A “KODAK MOMENT” of Calvary

In photography, a snapshot concept was introduced to the public on a large-scale by Eastman Kodak, which introduced the Brownie box camera. Kodak encouraged families to use the Brownie to capture moments in time of perfect images seen through the viewfinder.

And I remember receiving the gift of a Kodak Box Camera, a Brownie Hawkeye, no less,  from my parents before going on a family vacation one summer.  It was easy to operate, even for a young boy–point, look through the lens at the object to be photographed, and “SNAP!” No fancy adjustments.  Just point and shoot!

So here I am in this blog-Post, taking a snapshot of a moment in time by viewing the biblical landscape in Genesis 22.

An ‘Abraham and His Son’ moment:  Genesis 22:2, 6 and 8.

“Take now your son”…”Abraham took the wood…laid it on Isaac his son”…and Abraham said, “My son”.

Just as Abraham had a son, so God the Father has a Son.

  • God the Father offered His Son, by the POWER of the Holy Spirit:

“How much more then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!”  (Hebrews 9:14 ~ New International Version – NIV).

So you can see that the TRINITY (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) is plainly in view and involved in our SALVATION–

The FATHER PLANNED it…

The SON PROVIDED it…

And the SPIRIT APPLIED it.

Furthermore, by sharpening our FOCUS, we can see He was the Father’s lone Son – “your only son”.

Of course, Abraham had other sons, but the only one like Isaac–he was his unique son.

Next, we see through our lens, the Father’s LOVE for His Son.

“Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love” (vs 2)

  • The LOVE Abraham had for Isaac was only a subdued love, compared to the LOVE God had for His Son.

This is the FIRST MENTION of LOVE in the Bible and a VIEW of God’s LOVE for His Son:

The first mention of LOVE in the Gospel of Matthew is “This is my Son, whom I love, with him I am well pleased”  (Matthew 3:17).

The first mention of LOVE in Mark’s Gospel is again, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you, I am well pleased” (Mark 2:11).

And Luke… “and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove.  And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you, I am well pleased”  (Luke 3:22).

And finally, the first mention of LOVE in John’s Gospel, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

SPURGEON: “JESUS was God’s Son, his only-begotten Son, whom he loved more than any of you can ever love your sons or daughters, for the love of God towards him is ineffable, immeasurable.  It is not possible for me to tell you how much God loved his Son, but that Son who had always given him delight, in whom he was well pleased, that Son must endure shame, and agony, and death, if sinners were ever to be saved.  How could the Father give up his Son for such a purpose?  I have felt sometimes as if I could almost rush in, and say, “No; it must not be, the price is too great to be paid for the rescue of such worthless worms as we.”  Yet, to ransom every one of us, the Son of God must be sacrificed, and sacrificed, as it were, by his Father, for thus it is written, “It pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief.”  This, there is one point of resemblance between the offering of Isaac and the propitiatory sacrifice of our Lord, Jesus Christ, it was the father who had to offer up his son who he loved so dearly.”

A SNAP-SHOT of the Landscape–The Land of Moriah (Gen 22:2;  2 Chron. 3:1).

Genesis 22, Verse 2:  “go to the region of Moriah”

The importance of Mount Moriah is established by a number of KEY historical events which have taken place there:

  • Abraham offers Isaac (Gen. 22:2)
  • The Site of Solomon’s Temple.  King David was instructed by God to erect an altar on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite which occupied this site.  So David purchased the land which later became the site of Solomon’s Temple.
  • The Crucifixion of Jesus.  On the very mountain where Abraham was asked to sacrifice his “only son”, God sacrificed His only Son.

The LAW of the Burnt Offering (22:2).

This LAW was spelled out in Leviticus (Lev. 1:3-9), much later than what we see here in Genesis 22.  Actually, the term is first used of the sacrifices of Noah (Gen. 8:20), predating Abraham’s day.

The LAW spells out that the SACRIFICE is not to be a Second-rate offering:

#1.  It must be sacrificial–from the herd or flock that is domestic not of a wild animal.

