published Sunday, April 24th, 2011

The mission of Jesus Christ

Nearly 2,000 years ago, the life and mission of Jesus Christ on Earth were drawing to a close. He had come to bring the message: “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.”

He had come to bear the sins of the world, and to shed His blood in payment that those who believe in Him and accept Him as Lord and Savior may have everlasting life.

The fulfillment of His mission is shown in the magnificent events commemorated in the Easter season, events recounted in the Holy Bible.

Betrayal

The 18th chapter of the Gospel of John tells how, in the darkness of night, Judas pointed out Jesus to officers of the chief priests and Pharisees, who opposed His teaching:

Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him,

And led him away to Annas first; for he was father in law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year.

Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people ...

The high priest then asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine.

Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing.

Why askest thou me? ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said.

And when he had thus spoken, one of the officers which stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, Answerest thou the high priest so?

Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou me?

Trial

Having already condemned Jesus, the priests and Pharisees had Him taken to the Roman governor of Palestine, Pontius Pilate, for “trial” that was to lead to a sentence of Crucifixion (Matthew 27):

When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death: ...

And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing.

Then said Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee?

And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marveled greatly.

Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would.

And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas.

Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?

For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.

When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.

But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus.

The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas.

Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified.

And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified.

When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.

Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.

Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.

Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers.

And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe.

And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!

And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head.

And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him.

And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross.

Crucifixion

In Luke 23, we find the story of the Crucifixion:

And there were also two other, malefactors, led with him to be put to death.

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.

Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God.

And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar,

And saying, If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself.

And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.

But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?

And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.

And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.

And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.

And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.

And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.

And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.

Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man.

The Tomb

Joseph of Arimathea, a man who also waited for the kingdom of God, begged Pilate to give him Jesus’ body for burial, and he took it and placed it in a sepulcher. But the chief priests and Pharisees were wary, as is told in Matthew 27:

Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees came together unto Pilate,

Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive,

After three days I will rise again.

Command therefore that the sepulcher be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first.

Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can.

So they went, and made the sepulcher sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.

Resurrection

The story of the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise is told in Matthew 28:

In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulcher.

And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.

His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:

And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.

And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.

He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you ...

And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

10
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librul said...

"We have heard talk enough. We have listened to all the drowsy, idealess, vapid sermons that we wish to hear. We have read your Bible and the works of your best minds. We have heard your prayers, your solemn groans and your reverential amens. All these amount to less than nothing. We want one fact. We beg at the doors of your churches for just one little fact. We pass our hats along your pews and under your pulpits and implore you for just one fact. We know all about your mouldy wonders and your stale miracles. We want a this year's fact. We ask only one. Give us one fact for charity. Your miracles are too ancient. The witnesses have been dead for nearly two thousand years ...

"The doctrine that future happiness depends upon belief is monstrous. It is the infamy of infamies. The notion that faith in Christ is to be rewarded by an eternity of bliss, while a dependence upon reason, observation and experience merits everlasting pain, is too absurd for refutation, and can be relieved only by that unhappy mixture of insanity and ignorance, called "faith." What man, who ever thinks, can believe that blood can appease God? And yet, our entire system of religion is based upon that belief. The Jews pacified Jehovah with the blood of animals, and according to the Christian system, the blood of Jesus softened the heart of God a little, and rendered possible the salvation of a fortunate few. It is hard to conceive how the human mind can give assent to such terrible ideas, or how any sane man can read the Bible and still believe in the doctrine of inspiration." -- Robert Green Ingersoll, The Gods

April 24, 2011 at 10:41 a.m.
Rickaroo said...

Most Christians know that Easter and Christmas have their origins in Pagan mythology yet they continue to act as if these holidays are uniquely Christian. With just a little more research into the history of religions that preceded Christianity they would discover that the entire Christ story is nothing more than an amalgam of those myths, that the person of Christ never really existed. There have been at least twenty other so-called man/gods in earlier religions whose lives and characteristics paralleled that of Jesus. Outside of the Bible there is no historical evidence whatsoever to indicate that this "messiah" ever walked the earth. The entire story is preposterous and silly. In fact the Bible itself, to be considered "holy" and inerrant, is the most flawed and contradictory book ever written.

