Even though it paled in comparison to the 897 million searches in November that focused on the terrorist’s attacks in Paris, I still find it interesting that the top story in July was the story of Cecil the lion and the 32 million searches for information regarding the death of this King of the jungle. While some people saw the circumstances of Cecil’s death as being tragic, the death of another lion has been triumphant.
In the book of the Revelation, Jesus is referred to as the Lion of the tribe of Judah. His death on the cross was not a defeat; it was a triumphant victory, and people began to understand the significance of His death and the magnitude of His power when Jesus rose from the grave.
As you move forward into the new year, I encourage you to:
- Join ranks with the Lion of the Tribe of Judah and wave His banner high.
- Keep your life in perspective by measuring the temporary with the eternal (Romans 8:18, 28).
- Claim the promise that God gives you victory through Jesus (I Corinthians 15:7).
- Find strength or you journey by walking in step with Jesus (Matthew 11:28).
I encourage you to join me in making at least this one resolution for 2016: I will be a disciple who glorifies the Father by abiding in Christ (John 15:7-11).
When the last Easter egg has been found and eaten, and the kids have said “good-bye” to their sugar high. What remains? I hope it is more than chocolate stains and a few extra pounds that were added by way of the calorie-packed candy, and other Easter delights.
One thing that will always remain is God’s Word, and it is a unique book. The uniqueness of the Bible is seen in its unity. This book is a collection of 66 ancient documents that were originally written in 3 languages: Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. Even though 40 different authors, wrote over a span of 1,500 years the theme and message of the Bible is consistent.
In my Easter sermon yesterday, I mentioned Jesus’ encounter with two disheartened disciples as they walked down the Emmaus road. To help them understand the events surrounding His crucifixion, Jesus, began “at Moses and all the Prophets, and He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself (Luke 24:27).”
The life of Jesus fulfilled multiple prophecies. Long before He was born, it was predicted that He would be flogged; die with the wicked; and, He would be buried like a rich man.
Prophecy is important because it confirms the claims of Jesus. Here are just a few of the many He fulfilled:
- Messiah would be from the tribe of Judah (Gen. 49:10)
- He would be from the line of King David (2 Samuel 7:12-13)
- He would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2)
- 700 years before Jesus was born, the Prophet Isaiah predicted in graphic detail the manner in which Jesus would die (Is. 53).
The Bible has stood the test of time; and, when it comes time for you to be tested, it will stand with you.
Crucifixion was as repulsive as it was hideous. It was a torturous form of death that had been practiced and perfected by Rome to silence the Empire’s detractors.
Death by crucifixion was an effective form of execution in every instance except one. When Jesus said “it is finished,” He did not say “I am finished.” The moment Jesus died, the chains of those who were bound by death began to rattle.
Three days later when Jesus rose from the grave, Paul says captivity was led captive: Jesus took all believers who had died before Him and led them from Paradise into the glories of heaven.
What about the cross? Eyes of disbelief see it as defeat. The spiritually deaf, hear “It is finished” as the last gasp of a dying martyr.
The cross is not the coffin of Calvary. To the millions who have been embraced by His love and set free by His forgiveness, the cross is an emblem of compassion and a symbol of victory. The cross is best understood when seen through the lens of awe and reverence, for this gift from was God was His Son lifted up for us.
John Piper has written about the significance of the cross: “Life is wasted if we do not grasp the glory of the cross, cherish it for the treasure that it is, and cleave to it as the highest price of every pleasure and the deepest comfort in every pain. What was once foolishness to us—a crucified God—must become our wisdom and our power and our only boast in this world.”
If you only think of the cross as something that was done “for” you, you are mistaken. The cross was “because” of you. Jesus did not die for His sins. He died for your sins and the sins of the world, and this is why Friday is good for you.
While you may wear it as a piece of jewelry around your neck, make sure its peace surrounds your heart.