Today’s Scrip-Bit 14 October 2020 Deuteronomy 6:5.

Deuteronomy 6:5.     ​And thou shalt LOVE the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

And then it was Wednesday; another beautiful autumn day! So let’s be glad and rejoice in it nuh, celebrate our great God and give Him thanks for all He’s done, still doing and faithfully promised to do for us in the future! Yeh, times might be a tad rough right now, but He has also promised to see us through those tough times, and bring us out better on the other side…if we have faith and trust in Him. That means we have to show faith and trust now more than ever, since the rough times seem like they’re going to last for longer than we expected. (smile) 

As Jeremiah so wisely warned his people long ago, I am here today to warn us of the consequences of lack of faith and trust, of ungodliness and willful disobedience and sinfulness. ‘Hear ye and give ear; be not proud: for the Lord hath spoken. Give glory to the Lord your God, before he cause darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains, and while ye look for light, he turn it into the shadow of death, and make it gross darkness. But if ye will not hear it, my soul shall weep in secret places for your pride; and mine eye shall weep sore, and run down with tears, because the Lord’s flock is carried away captive.’ (Jer. 13:15-17) 

Ah mih friends, I know that sounds like a dire proposition, but it’s a true one. Sinfulness and ungodliness, especially when laced with a major dose of pride, WILL undoubtedly bring negative consequences from Almighty God! And our society has been guilty of all those things, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise if we’re suffering some major heartaches now. And the sad part is that though our efforts to quell our problems in our own strength aren’t working, we still refuse to turn to the great healer, Jehovah Rapha for help. 

Oh, we’re so stubborn, hard-headed and prideful, thinking that we know so much, when in actual fact, we don’t know a blooming thing! That’s why we can’t even cut down the numbers of the Covid-19 pandemic, for so many of us refuse to do the only things we know will ease the pain. So we not only disobedient and stubborn towards God, but also towards man. That means ‘sufferation’ will be in the cards…unless we smarten up and get back to LOVING and praising, sincerely worshipping and reverencing our Creator. It’s as simple as that. 

And yuh know, the Lord doesn’t have to bring anything negative against us nuh, because we are doing it to ourselves. We are our own worst enemies with all the hate, anger, bitterness, strife, greed, power-hungriness and inhumanity that’s currently running rampant in our society. No society can withstand the barrage of negative stuff that’s happening right now and survive, much less prosper. And I have to chuckle sadly as I turned the pages of the Good Book and these rather appropriate words shot out at me. Isaiah’s warning to Israel. ‘And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children.’ (Is. 54:13) 

Unfortunately though, we have not taught our children of the Lord, so they obviously cannot find peace. They know only one option; that put forth by the world. And I don’t blame the children, I blame us, the parents, because it’s our duty to teach them about God, and it’s obvious that we haven’t done such a good job because so many of them don’t believe, and don’t even want to hear about God. 

But from day one, Moses instructed Israel and all those who accept the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob thus: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt LOVE the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.’ (Deut. 6:4-7) 

And have we done those things? Hardly…or not to the extent that we should have. Our parents taught us about God and the way we ought to go, so we knew the two options available, but for some reason we have not done the same for our children, thus putting them at a disadvantage in this sinful world. Why? I don’t know. Possibly because we got too full of ourselves with the knowledge revolution that was going on in our time. 

But hear what the Lord Himself told Joshua nuh. ‘This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.’ (Josh. 1:8) Now have we spoken of the book of the law, or meditated on it continually? Obviously not! 

And yes, some of us have had what the world terms success, but it’s not the good kind, the lasting kind. We’ve sold our souls to the devil to acquire worldly things, but be it known that that gentleman – hn! – will eventually come calling to collect his rightful dues. And what then eh? Hellfire and damnation…? Most likely. 

But when we adhere to God’s Word and Will, the result is heaven… and rewards.. a peaceful and prosperous eternity with Jesus as the Light and King of our lives. I don’t know about you, but I think I much prefer to live for Jesus than Satan. It might be harder, but it’s much more rewarding in the long run. In any case, it’s an individual choice we all must make, hopefully we ALL will make the right one…Jesus! 

