I have often made this statement in my preaching: “You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.” This expresses the central mystery of Christianity: We place such heavy emphasis on feeding the desires of our physical bodies; we should instead be feeding the eternal part of our beings, our soul or spirit.
There is a movement among preachers in our fellowship who suggest that after we die we will inherit the same bodies that we have now. They point to Jesus’ resurrected body, apparently the same as the one he had before his death, bearing the marks of his crucifixion. Consider his invitation to Thomas to touch the scars in his hands and side (John 20:26-28). But it’s also worth noting the image of the risen victorious Jesus, white hair, face like the sun and eyes like a flame of fire (Revelation 1:12-16). This is clearly not describing the physical body Jesus had while on the earth. Continue reading “What happens to us when we die?”
In 1 Corinthians 15:13-19, Paul acknowledged that if Jesus never rose from the grave, Christians have no hope and should be pitied. Furthermore, those who claimed they saw Jesus alive after his death would be liars. If, however, Christ arose … Continue reading The tomb is empty. Jesus lives!
We are all broken. We all need a fresh start. Through Christ, God delivers.
The letter of 1 Peter, which some have termed a handbook for new Christians, reminds God’s people how God has enabled us to have a new life and what we can expect from this new beginning. Continue reading “The God of new beginnings: the hope of the new birth”
The Germans refer to it as Stunde Null, or “Zero Hour.” It was the moment when Germany had lost World War II, her cities bombed to rubble, the NAZI apparatus destroyed. It was as if the prone body of a nation died, flat lined for a moment. Then, after a terrifying moment when everyone watched, breath bated, a pulse began again.
It’s interesting to note the change in Germany in 1945: Continue reading “Zero hour”
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””
In John 11:35 we find the shortest verse in our English translations: “Jesus wept.” Although a short verse, these two words tell us about who Jesus was and the love he has for people.
Earlier in this chapter, Jesus received word that his friend Lazarus was very ill. “So the sisters sent a message to Jesus, ‘Lord, look, the one you love is sick.’ When Jesus heard this, he said, ‘This sickness will not lead to death, but to God’s glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.’ (Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.) So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he remained in the place where he was for two more days” (John 11:3-6 NET). Continue reading “Jesus wept”
While Paul was in Athens waiting for his companions, it gave him a chance to look around the city. What he saw disturbed him! There were shrines to virtually any false god you could think of, complete with images that were supposed to represent them.
A friend recently visited ancient Athens and he said that you can see exactly what Paul was talking about, as the foundations for the shrines were packed tightly together along the side of the ancient street. They weren’t large, but they were everywhere! Continue reading “What a great God we serve!”
“Now some Sadducees (who contend that there is no resurrection) came to him. They asked him, ‘Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies leaving a wife but no children, that man must marry the widow and father children for his brother. Now there were seven brothers. The first one married a woman and died without children. The second and then the third married her, and in this same way all seven died, leaving no children. Finally the woman died too. In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For all seven had married her’” (Luke 20:27-33 NET).
During the last week of his life before his crucifixion, Jesus spent time teaching the people. The Jewish authorities were desperate to trap him in something that he was saying to discredit him with the people. On this particular day the Pharisees began by asking about paying taxes. Jesus gave an answer that impressed those who were there. Continue reading “What will eternal life be like?”
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:4 NKJV).
When I purchase airline tickets, I prefer to confirm my seats for each leg of the flight as quickly as possible. I like aisle seats, near the front of the cabin, and those are usually the first ones to be taken. If I wait until I check in for the flight, it is very likely that I will not get what I prefer. Continue reading “Reserved”
What will it be like in heaven? Despite the word “heaven” being used so often in the New Testament (around 240 times), there are very few descriptions of what heaven will be like and even fewer that talk about what it will be like to be in heaven. I am confident there is a reason for this: how do you describe something that is so much more wonderful than anything on earth, using purely human terms? Continue reading “A wee view of heaven”