Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Eve of the Resurrection

The stone rolls away tomorrow

Bear is surprised by how much listening to the passages about Jesus' time right before the cross (and on the cross) on the Den's Bible radio helped her. After being a Christian 18 years, and of course, having read those passages many times already, a bear tends to get to feeling a bit complacent concerning the need to review such foundational Scriptures in a focused way just because it happens to be Easter coming up.

But Bear is so thankful the Holy Spirit drew her to it.

On Good Friday, she listened to all the passages about it, in straight King James Version, no music, no drama -- just to get the basics. (Matthew 26-27; Mark 14-15; Luke 22-23; John 13, 18-19) But then today, she felt like going back, and trying out the dramatized King James Version with the same passages, to see what that would be like. And, since she wasn't feeling very well, she got comfortable on padded furniture, and listened to the radio from across the room. So Bear ended up listening to the passages in Matthew, Mark and Luke that way, again.

Surprisingly, listening to the dramatized version helped her understand the whole picture better. Because that version has different actors speaking, like in a movie or a play, and that makes it much easier to focus on and to follow, than when just listening to the straight account. The soldiers sound like soldiers when they say things. The crowds yelling things sound like a mob. Etc. Yet it is actually the Bible being read, word for word -- just dramatized by various voices and sound effects.

(To find that version on the Bible radio, click the left arrow in the menu bar and type in "English" in the search box that appears. Then scroll through the list, looking for King James Complete Audio Drama Bible. Then follow the directions below the radio to select the chapter to start listening at).

A few things leapt out to her, that she had kind of breezed by without major impact, on Good Friday.

The main thing that struck Bear, is the depth of Jesus' forgiveness on the cross. Basically, He was tortured and mocked in at least four different places by four different groups of people while on the way to the cross and on the cross -- more actually, but these are the main ones that Bear noticed . . . The priests and scribes (where Peter denied Him while waiting outside); by the Roman soldiers; by Herod and his soldiers when presented to Herod; and while on the cross itself, by the religious leaders and people in general. Beaten, whipped, mocked, spit on, blindfolded, stripped naked, a thorn of crowns shoved onto His head, His very clothes gambled for . . . on and on and on.

After Bear had listened to the account of all that about seven times, and yet still heard those words of His ringing from the cross . . .

 "Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do . . ." (Luke 23:34, KJV)

. . . Bear was struck by how incredible that type of forgiveness is. At one point, she was brought to tears and deep comfort. It drove home much more deeply the forgiveness and Grace that God grants Bear. She realized that if Jesus can petition the Father for forgiveness for all that, in the midst of having people gamble over his clothes, yelling terrible things at Him while He was being tortured, and all those people being in agreement that it was right for Him to be tortured . . . then she could be even more assured that He has certainly forgiven Bear for all of her sins (past, present and future) as the Bible teaches.

And it also set a benchmark for her to continue to strive towards in her own life -- learning to forgive more, and to grant more grace to others, in the midst of whatever comes down.

But, it was hard to listen to all that brutality towards the Lord surrounding the cross, these past few days.

And Bear is much looking forward to tomorrow, and hearing again about that stone rolling away, and angels, and shocked disciples, and those same High Priests and Scribes scrambling to try and explain a suddenly empty tomb.

For anyone else who might have time to listen in the Den, between Easter celebrations and festivities, those chapters covering the Resurrection and His walk before the Ascension are:

Matthew 28
Mark 16
Luke 24
John 20-21

Happy Resurrection Eve!
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