And for those of us who have already made that right and most wonderful choice, let’s go home now telling all and sundry our wonderful position in Christ Jesus, through our Wednesday Wail. In strong voice, with sincere hearts: ‘Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday: I’m so glad to be alive on this Wednesday! Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday: Thank God the breath of life is still flowing through me on this Wednesday! I am halfway home. My hands are fixed securely on the plough, and I’m not turning back. I’m not looking back at the past, not focusing on what has gone before. But my eyes are fixed straight ahead; straight ahead to a glorious future with Jesus. Glory Hallelujah!’ 

And as Jesus has so faithfully promised, if we endure until the end, that future will be even more glorious than we can ever ask or imagine. Much LOVE!

…obey God…and leave all the consequences to Him…that’s true wisdom… (Dr. Charles Stanley) 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 7 December 2015 Hosea 4:6

Hosea 4:6.   My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.

Ah mih Friends, that much dreaded, but should be much LOVED day is here again. (smile) It’s Monday my people! Rise and shine and give some thanks and praise and glory to our heavenly Father for bringing us safely through the dark night into the blazing light of the Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! 

And please don’t waste too much time grumbling and complaining, because He is eagerly waiting for us to join Him at the forefront of the battle. Like all good leaders, He is showing the way, getting right into the heat of battle with us. So please don’t procrastinate, for time is of the essence.  

Yes friends, time is certainly important; we’ve only been granted so much, so we can’t afford to waste it by lazing around and indulging in selfish lusts. And as always, to help us get up and over the Monday morning hump, let’s sing our Monday Morning Battle hymn with much jump and joy nuh. 

As one earthly, but heavenly sounding choir now, let’s sing. ‘Oh Lord God Almighty, Creator of the universe and all therein! We, your humble servants, praise your Holy Name and thank you that this Monday morning we have jobs to go to; jobs we don’t like, jobs that are unfair, difficult and even dangerous, but which serve a useful purpose here on earth; keeping lives and families together. 

We also thank you Father for the renewed vitality and enthusiasm you’ve wrought in our weary souls over the last two days. It’s that rejuvenation of Spirit which allows us now to sally forth with confidence into the evil, ungodly world that surrounds us, to begin a new week of work, constantly buffeted and bombarded by the enemy’s wicked taunts, wiles and lies. 

But heavenly Father, we’re not afraid, for we know we’re invincible, sure conquerors, once we’re wearing your powerful, protective spiritual armour. We surrender our all to you, and humbly ask that you let your incredible aura of LOVE, the Holy Spirit, lead and guide all your servants as we go out to meet the enemy in battle. 

Fill us with steadfast faith, so that we can make worthwhile inroads into the enemy’s ranks, and thereby further your glorious kingdom. We pray this in the Holy Name of your Son, and our Saviour, Jesus Christ. AMEN!’ 

Oh what an awesome rendition my brethren! Jesus was jumping and jiving with us as He swung His conductor’s baton with that light and airy touch that He alone possesses! Wow! All of heaven was also singing along, including the Father! Mama Mia! 

So with that adrenalin coursing through our bodies now, let’s get ourselves together and head into the evil world and show them, what it truly means to be a Christian, a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ! Oh glory to God! 

Ah mih people, much to my surprise, the ole fella is really enthused this morning. I am being carried away by own rhetoric! (smile) Hope it rubs off on you too. But that’s what is possible when you put your faith, hope, belief and trust in Jesus! Your spirit is lifted and you are able to do incredible things in His name. 

And what we desperately need to do today is get out into the world and begin changing the Lord’s opinion of us in the Bit. For remember it applies to our current society even more than it did to the Israelites. 

‘My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.‘  

Oh how sad that that’s the Lord’s impression of our society! And we have no one to blame but ourselves. So without further ado, let’s get into some scripture that verify our Bit. Listen to the great prophet Isaiah as he talks about the woes promised to and pronounced on the faithless. 

‘Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge: and their honourable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst. Therefore hell (Sheol) hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it. 

