Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Christ is No Longer on the Cross

Some religious traditions depict Christ still hanging on the Cross.

Indeed, we celebrate His death, for there our life in Him began. In Him, we have things, we are complete in Him (Colossians  2: 10)

Some religious authorities have commented that the Gospels do not focus on the physical suffering which Jesus endured because the Holy Spirit wanted to emphasis the spiritual suffering, including His separation from His Father as He became sin in our stead.

That is one acceptable reason. Also, we can justifiably argue that every contemporary reader had a vivid and chilling awareness of the pain and suffering that a man executed under Rome would endure. Most of the men and women of ancient times has many harrowing opportuntities to witness men and women dying slow, torturous, painful deaths on a cross. Just the mere mention of the word "crucify" sent shivers up the spines of the men and women of antiquity.

Yet even considering this, Isaiah prophesied explicitly what our Messiah would endure dying for us:

"Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.

"As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:" (Isaiah 52: 13-14)

Jesus was beaten unrecognizable, so severely did he endure the taunting, the beating, the lashing of the Roman hordes.

In the next chapter, Isaiah outlines that  "he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. " (v. 2)

"He is despised and rejected of ; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. " (v. 3)
"Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted". (v. 4)

David prophesied the Messiah's torturous demise in his 22nd Psalm:

"I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels.

"My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death.

"For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.

"I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me." (Psalm 22: 14-17)

Bones out of joint, dried up, heart like wax, hand and ffet pierced -- what a terrible death, and Jesus died this death that we may live, have His life, and that more abundantly.

Christ is no longer on the Cross, but He sits at the right hand of the Father in glory, and there He ministers ever more for His Body, His believers here on earth!

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