Crossroads Connection for the Week of November 19
 
Welcome to the new page on our site. I will be placing articles here that will inform, inspire, feed and challenge you in your walk with Jesus.
Please read and enjoy all three articles. The article on the Physicians Analysis of the crucifixion is still here too.
 
Article #1 
 

How to Care for Abuse Survivors in Your Congregation

Practical ways to care for the wounded.

How to Care for Abuse Survivors in Your Congregation

Alex left home 10 years ago when he was 18 and hasn’t been to church since. When a friend at work mentioned going to church, Alex felt nagging guilt. Alex hoped that by attending church with his friend he might feel better about himself.

As a young boy, Alex was sexually abused by his uncle. When Alex told his parents about the abuse, they instructed him to “be a good Christian” and forgive his uncle. It’s been years since Alex has seen his uncle, but the shame left by the abuse remains and has made him feel disconnected.

Alex remembers his former pastor’s attempts at transparency during sermons. The pastor spoke about arguments with his wife on the way to church and failure to rest on Sabbath days. “If those are the darkest aspects of your life,” Alex thought, “you could never understand my experiences.”

While sitting in the church service with his coworker, Alex felt worse about himself. Everyone else seemed put together and healthy. “I’m broken and out of place,Alex thought.

Alex’s experience is one of many stories about the aftermath of abuse and how attending church can be difficult for those who, like Alex, have endured trauma. No single statistic captures the ubiquity of abuse. The National Center for PTSD estimates that 7 to 8 percent of the general population will have Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at some point. However, there are many people who do not neatly fit a PTSD diagnosis but have experienced what psychologists call “attachment trauma” and other forms of abuse or neglect. The National Center for Victims of Crime shares that 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys are victims of sexual abuse. The National Domestic Violence Hotline reports “Nearly 3 in 10 women (29%) and 1 in 10 men (10%) in the US have experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by a partner and report a related impact on their functioning.” The statistics do not consider rates of spiritual abuse, sexual harassment, verbal abuse, or other forms of maltreatment.

Given those statistics, how in the everyday aspects of church life can we care for survivors of trauma? How can church leaders convey welcome and belonging to survivors of abuse who show up to a Sunday service? There are a number of ways those things can be accomplished within the church.

First, build trust

Ashley’s mother demonstrates traits of narcissistic personality disorder and lacks empathy for her own children. Whenever Ashley shares something personal, it is twisted by her mother as proof of why Ashley is “a horrible daughter.” Because of that, Ashley has learned that her emotional needs won’t be met in close relationships, especially from authority figures.

Ashley says, “It’s really hard for me to be vulnerable in small groups, because I am waiting for my words to be distorted and used against me. Trust is harder for me than for other people in the group. Then I worry they think I am quiet because I don’t like the group. It’s easier just to stay at home.”

For trauma survivors, trust is earned over time, not afforded by title or position.

Ashley’s story illustrates the power differential that abuse, by definition, involves. For trauma survivors, trust is earned over time, not afforded by title or position. Try to be sensitive to that need by slowly building relationships without pressure or expectation. Psychologists call that a “corrective emotional experience,” in which a previously harmful relationship is re-experienced with a healthier, safer result. The church can help people learn to trust again when trust is earned rather than demanded.

Whenever possible, acknowledge the risk and vulnerability required by a trauma or abuse victim to come to a small group or to ask a request of the prayer team. Rather than commanding action, invite your congregants into a new way of life. In your sermons about community, be sure to acknowledge that for some people, relationships have been painful experiences.

Consider the world through the eyes of an abuse survivor and work to keep their confidence. Help people feel physically safe by leaving doors open or allowing individuals to sit close to the door, communicating that they can leave whenever they wish. When you’re not sure if there additional steps you can take to create a space that feels safe for someone, ask if there is anything you can do to make them feel more comfortable or safe. Consider that after evening church events, some women may feel safer being escorted to their car by both a man and a woman.

Keep in mind that an abuse survivor’s apprehension may extend to their relationship with God. It’s common in abuse recovery groups to hear phrases like “Why did God let this happen to me?” and “How am I supposed to trust him in the future?” Allow space for people to wrestle through those questions and trust that God will respond.