And the mean man (people) shall be brought down, and the mighty man (each man) shall be humbled, and the eyes of the lofty shall be humbled. But the Lord of hosts shall be exalted in judgement, and God that is holy shall be sanctified in righteousness (hallowed).’( Is.5:13-16)  

Yes Friends, we can see that happening already. Honourable people are having a hard time existing in this sinful society, and there is a lot of hunger, poverty, inhumanity and starvation. But have no fear, the Lord and His people WILL win out in the end! 

Now let’s go home with some more encouraging words from Peter, as he talks about growing in grace. ‘And beside this (but also for this very reason), giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance (self-control); and to temperance patience (perseverance); and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness charity (LOVE). 

For if these things be in you (are yours), and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren (useless) nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off (is short-sighted), and hath forgotten that he was purged (cleansed) from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure; for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall (stumble).’ (2 Pet.1:5-10) 

And the scholars offer these explanations: ‘1:5-7. In this section Peter urges his readers to grow to spiritual maturity. Add to your faith indicates the areas of growth that follow after salvation. Virtue is moral excellence. Knowledge is spiritual truth. Temperance is self-control. Patience is endurance. Godliness is God-likeness. Brotherly kindness (Gr. philadelphian) is brotherly LOVE. Charity (Gr. agapen) is volitional LOVE. This process is a lifelong cycle of spiritual growth for all believers.’  

There you have it Friends and neighbours, the wisdom of heaven! So let’s go out and practice it nuh, so that we can never fall, never fail in our Christian living. Much LOVE!

…he that hath ears to hear…let him hear…for disobedience will be catastrophic…

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 3 April 2015 Matthew 27:35

Matthew 27:35. And they crucified him, and parted (divided) his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted (divided) my garments among them, and upon my vesture (clothing) did they cast lots.

Oh Friends, it’s Friday! And one we call Good Friday to boot. How can that be though, when such a dastardly deed, such a great injustice, a crucifixion, was perpetrated on a holy and sinless man two thousand years ago? How can it be that we call such a day good eh, especially when it was no ordinary crucifixion, but a horrific and cruel one, filled with all sorts of unimaginable brutality and inhumanity?
 
That’s the epitome of our saying that man’s inhumanity to man makes countless thousands suffer and mourn!  But I guess we call it good because it was the beginning, the initializing of some thing good. Without that sacrifice on Good Friday, there would have been no resurrection on Easter Sunday, no victory over hell, death and the grave.
 
And it’s also good in the sense that our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ gave His life so that we could be free from the bondage of sin once and for all. We have to look at it that way Friends, otherwise it was just a brutal injustice.
 
And believe you me, Jesus paid a heavy, heavy price for our disgusting sins, for as we said above, it was no ordinary crucifixion, but a most cruel and heartless one, fuelled by fear and greed and the lust for power, the same things that are still controlling our world today.
 
Oh my people, please take a moment and consider the inhumanity that Jesus suffered before He even reached Calvary; the scourging, the spitting, the ridicule, the mocking, the slapping, the crown of thorns, the tearing of His flesh by the cruel whips with all sorts of sharp things attached meant exactly for that purpose.
 
In this modern day and age, although we’re still cruel, I don’t think we can truly capture the thoroughly disfigured and tattered picture of Jesus when He came out of Pilate’s place, then was given His cross to carry, though He could barely walk and His wounds were by then terminal. It was only a matter of time.
 
It’s a good thing that somebody had the bright idea to get Simon the Cyrene to help Him bear the cross, otherwise I doubt He would have made it to Golgotha that evil place of the skull, which we Christians now term Calvary, a much nicer name. Then being made to lie outstretched on two planks of wood and nailed to them with huge metal nails, in such a way that death would be painful and prolonged. Steups!
 
Can you imagine that gruesome scene Friends, of Jesus being put to lie down on the cross and nailed to it, then have it raised upright and what little lifeblood He had left, being set to drain slowly and painfully out of Him? And to make matters worse, they crucified Him between two common criminals. Chuh!
 
