Thursday, April 21, 2011

Easter Art--The Cleaned up Cross

Isaiah 52:13-15: “See, my servant will act wisely, he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted. Just as there were many who were appalled at him, his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness, so will he sprinkle many nations and kings will shut their mouths because of him…(NIV).

When I was little, I remember the crucifix on the wall in the dining room at my Uncle Ben & Aunt Lillian’s. It always got my attention. One day when I was there, I got up on a chair and looked at it really close to realize it was the cross with the crucified Jesus upon it. At five or six years of age I didn’t understand what it all meant.

Fifty plus years later at Easter I’m reminded of Christ’s sacrifice for my sins, His suffering, His death, His resurrection, His victory. Hallelujah!!

But this week I saw a church bulletin with a picture of Jesus dead upon the cross. This type of picture concerns me. Even in the church we’ve slicked up and cleaned up the cross. Jesus was beaten beyond human recognition for your sin and mine (Isaiah 52:13-15) yet our crucifixes and church bulletins are all cleaned up showing a perfect face with a drop of blood on the cheek just for the proper effect.

We, the church, have cleaned up Christ on the cross, minimized His suffering and pain and surely never show His disfigured face and head. Jesus took the full and complete punishment for my sin. God forgive me when I tolerate this cleaned up, sanitized version of the cross. It minimizes my sin, my sin just doesn’t seem quite as bad as it should when I see it portrayed that way.

Isaiah 52:13-15 (Message version) says in part: “at first everyone was appalled. He didn’t even look human—a ruined face, disfigured past recognition.”

Thank you Father, thank you Lord Jesus for Easter morning…Isaiah continues: “nations all over the world will be in awe, taken aback, kings shocked into silence when they see Him. For what was unheard of they’ll see with their own eyes, what was unthinkable they’ll have right before them.” Amen.

Remember the cross is empty and “at the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” Never forget, never give up, and always hope. Jesus paid the full and complete price for us. What a thought to comprehend. We dare not minimize what he has done for us.

In Revelations 19:11-16 Jesus rides a white horse into battle, the armies of heaven (the angels and some think us) will follow the warrior King Jesus into battle and in the case the kings of the earth don’t know who He is…only have to look on His robe and thigh for written there is this name KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

May you have a Blessed Easter. May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and He will do it. (I Thessalonians 5:23-24).

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