因受欺壓和審判他被奪去．至於他同世的人、誰想他受鞭打、從活人之地被剪除、是因我百姓的罪過呢。 — 以賽亞書53章2-8節
THOUGHTS ON THE GOOD FRIDAY
A couple times a year I write a short daily “Thought of The Day" message for a week on the ProMinistry website. Below is what I wrote during the week leading to the Good Friday, 2001.
Our society celebrates Christmas much more so than Easter (which is this coming Sunday). Yet Jesus’ death and resurrection received wider coverage in the bible than His miraculous birth. In fact, His death and resurrection are central to Christianity. If Jesus had not died, there would be no Christianity. And if He just died but had not come back to life, Christianity is the biggest hoax the world has ever seen!
Long before Jesus’ birth, his death and resurrection had been predicted in writing. From the dawn of human history, God had revealed a plan in which a “sacrificial lamb" would one day bear the sins of the entire human race. As history unfolds, we see that the lamb turned out to be His own son, who came into the world to die for our sins. In doing so, Jesus had established the way to reconcile sinful man with the Holy God.
Friends, the upcoming “Good Friday" (the Friday before Easter Sunday) commemorates Jesus’ death. Even if you are not a Christian, please allow me to invite you during the next few days to consider some issues concerning Jesus’ death and resurrection .
Of all the major religions in the world, only Christianity claims the death and resurrection of its central character. Buddha died but never came back to life. Mohammed died in Medina on June 8, 632 A.D. at age 61, but was not resurrected. Confucius, the great teacher, died and never returned to life. In fact, not one single human being in history, except Jesus, had left behind an empty tomb.
The historical event of Jesus’ resurrection, therefore, forces us to consider Jesus’ claims about his deity. If the resurrection had never happened like the bible and the other history records said it had, then the whole Christian belief is a blatant fraud, and must be discarded and discredited.
Some scholars and historians had tried to prove this humanly impossible event had never happened. But they all failed miserably. A lawyer named Josh McDowell once set out to do just that, but ended up writing the book “Evidence that Demands A Verdict‥. He devoted an entire chapter on “Support of Deity: The Resurrection- Hoax or History‥. I invite any inquisitive person to order his book and read it carefully.
Often times we hear about things, but we don’t really believe them. This was true even when the greatest teacher in history was talking. Jesus had been telling his disciples that he will die and be resurrected in three days. These words fell on unbelieving ears. But at a later time, they suddenly saw the truth and believed. For John, that moment of truth came when he entered the empty tomb and saw what Jesus left behind.
The gospel of John recorded this event in vivid details. It described what Peter and John saw, which caused John to “immediately believe‥: they saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen‥. What they saw was that the burial cloth of Jesus was still wrapped in a human shape, so Jesus had resurrected (sort of “evaporated‥) right out of the wrapped cloth without disturbing it.
How could this happen except through a miraculous resurrection? For John, that did it. For other disciples, Jesus proved his resurrection to them in other ways as he lived among them for another 40 days, before ascending to heaven on the Mount of Olives right before their eyes. The disciples’ lives were forever changed as they came face-to-face with a resurrected savior.
I hope you, too, will meet our resurrected savior face-to-face.
Jesus’ resurrection is critical to Christianity, but what is its significance to you and me?
His resurrection confirms the validity of his claim to have come from God. Likewise, Jesus’ other assertion that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life cannot be ignored. And His prediction that He will someday return must also be taken seriously. Josh McDowell wrote: “Jesus deserves an Oscar if he wasn’t God‥. Actually, he deserves to be the greatest con man in human history if even one of his claims is proven untrue.
Jesus’ resurrection gives us mortals the hope and the assurance of immortality. The chain of death is broken. His promise that we will have eternal life becomes credible. Death is no longer the end of life, but the beginning of an eternal companionship with our Creator.
Will you take some time to consider the significance of Jesus’ resurrection to you?
If Jesus’ death and subsequent resurrection are facts, what do they have to do with me? How am I to respond? Why do I even need to respond at all?
Jesus’ death and resurrection mean nothing to me if I have not been presented with the facts and historical records. But once I know about these facts, I must somehow respond. In not responding, I have not only made a decision to ignore Him, but to reject Him. A risen Jesus, therefore, forces me to take a stand, and to make a decision to either accept or reject Him.
There are ample historical evidences, both inside and outside the bible, to prove His death and resurrection. Again, I would urge you to get Josh McDowell’s excellent book “The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict‥. But more than just knowing the historical facts, we must consider God’s great sacrificial love and grace that Jesus’ death has demonstrated. By accepting Him into your heart, you too will share in the great hope of eternal life that His resurrection has brought.
Will you make this Good Friday a time to encounter and accept the living Jesus as your personal savior?