VIEWPOINTS

HELL DOESN’T EXIST?

Hell Doesn’t Exist?
By Troy Spradlin
 
    I have often wondered what it must have been like to live in the 19th century. There is so much fascinating history that was witnessed! To see and hear Restoration Movement personalities like Alexander Campbell, Barton Stone, Raccoon John Smith, Walter Scott and many others would be so exciting! I have also wondered how shocking it must have been for faithful members of the Lord’s church at that time to have heard the news of a proclamation made that Mary was “born without sin” (Pope Pius IX – 1854)! Or, a few years later, that the Pope, himself, was infallible (Pope Pius IX – 1870)! Those claims are still appalling to us today, but they must have been completely distressing to our brethren back then, when they first heard it. Well, we still live in such a time. The current Pope, Francis, has recently declared that “Hell does not exist.”
    In an interview with La Repubblica, the Pope was quoted as saying, “They are not punished. Those who repent obtain God’s forgiveness and take their place among the ranks of those who contemplate him, but those who do not repent and cannot be forgiven disappear. A hell doesn’t exist, the disappearance of sinning souls exists.” … That’s a rather shocking statement!
    As you can imagine, the media went into a frenzy. “Pope Declares No Hell,” was the headline posted on the Drudge Report website. “Vatican literally falls apart after Pope Francis says ‘Hell doesn’t exist,” read a headline in a British newspaper. When I read those headlines, my stomach began to churn and I became nauseous. “How can anyone, who supposedly knows the Bible, possibly say that hell doesn’t exist?”
    Journalist, Patrick Buchanan wrote, “What did Christ die on the cross to save us from? If Francis made such a statement, it would be rank heresy. Had the pope been speaking ex cathedra, as the vicar of Christ on earth, he would be contradicting 2,000 years of Catholic doctrine, rooted in the teachings of Christ himself. He would be calling into question papal infallibility, as defined in 1870 by the Vatican Council of Pius IX. Questions would arise as to whether Francis is a true pope.
    “The Vatican, obviously, responded quickly by denying the statement. They added that the Pope does, indeed, believe hell exists and that the journalist who wrote the piece for the front page headline was fabricating stories. Eventually, it was revealed that the journalist, Eugenio Scalfari, who conducted the interview with Pope Francis, capitulated. He stated that although he remembered the pope saying hell did not exist, he admitted that “he can also make mistakes.” He even confessed that he had committed an error of omission by failing to fully explain.
    So, the Pope apparently didn’t say, “hell does not exist.” I will admit, however, that although I was shocked, I was not surprised – given the history of the papacy. I’m glad it was corrected. The incident simply reminded me of what is most important, it does not matter what some man thinks, or has to say, no matter how important the world may consider him to be. What is matters is what God has to say, in the Bible. He has revealed that a place called hell exists. God said it. That settles it. Truth.


L2L

LADS TO LEADERS
   Since its foundation in 1968, the mission of Lads to Leaders (L2L) has been to develop youth into Christian leaders. From a group of eight boys in that first year to more than 20,000 today, the mission has remained the same. Over a quarter of a million participants have obtained leadership training through the L2L program since 1968. While many congregations report that they are losing half or more of their youth, congregations that incorporate L2L events (especially year-round) are reporting youth retention rates of 85% or higher, ten years after graduation! What makes the difference? The year-round participation concept (L2L is not just a one week-end youth event) and involving youth in regular study of God’s Word.
   Margaret Street has a long history with Lads to Leaders. We are now sending a second generation of young people to L2L conferences who are participating in multiple events. These are the children of parents who once participated in the program themselves! Those parents are now, not only helping our youth prepare throughout the year at their home congregation, but are also serving as judges and volunteers at the national convention, along with many other volunteers. Lads to Leaders is truly a family affair!
  • There are more than 30 different events in which our young people may participate in the Lads to Leader program.
  • This year, we had 27 young people from Margaret Street participate in this year’s convention in Atlanta.
  • Of those 27 MSCOC youth, 39 awards and trophies were brought home for their efforts!
  • Individual participants and teams of 74 congregations of the Lord’s church were represented at this year’s convention in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • Avalon and Jay churches of Christ were present, also!
  • Conventions were also held (simultaneously) in: Dallas, Denver, Louisville, Memphis, Nashville, Orlando, and Visalia.
 
