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One of my all-time favorite scenes out of Hollywood. (They are few and far between for me...) It’s a scene from one of the Star Trek TV series. Worf, the Klingon, is captured by the evil Dominion. They intend to use him as a practice dummy in hand-to-hand combat for their lethal ground troops, and so they do. They bring out soldier after soldier to take Worf on and they go at it. It’s never very long before the bad guys get tired of getting beat up, and they "tap out" and quit. So, after Worf’s been taking on all comers for most of the day, they finally bring out their biggest and baddest, the one warrior they know will be able to win. They begin to battle, and Worf is just too weak from the day’s struggles. He is little more than a punching bag for the bad guy to work out on. But Worf will not "tap out" like all the other beaten soldiers. He keeps getting up, no matter how many times he is knocked down, no matter how injured he is. He simply will not quit. It is obvious that this valiant warrior has won the respect and admiration of all the Dominion troops, including the one now beating him up. They all begin to beg him to tap out and quit, but he will not. Finally, out of sheer exhasperation, the warrior who is beating him stops and "taps out" himself. When asked by his enraged commander why he has done this, he says, resigned, "I cannot defeat this man. I can only kill him."
Think about that for a moment. I cannot defeat this man. I can only kill him. I don’t know about you, but my goal is to hear the devil himself say those words about me some day. I will not tap out. How about you?
TALE OF TWO KINGS
Two of the greatest love stories ever told. The one, at Camelot; the other, at Calvary. Two of the noblest kings ever to live. The one, King Arthur; the other, King of the Jews. The one is adorned with a jeweled crown; the other, with a crown of thorns.
The comparisons and contrasts between Camelot and Calvary are many, but one scene from Camelot illustrates a great theological dilemma that only the cross could resolve.
Prior to His appointment with destiny on the brow of that fateful hill, Jesus agonized in the Garden of Gethsemane: "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done" (Lk. 22:42).
Understand, on an emotional level, that this is the pleading of a son to his father. If your child came to you in such agony, wouldn’t you do everything within your power to grant the request?
But this Father, this time, didn’t respond as expected. And that’s the theological rub. He denied the request of His Son, His only Son, His beloved Son. In Gethsemane, that Son was asking:
"Is there no other way?"
The Son is betrayed, arrested, deserted, denied, beaten, tried, mocked, and finally crucified. Tacitly, the Father answers:
"No, there is no other way."
But why? Why was there no other way?
We find the answer to that question in a scene from Camelot, where the adulterous relationship between Queen Guenevere and Arthur’s most trusted knight, Sir Lancelot, has divided the Round Table. When the scheming Mordred catches them in a clandestine encounter, Lancelot escapes. Guenevere is not so fortunate. She faces a trial. The jury finds her guilty and sentences her to the flame.
As the day of execution nears, people come from miles around with one question in their minds: Would the king let her die?
Mordred gleefully captures the complexity of Arthur’s predicament:
Arthur! What a magnificent dilemma!
Let her die, your life is over;
Let her live, your life’s a fraud.
Which will it be, Arthur?
Do you kill the queen or kill the law?
Tragically but resolutely, Arthur decides: "Treason has been committed! The jury has ruled! Let justice be done!"
High from the castle window stands Arthur, as Guenevere enters the courtyard. She walks to her unlit stake, where the executioner stands with waiting torch. Arthur turns away, emotion brimming in his eyes.
A herald mounts the tower where Arthur has withdrawn: "The queen is at the stake, Your Majesty. Shall I signal the torch?"
But the king cannot answer.
Arthur’s love for Jenny spills from his broken heart: "I can’t! I can’t! I can’t let her die!"
Seeing Arthur crumble, Mordred relishes the moment: "Well, you’re human after all, aren’t you, Arthur? Human and helpless."
Tragically, Arthur realizes the truth of Mordred’s remark. Being only human, he is indeed helpless. But where this story ends, the greatest story ever told just begins.
Another Execution Scene.
Another time. Another place. Another king.
The setting: A world lies estranged from the God who loves it. Like Genevere, an unfaithful humanity stands guilty and in bondage, awaiting judgment’s torch.
Could God turn His head from the righteous demands of the law and simply excuse the world’s sin? If not, then could He turn His head from the world He loved? Would the king burn Guenevere?
Like the wicked Mordred, Satan must have looked on in delight:
God! What a magnificent dilemma!
Let them die, Your life is over;
Let them live, Your life’s a fraud;
Which will it be, God?
Do You kill Your world or do You kill the law?
Without even waiting for His Guenevere to look up in repentance, the King stepped down from His throne, took off His crown, laid aside His royal robes, and descended His castle’s polished steps into humanity’s pockmarked streets. Paul’s words in Philippians are thought by some scholars to be the lyrics of an ancient hymn, singing about the King of kings.
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-even death on a cross! Phil. 2:6-8
That scene in the movie was an epiphany of understanding. Suddenly, it all made sense. We know now why He had to die, why there was no other way.
When love and justice collide, only the cross offers a happy ending.
Source: Abridged excerpt from Ken Gire’s book Windows of the Soul. Copyright © 1996 by Ken Gire, Jr. Zondervan Publishing Houses.
