The Cross From Seven Viewpoints

Perspective is everything. Where one person sees a half-empty glass of water, another sees it half-full. When I think of the crucifixion of Christ, I tend to think of it in one way predominantly (i.e., as if I was standing nearby watching it all transpire). But, there were many people involved in Jesus’ crucifixion; there were many different perspectives or viewpoints. In this series, I would like for us to consider their perspectives and also make some applications for us today.

Let’s begin with the first character who helped make the cross a reality:

1. JUDAS ISCARIOT: The Perspective of Silver
Matthew 26:14-16 reads – “Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, ‘What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?’ And they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver. So from that time he sought opportunity to betray Him.”

Can you imagine working closely with someone for over three years as Judas and the other apostles did with Jesus? They ate together, traveled together, and experienced life together as His followers. Judas heard Jesus’ great teachings and witnessed His amazing miracles, but he still betrayed Him! Judas cared more about money than he did doing what was right. That was his perspective on things.

Sadly, there are many people like that today. They, like Judas, have the perspective of silver. Money is more important to them than Jesus. Their financial goals are more important to them than serving the Lord with their utmost. Their desire for more things drives them away from righteousness and the church. They will betray our Lord for mammon if the opportunity presents itself (cf. Matt. 6:24). What about you, friends?

2. PONTIUS PILATE: The Perspective of Self-Preservation
Luke 23:4 records – “So Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowd, ‘I find no fault in this Man.'” Pilate had spoken to Jesus quite a bit. He knew Jesus was innocent and that He had been turned over to him because of envy. Yet Pilate first allowed Jesus to be scourged; it seemed to be his effort at appeasing the crowd without having to kill Jesus. This was wrong, and it didn’t work. Jesus was beaten to a bloody pulp. He didn’t deserve the beating any more than the cross they would soon hang Him on since He was innocent. The crowd kept clamoring for Jesus to be crucified and Pilate eventually permitted it and gave in to them. But why? Because Pilate was a coward! Continue reading

#cross-of-christ, #perspective

Perspectives on Giving

King David declared, to a very generous Jebusite who was willing to give him everything he needed to sacrifice to God – “‘No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God with that which costs me nothing.’ So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver” (II Sam. 24:24).

Although studying this context would be productive, our attention in this lesson will instead be directed to the concept of giving and various perspectives toward it. David, although he had sinned recently, here displayed an excellent attitude about giving to His God. However, for every person who has a proper attitude on giving, there are countless others who cling to inappropriate views.

If we slightly modify David’s statement to generalize the focus upon giving to God in general (as opposed to giving a burnt offering), it would read: “I will not give to the Lord that which costs me nothing.” If we then break that statement apart, we can see four unique perspectives on giving. The first three are not proper, but the fourth most certainly is. Let us consider each perspective at this time.

1. I WILL NOT GIVE…
This is the perspective of the individual who loves himself and himself only. He will not give to anyone (whether mortal or divine). Such an individual fails to realize the benefits of giving to others. Indeed,”it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). People of this sort are dead inside, even while they live, for they lack compassion and wisdom, trusting in their money and possessions (cf. I Tim. 6:17). Continue reading

#attitude, #giving, #perspective

Bird’s eye point of view

A bird’s-eye point of view can be pretty amazing. It all depends upon the bird.

A bird’s-eye point of view can belong to a soaring eagle, or the flightless ostrich. The ostrich may have a point of view from seven-foot up, but it’s not worth comparing to the eagle’s point of view. Continue reading

#perspective, #spiritual-illustrations

Perspective

Somebody has said there are only two kinds of people in the world. There are those who wake up in the morning and say, “Good morning, Lord,” and there are those who wake up in the morning and say, “Good Lord, it’s morning.” (source unknown)

Perspective changes the things that we see without changing anything that we’re looking at. That’s because perspective changes us.

Looking at a piece of property from ground level and looking at it from 1,500′ up in the air doesn’t do a thing to the property – but it does a whole lot for our eyes doesn’t it?

Lots of things can demand our attention and ultimately affect our perspective: jobs, family life, addictions, anxieties, international news headlines, friends and even our faith.

Some of these things have the potential to improve our perspective while others have the potential of dragging it down to the far-country pig-pen level and keeping it there (Luke 15:13-16).

Reality will always be reality, and looking at things through rose-colored lenses doesn’t always help. But making a mountain out of a molehill, and a coral snake out of a king snake never helps either. Yeah, I know; you may have to look up that last analogy…if you do, it’ll make sense.

The best perspective is the one that views things from the heavenly point of view! We may call it the bird’s-eye perspective down here. It allows us to see over the barriers and past the hour that we are facing on the clock. It gives us the opportunity to properly see things as they are; whether we’re talking about jobs, family life, addictions, anxieties, international news headlines, friends and, most importantly, our faith.

When we stop trying to view everything through a straw then things will begin to make a little more sense (2 Corinthians 5:7) and our perspective will have the ability to change us without changing a single thing around us. That’s pretty interesting if you stop and think about it…and even more so when you’re able to see it.

For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:14-19)

#perspective

Was yesterday better than today?

Sam Craft in Virginia sent me this little piece this morning. I don’t know any details about the author, but it applies, doesn’t it?

Was Yesterday Better Than Today?

Do not say, “Why were the former days better than these?” For you do not inquire wisely concerning this. (Eccl. 7:10)

To appreciate if not adjust the blurred and biased estimates of modern life, we may well listen to the inquiry of a wise preacher of old, Solomon.

Think not that all the evil of the world is congested in our day. There was political corruption in the days of Jeroboam and Pilate. Remember that Judah and David and the Corinthians were guilty of adultery. There was parental laxity in the days of Lot and Eli. There was church infidelity in the time of Judas and Ananias. Heresies raged in the days of Christ, and Paul, and John. There have been unfaithful preachers before our day: on Mount Carmel, for example, there were eight hundred and fifty prophets of Baal to the one prophet Elijah. No such persecution has our age known as that which has blighted the pages of the past.

Bad as we are, we may be no worse than the bad who have gone before. Yet how much better to be better and do better and make a better world! Let us always remember to shine as lights in the world, but not being of the world.

“Thoughts For Today to Brighten Your Day” by Glenn Hitchcock

#evil, #perspective, #quotes