My annual Pre-Easter post. The goal is to inform those who find Christianity mysterious or stupid.
This year I am referring back to prophecies made about the Christ many hundreds of years before Jesus was born.
700 years or so before Jesus Christ was born, a prophet named Isaiah wrote a prophetic book. When Jesus was 30 years old and legally able to read and expound upon scripture as a Rabbi in the Jewish Culture, he read from Isaiah as quoted in Luke 4:18 and 19:
"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."
He did not finish the rest of verse two of Isaiah 61 - and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn,
He was not on earth to bring vengeance and He had a job to do before being able to comfort all who mourn.
According to John 1:1 and 1:14, the Son of God was the one who actually created the Universe and it was He that confined Himself within a human body. Moreover, Jesus did not use His powers to do anything. He reported to the Father and was powered and led by the Spirit of God to do everything done as Jesus of Nazareth. Further study for those who care will reveal that Jesus Christ willingly lived fully human to be able to take our place and pay our penalties for sin and disobedience.
Isaiah 53 (New International Version)
1 Who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
Unlike Saul the first king of the Jews, Jesus was not extraordinarily tall or handsome. He would have been a fit and powerful man as a carpenter, but not someone who immediately attracted attention.
3 He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
Like one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he took up our infirmities
and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted.
I believe that when Jesus actually asked the Father to "take this cup" from Him (in the garden of Gethesemane) if it would be the Father's will it was not out of fear. One thing about Jesus that set Christ apart was that he "loved the good and hated the evil" so that the thought of becoming sin itself for all men was terribly disgusting and repugnant to Jesus beyond any nastiness we could imagine. Yet He was obedient, knowing that when it happened, at that moment the connection between Jesus and the Spirit and the Father would be severed. This was unthinkable for Him and yet He did it willingly.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before her shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
Matthew 27:11-14 says
"Meanwhile Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, "Are you the king of the Jews?"
"Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied.
12When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer. 13Then Pilate asked him, "Don't you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?" 14But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge—to the great amazement of the governor."
Christ did not seek to defend Himself as His mission was to give Himself away for mankind.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
And who can speak of his descendants?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was stricken.
9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in his mouth.
Jesus Christ was never accused of any wrongdoing, his trial was against the law and the charges against Him were a combination of lies and unaccepted truths. He died between two thieves and was buried in the tomb of a rich man.
10 Yet it was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.
11 After the suffering of his soul,
he will see the light of life and be satisfied ;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities.
The secret of Christianity is that when you believe in Christ He does actually change you. Christianity is not really so much a religion as it is a relationship. I know God. Not because I am anything special but rather because He is remarkable and He desires a relationship with all men and women of every color and size and shape and age.
12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.
Christians celebrate the day of Easter as a celebration because Jesus Christ came back from death on that day and, in doing so, guaranteed eternal life for those who trust Him. Jews celebrate Passover, but you see Jesus was the actual Passover Lamb, he was the one sacrifice for all sins that every animal sacrifice since Adam and Eve were object lessons for mankind.
I was not so much a bad man before I trusted Christ but I was a sinful man and a selfish man and one without a firm moral standard. When Christ transformed me on the inside it began a long period of the stubborn me versus the patient Spirit of God within me, the battle of the flesh versus the Spirit and the process of becoming more like Christ. I have not become anywhere near as patient and loving and kind as Jesus nor have I overcome every bad habit. Very slowly God is working with me and on me to be more like Him. It helps that I am at least willing to be changed.
You are free to say what you will about me and often commenters do make false statements about me. I have never intentionally published anything untrue. I have sometimes posted something that was taken from another source and that source was wrong but when I did it I thought it was true. I do not wish to lie or deceive. There is one commenter who likes to accuse me of lying and of course he is incorrect. He seems to get a big kick out of repeating this falsehood for reasons I do not understand fully. Feel free to go back in time and trace any of the so-called lies. I will not lie because the goal of this blog is to promote things I believe are true.
I believe Jesus Christ was the Son of God (and still is) who came to earth in human form in order to undo what the first man, Adam, did. I believe that this same God is quite inexplicably three persons in one and He made a three dimensional world and created man with body, soul and spirit. Just as a fourth dimension, time, is not tangible to us and out of our control the supernatural world that is God is not comprehensible to us because we are not able. Many people reject God because they do not understand Him or cannot put Him tidily into a box.
Frankly a God who can be completely defined and understood would not be a God who was a step above man and matter and time and energy and therefore not great. No matter who you are, no matter what you think you do have faith in something - your understanding, what you have learned, your experiences have caused you to believe in something, even if you believe that you do not know or cannot know or do not want to know or do not want to ask the question - that in and of itself is a belief system and a worldview. We all have a worldview. Mine comes with God included at no extra charge to me. He paid my price. he paid yours, too. Will you accept the gift or turn aside?