Even if I thought that the Christian God were real, I would choose to have nothing to do with him. I agree with Librul that the notion of a God who casts his own children in to a place called hell to suffer for an eternity, based on nothing more than how that person chooses to believe or not believe is petty, malicious, and downright evil. What sick and twisted manner of God is it that would set forth such rules? And yet this is the God that Christians worship and refer to as their God of love.

Still, we must endure this editor's yearly waste of ink and paper in serving up the same old nonsensical story of redemption and eternal life. How inspiring. Yawn.

April 24, 2011 at noon
lkeithlu said...

Although I don't deny that the Easter story brings great joy and comfort to believers, I'd prefer it stay in church. The paper serves the rest of us who are not of the same beliefs. If they printed all of the traditions of spring (or winter or midsummer) that would be great.

April 24, 2011 at 12:35 p.m.
AFriend said...

I Don't Want to Argue With "(YOU)", "(BUT)" There is Something I would Like to Say:to"(YOU)" "(WHAT-If)" The "(BIBLE)" and "(Everything)" in it is "(TRUE)" Then What Will "(YOU-DO)"? It Will be to "(LATE)" at "(JUDGEMENT-DAY)" to "(CHANGE-YOUR-MIND)"

April 24, 2011 at 3:39 p.m.
lkeithlu said...

AFriend, everything in it is not literally true. That's already been shown. Cute use of parentheses and quotes, though.

April 24, 2011 at 4:32 p.m.
Legend said...

@AFriend said... Then What Will "(YOU-DO)"? It Will be to "(LATE)" at "(JUDGEMENT-DAY)" to "(CHANGE-YOUR-MIND)"


It's all about economics and controlling the masses. Retailers rely more heavily on the Christmas season than any other time of the year. I'll bet Easter is number two in line for retailers.

When societies can no longer control mankind by way of threats and punishment, the next and final means of control are by way of some religion where some powerful entity sends down judgment and issues out punishment. Ironically, the very ones who claim to be the most staunch believers are the ones who break those laws the most often.

April 24, 2011 at 4:52 p.m.
librul said...

Playing the fear card, are we AFriend?

It's worked for too long a time. Making people believe something out of mythological fear is a marker for a baseless and hollow belief system. It was easy in the days when priests stood at the right hand of kings and people were told the appearance of comets, the eclipses of the moon and sun, the eruption of volcanoes, plagues, droughts, floods, earthquakes etc. indicated they had displeased their oh so loving god(s) and were often killed for nothing to subdue restlessness among the masses.

It was BS then, it's BS now.

The burgeoning growth of science since the Enlightenment illuminated the religion-dominated Dark Ages has put such primitivism on the run. It's why the Christianist right wing and their C-Street trained toadies in Congress are conducting a frontal assault on science education today - because any thinking human is having a much, much harder time making excuses for a myth.

Everyone should be aware that as soon as people quit believing in the resurrection of a human 36 hours after death (wow, that should be easy) the horror of xtianity will be over - exposed as nothing more than a manipulative legend. Islam and Judiasm, the other legs of the REAL axis of evil, will soon follow. Then maybe we will be able to get on with a rational and humanist approach to relations between people. There will always be bad apples in the human barrel, but at least they will no longer have a whole industry working to feed their prejudicial wolves within.

April 24, 2011 at 5:48 p.m.
jsgood35 said...

...forgive them; for they know not what they do...applies so well to most of these commentors. It does appear you all do at least have a minor knowledge of the teachings, so one day, an event may change your POV. Science is awesome, but so is the Lord.

April 25, 2011 at 3:38 p.m.
librul said...

Well, jsgood35 can be checked off as not having a fact to contribute so Colonel Ingersoll's simple request remains unfulfilled. We'll just have to keep asking, I guess.

April 25, 2011 at 6:29 p.m.
nucanuck said...

jsgood35,

I don't think it is the Lord driving neo-right Christians away from science, but rather a determination to mould thoughts toward pre-determined unsupportable beliefs...creating an unholy environment for us all.

April 25, 2011 at 6:34 p.m.
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