Tag Archives: Jesus Christ

Where Were You in the Seventies??? …My Jesus People Memories and Why Jesus People Reunions Rock On!

Tom and Maryellen Stipe during the Jesus Movement

When most people search back through the annals of their memories and remember the life changing passages in their lives they often think back to high school or college.

They remember the schools they attended, the relationships they had there, and the music that played in the background.

But when I think back on my life molding times—I am different.

I’m different because it was not the hallowed halls of an educational institution that profoundly shaped me. I am not without an educational alma-mater but the influence that sent me on my life course did not come from there.

What profoundly formed my life was a spiritual time—a special period of “God history.” And the spiritual environment, the spiritual experiences and the relationships that I tasted then are the elements that make up the indelible imprints of my young adulthood.

I consider myself fortunate to be one of “thousands” of so-called “Jesus freaks”– individuals whose teens and twenties were dominated by no less than Jesus himself. We are an unusual bunch, who when thinking of “where were you in the seventies?” don’t think of a school or a stadium, or even a war, but instead think of three words—The Jesus Movement.

The Jesus Movement was a culture unto itself—a counter-culture expression contrasting a youthful society gone mad. By the grace of God, at a time when evil raised up a banner extolling free sex, drugs and eastern mysticism, the Almighty raised up a standard of His own. To a generation looking for love in all the wrong places God lifted up his Son and His Divine love and thousands including me flocked to Him.

There was never a time before or has there ever been a time since when God moved so dramatically on young people. It was “revival” –and a spiritual Wind moved across a generation whisking tens of thousands into its influence. My life was dramatically changed by that Wind and my choice for a mate, my calling, and my lifestyle were cast in its wake.  I chose to follow Jesus and I have never looked back.

As a result, the story of my youth will never be encapsulated in a yearbook. Instead, the saga of my young years is tied to a dynamic people—the Jesus People—and their culture.

Yes, we had our own culture. We had our own brand of religion, with its own liturgy and a new spiritual jargon. We had our own dress; our own music and we even had our own folk heroes.

It was the music, which was a new type of sacred song that was the most defining element of our “spiritual culture.” And the music was pioneered by an elite group of young minstrels. The band that was at the epicenter of the musical awakening taking place was a group of redeemed “rockers” called Love Song.

The young guys who made up Love Song were unlikely “Levites.” They were not the beneficiaries of a long religious heritage, like the worship leaders of old; instead God drafted them off the street.  They came out of the “hippie” culture they were called to juxtaposition and God gave them inspired songs for the spiritual climate he was creating. They became the “pied pipers” of the movement, calling young participants to follow The Master.

Tom Stipe preaching in "Tent" at Calvary Chapel during the Jesus Movement

As I said, we also had our own folk heroes, these were teens that God raised up from amongst us to take the forefront leading the new sacred gatherings we were initiating. Jesus music concerts were one of the staples of the spiritual life of the Jesus People and they were almost always punctuated by the messages of young evangelists.  I married one of these evangelists/folk heroes and nearly forty years later we are still making disciples.

I never went to one of my high school or college reunions, but through the years I have attended several “Jesus People Reunions.”  These events are extremely popular because they help true “Jesus People” to remember the happenings that for most of us eclipsed everything else in our young lives. We have a chance at these gatherings to sing the old songs, to raise our hands in the same holy ways and to consider once again the spiritual truths that have always been so important.

These reunions, while misunderstood by many, are immensely clear in their importance to those who actually lived through the Jesus Movement. They are meaningful and bring to our remembrance the sacred times that carved out our personalities and determined our futures. At these events we have an opportunity to savor the spiritual essence of a time gone by while we worship the Savior who’s always the same and who we will always love!

