Thursday, April 05, 2007

Easter Week Thoughts

When talk shows and the like talk about Jesus, the most popular title for Him is prophet. Prophets usually are considered weird people; we can listen and ignore them because most really aren’t prophets, they are frauds. Therefore, there are no consequences for what they say. We like it that way. Oh, they might ruffle our feathers but on the whole, we don’t take them seriously. So, when it comes to the claims of Jesus, let’s ignore them, just keep Him a prophet.

People say times change, sometimes they don’t. When Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, the crowds rolled out to welcome Him. In Luke 19:37 it says in part…”the whole crowd of disciples began singing joyfully to God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: Blessed is he King who comes in the name of the Lord…” Notice why they were praising Him: “for all the miracles they had seen.” These disciples quoted scripture; they knew who He was.

In Matthew 21 scripture about the triumphal entry says this: (verse 10) “When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city stirred and asked, “Who is this?” vs.11, the crowds answered “This is Jesus the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.” The crowds saw Him as prophet not as King, Lord or Savior.

Deep down, who is Jesus to you; just a prophet or Lord, Savior and King? In Matt. 16:13, Jesus asked, “Who do the people say the Son of Man is? Verse 14 they replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets. Jesus asked His disciples “Who do you say I am?” And Peter replied “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Peter confirmed and believed he was the Son of God.

From that time on, Jesus begins to explain to His disciples that He must be killed. Peter takes Jesus aside and says, “Never Lord, this shall never happen to you.”

The world can tolerate Him as a prophet. But when we call Him “Christ, the Son of the living God” things change. This being killed, tortured, beaten beyond human recognition stuff (Is. 52) having to die a miserable death stuff just doesn’t seem to fit into the worlds plan.. I mean this really sounds messy. It’s easier for us if He just stays a prophet. That way we don’t have to struggle with guilt and sin and all that other messy stuff.

We can sit around, be cool, contemplate and discuss who we are; why are we here; and where are we going? We can debate evil, the reality of it. We desire to seek human justice (making everything right in this world); we all hunger for love, desiring to know we are all of value. We want all of this to “work out” some way. We want an end to this misery…we know deep down, left to itself, it won’t work out; history proves that. In our heart we long for a Savior but because of pressure from the world, we only accept Him as prophet, not Lord and Savior. Just a prophet.

On Calvary, the one act of the God/man Jesus dying for our sin addresses evil and deals with it. Justice is achieved, not in a human way, but in a supernatural way, “the just (Jesus) dying for the unjust (us)." Oh, what a thought.

Romans 5:6-11 "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation."

Our hunger for love is played out in our writings, poems, movies and music. We know deep down these things will not satisfy. Oh we are blessed with faithful husbands and wives, moms and dads, loving children and grandchildren. This is good but it does not fill the God shaped hole in our heart…only Christ Jesus, dying for us on the cross, can grant forgiveness and reconciliation and fill that God shaped hole. Nothing else can satisfy our hunger for love. This one act was played out on a hill called Calvary, where the Son of God was skewered to the cross so you and I could be free from sin and guilt and be made right with God once and for all. No, He is not just a prophet; He is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

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