Christmas, Calvary and the Coronation

imageedit_14_6639771661The most important message of Christmas is not so much that Jesus came, but why He came.  Jesus was arguably the first and only human to ever be born, with the express purpose, from day one, to die.

There was no salvation in His birth. Nor did the sinless way He lived His life have any redemptive force of its own.  His example, as flawless as it was, could not rescue men from their sins.  Even His teaching, the greatest truth ever revealed to man, could not pay the penalty for our sinful actions.

But a penalty needed to be paid.  Someone had to die. And only Jesus Christ filled the bill.  


Jesus came to earth, of course, to reveal God to mankind.
He came to teach truth.
He came to fulfill the Law.
He came to offer His kingdom.
He came to show us how to live.
He came to reveal God’s love.
He came to bring peace.
He came to heal the sick.
He came to minister to the needy.

Yet, Jesus could have done them all without being born as a human. He could have simply appeared‚ÄĒlike the angel of the Lord often did in the Old Testament‚ÄĒand accomplished everything in the list above, without actually becoming a man. But He had one more reason for coming…

He came to die.¬† And you can’t die if you were never born.

Here’s a side to the Christmas story that isn’t often told: Those soft little hands, fashioned by the Holy Spirit in Mary’s womb, were made so that nails might one day be driven into them.  Those baby feet, pink and unable to walk, would one day stagger up a dusty hill with complete determination to be nailed to that Cross. That sweet infant’s head was formed so that someday men might force a crown of thorns onto it. That tender body, warm and soft, wrapped in swaddling clothes, would one day be stabbed by a spear to confirm for the Roman soldiers at the Cross that He was dead Рafter he also had 39 strikes of a cat-o-nine-tails rip that body to shreds.

40 was the death penalty. 

In that stable, which may have been surrounded by palm trees, we might have seen a lone donkey standing in a corner, quietly chewing his barley straw and witnessing a historic visit from several kings of the East to this oddly-quiet baby boy.  Years later, another donkey, perhaps a descendant of this one in the stable, would carry this same boy, now even quieter than He was as an infant, though a King now Himself, through the streets of Jerusalem Рwith branches from palm trees carpeting their path. 

A star was shining over that birthplace in Bethlehem the night that the shepherds, out tending their flocks, were the first to hear the Good News of the birth of this “someday Saviour” from the announcing angels.¬† 33 years later, even the sun itself refused to shine over the city of Jerusalem, as the man they called the Good Shepherd…¬†

…was nailed to a tree that He grew from a seed, on a hill that He formed as Creator.

Though He had the power to call 10,000 angels Рjust like the ones that announced His birth Рto come and spare Him from a horrible death, He chose not to.   

The angels sang “glory to God”¬†the day He was born – but on the day He died, even God Himself hid his face from the unfolding proceedings.¬†

The messenger angel told the shepherds to not be afraid.   On the day He died, everyone who believed in Him was terrified.

The public¬†proclamation of those angels at His birth was “Good news of great joy to all the people.”¬† The day He died, His own disciples didn’t even publically acknowledge that they knew Him. It¬†was all bad news and great sorrow on that day, when¬†“all the people” called for Him to be crucified.

And that¬†good will to men” that was promised on the day He was born was repaid on the day He died with nothing but ill will from those men. The “peace on Earth” that God promised to mankind was thrown into chaos when¬†mankind had the gall to actually kill the Prince of Peace.

b814198f967597170ca000c870276c58Jesus’ parents ended up having to borrow a barn to shelter their newborn baby in.¬† 33 years later, His mother would be forced to watch as real estate was once again borrowed on His behalf – this time the tomb that would shelter His now-dead body in.¬†

 And just as she wrapped Him in swaddling clothes on His first day as a human being, Mary also assisted in wrapping His body in burial cloths on His last day too.

As author John MacArthur wrote:

“It‚Äôs appropriate to commemorate the birth of Christ. But don‚Äôt make the mistake of leaving Him as a baby in a manger. Keep in mind that His birth was just the first step in God‚Äôs glorious plan of redemption. Remember that it‚Äôs the triumph of Christ‚Äôs sacrificial death that gives meaning to His humble birth. You can‚Äôt truly celebrate one without the other.

 

cradlecrosscrownIn Billy Graham’s book “The Cradle, Cross and Crown“, he summarizes Jesus’ mission this way:

“The entire saving action of God was:
Inaugurated at Bethlehem,
Achieved at Calvary,
Authenticated by the Resurrection, and
Celebrated at the Ascension”.

