Lion of Judah

It’s Saturday, the day before Easter, the day before Christ’s Resurrection Day.  In my little yard is a cross, a couple of 4 x 2’s held together with a screw and wing nut, draped with a black piece of felt that was put there yesterday, Good Friday, to acknowledge the willful and willing death of Jesus.  Tomorrow I will whisk away the black felt and replace it with a white one, symbolic of the result of this sacrifice…a gift for me, my sins, my separation from God that is no more because of this act.

One of my worries in moving here was finding a church where I could not only worship freely but learn, grow, and strengthen my relationship with the Lord.  In a long, roundabout, and convoluted way that took a path through my daughter’s activities, I’ve found it.  I shouldn’t have worried…I know in my heart that God’s got it covered.  I didn’t realize how hungry I was for what I found there until I tasted it, but the teaching at this church covered the elephant in the room taboos of the South on my first day and it was more than good.  I am among friends.

As always, I am amazed and awed by God’s love for us considering how nasty and horrid, and ungrateful and stubbornly self-serving, we can be toward him and each other.   I can’t understand how anyone can deny his existence and authority considering the scientific and historical evidence (not theories, but facts) that support Jesus is who he says he is.  One of my favorite authors, Lee Strobel, in A Case for Christ says, ““The Jews proposed the ridiculous story that the guards had fallen asleep. Obviously, they were grasping at straws. But the point is this: they started with the assumption that the tomb was vacant! Why? Because they knew it was!”  I had never thought of that before, but it made me think.  In their hearts they knew the truth, but refused to utter it.  We humans are stubborn like that.  If we fear being wrong, or having to change, or a consequence for our actions, we grasp at straws.  In our hearts we may feel it, we may know deep down the truth…but it scares us…so we deny it.

Often those who know or think they know the Easter story picture a bloody man on the cross, a crown of thorns on his hung head, total submission to the fate ascribed by the people who would crucify him.  What we fail to take into account is the who this man is, that he was made for this purpose, he planned this to happen, and he accomplished it for his purpose.  As our pastor put it, Jesus was a volunteer, not a victim.

There is a current Facebook news feed of photos about actions that will restore your faith in humanity.  These are all pictures of people who have willingly, purposefully, and voluntarily put their lives on the line for others, even at risk of death. They are not scorned, they are not disbelieved, and they are certainly not considered as victims.  Instead, they are hailed as heroes, their courage celebrated, their death-defying acts lauded as the ultimate in showing love to a fellow being.  Yet Jesus is scorned, considered a good man and wise teacher but disbelieved, and even thought a bit of weakling because he allowed himself to die as a criminal to save us.

It didn’t stop there, though.  He fulfilled his plan and promise, and on the 3rd day he arose.  A Case for Christ, along with other books that back their claims with irrefutable evidence, support this claim.  Amazing to me is how people will believe theories that are supported by more theories and suppositions yet fail to recognize what actually is evidenced.  And I think it’s because of fear.  If Jesus is really who he says he is, we have to accept his ultimate authority.  Sadly, many who say they believe don’t do that.  Instead, there is picking and choosing what fits their own ideas and standards instead of alignment to what God actually says.  I think that creates the rub, and causes sects, hurt and hate, and disbelief.  Hard to trust when one says one thing and behaves another.  That’s not God; that’s people tuning out God.  God is constant and consistent; the Bible, historical documents and evidence supports that.  God sent us His son out of love for us.

Why the lion in this Easter posting?  He went to the cross as the lamb to be slain out of his love for us, but he roared out as a lion, alive, bold, conquering sin and death, all for his love for us.  All Hail the Lion of Judah, King of Kings, Lord of Lords.   He is arisen…he has arisen indeed.  That is the Good News!

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