#2.  There was to be a relationship between the OFFERING and the one offering it ~ “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.”

#3.  The SACRIFICE must be the Strongest of the flock–a male animal (John 1:29).

#4.  It must be Spotless–without blemish (1 Peter 1:18-19):

[18] You must know (recognize) that you were redeemed (ransomed) from the useless (fruitless) way of living inherited by tradition from [your] forefathers, not with corruptible things [such as] silver and gold.  [19] But [you were purchased] with the precious blood of Christ (the Messiah), like that of a [sacrificial] lamb without blemish or spot.”  [Amplified Bible].

JESUS WAS SINLESS!

#5.  AND…It must not be Stiff-necked; used of an uncooperative animal–it must be a VOLUNTARY Offering (John 10:17-18)

A SACRIFICE was made to BALANCE our account (Romans 4:35 & 2 Corinthians 5:21).

Romans 4:25 (AMP): 

Who was betrayed and put to death because of our misdeeds and was raised to secure our justification (our acquittal),  [making our account balance and absolving us from all guilt before God].

The SACRIFICE was SLAIN by the one who brought it.

Ultimately, it was God the Father who brought Jesus to CALVARY who slew Him for our sins (Matthew 27:45-46). 

The BLOOD from the SACRIFICE had to be Sprinkled (Hebrews 12:24):

[24]  And to Jesus, the Mediator (Go-between, Agent) of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood which speaks [of mercy] a better and nobler and more gracious message that the blood of Abel [which cried out for vengeance]  (AMP).

The SACRIFICE was a Sweet Aroma to Father God (Ephesians 5:2):

[2] Walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

A Lapse of Time occurred…(Genesis 22:3)

ABRAHAM rose early in the morning…on the THIRD DAY–he did not offer his son immediately but had to wait for 3 days.

Those had to be 3 difficult days and mindful of what he was about to do.

  • JESUS waited some 3 years before going to the CROSS and it was ever before Him!  (John 2:4; 7:30; 12:27).

LOOKING FOR A RESURRECTION (Hebrews 11:17-19):

Abraham came to the conclusion that he was going to see a MIRACLE because God can’t lie!  God had previously said this son of his, Isaac, would be the one whom He would fulfill all His promises (Gen, 12:2, 3 – “The Abrahamic Blessing”).  Therefore the son must live or God would be found as a liar.  And yet God commands that THIS SON (Isaac) be put to death.  Since there is no contradiction in God, He must be planning on raising Isaac from the dead.  All this…a SNAPSHOT of what JESUS would actually do–die and then be raised back to life!

All this…A VIEW of what JESUS would actually do–die and then be raised back to life!

The Laying Of Our Sins Upon Christ –

The WOOD that is laid upon Isaac (Gen. 22:6) becomes a PICTURE of Jesus carrying His own cross (John 19:16-18).

The FIRE (Genesis 22:6-7) that Abraham carried in the fire-pot for the “burnt sacrifice” becomes a snapshot once more of God’s Holy wrath upon Christ (Isaiah 53:4-6).

The KNIFE (22:10) depicts His being pierced with nails and the spear in His side…

And FINALLY, the LAMB (Genesis 22:8; 11-14).

GOD DID PROVIDE A LAMB FOR HIMSELF AT CALVARY (Romans 8:32):

[32]  “Certainly not God. who did not even keep back his own Son, but offered him for us all!  He gave us his Son–will he not also freely give us all things?”  (GNT- The Good News Translation)

Why did God tell Abraham to offer his son?

Abraham was an Old Testament PROPHET (GENESIS 20:7)–one who by the grace of God have us a glimpse into future events.

JESUS said ABRAHAM hoped for “My day [My incarnation]; and he did see it and was delighted”  (John 8:56).

This MOMENT, this event in history becomes a SNAPSHOT taken to illustrate God offering His only Son at CALVARY.

From 1935 to 1962, former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt had a daily newspaper column writing her opinion on various world events.  One quote I especially took to heart is from an article she wrote in 1946:

“It is not fair to ask of others what you are not willing to do yourself.”

