Monday, April 28, 2014

Jesus was afraid

Was Jesus afraid to die on the cross? That's what one of Billy Graham's readers wants to know...
Q: I've always been puzzled by a prayer of Jesus just before His arrest. From what I've heard, it almost sounds like He didn't want to die, and was even asking God to stop what was about to happen. Is this true?
It does sound like curious behavior for someone who was supposed to know they'd return from the dead just three days later doesn't it?
A: You're referring to Jesus' prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, a secluded area just outside the city of Jerusalem. He took three of His closest disciples with Him, who fell asleep while He struggled in prayer (an illustration, I'm afraid, of their spiritual dullness - and ours).
In His prayer, Jesus looked deeply into the "cup" He was about to drink - that is, the experience He was about to undergo. What did He see in that symbolic "cup"? He saw far more than the physical suffering He was about to face - terrible as that would be. Instead, He saw the sins of the entire human race, and by accepting the "cup" He would be taking upon Himself God's judgment for those sins. He was without sin, but now He was about to take upon Himself the terrors of death and hell for us.
 He was afraid of the suffering that was due to come his way. But he supposedly knew that he wouldn't be dead long... And what of the penalty of sin that he was supposed to take on? He was supposed to pay the price of sin for all. But if you think about it, he didn't. The price of sin is supposed to be an eternity of suffering in Hell. If Jesus took all that sin upon himself to pay that price personally, than he should be taking on an endless number of eternal sentences of suffering in Hell that he would presumably serve congruently.

But Jesus didn't suffer in Hell for eternity (or several eternities, if such a statement even makes sense). He was crucified, returned from the dead after just three days, and then went straight up to Heaven. So Jesus didn't really pay the price for sin at all. Otherwise he'd have stayed dead, and stayed in Hell for all eternity.
No wonder Christ asked God if there was any other way our salvation could be won! No wonder He prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me" (Matthew 26:39). He knew the physical agony of the cross would be nothing compared to the spiritual agony He would experience, bearing the punishment for our sins.
But Jesus' prayer in Gethsemane didn't end there! Instead, He submitted completely to the will of His Father, knowing there was no other way our salvation could be won. Don't ever take lightly what Jesus Christ did for you. He gave His life for you - and may you give your life to Him in return.
There was no other way salvation could be won? Sorry, but I'm not buying it. Christians like to talk of how their god is omnipotent. There is supposed to be nothing he can't do. So the statement that there was no other way makes no sense at all. If he's omnipotent, the way is any way he wants it to be. For example... What if I was God?

If it was up to me to decide who wins salvation, I wouldn't have to think about it much at all. Instead of basing salvation on worship, I'd base it on who people are. I would look deep into their hearts to see what kind of people they were. We all make mistakes, but were they a good person with the best intentions, or where they hateful to the core? No more punishing good people and rewarding bad. If I can come up with a much more fair selection method, why can't Christianity's god? But when you realize that the Bible was written in a time when the people thought sacrificing a goat could bring the rains, is in any surprise that these primitive people thought a human sacrifice was the only way?

-Brain Hulk

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