Preach about vulnerable people

One way leaders can care for survivors on Sunday mornings is by pointing the congregation to stories of vulnerable people in the Bible. How did Leah feel when Jacob woke up the morning after their wedding, angry and disappointed with the person he had married? Did Bathsheba have a choice when she was called to King David’s quarters? What was it like for Esau to grow up without the love of his father Isaac?

Consider preaching from lesser-known passages like the rape of Tamar in 2 Samuel 13. In his book, Mending the Soul, Steven Tracy writes that “an incident in King David’s family gives a remarkable picture of dynamics of families in which abuse takes place. … [It] sheds light on the nature of abuse itself, particularly the dynamics of rape.” Many survivors of intra-familial abuse will resonate deeply with that ancient story, and it will help survivors feel understood.

Honor families thoughtfully

Because family is a God-ordained institution, the concept of family rightfully receives generous attention in churches. But for people who had abusive or dysfunctional families, the topic of family can be painful and distressing. There’s no need to avoid the topic, but go out of your way to be supportive of those who have had painful experiences by acknowledging the broad range of family experiences present in the congregation.

Last Mother’s Day our youth pastor stood up and performed a spoken word piece about motherhood. It honored mothers while also honoring the vast range of experiences regarding motherhood.

We are most often wounded in the context of relationship, and it is in relationship that we are healed.

The most powerful way to help survivors feel supported is through vulnerability. That doesn’t mean sharing your entire life story, but it does mean willingly sharing difficult aspects of your story with wisdom and discretion. Not everyone comes from a dysfunctional family, but many people in your congregation probably do.

Many forms of abuse come at the hands of family members, and survivors often feel torn between “honoring” their parents and speaking the truth about their experience. Following Jesus means prayerfully navigating the distance between oneself and a dysfunctional family. Support survivors of abuse by giving attention to the nuanced process of honoring parents in such situations.

Remember this: For survivors, God’s plan is a difficult subject

“I hate Jeremiah 29:11,” Isaac, who has endured painful experiences in life, says. “So many things in my life have been horrible, and it always forces me to ask, ‘God, is this what you had planned for me?’” Throughout history, the church has held a variety of opinions on freewill and God’s sovereignty. The theological concepts of freewill and God’s sovereignty take on new meaning in the face of tragedy or abuse.

Some people take comfort in the idea that God brought them through difficult circumstances to mold and form them. Others believe that abuse is completely the product of human free will and are uncomfortable with any attribution to God’s plan.

As survivors work through deep spiritual questions, allow space for those questions. The Bible is full of those who complained to, debated with, and wrestled with God. Psalms and Lamentations provide models for bringing our heartbreak to God.

Try to reflect an individual’s struggle back to them. Rather than providing a theological explanation of the difficulties, say things like, “It sounds like you are really struggling to see how God could let this happen.” Support survivors by affirming that working through questions is a crucial, difficult task.

Acknowledge the wounds left by sin

Trauma Informed Care is a set of practices used by many social work organizations. It is best summarized by shifting the question we ask survivors from “What’s wrong with you?” to “What happened to you?”

Theologian Pádraig Ó Tuama writes in his book, In the Shelter, “If we are to tell the story of sin, we must tell the story of the sin we live in, not just the sins we commit.” Abuse survivors in the church need to hear not only of a God who saves us from our sins but also from a world that is fallen and harmful. Abuse survivors yearn to know the God of Exodus 2:25 who “looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them.”

Not only does God see our sin, but he also sees the ways we have been hurt by others’ sin. He wants to heal and care for us just as a parent tenderly holds a tearful child who was bullied on the playground.

We are most often wounded in the context of relationship, and it is in relationship that we are healed. The church has an opportunity to bind up the brokenhearted, but it will require extra care. If pastors assume that some of the church’s congregants, if not most, have been impacted by trauma, they will find ways to make churches welcoming communities of safety and healing.

The personal stories in this article are representative of common experiences of abuse survivors in the church and are composed of a combination of individual experiences in order to protect privacy.

Krispin Mayfield has been helping abuse survivors work toward healing since 2007. He is a Licensed Professional Counselor and provides therapy to teens and adults in Portland, Oregon. He earned his undergraduate in Bible and theology, and masters of counseling at Multnomah University.


