Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Man In The Middle

We were doubly blessed at our church Saturday night with The Rochester Family (above) and the Marksmen Quartet bringing us the gospel in music.The links will take you to their sites for examples of their Bluegrass Gospel Music.

There were so many different stringed instruments!! From a mandolin to a bass violin. There were many instrument switches, too – guitar to banjo brought a joke from Earle Wheeler: 
If a guitar player and a banjo player jumped out of a plane at the same time, who would reach the ground first?  Guitar player. Guaranteed that the banjo player would stop along the way to tune!
The key word for the evening is gospel – the good news that the Messiah came, fulfilled prophecy, provided salvation for mankind and a home for God’s children. All the songs they sang gave that message. One sticks in my mind – “The Man In The Middle.”

Three men on the mountain
Up on Calvary
And the Man in the middle was Jesus
He died for you and me

Accepting that is necessary to become a Christian. And, that scene is something everyone should consider. An historical Jesus is established fact. No one appears to deny that His teachings have value in dealing with our fellow man. Other beliefs accept that He lived, taught valuable lessons from Jewish scriptures, then was killed. Only Christians believe that He miraculously rose from that grave – that He is the physical middle between God and man.

On the cross He hung between two others:

And there were also two other, malefactors, led with him to be put to death. And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. (Luke 23:32-33)

Under the worst possible conditions, those two were faced with what to do about the man in the middle. One cried out as so many do today – give us a sign, show us who you are by doing what we want!

And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. (Luke 23:39)

The other recognized Him:

But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. (Luke 23:40-42)

He admitted he was justly condemned, believed Jesus was Lord and had power beyond the grave. That response is valid today. So is Jesus’ answer:

And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise. (Luke 23:43)

That’s the message from the Man in the middle – because I trust Him to be what He said He is, I will be with Him in paradise.

Not everyone I know has this understanding of God’s will from the reading of His word. Many decline even to read His word, never seeking to understand the message. They reject the very concept of the Man in the middle. Should those be surprised by His rejection when the time comes?

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