God will never ask us to do something He is not willing to do Himself–and that includes SACRIFICE.

ISAAC is the beginning of the CROSS, and a shining example of how God will always do the same thing He expects of us.

Isaac was the RESULT of A PROMISE, through his birth that allowed God’s presence to reach a new nation of people–ISRAEL.

And JESUS was also the RESULT of a PROMISE, and through His DEATH, BURIAL and RESURRECTION allowed God’s presence to reach the entire world!

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CREDITS FOR THIS POST:

Genesis: A Devotional Exposition by Donald G. Barnhouse.

Commentary:  Pondering Scripture – An Uncommon Commentary, Genesis 22:5.

Kodak Brownie photo:  Snapshot (photography)–Wikipedia.

Other PHOTOS:  Google Image Search.

Bible Translations used for this blog-POST:  New International Version (NIV), except where noted.

 

 

Easter Egg Hunts

Before you form a preconceived opinion from my title–this is not about my condemnation of family traditions; the ‘do’s and ‘don’t’s of the Easter season.

After reading a full-page in my local newspaper the other day, I couldn’t help notice our local area churches’ upcoming Easter activities advertised, and it made me question…

“Why does the Easter bunny and egg hunts seem to be more exciting than news about Christ’s death and resurrection?”  So here we are.110424-the-resurrection-of-jesus-widescreen-1-728

I simply believe we haven’t grasped the significance of the DEATH & RESURRECTION of Jesus Christ.  Oh, most of us know the ‘story,’ of what happened over 2,000 years ago, but it didn’t stop at the Cross.

POST’S Scripture Focus:  1 Corinthians 15:1 – 15:25

Manuel Gonzales was the first rescue worker to reach 33 miners trapped or 69 days in a Chilean mine explosion in 2010.  At great risk to his own life, he voluntarily went underground more than 2000 feet, to bring the trapped men back to the surface.  We all watched in amazement as one by one, each miner was rescued and transported to freedom [See Footnote [i] ].

We need to come to a conclusion today that the RESURRECTION of Jesus Christ is…

–more than a fairytale,

–more than a legend,

–and more than some religious symbol.

It is a historical fact that is indisputable.

Billy Graham once said,  “There is more evidence that Jesus rose from the dead then there is that Julius Caesar ever lived or that Alexander the Great died at the age of thirty-three.”  [See Footnote [ii] ].

How can Billy Graham make such a statement?  Is there evidence that makes believing in the Resurrection more than a leap of ‘blind faith’?

“For the RESURRECTION to have any significance, JESUS had to be dead first”  (Dr. Norman Geisler – When Skeptics Ask;  p. 120.)

Some have said that Jesus just passed out and was revived later in his tomb.  HELLO!!  Christ suffered horribly and eventually died with the beginning at the Garden of Gethsemane, where “His sweat was like drops of blood” (Luke 22:44).

His suffering continued throughout His interrogations by Annas and Caiaphas, hitting him in the face, spit upon and beaten, and continued when taken to Pilate, flogged, given a crown of thorns, spit upon and struck repeatedly on the head.  The flogging alone was so brutal that it was amazing He lasted until His crucifixion.

And then there was the CRUCIFIXION itself!

Hanegraaff writes,

“The Roman system of crucifixion had been fine tuned to produce maximum pain. In fact, the word excruciating (literally “out of the cross”) had to be invented to fully codify its horror.”

They used 5 to 7 inch spikes to hammer him to the wooden beams of the cross.

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And there is more!

John 19:31-37 gives the account of the guards breaking the legs of the thieves to hasten their death by asphyxiation.  But when they came to JESUS, He was already dead and they speared His side instead.

If he wasn’t DEAD…he would be dead now!

– EMPTY TOMB

Matthew 27:51-61 gives an account of Jesus’ BURIAL.

Joseph of Arimathea, a member of the religious right, the Sanhedrin, placed Jesus’ body in his tomb.  This account also says that Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting opposite the tomb, so they knew where it was.

