|riday June 27|
I have always loved this passage in Psalm 34. Read the whole chapter (which I have copied from biblegateway.com and included it after the following message from The Life Application Study Bible). Let it bathe over you with comfort.
God pays attention to those who call on Him. Whether God offers escape from trouble or help in times of trouble, we can be certain that He always hears and acts on behalf of those who love Him.
God promises great blessings to His people, but many of these blessings require active participation. He will deliver us from:
- fear (34:4),
- save us out of our troubles (34:6),
- guard and deliver us (34:7),
- show us goodness (34:8),
- supply our needs (34:9),
- listen when we talk to Him (34:15)
- and redeem us (34:22),
but we must do our part.
We can appropriate His blessings when:
- we seek Him (34:4, 10),
- cry out to Him (34:6, 17),
- trust Him (34:8),
- fear Him (34:7,9),
- refrain from lying (34:13),
- turn from evil,
- do good and seek peace (34:14),
- are humble (34:18,
- and serve Him (34:22).
34:8 “Taste and see” does not mean “Check out God’s credentials.” Instead it is a warm invitation. “Try this; I know you’ll like it.” When we take that first step of obedience in following God, we will discover that Je is good and kind. When we begin the Christian life, our knowledge of God is partial and incomplete. As we trust Him daily, we experience how good He is.
34:9 You say you belong to the Lord, but do you fear Him? To fear the Lord means to show deep respect and honor to Him. We demonstrate true reverence by our humble attitude and genuine worship. Reverence was shown by Abraham (Genesis 17:2-4), Moses (Exodus 3:5, 6), and the Israelites (Exodus 19:16-24) showed this kind of fear of the Lord.
34:9, 10 At first we may question David’s statement, because we seem to lack many good things. This is not a blanket promise that all Christians will have everything they want. Instead, this is David’s praise for God’s goodness–all those who call upon God in their need will be answered, sometimes in unexpected ways.
Remember, God knows what we need, and our deepest needs are spiritual. Even though many Christians face unbearable poverty and hardship, they still have enough spiritual nourishment to live for God. David was saying that to have God is to have all you really need. God is enough.
If you feel you don’t have everything you need, ask:
- Is this really a need?
- Is this really good for me?
- Is this the best time for me to have what I desire?
Even if you answer yes to all three questions, God may allow you to go without to help you grow more dependent on Him. He may want you to learn that you need Him more than having to achieve your immediate desires.
34:11-14 The Bible often connects the fear of the Lord (love and reverence for Him) with obedience. “Fear God and keep His commandments (Ecclesiastes 12:13); “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching” (John 14:23).
David said that a person who fears the Lord
- doesn’t lie,
- turns from evil,
- does good,
- and promotes peace.
Reverence is much more than sitting quietly in church. It includes obeying God in the way we speak and the way we treat others.
34:14 Some may think that peace should come with no effort. But David explained that we are to seek and pursue peace. Paul echoed this thought in Romans 12:18. A person who wants peace cannot be argumentative and contentious. Because peaceful relationships come from our efforts at peacemaking, work hard at living in peace with others each day.
34:18, 19 We often wish we could escape troubles–
- the pain of grief,
- and failure;
or even the small daily frustrations that constantly wear us down.
God promises to be “close to the brokenhearted,” to be our source of
- and wisdom,
helping us through our problems.
Sometimes He chooses to deliver us from those problems. When trouble strikes, don’t get frustrated with God. Instead, admit that you need God’s help and thank Him for being by your side.
34:20 This is a prophecy about Christ when He was crucified. Although it was the Roman custom to break the legs of the victim to speed death, not one of Jesus’ bones was broken (John 19:32-37). In addition to the prophetic meaning, David was pleading for God’s protection in times of crisis.
1 I will extol the Lord at all times;
His praise will always be on my lips.
2 My soul will boast in the Lord;
let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
3 Glorify the Lord with me;
let us exalt His name together.
4 I sought the Lord, and He answered me;
He delivered me from all my fears.
5 Those who look to Him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame.
6 This poor man called, and the Lord heard him;
He saved him out of all his troubles.
7 The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him,
and He delivers them.
8 Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.
9 Fear the Lord, you His saints,
for those who fear Him lack nothing.
