Good Friday = Good News

So, today is Good Friday. What does this mean? Good Friday is the anniversary of the day that Jesus of Nazareth was crucified!

The Bible teaches that all men have sinned (Romans 3:23, Psalm 14:2-3, Proverbs 20:9, Ecclesiastes 7:20, Job 9:2-4). God is a just god and must punish all sin and inequity. If He did not punish evil and sin then that would mean He would be not be a just God. God's justice demands that evil be punished. But God also loves all human beings. God loves us. God loves us, but God must punish us by sending us to Hell, separated from Him for all eternity. What is God to do? God doesn't want to send us to Hell because He loves us. But on the other hand, He has to send us to Hell in order to be just. God is torn between His two natures, His loving nature and His just nature. Because God is just, He must send us to Hell. Because God is loving, He does not want to send us to Hell. What is He to do? He becomes incarnate, He turns into a human being (see John 1:1-3 and John 1:14), lives a human life and ends up being beaten, tortured and killed. Jesus, who is God in human flesh, takes your punishment and mine upon Himself so that we wouldn't have to endure it. God experiences His own wrath so that He wouldn't have to pour it out upon us in Hell. The cross of Christ reconciles God's conflicting desires.

What Jesus Endured To Keep You Out Of Hell

The following description comes from an article on the website http://www.ethoughts.org/crucifixion_description.htm. It was written by a man named C. Truman Davis, M.D., M.S. C. Truman describes the crucifixion in excruciating (pun not intended) detail and from a medical perspective. I've talked about the horrors of crucifixion to some extent in my post "The Historical Evidence For Jesus' Resurrection" when I was refuting the Swoon Theory. The following description in the following quote derive from various descriptions of crucifixion from biblical and especially non-biblical documents.

"The physical trauma of Christ begins in Gethsemane with one of the initial aspects of His suffering - the bloody sweat. It is interesting that the physician of the group, St. Luke, is the only one to mention this. He says, “And being in agony, He prayed the longer. And his sweat became as drops of blood, trickling down upon the ground.” 

Though very rare, the phenomenon of hemathidrosis, or bloody sweat, is well documented. Under great emotional stress, tiny capillaries in the sweat glands can break, thus mixing blood with sweat. This process alone could have produced marked weakness and possible shock.

After the arrest in the middle of the night, Jesus was brought before the Sanhedrin and Caiaphas, the High Priest. A soldier struck Jesus across the face for remaining silent when questioned by Caiaphas. The palace guards then blindfolded Him and mockingly taunted Him to identify them as they each passed by; they spat on Him and struck Him in the face.

Condemned to Crucifixion

In the early morning, Jesus, battered and bruised, dehydrated, and exhausted from a sleepless night, was taken across Jerusalem to the Praetorium of the Fortress Antonia. It was there, in response to the cries of the mob, that Pilate ordered Bar-Abbas released and condemned Jesus to scourging and crucifixion.

Flogging first
Preparations for the scourging are carried out. The prisoner is stripped of His clothing and His hands tied to a post above His head. The Roman legionnaire steps forward with the flagrum in his hand. This is a short whip consisting of several heavy, leather thongs with two small balls of lead attached to the ends of each. The heavy whip is brought down with fill force again and again across Jesus’ shoulders, back and legs.

At first the heavy thongs cut through the skin only. Then, as the blows continue, they cut deeper into subcutaneous tissues, producing first an oozing of blood from the capillaries and veins of the skin, and finally spurting arterial bleeding from vessels in the underlying muscles. The small balls of lead first produce large, deep bruises which are broken open by subsequent blows.

Finally the skin of the back is hanging in long ribbons and the entire area is an unrecognizable mass of torn, bleeding tissue. When it is determined by the centurion in charge that the prisoner is near death, the beating is stopped.

The half-fainting Jesus is then untied and allowed to slump to the stone pavement, wet with His own blood. The Roman soldiers see a great joke in this provincial Jew claiming to be a king. They throw a robe across His shoulders and place a stick in His hand for a scepter. A small bundle of flexible branches covered with long thorns is pressed into His scalp.