 
 
 Article #2
 

Wholly Dedicated

By Skip Heitzig

I'd bet that Leviticus probably isn't in your top five favorite books of the Bible, is it? It's packed full of regulations and messy, bloody rituals. But even though the practices of this book no longer have any bearing on us under the new covenant, its principles are still applicable. Today I want to look at part of the ordination service of Aaron and his sons, the first priests of Israel. I think we can learn a lot from it about how to live as God's people--especially since we're part of His priesthood (see 1 Peter 2:9-10).

In Leviticus 8:22-23, we read, "And [Moses] brought the second ram, the ram of consecration. Then Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the head of the ram, and Moses killed it. Also he took some of its blood and put it on the tip of Aaron's right ear, on the thumb of his right hand, and the big toe of his right foot," then doing the same with Aaron's sons (see v. 24).

Pretty strange, right? Well, the symbolism runs much deeper than that: the right side of a person was considered their dominant or best side. So in singling out the right ear, the right thumb, and the right foot, Aaron and his sons were essentially saying, "We're consecrating ourselves to hear God's word, do God's work, and walk in God's ways." The equivalent of this principle in the New Testament is found in Romans 12:1: "Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service."

Have you ever thought of the potential of a single human body dedicated wholly to the purpose and glory of God? Scripture is filled with stories of the Lord using different members of people's bodies. Take Moses' mouth, for example. He said, "My mouth is my least attractive asset; I stutter!" while God said, "I will use it. I will empower you to speak words before Pharaoh and speak forth My love to Israel." Moses' mouth by itself was not impressive, but that same mouth dedicated and surrendered to God was very impressive.

What about David's hands? Give a sling to that kid and he was a dead-on marksman for Goliath's forehead. And then there are Paul's feet. Over three missionary journeys, Paul brought the gospel from Jerusalem all the way to Rome. As Isaiah wrote, "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news" (Isaiah 52:7).

Now think of your life being the base of operations for God. The Bible says that you're the temple of the Holy Spirit (see 1 Corinthians 6:19). Think of what God could do through you if you woke up tomorrow and said, "Lord, here's my mouth, here are my feet, here are my hands--go for it. I want to see You use them."

As with Aaron and his sons, God does want to use you in this way. He doesn't just use preachers or people He calls into official ministry. If you are part of the priesthood of believers, you are in the ministry! Find out specifically what He has put before you to do, then use your body for His glory.

You need to understand what a privilege this is. God doesn't have to use us to get the job done. In fact, He would be better off if He didn't use us. So why does He? He likes to use the foolish things of this world (see 1 Corinthians 1:27) so that people see His work and say, "What a powerful, good God we serve!"

I encourage you to consecrate your whole self to the Lord today, letting Him use your mouth, your hands, and your feet like He did with Paul, David, Moses, and Aaron and his sons.What an incredible thing that He is pleased to choose such weak instruments for His glory!


  

 

 Article #3
 
 
Making a List and Checking It Twice
Amy Carroll
AMY CARROLL

November 17, 2017

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“Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” Luke 1:45 (NIV)

Recently I did an inventory of all the lists for Thanksgiving and Christmas preparation that I had around my house.

Devotion Graphic

There’s a huge grocery list for family meals and a list of upcoming events on my calendar. There’s a list of travel-planning tasks and one for gifts to buy for December. A list of family to contact for visits and another for Christmas card addresses. There’s a list of holiday movies to watch and a prayer list of people with big needs this time of year. November and December send this list-making girl into overdrive!

There’s so much to be done this time of year, and it’s easy to become overly task-driven. I can’t seem to resist the exciting “check!” that goes onto my list when something’s complete.

Finishing a task gives me a little rush … but it’s just temporary. Almost any task we can list — a project at work, laundry, shopping, cooking, cleaning the toilet — must be done and redone. As soon as one list is finished, another list begins. This time of year it’s important to remind ourselves that completed tasks may hype us up, but they don’t fill us up. People fill us up.

If I’m not very careful, I begin to believe the opposite, and my people get reduced to obstacles to my tasks. Instead, I want to be more like Jesus who connected with people wherever He went.

In Jesus’ economy, people always take priority over tasks.

Jesus was never too busy for people. He hung out with fishermen and visited the homes of friends. He stopped to touch lepers, dine with tax collectors and teach women. Jesus was an extraordinary example of accomplishing His mission while prioritizing the people He came to serve.

