Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Little Swine Flu Irony

Today it was announced that Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius has been successfully confirmed by the US Senate to the position of Secretary of Health and Human Services, ostensibly the top governmental official on health matters in the country. Media reports are positioning this appointment as so very important since the country may be in the midst of a flu pandemic (a plague if you will).

The Senate confirmed former Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius as secretary of Health and Human Services Tuesday on a 65-31 vote. Kathleen Sebelius starts her term with Health and Human Services in the middle of a public health outbreak.The timely vote will put Sebelius in office as the Obama administration is up against its first public health outbreak. cnn.com
Like many other orthodox Christians, I find myself studying the Biblical scriptures in Luke Chapter 21 where the Lord Jesus Christ said that plagues will be one of the events that will occur on earth as a prelude to as He puts it “the end of the age”: Some of his disciples began talking about the majestic stonework of the Temple and the memorial decorations on the walls. But Jesus said, “The time is coming when all these things will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another! “Teacher,” they asked, “when will all this happen? What sign will show us that these things are about to take place?”… There will be great earthquakes, and there will be famines and plagues in many lands, and there will be terrifying things… So when all these things begin to happen, stand and look up, for your salvation is near!” (multiple scriptures truncated - Luke 21:5-7, 11, 28 NLT). Please understand, the above scripture is taken from a larger context and the precise timeline of the indicated events (i.e. the referenced plagues etc.) in relation to the Lord’s return (the nearness of our salvation) is not specifically indicated. I encourage you to read the entire Chapter in full context to get a sense of some of the things we may be experiencing in our world today.

With respect to Ms. Kathleen Sebelius, let’s say for the sake of argument that this swine flu is indeed part of the plagues to which Jesus alludes in Luke 21, how ironic would it be that the United States just confirmed a virulent pro abortion politician to head the efforts to combat the biblically prophesied plague? In the toxic and anti-biblical culture in which we now live, this would completely stand to reason.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

The Punishment of Jesus to Make us Clean

I was speaking to a friend recently about the sacrifice made by our Lord Jesus Christ to redeem us back to God our Father. It was a heavy conversation where we were both focusing on the depth of our own individual sins in relation to the price that Jesus had to pay to wipe our stains away so that we can live permanently with a Holy and Perfect God.

I believe that the punishment that Jesus had to bear was that which was (or is) coming to each and everyone human being who has ever lived, for the sins that they each individually has or will commit. It’s hard to conceive rationally, or even put into words, but the level of punishment, the pain, the horror, the terror, the anguish etc. that my Lord Jesus Christ took is the exact equivalent of what I would have received if God were to have punished me for my life; then He took the same level of punishment for you; then He took the same level of punishment for your brother; then that for your sister; then that for your mother; then that for your grandmother; and so on and so on. All exponential. None minimized on aggregate or on average. His pain and punishment was multiplied one on top of another for everyone. For every mass murderer, for every rapist, for every child molester. For every Hitler. For every Sadam Hussein. For every Pol Pot. For everyone. Jesus was punished to the level earned by every one of us.

Jesus also did this knowing that a majority of the people for whom He was being punished would not care about His sacrifice. Would not acknowledge it. Would not simply say “thank you”. Would even spit upon Him in hatred. Yet he was willing to do it anyway. Yes He is worthy of my praise. My worship. My obedience (though I fail terribly at this one).

When you think about, remember or see the movie The Passion of The Christ, think about all the sin in our world and realize the depiction shown of Jesus’ punishment in that movie wasn’t horrific enough to truly illustrate His actual sacrifice to make us all clean. Think about it and at least thank Him today.

Isaiah 53 (The Holy Bible - New Living Translation)
1 Who has believed our message?
To whom has the Lord revealed his powerful arm?
2 My servant grew up in the Lord’s presence like a tender green shoot,
like a root in dry ground.
There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance,
nothing to attract us to him.
3 He was despised and rejected—
a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.
We turned our backs on him and looked the other way.
He was despised, and we did not care.

4 Yet it was our weaknesses he carried;
it was our sorrows[a] that weighed him down.
And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God,
a punishment for his own sins!
5 But he was pierced for our rebellion,
crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
He was whipped so we could be healed.
6 All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.
We have left God’s paths to follow our own.
Yet the Lord laid on him
the sins of us all.

7 He was oppressed and treated harshly,
yet he never said a word.
He was led like a lamb to the slaughter.
And as a sheep is silent before the shearers,
he did not open his mouth.
8 Unjustly condemned,
he was led away.
No one cared that he died without descendants,
that his life was cut short in midstream.
But he was struck down
for the rebellion of my people.
9 He had done no wrong
and had never deceived anyone.
But he was buried like a criminal;
he was put in a rich man’s grave.

10 But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him
and cause him grief.
Yet when his life is made an offering for sin,
he will have many descendants.
He will enjoy a long life,
and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in his hands.
11 When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish,
he will be satisfied.
And because of his experience,
my righteous servant will make it possible
for many to be counted righteous,
for he will bear all their sins.
12 I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier,
because he exposed himself to death.
He was counted among the rebels.
He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels.

A God who sends people to Hell?