Monday, April 21, 2014

Jerusalem Strong

image used under Creative Commons license, courtesy of
Today is Patriots' Day in Boston.  There's a marathon being run, one year after the terrible bombing at last year's race. There are lots of heroic stories of the resilience of the victims of the bombing.  The race has a history.  That picture to the left is from the 1910 Boston Marathon.  And the term "Boston Strong" represents people overcoming the physical and emotional toll of the results of last year's bombing. As we go through the day,  let's think and pray for those effected by that bombing. Especially those who continue to overcome.  But there's a different kind of marathon that we, as Christians, celebrated yesterday.  Let's take a look.

Matthew 26:39 (KJV)  And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

Matthew 26:42 (KJV)  He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.

There are some who suggest that these verses and their repetition in Mark and Luke are Jesus asking the Father to not have to go to the Cross.  But Isaiah 50 is pretty universally considered to be a Messianic passage, pointing to Jesus.  Look at a couple of verses.

Isaiah 50:6-7 (KJV)  I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.  For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.

That sounds very much like the whole process leading to the Cross was preordained.  Indeed, the history of God's people is one of going through times of trouble.  We can look at their 40 year trek to the Promised land, their battles with various foes in the Old Testament.  Indeed, that conflict seems to continue today between Jews and Arabs in the Middle East.

Then, there are those who recognized that the Messiah had come, in Jesus Christ.  Some have suggested that the early Christians perpetrated a hoax, using Jesus as its focal point.  But think with me on that.  There's Peter, who is depicted as often failing and rebounding from those failures. It's historically documented that he died for his faith by being crucified upside down.  Thomas, the disciple recorded in the Bible as being a great doubter, had to touch the nail hole in the risen Christ's hand to believe.  Thomas is historically shown to have gone to India, evangelizing that country, and being martyred there for his faith.  

If Jesus being the Messiah was a lie and a hoax, would you be willing to be tortured and killed to maintain a lie?  I know I'm neither that dumb nor that brave.  It wasn't just one or two, either.  And the battle against Christianity continues.  Think of the Communist determination to eradicate Christianity.  And Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand, among others, being tortured for their faith. Others were killed.

When we come back to last year's bombing at the Boston Marathon, it wasn't a political statement, but a religious one.  So, most definitely, remember the victims and honor Boston Strong.  At the same time, let's honor Jerusalem Strong.

Hebrews 12:1 (KJV)  Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

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