When the high priest heard Jesus acknowledge that He was the Son of God, the high priest rent his cloak. In the Old Testament, if the high priest did this in his priestly robe (the one which had no seams), it effectively removed him from office according to the Torah. By rending his garment he cut himself off from being a representative character. He was no longer accepted by God as an officiating priest.
We have been celebrating the birth of Jesus, the Son of God, but consider the time of His crucifixion and when He said, “It is finished”. The veil of the Temple was torn in two from the top to the bottom. God’s Presence was in the Holy of Holies so it was God Himself Who tore (rent) the veil of the Temple from top to bottom giving mankind access to Himself from that point on through the substitutionary death of Jesus as the Passover Lamb and the fulfillment of ALL of the feasts which God had instituted from the time of the exodus from Egypt to the giving of the law of God on Mount Sinai. In particular the Day of Atonement and the Feast of Firstfruits.
Jesus fulfilled all of the feasts and their meaning, not just as the Lamb of God but as our Savior and Lord and our High Priest Who went into the Temple in Heaven to put His blood on the altar to atone for ALL of our sins.
This bit of information is hard for us to understand or get any kind of idea of what this really means but that is exactly what Jesus came to do and He accomplished it in the way His Father wanted Him to do it. All 300 prophecies about Him from the Old Testament were fulfilled by Him so there is no denying that He was truly God and man, because no human being could’ve fulfilled even a few of the prophecies written about Him.
Jesus came to take the sins of the world upon Himself so that He could be our sacrifice, our atoning sacrifice for everyone! It doesn’t matter if you are not a believer or if you are a bit skeptical about Him because He took your sins too. Your lack of belief or your refusal to believe in Him doesn’t annul any of the grace and mercy which has been given to you. The only barrier keeping you from Him or the atonement and salvation which have been offered by His death and His resurrection is your belief in Him. By accepting Him as your Savior and repenting of your sins, you can walk with Him through this life and become one of His disciples.
It is not a hard thing to do unless you are truly addicted to your life and the “things” in it. If you would rather live your life according to your rules and do what you want to do then you are free to do so. But don’t expect that you will enjoy heaven in eternity because your salvation through Jesus is the only way to get there.
This is a question which I thought of while I was young and I have had others ask me too. Why did Jesus ride into Jerusalem on a donkey? To fulfill the prophecy in Zechariah 9: 9-10 for one reason and so that the people would know that He was bringing salvation to them, not war, and not as a conquering King. A king would normally ride into his city on a white horse, a charger symbolizing victory over the enemy or enemies. But, Jesus came into Jerusalem riding on the colt of a donkey, the foal of a beast of burden. What is the message here?
The message from our point of view is that He was letting the people know that He was NOT going to overthrow Rome, but that He was to be recognized as Israel’s Savior, their Messiah. Unfortunately, the people and the priests did not see Him as the Messiah, they only saw a prophet who could do some really great miracles, like healing a blind man or a leper or even bringing one who had been dead for four days back to life again! But..they did not see a Messiah.
The most telling part of this, at least to me, is that He rode on a colt which had not been broken to riding yet. Why is this significant? Because the colt knew that this is my Creator and I MUST do whatever He tells me or asks of me. He could’ve ridden into Jerusalem on an unbroken horse and it would’ve submitted itself to Him the same way. God is the Creator of all things, great and small, therefore He is in command of them all. Which is why the waves and the wind obeyed Him in the boat when the storm came upon them.
Jesus was and is just as much God as His Father, He is just a little different. The attributes of Jesus showed His love, compassion, care, and tenderness toward all of His disciples and those to whom He preached. So, what would you say about Jesus? Is He the King and the Lord of your life or do you just know about Him?
If He’s not your Lord, then what are you doing here? Did you come to church just because you are expected to? Did you come because that’s what you do on Sunday morning?
God loves you far more deeply than we can even understand, so why don’t you love Him in the best way possible? This is a relationship after all. Consider this for a moment. Our very lives depend upon His blessings and His grace and yet we seem to discount this all of the time. Your breath and mine come from Him and we are His in spite of our decision to follow Him or not. I don’t mean to say that nobody is going to hell if they die or if they don’t give their life to Jesus and ask for His forgiveness but what I do mean is that God loves all of us in His way and it is a deeper love than we can imagine.
The only human foreshadowing of God’s love for us is the love that we get from our mother and father. It is a love which is deep enough that no matter what we do or say, we are always loved by them. God’s love for each of us is deeper than that even before we come to Jesus and ask for Him to be the Lord of our lives. Does that love become deeper when we become a follower of Jesus and a believer? I think that it does because we are covered in the blood of Jesus which has cleansed us of our sinful stains, so in that sense, I do believe that God sees His Son more than He sees us from that point on.
