Seriously Wounded

The other day, I decided to skip rope with my children. I wanted to show them just how well I could do! I thought, “I will show them!” Instead, I got “showed.”

What happened was that as my three children were watching on, and as two of them turned the rope for me so I could skip, I started counting each skip. My goal was to reach 10 but to my amazement, I began to surpass that.

“One”, I counted.
“Two.”
“Three.”
“Four.”

My children were watching on. How high could dad go?

“Five.”
“Six.”
“Seven.”

(Huff … huff … huff.)

“Eight!”
“Nine!”
“Ten!”

“Eleven.”
“Twelve.”
“Thirteen.”

Thirteen? Yes, I had made it to thirteen! But it wasn’t finished, yet!

“Fourteen.”
“Fifteen.”
“Sixteen.”
“Seventeen.”
“Eighteen.”
“Nineteen.”
“Twenty.”
“Twenty-one.”
“Twenty-two.”
“Twenty-three.”
“Twenty-four.”
“Twenty-five.”
“Twenty-six.”
“Twenty-seven.”
“Twenty-eight.”

What were my children thinking of me now? Surely, dad was doing great! My pride was beginning to swell.

“Twenty-nine.”
“Thirty.”

I had actually made it to thirty! How much further could I go? I continued.

“Thirty-one.”
“Thirty-two.”
“Thirty-three.”

SNAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!

“Arggggggggggh!”

I immediately began hyperventilating because something in my back had snapped. A shock of pain bolted through my back like nothing I have ever felt, and I could no longer stand up, but crouched down low, barely able to stand, slowly making my way into the house. I was too hard hit to even scream, the surge of shock so strong to my body.

I eventually made my way inside and crouched down to the ground. Standing up was an impossibility. It felt like a two-ton truck was sitting on top of me when I tried. The pain was agonizing. My back muscles were spastic in shock.

Within a short while, we were scheduled to go out to attend our children’s award celebration for their Awana program, but for me that had to be cancelled. I said to my wife, “I’m sorry, hon. Please go without me.”

For about the next twelve hours, I did not move more than 6 feet from that location. While my wife and children were out, I found a French Bible within arms reach. Fortunately, though my mother tongue is English, I also speak French, and was able to be edified by it. I read through the book of Titus, Philemon, and the first 5 chapters of the book of Hebrews.

When I got to a specific spot, I sensed the Lord leading me to stop reading. The spot was Hebrews 5:7 (translated here into English for your ease of reading):

“In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety.”

I was very encouraged that, in particular, I sensed the Lord leading me to stop reading at that verse. You see, that is one of my favorite verses in all of Scripture. It has very special significance for me. In this passage, we see the humanity of Jesus, in that He cried out in a loud voice and issued tears to His heavenly Father. And because of His sincerity and reverence, His Father heard him. This is a pattern that the Lord wants to lay down in our lives, as well. We should not be afraid to be “loud” or to let our tears flow in prayer. Both are examples laid down for us by Jesus.

Now another thing that the Lord brought to my mind during those several hours was that when the Lord was 33, “he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53:5, KJV).

I thought to myself, “Is what I experienced prophetic?” You see, it was precisely when I had skipped 33 times that I was struck down to the ground.

When Jesus was 33, he too was struck down to the ground.

When I had skipped 33 times, I began to hyperventilate profusely – my body began to make sudden demands of oxygen, being in shock and in sudden pain. Frederick T. Zugibe, M.D., Ph.D. Chief Medical Examiner Rockland County, N.Y. and Adjunct Associate Professor of Pathology Columbia University College of Physician’s and Surgeons, N.Y., has done a study on what effects would occur when someone was crucified and has seen that one effect of being suspended is hyperventilation after only 4 minutes. [1]

My pain was serious but I rose again! (I was able to get up after about 12 hours).

Jesus pain was very serious, indeed, but He rose again, too (He really rose again!).

These and other similarities can be shown in what I experienced after those 33 jumps.

Of course, I am just a human being. Jesus is God in the flesh.

I took upon myself “minor punishment” for the results of my own behavior.

But Jesus took upon Himself “major punishment” for the result of other people’s misbehavior.

A challenge

Today, what have you done with Jesus and His sacrifice for you on the cross? He really did suffer for you.

If you will turn to Him, in faith, He will make you His child. The Bible says we all need to be born of water and the Spirit (John 3). The first time we are born, we are born of “water” which probably refers to the fact that we are surrounded by water before we are born (“water” clearly does not refer to water baptism, in case you were wondering). The mother’s water acts as our protection. When we are born of the Spirit, God becomes our Father – and it is the Spirit that acts as our protection. He surrounds us with His protection and His love.