I have people in my life I’m called to serve, too. There’s my husband who needs me to close my computer and give him a true welcome when he returns home. There are my sons who still need their mama to listen to their stories of the day at work or college, even though they tower over me now instead of sitting on my lap. Some days a hurting friend needs me to put my preparations aside to give her my full attention as we move through this wonderful but busy holiday season.

So even though some days it feels like I’m being pulled in a million directions, I want to let Jesus set my priorities, and He’s made them really clear.

In John 13:34-35, Jesus’ message is plain: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Love one another.

There will never be enough hours in the day to complete all our tasks, but the question becomes how we’ll prioritize our seconds, minutes, hours, days and years. It’s easy to think, I just don’t have time to … sit and listen, stop to play, pause to put on a band aid, love. The truth is that we don’t have a time problem, we have a focus problem.

The way we spend our time reveals our true priorities.

In the end, I don’t want to be known for completing my lists. I want to be known for loving God and others well. As the most wonderful time of the year approaches, let’s adjust our focus. Let’s set time aside for needed tasks, but as we follow Jesus, let’s learn to prioritize people, letting “Love one another” top every list we write. Checking that one first will be the most satisfying “check” ever!

Dear Lord, my plate is overflowing, and all that needs to be done is overwhelming. Instead of losing myself in tasks this holiday season, let me pour myself into people. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

Truth For Today

1 Peter 1:22, “Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.” (NIV)

 
A Physician Analyzes the Crucifixion

A medical explanation of what Jesus endured on the day He died
by Dr. C. Truman Davis

Several years ago I became interested in the physical aspects of the passion, or suffering, of Jesus Christ when I read an account of the crucifixion in Jim Bishop's book, The Day Christ Died. I suddenly realized that I had taken the crucifixion more or less for granted all these years - that I had grown callous to its horror by a too-easy familiarity with the grim details. It finally occurred to me that, as a physician, I did not even know the actual immediate cause of Christ's death. The gospel writers do not help much on this point. Since crucifixion and scourging were so common during their lifetimes, they undoubtedly considered a detailed description superfluous. For that reason we have only the concise words of the evangelists: "Pilate, having scourged Jesus, delivered Him to them to be crucified ... and they crucified Him."

Despite the gospel accounts' silence on the details of Christ's crucifixion, many have looked into this subject in the past. In my personal study of the event from a medical viewpoint, I am indebted especially to Dr. Pierre Barbet, a French surgeon who did exhaustive historical and experimental research and wrote extensively on the topic.

An attempt to examine the infinite psychic and spiritual suffering of the Incarnate1 God in atonement2 for the sins of fallen man is beyond the scope of this article. However, the physiological and anatomical aspects of our Lord's passion we can examine in some detail. What did the body of Jesus of Nazareth actually endure during those hours of torture?

Gethsemane

The physical passion of Christ began in Gethsemane. Of the many aspects of His initial suffering, the one which is of particular physiological interest is the bloody sweat. Interestingly enough, the physician, St. Luke, is the only evangelist to mention this occurrence. He says, "And being in an agony, he prayed the longer. And his sweat became as drops of blood, trickling down upon the ground" (Luke 22:44 KJV).

Every attempt imaginable has been used by modern scholars to explain away the phenomenon of bloody sweat, apparently under the mistaken impression that it simply does not occur. A great deal of effort could be saved by consulting the medical literature. Though very rare, the phenomenon of hematidrosis, or bloody sweat, is well documented. Under great emotional stress, tiny capillaries in the sweat glands can break, thus mixing blood with sweat. This process alone could have produced marked weakness and possible shock.

Although Jesus' betrayal and arrest are important portions of the passion story, the next event in the account which is significant from a medical perspective is His trial before the Sanhedrin and Caiaphas, the High Priest. Here the first physical trauma was inflicted. A soldier struck Jesus across the face for remaining silent when questioned by Caiaphas. The palace guards then blindfolded Him, mockingly taunted Him to identify them as each passed by, spat on Him, and struck Him in the face.

Before Pilate

In the early morning, battered and bruised, dehydrated, and worn out from a sleepless night, Jesus was taken across Jerusalem to the Praetorium of the Fortress Antonia, the seat of government of the Procurator of Judea, Pontius Pilate. We are familiar with Pilate's action in attempting to shift responsibility to Herod Antipas, the Tetrarch of Judea. Jesus apparently suffered no physical mistreatment at the hands of Herod and was returned to Pilate. It was then, in response to the outcry of the mob, that Pilate ordered Barabbas released and condemned Jesus to scourging and crucifixion.