Sometimes it seems that we just can’t listen to each other’s problems or to our preacher’s sermons. Listening to each other is the best way to get along with each other, yet there are so many problems between couples and countries all over the world. Most of those problems could be solved if we could put our pride and our attitudes on a shelf and sit down like adults and talk and listen to each other!
This would solve many if not most of the world’s problems, but it seems that when pride gets in the way and our attitudes become broiled in the juices of envy and hatred, then our ears and the ability to listen to each other becomes cut off or stopped up. Believe me, Satan has his hand and his followers all in the middle of these conflicts, whether it is between a man and woman trying to make their marriage work or between political parties in a country!
Our ears, spiritually and physically, become muddled to the point that we don’t hear what we should and we hear only part of what we shouldn’t. Which causes more misunderstandings and problems and it just gets worse from there, like a wet snowball rolling downhill. Pretty soon the problem or the snowball is so big that it can’t be fixed or stopped by just one person!
Jesus listened with His ears and with His heart and that is something which the church in general seems to have lost the ability to do, especially in the times that we live in today! The problem that we have is that we can’t understand the problem today because we aren’t really listening with our spiritual ears, our heart. We listen with our ears but we try to use psychobabble to “take care of the problem”, or make people feel good about themselves, or try to work around the issue.
In truth…all we are doing is putting a band-aid over a large cut or rather we are bandaging it but we aren’t helping in the healing of it. This kind of “help” is not helping at all, it only makes the problems worse! Like putting used tires on a car every six months, they wear out sooner and will still go flat easier than new ones, even if they are cheaper it is not helping.
Making people feel better about themselves is good, but spiritually it is suicide and murder. If you smooth over people’s sins and make them feel okay about them without telling them about salvation through Jesus, you are not a preacher…you are acting as a psychiatrist and that won’t do anyone good for eternity! PREACH FROM THE BIBLE! Tell the salvation and healing story of Jesus and His atonement for all of us from the gospels!
People need that today more than they know! John 3:16 is so powerful that it is a sermon in itself! Please, the Church needs to wake up and be the Body of Christ that this world needs NOW! This world will soon be in more of a situation than anyone alive has ever seen or experienced and the only rescue is through Jesus!
Some may wonder why I placed an exclamation point at the end of the title and it’s because of the importance of that Gift. God gives each of us life and breath each day that we live, which is a good thing and a great gift to be sure, but His most wonderful Gift came in the form of His Son, Jesus.
In the beginning, according to Christian and Biblical Scripture, the Godhead was/is made up of three Persons of the Trinity. In Genesis, God’s Spirit was hovering over the waters. This was the Holy Spirit which was searching for a place for us. Then God the Father said, “Let there be light”, and all of Creation lit up with Light. The Living Word of God had begun Creation, and one day the Living Word would be known as Yeshua, the Son of God.
So, in the beginning there were the Three Persons of the Godhead. There are other places where they all show up, but that is the first one. The Gift which God gave to us, all of humanity that has lived or will live, is the Son of God Who gave up His place in Heaven to be placed in the form of a child which was born to a virgin in Bethlehem.
Many of you will know the story from Scripture or from watching Charlie Brown’s Christmas, but the point is this: IT HAD TO BE DONE!
Why? Because, human beings are sinful and we can’t keep God’s Law perfectly because our nature won’t allow it. But, Jesus did it because His very nature was God’s nature even though He was living among us as a human being! He walked with His Father throughout His life here, He spoke with Him every day about the things which were happening and His concerns about the state that humanity lived in.
Jesus came to us, not to show us that we are imperfect and can’t be like Him, but to give us a gift which would allow us to become more like Him one day. I don’t mean that we will become gods, but that we will have His righteousness to cover our sinful life’s failures! His blood is the only spotless sacrifice which could do this. Lambs and bulls and the blood from their sacrifice were able to give a temporary satisfaction of a sort in the Old covenant, but it was only temporary and had to be done daily or weekly or even yearly.
The blood which Jesus shed for us permanently covers our sins, all that we can do is accept it by believing that His atonement was for us! Each person on this planet had their sins covered, but each one of us has to accept it and turn away from that life and those sinful behaviors. Then we begin a new life of walking with and trusting in Him to give us the strength every day to do this for the rest of our lives! That is our gift to Him, to keep walking in His strength daily to show our lives to others as a reflection of His Life in us.
I have had people ask me, “Why should I do that?”, like they are supposed to get something out of this deal too?! You do get something out of it! Eternal life with God and with all of your family who have learned this as well!
If you were offered one million dollars with no strings attached, except with one requirement, that you had to use it not only for your family but to bless others along the way in your life, would you accept it? Could you live by that requirement? With today’s technology, you could be monitored so that if you failed to fulfill that requirement you had to give up all that you had bought with the money which didn’t fulfill it. Now, could you do it?
