A calculated Choice – Die or Live

After the movie, The Passion of The Christ was released, mistakenly, an antisemitism notion was evoked, but the Holy Bible teaches us that Jesus was delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God into wicked hands that took, crucified and slew him (Acts 2:23). Thus the crucifixion of Jesus was a calculated choice of God and not a mere tragedy orchestrated by men.

The choices Jesus had was either to “Die so man will live forever with God.” or “Live and man will die forever, separated from God.” Jesus chose to die so that man can live, and he expressed this, when he said, “I lay down my life on my own free will and no man takes it from me.” (John 10:18).

Points to ponder:
What is your response to this God who willingly gave his life for you? Out of his own free will, Jesus gave his life for you. Out of our own free will, are we willing to die to self and sin, so that we may live forever with God? Whoever gives up his life for Jesus’ sake will save it, but whoever tries to hang on to their life will lose it. (Matthew 16:25). If to die for man is God’s calculated choice, then to live for God should be our calculated choice. Is it?

Acts 2:22-24 (KJV)
22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:
24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

John 10:18 (KJV)
18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

Matthew 16:25 (NLT)
25 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.

King Tutankhamun vs. King Jesus Christ

During our visit to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Egypt, we spent hours looking at the ancient Pharonic antiquities and artifacts on display. One section of the museum is dedicated to housing the varied treasures of the boy king Tutankhamun aka king Tut. King Tut’s artifacts came from his tomb and included over 3500 treasures and affluent items that he supposedly used throughout his life. These artifacts ranged in items made of gold, silver, precious gems, calcite, alabaster, etc., such as golden perfume bottles and amulets, the Wadjet or eye of Horus, canonic chests and shrine, statue of an one horned Oryx, golden scarab necklace, golden buckle depicting a chariot drawn by horses, the gilded throne and statutes, including life-size statues (1 meter 73 cm) of King Tut. Additionally, two of the three sarcophagi in which king Tut was laid to rest as a mummy are on display, with the third outermost (not on display), made of complete gold and weighing 450 kilograms (over 990 pounds), resting today in the Valley of the Kings housing his mummy still. But the highlight of the museum (a must see to all who visit) is king Tut’s funerary mask, which was found placed over the mummified head of the king. It is made of gold and inlaid with precious stones (lapis lazuli, turquoise, and carnelian), weighing 11 kilograms (nearly 25 pounds) and is believed to represent what the king really look like. Suffice it to say, that the king certainly lived an extremely affluent life and an inscription on his tomb door declares the king had “spent his life in fashioning the images of the gods”.

After being flabbergasted by such opulence, my loving wife Sangeetha in levity remarked, “This king must have been a brat (given he was only about 19 when he died), for who in life (or death) really needs such luxuries. Such wealth seems to indicate that the king had subjects who served him and a good king is one who serves his subjects, not the other way round!” To this our beloved five year old son, Reuben questioned, “We must be nice to him, because he is a king, correct?” seeking my support.

Later on, as I pondered over this conversation, it struck me that I personally know of another king, The KING, King Jesus Christ, who in his birth and death was affirmed of his kingship. In his birth, the question was “Where is he who is born THE KING of the Jews?” (Matthew 2:2) and even in his death, a promulgation with an inscription on the Titulus, placed over of his head, on the Cross affirmed, that Jesus is King, King of the Jews as it read IESVS·NAZARENVS·REX·IVDÆORVM meaning Jesus of Nazareth King of the Jews. (Mathew 27:37; Mark 15:26; Luke 23:38; John 19:19). But unlike king Tut, King Jesus Christ, gave up the riches of his glory (Philippians 4:19) to spend his life fashioning the image of his creation, and took the form of a servant in the likeness of man, making himself of no reputation (Philippians 2:6-8). Not only that, King Jesus Christ expressed that as a king, he had not come to be served, but to serve (Matthew 20:28) and give his life as a ransom for many, and that my dear friends, makes not only a good King, but a GREAT King. Jesus Christ is the King of kings and the Lord of lords (Revelation 19:16) and I will leave you to ponder on the same question that our son asked, “We must be nice to him (Jesus), because he is a KING, correct?

