Yeshua’s Death on a Stake: Was it Murder or Suicide?

I had a radical thought the other day- since Yeshua knew that going to Jerusalem on that fateful Passover would result in His death, was He actually murdered or, because He allowed Himself to be killed without protecting or defending Himself in any way, did He really commit suicide?

I thought this was an interesting question, especially when we consider that most Judeo-Christian religious beliefs state that suicide is a sin.

So, nu? What do you think?

Yeshua did say that there is no greater love than that one give up his life for a friend (John 15:13), and the shepherd will give his (or her) life to protect the flock (John 10:11), so if we do something to save others, something that we know might cause our own death, is that heroics or suicide? What about military actions that are called “suicide missions”, which offer little or no chance of the participant’s survival but are necessary to help the overall victory? If you volunteer for that mission and die, is that suicide?

The answer is: I’m not sure I know. If it is considered suicide, and suicide is a sin, then Yeshua sinned! Oy! But he couldn’t have sinned, otherwise He would not have been an acceptable sacrifice, right? Isn’t that what we have always been told? Yet, He took on the sin of the world, so if He was taking on the sin of the world, every sin that everyone did and ever will do, then really? what’s one more sin going to matter?

You know, now that I am discussing it with you, I may have an answer. My answer is the difference between sinful suicide and doing something that will result in your death is the reason why you are doing it: are you taking your life or giving it away?

If I do something that I know will lead to my death, and I do it in a state of emotional depression or to avoid facing the consequences of something I have done, that suicide is sinful. It is trying to escape from something that is part of living. However, if I do something that I know may result in my death, but the reason is to save someone else’s life or to accomplish a greater good for others, then I am giving up my life for the benefit of someone else.

For example: if I shoot myself, I have taken my life, but if I am helping someone to escape a firefight, get shot and die, I have given my life for another. The former is sinful, the latter is sacrificial and godly.

Therefore, given this difference between sinful and righteous ways to lose one’s life, it is clear that Yeshua did not commit a sinful suicide: He sacrificed His life so that giving up His life could save everyone else’s life.

We can give our life without losing it, by sacrificing our time, finances, possessions and energy in ways that will honor God’s Word (Torah), and to teach others how to do so through our example. And maybe, as the End of Days gets closer and the enemy rules the world, we will have to sacrifice our very life. Maybe, maybe not, but if we do, at least that will be a godly sacrifice.

Here’s a godly sacrifice you can do that won’t cost you your life: die to self so that there is more room for the Ruach haKodesh (Holy Spirit) to live within you. Then you can be filled with God’s power and righteousness.

One Way to Beat the Holiday Blues

It’s the happiest and most joyous time of the year, so naturally, suicides and a general feeling of the Blues are at their highest level of the year, also.

Those who do not have the knowledge, trust, faith or belief in God, at this time of the year, feel that emptiness more than at any other time. This is more my opinion than substantiated fact, but I don’t think anyone will disagree with me. We read about the holiday blues symptom every Christmas season.

Even those people who are adamant God doesn’t exist, or those who refuse to accept Yeshua in the way the Bible says we should and think they are OK (because their Priest or Minister has taught them that so long as you are a “good” person you go to heaven), feel a sense of “incompleteness” because (again, my opinion) they know, deep inside, that they are missing the most important part of what this holiday is supposed to be about.

No one can tell you you are saved and no one can tell you the Spirit of the Living God, the Ruach HaKodesh, is in you. This has to be from your asking God directly, and from your acceptance from God, directly, privately, and faithfully. If you haven’t accepted your own sinfulness, that Yeshua (Jesus) is the Messiah God promised to send to take away your sins, and committed yourself to doing T’shuvah (turning from sin), you can’t receive the ultimate gift, which is the Grace of God, and the the Holy Spirit. And if you don’t have this, then you are missing out. We all need to admit our own overbearing and natural sinfulness, and that we cannot stop sinning without God’s help, and (this is the important part, the part that shows you have really “turned”)  that we do not want to sin anymore. When we do this, and then ask for His forgiveness and guidance for the rest of our life, we can receive the Ruach HaKodesh.

I was afraid that this would make me a different person, that I would have to stop being who I was (although I really didn’t like much of who I was, I didn’t want to lose it.) Here’s the surprise: now that I have been on that path for years, I realize that I haven’t stopped being me, I am just becoming a better me. And I don’t feel that emptiness, or incompleteness that I did before I made that leap of faith.

It’s that emptiness that causes the holiday blues. No one is immune; even those who know and love the Lord have “down” times, and this season seems to make any sadness worse. Maybe because all we see on TV, hear on radio, and are exposed to everywhere we go is joy-joy, happy-happy people and family that all get along and love each other. Yuch! That’s not the real world. And that is what makes this season so joyously unhappy- everywhere we go and everything we see is rose-colored utopia, but then real life hits us in the face.

You may be asking, “So, nu? Steve- what’s this “magic bullet” you have to overcome the holiday blues?”