   Because of their loving dedication, we would like to offer a sincere “thank you” and deep appreciation to all of our parents, coaches, and members who encouraged, taught, and mentored our young people during their studies and preparations for this year’s convention. We especially would like to thank David and Jeanna English for all their hard work and their commitment to our young people for this program.
   We would also like to say, “Congratulations!” to all our L2L youth participants. Whether you won a trophy or not, we are extremely pleased with all of your accomplishments! Remember, it’s not about a trophy or the competition (although that may be fun). More importantly, God is being glorified in your efforts and you are growing into a leader / leaderette within the Lord’s church!
 
Please join us at our annual MSCOC Lads to Leaders Banquet this April 21st, in the Fellowship Hall,
as we honor all of those who participated in this past year’s program.


HE IS RISEN!

HE IS RISEN!
by Troy Spradlin
 

   “Up from the grave He arose! He arose a Victor from the dark domain, and He lives forever with His saints to reign. He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!” We sing that song with such exuberance! Yet, how many of us have ever actually considered just how shocking those words really are and certainly would have been to the people who heard them for the first time. Imagine the talk on the streets in first century Jerusalem. A man, a very dead man (one whom many had witnessed being brutally executed a few days earlier) had come back from the dead! Imagine hearing the words, “He arose!” for the very first time. Folks, that’s something that doesn’t happen everyday. In fact, it had never happened before. What a shock!
   In order to help us capture the magnitude of this news, imagine, if you will, a similar, shocking scenario. On November 22, 1963, news of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy had spread almost instantly around the world. Americans, all over the country, just stopped whatever they were doing and froze, in silence, shocked at the news. No one could believe it and for the next several days, everyone was consumed with the news; the President was dead. Isn’t that the same scenario we see in Jerusalem some 2000 years ago? News of a shocking death traveling around the various social circles.
   Now, imagine that three days later, John F. Kennedy was reported to be alive! He had been seen by many people and was walking about and talking with his friends and family! What would be more shocking to you? The news of his assassination, or the news of his resurrection? Now, perhaps, you see how incredible this news would have been to those first century witnesses.
   The resurrection is the very foundation of Christianity. Our entire faith is based upon the fact that Jesus Christ arose from the grave. Consider the apostle Paul’s words, “And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain,” (1 Corinthians 15:14). Think of all the many religions of the world. If you study their history, you will find that every single one of them has a founder, one who had begun that particular faith. What separates Christians from all of those? The difference is all of their leaders are dead and buried somewhere, yes every one of them; you can even go and visit some of their resting places – except one, Jesus Christ. There is no grave, tomb, mausoleum, cenotaph, or sepulcher that contains the bones of our Lord and Savior. He is the ONLY one that has risen from the dead and continues to live! Is that not simply incredible? He arose! No other religion in the world makes such a bold claim, nor can they!
   “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive,” (1 Corinthians 15:20-22). Because He lives, we may have life eternal. He conquered death so that we might inherit eternal life. What incredible news! It may have been shocking in the first century, but how marvelous it must have been to hear, also …. and it still is today! – TS



PROSPERITY CAN PRODUCE HEART PROBLEMS

Prosperity Can Produce Heart Problems
by Troy Spradlin
   God warned the Israelites, “when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God, … you shall surely perish,” (Deuteronomy 8:14,19)! That was a rather ominous warning. Notice that God did not say “if” you forget Him, but rather He said “when” you forget. God knew very well what was going to happen to Israel, even if they were His chosen people. He had already explained, in the previous chapters, that they would receive cities that they hadn’t built, houses full of things that they hadn’t filled, and vineyards that they hadn’t planted, so they must not forget the Lord their God (6:10-12). Thus, He commands them to always remember and teach His statutes. Now, why would they forget the One who gave them all of those things?
   Consider what we read in Judges chapter two, “When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the Lord nor the work which He had done for Israel,” (2:10). Then, notice the following words, “the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord,” (2:11) and later, “everyone did what was right in their own eyes,” (17:6). How terribly sad! Just as God had predicted, it wasn’t a matter of if they forgot, but rather, it was a matter of when. In this case, just as He had said, Israel had forgotten God and His commandments. They had become accustomed to the wealth and prosperity they had received. Their comfort turned into apathy and apathy had turned into forgetfulness. This was the danger that God had warned them about before they entered into the promised land. That disobedient generation was the offspring of those who had previously proclaimed Him as their God and obedience to Him, (Deuteronomy 26:17)! Apparently, they hadn’t remembered the warning. The previous generation hadn’t obeyed the commands of Deuteronomy 6:6-9 to put God’s word into their hearts and teach the next generation. They developed a serious heart problem!Modern man is not much different than those of ancient Israel.
   We have a serious problem in our country today. Perhaps, you are thinking, “We have many problems in our country.” You are correct, when you consider we have severe problems with drugs and addiction, divorce and failed marriages, sexual promiscuity, lack of respect for authority, and the list continues. However, you should also consider that all of these really have to do with just one central problem; America has a heart problem. Like the disobedient offspring of those who prospered under the leadership of Joshua, much of our fellow countrymen have become similar to that generation that’s described in Judges. In our prosperity, we have forgotten God. Doesn’t the phrase, “everyone did what was right in their own eyes,” accurately describe our society today?
   The answer to all our problems is not more law enforcement. It is not more therapy and peer counseling, nor special programs and bureaucracies. The answer is teaching; teaching them to observe all things that Christ has commanded us (Matthew 28:19,20). Israel needed to fix their heart problem. We need to fix the heart problem we have in this country. We can do that through teaching and obeying God’s word.


