Bible · Biblical Doctrines · Christ · Doctrines of the Bible · Faith

Seeing Through a Different Perspective

“And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up for to read. 17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, 18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. 20 And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.” (Luke 4:16-20)

Eventually the truth comes out. The Bible says, “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper.” (Prov. 28:13) This gospel lesson is often learned the hard way. During the 2016 Presidential election, politicians on both sides of the political spectrum, sought to gather salacious information on their opponents in the name of Operation Research. The information did not have to be true for it to ruin lives, illustrated in a now infamous dossier against the man who eventually won the presidency of the United States.

The eight million dollar document was used to cause people to see Donald J. Trump through a perspective that was not true. The document was also used to start an illegal and immoral investigation at the hands of the former FBI director, James Comey, who was also viewed through the media preceptive of being a legal boy scout, a straight shooter, a man of integrity.

Following the 2016 presidential election, When Mr. Comey was fired from his job by the new Commander in Chief, many were outraged, and decided that the dossier should be used as the basis for a special counsel to investigate the president for obstruction of justice, and perhaps collusion with the Russians to change the election results. It was relentlessly argued, for over a year, that the President of the United States had obstructed justice by firing the head of the FBI.

Today, there is a new perspective. Many transgressions, if not crimes, have been uncovered. It is being revealed that the President of the United States dismissed the former FBI Director in order to prevent the obstruction of justice. A new perceptive makes a difference.

Many people have the wrong perspective of Jesus Christ. Some see Him as a Great Moral Teacher, but nothing more. Some see Jesus as a religious fanatic, who claimed, along with many others, to be the Messiah of the Jews. Still others see Jesus as a misguided religious zealot, who died needlessly on a Roman cross. I would have you see Jesus through a new perspective, the perspective of the Scriptures.

First, I would have you see Jesus as Creator. Physically, Jesus is the Creator of the Universe. “All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.” (John 1:3) “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:” (Col. 1:16) Spiritually, Jesus can recreate a new heart, a new mind, and give new emotions in a person. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Cor. 5:17)

Second, I would have you see Jesus as the Crucified One, though the horrors of crucifixion are beyond human description. “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.’ (Luke 22:44)

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 (the ruling council), 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 full 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 sceptre. 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 clots of blood and serum in the wounds, and its removal, just as in the careless removal of a surgical bandage, causing excruciating pain, almost as though He were again being whipped, and the wounds again begin to bleed.

The Walk to the Site of the 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 Used in a 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.

The Medical Effects of Crucifixion

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.”

The Last Gasp of Crucifixion

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.” (Luke 23:46)

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. We, therefore, have rather conclusive post-mortem evidence that Out Lord died, not the usual crucifixion death by suffocation, but of heart failure due to shock and constriction of the heart by fluid in the pericardium.” (Condensed from “The Crucifixion of Jesus Christ” by C. Truman Davis, M.S. March, 1965)

Though Jesus was crucified, He did not die by the hands of men, from a divine perspective. He laid down His life in love. No one took it from Him. “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” (1 John 3:16)

Third, I would have you see Jesus as the Conquering Christ. Jesus conquered Satan. “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” (1 John 3:8) Jesus conquered sin and death. “I take you to an empty tomb in the garden of Joseph of Arimathea. Mary, Mary Magdalene, and Salome had gone to anoint the body of the crucified Christ. They had been startled to find the tomb empty. An angel sat on the stone by the door of the tomb and said, “I know you are looking for Jesus.” Then the angel said, “He is not here; for He is risen” (Matthew 28:6).” (Billy Graham) If the resurrection did not happen, as skeptics of Christianity insist, then let them answer with evidence this simple question, “Who moved the stone?”

Fourth, I would have you see Jesus as the Coming Christ. One day Jesus will come again the second time for all who believe. Jesus will return visibly, and bodily, and in the same manner in which He went away. “Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11) “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” (Heb. 9:28)

I would have you see Jesus as the Contemporary Christ, who changes lives. By faith, Jesus lives today. By faith, Jesus lives in the hearts of all those who trust Him as Lord and Saviour. Jesus lives to changes lives. Jesus lives to save families. Jesus lives to set the captives free. Many people struggle with some form of an addition. For some, it is drugs. For others, it is alcohol. There are those who are addicted to hard core pornography. Some men look at pornography and then frame their view of women. Women emerge as objects to be used, abused, and discarded. Those who think that pornography does not affect their relationship with their wives, mothers, sisters, and co-workers are self-deceived. Christ can set the captive free. Come to Jesus and see Him for yourself. Fasten your eyes upon Him.

“O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there;
O’er us sin no more hath dominion—
For more than conqu’rors we are!

His Word shall not fail you—He promised;
Believe Him, and all will be well:
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell!”

Helen H. Lemmel, 1922

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