10 The lions may grow weak and hungry,
but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
11 Come, my children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
12 Whoever of you loves life
and desires to see many good days,
13 keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from speaking lies.
14 Turn from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.
15 The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous
and His ears are attentive to their cry;
16 the face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
to cut off the memory of them from the earth.
17 The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
He delivers them from all their troubles.
18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
19 A righteous man may have many troubles,
but the Lord delivers him from them all;
20 He protects all his bones,
not one of them will be broken.
21 Evil will slay the wicked;
the foes of the righteous will be condemned.
22 The Lord redeems His servants;
no one will be condemned who takes refuge in Him.
To read this passage in the King James Version, please click on this link:
|“Within the covers of the Bible are all the answers for all the problems men face. The Bible can touch hearts, order minds and refresh souls.” Ronald Reagan|
|“…God’s Word impacts human hearts…” Chuck Swindoll|
|“The Bible is endorsed by the ages. Our civilization is built upon its words. In no other Book is there such a collection of inspired wisdom, reality and hope.” Dwight D. Eisenhower|
|“…the Bible is the best Book in the world…” John Adams in letter to Thomas Jefferson|
|“The Bible is for the Goverrnment of the People, by the People, and for the People.” John Wycliffe|
|“It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.” George Washington|
|“WHEREAS the Bible, the Word of God, has made a unique contribution in shaping the United States as a distinctive and blessed nation and people;…WHEREAS many of our great national leaders – among them Presidents Washington, Jackson, Lincoln, and Wilson – paid tribute to the surpassing influence of the Bible in our country’s development, as in the words of President Jackson that the Bible is “the Rock on which our Republic rests”; WHEREAS the history of our Nation clearly illustrates the value of voluntarily applying the teachings of the Scriptures in the lives of individuals, families, and societies; WHEREAS this Nation now faces great challenges that will test this Nation as it has never been tested before; and WHEREAS that renewing our knowledge of and faith in God through Holy Scripture can strengthen us as a nation and a people;”
US Congress, in resolution passed to establish year of the Bible.
|“The Spirit gives life. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.” John 6:63|
|“whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life.” John 5:24|
|“The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.” Psalms 119:130|
|“He chose to give us birth through the word of truth.” James 1:18|
|“But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” John 20:31|
|“Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” Romans 10:17|
|“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12|
Just had to share this with our readers.
“Don’t take anyone else’s word for God.
Find Him for yourself, and then you too will know by the wonderful,
warm tug on your heartstring,
that He is there, for sure.”
~ Billy Graham
“Don’t take anyone else’s word for what’s in the Bible.
Read it yourself.
including even some well-meaning pastors,
take scripture out of context
and use it for their own opinions to try to get a point across. ~ Sharon)
I’ve been a great admirer of Max Lucado for years. To me he’s one of the most gifted writers and is a true inspiration.
I think you’ll enjoy this little movie about Joseph!
…and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17b
Scripture is God’s Word to us. Get to know it. It is the source of truth, assurance and comfort. Learn its lessons. Let God use it to speak to your heart. Look to it to cut through the enemy’s lies and spiritual deception, and to reveal the truth. Use it to persuade others about God’s love and forgiveness.
When God’s Spirit impresses us with a verse or a passage of Scripture to use in our battle against the enemy in a particular conflict, we are able to defeat our enemy. The Bible calls this taking the sword of the Spirit.
Jesus defeated Satan the three times he was tempted in the wilderness by using the sword of the Spirit. (see Matthew 4).
Ruth’s world changed when she chanced to find a Bible. She was fifteen when she was rummaging through her Muslim family’s library. She found it hidden behind the other books. She says, “I quickly read a few pages and the message immediately touched my heart, even though I understood practically nothing of it. Secretly I began to read the Bible regularly in my room. I knew that I had to do more with this. I wanted to get to know Jesus better.”
She adds, “I don’t remember how it happened, but my family realized that I was showing too much interest in Christianity. My whole family was against me, especially my mother.”
“You’re a Muslim,” she said. “Why are you throwing your life away? Why aren’t you like other girls? You’ll soon be going to university and then you’re going to marry a respected Muslim!”
Ruth’s voice falters and for a moment, she doesn’t say anything. “I suffered a lot,” she continues. “But still I kept reading the Bible in secret. The Lord Jesus keeps drawing me closer to Him.”