Ah mih people, can you look through your eyes of faith and see Jesus, all torn and tattered, just languishing up there on that cross in the hot noonday sun? Believe me Friends, it was definitely no little price that Jesus paid for the banishment of our sins nuh! That’s what you call real ‘sufferation.’ The Father really put it to Him.
 
In my humble opinion it did not have to be so cruel, but I guess it just goes to show how disgusting and diabolical sin is and was, and that the only way to truly get rid of it was by a serious sacrificial death of a sinless person. And unfortunately Jesus was the ONLY ONE who fit that description.
 
It also shows how serious the Father is and was about His dislike for sin, if He could allow such terrible atrocities to be performed on His only Son. If you think it hurts us, just imagine the heartache He must have felt nuh, seeing His Son go through so much agony, and knowing that He could stop it with a simple word, but also knowing that if He did, sin would then forever run rampant throughout His universe, with no end in sight, and the evil Lucifer would have won the war.
 
Being a holy and just God, He just could not allow that, so like we say, He just had to grin and bear it. And yet we still doubt His wonderful and unconditional LOVE for us!
 
What hurts too Friends, is that after that most expensive price Jesus paid for our forgiveness, for our reconciliation and atonement, for our salvation and eternal life, so many of us simply ignore Him, or don’t take him as seriously as we should.
 
That’s not only unfortunate my brethren, but rather foolish, for if we don’t embrace Jesus and all that He stands for then we’ll still end up in the pool of fire come the judgement day with the wicked Beelzebub and all his other minions, and His sacrifice would have been worthless.
 
Oh Friends, the Father sent His son to pay the price for our abominable sins because He did not want to lose even one of His most wonderful creations, mankind, to Lucifer. So why aren’t we being wise and truly accepting Jesus as our Lord and Saviour eh? That’s the multi-million dollar question?
 
Instead, we’re sadly moving away from Him in droves, embracing the worthless and sinful stuff of the world, foisted on us by the prince of darkness and his evil lackeys. That’s only going to bring us more sin and suffering, and it’s oh so foolish, when Jesus has already paid the price for us to be free from the bondage and torment of sin.
 
But yuh know what my brethren, Jesus was such a mighty and majestic man, that throughout it all He didn’t complain. He knew that that was the reason for which He was made man, and though He pleaded some with the Father to change the plans, deep down He knew that it was not going to happen, so again, like we all have to do at times, He just grinned and bore it.
 
He withstood the mockery and jeers and otherwise that were hurled at him while He hung there limp and helpless on the cross. The only sad words that reached His lips on the cross were as the Good Book says: ‘And about the ninth hour (noon) Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? That is to say, My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?’ (Matt.27:46)
 
Yes Friends, in that moment, as the scholars explain; ‘Here we have the high cost to Christ of His atonement for our sins, who was accursed of God as our sin-bearer, (cf.2 Cor.5:21; Gal.3:13) and suffered the agony of spiritual death for us.’ 
 
Ah mih breddren, as our Bit so sadly says too: ‘And they crucified him, and parted (divided) his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted (divided) my garments among them, and upon my vesture (clothing) did they cast lots.’ That prophecy comes from Psalm 22:18, words of Bruh David.
 
But you know what Friends, Jesus is so beautiful, that even on the cross He still reached out to us. He pleaded with the Lord; ‘Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.’ (Luke 23:34) Then to one of the criminals who were crucified with Him and who embraced His sanctity as they hung there together, He sincerely promised: ‘Verily I say unto thee, today shalt thou be with me in paradise.’ (Luke 23:43)
 
And to show how much He cared for His mother, the Good Book tells us: ‘When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by whom he LOVED (John), he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.’ (John 19:26-27)
 
What’s left to be said eh, my people? Only this: ‘And when Jesus had cried with aloud voice, he said, ‘Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost (breathed his last).’ (Luke 23:46)
 
Oh Friends, on this solemn Friday which we call good, and on which we didn’t even shout for joy, ‘TGIF! Thank God it’s Friday!’ since most people are already off work, for it’s a public holiday in most places, let’s Chant our Friday Chant nonetheless as we spend the day in worship and ponder what the day means to us as a congregation, as well as individuals.
 
