Crossroads Connection for the Week of August 19
 
 
Article #1
 

Hospitality in Becoming a Servant

By Lloyd Wicker

Scripture Reading: John 13:1-17

“Now that I . . . have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.”
John 13:14-15

In our culture today, we don’t have an automatic equivalent to Jesus’ instruction to wash one another’s feet. But we can figure out that it’s mainly about showing hospitality and serving one another.

The roads of Palestine were unpaved, and with sandals as the common footwear, people’s feet would get really dirty—sometimes caked with dust and mud. As a result, before you entered someone’s home, a servant would come with a pitcher of water and a towel and wash your feet. It was a customary act of hospitality—like someone offering to hang up your coat and scarf on a cold day as you entered their warm home.

On the night of the last supper, Jesus took the role of a servant as he got up from the meal and began washing his disciple’s feet. In doing this, Jesus was teaching his disciples an important spiritual principle. We come to Jesus with nothing of our own, and we must receive from him and be ministered to by him before we have anything to give. Then, having been served, we go and do the same, sharing with others the fullness that God has poured into our hearts.

In this example, Jesus provided a profound symbol of his call to servanthood. Following him is not about position, power, or prestige. We serve because Christ has served us first.

Father, help us to see that your Son, by kneeling at our feet, has done everything for us. Enable us to find joy and fulfillment in serving others as we have been served by you. Amen.

 

 

Article #2 

Vested Interests

"When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed" (Neh 4:1).

Leaders who attempt something greater than themselves will always get attacked and it often comes from those who have a vested interest in what you are changing. Nehemiah was rebuilding the ancient wall of Jerusalem. It was a major undertaking. Not everyone was pleased with this initiative. Sanballat, another government worker, did not want this to happen.

When Jesus began confronting the Pharisees about religious traditions, He was attacked by the religious establishment because they had a vested interest that would be negatively impacted by His teaching. The apostle Paul confronted a religious tradition that generated income for those in the trade. Opposition arose because he was impacting a vested interest.

"About that time there arose a great disturbance about the Way. A silversmith named Demetrius, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought in no little business for the craftsmen. He called them together, along with the workmen in related trades, and said: "Men, you know we receive a good income from this business. And you see and hear how this fellow Paul has convinced and led astray large numbers of people here in Ephesus and in practically the whole province of Asia. He says that man-made gods are no gods at all. There is danger not only that our trade will lose its good name, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be discredited, and the goddess herself, who is worshiped throughout the province of Asia and the world, will be robbed of her divine majesty" (Acts 19:23-27) .

Whenever you introduce a new product into the market, expect opposition from competitive products that have a vested interest. If God leads you to initiate a cause greater than yourself, expect opposition from those who may have vested interest.

 

Article #3
 

How Do You Use God's Name?

By Skip Heitzig

The third of the Ten Commandments, found in Exodus 20:7, tells us how to worship the right God the right way, even down to the use and mention of His name: "You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain."

What does that mean for us today? To use God's name in vain is to empty it of its value and meaning, or to use it in a way that's not true to His character, reputation, or authority. Basically, the name of God should not be uttered, written, or sung in any kind of empty, frivolous, or insincere way.

I think some people have trouble with this commandment--"What's the big deal? They're just words"--but it's actually very important. In fact, everything we say is important, because, as Jesus put it, "Out of the abundance of the heart [the] mouth speaks" (Luke 6:45; see also Matthew 12:36-37). In other words, your mouth is a barometer of your heart.

Now, even if you don't say things like "Oh my God" or "Jesus Christ" in a defaming way, did you know there are other ways you can take the Lord's name in vain? For example, using His name lightly. I cringe when people tell me, "God told me such-and-such." I know God can speak, but there are a lot of times when I'm not even sure God spoke to me. What if it was just that late-night burrito with onions? Then you just took the name of God in vain.

You can also take God's name in vain through profanity, where you use His name in a coarse manner, like asking Him to damn something or someone. Invoking God to doom someone to destruction does not represent His character, reputation, or authority. It's not His heart. He isn't about condemning people; He's about saving people (see John 3:17; 2 Peter 3:9).

Another way you can take God's name in vain is through hypocrisy. This is when people take on the name of God, saying, "I'm a Christian," but it's a profession without a practice, words without a walk. These are people whose actions cancel out their words (see Matthew 7:21-23).