On September 15th at 6:30, Crossroads Church of Denver will host the Love Song Reunion Tour with Chuck Smith; also on hand will be hundreds of Jesus People who actually lived through that incredible time in history. I will be there with my husband Tom Stipe. Tom and I moved to Denver in 1976 to plant a Jesus Movement type church in Colorado. We were on staff with Chuck Smith from 1970 until 1976 and during that time Tom was the staff evangelist in charge of the Saturday Night Maranatha Concerts.

We invite you to come and join us for what we are sure will be a life-changing concert with Love Song and Chuck Smith. If you are a Christian who dates back to the Jesus Movement days please come ready to be part of a heart warming reunion and if you are one who wants to just come and check out what you have heard about this incredible band please feel welcomed. I am sure no one will go away without experiencing a blessing and a dose of God’s love. God’s love in abundance was one of the hallmarks of the Jesus Movement and it’s the same yesterday, today and forever!

For a taste of the time, I’ve included the following excerpt from an article from a local newspaper of the period. This posting is a part of just one of the many articles that I have collected that reported on the spiritual happenings in the tent that Calvary Chapel called home during the Jesus Movement. This particular piece is one of my favorites because it captures the preaching of my husband Tom Stipe.

Sunday March 31, 1974 Long Beach Independent, Press-Telegram (from article “Jesus on Campus”)

Tom Stipe, the folk hero of Calvary Chapel comes on after the large, youthful congregation has warmed up with an hour of moving ballads interspersed with deep-bass, hand-clapping Jesus rock from the musicians of Love Song, one of the chapel’s nationally known rock groups. He’s wearing faded jeans, a blue work shirt and tousled, shoulder length hair. Stipe is a showman, but he mocks his own showmanship, dropping into a Southern preacher drawl that delights the teenagers.

“Now when ah got saved, ah wasn’t falling into the depths,” he drawls. “Ah was into the whole party thing in pursuit of fun—you know the kinda guy who is driving around at three in the morning to see it anybody is still awake…” Laughter rocks the light-flooded chapel.  It’s Saturday night and it’s the biggest Jesus show around. For local high school and college students, it’s the Southland’s religious mecca.  They come driving down to South Santa Ana from as far as the San Fernando Valley and San Diego.

“Now, everybody thinks they can get more from Pier One in Newport Beach than from Jesus Christ,” Stipe preaches. “They think they can get more action on Long Beach Boulevard or Pacific Coast Highway than from the Lord…Before I got saved I always thought that if you became a Christian, you’d become like a stone, You know,” he says, dropping into a deep, moronic voice. “duh I am a Christian.” And people would just roll you around. (Roars of laughter). Well let me tell you what it’s really like…”

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Christ’s Death the Ultimate Expression of the Love of God

God proved his love on the cross.

When Christ hung, and bled, and died it was God saying to the world—I love you.

Billy Graham

God sat in silence while the sins of the world were placed upon his Son. Was it right?

No. Was it fair? No. Was it love?

Yes. In a world of injustice, God once and for all tipped the scales in the favor of hope.

Max L. Lucado

What happened that Friday, Good Friday?

The Apostle’s Creed states it without embellishment: “He was crucified, dead, and buried.” After being tried and sentenced Jesus carried His own cross to Golgotha,

And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center. John 19:17

Golgotha in Aramaic (The place of the skull) was probably called this because the hill with its stony barren top looked like a skull. The probable site of Golgotha was outside the city wall and not far from Herod’s palace—perhaps a thousand feet north/northeast of it. Roman custom placed crucifixions, and Jewish custom located stonings, outside towns rather than at their center

The sin offering always used to be taken outside the camp or city (cf. Heb. 13:11-13).

For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp. Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people withHis own blood, suffered outside the gate.

Several stakes, at most about ten feet high, stood in Golgotha ready to be reused whenever executions occurred. The upright part of the cross (the stipe) was permanently mounted in the crucifixion area. The part that the victim carried was the cross bar, weighing in at 75 to 125 pounds. The cross bar would be balanced on the victim’s shoulders, and their arms would be tied to the crossbar. In this position, if the victim tripped or fell, they could not use their arms to break their fall, and they would likely fall face first into the ground.

