Jesus Christ is Superior to the Angels – Hebrews 1:7-14

Photo credit w3ace.com

Jesus Christ is Superior to the Angels Part 2

Hebrews 1:7-14

And of the angels He says,

Who makes His angels winds,
And His ministers a flame of fire.”

But of the Son He says,

Your throne, O God, is forever and ever,
And the righteous scepter is the scepter of [a]His kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of gladness above Your companions.”

10 And,

You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth,
And the heavens are the works of Your hands;
11 They will perish, but You remain;
And they all will become old like a garment,
12 And like a mantle You will roll them up;
Like a garment they will also be changed.
But You are the same,
And Your years will not come to an end.”

13 But to which of the angels has He ever said,

Sit at My right hand,
Until I make Your enemies
footstool for Your feet”?

14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?

A series of sermons by Dr. Wayne A. Barber on the Book of Hebrews entitled from ‘Shadows to Substance’  (Sermon 4)

VIDEO by John Ankerberg

Ben Witherington: The Self-Understanding of Jesus – Biola University

 

From “To everyone an answer: 10th Annual EPS Apologetics Conference”.

VIDEO by BiolaUniversity

 

The Historical Jesus – Ben Witherington

VIDEO by Myers Park United Methodist Church

Christophany by Eric Ludy

Pentru traducere automata, fa click aici – Romanian

 Jesus ChristPastor Eric Ludy Church at Ellerslie, Windsor, Colorado VIDEO by SermonIndex.net

Christophany – I’m gonna define the word Christophany for you, because it is extremely difficult. I don’t care if you never use the word again and it’s not that I am trying to add a word to your vocabulary, I am adding a concept to your spiritual library. In fact, if you have a spiritual library that is missing this concept, what I would encourage you to do is liquidate it, start with one singular volume on your book shelf and have it be Christophany, and then begin to rebuild the book shelf. That’s how central, foremost and preeminent this particular message is. This has the potential to radically alter your perspective and yet, it might not teach you one new thing.

It has to do with positioning that which matters most into the right spot. For instance, if you’re building a house, you wouldn’t want to start with a chimney. And yet, a lot of us in our Christian life do exactly that. We are handed a chimney. We come to Jesus and someone has their pet doctrine, and the one who invited us into the presence of Christ, which was such a blessing to start with, they hand to us, first thing, the kitchen sink of Christianity or the sink of Christianity. Which, by the way, have a place and are very important, but what do you do with a kitchen sink? Could you imagine how awkward that is? Most of us are lugging around a kitchen sink and setting it down wherever we go. “Whew, this is exhausting!” We have no idea, we cannot make sense of it. It doesn’t work. You turn on the faucet and nothing comes out. You read in the Bible and it says that it’s supposed to work. There’s supposed to be rivers of living water that flows out of it and yet, nothing’s coming out of your sink. It’s frustrating.

Let’s make sure we build correctly. And that’s what this message is about.

Christophany – is a poetic word. This is my most simple definition:

Seeing Jesus in the Bible. Seeing Him here, seeing Him there, seeing Him everywhere! And not just in the symbols, such as the ark of Noah, the manna, the rock in the wilderness, the tabernacle, the high priest, the temple, the king of Israel- but in the themes, the circumstances, the characters, the stories, the literary styles. He is the histories of Israel re-enacted in a singular human life, the law of God incarnate, the proverbs come to life, the prophecies fulfilled… He is the word of God made flesh.

This is a quote from Charles Spurgeon and it was a young pastor coming to an elder wide known pastor who was (I’m guessing) his disciples. And so, he gave a sermon, and guess who was in the audience? That great elder pastor. And so, this is the conversation that flowed after the young man gave his sermon:

Charles Spurgeon: Upon finishing his sermon, the young man went to the old pastor to ask how he had done: “What do you think of my sermon, sir?” “A very poor sermon, indeed,” he said. “A poor sermon!” said the young man, “It took me a long time to study it.” “Ay, no doubt of it.”

“Why then, do you say it was poor; did you not think my explanation of the text to be accurate?” “Oh yes,” said the old preacher, “very correct indeed….”

…Well then, why do you say it is a poor sermon? Didn’t you think the metaphors were appropriate, and the arguments conclusive?” “Yes, they were very good, as far as that goes, but still it was a very poor sermon.”

“Will you tell me why you think it a poor sermon?” “Because,” he said, “THERE WAS NO CHRIST IN IT!” ….

“Well,” said the young man, “Christ was not in the text; we are not to be teaching Christ always, we must preach what is in the text.”

So the old man said, “Don’t you know, young man, that from every town, and every village, and every little hamlet in England, wherever it may be, there is a road to London?”

“Yes,” said the young man.

“Ah,” said the old preacher, “And so, from EVERY TEXT in Scripture there is a road to the metropolis of Scriptures, that is CHRIST!”

“And my dear brother, your business is, when you get to a text, to say, “Now, what is the road to Christ?”  and then preach a sermon, running along the roads towards the great metropolis- CHRIST.”

(24th minute) – I will give you the 7 great -ologies that we are facing as the Church of Jesus Christ and let me make something clear. Each of these -ologies  have validity. But, only under the banner of Jesus Christ as the center.

  1. Cosmology – the study of origins and beginning
  2. Eschatology – the study of what is to come, the ending.
  3. Theology – the study of all things pertaining to God.
  4. Soteriology – the study of salvation.
  5. Sabbatology – the study of the Sabbath and the particular day for honoring this rest.
  6. Etiquetteology – the study of moral excellence and appropriate behavior.
  7. Powerology – the study of enduement and the expected evidences of indwelling Grace.

