The Essence of Tragedy

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This post is inspired by a recent conversation I had with a friend in a Literature and Philosophy class about his assignment to write a paper about the essence of tragedy in the context of various works the class has read this semester.

I’ve been so inspired by that conversation as to write what I believe is the essence of tragedy, and how it has changed from the era of the Greeks until now.  Tragedy, as we know it, started as a genre in Greek drama.  Every Greek tragedy included a protagonist, often a hero type, struggling against fate.  Most of these tragedies involved a prophecy which the protagonist attempted to avoid, ultimately fulfilling it.  This fall was catalyzed by a fatal flaw, often hubris (pride).  The point of the tragedies, plays like Oedipus Rex, Agamemnon, and Antigone was to cause the audiences to have a feeling of sympathy and reflect intellectually about their world.  Tragedy is thought-provoking because it reveals to us a key aspect of our lives, that we all have flaws.  Greek tragedies never featured hope, because the Greeks did not have hope.

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” -Romans 3:23

This verse outlines tragedy.  We were created to experience the glory of God, yet sin pulls us away from that glory, it is the fate that we are tied to, it is our fatal flaw.  Throughout history, people have tried to escape sin, and the death it leads to, but all have fallen.  Not every culture had a name for it, but all humanity knows it.  We see the consequences of our choices and try to change our choices but in the end, they lead us back to the same pit of despair.  The Greeks and other cultures turned their attentions toward building character, wealth, and honor to distract from the futility of life’s struggle.  Those things were somewhat tangible, but they were not satisfying.

This tragedy of humanity was finally given hope at the cross, in God in human form, Jesus Christ.  As he bled and died, he took the tragedy of the world upon him.  That day seemed to be the peak of tragedy, as a man who seemed to be perfect, without flaw, hung dying.  Could there be hope for man?  An outsider looking at just this scene would not think so, but the outsider does not know the whole story.  “For God so loved the world, that he sent his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” -John 3:16.  “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.  By his wounds you have been healed.” -1 Peter 2:24  Jesus took that sin upon him so that humanity might not suffer the ultimate consequence of sin, but that was not the end of the story.  “…that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.”-1 Corinthians 15:4

This is the ultimate joy and hope, the opposite of tragedy.  All who believe in Christ have hope in his resurrection!  “If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.” 1 Corinthians 15:19  This verse is true, Christians, if Christ was not raised from the dead, have no more hope than the rest of humanity, in fact, it means that they suffer for nothing.  “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead (verse 20).”  Now there is hope on earth for humanity.  One must ask; since hope has been brought to mankind, is there still tragedy?  The answer is yes.

“And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.” -Romans 1:28  This is the essence of tragedy, when a person rejects God and the gift of salvation.  A man given the hope of the gospel who rejects it experiences a greater tragedy than the Greeks who did not know of God’s salvation.  The essence of tragedy in the modern world is the opportunity of redemption rejected.

 

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What Love is This?

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I write this as I mourn for the heart of a lost friend.  I am in the first semester of my freshman year of college and I have learned more about God and my faith than in my whole life.

This summer, I went on a mission trip which opened my eyes to the scope of God’s unconditional love.  I fell in love with kids I had only known for a few days and really bore their struggles with them and desired for them to have relationships with Jesus.  I cried for joy when I saw two of the girls come to salvation and wept after I left the camp with my family.  I remember thinking that if my love for these kids could be so great after being with them for a few days, how great is God’s love.  He created us and knows us intimately and desires a relationship with us.

I was hit by this truth later at summer camp, when the Spirit made me truly believe that God cares about every little detail in our life.  “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?”  God created the stars and put the earth in motion.  He knew exactly which stars we would see and when we would live.  He puts each person and event, even the small moments, like a hug from a friend or a beautiful ray of sunshine in the afternoon, in our lives purposely.  Nothing escapes his notice.  “Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.” (Psalm 8:3-5)  It is amazing to think that he made each of us differently, with unique lives and circumstances, and yet he is ultimately in control.  I cannot wrap my mind around it.