When Jesus taught us to pray, He said, "In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name" (Matthew 6:9). In other words, the first concern you should have is for the character, reputation, and authority of God to be highly esteemed. You've got His name. What are you doing with it?

Copyright (c) 2018 by Connection Communications. All rights reserved.


 
Article #4
   

Just A Little Sin?
Lysa TerKeurst
LYSA TERKEURST

“Joseph went after his brothers and found them near Dothan. But they saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him.” Genesis 37:17b-18 (NIV)

Today, there will be a moment. No one will snap a picture of it. It probably won't make it into the journals of those who journal. Or linger in the thoughts we carry with us to sleep tonight.

Devotion Graphic

It will come.

It will go.

It will slip by seemingly unnoticed. But its effects won't slip. They'll stay. And if fostered, grow to epic proportions.

This moment where something creeps into our heart and pulls our focus from right to wrong. It will be just a hint of distortion. The smallest amount. But a slight and seemingly insignificant amount of skewed thought will take root.

And grow.

Beyond what we can even imagine.

Which brings us to one of my favorite stories in the Bible. The one where Moses goes to Pharaoh and sings that song, "Oh, Pharaoh, Pharaoh, whoa, whoa, gotta let my people go."

Totally a loose translation, but if you’ve ever attended vacation Bible school as a child, you probably know what I'm talking about.

There's an astounding chain of events that led up to God having to deliver His people from Pharaoh’s fierce grip that I want us to trace and consider. It starts with this question: Why was the entire nation of Israelites — all God's people — all 12 tribes — enslaved in Egypt?

As I trace this story backward, I find it's because of one seemingly insignificant moment.

The course of history was changed because a few family members got a little cranky and a little jealous of their brother Joseph. Envy and anger slipped in. Just a hint. But just enough.

It doesn't take much.

Our key verse reveals the moment the seed of jealousy bloomed into a full blown plan: "Joseph went after his brothers and found them near Dothan. But they saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him" (Genesis 37:17b-18).

Joseph was thrown in a pit and eventually sold as a slave.

Years went by.

Years of heartbreak and confusion passed.

Eventually, Joseph landed in a position of great power in Egypt and had authority to provide food for his family. So, all 11 of his brothers and their families moved to Egypt. Joseph and his 11 brothers make up what became the 12 tribes of Israel. As these tribes multiplied, they became the nation of Israel.

What the brothers meant for evil, God used for good. He saved the Israelites from the famine. But there were still lasting effects of the brothers' choices that came out years later.

After Joseph died, “Then a new king, to whom Joseph meant nothing, came to power in Egypt. ‘Look,’ he said to his people, ‘the Israelites have become far too numerous for us. Come, we must deal shrewdly with them or they will become even more numerous and, if war breaks out, will join our enemies, fight against us and leave the country.’ So they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor, and they built Pithom and Rameses as store cities for Pharaoh” (Exodus 1:8-11, NIV).

So, the entire nation of Israel suffered oppression and slavery for centuries. Why?

Because a few brothers on an ordinary day got a little jealous … and allowed anger and envy to slip in.

And the moment these emotions slipped in, the course of history changed.

In a moment.

May we never assume our moments don't matter. The decisions we make every second of every day matter.

There are no little moments or little sins.

There’s a domino effect to it all.

So, I fall hard upon soft grace. I thank God for this realization. I ask Him to make my soul even more sensitive, more aware, more in tune to my constant need for forgiveness.

Though I’m weak, I walk in the strength of utter dependence.

And I refuse to beat myself up for mistakes made yesterday. Today is a new day. A new chance to set things going in a different direction.

Joseph's brothers had years to try and rescue Joseph — find out where he was — help him — set their past mistakes right.

Years. They had years. But they never did set about to turn things around.

Oh, sweet sister, we can’t let today slip by.

Moments matter.

Let’s watch for any moment today where we have the choice to let anger, envy or something else negative slip in. And when one shows up, let’s recognize it. Refute it. And replace it with God's spirit of love.

Dear Lord, You made me. You know me. I need Your help where I am weak. Make me aware of any place where I'm off course today. Give me the desire to do what pleases You. I want to do Your will. In Jesus' Name, Amen.


Truth For Today

James 3:16, "For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice." (NIV)

 
 Article #5
 

The 4 Biggest Blind Spots of Churches

church blind spots face cover eye

Mystery Guests Share What Keeps Them From Coming Back

By Aaron Wilson

As churches drift into ministry routines, it can be easy to overlook blind spots—aspects of the church service or culture that keep guests from returning.