RESPONSE: Today I take the sword of the Spirit so I can expose the tempting words of Satan.
PRAYER: Lord may the two-edged sword of Your Word be ready in my hands today and in the hands of those reading it for the first time.
Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS)
A daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks
© 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission
A great message!
New International Version (NIV)
Amplified Bible (AMP)
19Go then and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them
[a]into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
20Teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you,
to the [very] close and consummation of the age.
[d]Amen (so let it be).
- Make disciples
- Baptize those who become disciples, and
- teach them to obey everything Jesus has commanded
These words are called “The Great Commission” (commandment, instruction) and were given not only to the 11 disciples who were with Him at the time, but to all believers from then on.
At first glance, this instruction would seem to be straight-forward and easy to follow. But let’s go a little further and analyze these verses so that we have the tools and understanding that we need.
When Jesus instructed His disciples to go and make other disciples of all the nations, He included “Gentiles” as well as Jews.
Notice Jesus instructs them to baptize other disciples into the name (singular tense) of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. We can see clearly that the concept of the “trinity” comes directly from Jesus Himself. However, the word trinity well describes the three-in-one nature of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. In researching the word trinity, no results were found in the following version(s) of the Bible: Amplified Bible, New International Version, American Standard Version, King James Version or New American Standard Bible. This one verse emphasizes both the unity and plurality of God (Greek singular). Many passages show that the work of one involves the work of one or both of the other two Persons. There is no hierarchy of persons here. We must be careful that we do not lose either the unity or the diversity in the nature of God. (Part of this exegesis was derived from The New International Version and The New Living Version of the Bible.)
Why is baptism important?
Baptism unites a believer with Jesus Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection as a symbol of death to sin and resurrection to new life. Baptism shows submission to Christ and a willingness to live God’s way.
How is Jesus present with us?
- He was present physically from His birth until He ascended into heaven.
- He is present spiritually with us through the Holy Spirit.
Practical Applications and Understanding our Task
regarding “The Great Commission”
- The Great Commission is not an option, but a command given to us by Jesus, so we should obey.
- If we don’t obey, then we have failed, or omitted to follow His instruction.
- We don’t have to be preachers, or evangelists to teach.
- We all have gifts given to us by God that can be used by Him to enable us to fulfill these commandments.
- give words of encouragement,
- or do a service for someone in need like giving them a ride, cleaning their house, mowing their lawn, etc.
The most important part of “The Great Commission” comes from loving God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind and our neighbors as ourselves.
For further study, go to http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%2028:19-20&version=AMP#en-AMP-24215
- Matthew 28:19 Marvin Vincent, Word Studies.
- Matthew 28:20 John Wycliffe, The Wycliffe Bible.
- Matthew 28:20 Webster’s New International Dictionary offers this phrase as a definition of “always.”
I hope you have enjoyed this Bible Study. Hopefully, it will be only the first of others that I do. Writing doesn’t come easy to me, but I felt led to write anyway.
Please feel free to comment or ask questions. We’ll work through any answers together.
The Babylonian Empire was a civilization of Babylonians in Lower Mesopotamia (central and southern Iraq), with Babylon as its capital. The Persian Empire later grew near the Babylonians region.
Babylonia emerged when Hammurabi (1696 – 1654 BC) created an empire out of the territories of the former kingdoms of Sumer and Akkad.
The Amorites being a Semitic people, Babylonia adopted the written Semitic Akkadian language for official use, and retained the Sumerian language for religious use, which by that time was no longer a spoken language. The Akkadian and Sumerian cultures played a major role in later Babylonians culture, and the region would remain an important cultural center, even under outside rule.
The earliest mention of Babylonians in the city of Babylon can be found in a tablet from the reign of Sargon of Akkad, dating back to the 20th century BC. Following the collapse of the last Sumerian “Ur-III” dynasty at the hands of the Elamites (2002 BC traditional, 1940 BC), the Amorites gained control over most of Mesopotamia, where they formed a series of small kingdoms.
During the first centuries of what is called the “Amorite period”, the most powerful city states were Isin and Larsa, although Shamshi-Adad I came close to uniting the more northern regions around Assur and Mari. One of these Amorite dynasties was established in the city-state of Babylon, which would ultimately take over the others and form the first Babylonian empire, during what is also called the Old Babylonian Period.