The victim was escorted by a Roman guard (probably a centurion and several soldiers), who were responsible for guarding the victim until his death. One of the soldiers would display a sign with the crime written on it. Once the crucifixion area was reached, the victim would be offered a drink of wine mixed with myrrh to act as a mild pain killer. The drink was a charitable service performed by an association of women in Jerusalem.  Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. – Mark 15:23

The Crucifixion

The victim would then be nailed to the cross bar. The nails would be driven through the wrists, not through the palms, as these would not support the body weight. The cross bar would be raised and placed on the upright post, where the victim’s heels would be nailed to the post.

Once crucified, a victim would live for a period ranging from a few hours to a few days. How long he lived depended mostly on how severe the scourging was. If no one claimed the body, it would be left on the cross to be eaten by predatory animals. The family could, however, claim the body for burial. In this case, a Roman soldier would pierce the chest with a sword or spear to make sure the victim was dead.

What actually kills the victim of crucifixion?

The initial scourging would weaken the victim, cause massive blood loss, and probably induce shock. By the time the victim had carried the cross bar to the crucifixion area, he would be exhausted. Once up on the cross, the victim would have his body weight suspended by their arms. In this position, it is difficult to completely exhale. The victim could take shallow breaths for a while, but eventually would be forced to push himself up to take a full breath.  At this point three things happen:

The victim’s weight is now fully supported by his feet. The nails through the feet would be likely to hit two major nerves running through the area. The result would be excruciating pain in the legs.

The nails in the wrists would be likely to pierce the main nerve running through the arm. As the victim pushed up to breath, the wrists would rotate against the nail, irritating the nerves and causing intense pain in the arms. Some authorities also believe that the crucifixion position would dislocate the shoulder or elbow. Any movement would aggravate the pain from these injuries.

The wounds on the victim’s back from the scourging would push up against the rough part of the centerpiece. This would tend to re-open the wounds, leading to more pain and blood loss. This combination of pain would quickly force the victim to lower himself back down. Eventually, the victim would no longer be able to raise himself up and would suffocate. The shock from blood loss due to the scourging would hasten this process. In some cases, the victim’s legs were broken to “finish him off.” This would prevent the victim from being able to raise himself up and he would suffocate in a matter of minutes.

Before the scourging and crucifixion, Jesus was beaten by his guards, which would weaken him. In addition, he would have had no sleep that night, and walked back and forth from trial to trial.

His weakness is attested to in the gospel narritives.

A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross. – Mark 15:21

As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. – Matt 27:32

As they led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. – Luke 23:26

Typically, a prisoner carried his own cross to the crucifixion site. The fact that Simon was pressed into carrying Jesus’ cross suggests that Jesus was too weak to carry his own cross. It was Preparation Day (that is, the day before the Sabbath). So as evening approached, Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body.

Pilate was surprised to hear that he was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died. – Mark 15:42-44  Since the Jewish Sabbath would begin at Sunset, it was important that the bodies not be left up, as Jewish law required that they be buried by the Sabbath. Note that Pilate is surprised that Jesus is already dead.

Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jews did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. – John 19:31-32

As mentioned earlier, breaking the legs of a crucified person would cause suffocation within minutes, because they would not be able to raise themselves up to breath. But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. – John 19:33-34

Again, this was typical crucifixion practice — to stab the victim to make sure he was dead before releasing him to relatives. The “water” that John describes as flowing is probably serous pleural and pericardial fluid fluid that would build up from shock and blood loss. This fluid would tend to accumulate in the chest cavity and lungs.

What does His crucifixion mean for us.

If we believe in Him and trust in Him then our debt of sin is fully paid and the record of our sin is nailed to the Cross with Christ.

