Aloha Friday Message – April 18, 2014 – Nailed it!

1416AFC041814 – Nailed it!

Read it online here, please.

Isaiah 53:1-12 (NIV) – 1 Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? 2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. 3 He was despised and rejected by others, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. 4 Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. 6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. 8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished. 9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. 10 Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. 11 After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

First a little story I got in an e-mail a few years back. A Big Mahalo to CeW for sending this fine little lesson:

Amen and Amen.

A man dies and goes to heaven. St. Peter meets him at the Pearly Gates and says, “Here’s how it works. You need 100 points to make it into heaven. You tell me all the good things you’ve done, and I give you a certain number of points for each item, depending on how good it was. When you reach 100 points, you get in.”

“Okay,” the man says, “I was married to the same woman for 56 years and never cheated on her, not even in my heart.”

“That’s wonderful,” says St. Peter, “that’s worth two points!”

“Only two points?” he asks? “Well, I attended church all my life and supported its ministry with my tithe and service.”

“Terrific!” says St. Peter… “That’s certainly worth a point, and that makes three.”

“One point!?!!” He continued, “I started a soup kitchen in my city and worked in a shelter for homeless veterans.”

“Fantastic, that’s good for two more points! You’ve got five all together,” he says.

“Five total points!?!!” Exasperated, the man cries. “At this rate the only way I’ll get into heaven is by the Grace of God.”

“Bingo! 100 points and that makes a total of one-hundred-and-five! Come on in!”

We often try to fix many of our problems with things like WD-40 and duct tape, bailing wire, chewing-gum, string,  “reasoned arguments,” angry accusations, whining, and even some fast talking. The good things that we do sometimes live after us, but to live after them we need something other than what’s done in this world. We need a permanent solution that fixes it all.

God did it with just 3 nails.

Matthew 27:33-36 – When they had reached a place called Golgotha, that is, the place of the skull, they gave him wine to drink mixed with gall, which he tasted but refused to drink. When they had finished crucifying him they shared out his clothing by casting lots, and then sat down and stayed there keeping guard over him.

Just 3 Nails

Just 3 Nails

Matthew’s account of the crucifixion of Jesus leaves out the gruesome details of that awful moment when he was nailed to the wood of the cross. Even the accounts of the scourging, the plaiting of a crown of thorns, the mocking by the cohort of soldiers, and the cowardice of Pilate against the malice of the crowd are not described in the kind of detail we have grown accustomed to in the cinematic portrayal of Jesus’ life, Passion, and death. For Matthew, these things are not important. The important part of the story is what’s happening in and through others.

Everything Jesus preached, everything he represented, every moment of his ministry was being repudiated through the actions and attitudes of the people around him. The soldiers saw him as just another rebel, maybe a nut-case who got carried away with his own story. The crowd for the most part rejected his message, his miracles, his ministry, and his menshkeite – his noble character and dignity – the fact that he always did what was right, responsible, and righteous. The agony of that rejection was made all the more exquisitely painful when he sensed that even God his Father had abandoned him. He was deserted by most of his closest friends, betrayed by one of his own, murdered by an occupying power that cared nothing about his ideology, and offered up by his own nation’s leaders.

He did all of that willingly. He accepted the suffering – and it was immense beyond measure – because it pleased God his Father who allowed his Son, his only begotten son, to make a pure, final, and perfectly complete sacrifice of himself for the sake of every living soul, any time, everywhere. The Passion of the Christ was, and is, the one and only key to the door of Grace. Once that door was unlocked, Heaven and Earth were no longer separated by the Veil of Death. Jesus knew that would happen, knew it was the will of his Father, knew it would mean eternal life for you, for me, for us, for all who are his disciples and even those who are not. He knew he could complete that sacrifice for his Father and for us.

He was right you know. When they came to arrest him, someone (Peter we assume) struck the servant of the high priest, and Jesus said, “Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the scriptures be fulfilled, which say it must happen in this way?” (Matthew 26:53-54) Instead, he allowed the arrest, the mock trial, the abuse and stayed there on that ghastly instrument of torture because he was the only one who could do it. The crowd jeering below yelled, “Look at you now!” they yelled at him. “You said you were going to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days. Well then, if you are the Son of God, save yourself and come down from the cross!”

(Matthew 27:40) You know what? He had the power to do that. Perhaps Judas figured that in the end Jesus would use some miracle to save himself. It didn’t matter to Judas that such a thing might not happen because Judas was still not convinced Jesus was the Messiah. He ended up dying for that mistake.

Judas never got past his own self-importance. He was a thief, a scoundrel, a traitor, and … a friend of Jesus. The betrayal of a friend is incredibly painful to endure; but Jesus knew it was going to happen – along with everything else in his Passion, Death, and Resurrection (!) – and still pleased he his Father by willingly accepting it all. When Judas saw how mistaken he was, he regretted his decision. The KJV says “when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders” in Matthew 27:3, but his repentance went only as far as remorse; he was upset because his plan didn’t work out. He did not repent; he did not turn back from evil and seek forgiveness; he went farther into evil and killed himself.

There is a difference between repentance and remorse. In this passage, the word used is μεταμεληθεὶς – metamelētheis – felt remorse. Repentance, on the other hand is μετάνοια (metanoia) – “to think differently after.” Judas still thought he was right, and it was his undoing. Paul summed it up best in 2 Corinthians 7:10 For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death. Judas did not have the opportunity to see Christ beaten, mocked, and crucified. He hanged himself before all of that. And of course he never met the Risen Christ. Unlike Peter, who went out and wept bitterly, Judas was embarrassed by his mistake, and did not repent. He never got a chance to learn that it was not those 3 nails that held Jesus to the Cross.

Those 3 nails could not keep him there.

So what held Jesus to the Cross?

Love.

Love for his Father. Love for obedience. Love for Eternity. Love for us. Crucifixus etiam pro nobis – Crucified even for us. It was the New Beginning in the New Covenant at the threshold of the door of Grace unlocked for all of us by and through that one Perfect Sacrifice of Love. We, the True Believers, are the offspring of that Covenant. We enter Heaven by the Grace of God.

Have a blessed Holy Friday, Beloved. And Happy Easter to us, every one.

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Beloved.

chick
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Aloha Friday Messages by Charles O. Todd, III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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