Flash forward to my third month in college.  I have just finished a conversation with a friend I have been praying for from the first day I met.  I have been waiting on the Lord, trusting for his promised salvation.  I crave the faith that Abraham had, “when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance.  And he went out, not knowing where he was going…For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.” (Hebrews 11:8, 10)  He waited for the promised son for twenty five years.  I have been waiting to see my friend’s salvation for three months, and I wrestle with discouragement.  But God has been showing me something greater.

I thought I had learned a lot about God’s love on my missions trip, but I have learned even more in the three months that I have been in college.  God calls us to love the people that will never love us back, or who cannot love us the way we love them.  Even when those people hurt us when we are trying to be an example of Christ to them, we are still to love them.  I have found that while it is hard to love those people, it is nearly impossible not to.  This is a supernatural love from the Spirit.  I have felt such a burden as this for several people, but three stand out in my memory.  One of those, and the one I am closest to has never really experienced unconditional love.

For the past two days I have felt a greater pain because of the sin of someone else and a greater burden for that person’s salvation than I have ever felt in my life.  It hurts, but it is a hurt filled with hope.  My efforts will not save this person, but God is still using me.  As he is using me, he is revealing to me his love.  Not only does he love this person more than I do, he loves everyone with this type of love.  I am astounded at the love Christ felt when he went to the cross.  Did he cry when he was being nailed to the tree?  I believe he did, not just because of the physical pain, but because his heart was broken for the people he saw.  In the garden of Gethsemane, he prayed for those who would come to know him.  In the darkest moment on the cross, Jesus cried, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)  He was not just asking for those mocking him at the cross, but for every person who mocks the love of the Savior.  For every person who has let their heart be hardened to God’s unconditional love, Jesus asks forgiveness.  That is incredible love, and it brings me to my knees.  It comforts me and strengthens my faith.

At a time in my life, especially in my faith, where it looks like I should be under extreme pressure in stress, I feel more peace and love than I have ever known.  Yes, I struggle.  Yes, I feel pain, but hallelujah!  I feel the love of my Savior.  This is how I know that though my circumstances look bleak and the future is uncertain, I can rest in my God.  He is my rock and my refuge.  He is my ever-present help in time of need.

“I believe

that I shall look upon

the goodness of the Lord

in the land of the living.”

-Psalm 27:13

 

A Day of Ultimates

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The most intense twenty-four hour period in history.  To many in the Roman empire at that time, it was just an ordinary Thursday and Friday.  To the Jews that day it was one of many celebrations of the Passover.  To the world and history, it was the day of ultimate salvation.

A man, ultimately humble, yet ultimately powerful.  A simple carpenter from Nazareth who was the Son of God.  Fully God and fully man.  Tempted, yet without sin.  This was Jesus, the Christ.  “No form or majesty that we should look at him,” yet his name shall be called, “Wonderful counselor, Mighty God, Prince of Peace, Everlasting Father,” “Emmanuel,” meaning “God with us.”

Jesus’ disciples did not know what was going to happen after that Passover meal, though they had been told by Jesus himself many times.  Their teacher, whom they respected above all men, got up from their feast and served them by washing their feet.  It was a day that they would never forget.

Then Jesus took them to the Mount of Olives to pray.  This was leading up to the moment of destiny, told about since the beginning of time, “he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”  However, Jesus still prayed that the cup be taken from him.  When the mob came to arrest him, Jesus could have called down a legion of angels to slay them, but he did not.  This was the moment where the ultimate predestined event met the ultimate act of freewill.

With Jesus’ crucifixion, the cross, which was the ultimate symbol of torture, punishment, and death, became the ultimate symbol of grace, freedom, and life.  The perfect man, completely without sin, bore the punishment for the sins of the world.

In that moment, irreconcilable paradoxes were reconciled.  The greatest measure of God’s wrath, and the greatest measure of God’s love were poured out.  Wrath and grace were poured out on those undeserving of it.  No moment was more terrible, and no moment was more beautiful.

In that hour, the Trinity was broken, the Son cut off from the father, and man was restored to his Creator.  On that Passover day, a day on which the Jews remembered that they were set apart by God, the door of salvation swung open wide to the whole of humanity.  The curtain was torn.