To find true favor with God, the Bible explains, we need to be born not only of water (our physical birth), but we need to be born of the Spirit, as well (our spiritual birth). So two births are needed in each of our lives – one the physical birth, and the other the spiritual birth. To be “born again”, therefore, refers to the spiritual birth and means to enter into the family of God.

It’s not about signing a piece of paper or joining a club.
It’s not about reading your Bible (though that is good).
It’s not even about praying or taking communion or any work that you could think of.

Being born again means to believe and trust in Christ as your Lord and Savior. That’s what being “born of the Spirit” means.

Think back to Jesus and what He did for you.

You can accept Him now in the humility of your heart. God will not turn you away, and you will become a child of God – forever secure in God’s loving arms.

Won’t you trust Him today?

Typical responses

There are some typical responses that people may have when faced with the issue of trusting in Christ as their Lord and Savior. To help you make the right decision, consider the following possible responses:

1. I’m not sure and I want to wait.

If you’re honestly not sure, do some investigating. God understands your dilemma and many people need to do some “soul searching” before they are ready to commit themselves to the Lord. However, I would be careful about waiting too long. The FCET website, for example, has some 1000 articles. I would encourage you to read some of these to help you in your decision (particularly the personal testimonies). We have personal testimonies published from dozens of people and articles submitted by over 100 authors.

2. I don’t need Jesus and the church.

Jesus said, “Apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15). His power gives you the ability to breath right now. And without his sustaining power, you would cease to exist. He created you and He is the author and creator of life itself (John 1). So you actually do need Him. You may not acknowledge that, but it doesn’t change the fact. Without Him, you would perish. And one day, you will stand before Him to face Him at the judgment. So to say “no” to Him, is to say “no” to the very one that created you. These are very serious issues. I am simply telling you the truth. What I have written is entirely supported by the Bible.

3. I don’t believe the Bible is the word of God. There are many mistakes in it.

People who have seriously wanted to know the truth and were not sure about the claims and authenticity of the Bible – like Josh McDowell, for example, who wrote “Evidence that Demands a Verdict” – have always come around to the believing side of the fence. No truly serious, truth-seeking person would reject what the Bible says or it’s claim on being the word of God. You simply don’t have any evidence to support your claim and when you stand before God at the judgment, it will be made plain and clear before Him and before you what your true motive was is “staying away” from putting your faith in Christ. Beware.

I encourage you to get the book by Josh McDowell, and the sequel to it, “More Evidence that Demands a Verdict” if you have any questions. It’s good reading for Christian and non-Christian alike. Josh McDowell is a lawyer, by the way, and approaches his quest with a lawyer’s mind. He did very careful study and analysis and came to the logical conclusion that Jesus Christ really is Lord and Savior – based on scientific research. C. S. Lewis, who is the author of the Narnia series, including “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe,” came to the conclusion that the teachings of the Bible make it very clear that Jesus could only be one of three things: (1) Lord – as He said he was, (2) Liar – because He said he was Lord and was not, or (3) Lunatic – because He said He was Lord and was self-deceived. In the end, you have to make up your own mind as to which of these three to believe, but I believe the evidence points clearly to the first. He certainly was not merely a “great teacher” because He has not left us that option to consider.

In closing, I bring you back to the title of this message, which is “Seriously Wounded.” You see, I was seriously wounded when my back snapped as it did. In Isaiah 53, it says that Jesus “was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53:5, KJV). The words “transgressions” and “iniquities” can also be translated “disobedience” and “sin.” That’s the reason that Jesus went to the cross. We have all “done that.” We have all disobeyed and sinned. That separates us from a loving but holy God who did not stop at “declaring” we were sinners but instead went the “extra mile” in sending Jesus Christ to lovingly die for us on a cruel cross.

Jesus became “sin for us” that we might become the “righteousness of God,” the Bible declares. Today, He offers you a switch. You can lay down your guilt before God and become clean in His sight, simply by accepting what Jesus did for you on the cross. It’s an “easy thing to do” if you’re on “this side” of the cross. Jesus, however, was on the “other side” of the cross. He laid His life down so that you might live. All He’s asking you to do is to surrender your life to Him – so that you might be able to take it back up again, at the resurrection. For the Bible says it is appointed unto man once to die, and after this comes the judgment (Hebrews 9:22). Those who have Christ will rise again, and live with Christ forever. The decision you make is a decision for eternal life and will have eternal repercussions.

If you consider yourself to be a sinner today, you’re in good hands. Jesus wants to embrace you, and bring you to wholeness. If you will trust Him today, Jesus will forever wipe the “sin slate” clean, and make you acceptable again, before a holy God. Without holiness, the Bible says, no one can see the Lord. Jesus is your ticket to holiness by wiping the sin slate clean and making you righteous and acceptable before God – yes, even if you and I both don’t deserve it.

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[1] www.crucifixion-shroud.com/Turin2000.htm