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From the Pastor’s Desk …..April 2017

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As we pen this documentary for the month of April, the month we pause to reflect on the death and resurrection of our Lord and savior Jesus the Christ, we are proud to do so under the Theme “Several Glances at the Cross.”
As we take our first glance of several glances at the cross, we must never forget that God has always loved His people. God’s first love was the children of Israel. He chose them, but they did not choose God. If they had chosen God, they would not have rebelled against Him. Because of their rebellious spirit, God suffered that His grace and mercy fall on the Gentiles.
For this cause, the second glance of the cross, allows us to see the recorded words of John in the gospel of John, the 3rd chapter saying, “For God so loved the world, not the children of Israel, not the Gentiles, but the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes on Him should not parish but have everlasting life.” God, because of His love, has always made away for the atonement of man’s sin. Unblemished animals were set before God as a means of atonement for man’s sin in the early biblical times.
The third glance at the cross lets us know that when the blood of animals were no longer suitable before God, He chose His Son, and added a simple process that deals with the intellect of man. Man’s brain. For man to believe on Jesus; (1) He must hear; (2) He must believe, and he must confess. To hear, to believe and to confess requires the engagement of the brain. When the brain is engaged, the heart and soul of man is engaged. When the heart and soul of man is engaged, man develops the mindset to take several glances at the cross.

May I pause here to define the term glance? To glance means to take a brief or hurried look at something. Nobody, in their right mind, wanted to gaze or stare at the cross. The use of the cross, as a means of punishment by Crucifixion or hanging people, was employed by the Persians around 522 years before the coming of Jesus Christ. It was probably the most horrible form of capital punishment.
Nobody, in their right mind, would stand and gaze or stare at a cross labeled as the emblem of sin and shame. No! Nobody, in their right mind, would go to Golgotha to gaze and stare at the cross. But, somebody in their right mind would take several glances at a cross.

This brings us to the fourth of several glances at the cross. Knowing now that death on a cross was considered the most horrible form of capital punishment, and the emblem of sin and shame, there should be no doubt in our mind as to why when Pilate asked, in Luke 23:20, “What shall we do with Jesus?” The crowd shouted, per Luke 23:22, “Crucify Him, Crucify Him.” They wanted Jesus, the Son of God, hung. They wanted Him sentenced for capital punishment, even though he did nothing wrong. They wanted him to have the worst and most painful, sinful and shameful death one could have. Pilate granted their wish upon saying, “I wash my hands of this matter, and I see no wrong he has done. The blood shall be upon your hands.” They replied, “Let his blood be on us and our children.” They punished Jesus by whipping him 39 stripes, and they led him up to the place of skulls, called Golgotha Hill.

As I take the 5th of several glances at the cross, I can see that they laid Jesus down on that cross and nailed spikes through his hands into the cross, and likewise his feet. They lifted him up from the earth, and there they watched him. Some ridiculed him, saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it back in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God. To expedite death, they attempted to break Jesus’ leg, but he was dead already. So, to confirm his death, a Roman soldier by name Longinus launched a spear into his side, causing the blood and water to come streaming down.

This, of course, brings us to the 6th glance of several glances at the cross. This 6th glance at the cross allows us to see Joseph and Nicodemus, upon approval, removing the body of Jesus from that cross before the dawning of the Sabbath. This is not the weekly Sabbath, but rather a Jewish holiday Sabbath. As they hurried to bury Jesus’ body before that Sabbath, time would not permit a proper burial to include the embalming ointments and spices. So, they left a vital part of the burial process undone, the embalming.
This brings us to the 7th glance of several glances at the cross. The 7th glance allows us to see Mary Magdalene, the other Mary and other women approaching the tomb of Jesus very early upon the first day of the week to place the spices and ointments on his body to finalize the burial process. But, when they arrived, they found the stone rolled away and an empty tomb. The gospel of Luke chapter 24 records, while they pondered these things, two men dressed in robes appeared and asked, “Why seekest the living among the dead? He is not here; He is risen from the dead! Remember! He told you that the Son of man would be betrayed, crucified, and would rise again the 3rd day,” They remembered what Jesus had told them and ran to tell the eleven disciples what they had seen and heard.
As I conclude this documentary, I’ll have you know that several glances at the cross allows us to see God’s character; God’s love for sinners; God’s healing power; God’s deliverance power; God’s comforting power, and God’s triumphant power over sin, death and the grave. To God be the glory!
So, I ask you to join with me, and let us continue to take several glances at the cross to better understand all God has done, all God is doing, and all God will continue to do for us through the blood shed of His Son, Jesus the Christ.  Give God the praise!

Happy Resurrection!

Humbly Submitted,

Rev. Dr. Alexander Pope, Jr.

Sermon Topic for April 2017

Several Glances at the Corss

Positive Thought

The truth that needs proof is only half true.