Preparations for Jesus' scourging were carried out at Caesar's orders. The prisoner was stripped of His clothing and His hands tied to a post above His head. The Roman legionnaire stepped forward with the flagrum, or flagellum, in his hand. This was a short whip consisting of several heavy, leather thongs with two small balls of lead attached near the ends of each. The heavy whip was brought down with full force again and again across Jesus' shoulders, back, and legs. At first the weighted thongs cut through the skin only. Then, as the blows continued, they cut deeper into the subcutaneous tissues, producing first an oozing of blood from the capillaries and veins of the skin and finally spurting arterial bleeding from vessels in the underlying muscles.

The small balls of lead first produced large deep bruises that were broken open by subsequent blows. Finally, the skin of the back was hanging in long ribbons, and the entire area was an unrecognizable mass of torn, bleeding tissue. When it was determined by the centurion in charge that the prisoner was near death, the beating was finally stopped.

Mockery

The half-fainting Jesus was then untied and allowed to slump to the stone pavement, wet with his own blood. The Roman soldiers saw a great joke in this provincial Jew claiming to be a king. They threw a robe across His shoulders and placed a stick in His hand for a scepter. They still needed a crown to make their travesty complete. Small flexible branches covered with long thorns, commonly used for kindling fires in the charcoal braziers in the courtyard, were plaited into the shape of a crude crown. The crown was pressed into his scalp and again there was copious bleeding as the thorns pierced the very vascular tissue. After mocking Him and striking Him across the face, the soldiers took the stick from His hand and struck Him across the head, driving the thorns deeper into His scalp. Finally, they tired of their sadistic sport and tore the robe from His back. The robe had already become adherent to the clots of blood and serum in the wounds, and its removal, just as in the careless removal of a surgical bandage, caused excruciating pain. The wounds again began to bleed.

Golgotha

In deference to Jewish custom, the Romans apparently returned His garments. The heavy patibulum3 of the cross was tied across His shoulders. The procession of the condemned Christ, two thieves, and the execution detail of Roman soldiers headed by a centurion began its slow journey along the route which we know today as the Via Dolorosa.

In spite of Jesus' efforts to walk erect, the weight of the heavy wooden beam, together with the shock produced by copious loss of blood, was too much. He stumbled and fell. The rough wood of the beam gouged into the lacerated skin and muscles of the shoulders. He tried to rise, but human muscles had been pushed beyond their endurance. The centurion, anxious to proceed with the crucifixion, selected a stalwart North African onlooker, Simon of Cyrene, to carry the cross. Jesus followed, still bleeding and sweating the cold, clammy sweat of shock. The 650-yard journey from the Fortress Antonia to Golgotha was finally completed. The prisoner was again stripped of His clothing except for a loin cloth which was allowed the Jews.

The crucifixion began. Jesus was offered wine mixed with myrrh, a mild analgesic, pain-reliving mixture. He refused the drink. Simon was ordered to place the patibulum on the ground, and Jesus was quickly thrown backward, with His shoulders against the wood. The legionnaire felt for the depression at the front of the wrist. He drove a heavy, square wrought-iron nail through the wrist and deep into the wood. Quickly, he moved to the other side and repeated the action, being careful not to pull the arms too tightly, but to allow some flexion and movement. The patibulum was then lifted into place at the top of the stipes4, and the titulus5 reading "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews" was nailed into place.

The left foot was pressed backward against the right foot. With both feet extended, toes down, a nail was driven through the arch of each, leaving the knees moderately flexed. The victim was now crucified.

On the Cross

As Jesus slowly sagged down with more weight on the nails in the wrists, excruciating, fiery pain shot along the fingers and up the arms to explode in the brain. The nails in the wrists were putting pressure on the median nerve, large nerve trunks which traverse the mid-wrist and hand. As He pushed himself upward to avoid this stretching torment, He placed His full weight on the nail through His feet. Again there was searing agony as the nail tore through the nerves between the metatarsal bones of this feet.

