Friday, June 17, 2011

Luke 23

I am on a journey, a quest, a searching beginning in the depths of my soul.  It is a journey to understand these feelings that I have inside about Jesus.  For most of my life I have struggled with this idea of God.  I didn’t grow up with these things being taught.  Yes we prayed at dinner sometimes, and yes when I was little I said the same prayer every night.  But it meant nothing at all to me.  I thought people were really weird who were willing to sit there every Sunday and be tortured at church.  Oh the agony.  They couldn’t really enjoy it could they? 

Honestly, I thought the whole God thing was a nice idea but I didn’t understand it and there was no one there to explain it to me.  So basically I just wasn’t buying into it.

Then I went on a mission trip in high school to Arizona.  I didn’t go for God.  I went to socialize and to help paint a house and run a children’s camp.  But I think a seed was planted in my heart during that trip.  It was a slow growing seed, but it was a seed just the same.  I saw the Christians and I wanted what they had.  I didn’t even know what it was that they had but I just knew that I wanted it one day.

That seed sat dormant for about 5 ½ years and then all the sudden I moved to Lewisville, Texas.  I was working as a teacher and tons of parents were telling me that I HAD to go to The Village.  So one day Jake (my husband) and I went and we listened to the sermon and our interest was peeked.  This pastor was nothing like the pastors I had seen before.  He was a teacher, a comedian, a historian, and mostly he was your average guy.  All the sudden I wanted to go to church.  I was starting to want to believe these things that he was talking about.  Again I felt like I saw what these people had and I wanted it so badly but I didn’t know how to really believe it.

I think the seed has been constantly watered and nurtured since the day that we walked into The Village Church.  The roots are finally becoming strong enough to break through the mortar of the brick walls that were put up around that little seed.  A plant is forming inside of my heart.

I am starting to actually think about God.  I have begun to read and study the bible, which I think is a huge part of it.  I really don’t think you can say that you don’t believe in God until you pick up that book and read it.  I also don’t think that you can say you are a believer in God without reading the bible. 

All the things that I didn’t understand about God I slowly am beginning to get.  That is not to say that I don’t struggle with some of the ideas, but I think if I understood it all then it would make God less mighty.  Not completley understanding makes it that much more amazing. 

There are two things that were always deal breakers for me…first of all how could this amazing God let his own son be crucified?  I didn’t get it.  And that is like the part you have to get.  Then I spent an entire day reading about the crucifixion and this is what I learned.

Luke 23;44-46
It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun’s light failed.  And the curtain of the temple was torn in two.  Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hand I commit my spirit!”  And having said this he breathed his last.

Okay, so basically the sixth hour was Jewish talk for noon.  The Jewish day began at 6 a.m which would be the first hour and so the sixth hour would be noon.  So, at noon all the sudden it goes completely dark.  Can’t see a thing at all and for three straight hours God pours out his wrath on Jesus.

From what I understand the darkness is not the absence of God.  It is actually the complete opposite.  It shows us that God is there on Calvary.  We usually think of God as light, but he shows up in the bible as darkness too when there is judgment.  And in this moment we are seeing God in full judgment.  He is pouring out His punishment onto his Son who will soak up an eternity of hell for all of those who will ever believe.  And he does all of this in three hours. 

That is what blows my mind.  Those who die and do not know Jesus will spend an eternity in hell because they will never be able to pay for their sins.  However, Jesus, in only three hours, was able to pay for the sins of all the people who will ever believe.  That’s hard to wrap my mind around but it gives me Goosebumps thinking about it.

Okay, so at 3 in the afternoon the darkness fades and according to Mark 15 Verse 33 Jesus cries out, “My God My God why have you forsaken me?”

First of all it is the only time in the New Testament that Jesus addresses Him as God.  All the other times he calls him Father.  I think there is significance to that. 

There are other times when Jesus repeats names in the bible (My God My God) and every time he is showing affection though he is disappointed. 

So in this moment I think Jesus thought that God would comfort him and he is disappointed that he doesn’t.  God has just finished pouring out his wrath on Jesus for three straight hours and I think when it was all done Jesus thought that God would be there for him to comfort him.    

To me this is a reminder to all sinners that hell is going to be punishment with no comfort from God.  He won’t be there to comfort you in Hell.

Okay Now Verse 45 .  And the curtain of the temple was torn in two

If you have read the Old Testament, which is hard to do, you will understand why this is such a big deal.  There are 13 curtains and this one that rips is the most important.  This curtain basically hides the holiest place.  I mean only once a year is this place entered by the high priest.  The curtain was there to basically show us that no one could be in the presence of God. 

But what happens at Calvary changes everything and so God rips the curtain because Jesus is now the way to God.  No longer would the Old Testament slaughter instructions be followed to take away sin because Jesus paid the price of all sin for those who would believe in Him.  He is now the way to God so the curtain is open.

I also have to say that Luke only tells us the curtain was ripped in two but Matthew tells us it was ripped from top to bottom and I like that detail.  I can just picture the hand of God stretching out and ripping that curtain down. 

 So, after really looking into the crucifixion I get it now.  I always thought what a horrible God to let his son suffer when he has the power to save him from pain.  Now that I have the knowledge I get that God is the exact opposite of horrible.

Next time I'll tell ya what the other things is that I have learned!

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