Thoughts on Holy Week

The entire Christian faith rests upon the claims of Jesus of Nazareth, a verifiable historical figure, that he was crucified, died, buried, and rose again and therefore substantiated the claims that he was and is the Living Son of God. If this is not true, then our faith is in vain (1 Corinthians 15:14).

Expect skeptics to come out in force this week to offer "rational" explanations for the empty tomb, the man Jesus, and the "truth" of the historical record.
Many conspiracy theories abound such as the Swoon Theory, that says Jesus just fainted; or that the Roman soldiers themselves took him down before he died. But there is no demonstrative proof that anything other than Jesus dying on the cross occurred. 

Similar conspiracy theories have the disciples stealing the body of Jesus to create an illusion of a resurrected Lord; but that falls to pieces easily. Not only were the disciples scattered and terrified to see their Master killed, it is highly improbable that so many of them would have died violent deaths themselves holding fast to the belief that Jesus did indeed rise from the dead.

In a sermon entitled “The Death of Jesus”, Dwight Moody paints this picture:
“They led Him away to crucify Him. Look at that scene! On each side of Him was a thief. The devil wanted to blacken His character every way he could. They are leading Him up to Mount Calvary to crucify Him. As He is going up I can imagine that He has lost so much blood that His strength gives out, and He reels and staggers under His burden, and it is taken upon the shoulders of a stranger for Him. Now they are leading the Lamb of God, bleeding, up Mount Calvary. Sinner, gaze upon Him! Behold the Lamb of God that is going to take away the sins of the world.
I can imagine them binding Him to the cross, and then comes a Roman soldier with a hammer and drives the nails into His hands. He puts a nail into those hands that have always been raised to bless people, that have brought the dead to life, cured the leper, given sight to the blind, made the deaf hear; those hands that had ever been blessing the people; those hands that were laid upon little children, accompanied by that Divine voice which said: “Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Now we hear that hammer going down, blow by blow, driving the nails into His feet and flesh. Say you, my friends, that you see no reason why you should love Him? Is there anybody in this house that don’t love Him? “Christ died for our sins.” Now He is upon the cross, and it is put in position in the hole, and he hangs there between heaven and earth.”
My prayer this week is that none of us take for granted this sacrifice. Take time to visualize the absolute agony he endured for you and I and that when we get to this coming Sunday, we truly understand how much He loves us and that John 3:16 becomes so much more than a collection of 24 words we have memorized since our youth.