- IRAQ REBUILDING ITS MILITARY, EVEN AS THEY REBUILD BABYLON: Prophetic significance? (pauls2k.wordpress.com)
Scary to think the world is coming to this. Although, the Bible clearly points to things getting worse.
2 Timothy 3 (New International Version)
2 Timothy 3
1 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
6 They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, 7 always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these teachers oppose the truth. They are men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. 9 But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.
A Final Charge to Timothy
10 You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, 11 persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. 12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
By Jon Walker
I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13 (NIV)
God pours his power into your life, giving you his strength to do what he’s called to do.
Faith is acting in confidence that God’s power is active in and through your life; faith is trusting God’s power will be your strength to do everything through him.
He’s not asking you to live life under your own power or through your own strength. That would limit what you can do while God’s power and strength are unlimited.
When you say, “There’s something I’d really like to do for God, but I don’t think that I can do it,” God may reply, “Great! I’m glad you’ve figured it out. You can’t do it by yourself, but with my power working through you, you can do anything I ask you to do.”
If you stay at “I can’t” and never move power to “God can,” then you’re less likely to even try great things for God. It’s like having a car with the most powerful engine ever built, but saying, “I don’t think it can get me past the first intersection.” So you leave it in your garage, never taking it onto the road.
God’s power is available to you: “For God is working in you, giving you the desire to obey him and the power to do what pleases him” (Philippians 2:13 NLT).
We are needing guidance on this subject. We have a friend who is an atheist. We’ve explained what we know from the Bible, and from our own personal experience with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Because he has done much research and study on the subject of God, creation, the Bible, etc., he doesn’t feel God is real.
The oddity is that he is one of the most loving people we know. That seems to conflict with our thoughts, since we know that God is love, and all love comes from him.
Rather than go into all of the research we’ve done, we’re reaching out to you to give us insight and guidance. Any website addresses, Bible passages, or resources that you feel would be helpful would be greatly appreciated. Your prayers are needed as well as your personal support.
He is 87 years old, has been a professor in college, and is an avid reader.
Thanks so much.
Another interesting website regarding the rebuilding of Babylon. Important information in relation to Prophecy.
Also read the following by Joel C. Rosenberg.
IRAQ REBUILDING ITS MILITARY, EVEN AS THEY REBUILD BABYLON: Prophetic significance?
Posted: April 13, 2012 in Uncategorized
Bible prophecy indicates that in the End Times, the nation we know today as the Republic of Iraq — known variously in Scripture as Babel, Babylon, Babylonia, Mesopotamia and Shinar — will emerge as the global center of wealth, power and terrible evil. Eventually Iraq will pose a direct and existential threat to the State of Israel, particularly during the Tribulation.
Since the fall of Saddam Hussein and his regime in 2003, Iraq has not been a regional threat, much less a danger to Israel. Some have assumed, therefore, that Iraq would no longer play a major role in Middle Eastern or global affairs in the future. But such a conclusion would be a mistake. As I wrote about in my first non-fiction book, Epicenter, those who read, understand and believe Bible prophecy have been watching for Iraq to: 1) begin rebuilding its offensive military capability; 2) begin rebuilding its economy; 3) continue rebuilding the ancient city of Babylon into a major center of commerce and tourism.
Interestingly, all three developments are currently underway.
IRAQ IS REBUILDING ITS MILITARY
Now that the Iraqi government has forced the American military out of their country, they have embarked on a dramatic arms build-up, including the purchase of American weapons systems that could be used for offensive purposes in the future. Examples:
- The Iraqis are buying 140 state-of-the-art American M1A1 combat tanks. “The Government of Iraq has purchased 140 tanks from the United States, all of which have arrived in Iraq,” reports an Iraqi business website. “131 of those tanks are already in the possession of the Iraqi Army. The nine remaining tanks are in Iraq, but in U.S. possession.”
- The Iraqis are buying 36 advanced American F-16 fighter jets. “Israel is monitoring Iraq’s rearmament program, particularly Bahgdad’s acquisition of 36 Lockheed Martin F-16s, with some disquiet amid intelligence reports Iran is consolidating its influence in Iraq following the U.S. military withdrawal,” reports UPI. “Baghdad ordered the F-16 Block 52 multi-role Fighting Falcon jets — enough to equip the Iraqi air force’s first two fighter squadrons — in two 18-plane batches in 2011 at an estimated total cost of $7 billion.”