Jesus cry, “It is finished,” was the ultimate cry of surrender, and the ultimate cry of victory.  He died, and in his physical death, man was saved from eternal death.  The world mourned and the sky grew dark, and all was still.  The earth held it’s breath as its savior, for the glory set before him, endured the cross, despising its shame, and died.

But the story wasn’t over….Sunday was coming.

Clearing the Christmas Stage

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Right now much of the world is celebrating advent, especially in the United States, even if the people don’t know it. Advent, coming from the Latin word meaning “to come to,” is a season of waiting. Specifically, waiting for the coming of Christ. It is the season leading up to Christmas, a time of preparation.

As I write this, I am taking a break from doing my homework, part of my crazy, busy life. I have not posted a blog in a while, especially since I started my first job. This, on top of all my other activities and school, makes my life really busy. Isn’t everyone super busy during this time?

My new favorite song is “Clear the Stage,” by Jimmy Needham. The first line of the song is, “Clear the stage and set the sound and lights ablaze if that’s the measure you must take to crush the idols.” This line references the typical Sunday setup for “worship.” All the extra stuff is great, but it’s worthless, even an idol, if it distracts from its true purpose, to usher people into worship. The same could be said of the business in preparation for Christmas.

Christmas is the season of giving, hence all the rush for the endless list of Christmas presents and groceries for Christmas meals. What most of us forget, however, is how Christmas became the season of giving. It started with God, who gave his only son to ransom men from death. He did not come as he should have, a king demanding worship, but as a tiny baby, born to a poor Jewish girl of Nazareth. More than that, he was born in a stable, among the animals, and his first visitors were shepherds, the lowliest of all working men.

With all our shopping lists, planning, and parties, do we take time to stop and prepare our hearts for the savior? Jesus came two thousand years ago, yes, but during advent, Christians and everyone else should be preparing themselves for his second coming, when he will come as a triumphant king.

Can we each take a moment and reflect on God’s many gifts?  Can we remember that night when the most high God came into the world in the form of a helpless infant?  True, December 25 is not Jesus’ actual birthday, but it is the date on which we choose to celebrate it.

Can we replace our Martha attitude of crazy business in preparation for a holiday with a Mary Magdalene- like spirit which is content to sit for a while at the feet of our Savior, listening to His word?

I believe that the best thing I can do this Christmas season is to take some time to spend in quiet reflection over my Bible, journal, even this blog, and think about what God did.  I hope you take some time this season to clear what can become idols of business and stress out of your heart and replace them with the peace of the Savior, Jesus Christ as we wait to celebrate His coming.

Merry Christmas!

It’s Not About Who You Are

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After reading part of Max Lucado’s No Wonder They Call Him the Savior, I was bothered by this phrase which I hear so often in the world around me, “God loves you for who you are.”  While I understand why people say this, I disagree with the wording of this phrase.  If God truly loved us for who we are, He wouldn’t love us at all, since we betrayed and rebelled against Him.  Furthermore, if God loved us for who we are, then sin would be no big deal.  By saying that God loves someone for who that person is, one is saying that God’s love is conditional.  All three of these things are false, therefore, God does not love us for who we are.

God created man in His image, and He created man perfectly.  God loves His creation, and man is included in that love.  God loves man because He created man.  At that point in time, man, Adam and Eve, had a perfect, whole relationship with God.  Nothing came between the first two people and God, they completely loved, trusted, and shared with one another.

Sadly, this perfect world ended with the entrance of sin.  When God created man, He gave man the ability to choose to love Him.  Adam and Eve chose to sin.  Sin is rebellion against God.  God hates sin because it is everything that He is not, evil, twisted, and deadly.  When Adam and Eve sinned, they were no longer able to experience God’s perfect love.  God had to force Adam and Eve out of the garden, because a holy and perfect God cannot be near sin.

Every human being since Adam and Eve has sinned, we are all sinners.  People are defined by their actions.  All one has to do to look into another man’s heart is to observe his actions.  Thus, anyone who sins can be defined as a sinner.  Because God is holy and we are sinners, He could have and should have destroyed us.  However, God is a loving, and merciful God.