Philippians 2:5-11 (KJV)
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Matthew 20:28 (NKJV)
28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” 

Revelation 19:16 (KJV)
16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS

The proof of the Risen Jesus is …

In the article entitled ‘Signs of life‘, we learn that the two vital signs of life is that we ‘rise up’ and ‘speak’ as did the son of the widow who was raised by the Lord Jesus from his coffin where he lay dead. This is recorded in Luke 7:11-15. But the scripture continues to record the events that transpired after this miracle of resurrection took place. Luke 7:16 states  “And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people.

We must recognize that the signs of life that were evident in the dead man who came to life, when Jesus said ‘ARISE’ leads the crowd to fear and glorify God and exclaim that a great prophet (Nazareth’s Prophet) was RISEN among them and that God had visited his people. Jesus’ words that make the spiritually dead ARISE must in fact make those who are watching recognize that JESUS is RISEN among them.

The proof of the Risen Jesus is US; you and me, who believe in His Name. The question that needs to be answered is, “Is our lives lived in such a manner that it is evidence of our resurrection from death unto life, so that those who are watching us, will turn to fear and glorify God, and exclaim that Jesus is the Risen One of God and that God has visited them?” Think about it.

Luke 7: 11-16 (KJV)
And it came to pass the day after, that he went into a city called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him, and much people.
Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her.
And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not.
And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.
And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother.
And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people.

The Name is Nazareth’s Prophet

Matthew 21:11 records that when Jesus entered into the city of Jerusalem, ALL of the city was moved and questioned, Who is this? to which the multitude responded “This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee”. Did you ever stop to think as to why there was a need to qualify that Jesus was from Nazareth? I believe that  it is so recorded in the scriptures which is all God inspired, penned by men, because the divine Author did not want to leave room for any speculation as to the identity of Jesus. It was this Jesus that was hunted as an outlaw when he was a child and His earthly father Joseph, fearing Archelaus (Herod’s son) did not return to Israel but fled to Nazareth and it was this same Jesus that you see walking from Galilee (where Nazareth is) to Jordan when He came to be baptized by John the Baptist, and even in the betrayal in the garden, Jesus questioned not once but twice as to whom they sought and the officers of the Jews and the high priests replied  ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ and it is this same Jesus who endured the cross that held on it an inscription in three languages which read, Jesus of Nazareth the King of the Jews.

A noteworthy and interesting finding in my research on this Name led me to the Hitchcock’s Bible Names dictionary, wherein, it is mentioned that Nazareth means separated, crowned and sanctified.

Nazareth means separated. Jesus was in a sense separated from God at which time he cried out ‘My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?’ (Mark 15:34). This He joyfully endured because Jesus did not want us (man) to be God-forsaken or separated from God and now there is nothing, absolutely nothing that can separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus, the separated prophet (Romans 8:38,39).

Nazareth means crowned. Jesus was crowned a crown of thorns (John 19:2) before his crucifixion but God crowned Him with glory and honor (Hebrews 2:9) befitting a conquering King (Revelation 6:2, 14:14, 19:12).

Nazareth means sanctified. Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines ‘sanctify’ as ‘to be set apart to a sacred purpose or to a religious use‘ or ‘to be free from sin’. Jesus in John 17 prays for Himself, His disciples and for all believers in which he makes the statement that He sanctifies himself so that all his disciples may be sanctified as well (John 17:19). Jesus is Holy and sinless and so he did not have to pray that He had to be made free from sin when he expressed that He sanctifies Himself. He was set apart to the sacred purpose of becoming salvation to all mankind so that we can become the same as well.

Jesus the prophet of Nazareth is indeed the separated, crowned and sanctified prophet of God. The name is Nazareth’s prophet.