Naturally, in this present world, Dogs have breeds and intrinsic tendencies. They can eat, bark and bite. In biblical representativeness, we have dumb dogs and greedy dogs. These dogs have in one way or another destroyed the holy course with their sundry endowments and abilities. It’s a pity.
In Isaiah 53:8, a reflective question was posed to all and sundry, “who shall declare his generation?” In the same book, Isaiah 56:10-11 states, “…they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark…yes, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough and they are shepherds that cannot understand…” These dogs bite and bark at the gospel of Christ.
Their faith has erred and affected the budding faith of many of their fellow brothers and sisters-in-faith. They have engaged in calumny and malice against faithful professors of the gospel of Christ. These dogs urge human works in opposition to the faith, (the blood) of Christ. In our Christian journey therefore, it is common place wisdom to be cautious of dogs but we must also draw the strayed ones near to ourselves who are still in faith.
The sin-bearing messiah who walked triumphantly into Jerusalem met death in its greatest terror and horror. It was a cursed death branded by the Jewish law (Deut. 21:23). It was the death of the vilest offenders.
After our first parents act of disobedience to God’s lucid command, in the ever verdant and pleasured Garden of Eden, there was a lacuna between God and man. This in itself dishonoured and displeased God. In discontent, God cursed both seeds (seed of the woman and the serpent). Sin brought separation between the loving God and Man.
In the process, Death was pronounced to be the end of every man. This today is manifest on planet earth because we are a product of that sin of identification.
However, Christ understood the grave implication of this discord and subsequently, paid the greatest sacrifice for mankind. So, Christ submitted Himself satisfactorily to the greatest disgrace human nature could be faced with.
Thus, He was delivered to death for man’s myriad offences. According to Jewish tradition, the carpenter’s son was laid hurriedly in the sepulchre before Sabbath. Of course, Sabbath is the pride and joy of Jewish life. Also, a day set aside for rest, celebration and reflection.
Feast your eyes on the Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews, the carpenter’s son who was crucified at about the third hour in Jewish time. Remember his sufferings for mankind, remember our long catalogue of transgressions that as a result exposed him to public scorn, and consider him as suffering under the load of our guilt so that we may not sink. These are important reminders for sober reflection.
The direct and uncompromising pause in the action between Jesus Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection gives rise to touching moments, monuments of his grace and mortification of our corruption. The Biblical books of Mark 15-16 and John 19-20 gives a vibrant account of what the carpenter’s son went through to save humanity from the sin of identification.
However, the lowly condition the Son of God yielded to, coupled with his appearance in the world, was not congenial to the accepted wisdom of the Jews at the time towards the messiah. The Jews felt he should have come in pomp and this made many Jews doubt Christ’s mission on planet earth.
True, he was on planet earth to save man from Sin and Satan, death and hell, the world and the flesh. These were His strong foes for it has brought separation between humanity and divinity. He vanquished them all but with a huge price, peril and pain.
In the light of biblical reality, the king of the Jews was numbered with transgressors, he bore the sin of many and made intercessions for the transgressors (Isaiah 53:12), he became a curse by redeeming humanity from the curse of the law (Galatians 3:13). Our sins were the thorns in Christ’s head, the nails in his hands and feet, the spear in his side.
He was mocked by passers-by and casual observers who shuddered their head saying, ‘you that said you will destroy the temple and build it in three days’ (John 2:19), “save yourself and come down from the cross” (Mark 15:29-30).
The name of God was really at stake to save this physically helpless son of God, as legalists (Pharisees, chief scribes, Sadducees) had ceaselessly questioned his earthly ministry. If not for anything friends, that the scriptures might be fulfilled (Mathew 26:56). Besides, Jesus had boasted about God, the father in Mathew 19:26.
At the same time, Jesus Christ has cried with a loud voice saying, “my God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? (Mark 15:34, Psalms 22:1a)”. From the third hour up until the ninth hour when Jesus cried to God and even afterwards, he went through harsh discomforts, bitten and battered to the extent that probably caused Mary Magdalene to mistake Jesus for a gardener (John 20:15).
Jesus Christ has said in Isaiah 44:22, ‘I have blotted out thy transgressions and sins’. He further urged, “return unto me, oh ye redeemed of the Lord” and Isaiah 51:11 pins down the blessings in obeying God’s command. Therefore, the blessing in Isaiah 51:11 is only for those that had obeyed the biblical injunction in Isaiah 44:22. Therefore, celebrating the death and resurrection of the Holy one is exclusively based on invitation.
In the true sense of it, familiarity with the Holy one is not the same as familiarity with holy things. For, if I don’t know the celebrant, it is a waste of time and resources celebrating him when the day beckons. It therefore implies in clear terms that, every celebrator or intending-celebrator must know the celebrant.
Phil. 3:10 is critical and expedient in the life of any believing believer.
Have you wondered why he had to redeem mankind before calling them forth to himself? Psalm 24:3-4 gave a precise answer to this puzzle. Have you asked yourself, why the church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Basilica in Jerusalem needed to be annihilated and had to be rebuilt again? Have you imagined why the newly built church which contained the alleged site of the mound of Calvary (where the crucifixion of Jesus Christ took place) had to be re-consecrated?
These should serve as a reminder to all and sundry that: Except a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God (John 3:3). Examine yourselves therefore brethren, just like Apostle Paul tells the Corinthian church in his famed letters.
It is worth noting that in the biblical book of John 2:22, the Disciples of Christ have remembered what the King of the Jews had told them in Mathew 26:56 and therefore, they believed the word of the Lord exceedingly in spite of worrying happenstances and circumstances.
To be a walking Christian is to be a disciple of Christ. You cannot be a disciple of Jesus Christ except you deny yourself, taking up your cross and following him (Matthew 16:24).
How great do we seek this Jesus of Nazareth that was crucified but rose up the third day? How often do we seek the king of the Jews that overcame the power of the grave? How great do we seek the soon-coming King? Just before you go for the most important Christian feast this year, think about these things, answer the questions God have asked you, “Who shall declare his generation?” Friends, never forget what God remembers.
Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija
Ayomikun Samuel Orukotan, a recent graduate of Electrical and Electronics Engineering from the Federal University of Technology, Akure writes from Ondo State and can be reached via [email protected]