There are six varieties of wounds that a person can receive in their body.
Abrasive wound - Where the skin is scraped off. This can result from stumbling or by carrying a rough object or by a glancing blow
Confused wound - caused by a heavy blow.
Incised wound - produced by a knife or spear or other sharp instrument.
Lacerated wound - where the flesh is torn open leaving jagged edges.
Penetrating wound - where the flesh is pierced right through.
Punctured wound - made by a pointed or spiked instrument.
Jesus suffered all these wounds. Yes, Jesus suffered real physical pain. But what Jesus suffered physically by itself does not give the power to the cross. We must add with it the spiritual pain and suffering that Jesus endured on the cross. This is what made Jesus’ death on the cross different than any other.
One day a father and his daughter were out for a leisurely drive in the country. It was a hot summer day and the windows were rolled down. Suddenly the daughter began screaming and fidgeting in her seat. A bee had just flown inside the car through the open window. This would not have been a problem for most children, but for this little girl, it was a problem. You see, this girl was very allergic to bee stings. In fact, even one sting could send her into a coma. As the girl was flailing her arms around, the father quickly pulled over to the side of the road, then calmly reached over and held his daughter’s arms down. Then, he himself, with his big and strong hands, caught the mad bumblebee. The bee promptly stung the man, and he threw the b...
On the TV show called the X-Files, they had a story about a family that used to keep an ugly looking creature in their basement. And what was even stranger was that people would bring their sick and dying family members over to see this creature and they would come back healthy. When Scully and Mulder went to see what was happening, they found out that this creature was able to take people’s infirmities on himself. So if they came to him and had cancer, he was able to take the cancer and his body, suffering a few days, and then vomit the cancer out. So as this creature lived on, it became uglier and uglier as it was contaminated with diseases, until it finally took on the disease of death and died. It was a strange story, but I thought it was a good illustration of what Jesus does with our sins. He doesn’t just heal us up our guilt and sin by giving us some medicine. When Jesus went to the cross, he had to take on our infirmities, our sins, our guilt, and our punishment.
Jesus was nailed to a cross with heavy, square wrought-iron nails through His wrists and through His feet. He hung there for several hours. When His body slumped, excruciating, fiery pain would shoot along the fingers and up the arms to explode in the brain - the nails in the wrists were putting pressure on the median nerves. As he pushed himself upward to avoid this stretching torment, he placed the full weight on the nail through his feet. Again he felt the searing agony of the nail tearing through the nerves between the bones of the feet. As the arms fatigue, cramps sweep through the muscles, knotting them in deep, relentless, throbbing pain. With these cramps comes the inability to push himself upward to breathe. Air can be drawn into the lungs but not exhaled. He fights to raise himself in order to get even one small breath. Finally carbon dioxide builds up in the lungs and in the blood stream, and the cramps partially subside. Spasmodically he is able to push himself upward to exhale and bring in life-giving oxygen. Hours of this limitless pain, cycles of twisting, joint rendering cramps, intermittent partial asphyxiation, searing pain as tissue is torn form his lacerated back as he moves up and down against the rough timber. Then another agony began: a deep, crushing pain deep in the chest as the pericardium slowly filled with serum and began to compress the heart. It is now almost over - the loss of tissue fluids has reached a critical level - the compressed heart is struggling to pump heavy, thick, sluggish blood into the tissues - the tortured lungs are making a frantic effort to gasp in small gulps of air.
He then felt the chill of death creeping through his tissues... Finally He was able to allow his body to die.
(Crucifixion, Adapted From C. Truman Davis, M.D., In The Expos. Bible Comm, Vol. 8)
Seeing Jesus hanging on the cross and seeing blood and water pour from his side is not an attractive sight. But we put this on our walls - because the message to us is clear - we are healed by his wounds. You might compare it to donating blood. It isn’t pretty getting poked with a needle. It hurts. But it also gives someone else life.
One lady wrote in to a question and answer forum.
"Dear Sirs, Our preacher said on Easter, that Jesus just swooned on the cross and that the disciples nursed Him back to health.
What do you think? Sincerely, Bewildered.
Beat your preacher with a cat-of-nine-tails with 39 heavy strokes, nail him to a cross; hang him ...
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Max Lucado (as found in his ‘God’s Inspirational Promise Book’, but written for his book, ‘In the Eye of the Storm’), told this fictional story of an angel trying to find another way for salvation:
“He looked around the hill and foresaw a scene. Three figures hung on three crosses. Arms spread. Heads fallen forward. They moaned with the wind.
Men clad in religion stood off to one side…Arrogant, cocky.
Women clad in sorrow huddled at the foot of the hill…Faces tear streaked.
All heaven stood to fight. All nature rose to rescue. All eternity poise to protect. But the Creator gave no command. ‘It must be done…,” he said, and withdrew.
The angel spoke again. “It would be less painful…”
The Creator interrupted softly. “But it wouldn’t be love.”
I never made a sacrifice. We ought not to talk of sacrifice when we remember the great sacrifice which He made who left His Fathers throne on high to give Himself for us.