God did not want the story of the world to end with the destruction of man, so He provided a way of restoration in the sacrifice of Christ.  Romans 5:8 says, “but God shows his love for us in that we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  God loves us, not for who we are, but because of who He is.  He is love, as 1 John 4:8 points out, “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”  God loves man unconditionally because it is a part of His very nature.

Finally, if God loved us for who we are, i.e. what we do, then there would be no reason for anyone to repent of his sin.  God, because he is holy, hates sin.  God judges sin, because sin is fundamentally evil.  Over and over in history, individuals and nations have fallen because of their sin.  Sin is a problem.  Thankfully, God has provided us a way to turn from our sin and back to Him.

In conclusion, we should praise God that He does not love us for who we are, that He does not treat us as we deserve.  Thus, I think that we should amend, “God loves you for who you are,” to a much more beautiful statement, “God loves you because of who He is.”

Why Christians Can’t Reject Genesis

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Some Christians today believe that the Bible is fallible, at least some of it.  A particular book that several Christians think can be rejected is the book of Genesis.  Because modern “science” argues that the Earth is more than six thousand years old and that the world was formed by macro-evolution, some Christians reject the idea of a six-day creation.

I would argue that all scripture is inspired by God and is therefore infallible.  I would also argue that the book of Genesis, especially the first three chapters, is essential to the Christian faith and therefore cannot be rejected by Christians.

Herbert Spencer, a brilliant philosopher and proponent of Evolution of the late 19th/early 20th century, stated that all matter could be divided into five categories: time, force, action, space, matter.

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”-Genesis 1:1

In the first verse of Genesis, all elements of reality are introduced.  Time: “In the beginning,” when time was first created.  Force: “God,” the greatest force in the universe.  Action: “created.”  Space: “the heavens,” the cosmos and all they contain, as well as literal space.  Matter: “and the earth,” the first matter discovered by man.  Men have tried but cannot deny what stands obviously before them, truth.

Genesis is a book of origins, and it starts with the origin of the universe.  God spoke everything into existence.  What I do not understand is why people do not want to believe that God created everything in six days.  God is God, and as God, he can do incomprehensible, amazing things that only God can do, like creating the entire cosmos in six literal days.  In six literal days, the universe and all life was created.  First light and night and day, then water in heaven and in the seas, then the land and plants, then the planets and heavenly bodies, then sea creatures and birds, then land creatures and man.  Six days.

Not only does Genesis talk about the origin of creation, but it also talks about the origins of order and complexity, man’s love for beauty, marriage, culture, government, nations, and much more.  Genesis 3, all the way at the beginning of scripture, tells of the origins of evil, judgement, and salvation.

The man and the woman were tempted and succumbed to temptation, doubting God and allowing sin to enter their hearts.  Knowing that they had sinned, they hid from the God with whom they had been able to directly communicate and have a relationship.  Adam and Eve were punished and  sent from the garden, knowing that they were mortal and doomed to death.  However, God spared them from death that day and gave them hope for a savior.

And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head; and you will strike his heel.”

-Genesis 3:15 

The “he” referred to in this passage is the savior, Jesus Christ, who was not due to come for four thousand years.  This gave Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, hope that someday, their relationship with God would be restored, that the savior would crush sin and death, bringing humanity back to its God.

The reason Genesis is so important is that it gives us the story of where we came from and why things are the way that they are.  In it is the story of a holy but loving God and his relationship with man.  I will not tell the whole story, because the believer must read it for himself.

If the Church tries to fit its faith to the world by twisting it and taking away fundamentals, nothing will be left of Christianity.  Thus, we must hold fast to the word of God, the inerrant scriptures.

You Can’t Deny It

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Throughout their lives, many people deny various truths.  They do this because they are uncomfortable with or threatened by the truth.  In the end, it helps no one to deny the truth.

A truth that people have denied throughout the ages is that there is a fundamental problem with them and the world around them, the problem of sin.  Even if they acknowledge this truth, they deny that sin has consequences, or even if they accept this truth, they deny the way to be freed from the consequences of sin.  In short, people deny the gospel.

