What was the extent of the physical suffering Jesus endured at the crucifixion? Consider that the English word "excruciating" is from the Latin meaning "out of the crucifixion." I've found that the best way to comprehend the magnitude of the Christ's physical suffering on Good Friday is to read the following description that we've adapted from the work of medical doctor, C. Truman Davis (see I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist, p. 380-383).
WARNING: THIS IS GRAPHIC (You may have a difficult time getting through it).
The whip the Roman soldiers use on Jesus has small iron balls and sharp pieces of sheep bones tied to it. Jesus is stripped of his clothing, and his hands are tied to an upright post. His back, buttocks, and legs are whipped either by one soldier or by two who alternate positions. The soldiers taunt their victim. As they repeatedly strike Jesus' back with full force, the iron balls cause deep contusions, and the sheep bones cut into the skin and tissues. As the whipping continues, the lacerations tear into the underlying skeletal muscles and produce quivering ribbons of bleeding flesh. Pain and blood loss set the stage for circulatory shock. more >>
Easter has always meant a lot to me, and in the life of our church, Easter Sundays have been historic times of outreach, growth and opportunity. However, the resurrection of Jesus has never meant more to me than it does right now.
The grave is brutal, merciless and uncaring. It swallows everything it touches and it is never satisfied. It will not stop until every last person has been consumed. It seems as though every time you turn on the news or get a breaking news alert on your phone there is a new tragedy. Planes that disappear, celebrities who accidentally overdose, young people who despair and take their lives, public places turned to terror through shooting – sometimes it's too much to handle.
The good news is that death has been devoured by the power of God and it can't fight back. Jesus' tomb is empty and because of that fact, we don't have to be terrified by the grave anymore. Death's power has been undone. Those who fall asleep in Christ become greater after death than they were before and they can never be touched by it again. Paul said, "For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." (II Corinthians 5:1) more >>
"Heaven Is for Real," the movie based on the near-death experience of a young boy who believes he visited heaven and met Jesus, is generating divided opinions among Christians on whether it presents a biblical message on heaven as it hits theaters Easter weekend.
The movie is based on the best-selling 2010 book Heaven Is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back, where pastor Todd Burpo reports on the near-death experience of his then 4-year-old son, Colton, who shares of meeting Jesus in heaven as well as a number of his deceased relatives after undergoing emergency surgery in 2003.
The film adaptation of the book, directed by Randall Wallace, opened on Wednesday, and has received the backing of some Christian groups, including Faith Driven Consumer, which reviews faith or Bible-based films. more >>
Jesus sells. That's why they have cover stories on Him in magazines and TV specials, even if some of them offer strange theories to try to explain away things like the original Easter.
I'll never forget the evolution of a famous TV newsman, the late Peter Jennings, the anchor ABC's nightly news broadcasts.
In 2000, Jennings hosted a special, "The Search for Jesus." He never found Him because he relied almost entirely on liberal Bible scholars who dismissed the reliability of the Gospel accounts. The special, though well done, needlessly cast doubt on all the basics about Jesus. more >>
Pastor Robert Jeffress, senior pastor of the 11,000-member First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, says the resurrection of Jesus Christ is good news for people of all faiths who seek His forgiveness and make the decision to believe in Him.
"It doesn't matter whether you're Catholic, Baptist, Jewish, Muslim or atheist – anybody who trusts in Christ and asks for forgiveness can be assured of a guaranteed reservation (in heaven)," Jeffress asserted during an interview with Fox News host Bill O'Reilly that aired Tuesday night.
As he answered O'Reilly's questions about the afterlife, forgiveness and God's judgment, Jeffress emphasized that the best evidence believers have for there being an afterlife is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. more >>
For a while, my parents were getting Reader's Digest every month while I was growing up. Because they were stored in the bathrooms, they were widely read.
In each and every issue there was an interview with some celebrity, usually an actor or an athlete. Reader's Digest's favorite kind of celebrity was the "self-made" variety: someone who had come from nothing, preferably a broken home in which the single mother had to work multiple jobs to afford the windows that protected the family from the ceaseless gunfire outside. The interviewers inevitably ended their pieces by asking the celebrity something like, "If you could offer one piece of advice to our readers, what would it be?" (In fact, this makes up the bulk of Reader's Digest…the part that isn't ads. It's full of pithy little pieces of advice for an improved life: "For a fun afternoon with the kids, try making caramel apples! To sleep better, try eating more blueberries! For a more fulfilling marriage, try going camping together!") The celebrity would always say something like, "The one thing I would like to tell your readers is that you can't let anyone tell you that you can't accomplish your dreams. I'm walking evidence of that. If you want something badly enough, and work at it hard enough, you can accomplish anything at all."
So much Christianity has become Reader's Digest Christianity: "Jesus can help you achieve your dreams. He'll go ninety-nine yards if you just go one. Do a little and he'll do a lot. God helps those who help themselves." more >>