JESUS GOES TO CHURCH

by Troy Spradlin
   Jesus woke up early today. He was so excited because today is Sunday, the first day of the week! This is the day the church comes together to worship God! Oh, indeed, how wonderful it was going to be! To see like-minded people coming together to sing praises to our Creator, to lift up prayers to Him, and to listen to God’s Word being proclaimed as everyone’s heart and attention would be focused on bringing glory to His name – how thrilling it would be! As Jesus prepared for worship, He began to rejoice knowing that God will be in the presence of that assembly while the church cheerfully gives back a portion of that with which they had been blessed and as they would participate in the memorial supper, remembering the sacrifice that Jesus had made for them long ago. Jesus was so excited! His mind and emotions were prepared to enter into that assembly and join the joyful chorus! He couldn’t wait to see His church, His brethren! As Jesus arrived early at the church building, He entered with a smile and a glowing exuberance. Sadly, no one paid any attention to Him. No one greeted Him or shook His hand. “Well,” He thought to Himself, “they’re just busy getting prepared for worship! I’ll just make my way inside and get seated.”
   As He entered the auditorium, He noticed there weren’t many people seated inside. A few minutes later, the song leader announced the “opening song” number and without much enthusiasm. Dispassionately, the few that were seated, began to sing. Jesus was a bit confused, but He joined in the singing, as He struggled to understand why so few were there. Ten minutes or so into the worship hour, Jesus noticed some quite distracting sounds and chatter in the foyer behind Him. People were talking and shuffling about as they were haphazardly entering worship during the singing and even during prayer! It was difficult for Jesus to concentrate during the prayer because of all the bothersome commotion. Many more people were now seated in the auditorium. Several continued to linger in the foyer. Jesus thought, “I wonder what must have happened to cause so many to be late? Was there an accident, perhaps?” Again, He turned His attention to singing.
   Shortly afterward, the preacher got up to speak. “I love this part!” Jesus said, “We get to hear God speak to us through His word!” But, the preacher only briefly mentioned a verse here and there and didn’t even open the Bible he held in his hand. He just told some cute stories and made everyone laugh. Jesus was now visibly disappointed. He began to just concentrate on Communion. “Maybe they’ll show a little more respect during this part of worship,” He thought. But, at the moment the servers were making their way to the front, several people got up to go to the bathroom. People were still talking in the foyer. Surprisingly, everyone did seem a bit more solemn and focused during the actual partaking of the bread and juice, but as soon as it was completed, more people got up to go to the back … and some even left! After the final prayer was offered, Jesus was exiting the auditorium when the preacher grabbed His hand to shake it and said, “It was so great to see you! Hope you enjoyed the service!” Jesus slowly walked back to His house. Jesus wept.


HAVE YOU RECEIVED YOUR “CALLING”?

