If you’re a Christian, you know that this week is holy week. I know that some of the days in Holy Week aren’t celebrated by every church. I work at a Methodist school, so we have observances for every day.
For today’s Worship Wednesday post, I wanted to talk about some of the science behind some of the conditions that Jesus suffered from on his way to the cross. And, if you’re a non-believer who thinks I will be saying “he didn’t really die and rise from the dead,” then don’t bother reading. I fully believe this happened.
So, let’s get in to this:
JESUS SWEATS BLOOD
The medical term for sweating blood is Hematidrosis. While doctors don’t know exactly what triggers Hematidrosis, many think it is linked to the body’s “fight or flight” response. Hematidrosis has been linked to extreme distress or fear like facing death, torture, or severe and ongoing abuse.
While this could just be a sort of imagery in Luke to mean that Jesus was praying with great effort, it seems his situation would warrant the medical side of this very real condition.
Although there doesn’t seem to be too much information about it, we know from historical research from the time that this was the normal scourging that went on. Most scholars believe the soldiers who scourged Jesus used a flagrum (pictured) which was a leather whip containing pieces of metal, glass, and metal balls at the end of each strip of the whip.
CROWN OF THORNS
They mocked him by putting this crown of thorns on his head. They also gave him a reed in his hand and said to him, “Hail, King of the Jews.”
I never really connected it before, but I wonder if they chose thorns because of his parable of the seeds where he says that seeds are often chocked by thorns. Interesting!
But, at this point, we know that Jesus is severely stressed, he has taken a beating with a very dangerous weapon, and he has had a crown of thorns placed on to his head.
CARRYING THE CROSS
So, imagine being beaten, mocked, and wearing a crown of thorns and being forced to carry the cross up to Calvary. We know it was hard for him to carry.
“And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross.” – Matthew 27:32
JESUS' TIME ON THE CROSS
as he pushed up on his nailed feet just to breathe. This would also cause him pain on his wounds and his hands and arms. The goal was to make those being crucified suffer as much as possible. It might take days for someone to die. People would come out for the set up and stay for a while, but then they would leave the crucifixion victims out there until they passed.
Usually, to make sure that they couldn't escape, the guards would break their knees. This didn't happen with Jesus.
"Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs: But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water." - John 19:32-34
This water mingled with blood is a condition that happens when the organs begin to shut down. This was likely coming from his lungs and heart. Dr. Cahleen Shrier from Azusa Pacific University, said that this watery liquid was lkikely caused by carbon dioxide build-up in the blood, which causes a high level of carbonic acid in the blood.
This makes the person want to breathe to get more oxygen in the body. However, if the person can't breathe well, it causes damage to tissues which cause capillaries to leak!
“Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
To me, a caterpillar was just another creepy crawly thing that grossed me out. But after several weeks, our classroom was buzzing with questions as the caterpillar began to form a barrier around itself.
Where are they going? What do they do in there?
We learned that the caterpillars were undergoing this amazing process called metamorphosis. If you don’t know what that is, or you just need a refresher, allow me to give you a few key points on metamorphosis.
Butterflies go through four stages in the metamorphic process. The stages are the egg, the larva (caterpillar), the pupa (barrier), and the butterfly. During the pupa stage, old body parts are changing to form new tissue, limbs, and organs.
Today, as I refresh my knowledge on butterflies, I was reminded of 2 Corinthians 5:17. Whenever we accept Christ as our savior, we are new. We are like the butterfly. Now, we can fly and reach heights we never could reach before.
My prayer for you for these next few weeks is that you will remember who you were before accepting Christ. I want you to be humble and realize that you would not be who you are today if it wasn’t for that “supernatural” transformation, that metamorphosis of your soul.
If you haven’t yet accepted Christ, you can click the “details” button below for more information on how you can accept Him.
Since there won’t be another (Son)days Until (Christ)mas before Christmas Day, I wanted to use this Sunday to talk all about Jesus’ birth. I will be restating what the verses say, but I think you should go check it out for yourself for sure.
MATTHEW 1:18 TO MATTHEW 2:23
In this gospel, much of the first half of the verses in the first chapter are the family tree of Jesus’ earthly parents. By verse 18, the chapter begins to detail Jesus’ birth and origin story.