For this reason, the company Faith Perceptions sends mystery guests to churches to help them see their service through the eyes of a visitor and understand what can be improved so guests will be more likely to return.

“We send real people from the church’s mission field—people who aren’t regularly attending church anywhere—to visit and share feedback on their experience,” says Melanie Smollen, founder and president of Faith Perceptions, whose company has now deployed mystery guests to more than 10,000 worship services across the nation.

With over a decade of experience reporting feedback from church mystery visits, Smollen met with Fact & Trends to share four of the biggest blind spots churches face while striving to make an impression on guests.

Blind Spot #1: Friendliness Is Enough

Churches who think they’re the friendliest church in town are often surprised to discover otherwise from mystery guests’ feedback, Smollen says.

Such churches may have an extremely close-knit bond between long-standing members, but that friendliness doesn’t always translate into reaching out to guests.

And even when guests do experience friendliness, that alone isn’t enough to drive them back the next week, Faith Perception reports.

“We hear guests say, ‘The church was really friendly, but that wasn’t enough of a reason for me to want to come back,’” Smollen says. “There are a lot of friendly, dying churches out there.”

Smollen says a church’s friendliness is important, but that guests are also looking for things like a good worship experience, faith formation opportunities, a healthy kids ministry, and opportunities to engage in activities that do good for the world.

If your church offers these things, make a point to communicate it from the stage, via church signage, and on the church’s website.

“People who regularly attend may be aware the church offers Sunday School, kid’s ministry, or a Bible study throughout the week,” Smollen says. “But a real blind spot for churches is to assume guests know about these things when it may not be listed on the church website or anywhere else.”

Takeaway: Don’t derive false security from overused superlatives like “we’re the friendliest church in town.” Use all the tools at your disposal—physical and digital—to communicate a holistic vision of what your church offers to guests.

Blind Spot #2: We Follow Up, Right?

“First impressions are really important,” Smollen says. “But what I see churches fail to do is focus on what happens after the service.”

Smollen calls this “farewell ministry”—what happens after the church service and during follow-up. Faith Perceptions did a yearlong study on what happened after guests voluntarily left their contact information with churches.

The results proved sobering.

“Out of the guests we surveyed who left their contact information, only 24 percent received follow-up,” she says. In other words, these churches squandered 3 out of every 4 of the visitor leads they worked so hard to collect.

The simple solution for churches to overcome this blind spot related to follow-up is to follow Nike’s advice: just do it! Follow up with your follow-up ministry to make sure visitor opportunities aren’t falling through the cracks.

Smollen also encourages churches to avoid passing around sign-in books during service. Guests have reported this makes them feel uncomfortable since it’s presented as mandatory and makes their personal information available to everyone who touches the book after them.

Instead, Smollen recommends churches use voluntary connect cards guests can fill out and drop off in the offering plate or welcome table. Consider offering an incentive such as the church giving $5 to a charity for every connect card turned in. Allow guests to select a charity from a list presented on the card.

Not only are you helping them to connect with you, but this also lets them make an impact in the community.

Takeaway: Collect visitors’ contact information in a non-threatening manner. Then, let your “yes be yes” by actually following up with guests.

Blind Spot #3: Age Diversity Doesn’t Matter

“One thing that surprises a lot of people we work with is to learn that if the church lacks age diversity, people aren’t likely to return,” Smollen says.

Although the local church should be made up of people from all walks of life, guest feedback reveals visitors want to be part of a church that has a representation of people their same age.

This can be intimidating for churches that skew heavily in one age demographic, as it’s not something that’s easy to remedy overnight. However, Smollen says age diversity is attainable for churches that are willing to put intentional effort into outreach.

“The majority of churches we work with think they’re doing outreach, but what they’re actually doing is more related to giving,” Smollen says.

“We call this transactional outreach—meaning churches are opening their wallets and donating a lot, but they’re not connecting with the people they’re trying to reach,” she says, pointing out Jesus had meals with many He was evangelizing.

“If we have a canned food drive or drop backpacks off at a school, but never really meet or engage the people we’re trying to help, then all we’re doing is conducting a transaction,” she says. “It takes a lot of courage to change the DNA of a church and to do something different.”

