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The Scandal of the Christ

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When Mel Gibson's controversial film, The Passion of the Christ was released in 2004, millions of people were exposed to the brutality of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ—many for the very first time. While most reviewers criticized the movie for its explicit violence and graphic depictions of Christ's last few horrific hours before his execution, these same reviewers completely missed the significance of what they were witnessing. The death of Christ is the single most important event in world history, short of the resurrection. The beating, scorn, and scandal that Jesus Christ received was meant for us. Our sin sent Him to the cross. Our sin requires blood atonement. Our sin requires human sacrifice. Our sin requires death. And our sin has been paid for; Jesus Christ died that we may live.

As we approach Holy Week and the celebration of Christ’s death and resurrection, there is no better time to reflect on the suffering of our Lord. Died He for Me: A Physician's View of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ is a powerful book that examines the crucifixion and succeeds in making a well-known event seem new. Though definitely not light reading this is a timely book to read and reflect on. Easter, like so many other important Christian holidays, has become commercialized and trivialized almost beyond recognition. It is important that we as Christians remember the gravity of sin and its awful consequences.

Dr. Mark Marinella speaks from a unique perspective as a medical doctor; his insights into the suffering of Christ are humbling and thought-provoking. "They placed a makeshift robe and crown on Him and ridiculed Him by sarcastically paying 'homage.' Often, when we as humans are physically weakened, we are more vulnerable to external stresses, such as unkind words or daily troubles. Since Jesus was fully human, this ridicule by the soldiers and onlookers only added to His suffering in a time of great physical abuse." It’s hard to imagine that Jesus would submit to such treatment from his own creation!

More than just a collection of medical facts, the book also contains helpful historical and cultural information coupled with sobering spiritual insights. For example, we learn that "the word Gethsemane means 'oil press' referring to the pressing of oil from the olive crop. Indeed, Jesus, like an olive, would be squeezed and pressed by the Roman soldiers, and His blood would later seep out of His body like the oil out of an olive when pressed." Colossians 1:16-17 tells us that all things—in heaven and on earth—were created through and for Jesus Himself, so we can be confident that these minor details matter; they are not trivial facts or mere coincidences.

The author ties in prophecies regarding the crucifixion from throughout the Old Testament; many of which you rarely hear mentioned. Since Jesus is the fulfillment and focus of the entire Bible, we should not be surprised to find Him everywhere in the Scriptures, including the Old Testament. Dr. Marinella reminds his readers of the Passover, an event that holds extreme importance and prophetic significance for the earthly mininstry of Jesus Christ. "With regard to the Passover lamb, Exodus 12:46 states: 'do not break any of the bones...' These verses foreshadow that Christ died without His bones being broken."

Died He for Me is an excellent book to go through as a family or individual. Although we tend to think more about the death and resurrection of Christ during this period of the Church calendar, we should be thinking more about it all year round. Sparing our children (or ourselves) of the gruesome details of the cross does not help us to have a biblical view of our sin. Our sin separates us from the One who created us. Without a proper view of how our sin has damaged our relationship with God, we can never have a proper view of the steps He took to reconcile us. I have certainly been humbled and inspired by this closer look at the cost of my salvation.

“When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of Glory died…”

“Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.”

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