Let’s chant: ‘Oh Lord, thanks for getting me safely through another week of work! It hasn’t been easy, but with your generous help, I made it through. Now, please help me to get sufficient fun, fellowship, rest and relaxation in these two short days off, so that I can be renewed and refreshed in soul, body and mind, to go back out and do it all over again next week, furthering your glorious kingdom with each step I take. I pray this in Jesus name. Amen.’
 
Oh my people, it’s long and somewhat involved. (smile) But that’s what I was guided to write. I just hope it brings home to us the real hefty price that Jesus paid for our sins to be forgiven, and brings us ever closer to Him. Much LOVE!
 
…to all serious believers…today…let’s take up our crosses and follow Jesus…for that’s what he desires of us…

 

 

 

 
 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 10 November 2013 Matthew 5:14

Matthew 5:14.    Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.

Ah Friends, our world is in such a sad state of disrepair and confusion, it hurts to the very core. There are so many more negative than positive happenings, that when you look around all you can see is man’s terrible and ever increasing inhumanity to his fellow man. Not too long ago, it was reckoned in millions, but now it’s counted in billions.

Ah Lord eh! And the atrocities taking place in our supposed civilized world are innumerable and real, real… Hn! I can’t seem to find a word worse than atrocious nuh, so I guess atrocious it is. And the sad part is that many of these atrocities are being committed in the name of some god or the other. And wonder of wonders, all these gods are supposed to be deities which exude peace and LOVE as their main platforms!

Chuh! I guess that’s what I get for reading the newspapers, because they’re simply littered with all the negative aspects of our world, since that’s what is considered worthwhile news today. Very few of the relatively few good things happening in our world are ever reported.

I have to stop here and chuckle yes Friends, because when I was growing up, I could never understand about the constant warfare reported in the Bible and the History Books. And, fortunately or unfortunately, I still don’t understand them, or those happening today. I don’t see what real or useful purpose they serve, for it’s all death and destruction.

So you won the war, big deal! Numerous amounts of your citizens are dead, including your friends and family, your once proud and prosperous land is laid waste… But you won the war, so that makes you a mighty conqueror!

Steups! Pure foolishness Friends! I think I’ll just remain in my lack of understanding and naivety yes. (smile) The Lord might have been wiser though to let all of mankind perish in the flood, because even with that new beginning through Noah and his family, it didn’t take us long to revert to our truly evil ways, and it seems that since then, each generation has gotten progressively worse.

We claim that the Lord made us to have a good personal relationship with Him, but how much of humanity is doing that eh, even amongst the ones that do know about Him? The corrupting things of the world are having a much greater impact on mankind than the things of God, which do not corrupt.

So where does that leave us, eh mih breddren? It leaves the proportionate few who sincerely believe in the ONE TRUE GOD of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; the God of LOVE, mercy, grace, forgiveness, salvation and eternal life, to work harder at spreading the good news of Christ and His redeeming work.

Oh Friends, we definitely and desperately need to outwork and outshine Lucifer and his evil hordes, if we truly desire to bring success to Jesus’ LOVE Revolution. To do that though, we need to develop an extraordinary amount of unbelievable faith to be able to put up with all the abuse, persecution and negativity thrown at us by the numerous evil doers of this world.

We need a faith as talked about by Martin Luther (1483-1546) the German minister who played a large part in bringing about the Protestant Reformation a few centuries ago. Now when I went on the Net to check out the dates of his birth and death, I happened to come across the same quote that I planned to share, but in a slightly different form. I considered trying to put them together, but couldn’t get it to work properly, so I’ll just give us both versions.

Version 1, from my Devotional. ‘Faith is a living and unshakeable confidence, a belief in the grace of God so assured that a man would die a thousand deaths for its sake.’

And version 2, from the Net. ‘Faith is a living, bold trust in God’s grace, so certain of God’s favour that it would risk death a thousand times trusting in it.’

Wow! Oh my fellow believers, which ever version you choose, it sure calls for a lot of faith! And right now it’s also obvious that our faith is still too small to successfully conquer the heathen. Without great faith, Martin Luther would not have had the ability to fight the Catholic Church, to stand strong and bring about the Protestant Reformation, which was, and still is, possibly the biggest change in religious attitudes since Christ birthed Christianity.

