Three Minutes with the General Director Apr/May 1977
The Bible is direct — It gets right to the point. In its use of language, it uses great restraint. In one brief, almost fleeting, sentence it records the darkest hour of mankind — the worst crime ever perpetrated . . . there they crucified him (Lk. 23:33). No attempt is made at being dramatic or sensational. There is a total absence of the detailed realism which characterizes most writers. I have listened to sermons on the crucifixion that were so detailed and graphic that you could almost hear and see the nails piercing soft flesh and impaling the eternal Son of God on the
Cross. I have read carefully-written papers that try with limited success to separate Christ’s humanity from His deity in an attempt to answer the question, “Who died on the Cross?” They ask, “How can the eternal God die?” Again one is startled with the simple biblical statement, “ . . . there they crucified him.”
Many artists have attempted to depict the crucifixion scene. Some have shown Christ shrinking from the Cross as the rough Roman soldiers seized His hands and feet for the purpose of impalement. Others have pictured Him meekly and passively submitting to the inevitable ordeal before Him. For this Easter issue of ISRAEL MY GLORY I have asked our artist, Mr. Bill Ressler, to present the crucifixion from another perspective. I have requested that Bill depict Christ actually struggling to get onto His Cross. And if one thinks about it, that should not surprise us, for Jesus said concerning His impending death, ” . . for this cause came I into the world . . .” Jn. 18:37 and again, ” . . the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” Matt. 20:28 and again, “No man taketh it (life) from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again . . “ Jn. 10:18
From the human perspective, men were responsible for Christ’s crucifixion, but from the higher, divine perspective, Christ had come for one supreme purpose — to climb on the Cross, there to die, the spotless Lamb of God, for soiled, sinstained humanity.
If you look carefully at our wraparound cover, you will see on the left a cross awaiting the Lamb of God. Beside it is a brutal, burly Roman soldier holding a fist full of nails and a heavy hammer. He is growling scornfully at the central figure. In the center stands the Lord of glory, two legionnaires holding His arms as if forcibly restraining Him from some course of action. But what course of action? Shrinking from the Cross — impossible. Trying to escape — never. Rather, He is trying to get on the Cross, to bear our sin and shame — to die that we might live.
When humanity completed its heinous deed, it turned its back, rubbed its hands and said, “We are done with Him.” Over His Cross was written, “The King of the Jews”. As the Creator of light drew His last breath, day turned to night. Satan and sinful humanity gleefully pronounced together, “Checkmate,” coming from the Hebrew language and meaning, The King is dead.” For three inscrutable days and nights, He remained in the clammy and cold clutches of the grave. It appeared that darkness had vanquished light, wrong had defeated right, death had conquered life and Satan had dethroned God. But the pronouncement of “Checkmate” was premature — the King was neither dead nor hopelessly trapped. In a brilliant move of infinite value, demonstrating omnipotence, Christ triumphantly arose to defeat death, the grave, sin and the Devil for all time. The King abundantly lives, and because He lives we too shall live . . . abundantly.