Most of us could not do it completely and to the letter. That is what the Christian life is supposed to be like, except that we don’t have to give up or give back the salvation which we gain through belief in and acceptance of His Love and sacrifice for each of us. We are supposed to go through life-giving His Life and His message to every person that we meet, if they will accept it. Sometimes its hard to tell others about your Savior, because when they get upset when you tell them that they are sinners and they reject Him, it feels like they are turning on you, rejecting you. When they are actually rejecting Jesus’ message and His offer…His Gift to each of them.
I know that many of you have noticed that the more birthdays you have “celebrated”, the less time it seems to take between them. Even my son, who turns sixteen today, has noticed it and he doesn’t have that many under his belt so to speak. Your perception of time changes when you get older. Days and weeks seem to run together, then the months and years, until pretty soon you are wondering “What happened?” It is true that time goes much slower for those who are incarcerated or who are in living conditions that are far from ideal, but in truth time moves at the same pace that it always has it is our perception of it that has changed.
Life is filled with experiences which cause us to take note of them and make our days either go by quickly or pass by more slowly. If you happen to have a fast paced job, then the day goes by so fast until you have to bring home work to get it finished before you go back, then again if you work at a store where people come in spurts, the days drags by between the customers. Then there is the waiting for the return of Jesus. We know that He is coming back because of the statement made by the angel, “He will return in like manner”, when He was taken up to be at the right hand of God. It has been nearly two millennia since that day. Many people say that He isn’t coming back, some think that it will be hundreds of years in the future if at all, some think that it could be tomorrow or today.
We don’t know and the Bible doesn’t tell us. Jesus gave us some signs to watch for and most of them are happening every day around us, particularly in the Middle East. He also said for us to keep watching and don’t lose faith in Him and in the words spoken in God’s Word. He will return and if you notice the prophecies that have been fulfilled, it very likely will happen in our lifetime. When it will happen, nobody knows for sure. I have noticed that some are saying that it will happen when the last lunar eclipse happens at the end of September, I don’t believe that but anything and anytime is possible.
God knows when our days are coming to an end and He knows, for each of us, how many days we actually have from the day we are born. Thankfully we don’t have access to that information or many people would have bucket lists and the world would be even crazier than it is already! Time is something which we all count during each day that we live. We count it by the minute and the seconds and the days and weeks. The most amazing thing is that we won’t have to count any of it after we arrive in eternity, because time for each of us will cease to exist if you are blessed with the love and the atonement granted by Jesus in your life.
Eternity will be very different if you have not accepted Jesus as your Savior. Time will be miserable and pain-filled and never-ending. I know the argument that “My God wouldn’t allow that to happen!”. God didn’t sentence you to hell, you did. Each one of us has had a chance to accept Jesus as Lord, yet if you don’t by the end of your life it is YOU who has condemned yourself to an eternity without God in hell! We have all seen the handiwork of God in nature and in our bodies, we have heard a sermon or a prayer about God and His grace which is given freely to us even when we don’t deserve it. Even the American Indians prayed to the Great Spirit that they believed created everything and they were right, they just called Him by a different name. That doesn’t mean that Allah or Buddha or any of the “man-made” religions are right because their gods were created by their minds or were just men and nothing more.
God is real and He is in control of time and the number of birthdays that each of us has. Seek Him out in your life while you can, give your heart to Him and ask Him to come into your life and give you the strength to work for Him during the time you have left. Even if it is only a few days or weeks, your example during this time can have a great impact on someone you love or even someone you don’t know.
Today, we look at all holidays as their commercial impacts the world and the economy. But, what about the spiritual impact that the event itself really should have on people? Does anyone really look at Easter today and think about Jesus going to the cross for us, dying for us and then being raised up on the third day in order to complete His work here?
The holiday that we celebrate has nothing to do with Jesus at all. Bunnies and eggs had no meaning to the world at large in Jesus’ day except to pagans which celebrated the coming of spring and the rebirth of life after winter. That celebration has nothing at all to do with Jesus, with the exception of the rebirth which points to the resurrection. We need to look at our Lord as the Creator of all things and believe in His work of redemption on the cross by the shedding of His blood for our sins.
The reason for Easter being the holiday that it is, is because of a pagan spring equinox celebration and that it coincides with the time for passover in late March or early April. This was the time that Jesus was crucified so on that weekend is when we celebrate His death and resurrection. Since the Jewish tradition is to follow a lunar calendar of thirty-day months, dates are never the same from year to year.
So, what is the meaning of Easter, really? The celebration of Life through Jesus Christ and His atoning death and resurrection! That is the true reason for this holiday. If it had not been for this event, we wouldn’t have the hope of a resurrection to eternal life with Him! Our Savior is alive and He is coming back and if the events happening around our world today are any indication of “birth pains”, then it won’t be much longer until the whole world sees Him and knows that our faith and our Savior is real!