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Human Sacrifice

Updated on May 22, 2012

Human Sacrifice

The nails were pounded into his hands and feet. Cold brittle men beating on cold brittle spikes. Blood flowed freely through the open aching crevices in his flesh.

A tangled crown of thorns was thrust upon his head. The warm salty mixture of blood and sweat dripped down his swollen face.

His naked body, weaken and shredded by the scourgings, was lifted into place on this erect wooden stake. A nauseating convulsion forced it's way through his body.

Driven by the need for air, he strained against gravity's grip in order to partially fill his collapsed chest. His body had become a bruised canvas, painted with hideous strokes of pain.

All the sins of a hurting world were now his. The memory of ridicule and denial broke his faltering heart still more. He carried the burden of eternity on his shoulders.

Love submitted to pain. It was his gift. Hanging on a bloodied cross... Human Sacrifice.

The Meaning of Christ

Christ, from Greek for 'anointed', usually with the definite article, 'the anointed one, the Christ', and used in the septuagint version of the Old Testament to translate the Hebrew Mashiyah, Messiah, the anointed one, i.e. the great earthly King whom the Jews expected to restore their kingdom and free them from the subjection in which they were held, according to prophecy. At Qumran two Messiahs were awaited, a priest and a king.

In the New Testament Christ always refers to the claim of Jesus to fulfil the Messianic prophecies, but in a spiritual sense as the establisher of a spiritual kingdom and of freedom from subjection not to earthly rulers, but to sin. Jesus used the term sparingly because of its current political overtones. When he asks his disciple, 'Whom think ye that I am?' Peter answers, 'The Christ'. The high priest asks him if he is 'the Christ', and he says 'I am'. Originally a title, Christ soon was used as a proper name by Jesus's followers. In the first epistle of St Paul to the Thessalonians, not later than AD 52, the Church is addressed as in 'the Lord Jesus Christ'. It may be noted that 'Christ', alone or with 'Jesus' or 'Lord Jesus', is far more frequent in the Epistles and Acts than in the Gospels. From the earliest time it is the spiritual side of Jesus's mission as Messiah that is stressed, and it is plain how his followers came to be called 'Christians'. The first letters of the name in Greek (XP) formed the monogram of Constantine's labarum, replacing the eagle, and have remained a favourite symbol of Christian art.

Exegesis

Exegesis, in theology, is the interpretation or explanation of sacred oracles or texts. The term is most often applied to the interpretation of the Bible. From ancient times, Jewish scholars have studied Scripture and tradition in order to codify and interpret the sacred laws.

Christian exegetes have been concerned with explaining the texts of both the Old and New Testament. Until the Reformation, Christian exegesis was guided by dogma. More recently, particularly in the 19th and 20th centuries, critical analysis of the Bible has become accepted.

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