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Fri, Mar 30, 2018

See Open your eyes - Part 1

Duration:48 mins 59 secs

How do you get rid of Christianity?

You can’t.

Whether it is true or not there are too many people with vested interests (financial, power, emotional, religious interests) for it to ever be got rid of now.

So how, if you wanted to, can you influence many people to leave Christianity?

Simple. Attack the Bible. Everything that Christianity is and believes in comes from the Bible…

Prove that it is a flawed book full of errors, lies, contradictions and made up stories… and thinking people will leave.

How do you do that?

You start by attacking and disproving the core truths put forward in the Bible.

And one of the main ways to do that is to attack the central figure of the Bible – Jesus Christ.

For some people it comes easy to attack Jesus… look at when He walked this earth.

And when He left this earth the attacks continued (to this day) by attacking the NT that was compiled by those who were eyewitnesses to what Jesus did and said…

And of course, they attack the OT too which pointed to who He was and what He would come to do before He came to earth.

As we have got further away in time from when Jesus was on earth, some have tried to prove that He never existed… but that is just silly. There is too much evidence that He did. Neutrals and even enemies testify to the existence of the same Jesus spoken of in the Bible.

One of the key ways to try and attack Jesus is to attack the reality and meaning of His death and resurrection…

Because everything hangs on that.

And so, Easter is one of the hottest battle grounds in the fight against Christianity, the Bible and Jesus.

Because as you know, at Easter, the church celebrates the death and resurrection of Jesus.

And today, on Good Friday, we remember the death of Jesus.

What some have asked about His death is… Did he actually die and if so, why?

There are some who believe He didn’t die.

The main theory against His death is called the “swoon theory” … that he fainted on the cross due to His injuries and only appeared dead. Later He regained consciousness in the cold tomb.

Some earlier views held that Jesus was drugged (by Dr Luke) to look dead and later regained consciousness.

Islamic theology maintains that Jesus was not crucified and so did not die on the cross. That Judas or someone else was crucified in His place and people thought it was Jesus and then when they saw Jesus later they thought He had been resurrected… Although I understand that there are some Islamic scholars who believe that Jesus did die on a cross.

Of course, this is not only an attack on Jesus’ death but also on His resurrection… resurrection only happens after death. And that is why some only believe in a resuscitation… but more about that on Sunday.

I believe Jesus died on a cross…

Why? Because there were people that were there to see Him die (eyewitnesses) and they recorded what they saw.

If this is an issue for you, hopefully you will open your eyes and see the reality of it through their eyes.

There are no credible records of people at the time of Jesus’ death that in any way supports what Islamic scholars claim that someone else died in Jesus’ place and that the disciples may have been hallucinating.

We know that the enemies of Jesus were determined to kill Him. Almost all the Jewish leaders and many of the Jewish people who wanted Him dead were there to make sure He ended up dead. They watched the execution. They would have been up in arms if someone other than Jesus was hanging on that cross. The Roman authorities would have been the first to know.

The same Jesus they arrested, was the same Jesus who was tried, was the same Jesus that died on that cross.

The disciples and Jesus’ own family knew this too.

Read John 19: 16 – 37.

“water and blood” Medical opinion has long wrestled with this interesting phenomenon. A common view is that the spear penetrated the heart of Jesus, not unlikely if, as other crucifixions appear to indicate, the cross was not particularly high off the ground. This would explain the flow of blood. The clear fluid which John identifies as water is less easy to explain. In cases of heart failure, however, due to traumatic shock, fluid gathers in the pericardial sac, with the result that John witnessed.[1]

Also could have gone through lung (fluid there)

There is no credible ancient eyewitness testimony that says anything other than that the Jesus of the Bible died on that cross.

The Roman authorities were sure.

The Jewish authorities knew he was dead, if not why would they have done what they did in Matthew 27: 62 – 66.

Now, let’s say (for argument’s sake) that He had been crucified but didn’t die and merely lost consciousness either due to his injuries or due to some sort of drugging… and then was resuscitated somehow.

Is that not a possibility?

What we have already seen is enough for me to say that He did die… but let’s say He didn’t.

Well then, what we know happened next, may be even more unbelievable that simply believing that He died and was resurrected… let me explain.

Medical doctors have looked at what Jesus went through leading up to His crucifixion and the crucifixion itself. It was gruesome.

Cutting out some details…

His flogging at the hands of the Romans before He was crucified was terribly brutal. The area affected was from the backs of His shoulders all the way down to the backs of His legs and often resulted in tearing and lacerations so deep on the back as to expose internal organs.

The crucifixion was horrifying. The trauma the rough wooden cross would have inflicted to his already flogged back was terrible.

The damage done by nails through the wrists and feet was debilitating, the pain unbearable.

The position of His body hanging on the cross caused slow death by asphyxiation… which would accelerate when He could no longer push up on the spikes through His feet because of the pain (which is why breaking legs would accelerate death). The asphyxiation would end up with Him dying of a heart attack too (blood and water).

But let’s say he survived the 6 hours on the cross and everyone was wrong about Him being dead…

When they ripped Him off those nails or the nails out of Him and they put Him into what most agree would have been a cold tomb… medical doctors agree that would not have revived Him (as some claim) but finished Him off.

But anyway, let’s say He then somehow survived and revived…

He would then have to in His terrible state (remember He hadn’t died and come to life with a resurrection body) roll away a huge, heavy stone in front of His tomb without alerting the guards and then walk all the way to Emmaus which was over 12 kms away which is what happened.

It makes no sense… and certainly the women who saw Him at the tomb and later the disciples would not have been impressed by the half dead Jesus dragging Himself around saying that He was now victorious over death… no one would be inclined to make up a story of victory about and call people to worship such a defeated apparition.

What makes much more sense is if the historical eyewitness accounts in the Bible are true that Jesus died and rose again.

The Roman Governor and historian Tacitus in about 65 AD recorded that Pilate put Jesus to death.

Josephus, a Jewish born Roman citizen who recorded Jewish history for the Roman Emperor Vespasian recorded in 94 AD that Jesus died at the hands of Pilate and that it was claimed that He rose again.

And there are other sources that came in the following century.

The Bible (eyewitness) accounts ring true… Jesus died and rose again.

If you open your eyes you can see it.

Why did Jesus have to die?

Well the same reliable Bible that records His death also explains why He had to die.

And whether you see this or not, will depend on whether God opens your eyes to see it.

Sometimes seeing is believing… but sometimes believing is seeing…

I pray that our Lord gives you the gift of faith that you will see the truth of this.

1 Peter 3: 18

How terrible the sin that Jesus had to suffer and die in that way (and worse there was also the spiritual suffering).

Illustration

And that is why Jesus had to die.

Can you see it?

Have your eyes been opened to see it?

Communion

If you see it for the first time…

If you see it again…

Let’s celebrate the good thing (Good Friday) Jesus did for us…

 

[1] Milne, B. (1993). The message of John: here is your king!: with study guide (p. 284). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press.

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