Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Above is an artist's rendition of the cross and Christ upon it.
These types of displays are predominantly Catholic. This picture is from a Monastery and school in Austria, outside of Vienna, where we visited last summer.
The Monks originally came from France in about the 12th century. They were invited by the King at that time, who was a devout believer.
Austria has a strong Catholic influence that has remained for centuries.
i chose this photo only because the Christian church is about to celebrate Easter. Even though we know that this was not the time by calendar of the original happening.
In other denominations when you see a cross you do not see Christ upon it, for the simple reason that they celebrate the Resurrection as the primary importance of the Historical event.
We look at the whole life prior to his death, the introduction of God the Father, as seen through Jesus and the demonstration of his power and authority, and then his willingness to become the sacrifice on our account, demonstrating God's enormous love for us. But finally the power demonstrated by the Resurrection, that is the clincher for us who believe, because no other religion has a savior. Every other religion is based upon personal works, striving and qualifying yourself for an eternal reward.
No other religion hinges on the power of love from God to us and our love demonstrated back to him. God's plan for us through Christ, when you look at it objectively is incredible. It is so simple that it boggles the most sophisticated of minds. It is so simple that most people, even believers themselves miss it.
God set the power of love into motion. It came from his love for his creation. He then came himself in the person of Jesus, who by admission from the scriptures says he was not anything special to look at. He came from a non descript place in Israel at a particular time when the nation was under rule and occupied by Romans. He entered through a young woman, is born, raised with family, of no particular fame or name. Grew and was the perfect son and brought no attention to himself for 33 years.
He has a ministry that extends to within 70 miles (i'm probably too generous) for only three years. He is brought to trial by the local governing church, sentenced to death for no crimes, and a criminal in released instead of him. Hundreds of prophesies written about the messiah are fulfilled the day of his death. God demonstrates his power through the Resurrection and hundreds of witnesses prove it. A powerful occurrence happens 40 days later that has turned the world upside down even up to now.
Then you have a man named Paul, originally Saul, a Jewish teacher and Rabbi, who has an encounter with Jesus in a vision, suddenly stops what he was doing, killing the followers of Christ, and because of this encounter goes into seclusion for a time where God redirects him. He comes out and begins to preach to those outside of the Jewish community, the Gentiles, and sees the power of God affect their lives miraculously. From here comes centuries of the Christian church in all it's differences and form, right up to today, over 2 thousand years of history. The ramifications of the Christian church has had the greatest affect upon the educated world and influenced every walk of life. The standards and morals drawn from this one religion alone has shaped most of the greatest countries across the globe. And yet, "the fool in his heart will say there is no God."
The Apostle Paul who wrote most of the New Testament in his writing to the Ephesian church, says this in chapter 1 and verses 18 - 22
"I pray also that the eyes of your heart might be enlightened in order that you may know the hope in which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion and every title that can be given not only in the present age but the one to come. And God placed everything under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything, for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way."
This was written by a man who underwent incredible odds for the sake of the gospel. I don't think any one has had to endure the things he went through for the sake of sharing the heart of God for others. Oh yes he was writing while being held prisoner also.
The King of Kings comes and for us, he gives up his life, that we might gain our life through him.
What an awesome story that was only possible because of love.
(photo by my wife 07/08)

1 comment:

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