Blind Spot #4: People Know Us in the Community

As part of the church mystery guest experience, Faith Perceptions sends visitors to local stops located within the mission field of the church—locations like gas stations—to ask directions to the church.

“Often, a church will think they’re well-known in their city, only to discover that’s not the case,” Smollen says.

Churches can increase their footprint in the community by having helpful signage, leveraging their church building during the week to bless the community, working with local schools, and participating in community events.

Takeaway: Even if you’re an established church, don’t assume people know about you. Strategize ways to be proactively visible within the community.

Faith Perceptions’ mystery guest program measures 14 categories that are important in a guest’s experience. Learn more at FaithPerceptions.com.

 

 

 
 
A Physician Analyzes the Crucifixion

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

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

Despitethe gospel accounts' silence on the details of Christ's crucifixion, many havelooked into this subject in the past. In my personal study of the event from amedical viewpoint, I am indebted especially to Dr. Pierre Barbet, a Frenchsurgeon who did exhaustive historical and experimental research and wroteextensively on the topic.

Anattempt to examine the infinite psychic and spiritual suffering of theIncarnate1 God in atonement2 for the sins of fallen man is beyond the scope ofthis article. However, the physiological and anatomical aspects of our Lord'spassion we can examine in some detail. What did the body of Jesus of Nazarethactually endure during those hours of torture?

Gethsemane

Thephysical passion of Christ began in Gethsemane. Of the many aspects of Hisinitial suffering, the one which is of particular physiological interest is thebloody sweat. Interestingly enough, the physician, St. Luke, is the onlyevangelist to mention this occurrence. He says, "And being in an agony, heprayed the longer. And his sweat became as drops of blood, trickling down uponthe ground" (Luke 22:44 KJV).

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

AlthoughJesus' betrayal and arrest are important portions of the passion story, thenext event in the account which is significant from a medical perspective isHis trial before the Sanhedrin and Caiaphas, the High Priest. Here the firstphysical trauma was inflicted. A soldier struck Jesus across the face forremaining silent when questioned by Caiaphas. The palace guards thenblindfolded Him, mockingly taunted Him to identify them as each passed by, spaton Him, and struck Him in the face.

BeforePilate

Inthe early morning, battered and bruised, dehydrated, and worn out from asleepless night, Jesus was taken across Jerusalem to the Praetorium of theFortress Antonia, the seat of government of the Procurator of Judea, PontiusPilate. We are familiar with Pilate's action in attempting to shiftresponsibility to Herod Antipas, the Tetrarch of Judea. Jesus apparentlysuffered no physical mistreatment at the hands of Herod and was returned toPilate. It was then, in response to the outcry of the mob, that Pilate orderedBarabbas released and condemned Jesus to scourging and crucifixion.

Preparationsfor Jesus' scourging were carried out at Caesar's orders. The prisoner wasstripped of His clothing and His hands tied to a post above His head. The Romanlegionnaire stepped forward with the flagrum, or flagellum, in his hand. Thiswas a short whip consisting of several heavy, leather thongs with two smallballs of lead attached near the ends of each. The heavy whip was brought downwith full force again and again across Jesus' shoulders, back, and legs. Atfirst the weighted thongs cut through the skin only. Then, as the blowscontinued, they cut deeper into the subcutaneous tissues, producing first anoozing of blood from the capillaries and veins of the skin and finally spurtingarterial bleeding from vessels in the underlying muscles.

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

Mockery

Thehalf-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 provincialJew claiming to be a king. They threw a robe across His shoulders and placed astick in His hand for a scepter. They still needed a crown to make theirtravesty complete. Small flexible branches covered with long thorns, commonlyused for kindling fires in the charcoal braziers in the courtyard, were plaitedinto the shape of a crude crown. The crown was pressed into his scalp and againthere was copious bleeding as the thorns pierced the very vascular tissue.After mocking Him and striking Him across the face, the soldiers took the stickfrom His hand and struck Him across the head, driving the thorns deeper intoHis scalp. Finally, they tired of their sadistic sport and tore the robe fromHis back. The robe had already become adherent to the clots of blood and serumin the wounds, and its removal, just as in the careless removal of a surgicalbandage, caused excruciating pain. The wounds again began to bleed.

Golgotha

Indeference to Jewish custom, the Romans apparently returned His garments. Theheavy patibulum3 of the cross was tied across His shoulders. The procession ofthe condemned Christ, two thieves, and the execution detail of Roman soldiersheaded by a centurion began its slow journey along the route which we knowtoday as the Via Dolorosa.

