Tuesday, March 18

As we focus....

"Still later He appeared to the eleven disciples as they were eating together. He rebuked them for their stubborn unbelief because they refused to believe those who had seen Him after He had been raised from the dead. And then He told them, 'Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned.'" Mark 16:14-16 NLT

We are coming up on what I consider the pivotal event in Christianity, without the events that we celebrate at Easter time there would be no salvation and no hope for the generations that have passed upon this earth since the time of Christ. But, I, like many Christians today have mistook the Great Commission as a right to go bible thumping. The Commission isn't about bible thumping, but relationships....as Christ established before giving the Commission to the Eleven.

Faith is foundational for salvation. Without faith, there can be no redemption. God has placed within each of us a measure of faith. That, coupled with our free will, is ours to chose how to place it. Some place in the assurance there is no God. Others in the fact He is an absent God. Others consider this God to be someone or thing that they can call on whenever they need a boost. Only those who truly have 'seen' the risen Christ believe. And they fall into two camps; saved and condemned. There are no other divisions other than what we as humans make in the world. You either are or aren't.

Ordinary people in extraordinary times where those who lived to witness the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the God-Man who came to this broken and fallen world to redeem a people who would be responsible for killing Him. For brutally beating and whipping Him. Who would declare Him King in one breath and curse Him in the next. And His blood poured out upon the earth in atonement for our sin-price.

One would suspect that as He hung upon that cross, thorny crown embedded in His head, that He would decide that we weren't worthy of His sacrifice, and He would call upon the Heavenly legions waiting for His beckoning to rescue Him. But He endured the taunts of the Pharisees and the bitter pain of the Roman crucifixion.

And went a step further, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." One can envision a God upon His heavenly throne angered and bitter by the displayed pain and enduring images of His only begotten Son so brutally treated. "Don't they understand what they are doing?" And it is that Son that calls upon Him to forgive a foolish and ignorant people who didn't realize what was happening.

No, I'm not saying that this wasn't God's plan for redemption. I just want to put into context what I feel this moment in time meant. As a father, I can fully relate to a anger that comes from a son unjustly treated. And I know the same feeling of a son forgiving and asking me to do the same.

No, I am not a Israelite hater. Rather, I feel like Mel Gibson did as he spoke of the only role he could've played in the Passion of the Christ movie. Those of the Roman solider who drove those sharp, thick nails into the flesh of the True King. You and I, our fathers and mothers, our grandfathers and grandmothers, all the generations since that fateful day and all those who walked the earth before He came; are responsibile for the crucifixion of our Savior.

Instead of listening to the church play about the Crucifixion and Ressurection this Easter, why not instead close your eyes and envision yourself as a Pharisee, the women who watched the sacrifice, John who embraced Jesus' mother as his own, or even the eleven as they hid afterwards in a sheltered room, praying that the storm on the horizon would pass them by. Go back into the time of our salvation and live the moment.

And imagine your utter shock and disbelief as the man who you followed and learned under appears before you in a locked room, the stain of the crucifixion still upon His body in His hands and feet, the spear pierced side. And feel the sting of the rebuke and the redemption of the Commission.

Then go to your neighbor, your coworker, and that bitter person that delights in ridiculing your beliefs and look at them in Christ's eyes. And start the relationship of the Commission.

Tell them what Christ has given you.

And why.........

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