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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)
I simply argue that the cross be raised again
at the center of the market place
as well as the steeple of the church,
I am recovering the claim that
Jesus was not crucified in a cathedral between two candles
but on a cross between two thieves;
on a town garbage heap;
at a crossroad of politics so cosmopolitan that they had to write His title
in Hebrew and in latin and in Greek...
and at the kind of place where cynics talk smut,
and thieves curse and soldiers gamble.
Because that is where He died, and that is what He died about
and that is where Christ’s followers ought to be,
and what church people ought to be about
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Brother George Honeycutt tells a real life adventure story about a friend of his who refused to surrender to preach the word of God.
During WWII his friend was aboard a destroyer in the North Atlantic, when torpedoes were spotted rapidly approaching his ship. His Friend prayed ďLord Iíll preach the word of God if you protect usĒ
At that very moment a rogue wave came from no were and lifted the bow of the ship enabling the torpedoes to pass under without destroying them. His friend surrendered faithfully to the call.
Because of this physical and spiritual lives were saved.
Several years ago in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada, George and Vera Bajenksiís lives were changed forever. February 16, 1989. A very normal Thursday morning. The phone rang at 9:15 a.m. "Thereís been an accident..." It involved their son Ben.
As they approached the intersection of Adelaide and Simcoe Streets near the high school, they could see the flashing lights of the police cars and ambulance units. Vera noticed a photographer and followed the direction of his camera lens to the largest pool of blood she had ever seen.
All she could say was, "George, Ben went home--home to be with his Heavenly Father!" Her first reaction was to jump out of the car, somehow collect the blood and put it back into her son. "That blood, for me, at that moment, became the most precious thing in the world because it was life. It was life-giving blood and it belonged in my son, my only son, the one I loved so much."
The road was dirty and the blood just didnít belong there. George noticed that cars were driving right through the intersection--right through the blood. His heart was smitten. He wanted to cover the blood with his coat and cry, "You will not drive over the blood of my son!"
Then Vera understood for the first time in her life, one of Godís greatest and most beautiful truths...why blood? Because it was the strongest language God could have used. It was the most precious thing He could give-- the highest price H...
Imagine the most vile, most disgusting, most foul smelling fluids sitting in a huge vat in front of you. The fluids have been infected with Mad Cow disease, the HIV virus, Cancer, and other awful diseases, bacteria and decayed flesh. Picture yourself being submerged in it, drinking it, tasting it, breathing it, having it get in your eyes, nose mouth and your ears. That wouldnít even come close to imagining what it was like for the Holy Son of God to be submerged into the filth and death of sin.
Christmas eve, 1953 New Zealandís worst railway disaster occurred on Christmas Eve, 1953. The Wellington-Auckland night express plunged into the flooded Whangaehu River just west of Tangiwai, near Waiouru. Of the 285 people on board, 151 were killed. The tragedy left a nation in mourning and stunned the world. How did it happen? The accident was caused by a sudden release of thousands of tonnes of water from the crater lake of Mt Ruapehu. The water surged down the Whangaehu River in a massive wave. The swift and turbulent deluge, known as a lahar, carried huge quantities of sand, silt, boulders and debris. Sometime between 10.10 and 10.15 p.m. it struck the concrete pylons of the Tangiwai railway bridge, fatally weakening the structure. Minutes later, Arthur Cyril Ellis, a young Taihape postal clerk, saw the light of the approaching locomotive Ka 949. In a desperate attempt to warn the driver he ran towards it waving a torch. Later investigations showed that the brakes had been applied, but not soon enough. At approximately 10.21 p.m. the engine, tender and all five second-class carriages plunged off the southern end of the bridge. The leading first-class carriage, Car Z, teetered on the brink for a moment and was boarded by Ellis and a guard, William Inglis, before crashing into the torrent below. The two men, together with passenger John Holman and an unidentified man, saved all but one of this carís 22 occupants by lifting them through the windows. This was at the time the eighth worst train disaster of all time. What started high up on the mountain as a natural phenomenon ended up in absolute disaster many miles away as the domino effect of the crater lake bursting destroyed 151 lives. We canítr possibly measure the effect that that natural disaster has had on many thousands of New Zealand lives and indeed the effect of that would go throughout the world.