You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ. He forgave all our sins. He canceled the record that contained the charges against us. He took it and destroyed it by nailing it to Christ’s cross. Col. 2:13-14

If we believe in Him and trust in Him then those of us who were once far away from God can be brought near.  Nothing remains between God and us but an open door.

So brothers and sisters, we are completely free to enter the Most Holy Place without fear because of the blood of Jesus’ death.  We can enter through a new and living way that Jesus opened for us.  It leads through the curtain –Christ’s body. Hebrews 10:19-20

Take some time and speak to the LORD about your need for forgiveness and the removal of guilt over sin in your life.  Imagine the cross and take those charges you want destroyed once and for all and visualize them nailed there.  Jesus was crucified, dead and buried to eliminate the sins of the world that keep man separated from God.  Believe in what Jesus did for you, allow Him to take your sin, repent and follow Him as Lord and Savior and you will be reconciled with God.  That is the message of Good Friday.

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Staying Married Over the Long Haul–Requires Putting Jesus Christ First!

Today is my thirty-seventh wedding anniversary. For nearly four decades I have been married to my best friend.

I am among the most fortunate of people because I have endured the adventure of life and find myself still in relationship with my original team-mate.

You might ask me, what makes a strong Christian marriage?

And, my answer would be, two good Christians, and by this I mean two people who both love the Lord Jesus Christ with all their heart.

It is my belief that a strong marriage must have as its foundation two lives where Jesus is the priority. If this foundation in place then you have the ability to faithfully, together, pursue a path of obedience to Jesus Christ and His plan for your lives.

Marriage is first a commitment and then it grows into a deep love.  And, the base of the commitment in marriage, is first of all, not to each other, but to Jesus Christ and His will.

Centuries ago the prophet Malachi warned those who had cast their marriage commitments aside,

You cover the altar of the Lord with tears,
With weeping and crying;
So He does not regard the offering anymore,
Nor receive it with goodwill from your hands.
Yet you say, “For what reason?”
Because the Lord has been witness
Between you and the wife of your youth,
With whom you have dealt treacherously;
Yet she is your companion
And your wife by covenant.
But did He not make them one,
Having a remnant of the Spirit?
And why one?
He seeks godly offspring.
Therefore take heed to your spirit,
And let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth.
“For the Lord God of Israel says
That He hates divorce,
For it covers one’s garment with violence,”
Says the Lord of hosts.
“Therefore take heed to your spirit,
That you do not deal treacherously.”
You have wearied the Lord with your words;
Yet you say,
“In what way have we wearied Him?”  Mal 2:13-17 (NKJV)

Marriage is, first and foremost, a covenant before God and as soon as you get married, Satan will come after you.  He will target you because the bottom line is–he would love to destroy the covenant that you have made and the family that you have established.

In the end, the best way you can protect your marriage, is to develop a deep personal relationship with Jesus Christ as the bedrock for your own life. A marriage between two people with Jesus Christ as the true center is the best protective insulation you can have against the assaults of this world.

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Some Food For Thought–Sour Godliness???–The Devil’s Religion!

Screwtape encountering his "righteous" victim

Have you been the unwitting accomplice of any demons lately?

Hmmm…church ladies…could it be Satan?

The capability of church people to spew forth guile and judgment never ceases to amaze me.

I hate the contemporary versions of the “religion of the pharisees” that I see run rampant in the Church of Jesus Christ.

John Wesley, seeking to put a name to the critical judgmental attitude he experienced among the Christians of his era wrote,

“Sour godliness is the devil’s religion. It does not owe its inception to truly spiritual people.  I suspect that sour godliness originated among unhappy, semi-religious people who had just enough religion to make them miserable, but not enough to do them any good.”

Sour godliness, (i.e. bitter piety) could it be described any better and it is as prevalent today as it was over two hundred years ago…or for that matter over two thousand years ago.

What is so ironic is…

Jesus fought against “false perceptions of godliness” judgmentally perpetuated by those who viewed themselves as “the righteous” of His day.