by Troy Spradlin
   Have you ever heard the phrase, “he answered his ‘calling’ to be a minister”? Or perhaps, “when Missionary John got his ‘calling’ he went to serve”? What, exactly, is this “calling” that one receives? What does that mean? Does one have to receive a special call to enter ministry? Personally, I was never “called” to be a missionary. I simply volunteered. I didn’t grow up in a missionary family (although my dad is a Gospel preacher), nor did I really know any missionaries during my formative years. I didn’t even have within my mind the idea to go into ministry one day. So, when the time came that I decided to go into the mission field, was that my “calling”? How did I get that calling? Was there an actual exchange of words between God and myself, somehow, someway that I “answered”?
   The fact is, nowhere in Scripture do we find a mysterious, supernatural call as a prerequisite for responding to the Great Commission. It’s just doesn’t happen that way, friend! Perhaps, the whole idea of a “call” comes from passages like Exodus 3:4, Judges 2:18, Acts 26:16, or the prophets that God raised up. It is true that God has raised up specific individuals for specific purposes at specific times. However, if we examine those scenarios closely, we see that it is few and far between when God actually called on someone. More importantly, does God still do this today? To answer that, we need to remember important passages like Hebrews 1:1,2 which clearly states that (to paraphrase) “those days are over, God now speaks to us through His Son.” And, we know His Son has spoken to the apostles and those apostles (along with some disciples) wrote down the things He taught so that we may have them to understand.
    Consider Romans 9:17-18 as another example. Did God “harden” Pharaoh’s heart? We know the story and we know how it ended. However, we need to recognize that God does not have some specific, detailed plan designed exclusively for you and you only. We are all created simply to bring glory to God – that, and nothing more (Ecclesiastes 12:13; John 15:8; 1 John 3:22-24). Therefore, God did not reach in and physically harden Pharaoh’s heart, Pharaoh hardened his own heart! Think about the dynamics of this; we often say things like, “He made me mad.” Really? Did he come over and twist up your face, pour in a little indignation, and physically make you mad? No! You made you mad; no one else did it to you. He may have said or done something that caused you to respond with anger, but he didn’t make you mad. You did that. So, God was the cause for Pharaoh’s hardened heart. God sent His word to Pharaoh and Pharaoh himself is the one who chose how to respond to what he heard. He could have just as easily responded with fear, respect, joy, or gratitude. But, he chose rebellion and rejection which resulted in Pharaoh hardening his own heart. In a sense, one could verbally state that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, but in reality, it was Pharaoh’s personal response to God’s word that hardened his heart.
   Now, let’s put all this together. From the same letter that Paul wrote, let’s see what follows in the next chapter … in Chapter 10, verse 17. What is the “bottom line” to Paul’s discourse here? “Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the WORD OF GOD.” So, a “calling” is actually a response to hearing. The hearing comes from God’s word – that is, through the BIBLE, not some small still voice, nor some miraculous manifestation. Even in my own story, basically, it was God’s word that worked on my heart. I then chose to go; I wanted to go; I was compelled to go, because of what was already in my heart – the Word of God. Now, how have you responded to God’s word?


A STRICTER JUDGMENT

by Troy Spradlin
   There has been a lot of discussion lately in the news and “around the water cooler” regarding the passing of well-known televangelist, Billy Graham. Many have praised and exalted his life’s work with statements such as, “Heaven welcomes home one of its faithful.” Many have also condemned him as a false teacher, stating he has gone to the place where he deserves to be. When I hear these kinds of reactions, the words of an older preacher come to mind, who said, “You can’t preach ‘em into heaven and you can’t preach ‘em into hell. You leave that for God to decide.” It is, indeed, true that it is not my place to judge the eternal destiny of any individual. That responsibility lies solely with God, for He is the judge of all (Hebrews 12:23).
   What I do think about, however, is the amount of influence Billy Graham has had on so many lives throughout the years. How many soul’s eternal destination did he effect? Certainly, no one can deny the impact he has had on the American religious landscape. When I think of Billy Graham, I think of James 3:1, “My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.” He will certainly be held to a stricter judgment. But, that verse also applies to me, as a preacher. I’m going to be held accountable, too. There is a great responsibility to anyone who decides to teach or preach the Word of God. It can affect the eternal abode of the soul. With all the influence Billy Graham had, there was an over duty to “rightly divide the word,” (2 Timothy 2:15). Did he rightly divide the word of God, or did he lead people astray? To determine that, it puts the responsibility back on the hearers because the Bible also gives us examples of how listeners should respond to people like Billy Graham, or any preacher for that matter, and that is by comparing his words to the words of the Bible. Take the Bereans, for example, “they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so,” (Acts 17:11). We should also consider Paul’s admonition, “Test all things; hold fast what is good,” (1 Thessalonians 5:21). This implies that even the words of an Apostle of Jesus were not above careful, Scriptural examination, according to these verses. How much more so, then, should a modern day preacher’s words be scrutinized?
   I wonder how many people, who listened to Billy Graham preach, actually went home and studied the Scriptures to see if what he had said was true? Or, did they just accept him at his word, thereby entrusting their souls to his teaching? I wonder how many do the same with my preaching? We should be reminded of stories like, Nadab and Abihu (Leviticus 10) who are frightening examples of what it means to ignore God’s instructions and replace them with one’s own thinking. Let their charred bodies be a warning to us that correct teaching, as well as, correct understanding of the Bible is serious business! It matters not, at this point, where Billy Graham is, or what he has said. What matters is what God says. What matters is our personal responsibility to know His will. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven,” (Matthew 7:21).


UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS

by Troy Spradlin
   It is basic human nature to enter into a new relationship or an unfamiliar environment with certain anticipations and suppositions of how the conditions are going to be. Most people desire a scenario that is perfectly fitted to one’s liking, whether it be a personal relationship or a specific circumstance. Unfortunately, when those expectations are not met, it often results in unhappiness, discomfort, disappointment, becoming hypercritical, or even reacting with violence. The tendency is to blame, or accuse the others involved for the perceived failure. Rarely, if ever, does one recognize their own fault in the matter. It is seldom the case that we ask ourselves, “What is my part in this problem?” Perhaps, we fail to recognize that our expectations are not the same as the others involved, or that the circumstances in the scenario are not based upon reality. In other words, we had unrealistic expectations. The truth is, no relationship, or situation in life, is perfect. All personal relationships require effort, communication, and dedication from both sides.
   All ideal situations are just that, ideal, not necessarily reality. “All of us hold unrealistic expectations” states clinical psychologist, Miranda Morris, Ph.D., “In fact, the biggest unrealistic expectation is that people shouldn’t have unrealistic expectations.” The issue of dealing with unrealistic expectations is a phenomenon that is affecting almost everyone in our society. This is because many of our unrealistic expectations are often conceived from impracticable sources, such as: movies and TV shows, music lyrics, video games, fictional literature, and other forms of entertainment, which convince us that those illusory types are what we deserve in a relationship. As a result, we burden those around us by placing unrealistic expectations upon them. There are also times when we can feel burdened by the unrealistic expectations that are placed upon us by others. In either case, it is not a healthy personality construct, nor is it a personality characteristic that a Christian should possess. Another clinical psychologist, Selena C. Snow, Ph.D., adds this, “Unrealistic expectations are potentially damaging because they set us and others up for failure.”
   I am certainly no professional counselor. However, I do know the Bible is true and reliable for all personality traits and we can simply base everything upon what the Bible teaches. It teaches that we have control over our personalities and we are capable of changing it (1 Corinthians 6:11). It teaches that we need to have compassion for one another (1 Peter 3:8), practice patience and long-suffering (1 Thessalonians 5:14), as well as be kind and gentle, without being quarrelsome (2 Timothy 2:24). Agape love (Hebrews 10:24) demands that we first give others the benefit of the doubt in difficult situations (Romans 14:13), that we communicate openly with our brethren (Matthew 5:23,24; Colossians 3:13; James 5:16), and that we “Let the word of Christ dwell in [us] richly, teaching and admonishing each another in all wisdom” (Colossians 3:16). Unrealistic expectations is in direct opposition of, “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others,” (Philippians 2:4). Having unrealistic expectations of someone else, ourselves, or a situation is not what God desires in us. It does not reflect Christ in our lives. After all, have you always fulfilled the expectations that God has for you? – TS


GOD HATES ESAU?