Men deny the gospel because of their hardened hearts, they do not want to have to admit that they have to rely on a savior, Jesus Christ, for salvation.  This is why, people over the ages have denied that Jesus is truly God.  If Jesus is truly God, then men must acknowledge that they are sinful and that they need the salvation of Jesus.  People just say that Jesus was a good man.  One should automatically know that this statement is false if one knows anything about Jesus or what he said.

Jesus claimed to be God, so he could not simply be a good man.  He was either lying, and was therefore a bad person, not God but believed he was, thus insane, or he was telling the truth.  This is the simple argument put forward by philosopher and apologist C.S. Lewis.

Was Jesus a liar?  Besides claiming that he was God, all of Jesus’ statements have been recognized as truth.  Furthermore, Jesus was a humble and truly good person.  Liars are not humble people, nor are they known for doing good deeds.  What did Jesus have to gain by claiming to be God?  In fact, he made a lot of enemies and was eventually crucified because of this claim.  A wise man would have recognized the consequences of such a claim.

Was Jesus crazy?  Afterall, he claimed to be divine!  Surely that is an insane statement.  However, Jesus showed himself to be wise in his discussions with the Pharisees and Saducees.  He was able to answer every one of their challenges.  Jesus also performed astounding miracles, miracles that would have to come from God when put with such truthful teaching.  Therefore, it does not make sense that Jesus was a lunatic.

In conclusion, one can see that Jesus fit one of three categories, he was either a liar, insane, or God.  As shown above, Jesus was neither a liar nor insane.  Therefore, Jesus must have been and still is God.

“Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” -John 8:58

My Definition of Love

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Before reading this post, I’d encourage you to watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPtOm9UXfnU

Dictionary.com defines love as “a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.”  This is the emotional side of love, what we typically think of.  My definition of love is giving up your life for someone else.

My definition of love, in its truest sense, is a person.  A perfect person, who watched the people whom he had created destroy themselves.  He wanted to save them, so he became human.  He became human though he was God.  He suffered all kinds of affliction.  Though he never committed any sin, he was condemned to die.  Condemned to die on a cross.  There, on the cross, Jesus faced the worse torture a man has ever known.  He felt pain, rejection, and the weight of the guilt of every person ever born.  Crying, “It is finished,” he died.

The love story does not end there.  After lying in the grave, dead, seemingly defeated, for three days, Jesus did something amazing.  By the power of God, Jesus came back to life.  He came fully alive.  In fact, he was more alive than he had been before he died.  He conquered the grave for us!  That is amazing love.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Truth?

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For thousands of years, philosophers have been trying to discern what truth is.  In the 20th century, science and logic were the foundation for truth for Western Europe and the United States, before that, truth was taken from the Bible.   In modern day 21st century America, there is a claim that truth is relative.  In this post, I would like to explore what life would be like under each type of truth and the consequences of it.

If truth is relative according to post-modern thought, then truth comes from the mind of man.  This is a frightening concept.  Each person would have his or her own set of morals, and two things which are contradictory would both be true.  For example, Billy says that it is wrong to murder because it hurts someone else.   Bobby believes that one’s actions are not necessarily wrong if they hurt someone else.  These men have two different philosophies and beliefs about truth.  Bobby does not think actions matter at all, because he believes that there is no divine person who judges him because of his actions.  Billy believes murder is wrong because he believes that it is wrong to hurt another human being and he believes that he will be judged for his actions by a divine person.  Imagine the chaos if every person in the world had completely different views about what truth is.  No one would get along, and there would be complete anarchy or complete tyranny.  Furthermore, how could a deity exist in a world where man invents truth?  One man could invent a deity for himself, and another would believe that no deities exist.  Who would be right?  This type of world could not exist for long, for man would eventually destroy himself.

If truth is completely based on science and logic according to modern thought, then truth comes from what man can observe.  There would only be a deity if a deity revealed himself to man and morals would be based on what is found in the natural world.  The origins of the universe would be determined (in a perfect world) by what humankind would observe for himself.  All spiritual things would be denied, for the spiritual world cannot physically be observed.  Man would be the ruler of the universe.  Most likely, mankind would get progressively better until man became superhuman.  At the end of time would be a perfect Utopia, where all living people would flourish.  Furthermore, nothing would happen to man after death, he would just rot in the ground.  The problem with this thought is that man would have the ultimate authority, and man would determine what truth is.  This would evolve into post-modernism, where all truth is relative.