We could have had Christmas without Easter.  And it would have been meaningless Рthe birthday of yet another dead religious leader, whose life was cut short too soon, but whose death, in the end, would have meant no more than yours or mine.

We cannot have Good Friday¬†without Christmas.¬† Jesus had to come and be born as a human being, to wrap the eternal and divine in the “flesh suit” of a human being, so that He could take on the sins of the world as a man, pay for those crimes with His death on the Cross.¬† But if that was the end of the story, then ladies and gentleman, we are serving a dead God – no more able to deal with our sinful lives than any other religious figure could have.¬† Buddha, Krishna, Mohammad all have graves that you can visit too.

We cannot have Good Friday without Easter Sunday.¬† Without the Resurrection of Christ, the famous hymn would say “What can wash away my sins?¬† Nothing!”.

The Apostle Paul wrote that “If Christ has not been raised,¬†then our preaching is in vain and your¬†

faith is in vain‚ÄĚ (1 Corinthians 15:14).

The Resurrection gave Jesus victory over death, Hell and the grave.¬† Without it, He would have been more appropriate to cry “I AM Finished” instead of “It Is Finished”, from the Cross.¬† His death alone had no meaning, if He stayed in that tomb.¬†

At best, He would die a martyr for His cause. While that may have the power to whip up even millions of faithful followers over the centuries, it does nothing to pay the price for their sinful pasts.  Christianity would then have been just another meaningless dead religion, perhaps able to thrill and inspire us with the heroic actions and teachings of Christ, but like all the other dead religions, unable to answer the problem of sin.  Or raise us from the dead one day as well, as the Bible says we will someday experience.

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Whether the disciples actually showed great faith or not after His crucifixion is debatable, but they DID intentionally borrow His tomb, not buy it.  Perhaps that was their only option Рbut if Jesus had in fact never resurrected from the dead, they eventually would have had to come up with a solution that was more permanent.

And one has to wonder what Joseph of Arimathea was thinking in loaning out a tomb for Jesus?¬† On the surface, it sounded like a pretty dumb business decision.¬† The Bible doesn’t say that he rented the tomb out to the disciples.¬† They borrowed the property much like one might borrow a car or an item of clothing or a book.

Joseph of Arimathea would have possibly assumed he was never getting that borrowed tomb back, but the Bible doesn’t say that.¬† After all, Jesus attended 3 funerals in his lifetime that we see recorded in Scripture – for his friend Lazarus, for the Roman centurion’s young son who had recently died, and His own.¬† He interrupted all three with a resurrection.¬† Perhaps the disciples had more faith than we thought?¬†¬†

We are quick to judge poor Peter, not just on that day when he denied Christ 3 times, but starting some time before, when he jumped over the side of a boat he was in, and started walking on water toward Jesus.¬† Reality eventually set in, and he¬†started to drown – needing Jesus to rescue him.¬† “What weak faith”, we may sniff.¬† But Peter actually jumped over the side of the boat and started walking on water.¬† And as the head of the Church, appointed by Jesus as such, Peter also would have some hand in the arrangements for borrowing Jesus’ tomb too.

quote-the-men-who-followed-him-were-unique-in-their-generation-they-turned-the-world-upside-down-because-billy-graham-74270No wonder the Early Church “turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6).¬† Being able to return the borrowed tomb of Jesus to Joseph of Arimathea – after Christ rose triumphant from the grave on that first Easter Sunday – would have been all the faith booster that most people would ever need.

The resurrection solidified the faith of the disciples permanently.¬† We never read again that Paul, Peter, or any of the 10 other disciples –¬† even the guy they nicknamed “Doubting Thomas” – ever actually doubted anything Jesus said ever again.¬† And today, there are approximately 2.6 billion Christians around the world – a testament to the power, not only of the Cross, but the Resurrection too.

And Christ has a new position in heavenly places because of the REsurrection too.¬† Ephesians 4:10 expresses the full dimensions of it: ‚ÄúHe who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.‚ÄĚ

Every king is crowned in a coronation ceremony. Jesus Christ is no exception! He too will be crowned as supreme Ruler‚ÄĒas King¬†of kings.

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By Shawn Jorgensen,  Founding Editor
Calling Out Community
Posted:  December 14, 2019
[God’s Got A Plan For You!]asadfz

Easter: Through Muslim Eyes

¬†Christians –¬†do not¬†be deceived. The war on Easter has begun in earnest. The end goal is nothing short of the complete eradication of the celebration of Easter from the Western, including Canada and the United States.


