“But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Galatians 6:14).
There is more to Easter than bunnies, colored eggs and chocolate candy. Two thousand years ago there were many characters involved in getting Jesus on the Cross of Calvary fulfilling his divine purpose. Before then there was the concepts and ideas that were rooted in Old Testament Scripture and prophecies that spoke of the coming Savior who would fulfill God’s covenant agreement with humanity. To help you understand some of the characters and concepts the list below is for your understanding and I pray that it will enlighten the eyes of your heart. For God so loved the world:
Messiah – a title derived from the Hebrew word “mashiach” meaning “anointed one.” Along with its New Testament equivalent “Christos” (Christ), it refers to an act of consecration whereby an individual is set apart to serve God. The apostle Paul speaks of Jesus resurrection as a patent declaration of Jesus’ inalienable right to the title. “Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:3-4).
Hosanna – Hebrew word meaning “O Lord save me” or “Save us Lord” taken from Psalm 118:25. The crowd welcomed Jesus to Jerusalem with the cry of “Hosanna” followed by a proclamation, “Blessed be he who enters in the name of the Lord” (Psalm 118:26). This means the crowd was greeting Jesus as Messiah. Already before Jesus’ time the phrase “blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” was taken to refer to the Messiah.
Redemption – English word derived from a Latin root meaning “to buy back,” thus meaning the liberation of any possession, object, or person, usually by payment of a ransom. In the Greek the root word means “to loose” and so to free. In the Old Testament redemption is closely linked with the messianic hope. In the New Testament Christians believe that in Jesus the Christ (or Jesus the Messiah) we see the fulfillment of the Old Testament redemptive concept. “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of grace” (Ephesians 1:7). “Ye are not your own, we were bought at a price” (I-Corinthians 6:19).
Salvation – means that we are brought to the place where we are able to receive something from God on the authority of Jesus Christ, i.e., the remission of sin. Then there follows the second mighty word of grace—“an inheritance among them which are sanctified.” ”Behold God is my salvation; I will trust and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation” (Isaiah 12:2).
Sanctification – means intense concentration on God’s point of view. It means every power of body, soul and spirit is chained and kept for God’s purpose only. Furthermore, sanctification means being made one with Jesus, so that the disposition that ruled him will rule in us, as well. By sanctification the Son of God is formed in me, and then I have to transform my natural life into a spiritual life by obedience to him. “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams” (I-Samuel 15:22).
Transformation – a thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance. Many have seen the cross and profess a belief in its power, but not all have come to the cross. When we come to the cross, it is a profoundexperience that transforms people’s lives forever. No experience equals no change. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold all things are become new” (II-Corinthians 5:18).
Conversion – to turn from darkness to light, the effort of a roused human being. “For
it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (II-Corinthians 4:5-7). Consecration – to set aside, the continual separating of oneself to one particular thing, God the Father. ”There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:1).
Death – means to stop being—a state of existence where separation from God is complete and absolute. “For thou has delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling. I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living” (Psalms 116:8-9).
Die – to cease all activity, physical and spiritual. “Thus saith the Lord, set thine house in order, for thou shall die, and not live” (II-Kings 20:1).
Dead – without any physical or spiritual activity. “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first” (I-Thessalonians 4:16).
Resurrection – The resurrection of Christ is the central point of Christianity. So important was the resurrection for Paul that he hinged both preaching and faith upon its validity. He considered that Christianity without the resurrection would be empty and meaningless. It is the foundation for witness and fellowship with God, because the living Lord has been seen and touched. It is the bedrock thesis for ministry and apostleship. The Gospels likewise would hardly have been good news if they did not conclude with Christ’s resurrection. Christ’s resurrection is the prototype for all believers, who will experience resurrection when Christ returns. “I am he that lives, and was dead; and behold, I am alive forevermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death” (Revelation 1:18).
Caiaphas – High Priest during the life and ministry of Jesus, and preside over the Sanhedrin Council. Caiaphas played a chief role in Jesus’ arrest and trial. The leaders laid their plans in his palace; it was there also that part of Jesus’ preliminary trial took place with Caiaphas presiding. “Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas” (Matthew 26:3).
Pontius Pilate – The Roman governor who authorized Jesus’ crucifixion. Pilate tried to have Jesus released, but the crowd cried for Barabbas. Matthew records that Pilate washed his hands, declaring his own innocence in the matter. “Then Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said to them, ‘Behold the Man!” (John 19:5).
Judas Iscariot – one of the twelve disciples of Jesus. Betrayed Jesus to the leaders of the Temple at Jerusalem. Committed suicide after Jesus was crucified.
Simon Peter – One of the twelve disciples of Jesus, also known as Cephas and Simon Bar-Jonas. Said that he would give his life for Jesus and later denied knowing him or being one of his followers.
Malchus – a member of the mob that Judas brought to Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane. Peter drew a sword and cut off his ear and Jesus miraculously re-attached it.
Longinus – a certain soldier, taking a spear, pierced Jesus in the side; according to the Gospel of Nicodemus, a follower of Jesus.
Titus – Hebrew name of one of the thieves who were crucified alongside Jesus (on the right), Asked for forgiveness and was granted deliverance, in so doing he went before Jesus and was received by him in paradise. In the Greek language his name is translated
Dumachus – Hebrew name of one of the thieves who were crucified a alongside Jesus (on the left). Taunted and mocked Jesus. Rebuked by the other thief Titus. In the Greek Language his name is translated Gestas.
Joseph of Arimathea – a secret follower of Jesus because he was afraid of the Jews, but after the Crucifixion he took courage and went to Pilate to ask for Jesus’ body. He and Nicodemus took the body, treated it with spices, and wrapped it in linen cloths, according to the Jewish burial customs. In a nearby garden was Joseph’s own new rock-cut tomb in which no one had ever been buried. Here they placed Jesus and sealed the tomb with a large stone. “And after this Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate
gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus” (John 19:38).
Jesus of Nazareth – The Only Begotten Son of God. “Jesus the Christ” is the very heart and soul of Paul’s preaching. Nothing is worthy to be compared to the glory of the Messiah; everything pales by comparison (Philippians 3:5-10). Paul’s all-consuming passion is for others to know the fullness of god in the person of his only Son (Ephesians 3:14-19). Anointed as a prophet, he leads us into all truth; as a priest he
intercedes for us; and as king he reigns over us. “When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on his head, and a reed in his right hand. And they bowed the knee before him and mocked him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!” (Matthew 27:29).
We rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received
reconciliation. I thank God for blessing you to be a blessing to someone else in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Grady Norman Greene, Minister of the Gospel of Jesus Our Christ