Finally, if truth is determined by a deity, such as in the Bible, then truth goes beyond man.  The universe would have been created by this god or gods.  The god(s) would determine morals based upon his/their character(s).  The end of the world and the fate of humankind would also depend on the god(s).  This is different depending on the religion.  According to the Christian religion, God is a good, loving, and just God.  He has set the rules of what is wrong and what is right, and the punishment for doing wrong.  Because no human could ever attain God’s perfect standard, God came to earth in the form of a man and endured the punishment of mankind so that those who trusted in his sacrifice would not have to suffer.  According to Islam, a Muslim must work to get to heaven, and follow the seven pillars of morality.  In Judaism, because God is perfect, the Jews must follow the law and make atonement to God when they break the law, some Jews believe that the Messiah has already come, Jesus, other believe that God has not yet sent a savior.  Those are just three of the many religions, and the description of each is very simplified.

Personally, I believe that YWH, Jehovah, created the universe by the power of his word.  Because man is imperfect and could never be “good” enough to earn eternal life in heaven, God sent his only begotten son, Jesus to save mankind.  To see my full explanation of the gospel, go to my post, What Every Young Woman Needs To Know.  I also believe that someday this earth will be destroyed and God will create a new, perfect Earth, like He says in the Bible.  As to whether or not man has free will to choose God, I believe that in the hardness of the human heart, we would not freely choose God, so he has to send his Spirit to open our eyes and accept His gift of salvation.

I hope this post wasn’t too long!

Emma

What Every Young Woman Needs To Know

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In the beginning, God created all things, and last of all, man and woman.  Humankind is special, because we were created in the image of God, he created us to reflect his character.  God didn’t make one gender-neutral person who reflected the whole of God’s character, he created male and female, each to reflect different aspects of himself.  Men he created to be powerful, protective, and to hold authority.  God created women to be life-giving, beautiful, and helpful.  Both people represent the image of God, they just do it in different ways.

When the first man and woman betrayed God in the garden of Eden, sin was brought into the world.  God told them how hard life was going to be, that work would no longer be pleasant and that pain and suffering would happen.  He told Eve that she would desire to rule over her husband.  After sadly giving Adam and Eve the news that life would no longer be perfect, God gave them hope.  He told them that a savior would come, who would bear the punishment for sin and bring about forgiveness and eternal life.

Fast forward to today, thousands of years after the fall of man happened.   In the United States, feminism is on the rise and people take longer than ever to become adults.  Marriage has been thrown away and gender is being neutralized.  In huge contrast to this is the Middle East, where women are treated as slaves and men have more power than they know what to do with.   Neither is what God intended for mankind.  However, we have a hope that overcomes the darkness of the world.  Jesus is our hope.

Two thousand years ago, Jesus the Christ came  to earth as a man, fully human, fully divine.  The only begotten Son of God descended from heaven to earth as and became a child, born in the humblest of places.  As a man, he worked miracles upon the earth and preached about the kingdom of heaven.  He healed the blind, freed people from demons, and even raised the dead.  His works brought hope to many, but he brought something more than miracles and words.  Jesus gave up his life and was crucified though he had committed no crime.  He had lived without a sin, yet he died bearing the weight of all people’s sin.  In the moment of his death, he broke the division that had been set up between God and man.  He was the perfect sacrificial lamb.  that was not the end of the story.

One day, a woman named Mary was going to the tomb of Jesus, a man whom she had believed was the Christ.  When she got there, she saw the stone rolled away from the entrance of the tomb, and no body inside.  She wept, believing that the body had been stolen.  A man came to her and revealed to her that he was Jesus, and had risen from the dead by the power of God.

This is the basis of our story, and is the reason I am writing this series.  I am writing to share the gospel and glorify God.  Young men and women need to know that there is hope for them in Christ.  They need to know that they have been redeemed, and if they accept that gift of redemption, that they become a child of God.

Acts 16:31 “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, then you will be saved.”