Driving down the highway at 1:00 in the morning can be scary enough. But when Matthew Evenson drove upon the horrifying scene of a bloodied man standing in the middle of the road trying to stop traffic, it was almost more than he could take. Evenson was returning from a 5-hour trip from Biloxi, Mississippi, traveling on U.S. 431 near the Yuchi Reservation, on his way to Phenix City, Alabama, when his headlights caught the strange silhouette of a man frantically waving his arms. The road was dark and the nearest gas station was 5 to 6 miles away.
At first Evenson drove past the man and then did a U-turn going back to where 54-year-old Forest Bowyer was standing.
“They shot my boy! They shot my boy!” Mr. Bowyer kept saying. “My boy’s been shot!” Evenson asked Mr. Bowyer to get to the side of the road away from oncoming traffic. Mr. Bowyer said, “Look, I’m not going to hurt you. Do you have a towel?” Evenson took a towel from the back seat of his car and gave it to Mr. Bowyer as he dialed 911 on his cell phone.
Mr. Bowyer, trembling, walked to the passenger side of Matthew Evenson’s Mazda and got in. As Matthew asked what happened, Mr. Bowyer told him two men posing as narcotics agents had kidnapped him and his 12-year-old son. They’d robbed the Bowyers and then, taken them to a construction site where they dug a shallow grave in the red clay. They took Mr. Bowyer’s house keys, slit his throat and shoved him into the grave. Then, they shot his son in the head, pushed his body on top of his father, covered them with dirt and drove away.
Somehow Mr. Bowyer was able to dig his way out of the grave and make it to the main road where he tried unsuccessfully to get help until Matthew Evenson came. Matthew said Mr. Bowyer’s wounds were so deep he could see the muscles and tissue in his throat as he spoke. And all Mr. Bowyer could talk about was finding his son. He had to find his son. In fact, they practically had to force him to get into the ambulance.
This time death came slow, not sudden, taking almost 6 hours. And this time, as unbelievable as it may seem, death came at the hands of the Father.
The good news is, less than 12 hours after Mr. Bowyer had been taken to the hospital for emergency surgery, officers arrested the two men who’d committed this horrific atrocity and charged them with capital murder, attempted murder, robbery and kidnapping. The bad news is, they killed his son.
A similar situation took place over 2,000 years ago, not in Alabama, but in Jerusalem. This time there were no phony narcotics agents but there were phony religious leaders and an out-of-control mob crying for the death of a 33-year-old Son. No one’s throat was slit, but the Son’s head was punctured with 4-6 inch thorns, His hands and feet pierced with 7-9 inch spikes and a spear thrust into His side. A government official named Pilate gave the order for crucifixion, and it was carried out by Roman soldiers with the full approval of the Jewish leaders and a crowd of gawking, mocking fools who’d been senselessly stirred into a murderous fury.
This time death came slow, not sudden, taking almost 6 hours. And this time, as unbelievable as it may seem, death came at the hands of the Father. You read it right. The Father killed His Son. Isaiah 53:10 says, “Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush Him and to cause Him to suffer.” Verse 5 says, “He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities.” The Father killed His only Son so He wouldn’t have to kill us. Jesus’ death made possible our life, and the Father was behind it all.
Trust me on this one. EASTER is not about cute, little bunnies. No, it’s far more important than that. The point of EASTER is that God turned the full force of His wrath on Jesus so you and I might be able to enjoy the full benefits of His salvation for all eternity. And once Jesus paid the price for our sins with His death and burial, He rose triumphant from the grave.
Want more good news? His resurrection guarantees ours. (1 Corinthians 15:20-24)
Sometime today it would be incredibly appropriate for you to say, sing, or shout to someone, Hallelujah! What a Savior!
It would also be appropriate to say, Hallelujah! What A Father!
We’ll be doing that tonight at 7, in the first of seven Easter weekend services.
© 2015. Barry L. Cameron
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.