Friday, April 10, 2009

A differnt kind of Easter story

The ramp built by Jewish Slaves

Something important is missing in Christian society today. Likely a lot of things. On the whole it has lost it’s will to survive unchanged by the world. We are blending more than believing. I was watching some Easter clips from some specials at some large churches. Incredible stuff, but then I can see some pretty good effects down at AMC or Harkins. Don’t misunderstand, I DO applauded their work. It is as good as anything you will find in Hollywood with a infinitely better message. What is missing is not in the monumental efforts of the churches across America, it is missing in the heart of believers. A part of it must be our lack of TOTAL commitment to the cause. We are taking obedience lightly to our self inflicted peril. We need the kind of commitment every Jewish soldier is encouraged to have. As you likely know, all Israeli’s must enlist for a 2 year stint in the military, male and female. After training the graduation exercise takes place on Masada. If your unfamiliar with the history, here is the basic story from a review of the 1981 classic movie of Masada.

Wits and weapons clash in this 1981 epic chronicling a rebellion by Jewish Zealots against Roman rule. After Jerusalem falls to the Romans in 70 A.D., nearly a thousand Jewish rebels led by Eleazar ben Jair (Peter Strauss) withdraw to a mountaintop fortress 30 miles southeast of Jerusalem. There, fed by defiance and an unlimited supply of cistern water, they make their stand against Roman rule, now and then conducting surprise raids against Roman positions down below. Whenever the Romans retaliate, Eleazar goes them one better. He and his men burn grain supplies, poison wells and generally make life miserable for the Roman 10th Legion, encamped in the baking desert surrounding the fortress. Frustrated, the Roman general Cornelius Flavius Silva (Peter O'Toole) brings in a brilliant siege master, Rubrius Gallus (
Anthony Quayle), to devise a way to breach the mountaintop stronghold. When Gallus begins construction of an earthen ramp up the mountainside, rebels rain down arrows on the Roman workers. Flavius then uses Jews from nearby villages to build the ramp. Meanwhile, Flavius makes several attempts to persuade the rebel Jews to surrender, promising they will live in peace and prosperity under Roman rule. But the Jews are adamant; they want only one thing: freedom, or, at the very least, limited freedom under a Roman-appointed Jewish governor. But after Roman Emperor Vespasian vetoes peace plans, the ramp continues to rise. When it is finished, the Romans pull a massive battering ram on wheels--another of Gallus's stratagems--up the ramp, and the stage is set for the final battle deciding the fate of the Jews.
The review misses the fact that the ramp was built by captured Jewish slaves. Those in the stronghold refused to kill their countrymen to protect themselves. The night before the inevitable final siege, the rebels all died in a mass suicide rather than face whatever kind of death the merciless Romans had in mind for them. Two women lived to tell the story.
Today the Vow of “never again” is pledged by every Israeli soldier on that mountain top. They know that anything less than 100% commitment will mean certain death.
As believers we have our own Masada, it is called Calvary. Our pledge is to the death too, the death of SELF found in total obedience. Jesus set the example for us to follow. In sharing the essence of the Easter Story for us Paul reveals what believers today are missing:

PHP 2:5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:

PHP 2:6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,

PHP 2:7 but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.

PHP 2:8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death--
even death on a cross!

PHP 2:9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,

PHP 2:10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

PHP 2:11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

PHP 2:12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed--not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence--continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.the shack study, the shack discussion guide

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