Turning Torture Into Victory

the following words are those of Pastor Jason, shared before entering into a time of Communion –  transcribed from the recording of the 9:00 am service on Sunday, March 1, 2015


There are situations in our life where we may feel like we need to put up a fight…The question is, is it something worth laying down our lives for? 

We’ve seen a lot in the headlines lately about Isis and we see people actually laying down their lives – involuntarily, as far as we can tell – and for what?  What is it for?

21 coptic christian martyrs
Artwork by Tony Rezk

I was struck this past week as I was reading the news.  These are the twenty-one martyrs, these twenty-one Coptic Christians that were beheaded at the seaside by Isis. 

And it’s interesting, the article I read talked about Jesus and the cross and how crucifixion was, in some ways, the instrument of torture in that day…We hear about beheadings now… well that was the cross of Jesus’ day. 

And Jesus came and took that very symbol of torture and turned it into a symbol of victory.  


Because Jesus demonstrated that even your most gruesome thing that you can put before me or put me on – I will overcome itI will overcome death.  And what struck me about this story was some of the family members of these men – they were thankful for Isis for not editing out the video, and showing these men uttering the name of Jesus Christ in their very last breath.  They were thankful that was not edited out… 

We gather at the table and we celebrate the death of Jesus Christ.  For what? 

For our freedom!  So that death doesn’t have a hold on us.  So that we can say, just like Jesus was raised from the dead, we too who have hope in Him will be raised from the dead so that no matter what happens, we know that death is not the end. 

And what’s beautiful about this is that it’s not the black hooded men who are standing there – it’s the Lord Jesus Christ who’s there to receive these men. 

And as we gather at the table we recognize that it’s the Lord Jesus Christ who gathers to receive us at our hour of need and at our hour of death no matter when that comes. 

“I have brought victory,” Jesus said. “You put before me the cross and I overcame that….Death is not the end.”

No matter what this world shares with us – no matter what comes in this world – we know that Jesus Christ has overcome.  We know that is what the cross is all about…

Spend some time reflecting on Christ as the One who has died and shed His blood for us and the victory that has come in his resurrection – that he stands alive, welcoming people who trust in him.