This story is told in Nikolai Arsenic’s book, Mysticism in the East:
Comrade Lunachatsky was lecturing in Moscow’s largest assembly hall shortly after the Bolshevik Revolution. His theme was, “Religion: Opium of the People.” All the Christian mysteries are but myths, he said, supplanted by the light of science, Marxist science is the light that more than substitutes for the legends of Christianity. Lunachatsky spoke at great length. When he finished, he was so pleased with himself that he asked if anyone in the audience of some seven thousand had anything to add. A twenty-six-year-old Russian Orthodox priest, just ordained, stepped forward. First he apologized to the commissar for his ignorance and awkwardness. The commissar looked at him scornfully: “I’ll give you two minutes, no more.” “I won’t take very long,” the priest assured him. He mounted the platform, turned to the audience, and in a loud voice declared, “Christ is risen!” As one man the vast audience roared in response, “He is truly risen!”.
May your heart and mine rejoice in the fact of His glorious resurrection!
He is Risen! He is Risen indeed!
I noticed a message on my cell phone asking the question, “What’s so good about Good Friday?”
That’s a great question!
We live on this side of the resurrection so we know “the rest of the story”. The disciples didn’t. When they witnessed the brutality of the crucifixion and watched Jesus die then put Him in the tomb; they thought it was over. It was not a good Friday. It wasn’t a good day.
All the hopes and expectations they had in Jesus had been nailed to the cross and buried in the tomb. They couldn’t begin to imagine how life would go on. How could they have been so misguided? Pain. Heartbreak. Self-doubt. Self-Condemnation. Especially for Peter who had sworn that he didn’t even know Jesus, his best friend. How could he have done that?
Well, we ask those questions because we have the benefit of knowing Sunday was on it’s way!
But if we can put ourselves in their place…what would we have thought? It would have been a horrible Friday. The worst.
They didn’t know the Resurrection was around the corner. Yes, Jesus had told them. They were slow to believe. We would have been, too. We still are.
What has Jesus told you that you have not yet believed? Make this your Good Friday!
Good Friday is good because we know Jesus’ death open the way for us to know God personally. He died to wash away our sins. Totally. We can begin again! That’s good news for a hurting world. There is hope!
Yes. It’s a Good Friday!
Last week, in my post, I said there were only 4 references to the finger of God. But I failed to mention the one that got me thinking about it in the first place!!
I was reading Psalm 8 and came to verse 3, it says, “When I consider Thy heavens and the work of Thy fingers…”
I stopped to think about that: “The work of Thy fingers”. The heavens – all the planets, all the galaxies – ours is just one among billions – were fashioned by God’s own fingers! That is mind-blowing! What kind of fingers can create stars and planets? Not to mention galaxies!
Then consider that you and I are handmade by God, too. The same fingers that formed the universe made a decision before any of it was created, to make you! God Himself chose to make you and put you in your family at this time is history. And when He made you, He gave you a purpose.
Do you know what your God-given purpose is? If not, ask Him to show you you – to reveal it to you in a way you can understand. Then ask Him to help you fulfill that purpose.
Often we hear someone use the expression, “It’s in God’s hands.” concerning a certain situation they are facing. Or they may say, “It was the hand of God.” after a terrible accident was avoided. Or, a preacher may say, “The hand of God was heavy on me.” We understand what we mean when we say those things.
Jonathan Edwards, a powerful preacher in the 16th Century in New England had a very famous sermon entitled, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.”
And certainly the Bible talks about God’s right hand. Moses in his song said, “Your right hand, O Lord, is glorious in power. Your right hand, O Lord, smashes the enemy.” (Exodus 15:6 NLT) God’s hand shielded Moses from the overpowering of God’s glory as God passed by Moses. Moses could see God’s back but not His face.
The Psalmist recounts that it was God’s right hand and His arm and the light of His presence that led the Hebrews out of bondage in Egypt. His hand is a source of judgment and blessing. The prophet Daniel told of a time when he fell into a deep sleep, “then behold, a hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees.” (Daniel 10:10 NASB) Jesus is seated, now, at God’s right hand. It is a place of honor.
There are many references to God’s powerful right hand.
Certainly Jesus’ hands healed the sick, touched the leper, held the children on His lap, lifted the cup and bread at the Last Supper, and were pierced in the cruel crucifixion.
But there are only 4 references to God’s finger. In Exodus as Pharaoh’s magicians tried to duplicate the plague of gnats to that God sent on Egypt and they couldn’t do it they said, “This is the finger of God.”
But the other 3 references are quite interesting and are the Gospel. The first mention of the finger of God is in Deuteronomy 9:10. Moses wrote, “And the Lord gave me the two tablets of stone written by the finger of God…” The law was written by God’s own finger. Laws that the Hebrew children broke over and over and over again. Just like we do. We are guilty.
Then again, God’s fingers wrote on great King Belshazzar’s palace wall, “Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin” which means, “You have been weighed in the balances and found deficient.” Judgment for sin. We are all under judgment. Deficient before a holy God. No hope. Yet…there is another instance where God’s finger wrote…in the dust.
In John’s Gospel, chapter 8, a woman is brought and tossed in front of Jesus. She had been caught in the act of adultery. Guilty. The law of Moses said she had to be stoned. The religious leaders were trying to trick Jesus. Quietly, He bent down in the dust and began writing something. Maybe the names of the men in the crowd who had been with is woman themselves. Maybe the Law.
When He finally spoke He said, “Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone.” Grace!
Law. Judgement. Grace.
Our only hope is in Jesus.