Jesus battled “the Pharisees” those He called “the sons of devils” and had no qualms about declaring them in league with Satan himself.

Jesus was not at war with the sinner, he was at war with the self-righteous.

And alas, in the end, they won…it was their same false judgments– kindled to a bonfire and ignited by the devil–that were used to murder Him.

And…What is so scary to me is…

The same demons that were alive back then are still around today.  Those same evil entities that whispered in the ears of the Pharisees are still deluding, deceiving and encouraging those puffed up with their own “errant pious” inclinations to do their dirty work.

C.S. Lewis, in his classic, “The Screwtape Letters” aptly pictured these demons schooling one another in the talent to tempt vulnerable Christians into “religious unholiness.”  Lewis with his words paints a picture of the Senior devil Screwtape in a Speech before the “Annual Dinner of the Tempters’ Training College for Young Devils.”

Screwtape slithers to the stage and exhorts his underlings of the underworld…

“It will be an ill day for us if what most humans mean by “religion” ever vanishes from the Earth. It can still send us the truly delicious sins.  The fine flower of unholiness can grow only in the close neighborhood of the Holy.  Nowhere do we tempt so successfully as on the very steps of the altar.” — quoted from C.S. Lewis’ “The Screwtape Letters”

Fellow Christians, let’s be wary of falling into Screwtape’s trap–let us beware of enlisting ourselves in the pursuit of “unholy religion” practiced at the very foot of the altar.

This week in my home church we are studying, Luke 23, the trial of Jesus before Pilate.  In this passage, Pilate–the secular ruler of the time–would have let Jesus go free finding no fault in Him, but in the end the cries of “the unholy religious” of His time dictated Jesus’ death instead.

Could you be allowing “sour godliness” to rule your soul?  Evaluate yourselves and hear Jesus’ counsel, “beware the leaven of the Pharisees!”


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Changes Are Needed in Evangelism in America–Let Your Light So Shine Before Men

Linus’ buddy the little blonde girl may have had good results as an evangelist by hitting people over the head to get them to change their religious stance.  But in the current climate of religious change in our country; it is doubtful that hitting someone over the headwith your lunch box or even your version of the truth for that matter–will yield much fruit.

Preaching the gospel is getting far more difficult in our county where resistance to Christianity is spreading.  The old tactics of competitive evangelism –“my truth is better than your truth”– are simply not as effective as they once were. 

Many are calling for change in the predominant style of evangelism; a change that couples sharing gospel truths with demonstrations of Christ’s love and relationship in an impacting way.  In a post-modern America that is increasingly antagonistic to Christianity–just arguing for our version of the truth is frightfully anemic.

America is no longer a Christian nation.

President Barack Obama recently stated at a press conference in Turkey that “as Americans we no longer consider ourselves a Christian nation.”  This quote was startling to many people but in reality it was just Obama giving voice to the inevitable trend that is showing up everywhere — Christianity is no longer as popular or influential as it once was.

Obama’s comment came as a reinforcement of a published cover article for Newsweek magazine. The article entitled “The Decline and Fall of Christian America” discussed the shift in the religious identifications of the United States and claimed that according to polls done in recent years things look pretty dismal for Christianity. 

The article pointed out that the percentage of self-identified Christians has fallen over 10 percentage points since 2000, and meanwhile the number of Americans who claim no religious affiliation at all has nearly doubled in the same amount of time.

While such statistics may seem jolting to some, Christianity’s slipping image is in actuality old news.  In 2007, in a book entitled unChristian, Barna group president David Kinnaman, began revealing statistics about the spiraling downward popularity of Christianity. 

His research showed that: a decade ago the vast majority of Americans outside the Christian faith, including young people, felt favorably toward Christianity’s role in society.  While today, just 16% of non-Christians in their late teens and twenties said they have a “good impression” of Christianity.