by Troy Spradlin
 
  It is rather common for an enemy of the Bible to attack its veracity by citing alleged discrepancies or appealing to supposed scientific and historical “errors.” On the other hand, when a Christian encounters an assumed “error,” or an unsettling passage that challenges his faith, what is he to do? The answer is quite simple – allow Scripture to explain Scripture. This basic principle was understood by the inspired writer of Psalm 119:160, “The sum of your word is truth, …” [emphasis added]. A diligent Bible student always considers everything the Scriptures have to say in order to discern the truth of a doctrinal question, a confusing word, a strange custom, or even a difficult passage. The Bible is truly its own best commentary.
  One such challenging passage is Malachi 1:2-3 where God states, “I have loved Jacob, but Esau I have hated.” If we bear in mind that 1 John 4:7-10 says God is love and He first loved us, then how can a God of love hate someone? Is that not a contradiction of His character? One must admit this passage presents some troubling implications for the faith of a Christian. However, by simply considering more of what the Bible has to say in relation to this passage, it is not difficult to deduce a reasonable explanation for the manner in which it is worded.
  Perusing the immediate context, notice that in the very next verse (v4), the prophet transitions to using the name “Edom” as a continuation of the discourse. Taking into consideration the historical context, that Edom is the nation which grew from Esau’s descendants, an attentive Bible student can quickly determine that Malachi is using the words “Esau” to refer to the nation of Edom and “Jacob” to refer to the nation of Israel (2:10-12). The words proceeding verse four could have been written as,“I have loved the nation of Israel, but the nation of Edom I have hated.” Therefore, the focus is not on the individuals being named but rather, on God’s chosen people as a whole. Furthermore, the overall context of the prophecy reveals that the nation of Israel had sinned against God just as Edom had (2:11), thus, they would be punished – because that which God really hates is sin (Proverbs 6:16-19). Despite all this, a remnant of His people would be preserved in order to fulfill His promise of the coming Messiah (4:2-6), attesting to the fact that the passage has everything to do with the sovereign choice of God, desiring to bless Israel as the genetic source of the Christ (3:1,4), and nothing to do with hating an individual.
  Consider also that in verse two God anticipates Israel’s complaint against their imminent punishment and the accusation that He did not love them, so essentially, He responds by reminding them that not only had He selected them over all nations, He had selected their lineage from among their own family’s ancestors. He reminds them, “Is not Esau Jacob’s brother?” (v2). Certainly, the children of Israel must have reflected upon how the providence of God had been working throughout their entire history and it had all been the result of His love for them.
   In summary, the context alone teaches that God does not hate anyone. Considering other verses throughout Scripture also, one can easily resolve that while God certainly abhors an individual’s sinful actions and will punish those who practice evil (2 Corinthians 5:10; Isaiah 13:11), the Bible never paints Him in the unflattering light of hating His own creation. Just because man was made in God’s image, does not mean he can or should assume emotions for God. His character is not so limitedly defined.
 


REMEMBER BY NUMBERS

There is but ONE LORD (Ephesians 4:5) and with Him, there were TWO THIEVES, one on His right, and another on His left (Matthew 27:38), who were crucified with Him upon THREE CROSSES (John 19:18).
 
His mantle was divided into FOUR PARTS (John 19:23) by the Roman soldiers who afflicted Him with FIVE WOUNDS while upon the cross – 2 in His hands, 2 in His feet, and His side was pierced. For SIX HOURS, Jesus suffered upon that cruel cross (Mark 15:25, 34).
 
Our Lord uttered SEVEN PHRASES while He suffered:
  1. Luke 23:34 – “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
  2. Luke 23:43 – “Today you will be with me in paradise.”
  3. John 19:26, 27 – “Woman, behold, your son. … Behold, your mother. ”
  4. Matthew 27:46 -” Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? (which means: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
  5. John 19:28 – “I thirst.”
  6. John 19:30 – “It is finished.”
  7. Luke 23:46 – “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit!”
 
There were EIGHT WORDS written on a sign they hung above His head, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews” (Matthew 27:37). And, at the NINTH HOUR, Jesus died (Luke 23: 44-46).
 
TEN EVENTS marked His crucifixion: (i) Beginning with one of His own disciples betraying Him – Matthew 26:48-49. (ii) Then, two false witnesses were brought against Jesus – Matthew 26:60; (iii) while Peter denied Him three times – Matthew 26:74-75; (iv) and they spat in His face and beat Him – Matthew 26:67. (v) Jesus was condemned by five rulers: Annas, Caiaphas, Herod, the Sanhedrin, and Pilate – Matthew 27:1-14; John 18:13-38, (vi) during six trials – Matt 26:57-27:26 & Luke Luke 23:7. (vii) The soldiers mocked Jesus and put a crown of thorns on his head – Matthew 27:27-28; (viii) Simon of Cyrene was forced to carry the cross – Matthew 27:32-34. (ix) The curtain of the temple sanctuary was torn – Mark 15:8; (x) Joseph of Arimathea procured the body of Jesus, wrapped it in cloth, and put it in a tomb – Mark 15:46.
 
In the end, ELEVEN APOSTLES of Jesus remained faithful out of the TWELVE DISCIPLES whom He had originally chosen to follow Him. They went on to establish the church and preach the story you just read.
 
I’ve heard this acrostic-style lesson preached during my childhood and as an adult. It has always stuck with me and helps me to “Do this in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:19). I pray it is beneficial for you! – TS