- In 2010, the Iraqis embarked on a $13 billion weapons spending spree. “Iraq is preparing to buy as much as $13 billion in American arms and military equipment, a huge order of tanks, ships and hardware that U.S. officials say shows Iraqi-U.S. military ties will be tight for years to come,” reported USA Today. “‘It helps to build their capabilities, first and foremost; and second, it builds our strategic relationship for the future,’ said Army Lt. Gen. Michael Barbero, the ranking U.S. officer responsible for training and advising Iraq forces.”
IRAQ IS REBUILDING ITS ECONOMY
Now that the war of liberation is over and most of Iraq has been pacified and stabilized from the terrorist insurgency, Iraq’s economy is not only growing but is poised for hyper-growth. Analysts expect Iraq’s GDP to grow by more than 9% annually for the next few years, and expect Iraq’s oil production to nearly triple by 2017.
- “Iraq’s gross domestic product is expected to grow by an average rate of at least 9.4 percent annually between 2012 and 2016 as the oil-producing country benefits from larger windfalls in oil revenues, a senior central bank official said [in February],” reports Reuters. ”Iraq, which has the fourth-biggest oil reserves in the world, is currently producing around 2.9 million barrels per day (bpd). Iraq’s oil minister said last year he expected production to reach between 8-8.5 million bpd by 2017.”
- Some analysts within the Iraqi Planning Ministry believe Iraq could reach a 47% growth rate by 2017, once the oil starts flowing fast and furious.
- More and more major international companies are signing deals to do business in Iraq — see this intriguing list published by Reuters, published in December 2011.
- In 2011, ExxonMobil — the world’s largest oil company — signed a major deal to help develop the oil industry in Iraq’s northern region of Kurdistan. Despite the fact being mired in some political controversy, the deal is likely to be fully ratified in the not-too-distant future.
- Also in 2011, Royal Dutch Shell signed a $17 billion deal to help Iraq develop its enormous lucrative oil industry in its southern regions.
- In 2010, the Iraqi government ratified four other major oil deals.
IRAQ IS REBUILDING THE CITY OF BABYLON
Largely overlooked by Westerners is the fact that the government of Iraq is moving forward with plans to protect the archaeological remains of the ancient City of Babylon, in preparation for building a modern city of Babylon. As I wrote in 2009, the project — originally started by the late Saddam Hussein — is aimed eventually at attracting scores of “cultural tourists” from all over the world to see the glories of Mesopotamia’s most famous city. What’s more, the Obama Administration has actually helped contribute U.S. taxpayer dollars to “The Future of Babylon Project” through the State Department’s budget. Read more at the World Monuments Fund website for the rebuilding Babylong project.
In 2011, I noted that the New York Times had published an intriguing article on Iraqi efforts to preserve, protect, restore and then rebuild the ancient city of Babylon and make it a draw for tourists, with U.S. taxpayer assistance. The Times reports that a modern Babylon museum will open later this month. Times’ reporter Steven Lee Myers also posted a fascinating four minute video walking through some of the rebuilt ruins of Babylon, and explaining Iraqi efforts to protect and restore numerous Biblical sites.
“The Babylon project is Iraq’s biggest and most ambitious by far, a reflection of the ancient city’s fame and its resonance in Iraq’s modern political and cultural heritage,” the Times reported, noting that “in November, the State Department announced a new $2 million grant to begin work to preserve the site’s most impressive surviving ruins. They include the foundation of the Ishtar Gate, built in the sixth century B.C. by Nebuchadnezzar’s father, Nabopolassar, and adorned with brick reliefs of the Babylonian gods Marduk and Adad.”
“The American reconstruction team has refurbished a modern museum on the site, as well as a model of the Ishtar Gate that for decades served as a visitors’ entrance. Inside the museum is one of the site’s most valuable relics: a glazed brick relief of a lion, one of 120 that once lined the processional way into the city. The museum, with three galleries, is scheduled to open this month, receiving its first visitors since 2003. And with new security installed, talks are under way to return ancient Babylonian artifacts from the National Museum in Baghdad. The fate of Babylon is already being disputed by Iraqi leaders, with antiquities officials clashing with local authorities over when to open it to visitors and how to exploit the site for tourism that, for the most part, remains a goal more than a reality. Even now they are clashing over whether the admission fee should go to the antiquities board or the provincial government.”