Kinnaman also illustrated that Christians seem aware of the shift in people’s perceptions of “the faith.”  Barna polls showing: that 91% of the nation’s evangelical Christians believe that “Americans are becoming more and more hostile and negative toward Christianity.”  The author, Kinnaman writes,

“Some Christians fear the changing reputation of Christianity and it certainly represents an uncomfortable future. Yet, rather than being defensive or dismissive, we should learn from critics, especially those young Christians who are expressing consternation about the state of faith in America.

Jesus told us to expect hostility and negative reactions. That is certainly nothing new. But the issue is what we do with it. Is it a chance to defend yourself and demand your rights? Or is it an opportunity to show people grace and truth?

In order to deal with the vanishing common ground between Christians and those outside the faith, Kinnaman and many others such as John Piper, Mark Devers, Francis Chan and Rick Warren to name a few are all calling for changes in our evangelistic methodology.

What these best selling Christian authors are saying is that Christians need to begin to deal realistically with the pessimistic and skeptical views that those outside of Christian circles possess and that we need to take measures to change their view of Christians.

It seems to be a consensus that when we set out to evangelize in American society today, we must take into account the expanding hostile environment that surrounds us and have strategies to counter act the negativity. While it is true that none of us are perfect, our lives should lend credence to and speak well of the gospel we are preaching.  And our interactions with others should be the confirming echo of our witness for Jesus Christ.

 

It is taught throughout Scripture that our lives are meant to be God’s best advertisement in our community and that Christians corporately need to begin living that way.  Jesus Himself taught,

 

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.  Matthew 5:16

 

And the Apostle Paul reiterated the same emphasis on lifestyle and relational evangelism in the epistles.

 

Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.  Philippians 2:14-15

 

Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity.6 Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone. Col 4:5-6 (NLT)

 

Real Christianity is an attractive thing when it is lived out and we as Christians need to take heed to that and begin to demonstrate it in the communities in which we live. Christian evangelism today needs to be a lot more about demonstrations of  Christian love, faith, relationship and the power of God to change lives and a lot less about correctness and aggressively assaulting the other guy’s truth before you have earned the right to speak.

 

We need to learn from the advice of the Apostle Paul who in the first century was also operating in a culture that was antagonistic and suspicious of Christianity.  David Kinnaman has pointed out and I agree that Paul’s exhortation to “live wisely among those who are not Christians’ and to ‘let your conversation be gracious and effective,” (Colossians 4:5-6, NLT) is perfect counsel to committed Christians in America today. 

 

Let’s put away our “I’ll hit you over the head with the truth” techniques of old and begin sharing the truth clothed in Christlike love, integrity and authenticity the way Jesus did and maybe then they will listen to our truth.

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Happy Resurrection Day!

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Christ’s Death the Ultimate Expression of the Love of God

God proved his love on the cross.

When Christ hung, and bled, and died it was God

saying to the world—I love you.  Billy Graham

 

God sat in silence while the sins of the world were placed upon his Son. Was it right?

No. Was it fair? No. Was it love? Yes. In a world of injustice, God once and for all

tipped the scales in the favor of hope. Max L. Lucado

 

What happened that Friday, Good Friday?

 

The Apostle’s Creed states it without embellishment: “He was crucified, dead, and buried.”

 

After being tried and sentenced Jesus carried His own cross to Golgotha, And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center. John 19:17

 

Golgotha in Aramaic (The place of the skull) was probably called this because the hill

with its stony barren top looked like a skull. The probable site of Golgotha was outside

the city wall and not far from Herod’s palace—perhaps a thousand feet north/northeast of

it. Roman custom placed crucifixions, and Jewish custom located stonings, outside towns

rather than at their center

 

The sin offering always used to be taken outside the camp or city (cf. Heb. 13:11-13). For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp. Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people withHis own blood, suffered outside the gate.