And Friends, with the great power that evil doers currently possess in our world, it will take a great upheaval, something akin to the Reformation, to bring the heathen to Christ. That’s where the LOVE Revolution comes in my people. We have to put on the greatest show of LOVE the world has seen, since Jesus sacrificed His sinless live on Calvary’s cross, for us to get the world’s attention and cause them to want what we so joyfully possess, to come to Christ to gain salvation and eternal life.

And I’m sorry, but the truth be told, we’re definitely not doing such a good job at it right now. There are too many divisions, too many petty grievances, too much hypocrisy, and simply not enough unity for unbelievers to take us seriously.

So what’s the answer eh mih breddren? We just have to get serious about doing Jesus’ work, to dig down deeper in our souls, find ways to strengthen out faith and trust in Almighty God, so that we’re willing to die a thousand deaths on His behalf.

That means Friends, we need to be two things. The first is to be a bright and genuine reflection of our Bit. ‘Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.’ For as Jesus explains: ‘Neither do men light a candle (lamp), and put it under a bushel (basket), but on a candlestick (lamp stand); and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.’ (Matt.5:15)

And secondly, we truly have to be the salt of the earth! Why is that, you ask?

Listen to Jesus, and all of this comes from the Sermon on the Mount. ‘Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour (flavour), wherewith (by what) shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.’ (Matt.5:13)

Yes Friends, salt adds flavour to our food, acts as a preservative, heals wounds and salt water is the best therapeutic remedy in the world. That means we have to be bright and flavourful, compassionate, comforting, healing wounds, whether physically or psychologically, add taste, flavour and light to our bland, tasteless, dark world.

Yes my people, unless we are the true salt and light of this God-forsaken world, then things will just keep going downhill, which we certainly cannot afford to let happen.

So therefore we need to take Jesus’ advice very seriously. ‘Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.’ (Matt.5:16)

And that my fellow believers is divine wisdom straight from our Leader, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. So please let’s put it into action as soon as possible nuh. It’s our bounden duty. Much LOVE!

…until the followers of Jesus truly become…the salt of the earth…and the light of the world…His church won’t make serious inroads into Lucifer’s camp…

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 7 April 2012 Luke 23:33

  Luke 23:33.        And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.                                                                  

HOLY  SATURDAY!

 

