Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Skull

Skulls seem to be everywhere nowadays. I see them on cars, trucks, motorcycles, jewelry, backpacks, toys, clothing, and on pretty much everything other than food. It’s even on baby clothes.

Why somebody would want to adorn themselves (or their baby for that matter) with a symbol of death, I do not know.

I always thought the skull and crossed bones was reserved for evil, bloodthirsty pirates and bottles of poison, but apparently, now this age-old symbol of human mortality and the grave is now fashionable.

I guess it’s not surprising in a society that is de-sensitized to death and, come to think of it, recently reveled in a sparkly vampire fad.

Granted, a few cultures do use the human skull to symbolize life, but that was not the case in Jesus’ time and place, nor is it so in our culture.

From what I can tell, the message of the skull in our culture is that one is cool, tough, and not to be “messed with.”

It’s the kind of thing people do who have this nagging feeling that they are maybe a little weak or vulnerable or maybe even afraid.

But, at this time of Lent, the skull makes me think of Golgotha.

So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, or Jesus between them. (John 16b – 18 ESV)

The irony is that what Jesus did on that hill of injustice and torture and death that day was the fulfillment of God’s plan from the very beginning to bring us not just life, but eternal life.

He would hang from that cross and look down on the very people who subjected him to a mockery of a trail, who beat him and tortured him and mocked him and murdered him and He would speak words that would have never entered our minds had we been in his place:

Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." (Like 23:34a NIV)

The way I look at it, the crucifixion of Jesus is the central point in all of human history. It is the fulcrum, the balance point, on which one side of the scale is all of human history prior to that day and our failed attempts at righteousness under the Law. And on the other side of the balance point is peace with God through the sacrifice of Jesus.

Evil and death were conquered at the Place of the Skull. The serpent’s skull was crushed, and out of that sealed tomb arose not only a living, glorious, triumphant Jesus, but generation after generation of new creations in Him who would live and move and have their being because of His courage and love, His mercy and grace, to the praise of His glory!

Now I don’t know much about being fashionable, but I do know the cross conquered the skull that day 2000 years ago. So the choice of the symbol I wear around my neck isn’t difficult for me at all.

Today’s Praise
But very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. They found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. So they went in, but they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus. As they stood there puzzled, two men suddenly appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes. The women were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground. Then the men asked, “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! (Luke 24: 1-6a NLT)



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