WHY DID HE DO THAT?
In his book "Evidence that demands a Verdict," Josh McDowell describes what Jesus went through on our behalf. It started with "a sleepless night with no food. Then Jesus endured the mockery of two trials; He was slapped, mocked, spat upon, and ridiculed with a robe, a scepter, and a crown of thorns. He had his back lacerated with the cruel Roman "cat-o-nine tails" whip which caused excessive tearing of the flesh, bleeding, cramps and dizziness; followed by tetanus (many prisoners did not even live through this lashing!) When He arrived at Golgotha's Hill, Jesus suffered the shame of the cross (a weapon of punishment reserved only for the cruelest of criminals). Messiah Jesus was publicly humiliated and shamed. He was stripped naked; He suffered the long horror of anticipated death; the mortification of untended wounds; the unnatural position of His body on the cross; lacerated veins and arteries; crushed tendons throbbing with incessant anguish and torment; gradual gangrene; arteries around the head and stomach becoming swollen and oppressed with surcharge blood; and with all that - add a burning and raging thirst!"
My Soul! WHY did Jesus DO that? Why did He allow Himself to SUFFER so? WHY DID HE DIE? Because He loves you so much, that's why? Because He loves me so much, that's why! Every time I think of His sacrifice on my behalf, I'm AMAZED! I stand in AWE of His GREAT REDEEMING LOVE! I'm reminded of a poster that reads "I asked Jesus - How much do You love me? And He stretched out His arms - and died!" WOW! Isn't that POWERFUL, isn't that AWESOME?!
NO GREATER LOVE
It was February 1941, Auschwitz, Poland. Maximilian Kolbe
was a Franciscan priest put in the infamous death camp for helping Jews escape Nazi terrorism.
Months went by and in desperation an escape took place. The camp rule was enforced. Ten people would be rounded up randomly and herded into a cell where they would die of starvation and exposure as a lesson against future escape attempts.
Names were called. A Polish Jew Frandishek Gasovnachek was called. He cried, "Wait, I have a wife and children!" Kolbe stepped forward and said, "I will take his place."
Kolbe was marched into the cell with nine others where he managed to live until August 14.
This story was chronicled on an NBC news special several years ago. Gasovnachek, by this time 82, was shown telling this story while tears streamed down his cheeks. A mobile camera followed him around his little white house to a marble monument carefully tended with flowers. The inscription read:
IN MEMORY OF MAXIMILIAN KOLBE
HE DIED IN MY PLACE.
Every day Gaso...
LIST OF WEAKNESSES
In his book He Chose the Nails, Max Lucado wrote: "The list of our weaknesses. Would anyone like to see yours? Would you like to make them public? How would you feel if they were posted high so that everyone, including Christ himself, could see? Yes, there is a list of your failures. Christ has chronicled your shortcomings. And yes, that list has been made public. But youíve never seen it. Neither have I. Come with me to the hill of Calvary, and Iíll tell you why. The mistakes are covered. The sins are hidden. Those at the top are hidden by his hand; those down the list are covered by his blood. Your sins are blotted our by Jesus."
Max continued: "God says, íYou wonder how long my love will last? Find your answer on splintered cross, on a craggy hill. Thatís me you see up there, your maker, your God, nail-stabbed and bleeding. Covered in spit and sin-soaked. Thatís your sin Iím feeling. Thatís your death Iím dying. Thatís your resurrection Iím living. Thatís how much I love you."
On June 15, 1815, as Napoleon came against England in the Battle of Waterloo, reports came back from the front lines... The last message before the fog rolled in: "Wellington Defeated." Later that day, their sorrow of defeat was transformed into the joy of victory when then were able to read the rest of the four-word message: "Wellington Defeated the Enemy." Just the same, from the cross came the message: "Christ Defeated." But just three days later, when the morning fog cleared, we got the message from the empty tome: "Christ Defeated Death!"