Ah Friends, it’s Holy Saturday. Most of the excitement from the tumultuous events of Good Friday has now subsided, and Jesus is lying quietly in His borrowed tomb. ‘Glory Hallelujah!’ And as promised, I’ll do what I’d planned to do yesterday, but which the Lord in His wisdom postponed to today. For good reason too, because I’m going to approach it from a different and better angle. And who says our wonderful God doesn’t move in mysterious ways eh! I’m going to deal with Jesus’ suffering from a purely physical aspect, using some information from the novel, ‘The Sacred Bones,’ by Michael Byrnes. I mentioned it awhile back, noting that you should not read it unless your faith was strong, since it could cloud your mind with all sorts of doubts. It’s basically a story of intrigue, where two forensic scientists, a female American and male Italian are working in a highly sophisticated basement lab of the Vatican, looking at some bones found in a Jewish ossuary (coffin)) dated in Jesus’ time, trying to figure out how the person died, and if it was possibly Jesus. Let’s look at some of their findings after putting the bones under a microscope. They found no head trauma, but the Good Book says that when Jesus gave the high priest a smart-aleck answer; ‘one of the officers which stood by struck Jesus (gave him a blow) with the palm of his hand, saying, Answerest thou the high priest so? (John 18:22) And after Pilate was finished with Him, ‘the soldiers plaited (twisted) a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe. And said, Hail, King of the Jews! And they smote (struck) Him with their hands.’(John 19:2-3) So it’s obvious they roughed up Jesus with their hands and emotionally humiliated Him before taking Him out to be crucified. His head must also have been punctured in several places by the crown of thorns, with blood seeping down His face from them. The scholars claim that the last set of physical abuse was possibly with fists as opposed to the slap before. The scientists found a huge tear in the dried cartilage attaching the ribs to the chest plate. Then the humerus and clavicle were separated from the scapula. They contended that it was a violent dislocation which had taken place before death. Most of the ribs looked like they hand been racked with thick nails to produce long, scalloped gouges. And they found metal deposits there. The final analysis was that if the bones there looked so bad, then the muscle and flesh that covered them would have looked even worse, leading to the conclusion that the man had been flayed (flogged), with a barbed whip to boot. What does the Good Book say? ‘Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him (whipped Him with a Roman scourge).’ (John 19:1)  And what was a Roman scourge Friends? Hear the scholars’ explanation: ‘Scourging (whipping) often preceded crucifixion. The Roman flagellum consisted of a whip, split into several strips, into which sharp bones (or metal) were embedded so as to cut the flesh.’ Note too the soldiers roughed Him up after He’d been scourged. So imagine having your back cut with wicked stripes and thorns puncturing your head, then being physically abused. Significant damage was also found on the inner surfaces of the bones joining above the wrist, as though it went through a grinder, with what appeared to be wood fibres embedded in the bones. Two bones in the left foot had also been fractured and looked similar to the wrists. From the diamond shaped indentation in the bone, and more wood splinters, they concluded that a nail caused the fracture. It also looked like the nail had missed the first time, possibly because the feet were nailed one on top of the other. Furthermore, the tears in the cartilage and hairline fractures below the knee indicated that the knees had been broken. To quicken death those crucified often had their knees broke. They broke the knees of the two thieves crucified with Jesus, but Jesus did not suffer this fate because when the soldiers came to take Him down, He was already dead. ‘But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water…For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken. And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.’ (John 19:34, 36-37) The first scripture refers to Psalm 34:20, and the second to Zechariah 12:10. Friends, time and space are running out, so I’ll quickly condense some of the horrible attributes of crucifixion. Firstly, it was a brutal punishment used by the Romans to send a potent message of fear to Roman citizens. It was very public and humiliating. Victims would be stripped naked and hung along major thoroughfares. It was a very dishonourable way to die, and mostly used for low class criminals and enemies of the state. I guess Jesus was considered an enemy of the state but crucified between two low class thugs. Scourging was a starting point to make the victims more compliant. The victim was usually impaled on some kind of cross by long spikes driven through their hands and feet. I guess all this was done before the cross was raised upright, for a rope was hung around the arms for additional support when the body was raised upright. And though we see crucifixions with nails in the palms of the hands, this wasn’t very practical because the small bones and weak flesh in the hands couldn’t support the full weight of a body, so huge iron spikes, measuring around 18 centimetres would be driven into the wrist, just above the ulna and radius, with a large wooden washer to keep it in place. That crushes or severs the median nerve, sending terrible waves of pain up the arm, instantly paralyzing them. After nailing both wrists, then the body would be violently hoisted. Then the feet would be laid over each other then nailed to the post. Apparently this caused a lot of struggling and flailing about, so to prevent that, sometimes a supporting peg, called a sedile, was inserted between the legs. A nail was pounded through the penis and into the sedile to secure the victims to the cross. What utter horror Friends! And the sad fact is that no one thing really killed the victim, though they all contributed. And one could be on the cross for days before a welcome death came. Oh Friends, I sure hope I’ve achieved my purpose with this Lesson 101 on crucifixion; that of getting us to appreciate so much more the horror and agony that Jesus went through on that cross to pay for our sins. It also shows the depth of the Father’s LOVE for us, that He willingly allowed His Son to pay the exorbitant price His justice system called for, for our redemption. Let’s hope from now on, most of us will have a much better appreciation and LOVE for Jesus. Much LOVE!…man’s inhumanity to man has made countless millions mourn…and sadly it’s still doing so…time to stop it… P.S. The commentary above is a combination of my words and author Michael Byrnes, but they are so intermingled that it would have taken too much time to try and separate them and made the reading too difficult, so I just lumped them all together and acknowledge Mr. Burns’ contribution.  Much LOVE!