DayBreaks for 1/13/17 – The Man Who Drove the Nails

DayBreaks for 1/13/17: The Man Who Drove the Nails

FROM THE DAYBREAKS ARCHIVE, January, 2007:

The Bible doesn’t tell us the name of the man (almost certainly a Roman soldier) who drove the nails into the wrists and feet of Jesus.  The Bible tells us the name of the man who betrayed him, but not of the man who actually crucified him.  It isn’t likely that it was the centurion who stated, “Surely this man was the Son of God!” because centurions typically stood around and directed activities and left the work to the private or corporal.  I wonder, though, what the man must have thought as the afternoon wore on and the skies darkened, the earth shook and Jesus died.  I wonder if I’d have been able to sleep that night.  If my wife asked me, “What did you do today, honey?”, what would I have told her?

As I was browsing a book today in the Christian bookstore (it looked real good but I didn’t buy it yet – you know, cash flow!), I was captivated by a thought in one of the books I read.  The name of the book was When God Weeps (I think that was it), written by Joni Earickson Tada and Steve Estes.  At one point in the book, they were reflecting on the crucifixion of Christ and God’s willingness to endure suffering like one of us rather than to distance Himself from what we have to experience. 

Christ had all power – for in him dwelt the fullness of God.  He could have called legions of angels at any time to do his bidding, for how could one of his angels not have obeyed his command?  But what I’d never quite pictured or thought about was this: Colossians 1.16b-17 tells us that everything that exists was created by Christ.  That includes the mountains, lakes, skies, earth, you, me, our dog, and yes, even the person who pounded the nails into his hands was created by the Crucified One.  But Colossians 1.17 also tells us that “…and in him all things hold together.”  I think that means exactly what it says.  At a subatomic level, what is it that makes all the particles of an atom hold together?  Christ’s power.  What is it that makes atoms bond together to form molecules, compounds and chemicals?  Christ’s power.  What is it that holds people together?  Christ.  What holds the universe in control so the moon doesn’t go spinning off into space, or the earth go spinning into the sun?  Science would say gravity – I would say Christ. 

But here’s the thought that I read that struck me: not only did God have to be willing to suffer as a man for man’s sake, but the same God who was suffering as the nails pierced his flesh was holding together the atoms of the man’s body that was doing the crucifying.  With just one thought, Christ could have willed the man’s atoms to dissociate from one another and the man wielding the hammer would have disintegrated and been no more.  According to Colossians 1.17, Christ was the one who held the man together, who willed the man to stay together, to finish the task that he had begun with the first swing of the mallet.

Commitment to purpose.  Commitment to mankind.  Commitment to obedience.  Commitment to love, no matter what the cost.  “Be imitators therefore of Christ…”

PRAYER: Father, thank you for the commitment of Christ to see the job through, to not just start the ball rolling for our salvation, but to drink the cup to the dregs.  Teach us to be more committed to you and self-controlled.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016 by Galen Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 7/01/14 – Held Captive

DayBreaks for 7/01/14 – Held Captive

Philippians 3:8 (NIV)  What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ.

We have brothers and sisters who will die today because they hold tightly to their profession of faith.  It is very hard to get accurate numbers for how many Christians are martyred each year.  Even a casual search indicates that there are anywhere from 8000 to 100,000+ per year (that’s anywhere from 22 to 274 who this VERY DAY will face the choice to either confess or deny under the most difficult of circumstances!) who walk that road because of their commitment to Christ.  We don’t see or know it in the United States, though on occasion we hear news stories about churches in places like Nigeria or Egypt being burned and some “Christians” being killed, but we don’t know those people and we wonder if they really are Christians or if they are just identified that way politically.

Regardless, I’d like to encourage you to stop your world for just one minute and ask you to think back with me to the first century. Think about those first 50 years after Jesus’ death and what it must been like for Jesus’ disciples. Before the last of the Twelve died their efforts had brought 500,000 men, women, and children into the ranks of the church. But what they had to suffer in order to accomplish this task is seldom discussed. We like and are astounded at the outworking of their discipleship but we don’t want to hear about the cost of discipleship – certainly we don’t want to think about it for ourselves, let alone for theirs. So, for the record here is the cost of what history/tradition tells us about the apostles…

1. John died of extreme old age exiled to the island of Patmos.

2. Judas Iscariot, after betraying his Lord, hanged himself.

3. Peter was crucified; head downward, during the persecution of Nero.

4. Andrew died on a cross at Patrae, a Grecian Colony.

5. James, the younger, son of Alphaeus, was thrown from a pinnacle of the

Temple, and then beaten to death with a club.

6. Bartholomew was flayed alive in Albanapolis, Armenia.

7. James, the elder son of Zebedee, was beheaded at Jerusalem.

8. Thomas, the doubter, was run through the body with a lance at Coromandel, in the East Indies.

9. Philip was hanged against a pillar at Heropolis.

10. Thaddeus was shot to death with arrows.

11. Simon died on a cross in Persia (what we now call Iran.)

12. Matthew was first stoned and then beheaded.

What sacrifices! Why did they suffer these things, to die these ways instead of live? Why desert your father and mother, your wife and child, and your home? Why put up with the constant humiliation, and hunger, and persecution, and defeat town after town after town?

I’ll tell you why, because, in the words of Apostle Paul, they were held captive by the words and teachings of Jesus Christ.  And because they counted everything else as rubbish for the surpassing greatness of knowing Jesus.

Would you be willing to walk that same road?  Would I?  What holds us captive with such tenacity?

PRAYER: Thank You, Lord, for great examples of faith and commitment that can inspire and challenge us to consider our own walk with you.  Grow faith inside us!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

NOTE: Galen, a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI), raises his own support.  DayBreaks is free – but if you wish to help support his mission work, you may donate (one-time or recurring) by going to this link, then scroll down until you see SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section.  Below that header, on the left, scroll and then find and click on “Galen Dalrymple” and you’ll be taken to where you can make your donation.  If you prefer to donate via check, you may do so by writing your check payable to Medical Ambassadors International and putS090 in the “memo” field. Mail the check to Medical Ambassadors International, P.O. Box 1302, Salida, CA 95368.  MAI is a 501.c.3 organizations so all donations are tax deductible and Medical Ambassadors takes NO administrative fees of any kind out of your donations!

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