Month: October 2014

Jesus Never Stumbled (Why Everything I Thought About Simon the Cyrenian Was Wrong)

For a long time, I have been fascinated with the story of Simon the Cyrenian, the man whom the Roman soldiers forced to help Jesus carry His cross up the hill of Golgotha. Now, just about every Christian will tell you that Simon was compelled to carry the cross of Jesus after the Lord collapsed of physical exhaustion after hours of torture and beatings. In fact, if you visit the city of Jerusalem, they have marked the “Via Dolorosa,” the path that many believed Jesus followed as He carried the cross. Three of those stations are allegedly places where Jesus fell, and one is Station 5, where the Romans forced Simon to help Jesus carry His cross.

The problem with the traditional “Via Dolorosa” is that the path leads through the city, and the Bible states that the soldiers led Jesus out of the city to a place that is called “Golgotha,” or “The place of the skull.” And contrary to what I grew up believing, Jesus never stumbled as He carried the cross.

Matthew 27:31-32 says “And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him. And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross.”

After the Roman soldiers beat and scourged Jesus, they led Him out of the Antonia Fortress, and immediately compelled Simon to help Jesus carry His cross. So, the tradition that Jesus fell, and as a result, Simon was drafted into service has no root in scripture. None of the four Gospels describe a fall of Jesus prior to Simon’s involvement. Furthermore, none of the four Gospels record a single fall of Jesus. Which means that the idea that Jesus stumbled and fell as He carried the cross to Golgotha is completely based on tradition, and not scripture.

So, why is this important? Simple.

Tradition paints a picture of a Jesus whose humanity had overcome Him, thus He was too weak to carry His cross up the hill for the crucifixion. Scripture shows us the real Jesus, Who, despite the beatings and scourging, was determined to get up that hill and be crucified. Why? Because getting up that hill and on that cross was the only way to pay for your sins, and save your soul. The love of Jesus propelled Him up that hill, wounds and all, so that He could save you.

As for Simon? He observed a Passover celebration that year that no one would ever forget. Mark 15:21 says “And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross.” Simon had just come in from out of the country, likely to celebrate the Passover. What wound up happening, however, was that He accompanied the Lamb of God to the sacrifice that would ultimately take away the sins of the world.

I don’t know if Simon believed in Jesus before this moment, but I believe he became a believer afterward. I believe Simon was a key figure in the early church, as his two sons were well-known enough to be referenced by Mark as he recorded the crucifixion of Christ. Simon was going about business as usual, until he was met by Christ, and then was forever changed.

What about you? Have you met Christ? Did it change your life

Why Our Mission Involved The Early Pioneer Days

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Bro. John Melancon demonstrates Bible artifacts to a festival-goer at the Early Pioneer Days.

Saturday at the Pioneer Days celebration in Early, Texas, festival goers enjoyed angus beef hamburgers, kettle corn, fresh-squeezed lemonade, and balloon animals. As they strolled through the festival booths, they came upon our booth, featuring Bible archaeologist John Melancon. Bro. Melancon demonstrated the artifacts that he collected during archaeological digs in the Holy Land, related them to scripture, and then discussed Bible truths, particularly the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ for our sins.

Some may wonder ¬†why a church would go through the expense, time and effort of hosting a festival booth at a local carnival, without the benefit of a fund-raiser. It’s really quite simple. It’s part of our mission at Grace Pointe.

The day is coming when we will all stand before the Lord, who will judge us and determine whether we are received into His Kingdom (Heaven), or whether we are condemned for eternity (Hell). He will judge us based on two criteria… (1) Have we broken God’s law? and (2) Has the penalty for our sin been paid?

We have all broken God’s law. We have all sinned. We have all told lies, we have all taken something that didn’t belong to us, we have all failed at one point in our lives to love the Lord and worship God. By the definition of the law given in the 10 Commandments, we are all guilty of breaking God’s law, and sinning (Romans 3:23). Scripture declares that the penalty for sin is death and condemnation (Romans 6:23). So, on that part of the judgment, we will all be found guilty (Romans 3:19).

The question will then be the status of your punishment. When Jesus died on the cross, He not only suffered for a cause, and stood His ground as a noble leader, He took the punishment for our sins from God. Isaiah 53:11 says “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.”

While He was on that cross, Jesus endured the wrath of God that was caused by our sin. He took our punishment for us (1 John 2:2). The question is, whether that payment for sins has been credited to your account. Such a transaction happens when you repent of your sins, and trust Jesus Christ as your Savior (Romans 4). If you have been found to have your sins paid, because you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, then you will be received into Heaven. If the payment for sins has not been credited to your account, because you have not accepted Christ as your Savior, you will be condemned to an eternity in Hell (John 3:36).

It’s that last part that propels our public outreach at local festivals. We’re not there to ruin a good time, and we are not there to make a name for ourselves, or raise funds. We are there to get in touch with people we would not otherwise get to meet, so that we can warn all people to flee God’s wrath and be saved by trusting Jesus Christ as their Savior.

It’s our prayer that all who hear our presentation of the Gospel will repent and trust Jesus Christ as Savior.

Sunday morning, we will study Luke 16, and learn about Hell by expounding on the passage about the rich man and Lazarus. Service starts at 11 a.m. We hope to see you there.

Grace Pointe Missionary Baptist Church meets at the Early Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Incubator Facility, 104 E. Industrial, Early, TX 76802.

Grace Pointe Welcomes Bible Archaeologist Melancon to Early

10696266_10152760120238866_9198149127863913299_nWhen Jesus taught, He used common every day items as object lessons. While we can still read His words today, and learn from them, we can gain a deeper understanding when we see the actual items that Jesus referenced. That is why Grace Pointe Missionary Baptist Church of Early welcomes Bro. John Melancon, a Bible archaeologist, to town this weekend, Oct. 18-19.

Bro. Melancon will bring his collection of Bible artifacts, and will discuss Bible history, Bible doctrine, and salvation using those artifacts. He will be present at Grace Pointe’s booth at the Early Pioneer Days, and he will bring special programs Sunday morning at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. at Grace Pointe MBC, located inside the Early Chamber of Commerce’s “Small Business Incubator Facility,” at 104 E. Industrial, just off of U.S. 377, in Early.

Most recently, Bro. Melancon held a missions revival at Quaker Avenue Baptist Church in Lubbock. Following the revival, Monty Hilliard, pastor of Quaker Avenue, said, ” His presentation is truly amazing! You will feel as though you stepped into the world of bible days! He is a very gifted speaker and great man of God.”

So, make plans to join us, this Sunday, Oct. 19, at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m., at Grace Pointe Missionary Baptist Church, 104 E. Industrial, Early, TX 76802.