Let’s examine¬†a quote and photo from a blog named Stand Up For Islam , which we found¬†very revealing¬†concerning Islam’s view on celebrations like Christmas and Easter.¬†(Note: While we have supplied the link to the material for verification,¬†visit their¬†site¬†sparingly.¬†¬†Blogs¬†may receive financial support through adviews, number of visitors, etc. and we do not want to see these funds go into Islamic hands.)

Christian¬†parents¬†of school-aged kids are witnessing the slow removal of any signs of celebrating the true meaning of Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter.¬†¬†They can be forgiven –¬†even admired –¬†for suggesting¬†that¬†they don’t care whether Jewish or Islam holidays are recognized in public schools, as¬†long as Easter and Christmas¬†continue to¬†be celebrated unabated as well.

Sounds reasonable – but you’re out of touch with Islamic reality.¬† Here’s the ugly truth.¬† They don’t want to work with you and they HATE Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving.¬† They also believe that¬†your willingness to be so open-minded is a disgusting sign of weakness. ¬†They are taught to believe that¬†you are a reprobate infidel as are your children, and our religious holidays to them are like Hallowe’en to many Christians.

Don’t believe me?¬†¬†Fair enough. I present unedited (except to add definitions for Arabic words)¬†the first 1/2 of¬†a posting,¬†and accompanying¬†meme, entitled Easter and Islam from the above-stated blog.¬† The author is clearly upset:

“It saddens me to think that we are living in times when the Muslims are being misled, not only by the Christians and Hindus and Buddhists and those from other faiths ‚Äď they are being misled by other Muslims! Celebrating festivals like Easter is haraam. [Refers to anything that is prohibited in the Qur’anMuhammad or would result in sin when committed by a Muslim].

easter-is-haraam-med
by Photos8.com

Although it may be viewed as harmless fun, having an Easter egg, sending Easter greeting cards, wishing Christians a Happy Easter, you are (as a Muslim) doing more harm than good. The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) never adopted the ways of Jahiliyyah (ignorance) to try and bring people to Islam. And even if you’re just trying to be polite and neighborly, you are actually undermining the principles of Islam and keeping people in misguidance.

Other than that, there is the added problem of imitating the kuffaar [derogatory word¬†for¬†we infidels or unbelievers].¬†We are Muslims and we distinguish ourselves as being Muslims and following Islam. There is no need to follow the tradition of another religion, especially if we have been Commanded by Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) not to. Allah Has Prescribed for us the festivities we should follow and there is no need to add to this by following something else. If celebrating Easter or any other festival was allowed, it would have been stated in hadith or the Qur‚Äôan.”

Friend, a Muslim will¬†never accept Easter¬†as-is and will feel morally obligated to shut it down.¬† Church, you need to wake up.¬† We are not protecting chocolate bunnies and Easter egg hunts here.¬† The commemoration and celebration of the events of Good Friday and Easter Sunday, and how they changed, and will always continue to change, humanity for the better, are at stake.¬† Easter is Christianity’s Good News – if that is silenced, the very foundation of our faith is blocked from society.¬† Which is exactly what Satan wants to see.

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By Islam Rising
Founding
Calling Out Member
Posted: March 28, 2016, Updated: April 19, 2019
[God’s Got A Plan For You!]¬†

San Bernardino Mass Shooting -America’s 335th in 2015

By Calling Out Community, Posted December 3, 2015.   Updated  December 8, 2015

According to the Washington Post, Wednesday’s horrific mass shooting in the Inland Regional¬†Center for the developmentally disabled in San Bernardino, California has been deemed the worst terrorist attack on American soil since September 11, 2011.

The child and adult victims of the Sandy Hill Elementary School shooting are mourned in 2012

The 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was more horrific, killing 20 children and 6 adults, but was not deemed to be a terrorist attack Рthough certainly it was  terrorizing to the general public.

A “mass shooting” is defined by the Guardian newspaper as “four or more people shot in one incident.” In speaking about this specific attack, President Barack Obama said:

We should never think that this is something that just happens in the ordinary course of events‚ÄĚ.

The Post doesn’t agree (and neither do we at the Calling Out Community), reporting the California shooting was the 2nd¬†such mass¬†shooting somewhere in the United States that day, the¬†3rd one that week

and the 335th mass shooting within the United States in 2015, as charted below:

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Even more horrific Рthe Guardian newspaper went back over the last 3 years, and found that there have been 1,052 mass shootings (with 4 or more victims, alive or dead) in the United States, as defined above, over the last 1,066 days.  That is almost exactly one mass shooting per day, every day, for the last three years.

