Archives for posts with tag: resurrection

When I consider the infamy of the events associated with the crucifixion of Christ, at first glance, I find the crown of thorns to be the most innocuous, something akin to a P.S. in a letter. But is it really the case?

Most scholars agree that the thorns were not meant primarily as an instrument of torture. While there was pain associated with it, death by crucifixion by itself won the crown in that department.

So, if not pain, what? The answer is mockery. The soldiers were simply making sport of Jesus. Isaiah said that the Messiah was going to be “despised and rejected, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” Even in the smallest of details, Jesus fit the part.

In fact, there is quite a bit of taunting around His passion. From the people who dared Him to come down from the cross to the leading priests who said that He had saved others but could not save Himself. From the governor who suggested He should show a little more deference in front of the one who could free Him to the thief who sarcastically questioned Jesus’ claim to be the Messiah. Words like “mock,” “scoff,” “sneer,” etc. are littered throughout the resurrection narratives.

The crown of thorns, contrary to the cross, represents the subtlety of the human heart that is bent on mocking Christ but would not join the mob chanting “Crucify Him!” The cross is more blatant; the crown, more insidious.

Most of us are “bring out the crown” types before we become “bring out the cross” types. We harbor resistance in our hearts. We cover up the darkness that puts us at enmity with God by staying in the periphery. Sadly, many times, we have the type of skepticism that shakes our core and sometimes guides our conduct. We conjure up a mild form of resistance to Christ so we can cry out at the end: “I didn’t ask Him to be crucified!”

The soldiers mocked Jesus. Pilate mocked Jesus. Religious leaders mocked Jesus. Passersby mocked Jesus. And many people across this vast world still mock Jesus. And that’s why the crown was there, next to the cross, to remind us that not all rebels are made from the same cloth. Mockers are never created equal and Jesus’ crucifixion proves that.

As we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord, it is time for us to examine our hearts for any signs of “silent” rebellion against God, confess our sins, and embrace the resurrected Messiah. It would be appropriate for us to remind ourselves that one day He is coming to claim His legitimate crown as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. And this time, He is donning a judge’s toga.

Jesus is Risen!

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade
Lead Pastor, Grace Church, Lititz, PA

This last week has been filled with emotions of all sorts. Interviewing my parents in the services last Sunday was certainly a highlight. Oh how I praise God for them! But there were some low points as well, like sitting and praying with people who are very ill, whose marriages are in crisis, or who are dealing with one sort of addiction or another.

I feel that there is so much spiritual warfare going on around us and I am not the only who has noticed it. Last week one of our staff members sent an e-mail asking for prayers as we were getting ready for the Easter Egg Hunt Party. There was so much going on and we were all feeling overwhelmed. By the grace of God, He saw fit to answer our prayers and granted us a fabulous Saturday with great weather and some tremendous opportunities to be a blessing in the lives of so many people. But the challenges continue.

In fact, this week they have only increased. Yes, my heart is heavy as I write this. My friends and fellow believers in the Central African Republic are suffering. An American-born Iranian Pastor, Saeed Abedini, is still lingering in a jail in Iran, even after protests from the U.S. Secretary of State asking for his immediate release.

Closer to home, I just got off the phone with a man who was asking about our church’s teaching on the Trinity. As it turned out, he just wanted to call to argue and didn’t want to listen. Politely, I told him I didn’t like his tone and would appreciate if he would slow down so I could try to understand him. He said, “I don’t care if you don’t like my tone, and I don’t care if you hang up on me.” So I did, politely, but I did.

My heart is also heavy as I await the news of the Supreme Court decision about the so-called “Freedom to Marry” act. Though I have an inkling that traditional marriage will lose again, I am not worried about the impact this might or might not have on the family as we know it. People who believe in marriage between a man and a woman only will continue to believe that; and people who believe in same-sex marriage will also continue to do the same. This will not substantially change the mood in the country either, which is remarkably tilting toward support for same-sex marriage.

I am more concerned for how believers will react, what they will post on FB and other public social media sites. I am concerned because I don’t know if the majority of God’s people will remember not to panic and will continue to believe that God is still in control and that homosexual people are NOT our enemies. Let’s all clothe ourselves with humility, folks, and allow God to be God.

I want to share with you that despite the struggles we are having with personal and global issues, and despite of the ravages of sickness that affect so many of us, there is still hope because of the FACT that Jesus Christ, our beloved Lord, rose again from the dead and by doing so He has given all of us hope that one day we can also overcome death, our greatest enemy.

This Sunday, we  will kick off our “Picture (Im)perfect” series by celebrating Christ’s resurrection with a sense of renewed hope that our God can turn calamity into calm, concern into confidence, chaos into celebration. Remember how Paul ended his expose on the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15: “So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.” (1 Corinthians 15:58).

He is risen!

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade