiel 18:4). God’s great desire, however, is to show you the bright ray of hope that shines over this bleak scenario. For all those who trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior, God’s judgment was satisfied in the Cross of Calvary. You can receive God’s gift of salvation through Jesus Christ’s payment for your sins, because He, being perfect before God, died and rose again for those of us who are filthy with sin before God.

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:

I Peter 3:18

Standing in the Crossway

July 8, 2009 at 12:14 pm | Posted in Salvation | 8 Comments
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The descendants of Jacob were chosen by God to be the people through whom He would bless the entire world. The descendants of Jacob’s twin, Esau, are anther story. They became the Edomites. Since they shared a common ancestor, God had commanded the Edomites to treat the Hebrews as “brothers,” and to be sympathetic toward them in times of trouble. (Numbers 20:14-17)

Apparently the Edomites did not take this command seriously, because, centuries later, when the Chaldeans were invading and slaughtering Jacob’s descendants in Jerusalem, the Edomites stood by and rejoiced.

But thou shouldest not have looked on the day of thy brother in the day that he became a stranger; neither shouldest thou have rejoiced over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction; neither shouldest thou have spoken proudly in the day of distress.

Obadiah v. 11

And that’s not all! As some of the Hebrews were trying to flee, some of the Edomites stood at the crossroads areas (what the Bible calls “the crossways”), and blocked their escape while the pursuing heathen hordes caught up to them.

Neither shouldest thou have stood in the crossway, to cut off those of his that did escape; neither shouldest thou have delivered up those of his that did remain in the day of distress.

Obadiah v. 14

It is a shame to hear of such treachery. However, at the same time, could there be a more applicable reminder for those of us, in our day and time, who stand by as unbelievers come to the “crossroads of faith?”

As men and women fall under the convicting power of the Holy Ghost and realize their sinful condition, they sometimes see the need to flee from God’s wrath. When we as Christians stand at the crossroads of decision, do we snatch desperate sinners out of the wrong path, and help to usher them toward Jesus Christ? Or, are we like the Edomites, who lurk in hiding, waiting to spring out, trip them up, and hold them down until the enemy arrives to capture or slaughter them?

The Lamb of God was nailed to a wooden cross on ancient Golgotha. That instrument of torture – which He turned into the ultimate symbol of love – is a place of crisis for those who have not yet believed. Let us not be like the Edomites of old. Let us help the hurting and the hunted and the helpless to see that the “Crossway” is the only way to eternal life.


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