At this point, another phenomenon occurred. As the arms fatigued, great waves of cramps swept over the muscles, knotting them in deep relentless, throbbing pain. With these cramps came the inability to push Himself upward. Hanging by the arm, the pectoral muscles, the large muscles of the chest, were paralyzed and the intercostal muscles, the small muscles between the ribs, were unable to act. Air could be drawn into the lungs, but could not be exhaled. Jesus fought to raise Himself in order to get even one short breath. Finally, the carbon dioxide level increased in the lungs and in the blood stream, and the cramps partially subsided.

The Last Words

Spasmodically, He was able to push Himself upward to exhale and bring in life-giving oxygen. It was undoubtedly during these periods that He uttered the seven short sentences that are recorded.

The first - looking down at the Roman soldiers throwing dice6 for His seamless garment: "Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do."

The second - to the penitent thief7: "Today, thou shalt be with me in Paradise."

The third - looking down at Mary His mother, He said: "Woman, behold your son." Then turning to the terrified, grief-stricken adolescent John , the beloved apostle, He said: "Behold your mother."8

The fourth cry is from the beginning of Psalm 22: "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?"

He suffered hours of limitless pain, cycles of twisting, joint-rending cramps, intermittent partial asphyxiation, and searing pain as tissue was torn from His lacerated back from His movement up and down against the rough timbers of the cross. Then another agony began: a deep crushing pain in the chest as the pericardium, the sac surrounding the heart, slowly filled with serum and began to compress the heart.

The prophecy in Psalm 22:14 was being fulfilled: "I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint, my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels."

The end was rapidly approaching. The loss of tissue fluids had reached a critical level; the compressed heart was struggling to pump heavy, thick, sluggish blood to the tissues, and the tortured lungs were making a frantic effort to inhale small gulps of air. The markedly dehydrated tissues sent their flood of stimuli to the brain. Jesus gasped His fifth cry: "I thirst." Again we read in the prophetic psalm: "My strength is dried up like a potsherd; my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou has brought me into the dust of death" (Psalm 22:15 KJV).

A sponge soaked in posca, the cheap, sour wine that was the staple drink of the Roman legionnaires, was lifted to Jesus' lips. His body was now in extremis, and He could feel the chill of death creeping through His tissues. This realization brought forth His sixth word, possibly little more than a tortured whisper: "It is finished." His mission of atonement9 had been completed. Finally, He could allow His body to die. With one last surge of strength, He once again pressed His torn feet against the nail, straightened His legs, took a deeper breath, and uttered His seventh and last cry: "Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit."

Death

The common method of ending a crucifixion was by crurifracture, the breaking of the bones of the leg. This prevented the victim from pushing himself upward; the tension could not be relieved from the muscles of the chest, and rapid suffocation occurred. The legs of the two thieves were broken, but when the soldiers approached Jesus, they saw that this was unnecessary.

Apparently, to make doubly sure of death, the legionnaire drove his lance between the ribs, upward through the pericardium and into the heart. John 19:34 states, "And immediately there came out blood and water." Thus there was an escape of watery fluid from the sac surrounding the heart and the blood of the interior of the heart. This is rather conclusive post-mortem evidence that Jesus died, not the usual crucifixion death by suffocation, but of heart failure due to shock and constriction of the heart by fluid in the pericardium.

Resurrection

In these events, we have seen a glimpse of the epitome of evil that man can exhibit toward his fellowman and toward God. This is an ugly sight and is likely to leave us despondent and depressed.

But the crucifixion was not the end of the story. How grateful we can be that we have a sequel: a glimpse of the infinite mercy of God toward man--the gift of atonement, the miracle of the resurrection, and the expectation of Easter morning.

1 Incarnate
2 Atonement
3 Horizontal portion of the cross
4 Vertical portion of the cross
5 Small sign stating the victim's crime
6 Gambling
7 The one who felt remorse for his sins and asked Jesus to help him.
8 As Jesus was dying, He gave his trusted friend responsibility for the care of His mother.
9 Taking our place by suffering the death penalty for our sin.

Dr. C. Truman Davis is a graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Medicine. He is a practicing ophthalmologist, a pastor, and author of a book about medicine and the Bible.

Editors' note: If Jesus had remained dead, Christianity would be nothing but an empty promise. But three days after His death, He rose again from the dead. This is the miracle of resurrection, which is what Christians celebrate at Easter. To learn more about the resurrection, read John chapters 20 and 21.