Matthew says that Jesus’ mother Mary, who was to marry Joseph, became pregnant with a child of the Holy Ghost. Joseph, when he found out, was troubled because he didn’t want to embarrass her, so he started to think about breaking off the engagement. However, the Angel of the Lord appeared in a dream and told Joseph that the child was of the Holy Ghost.
The angel told Joseph they would have a son and that they should name him Jesus. It then says that Joseph went on to marry Mary and didn’t break her virginity until after she had Jesus in Bethlehem of Judaea.
The wise men left and found the child. It says here that they came into the house to see the child with Mary. They then worshiped him and presented him with gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Frankincense is a resin that is obtained from an African tree. It is sweet smelling and is often burned as incense. Myrrh is similar. It is also a resin from trees near the East that is used in perfumes, medicines, and incense. Both would have been very valuable in those days.
After finding the child, the wise men had a dream where God told them not to go back to the king. After their dream, the Angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph again in a dream, telling him to leave and go to Egypt because Herod was set to destroy Jesus. They left in the middle of the night and lived in Egypt until Herod died. But, before he died, Herod decided to kill all of the children in Bethlehem who were two years old or younger since he did not hear from the wise men.
After Herod died, the Angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph again and told him to take his family to Israel, and he did. They moved to a city called Nazareth.
LUKE 1:36-37 AND LUKE 2:1-20
Interestingly enough, Luke begins with the origin story of John the Baptist and mentions Jesus’ birth by verse 26. In verse 26, it says that the angel Gabriel came to Mary and told her that she was highly favored by God and that she is blessed among all women. Mary was confused and worried when she saw the angel, but the angel told her not to worry.
The angel said that she was going to have a son named Jesus who would be called the Son of the Highest and he shall have the throne of David and that his kingdom will never end. Mary said she didn’t know how that would be possible since she was a virgin. The angel explains she will conceive through the Holy Ghost. Her cousin Elisabeth, John the Baptist’s mother, was also brought up. The angel told Mary her cousin would also have a child.
Shepherds in the same area were watching their flock when the angel of the Lord came to them, which scared them. The angel told them not to be afraid and told them of Jesus’ birth. A bunch of other angels appeared and praised God. The shepherds went to visit Jesus.
HOW THE STORIES WORK TOGETHER TO COMPLETE THE NARRATIVE
In Matthew, we are told that Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem when Jesus was born. Luke gives us the reason they were there: to be taxed by the Roman ruler of the time. We are also given the reaction from Joseph and from Mary, and we also learn of the shepherds and wise men.
Additionally, we see that some time must have passed between the birth of Jesus and when they fled to Egypt because Herod has all children aged two and younger killed.
These two gospels work together beautifully to give us a description of Jesus’ life before and after he was born, though it doesn’t give us much about when he was growing up.
The inspiration for your favorite songs come from somewhere. If you have a favorite Christian Christmas song, the inspiration is derived from the Bible.
In today's (Son)days Until (Christ)was blog, I wanted to share the meaning behind your favorite Christian Christmas songs and tell you where you can find the verses that inspired it! I'll also share some of my favorite covers of the song!
MARY, DID YOU KNOW?
This popular Christmas song, most popularly covered by the a cappella group Pentatonix, covers a number of Jesus' miracles while asking his mother if she even knew that her son would go on to do these great things. Here are some of the first lines (in KJV) following the song lyrics:
"Mary did you k now that your baby boy would one day walk on water"
Matthew 14:25-27 | "And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, it is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid."
"Mary did you know that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?"
John 3:16 | "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life"
"Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?"
II Corinthians 5:17 | "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."
"That child that you delivered will soon deliver you."
Matthew 6:13 | "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thing is the kingdom and the power, and the glory, for ever, Amen.
AWAY IN A MANGER
"Away in a manger, no crib for a bed. The little Lord Jesus lay down His sweet head."
Luke 2:7 | "And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn."
"The stars in the sky looked down where He lay, the little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay."
Matthew 2:9-10 | "When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy."
ANGELS, WE HAVE HEARD ON HIGH
This entire song is based off of some verses in Luke"
"Angels we have heard on high, sweetly singing o'er the planes."
Luke 2:13-14 | "And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."
At the risk of making this too long, I will just stick with these three! I hope you enjoyed learning where the inspiration for these songs came from in the Bible!
Photo Credit: YouTube
As I sit in a dim waiting room while my mom is getting a five-hour surgery, I can’t think of a better time to write this blog.
You have probably heard the question “why do bad things happen to good people?” It is a question many Christians are asked when beloved family members are strapped into hospital beds or when a helpless child diagnosed with leukemia seems to be slowly wasting away. Suffering.
I found myself asking God this question and tossing the question around in my subconscious in my quiet time.
MY MOM'S STORY
Only a few months later, she found out she had cancer and had to have a hysterectomy to remove it. As I sit writing this, she is currently in surgery to repair her foot, which has been in a boot for the past month or two.
Because of her stroke, and undoubtedly some other health conditions she suffers from, she ended up with Charcot’s foot, a condition that causes the bones in her foot to break. Her doctor took and x-ray and explained that her foot looked like a cracked, scrambled egg. My mom, an independent and strong woman, has been chained to her bed for the last several weeks, and will no doubt be stuck there for weeks to come as she recovers.
WHY DO BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE?
As you can imagine, I’ve hated to see my mom suffer through so much in only a few years. I can tell from our talks that she’d much rather be healthier and more financially independent, but she doesn’t have that option right now.
This got me to thinking on today’s topic. My mom, by societal standards, is a good person. She is supportive, loving, kind, charismatic, and understanding. So, why are bad things happening to her?
In many instances, some would blame God. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve spoken to who claim that, if God were real, he would deliver their loved ones out of the tribulation they’ve found themselves in. But I don’t see it that way.
of control to let us choose our own path. He did this because He wants us to love him, and love isn’t love if someone makes you feel it.
So, we have the ability to choose to live in our own will or in God’s will. Man historically has lived in its own will. That’s why crime rates have skyrocketed, the ice caps are melting, men are becoming lovers of their own selves, and well, you get the picture.
BEYOND FREE WILL
The enemy loves free will because it gives him the chance to enter his own metaphorical pony in the race. He does this to make us lose our faith in God. I believe that the moment you accept Christ as your savior, you are His for eternity. I don’t believe you can lose your salvation, because you are granted eternal life which is, according to its name, eternal.
But you can lose your zeal for God. This isn’t abnormal because, as humans, we feel that some burdens are just too heavy and we don’t understand why God would saddle us with them and seemingly not help us. This aides the enemy. You stop annoying your friends about how good God is, and you stop witnessing and living a God-filled life. You stop doing God’s work. That’s why it is important to remember that evil is the absence of good. When you aren’t doing good, you’re helping evil, and that can be a hard pill to swallow sometimes.
He doesn’t want you giving to the poor, praying for the sick, or, loving your enemies. That will only draw people closer to God. If you don’t believe in God, you will likely find yourself in the devil’s trap. The devil is a hunter. He sets a trap and leaves attractive bait. For some, the bait is fame, money, drugs, alcohol, or something else that makes the flesh feel good. But, for many, when the bait is taken, he can spring the trap and make life, quite frankly, a living hell.
Honestly, if nothing bad happens to you or your family, you are either highly favored or you should check up on your relationship with Jesus. As for me and my family, I know God is in control. He added extra strength and sass to the mixing bowl when he made my mama, and I know that with His help and the help of her friends and family, my mom will kick butt and conquer anything the enemy throws her way.
LEGAL: All photos are my own or taken from Pixabay, a creative commons website that requires no attribution for photo use.
HOW TO GET TO HEAVEN
There is a common misconception that there are several ways to get to Heaven when you die. This isn't true. JESUS IS THE ONLY WAY TO HEAVEN.
God is a perfect being who designed each and every one of us. He is sinless, good, and perfect. However, after Eve ate that apple, sin was released into the world and, as a result, everyone was born into sin and everyone does wrong. Only those without sin can enter into Heaven. But don't worry, Jesus came down to Earth and paid your sin debt do you could go to Heaven. Jesus is our salvation and offers us a way to Heaven. A way to live with Him forever. Here is what you have to do: