TITLE: The Nazarene
By Charles Salmon
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When He was born and laid on animal’s straw, angels sang His praises to humble shepherds on a hillside. Persian kings brought Him gifts fit for royalty, and a murderous Jewish ruler tried to assassinate Him.
He died the death of the guilty even though He was innocent of any wrong, Though penniless, He was sealed in a rich man’s tomb. Angels announced His resurrection and the authorities lied, saying His disciples stole His body.
Between those two events, His life was one of unselfish service to all He met. He did nothing but good. He healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, and even raised the dead. His critics, (yes, He had them), accused Him of using the Devil’s power to perform these wonders.
He came to those He loved with compassion in His huge heart and they neither received or respected Him.
He taught them the truth and they opposed it with falsehood, prejudice, and hatred. He shed light and they tried to smother Him in darkness. He told them of a better life and they sought His death.
He was a fair and gentle man, a man of peace. Those He loved rewarded Him with violence, cruelty and injustice. In the end, they drove great nails through His hands and feet and fastened His beaten, bloody body on a post. Passers by watched Him die while buzzards circled in the darkened sky.
There has never been a life with more contrast, conflict, and contradiction than that of the Man of Nazareth. When others hated Him, He loved and forgave because they didn’t know what they were doing. When they opposed Him, He simply maintained the truth. When they killed Him, He emerged victorious from the grave.
And He lives! All those who persecuted and executed Him are long gone. A hundred generations have each brought forth their critics, opponents, and skeptics. Without a single exception, they all died and remained dead. They’re gone. He lives on.
And His triumph over death and the grave brings to us hope of everlasting life. We can stand by the sealed coffin of a loved one assured of a reunion. We can contemplate our own demise with confidence because of Jesus. “By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also.” I Corinthians 6:14 NIV.)
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