Friday, April 19, 2019

He Should Be Dead

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The film "Breakthrough" is the story of a teenager, who 45 minutes after he was pronounced dead, began to respond as his mother prayed for him at the hospital.

Now fully recovered, the boy says, "I should be dead."

In another story, of much greater importance, those who had conspired to kill Him met privately affirming to one another, we have finally silenced Him. He's dead.

And He was. Until...

The question is why?

The film "Breakthrough" is currently playing in theaters.

It's the story of John Smith, now 18, who fell through an icy pond in 2015 and was believed to be dead until his mother began praying for him in the hospital.

Only then did his heart start beating.

Incredibly, John had spent 15 minutes underwater, and another 45 minutes between the time he plunged through the ice and the moment he regained his pulse---CPR and shock treatments had failed.

There's substantial medical evidence that John was dead by all evaluations.

Three weeks later, John walked out of the hospital on his own and without brain damage---something his doctor described to NBC News at the time as "a bonafide miracle."

John says he doesn't know why the miracle happened to him, but he wants the story to be a "beacon of hope"---he wants people to know that God loves them, and "that God is definitely alive" but, "there's no answer for me" as to why God did what He did, he says.

Another story with the answer revealed.

Recently, a pastor friend of mine sent me this:

A Jewish business man in Chicago sent his son to Israel for a year to absorb the culture. When his son returned, he said, "Papa, I had a great time in Israel. By the way, I converted to Christianity."
"Oy vey," said the dad, "What have I done?"
He took his problem to his best friend, Ike, and said, "I sent my son to Israel and he came home a Christian, what can I do?"
"Funny you should ask," Ike said, "I, too, sent my son to Israel, and he also came home a Christian. Perhaps we should go see the rabbi." So they did, explaining their problem to the rabbi.
"Funny you should ask," the rabbi replied, "I too sent my son to Israel for the same purpose and he also came home a Christian."
They ask one another, "What's happening to our youth?"
The rabbi suggested they pray and ask God what's going on.
As they finished their prayer, a miracle happened--- a voice from heaven came to them. It said, "Funny you should ask. I too, sent my Son to Israel."

He was out of control. He was teaching, preaching and healing people---the crowds were growing--- the religious Left was becoming more concerned each day. In fact, someone had said, "He claimed to be God."

Someone else reported He said He was going to destroy Jerusalem.

Matthew, a former tax collector, wrote,
"The chief priests and the elders...plotted together in order to arrest Jesus under cover--or by stealth--by trickery-- and kill Him, but not during the feast, because of their concern over creating a political uproar" (Matt. 26: 1-5).

They found an insider who was willing to betray Him for the right price. The money changed hands. The plan was in place.

During supper, Jesus warned His closest followers that someone seated with them would soon betray Him. His statement was followed by a lot of denial and questions.

Finally, the moment came. It was in the Garden of Gethsemane. The traitor appeared and kissed his "friend" Jesus on the cheek, identifying to the soldiers which one He was, so there could be no mistake.

They seized Him, bringing Him first before the Sanhedrin presided over by Caiaphas, the leader of the religious community.

The scribes and elders were present so they could record the news and later publish it after the wise elders had approved the story. They began to make their case: "You have threatened to destroy Jerusalem---you have claimed to be God"---"tell us under oath" is this true? Jesus remained silent. "Are you the Christ?" Silence.

Finally, He said, "It is as you said" telling them He would soon be sitting at the right hand of the Power."

So frustrated, and overwhelmed by the political threat, the religious leaders, including Caiaphas, tore their clothes from their bodies, shouting and mocking this person who had disrupted every part of their life.

They then handed Him over to Pontius Pilate. Judas panicked, couldn't handle the guilt and the pressure, and chose to commit suicide.

Every part of this ordeal was bad for Pilate. He had no idea what the truth was concerning the religious plot to kill this man whom he thought was one of them. His wife had warned him not to be used by the people seeking to kill Him, there was no evidence of any wrongdoing.


The results of the trial and journey to the outside of the city---the mocking, the beating, the "crowning", the stabbing, the spitting, the nails in his hands and feet, the spear in His side, even the stealing of His clothes are all recorded for history.

On a hill outside the city, hanging on a rugged cross, He publicly died. They checked. He was dead.

Caiaphas and his people breathed a sigh of relief. As ugly as it was, it had to be done. He was a threat.

Now they could return to their normal activities. And put it all behind them. Move on.

Grief, disbelief, confusion was all part of the emotions of His followers. They had forgotten some of what He had said, but it didn't matter now---it was over. He was dead. Hope was gone.

His body was placed in a borrowed tomb, while his disciples began to console one another and heal their own emotional wounds.

On Sunday, a couple of friends decided to go visit His tomb. As Mary Magdalene and the other Mary approached the tomb they saw a man---or someone, sitting on a stone that was no longer in front of the door to the tomb.

What's going on? Did someone steal his body?

The angel told the women, "You're looking for Jesus, right?" They nodded, "yes." The angel said "Well, He isn't here. He is risen."


"Yes, He is risen, just like He said. Look at where His body was placed."

The guards who had been assigned to guard the tomb ran into the city and told the chief priests what had happened, and before that day had passed, the leaders who had believed they had killed Jesus, were concocting a new story:
The soldiers were bribed so his followers could take the body and make false claims about a Resurrection. That story was repeated for more than a generation. Even though Jesus appeared to hundreds after He had risen from the dead, the story of the stolen body continued.

From 12 followers to over 2 billion, Christianity has spread around the world.

Today we remember his death---His sacrifice for our sins. We call it "Good Friday."

Sunday, we celebrate His Resurrection. He is risen. He is risen indeed. We call it Easter.

Each day we keep his Great Commission, His last Word: Go into all the world and preach the gospel to everyone.

We call that Christianity--- obedience to our living Savior.

Happy Easter. He is risen.

Be blessed.