 

Several stakes, at most about ten feet high, stood in Golgotha ready to be reused whenever executions occurred. The upright part of the cross (the stipe) was permanently mounted in the crucifixion area. The part that the victim carried was the cross bar, weighing in at 75 to 125 pounds. The cross bar would be balanced on the victim’s shoulders, and their arms would be tied to the crossbar. In this position, if the victim tripped or fell, they could not use their arms to break their fall, and they would likely fall face first into the ground.

 

The victim was escorted by a Roman guard (probably a centurion and several soldiers), who were responsible for guarding the victim until his death. One of the soldiers would display a sign with the crime written on it. Once the crucifixion area was reached, the victim would be offered a drink of wine mixed with myrrh to act as a mild pain killer. The drink was a charitable service performed by an association of women in Jerusalem.  Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. – Mark 15:23

 

The Crucifixion

 

The victim would then be nailed to the cross bar. The nails would be driven through the wrists, not through the palms, as these would not support the body weight. The cross bar would be raised and placed on the upright post, where the victim’s heels would be nailed to the post.

 

Once crucified, a victim would live for a period ranging from a few hours to a few days. How long he lived depended mostly on how severe the scourging was. If no one claimed the body, it would be left on the cross to be eaten by predatory animals. The family could, however, claim the body for burial. In this case, a Roman soldier would pierce the chest with a sword or spear to make sure the victim was dead.

 

What actually kills the victim of crucifixion?

 

The initial scourging would weaken the victim, cause massive blood loss, and probably induce shock. By the time the victim had carried the cross bar to the crucifixion area, he would be exhausted. Once up on the cross, the victim would have his body weight suspended by their arms. In this position, it is difficult to completely exhale. The victim could take shallow breaths for a while, but eventually would be forced to push himself up to take a full breath.  At this point three things happen:

 

The victim’s weight is now fully supported by his feet. The nails through the feet would be likely to hit two major nerves running through the area. The result would be excruciating pain in the legs.

 

The nails in the wrists would be likely to pierce the main nerve running through the arm. As the victim pushed up to breath, the wrists would rotate against the nail, irritating the nerves and causing intense pain in the arms. Some authorities also believe that the crucifixion position would dislocate the shoulder or elbow. Any movement would aggravate the pain from these injuries.

 

The wounds on the victim’s back from the scourging would push up against the rough part of the centerpiece. This would tend to re-open the wounds, leading to more pain and blood loss. This combination of pain would quickly force the victim to lower himself back down. Eventually, the victim would no longer be able to raise himself up and would suffocate. The shock from blood loss due to the scourging would hasten this process. In some cases, the victim’s legs were broken to “finish him off.” This would prevent the victim from being able to raise himself up and he would suffocate in a matter of minutes.

 

Theories about, what specifically killed Jesus?  Medical Aspects of Crucifixion (from Wikipedia article on Crucifixion of Jesus) en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crucifixion_of_Jesus

 

A number of theories that attempt to explain the circumstances of the death of Jesus on the cross via medical knowledge of 19th and 20th century have been proposed by a range of people, including physicians, historians and forensic specialists.  Most theories proposed by trained physicians conclude that Jesus endured tremendous amounts of pain and suffering on the Cross before his death.

 

In 2006, general practitioner John Scotson reviewed over 40 publications on the cause of death of Jesus and theories ranged from cardiac rupture to pulmonary embolism. As early as 1847,  drawing on John 19:34, physician William Stroud proposed the ruptured heart theory of the cause of Christ’s death and it influenced a number of other people.  The asphyxia theory has been the subject of several experiments that simulate crucifixion in healthy volunteers and many physicians agree that crucifixion causes a profound disruption of the victim’s ability to breathe.

 

A side effect of exhaustive asphyxia is that the crucifixion victim will gradually find it more and more challenging to obtain enough breath to speak. This provides a possible explanation of the fact that the last words of Christ were short utterances.