Again there is copious bleeding (the scalp being one of the most vascular areas in the body). After mocking Him and striking Him across the face, the soldiers take the stick from His hand and strike Him across the head, driving the thorns deeper into His scalp. Finally, they tire of their sadistic sport and the robe is torn from his back. This had already become adherent to the colts of blood and serum in the wounds, and its removal, just as in the careless removal of a surgical bandage, cause excruciating pain - almost as though He were again being whipped, and the wounds again begin to bleed.

The walk to crucifixion

The heavy beam of the cross is then tied across His shoulders, and the procession of the condemned Christ, two thieves and the execution detail, begins its slow journey, The weight of the heavy wooden beam, together with the shock produced by copious blood loss, is too much. He stumbles and falls. The rough wood of the beam gouges into the lacerated skin and muscles of the shoulders. He tries to rise, but human muscles have been pushed beyond their endurance.

The nails of crucifixion

At Golgotha, the beam is placed on the ground and Jesus is quickly thrown backward 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 and 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 flexion and movement. The beam is then lifted in place at the top of the posts and the titulus reading “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” is nailed in place.

The pain of crucifixion
               
 

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. As he pushes Himself upward to avoid the stretching torment, He places His full weight on the nail through His feet. Again there is the searing agony of the nail through His feet. Again there is the searing agony of the nail tearing through the nerves between the metatarsal bones through the feet.

Crucifixion - the medical effects

As the arms fatigue, great waves of cramps sweep over the muscles, knotting them in deep, relentless, throbbing pain. With these cramps comes the inability to push Himself upward. Hanging by His arms, the pectoral muscles are unable to act. Air can be drawn into the lungs, but cannot be exhaled. Jesus fights to raise Himself in order to get even one short breath. Finally, carbon dioxide builds up in the lungs and in the blood stream and the cramps partially subside. Spasmodically, He is able to push Himself upward to exhale and bring in the life-giving oxygen.

Hours of this limitless pain, cycles of twisting, joint-rending cramps, intermittent partial asphyxiation, searing pain as tissue is torn from His lacerated back as He moves up and down against the 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.

The compressed heart is struggling to pump heavy, thick, sluggish blood into the tissues - the tortured lungs are making a frantic effort to gasp in small gulps of air. The markedly dehydrated tissues send their flood of stimuli to the brain. Jesus gasps, “I thirst."

Crucifixion - the last gasp

He can feel the chill of death creeping through His tissues. With one last surge of strength, He once again presses His torn feet against the nail, straightens His legs, takes a deeper breath, and utters His seventh and last cry, “Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit.”

Apparently to make doubly sure of death, the legionnaire drove his lance through the fifth interspace between the ribs, upward through the pericardium and into the heart. Immediately there came out blood and water. So not only could He have died of suffocation but also of heart failure due to shock and constriction of the heart by fluid in the pericardium."
- C. Truman Davis M.D., M.S.
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- Jesus went through all of this to keep you out of Hell. The Bible says in Romans 6:23 that the consequence of sin is death: "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." The death it's talking about is not just physical death, but spiritual death - living for eternity in hell apart from God. Romans 3:23 says we are all sinners, and we all deserve to be separated from Him. Because God is just, He cannot let sin go unpunished. But because of His love and mercy, He provided a way for us to be pure and holy in His sight - to spend forever with Him in heaven. That way is through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus lived a sinless life, providing the perfect sacrifice for our wrongdoing. He willingly died on the cross to pay the price for our sins. Then He rose again 3 days later, defeating death! ... 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9 tells us that those who do not accept Christ into their lives and live for Him "will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His might." and Jesus said in John 3:18 says that those who do not believe in Him will be judged for their sins. But God doesn't want that to happen. He gives us a choice whether to accept Him or not, but His hope is that we will all accept Him. 1 Timothy 2:3-4 says, "God ... desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." 2 Peter 3:9 says God is “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” He wants us all to be with Him forever in heaven, but He lets us choose for ourselves ((see Deuteronomy 30:15-19, Joshua 24:15, Romans 6:16).   