But even the above statistics do not give a  complete picture of the horrific casualties caused by American gun violence.  According to 2013 data supplied by the US Centre for Disease Control, there were 33,636 gun-related deaths in the United States that year Рan average of 92 deaths per day.  It is assumed gun-related injuries would also be extremely high.

In contrast, during the three-year¬†Korean War¬†(June 25, 1950 ‚Äď July 27, 1953), a sobering 33,651¬†American soldiers were killed in action.

KOREAN-WAR-2Stop and think about that for a moment:  Gun-related deaths in the United States in 2013 alone were virtually equivalent in number to all American soldiers killed during the entire three-year Korean War. 

Yet another statistic that I know the left-wing, gun-control friendly crowd out there don’t want you to know – the United States has been plagued with nearly 3 times more mass shootings¬†in the last seven years, during the term of President Barack Obama alone, than under the combined terms of Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan – a total of 28 years:

  • Ronald Reagan (1981-1989) ‚Äď saw 11 mass shootings with 101 fatalities
  • George H. W. Bush (1989-1993) ‚Äď saw 12 mass shootings with 94 fatalities
  • Bill Clinton (1993-2001) ‚Äď saw 23 mass shootings with 141 fatalities
  • George W. Bush (2001-2009) ‚Äď saw 20 mass shootings with 158 fatalities
  • Barack H. Obama (2009-2015 ‚Äď 7th Year) ‚Äď saw 162 mass shootings with 864 fatalities. ¬†And he still has a year to go!

Is it also a¬†coincidence that gun-related deaths during Democratic President Clinton’s 8 year terms were equivalent to the number seen during both Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush’s 12 years combined, previous to him?

Now, immediately upon letting this unbelievable picture of America’s violent heart sink in, one might be tempted to jump on the gun control bandwagon.¬† After all, less guns on the street would make us safer, right?

IMG_3924-0 That was the New York Times theory anyway, as they broke with tradition on Saturday, December 5 and ran an editorial on the front page of the paper, calling for more gun control Рas we would expect from a very radically-left paper.  It was the first time since 1920 that they have put an editorial on the cover page.

Soon after, Nick Baumann, Senior Enterprise Editor of the¬†Huffington Post, wrote a response piece – The Big Problem With The New York Times’ Gun Editorial – publically criticizing the Times:

On Saturday, The New York Times printed a front-page editorial – its first since 1920 – calling for greater restrictions on gun ownership in the United States. You can read the piece here, but be warned: It’s deeply flawed. (emphasis mine)

What was his issue with it?  The same issue people have used to criticized the gun control movement for decades:

unnamedCriminals do not register guns, do not buy guns legally, do not safely store and transport guns, and will often use them with absolutely no concern for the safety of anyone of any age around them.

Then, in what seemed to be a shocking twist, the Washington Post, considered another left-wing mouthpiece, also came out swinging against the New York Times article.¬† Or so it seemed. But they weren’t in any way attacking the position on gun control.¬† No, they thought the paper was foolish in using the front page of the paper for an editorial that basically “preached to the choir”:

…The Times has (at least temporarily) knocked down a wall by placing an editorial in a spot normally reserved for news. That does not mean the paper’s political reporters will suddenly abandon all sense of fairness as they cover candidates who staunchly back gun rights. But it does give those candidates new cause for suspicion ‚ÄĒ a cause they will almost certainly exploit on the campaign trail.

Whew, that was a relief – for a minute there, we thought that maybe they were going to taken the gun violence epidemic in the U.S. seriously.¬† Nah, just more stupid rhetoric on both sides.¬† The United States does not have a gun issue – guns don’t kill people.¬† People kill people, and America has an anger management issue.

unnamed3.jpgThe country seems to be angrier under Democratic Presidents Рthis conservative is not surprised.  Democrats are often seen as gun takers Рand memberships at groups like the National Rifle Association have skyrocketed during Democratic Presidential terms.

Perhaps the most dramatic tell of all can be seen in the dramatic rise in gunmaker Smith & Wesson stocks, soaring 733% since 2012 alone.

It’s a good time to make guns.¬† It’s not a good time to be in the crosshairs of one.¬† America needs serious help – and gun control won’t make any difference.¬† Take away American guns – and we’ll soon need a steak knife registry as well.¬† The problem isn’t inanimate objects – it’s the power they provide to unstable, angry people holding them.¬† Until America learns how to deal with that, the violence will continue.

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