The next day, the Sanhedrin came up with a plan…just in case the disciples might have plans in stealing Jesus’ body, faking a resurrection–getting Pilate’s order to post a guard and seal the tomb.  [Read Matthew 27:62-66]

The tomb was discovered EMPTY because it was EMPTY!

Nobody got the tombs mixed up.

Nobody stole the body.

It was, EMPTY, period!

– APPEARANCES

One of the greatest PROOFS of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ was His post-resurrection appearances.

1 Corinthians 15:5b-6 ~ NIV bible

[5b]…He appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.  [6] After that, He appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.

More than 500 people!

500 saw Jesus

There were surely many people who could testify to the trustworthiness of this statement. Several hundred.  Paul’s statement had plenty of eyewitness testimony to back it up or disprove it if false.

– TRANSFORMATION REALITY

The reality is that a TRANSFORMATION of Jesus’ followers took place.

This is evidence of the reality of the RESURRECTION–

This small group of disciples went from hiding to preaching in a very short time.  And, they were willing to go through pain, suffering and even death.

“Nobody willingly dies for something that they know is false”  (Lee Strobel, “Case for Easter”.)

They knew Jesus had died, knew there was an empty tomb, and they had seen Him.

And the REALITY of the Resurrection’s transforming POWER didn’t stop with the eyewitnesses, but within weeks of the Resurrection, not just one, but an entire community of at least ten thousand Jews were willing to give up the very sociological and theological TRADITIONS that had given them their national identity.  [The Case for the Resurrection! – He is risen! –He is risen…www.chiptape.com]

The Relevance of the Resurrection –

Christ’s Resurrection proves He was God, and not an imposter.  In John 2, Jesus chased out the money changers in the Temple because they’d turned God’s Temple into a marketing venture.

The Jews asked Him,  “What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?”  This is what Jesus told them:

“Destroy the temple, and I will raise it again in three days”  (John 2:19 NIV).

They thought he was referring to the Temple building they were in.  But verse 21 tells that He was referring to His body.  He delivered on the miraculous sign, proving who He was.

The Resurrection proves Jesus to be the Son of God; brings us face to face with the FACT that He is who He claimed to be.  God in the flesh!

The founders of every other religion DIED and stayed DEAD!

JESUS ROSE AGAIN!

This is important to all pf mankind.  It forces people to make a decision in life.  Since Christ Jesus IS who He claimed to be, how will the world respond to Him?

The Resurrection makes your Salvation possible –

Without the Resurrection of Jesus, every person is still DEAD in their sins  (Romans 4:25).

If Jesus died and was never raised, then His death did nothing to accomplish JUSTIFICATION.

God raising him from the dead showed acceptance of Christ’s sacrifice.  If God left Jesus in the grave, then the SACRIFICE was not accepted and no one has received cleansing from sin.  The condemnation for sin is death (Rom. 6:23).  To still be under condemnation means that ALL people will be given the ultimate penalty for their sins.”  [Life Application Bible Commentary]

Paul writes “And if Christ has not risen, then our preaching is in vain  [it amounts to nothing]  and your faith is devoid of truth and is fruitless  (without effect, empty, imaginary, and unfounded)…And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is mere delusion, and you are still in your sins [under the control and penalty of sin].  And further, those who have died in [spiritual fellowship and union with] Christ have perished (are lost)!”  [1 Corinthians 15:14, 17-18 AMP).

If JESUS didn’t rise then you are still dead in your sins and your Christian faith is worthless, and anyone you’ve known who died a believer is just as damned as an unbeliever.

– The RESURRECTION makes YOUR Resurrection possible

You and I are spirit and body.  Unlike the beliefs of the great Greek philosophers, who thought the body was evil and something we should want to be released from.

God made our bodies as part of who we are and they complete us.

Right now our bodies are affected by SIN and the body dies, BUT…God has a plan to RESURRECT our bodies to perfection.

These resurrected bodies, our current bodies will be TRANSFORMED (When I look in the mirror in the mornings, I say Hallelujah!) and will be bodies completely perfect and dominated by the Spirit rather than the sinful nature.