Have you ever felt unloved? Have you ever felt that no one in this world cares about you? Maybe you grew up in a bad home. Maybe your Dad left you when you were a very small child and you never even got a chance to know Him! Maybe you've endured through failed relationship after failed relationship after failed relationship, yearning for a love that actually lasts, yearning for someone who will never leave you unlike your numerous past girlfriends/boyfriends, someone who will never abandon you! You don't have to feel this way! God loves you. God loves you so much that He gave His only begotten son, so that if you believe in Him, you will not perish (i.e go to Hell), but instead you'll have eternal life (John 3:16)! God did not send His son into the world to condemn you, but to save you through Him (John 3:17). However, if you refuse to accept Christ, you'll have to pay for your own sins in Hell (John 3:18). Again, God doesn't want that. God wants every human being He's ever created to spend eternity with Him (2 Peter 3:9, 1 Timothy 2:4, 1 Timothy 4:10, John 3:16, Titus 2:11), but God won't violate your free will. He wants you to spend eternity with Him, but He'll let you decide whether it happens or not. God won't force anyone to spend eternity in Heaven with Him if they don't want to. That's basically what Heaven and Hell are, when you get down to it. Heaven is eternity WITH God and Hell is eternity AWAY from God. If you've read the above description of the crucifixion, then you know what Christ went through. God in human flesh suffered one of the most exquisite tortures known  to man so that He could have a relationship with YOU forever!

So, you now know what Jesus did in order to keep you out of Hell. Now the question is; what will you do with this information? What will you do? Will you receive Christ? Will you accept His offer of salvation that He freely offers? Yes, you heard right, this offer is FREE! The most wonderful thing you could ever obtain, something far more valuable than silver and gold...is FREE! All you have to do, is ask Him to come into your heart. Ask Jesus, ask God to forgive you of your sins and wash away your sins with the blood that He shed for you on the cross. But you may be thinking "Evan, what reason do I have to think that Christianity is even true? How do I know The Bible is true?" Well, that's what this blog is here for; to provide reasons to believe that the Christian faith is true. Two days from now, I'll post a blog post that talks about the historical evidence for Christ's resurrection (I posted about the resurrection before, but this upcoming one is revamped). If you want good evidence to believe, that's a good post to read. But then, after you check out the evidence, you need to make a decision. Now, if you've already decided that you want to become a follower of Christ, if you feel that The Holy Spirit is compelling you to make a commitment to Christ, then pray this prayer; 

Dear God in heaven, I come to you in the name of Jesus. I acknowledge to You that I am a sinner, and I am sorry for my sins and the life that I have lived; I need your forgiveness.

I believe that your only begotten Son Jesus Christ shed His precious blood on the cross at Calvary and died for my sins, and I am now willing to turn from my sin.

You said in Your Holy Word, Romans 10:9 that if we confess the Lord our God and believe in our hearts that God raised Jesus from the dead, we shall be saved.

Right now I confess Jesus as the Lord of my soul. With my heart, I believe that God raised Jesus from the dead. This very moment I accept Jesus Christ as my own personal Savior and according to His Word, right now I am saved.

Thank you Jesus for your unlimited grace which has saved me from my sins. I thank you Jesus that your grace never leads to license, but rather it always leads to repentance. Therefore Lord Jesus transform my life so that I may bring glory and honor to you alone and not to myself.

Thank you Jesus for dying for me and giving me eternal life.
Amen.


Now, if you've prayed that prayer with then intent of your heart to truly repent of the lifestyle you've been living (the word repent literally means "to turn away from), then you are now saved. The Holy Spirit dwells in you. You are now a child of God (see John 1:12), and my brother/sister in Christ. The reason I said that you needed to truly repent is because merely citing a prayer isn't enough to obtain forgiveness. While it's true that God will forgive you of any sin no matter how bad when you confess it to Him (see 1 John 1:9), you need to have every intention of actually turning away from that sin, you need to have every intention to stop doing it (see Isaiah 55:7). Obtaining forgiveness can be thought of sort of like a mathematical equation, Confess + Repent = Forgiven. If you've confessed your sins to the Lord and have made a resolve to not commit them again, then you are forgiven. From now on, over time, you'll notice yourself starting to change more and more for the better. This is a process known as sanctification. You won't change over night. You'll change over periods of time. Just as it takes a good while for a new born baby to become an adult, they slowly change over time, so it takes a good while for a person so spiritually develop when they become born again (John 3:3). The longer we're Christians, the more mature we become in our walk with Christ.


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