Many people will sit in church meetings this Sunday and observe an occurrence they have never understood. It isn’t that they can’t understand it. It is that they have never truly considered what happened.
Before Jesus gave himself to the Jews and the cross, he explained what he was doing. Jesus told his disciples,
“The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the solemn truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains by itself alone. But if it dies, it produces much grain,” (John 12:23-24). Continue reading “He gave himself for us”
Note: My in-laws, George and Joy Jensen, are moving back to Tanzania to continue their work after an eight year stint in the states. Hours before beginning their trek to Tanzania, George preached to the saints in Marlow, Oklahoma. He spoke on the cross. I’d like to share some of his thoughts, as I remember them, with you.
Details can be helpful, but often the most powerful stories are the succinct ones. We often try to expand upon the descriptions of events in scripture, to our detriment. The Holy Spirit is perfect, and the words he used to communicate with us are wholly sufficient.
Note this simple phrase in all four gospel accounts: “crucified him” (Matthew 27:35; Mark 15:24; Luke 23:33; John 19:18). While Deity chose to give us many details of what mankind did to our Savior leading up to and after the crucifixion, the silence here is striking. The next time you read the accounts of the cross, linger on those two words. The next time you speak about the cross, allow those two words to hang in the air for a moment. They (we) “crucified him.” Continue reading “The Cross of Christ”
A young man seemed surprised to learn recently that Jesus came to earth to die. He asked if God worked from a timeline, if he accomplished everything within a timeframe that he had set. Yes, God had an eternal purpose and plan and he fulfilled it “when the appropriate time had come” Galatians 4.4.
That plan was set before the creation of the world. (See Ephesians 1.4; 1 Peter 1.20.) So in the Old Testament we can see the Lord making promises and predictions of what — and who — would come. There are so many predictions that prophecy fulfilled in Jesus Christ is one of the great evidences for the inspiration of the Bible. Continue reading “Jesus came within God’s timeline”
“But we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1:23,24).
The word Paul uses in Greek for “stumbling block,” is skandalon – a “scandal,” or an “offense.” First century people did not feel warm and fuzzy emotions when they thought about crucifixions; they felt fear and revulsion. Continue reading “Offensive”
Shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?” (John 18:11)
We often consider the unfair treatment Jesus suffered. He was mocked, beaten, ridiculed, spat upon, struck, blindfolded, stripped, beaten, humiliated (Isaiah 53:1-12; Acts 8:32; 1 Peter 2:19-23). All this, before he was nailed to a cross and hung up to die.
He who created man and placed him in a Garden of paradise and showered him with blessings, found himself in a Garden of sorrow, showered with bloody sweat. Continue reading “He knew it all along”
No saying of Jesus is more perplexing than this: “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34).
I’ve tried most of my life to understand this saying. I’ve heard preaching on it, read books and chapters of books and commentaries about it. It all seems satisfactory in some ways, unfulfilling in others.
Invariably, I will say that it puzzles me, and someone retorts with a statement that sounds as if they figured it out years ago. I’m sorry (not sorry) if I don’t believe you. Continue reading “God’s “theory of everything””
“You would have no power over me at all unless it were not given you from above” (John 19:11)
Imagine having power to create a universe with billions of galaxies, and more billions of stars within, planets around those stars, and – at least in essence – the power to duplicate even your own self.
This is the awesome power of God (Exodus 20:11; Psalm 146:6); His strength is unlimited (Job 36:22). Continue reading “The God who does nothing”
Judas betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver, an act inspired by Satan himself (John 13:27).
John notes that when Judas departed from Jesus, it was night, which fits the motif of evil throughout the Bible (John 13:30; 1 John 1:5; Colossians 1:13). Continue reading “Thirty pieces of silver: The rest of the story”
It is late May, the Day of Pentecost. The past few months have been momentous. Almost two months ago the prophet from Nazareth was executed – crucified – by the Romans, although we hear it was instigated by the Jewish leaders. Yet within days many of his followers were saying that he had come back from the dead. Some claimed to have seen him within the past few weeks! You can’t help but wonder what might happen at Pentecost.
Jews from all over the world have come home for this great Jewish festival. It is now about nine o’clock on Sunday morning. Many have gathered for the morning sacrifice and prayers. Suddenly, we hear the sound of a great gust of wind but, strangely, we can’t feel even a breeze stirring the air. Continue reading “What should we do?”
As Jesus approached the time of betrayal, it would seem he did so with the same apprehension that you or I would have had. What lied ahead of him was the worst events you could image from either a physical or spiritual perspective.
Physically it was one of the most torturous deaths that humans had ever devised: crucifixion. The Romans had taken this form of execution to the heights of torture and humiliation, as well. From what I understand, they knew exactly where to put the nails to inflict the most excruciating pain possible. Continue reading “The last temptation of Jesus”