 

The cardiovascular collapse theory is a prevalent modern explanation and suggests that Jesus died of profound shock. According to this theory, the scourging, the beatings, and the fixing to the cross would have left Jesus dehydrated, weak, and critically ill and that the stage was set for a complex interplay of simultaneous physiological insults: dehydration, massive trauma and soft tissue injury (especially from the prior scourging), inadequate respiration, and strenuous physical exertion, leading to cardiovascular collapse.

 

Specifics of Jesus’ crucifixion (adapted from article by ROBERT GIDLE)

http://www.catholiceducation.org/ 

 

Jesus’ crucifixion mostly followed the standard procedure, although there were some differences.  These differences help account for the fact that he died after a relatively short period of time on the cross. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. – Luke 22:63

There is a condition called “hemohidrosis” or “hematidrosis” which occurs in people under extreme physical or emotional stress. The blood vessels in their sweat glands rupture and leak blood into their sweat. The effect is one of “sweating blood.” Several authorities believe that this is a plausible explanation for what happened to Jesus. Although the loss of blood would not be significant, it shows that he was under extreme stress, which would have weakened him physically.

 The men who were guarding Jesus began mocking and beating him.

Luke 22:63

Then some began to spit at him; they blindfolded him, struck him with their fists, and said, “Prophesy!” And the guards took him and beat him.

– Mark 14:65

 

Then they spit in his face and struck him with their fists. Others slapped him – Matt 26:67

 

When Jesus said this, one of the officials nearby struck him in the face. “Is this the way you answer the high priest?” he demanded. – John 18:22

Before the scourging and crucifixion, Jesus was beaten by his guards, which would weaken him. In addition, he would have had no sleep that night, and walked back and forth from trial to trial.

 

A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross. – Mark 15:21

 

As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. – Matt 27:32

 

As they led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. – Luke 23:26

 

Typically, a prisoner carried his own cross to the crucifixion site. The fact that Simon was pressed into carrying Jesus’ cross suggests that Jesus was too weak to carry his own cross. It was Preparation Day (that is, the day before the Sabbath). So as evening approached, Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body.

Pilate was surprised to hear that he was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died. – Mark 15:42-44  Since the Jewish Sabbath would begin at Sunset, it was important that the bodies not be left up, as Jewish law required that they be buried by the Sabbath. Note that Pilate is surprised that Jesus is already dead.

Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jews did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. – John 19:31-32

 

As mentioned earlier, breaking the legs of a crucified person would cause suffocation within minutes, because they would not be able to raise themselves up to breath. But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. – John 19:33-34

 

Again, this was typical crucifixion practice — to stab the victim to make sure he was dead before releasing him to relatives. The “water” that John describes as flowing is probably serous pleural and pericardial fluid fluid that would build up from shock and blood loss. This fluid would tend to accumulate in the chest cavity and lungs.

 

What does His crucifixion mean for us.

 

If we believe in Him and trust in Him then our debt of sin is fully paid and the record of our sin is nailed to the Cross with Christ.

 

You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ. He forgave all our sins. He canceled the record that contained the charges against us. He took it and destroyed it by nailing it to Christ’s cross.  Col. 2:13-14

 

If we believe in Him and trust in Him then those of us who were once far away from God can be brought near.  Nothing remains between God and us but an open door.

 

So brothers and sisters, we are completely free to enter the Most Holy Place without fear because of the blood of Jesus’ death.  We can enter through a new and living way that Jesus opened for us.  It leads through the curtain –Christ’s body. 

Hebrews 10:19-20

 

Take some time and speak to the LORD about your need for forgiveness and the removal of guilt over sin in your life.  Imagine the cross and take those charges you want destroyed once and for all and visualize them nailed there.  Jesus was crucified, dead and buried to eliminate the sins of the world that keep man separated from God.  Believe in what Jesus did for you, allow Him to take your sin, repent and follow Him as Lord and Savior and you will be reconciled with God.  That is the message of Good Friday.

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