Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Lamb of God: More than Just a Story...

One of my fondest childhood memories is our family watching the network television presentation of George Steven’s epic film, The Greatest Story Ever Told. In those days, before DVDs and Netflix, families gathered around television sets each Easter to watch the story of the life of Christ play out in full color, complete with wise men, the crucifixion…and even John Wayne as the centurion soldier. Eventually other films were produced with titles such as Jesus of Nazareth, The Gospel According to Matthew, The Passion of the Christ, and most recently, Son of God. In unique ways each of these provides the viewer a connection with the story of the life of Christ. But there is a problem…the life of Jesus is not merely a story.

Far too many have relegated Jesus to a storybook character more akin to Batman or the Man of Steel than the living God of the universe. Many view His virgin birth as hyperbole, His miracles as fairy tales, and His death as a tragic ending similar to that of the latest Hollywood blockbuster. This is evident in the way we approach worship each week. With a ‘wink and a nod’ we show up at church and go through the motions singing songs, reading scripture and reciting prayers…but our lives remain the same. We are not changed. Our problem is we know the story – maybe too well – but have failed to experience the reality of what actually happened.

While there isn’t total consensus, most Biblical scholars agree that on Friday, April 3, 33 A.D., Jesus of Nazareth was crucified on a hill outside of Jerusalem. While the date may be open to discussion, what happened three days later is not! It was on that first Easter morning that Jesus came forth from the tomb victorious over sin, death and the grave while simultaneously bringing salvation to all who would believe in Him.
In the middle of our hectic schedules this weekend, don’t miss the significance of what happened in Jerusalem over 2,000 years ago. While children’s stories often begin with the words, “Once upon a time”, the events of the first Easter took place “in the fullness of time.” One phrase sets up fairy tales, while the other introduces the “Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world” (John 1:29). There is a huge difference!
May His death and resurrection be real to us this Easter. Remember, it’s more than a story!

Pursuing the Call!


He was born of a Virgin one holy night
In the little town of Bethlehem.
Angels gathered round Him underneath the stars
Singing praises to ‘The Great I Am’.
He walked on the water, healed the lame
And made the blind to see again.
And for the first time here on earth
We learned that God could be a friend. 
And though He never ever did a single thing wrong,
The angry crowd chose Him.
And then He walked down the road and died on the cross,
And that was the end of the beginning.
- from “The End of the Beginning”

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