(Photo by New York Times: Iraqi women walking through the city of Babylon that is currently being rebuilt.)
Very interesting article in relation to Prophecy.
So often the sacrifice that Christ made for us is presented in a sanitized, bloodless manner. It’s easier to take, less traumatizing. But the reality of the suffering he bore for you and I was profound. He gave everything so that you could be saved. Let’s not forget what he endured for us on that first Good Friday!
This description of a crucifixion is graphic. Reader discretion is advised.
The cross is placed on the ground and the exhausted man is quickly thrown backwards with his shoulders against the wood. The legionnaire feels for the depression at the front of the wrist. He drives a heavy, square wrought-iron nail through the wrist deep into the wood. Quickly he moves to the other side and repeats the action, being careful not to pull the arms too tightly, but to allow some flex and movement. The cross is then lifted into place. The left foot is pressed backward against the right foot, and with both feet extended, toes down, a nail is driven through the arch of each, leaving the knees flexed. The victim is now crucified.
As he slowly sags down with more weight on the nails in the wrists, excruciating fiery pain shoots along the fingers and up the arms to explode in the brain — the nails in the wrists are putting pressure on the median nerves. As he pushes himself upward to avoid this stretching torment, he places the full weight on the nail through his feet. Again he feels the searing agony of the nail tearing through the nerves between the bones of his feet.
As the arms fatigue, cramps sweep through his muscles, knotting them deep relentless, and 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 subsided. Spasmodically, he is able to push himself upward to exhale and bring in life-giving oxygen.
Hours of limitless pain, cycles of twisting, joint-renting cramps, intermittent partial asphyxiation, searing pain as tissue is torn from his lacerated back as he moves up and down against rough timber. Then another agony begins: a deep, crushing pain deep in the chest as the pericardium slowly fills with serum and begins 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 frantic effort to gasp in small gulps of air. He can feel the chill of death creeping through his tissues.
Finally, he allows his body to die.
All this the Bible records with the simple words, “and they crucified Him” — Mark 15:24
~ by Max Lucado
When Pilate learned that Jesus was dead, he asked the soldiers if they were certain. They were. Had they seen the Nazarene twitch, had they heard even one moan, they would have broken his legs to speed his end. But there was no need. The thrust of a spear removed all doubt. The Romans knew their job. And their job was finished. They pried loose the nails, lowered his body, and gave it to Joseph and Nicodemus.
Joseph of Arimathea. Nicodemus the Pharisee. They sat in seats of power and bore positions of influence. Men of means and men of clout. But they would’ve traded it all for one breath out of the body of Jesus. He had answered the prayer of their hearts, the prayer for the Messiah. As much as the soldiers wanted him dead, even more these men wanted him alive.
As they sponged the blood from his beard, don’t you know they listened for his breath? As they wrapped the cloth around his hands, don’t you know they hoped for a pulse? Don’t you know they searched for life?
But they didn’t find it.
So they do with him what they were expected to do with a dead man. They wrap his body in clean linen and place it in a tomb. Joseph’s tomb. Roman guards are stationed to guard the corpse. And a Roman seal is set on the rock of the tomb. For three days, no one gets close to the grave.
But then, Sunday arrives. And with Sunday comes light—a light within the tomb. A bright light? A soft light? Flashing? Hovering? We don’t know. But there was a light. For he is the light. And with the light came life. Just as the darkness was banished, now the decay is reversed. Heaven blows and Jesus breathes. His chest expands. Waxy lips open. Wooden fingers lift. Heart valves swish and hinged joints bend.
We stand in awe not just because of what we see, but because of what we know… We know that when Jesus was raised from the dead it was a signal of the end of death-as-the-end. Never again will death have the last word. When Jesus died, he took sin down with him, but alive he brings God down to us” (Rom. 6:5–9 MSG).
From From When Christ Comes: The Beginning of the Very Best
Copyright (Thomas Nelson, 1999) Max Lucado