|Volume 18 Number 8 August 2016||
Louis Rushmore, Editor
Where is my mission? As a Christian, where is my mission (Matthew 5:16)? Is it afar somewhere (Mark 16:15,16), or is it close by as well (Luke 10:25-37)? As a father, where is my mission (Ephesians 6:4)? As a husband, where is my mission (Ephesians 5:25)? As an evangelist, where is my mission (Acts 20:27)?
As important of a consideration, what is my mission? What is my mission as a Christian (Ephesians 5:8)? What is my mission as a father (Deuteronomy 6:7)? What is my mission as a husband (1 Peter 3:7)? What is my mission as an Evangelist (2 Timothy 4:2)?
Furthermore, for Whom am I a missionary (Colossians 3:24)? Is it me I am to please (Galatians 1:10), or is there someone else whose favor I desire (John 12:26)?
Surely, there is no nobler cause than that of Jesus Christ our Lord (2 Corinthians 12:10)! One’s mission and with whom that mission unfolds revolves around Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:5).
Voices from Calvary
Rodney Nulph, Associate Editor
Outside the city walls of Jerusalem was a small hill in the shape of a skull. It was called Golgotha and had become known as “the place of the skull” (John 19:17). This place influenced human hearts and human history more than all other hills in the world. This particular place was the place where the Romans cruelly and mercilessly crucified their victims. While many crosses were erected before the cross of Jesus, only one cross represented God’s proclamation of hope and salvation to a lost humanity. Interestingly, as we approach Calvary, there are a number of voices that can be heard.
Firstly, we hear the voice of the coward. This voice, of course, is none other than Pontius Pilate. Pilate had earlier tried to release Jesus, but he relented to the Jewish mob and said, “…Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him” (John 19:6b). This coward knew that Jesus was innocent and did not deserve to die; however, in spite of the facts, Pilate dramatically and meaninglessly washed his hands claiming, “…I am innocent of the blood of this just person…” (Matthew 27:24b). Although Pilate tried to deny his part in this brutal killing, his voice still echoes from Calvary, “…See you to it” (Matthew 27:24).
Secondly, we hear the voice of the culpable. This is the boisterous voice of the Sanhedrin who spoke officially for the nation of Israel. Earlier in our Lord’s ministry, the Pharisees and Sadducees began attacking Jesus. The Sanhedrin used Judas, who had his own grievances and resentments, as a pawn in their sinful game. There was ample guilt to spread abroad for all the planners and connivers of this great wrongdoing. The guilty went so far as to even say, “…His blood be on us, and on our children” (Matthew 27:25b). On the first Pentecost following the resurrection and Ascension of our Lord, Peter reminded the Jews that they were in fact the guilty; “…ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain” (Acts 2:23b). The voice of the culpable still ring clear, “…But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified” (Matthew 27:23b).
Thirdly, we hear the voice of the centurion. The centurion, a Roman officer, witnessed the way in which Jesus handled this unfair treatment. He watched as our Lord bore that rough, heavy, unbearable cross to Calvary. He witnessed the conversation that Jesus had with the two malefactors, and he knew the truth. His voice permeated the ears of all when he affirmed that Jesus was in fact “a righteous man” (Luke 23:47). I love how Matthew and Mark record his words, “Truly this was the Son of God” (Matthew 27:54; Mark 15:39). This affirmation can never be silenced!
Lastly, we hear the voice of the champion. While Jesus hung suspended between heaven and earth, He spoke seven different times as is recorded by Scripture. However, possibly the most triumphant of all His words are these, “…It is finished…” (John 19:30). Note carefully, Jesus did not say I am finished, but rather “It is finished.” It was not a cry of defeat; it was a shout of victory! It literally means, it is finished, it stands finished, and it always will be finished! The Lord was triumphant; He had glorified His Father on earth, and He had finished the work God had given Him to do (John 17:4). What a Champion!
Tradition identifies the route from the Praetorium court as the Via Dolorosa, meaning “sorrowful road.” Truly, it is the most sorrowful place history has ever known, for on that day sin crucified Jesus. Yet, sorrow turns to joy when we realize that on that terrible day, Jesus also crucified sin. Calvary gives us hope, confidence and the way back to the Father. Of all the voices that ring throughout time, the voices of Calvary ring louder. “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Galatians 6:14).