I especially like what the apostle Paul tells us in Romans 8 (NIV):

[23] Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.  [24] For in this hope we were saved.  But hope that is seen is no hope at all.  Who hopes for what he already has?

Our spirits have been SAVED, BUT…we are awaiting the day for our bodies that are made completely new that frees us from the ugliness of SIN and totally be dominated by the Holy Spirit.

Resurrection is our HOPE, our GUARANTEE!  

And, 2 Corinthians 5:5 says…

Now He Who has fashioned us [preparing and making us fit] for this very thing is God,  Who also has given us the [Holy] Spirit as a guarantee [of the fulfillment of His promise]. (Amplified Bible)

Our resurrection is only made possible by the resurrection of Christ Jesus.  Christ’s RESURRECTION guarantees our own bodily resurrection.

The Bible refers to Him as being the ‘firstfruits,’ guaranteeing the whole harvest of which you and I are a part…IF…we are in Christ.

But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.  For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes through man.  For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.  But each in his own turn; Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him  (1 Corinthians 15:20-23 NIV).

“Is it EASTER yet?”

LIVING IN THE “EGG KINGDOM” –

Humpty Dumpty, A NURSERY RHYME of old, most of us know by heart.  I find that there is an analogy to be found in this classic tale that lines up with this Blog-post.

Google Images
Google Images

I remember that egg-shaped character sitting on a wall and fell and all the king’s horses and the king’s men couldn’t put him back again.

You and I are broken because of SIN.

There is nothing anyone can do to fix us.  We are utterly helpless and hopeless to stand in judgment before God in our sin.

The Story of “PHILIP’S EGG”  [See Footnote [iii] ] –

Little Philip, born with Down’s syndrome, attended a third-grade Sunday School class with several eight-year-old boys and girls.  Typical of that age, children didn’t readily accept Philip with his differences.  But because of a creative teacher, they began to care about Philip and accept him as part of the group, though not fully.

The Sunday after Easter, the teacher brought Leggs pantyhose containers, the kind that look like large EGGS.

Each receiving one, the children were told to go outside on that spring day, find some symbol of new life, and put it in the egg-like container.

Back in the classroom, they shared their new-life symbols, opening the containers one by one in a surprise fashion and after running about the church property in wild confusion, the students returned to the classroom, placing the containers on the table.

Surrounded by the children, the teacher began to open them one by one.  After each one, whether flower, butterfly or leaf, the class would ooh and aah.

Then one was opened, revealing nothing inside.  The children exclaimed, “That’s stupid. That’s not fair! Somebody didn’t do their assignment.”

Philip spoke up, “That’s mine.”  “Philip, you don’t ever do things right!” the student points out.  “There’s nothing there!”  “I did so do it,” Philip insisted.  “I did do it. It’s empty; the tomb was empty!”  Silence followed.  From then on, Philip became a full member of the class.

Philip died not long after that from an infection most normal children would have shrugged off.  At the funeral this class of eight-year-olds marched up to the altar, not with flowers, but with their Sunday school teacher, each to lay on it an empty pantyhose EGG.

The JOY of Resurrection Sunday Morning!

While you may be broken like Humpty Dumpty because of sin, unfixable by anyone in the world, and because that tomb is genuinely empty and Jesus is alive and well…what He did on the cross for you and I, paying for our sins, we’ve been given an opportunity.  Not only to be fixed, but to become a NEW CREATION and to have fellowship with God.

That’s the Joy of Resurrection morning.  

God can fix you spiritually and you can have the HOPE that He will one day complete your redemption by redeeming your body to be like Jesus’ body.  There is no JOY without the relevancy of the Resurrection and without it, you have no life! 

 


 

Credits & Footnotes:

Footnote [i] :  Our Daily Bread REDEEMED, Pg. Devotion: Day Nine.

Footnote [ii]:  Hank Hanegraaff Resurrection – Publisher: W. Publishing Group.

Footnote [iii]:  Christianity Today.com – Philip’s Egg by Harry Pritchett Jr. in the Leadership Journal Magazine.

Bible Translations:  New International Version (NIV), except where noted in the text.

Photo Credits:  Google Image Search.