There’s a song we all know written by Alan Jackson. The title is “Where were you when the world stopped turning.” That’s a very good question and I’m not referring to 9/11. I’m referring to what happened one thousand nine hundred eighty-four years ago, when the skies turned black, the earth shook and a man died on the cross? Whether you realize it or not, you were there. You were part of the burden of sin Christ was carrying as he hung on the cross. He was whipped almost beyond recognition, spat on, laughed at, and finally killed by having nails hammered through his hands and feet, and then hung from a cross.
He knew what was coming. The pain he was about to suffer. The fact that he’d be totally cut off from God, abandoned and cast down into hell. In fact he begged God to take this burden from him, but when the answer was no, he did what had to be done. Imagine if that were you and you knew full well what lay ahead of you. Would you simply say “Thy will be done,” and let it all happen? Think how he must have felt when after having done nothing wrong he was forced to bear all the guilt of our sins for all the ages. It was so bad that the sun refused to shine down upon him and his own father turned away, unable to look upon his beloved son who had become sin for us.
Impossible you say? No, not really, because that man on the cross, that Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, loved you so much he was willing to do it. He was willing to carrying your sins. Your sins. He was sacrificing his life to save yours. He was the perfect unblemished lamb, who died so that you wouldn’t have to.
Think about it for a moment. God loved you so much that he left heaven to come and search you out personally. He came to find you and tell you he loved you and to give you the roadmap to heaven. This is how you do it, he told us. Remember that “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ. For unless a man be born again, he can not see the kingdom of God.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. sOh, but you say that’s all a fairy tale, a myth, it never happened. Well, your free to say and believe that but it doesn’t make it true.
Lets look at the facts. First, many atheists concede Jesus existed, but they say extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. So lets look at the evidence.
- One of Christ’s friends betrayed him, then committed suicide.
- Eleven of the twelve who followed Jesus were willing to go to the ends of the earth to proclaim him God.
- Ten of the twelve met terrible deaths because they wouldn’t recant that Jesus was the Christ. The tenth, John, lived in exile. His students and others documented the numerous attempts to kill John.
- Jesus’s brothers, who earlier in life rejected him, embraced him as a risen, living God after his death. They too were willing to be put to death for refusing to recant after Christ’s crucifixion what they refused to believe when he walked and talked with them.
Others also claimed to be the messiah, but their claims fell apart. The man named Jesus not only must have been a spectacularly charismatic person, who surrounded himself with spectacularly charismatic people — all of whom were willing to be tortured and killed — because Jesus and these men were able to recruit into faith a lot of others who, over two thousand years, grew into the worlds largest religion. Many of them were persecuted, tortured, and killed in horribly gruesome ways. Still they persisted in the faith.
So, either these men were charismatic liars so invested in their lies they were willing to be tortured and killed or they were telling the truth.
Those who do no want to believe will not believe. As for the rest of us — Christ’s own family rejected him as a lunatic then, after his torture and crucifixion, picked up the cross claiming Christ had risen. And they too, the brothers who rejected him in life, were willing to die proclaiming him risen.
That’s pretty extraordinary to me. John 20:29 says, Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.
A few weeks ago I stopped breathing twice in one night. If they hadn’t been able to save me, I knew I would wake in heaven. Why, because I accepted God’s promise of eternal life through him. Do you know where you’d wake up?