I was looking over answers to essay questions from a class about incense and prayer that I took when getting my Certificate of Messianic Studies degree and I found this:

Praise has power that is hidden from us until we begin to use it. Praise reminds us of who we are- the children of the Almighty! Praise brings back to our minds all He has done in our lives, and the lives of others. When we praise the L-rd we can’t help but become joyful, for His spirit is awakened in us as we call on His name in thanksgiving. The best way to get out of the dumps is to count your blessings, and that is a form of praise. Praise makes us feel better, and isn’t that a powerful thing?

That’s the answer: thankful prayer and praise. It is so simple and it is so necessary for us to remember to do. In order to praise God we have to enumerate those things that are wonderful and glorious about Him, and when we do that we naturally have to personalize it. That causes us to think about all the things God has done for us. We are a self-centered and egotistical species: when I review the history of our people throughout the Millennia I think, “How can anyone doubt there is a loving, compassionate and forgiving God? If there wasn’t, how else could Mankind have survived for so long?” I mean, really- we are the most self-destructive thing that there ever has been. Yet, despite ourselves, we have survived. Yes, not just survived, but thrived. There just has to be a God in heaven protecting us.

Praise and thankful prayer invigorates the Ruach inside a Believer. C’mon, admit it- I do- sometimes we stifle the Spirit and instead of dying to self we manage to hang on and continue. We overcome the Spirit, which is a shepherd and guide, but can be ignored if our sinful nature is allowed to take charge. It is the constant battle, the reason Shaul (Paul) called himself a wretched man- the little devil on one shoulder and the little angel on the other.

When we praise and give thanks, the little angel turns into Arnold Schwarzenegger and the little devil turns into Steve Urkel.

When the holiday blues start to creep up on you, and anytime during the year you feel down, praise the Lord, give thanks for His salvation, think of all that you do have, and remind yourself that no matter how bad it is now, you have a guaranteed reservation at the Hotel Paradise. And when you get there you won’t ever have to check out. Eternity in Eden is yours, and all you have to do is wait a while longer before you are there. That hope should be able to get you past any temporary situation, which means anything in this life because this life is not the destination and it is not all there is…it is nothing more than the crossing from one place to another.

When you feel down and out, lift up your head and shout, “Thank you, Father! Thank you, Yeshua!! Thank you Ruach!” And when you tell them why you are so thankful, you will feel better.

As my people say, “Try it: you’ll like it! After all, what could it hoit?”

Where Does Our Hope Come From?

I just read this morning that Robin Williams, that comic genius, is dead. A possible suicide.

How can someone who was so intelligent, so funny, so able and gifted by God to make people laugh have been so depressed to take his own life?  It’s almost as if he gave so much enjoyment and fun to others he had none left for himself. It is so sad.

Only those with no hope could ever think of ending the life they have. It’s often referred to as the cowards way; to take your life instead of standing up to the challenges of it, to travel the ultimate escape route.

I have thought of suicide. As a teenager and again during the last couple of years of my first marriage (my second is the last and the best that could be.) Those times were before I knew the Lord, before I had hope.

That’s where our hope comes from- the Lord, and (more than that) His promises. We know that this life is cursed, it has been since Adam threw Eve under the bus for the apple thing, and even Shaul (Paul) tells us that the Enemy was thrown from Heaven to the Earth. Not to Sheol (hell), but to the Earth. Hmmm…I guess that means that life on Earth is hell. There are plenty of times it feels like it, doesn’t it?

That’s why it is so important for those who believe in God and His promises, having found the ultimate hope in Yeshua ha Meschiach, to show those who haven’t any hope the hope we have found. This supernatural source of hope is what helps us overcome the world. That which is in us in more powerful that that which is in the world. If only Robin had known this. How many of us know (or know of) people who have committed suicide? How many were close to you?

Here’s the hard question: how many did we know needed God but we didn’t approach them? This isn’t to make anybody feel guilty, it’s for us to think about. Most likely it wouldn’t have made a difference. After all, Yeshua didn’t say it’s the path most taken, and throughout the Tanach God tells us there will be a remnant, not a majority, that accept and will be saved. We can’t expect that we will save everyone, and we shouldn’t even think we can. We can only plant the seed because God is the gardener. He is the one who will make it happen. But even if we only plant a seed, we need to be working in the fields.

Remember the story of Johnny Appleseed? He was a missionary, of a sort. He planted seeds and moved on, and that is what we must do.

We who have hope must give it to those who do not. The best way, I think, is by example. It’s easy to talk about how much hope we have in God, but to live it, to walk the walk, is hard. And yet, it’s the only way to make people believe you. I have said, and always will say, that which I learned as a salesman: people don’t mean what they say, they mean what they do. We need to “do” hope in our lives. We need to demonstrate to others that there is hope, and we need to fearlessly tell them where our hope comes from.

Maybe, just maybe, we can plant a seed that will save someone from hopelessness.