ARTICLES INDEX STAR!

RESURRECTION DAY THOUGHTS by mark ragsdale

Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the One who was and is alive, on this day that we celebrate and thank Him for having the power to resurrect Himself.
    Age. It creeps up on us all, some faster than others and some completely unawares. It struck me the other day how much I have aged. Looking in the mirror, seeing all the lines on my face, the gray in my hair, the aches and pains in my joints. Whatever happened to 'growing old gracefully'? Then I think and realize that Jesus was three years younger than I am when He went through the agony at the cross. And all the pain and suffering that He went through there just for us and even someone as undeserving as I. How could I ever thank Him enough for what He has done? That is what eternity is for.
    In church Sunday morning, I know that we all heard the accounts of the crucifixion from the gospels. That is what happened to Him that weekend. But what was going on in His mind and what was He feeling hanging on that tree? For that, we must go back to the Prophet David in the Old Testament. Oh, yes, we have all heard of King David and the Psalmist David, but he was also a prophet!
In Psalm 22, we have the thoughts and feelings of Jesus as He is hanging on the cross. The first verse is a familiar one: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are
you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning?" You see, these are the very words that He cried out in His agony. Why would God forsake Him and be so far away from Him when they had always been so close? He was bearing all our sins for us and God cannot look on sin and their communion was broken. This is why Jesus had to have the power in Himself to raise Himself on this morning. And when He did, the communion was restored. The debt had been paid once and for all. And why is He groaning? That word translated groaning in Hebrew more refers to the roaring of a bull, a loud roaring. Certainly He was not groaning or roaring out loud. He was groaning in His Spirit for the broken communion was a very painful and awful experience that we can't even begin to imagine.
    Verse two continues: "O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent." When they nailed Him on the cross, it was daylight, but then it was dark, day and night. He is praying in these first two verses, never ceasing. Never questioning God about what He was going through, never doubting God's righteous judgment in turning away from Him.
    Then, starting in verse three, the praise starts! Wait a minute. Praise in the middle of all that suffering? Praise when God has forsaken Him? You bet! "Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the praise of Israel. 4 In you our fathers put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them. 5 They cried to you and were saved; in you they trusted and were not disappointed." He has no doubt that God is deserving of praise in the middle of all this pain, suffering, cruelty and darkness. That God is just and righteous in all that He does, and that His judgments are right and true.
    Verse six starts His feelings up there in the air, suspended by nails in front of all those people:
 "But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by men and despised by the people." This is an interesting statement. The worm referred to here is an interesting creature. As it gets ready to give birth, it attaches itself to a tree, and as it gives birth, it secretes a red fluid that the young worms feed on. After it gives birth, it then dies, still attached to the tree. Clearly, hundreds of years before crucifixion was even thought of, David has a very clear picture of what is happening on this day.
Verse 7 ďAll who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads: 8 "He trusts in the LORD; let the LORD rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him."
And isn't this just what happened at the foot of the cross? Let's look at Matthew's account:
27:41 "In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. 42 "He saved others," they said, "but he can't save himself! He's the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, `I am the Son of God.' "
The very people that He tried so hard to win and drop the scales from their eyes are there being the cruelest. The very ones who should know backwards and forwards all the prophecies about the Messiah are the ones mocking Him. No wonder God calls them a stiff-necked people clear back in Exodus!
    So what is Jesus thinking about while this is going on? Verse 9: "Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you even at my mother's breast. 10 From birth I was cast upon you; from my mother's womb you have been my God. 11 Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help." Once again, He starts to praise God and acknowledge His presence throughout is life.
Verse 12 "Many bulls surround me; strong bulls of Bashan encircle me. 13 Roaring lions tearing their prey open their mouths wide against me." This could either refer to the demons and Lucifer having a party at His expense around Him (As He could envision
them surrounding Him and hurling insults at Him) or it could just refer to the crowd jeering and insulting Him.
    Now He looks inside of Himself again: 14" I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted away within me. 15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death. 16 Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet. 17 I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me. 18 They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing." How could David, hundreds of years before even think of this? Years before this cruel punishment was invented, how could he describe it so vividly, if he weren't a prophet?
    Once again, He starts to praise God: 19 "But you, O LORD, be not far off; O my Strength, come quickly to help me. 20 Deliver my life from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dogs. 21 Rescue me from the mouth of the lions; save me from the horns of the wild oxen."
    Then something happens between verses 21 & 22. What could it be? 22" I will declare your name to my brothers; in the congregation I will praise you. 23 You who fear the LORD, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor him! Revere him, all you descendants of Israel! 24 For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help. 25 From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly; before those who fear you will I fulfill my vows. 26 The poor will eat and be satisfied; they who seek the LORD will praise him--may your hearts live forever! 27 All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him, 28 for dominion belongs to the LORD and he rules over the nations. 29 All the rich of the earth will feast and worship; all who go down to the dust will kneel before him--those who cannot keep themselves alive. 30 Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told
about the Lord. 31 They will proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn--for he has done it." What could have happened? The Resurrection! 1 Peter 3:18 "For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, 19 through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison". So here He is doing just that!
 Now we come to Psalm 23. We all know this Psalm. It is probably the most widely
recognized passage in the Bible. But now, look at it in a new light. Psalm 22 is Jesus dying on the cross and being resurrected. And now comes Psalm 23 and what Jesus is right now for us, the Good Shepherd. Let's look at it and meditate on it in this new light:
                                          Psalm 23 A psalm of David.
1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he restores my soul.  He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. 4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
                     And now comes Psalm 24 which is Christ in His Second Coming.
1 The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; 2 for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters. 3 Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? 4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false. 5 He will receive blessing from the LORD and vindication from God his Savior. 6 Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, O God of Jacob. Selah
7 Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. 8 Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle.
9 Lift up your heads, O you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. 10 Who is he, this King of glory? The LORD Almighty-- he is the King of glory. Selah

Now may the Lord bless you and keep you. Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.