Biblegateway Verse of the Day

What Easter Could Mean

By Benjamin H. Liles

          I know that it has been quite some time since I previously posted on this blog/website. I've been taking some time to evaluate myself and what I honestly believe the Lord wants of me. Which, coincidentally can be an article unto itself, regarding talents wasted or used wisely. I want to summarize that briefly by saying that there are times in which I question myself on what I should be doing. Whether it's devoting my time to writing, or whether to pursue coding/development (web development). 

           At any rate, today as a people, many of us celebrate the fact Jesus was risen back to life. Something even He not only prophesied would happen, but directly in His words, "The reason the Father loves Me is that I lay down My life...I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from My Father" (John 10:17-18, Berean Study).

          At the close of His life, Jesus was to be crucified, as in the writings of the ancients, saying, "Though You have shown me many troubles and misfortunes, You will revive me once again. Even from the depths of the earth You will bring me back up" (Psalm 71:20). That verse alone speaks to the authority as to which the Father gave Jesus. That verse from Psalm 71 speaks about Jesus. 

          Picture this, if you will, let's say you reside in Jerusalem. The year is 33 A.D. Two thieves are placed on crosses for their crimes. An extra cross is being erected, but before it is raised up, Roman soldiers drive nails between two bones, so as to not break the, one at each wrist. Let's think about how torturous this act is. It is brutal. It's one of many things spoken of in scripture that truly happened. Here's another verse to back up how barbaric a practice this is: "They shall leave none of it until morning, nor break one of its bones. According to all the ordinances of the Passover they shall keep it." (Numbers 9:12).

          And the main reason I'm going for other verses aside from what Isaiah prophesied would happen is because of what the Pharisees did to their Torah. They purposefully took out all passages relating what would happen to their Messiah. Yes, they knew who in fact Jesus the Son of God was. They saw the things He did. They opposed Him because as Jesus said to them, "And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers...you are the sons of those who murdered the prophets...You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape the sentence of hell?" (Matthew 23:30-33, New King James).

          So, when we read from the letters in the New Testament, of the same Jewish people that descended from a few tribes that remained in Israel (proper). These men, who had once been disciples and now were apostles of Jesus the Messiah, these men descended and were related to those who had written other older parts of their Text: both the Torah, the prophets and their writings. The problem is that with the Pharisees and Saducees, they didn't want the truth to be told. They conspired together so that no living Jew would or could be "possibly" converted to that dreaded new sect...the Christians.

          However, and this is the BIG problem. Let's take a few more verses they may have forgotten to take out from the Old Testament text. Verses such as "So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived" (Numbers 21:9), this found fulfillment where Jesus is talking to Nicodemus in John 3, "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up" (John 3:14). Yes, just before the most known verse of "For God so loved...that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).

          Condemnation is a funny and quite honestly a terrible thing. You can think you can stand to stand in your own self-righteousness, thinking "No. No. I am not sick, I have no need for a doctor." But if you don't put your faith, your trust in the One who can heal you, to make you whole, who can extend His righteousness to you, you're as good as a dead man. And I have to give Jeremy Camp credit for writing the song Dead Man Walking. There's a lot of truth in this song: "I was a dead man walking until you loved this dead man walking back to life."

          But I also said a few other verses, right?  What about when Abraham was told by God to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice? All about Jesus. God provided a substitute so that Isaac could live and have a son of promise himself. This comes to Jacob as Esau gave up his right to be the lawful heir: "Esau said, ‘I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?’ Jacob said, ‘Swear to me now.’ So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright" (Genesis 25:32-34). The writer of Hebrews explains, "that there be no sexually immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal" (Heb. 12:16). 

          Then there's also this last verse as well: "My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Why are You so far from saving me, so far from my words of groaning?" (Psalm 22:1). Christ cried out these words on the cross before He gave up His spirit and died (Matthew 27:46). I do this to show and offer proof as to how scripture even from the Old Testament, without the use of Isaiah 55, that Jesus of Nazareth, the son of the carpenter, whose mother was Mary, is indeed the Messiah; He is the Christ we so need, both then and now. 

          There is one more verse to use and it's where Jesus tells all of them who listened, "Destroy this building and in three days I will raise it up" (John 2:19; Matthew 16:21; Mark 14:58). This verse I have used already in a previous paragraph but it is John 10:17-18. Indeed a prophet is never honored in their own home. Apparently, it is very much true that for Israel come to salvation knowledge, true, authentic repentance is seeing and accepting what authentic Christ-resurrection is about. They have to be and get jealous for it. It's as the Lord, God spoke of, "For zeal for Your house has consumed me, And the taunts of those who taunt You have fallen on me" (Psalm 69:9). Paul said it this way, "We who are strong ought to bear with the shortcomings of the weak and not to please ourselves...Christ did not please Himself, but as it is written: “The insults of those who insult You have fallen on Me...so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures, we might have hope" (Romans 15:1-4). 

          One last note as I finish this piece: Paul also wrote this within the pages of Romans of our Bible, "I ask then, did God reject His people? Certainly not! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. God did not reject His people, whom He foreknew...In the same way, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace" (Romans 11:1-5). While sin keeps us dead in our wrongdoings, Jesus died so that we could be set free from sin and death. No longer are we bound to this world in its darkness. If we desire to be made right, in Jesus's righteousness, we must - we have to - put aside our old ways and old self. They are of no use to us. Easter is to the Christ-follower, as much as Jesus dying on the cross for the forgiveness and redemption of our sins at His death. He is risen! He is truly risen indeed!

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