Inspite 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. Hestumbled and fell. The rough wood of the beam gouged into the lacerated skinand muscles of the shoulders. He tried to rise, but human muscles had beenpushed beyond their endurance. The centurion, anxious to proceed with the crucifixion,selected a stalwart North African onlooker, Simon of Cyrene, to carry thecross. Jesus followed, still bleeding and sweating the cold, clammy sweat ofshock. The 650-yard journey from the Fortress Antonia to Golgotha was finallycompleted. The prisoner was again stripped of His clothing except for a loincloth which was allowed the Jews.

Thecrucifixion began. Jesus was offered wine mixed with myrrh, a mild analgesic,pain-reliving mixture. He refused the drink. Simon was ordered to place the patibulumon the ground, and Jesus was quickly thrown backward, with His shouldersagainst the wood. The legionnaire felt for the depression at the front of thewrist. He drove a heavy, square wrought-iron nail through the wrist and deepinto 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 andmovement. The patibulum was then lifted into place at the top of the stipes4,and the titulus5 reading "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews" wasnailed into place.

Theleft 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 kneesmoderately flexed. The victim was now crucified.

On the Cross

AsJesus 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 inthe 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 himselfupward to avoid this stretching torment, He placed His full weight on the nailthrough His feet. Again there was searing agony as the nail tore through thenerves between the metatarsal bones of this feet.

Atthis point, another phenomenon occurred. As the arms fatigued, great waves ofcramps swept over the muscles, knotting them in deep relentless, throbbingpain. With these cramps came the inability to push Himself upward. Hanging bythe arm, the pectoral muscles, the large muscles of the chest, were paralyzedand the intercostal muscles, the small muscles between the ribs, were unable toact. Air could be drawn into the lungs, but could not be exhaled. Jesus foughtto raise Himself in order to get even one short breath. Finally, the carbondioxide level increased in the lungs and in the blood stream, and the crampspartially subsided.

The LastWords

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 shortsentences that are recorded.

Thefirst - looking down at the Romansoldiers throwing dice6 for His seamless garment: "Father, forgive themfor they do not know what they do."

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

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

Thefourth cry is from the beginning ofPsalm 22: "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?"

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

Theprophecy 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 themidst of my bowels."

Theend was rapidly approaching. The loss of tissue fluids had reached a criticallevel; the compressed heart was struggling to pump heavy, thick, sluggish bloodto the tissues, and the tortured lungs were making a frantic effort to inhalesmall gulps of air. The markedly dehydrated tissues sent their flood of stimulito the brain. Jesus gasped His fifthcry: "I thirst." Again we read in the prophetic psalm: "Mystrength is dried up like a potsherd; my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thouhas brought me into the dust of death" (Psalm 22:15 KJV).

Asponge soaked in posca, the cheap, sour wine that was the staple drink of theRoman legionnaires, was lifted to Jesus' lips. His body was now in extremis,and He could feel the chill of death creeping through His tissues. Thisrealization brought forth His sixthword, possibly little more than a tortured whisper: "It is finished."His mission of atonement9 had been completed. Finally, He could allow His bodyto die. With one last surge of strength, He once again pressed His torn feetagainst 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

Thecommon method of ending a crucifixion was by crurifracture, the breaking of thebones of the leg. This prevented the victim from pushing himself upward; the tensioncould not be relieved from the muscles of the chest, and rapid suffocationoccurred. The legs of the two thieves were broken, but when the soldiersapproached 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, "Andimmediately there came out blood and water." Thus there was an escape ofwatery fluid from the sac surrounding the heart and the blood of the interiorof the heart. This is rather conclusive post-mortem evidence that Jesus died,not the usual crucifixion death by suffocation, but of heart failure due toshock and constriction of the heart by fluid in the pericardium.

Resurrection

Inthese events, we have seen a glimpse of the epitome of evil that man canexhibit toward his fellowman and toward God. This is an ugly sight and islikely to leave us despondent and depressed.

Butthe crucifixion was not the end of the story. How grateful we can be that wehave a sequel: a glimpse of the infinite mercy of God toward man--the gift ofatonement, the miracle of the resurrection, and the expectation of Eastermorning.

1Incarnate
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 ofHis 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 ofMedicine. He is a practicing ophthalmologist, a pastor, and author of a bookabout medicine and the Bible.

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