The -ology of all -ologies: CHRISTCROSSOLOGY – The thing I want to emphasize is what Paul emphasized. It’s not just Christ, it’s Christ’s work. See, Jesus is enunciated in all the natures of the Father is enunciated in Him and in the work of the cross. The cross is the full enunciation of Him, His nature. Everything about God is revealed in and through the cross. And so, this is the study, this is the great focus and this is the great key that unlocks all the other -ologies. You wanna understand all the other -ologies. Get to know this -ology and suddenly, all the other -ologies have context in place to be understood.

CHRISTCROSSOLOGY:

The quest to intimately know Jesus Christ, to be found in Him, to win Him, to comprehend, understand, and intimately behold His work, to know the power of His resurrection, and know the fellowship of His sufferings. To deliberately make “Jesus and Him Crucified” the great centerpiece of reasoning and thought, the magnetic fixation of all philosophical deduction, and the central doctrine and interpretive key to all Life and Truth.

The Names of God(40):

  • The Almighty, which is, and which was, and which is to come (Revelation 1:8)
  • The Creator of all things (Colossians 1:16)
  • The Upholder of all things (Hebrews 1:3)
  • The Beginning of the Creation of God (Revelation 3:14)
  • The Father of Eternity (Isaiah 9:6)
  • The Beginning and the Ending (Revelation 1:8)
  • The Alpha and the Omega (Revelation 1:8)
  • The First and the Last (Revelation 1:17)
  • The Life (1 John 1:2)
  • The Eternal Life which was with the Father (1 John 1:2)
  • He that Liveth (Revelation 1:18)
  • The Express Image of His Person (Hebrews 1:3)
  • The Brightness of His Glory (Hebrews 1:3)
  • The Light (John 12:35)
  • The True Light (John 1:9)
  • A Great Light (Isaiah 9:2)
  • The Light of the World (John 8:12)
  • The Light of Men (John 1:4)
  • A Light of the Gentiles (Isaiah 42:6)
  • The Rock of my Salvation (2 Samuel 22:47)
  • The Captain of Salvation (Hebrews 2:10)
  • A Horn of Salvation (Luke 1:69)
  • The Author and Finisher of Faith (Hebrews 12:2)
  • My Redemption (1 Corinthians 1:30)
  • The Strength of the Children of Israel (Joel 3:12-16)
  • A Strength to the needy in distress (Isaiah 25:4)
  • A Refuge from the storm (Isaiah 25:4)
  • A Covert from the Tempest (Isaiah 32:2)
  • The Hope of Thy people (Joel 3:12-16)
  • The Lamb  of God (John 1:29)
  • A Lamb without  blemish and without spot (1 Peter 1:19)
  • The Lamb that was slain (Revelation 5:12)
  • The Lamb in the midst of a throne (Revelation 7:17)
  • The Savior of the World (1 John 4:14)
  • A Savior, which is Christ the Lord (Luke 2:11)
  • Messiah (John 4:25)
  • The Way (John 14:6)
  • The Door of the Sheep (John 10:7)
  • The Builder (Hebrews 3:3; Matthew 16:18)
  • The Foundation (1 Corinthians 3:11)
  • A Sure Foundation (Isaiah 28:16)

HE WAS and IS Perfect

  1. The Image of God (2 Corinthians 4:4)
  2. The Image of the Invisible God (Colossians 1:15)
  3. The Express Image of His Person (Hebrews 1:3)
  4. The Brightness of His Glory (Hebrews 1:3)
  5. Holy, Harmless (Hebrews 7:26)
  6. The Holy One and the Just (Acts 3;14)
  7. The Holy One of Israel (Isaiah 41:7)
  8. The Holy One of God (Mark 1;24)
  9. Holy, Holy, Holy (Isaiah 6:3; John 12:41)
  10. Merciful (Hebrews 2:17)
  11. Faithful (Hebrews 2:17)
  12. Undefiled (Hebrews 7:26)
  13. Separate  (Hebrews 7:26)
  14. The First-Born from the dead (Colossians 1:18)
  15. The First-Begotten of the dead (Revelation 1:5)
  16. The First-Born among many Brethren (Romans 8:29)
  17. The First-Fruits of them that slept (1 Corinthian 15:20)
  18. A Bundle of Myrrh (Song of Solomon 1:13)
  19. A Cluster of Henna Blooms (Song of Solomon 1:14)
  20. Yea. Thou art all together lovely. Thou art my Beloved and my Friend (Song of Solomon 5:16)

Jesus Christ and Him Crucified – the great focus, message, and meditation of the believer. Jesus Christ is-

  • The focus of our faith
  • The catalyst of our understanding
  • The object of our love and our affection
  • The wellspring of our joy
  • The source of our peace
  • The Power of God unto Salvation
  • The Root of our every doctrine

Everything is about Jesus, and Him Crucified:

  • Every message is about Jesus– exalting Him, glorifying Him, and increasing our faith in Him
  • Every message flows out of the exaltation of Him, His work, and the purchase of His work
  • Every discussion is about Jesus or increases our faith in His work
  • Every doctrine stems from the Person of Jesus, the work of Jesus, the victory of Jesus
  • Every thing that is not born out of this faith-focus on Jesus and His Great-CrossWork, increasing  the understanding of it, the adoration of Him, and the ever-increasing faith in Him and His work, is off-center and distraction from the Center.

There is much, much more in this 77 minute sermon…

Persoana si Lucrarea Duhului Sfant – “The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit”

Photo credit www.disciples.org.au

Pentru traducere automata, fa click aici – Romanian

Faith Matters Episode 12 –  “The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit” featuring a discussion between Dr. Mark Williams, General Overseer of the Church of God and Dr. Steven J. Land, President of the Pentecostal Theological Seminary.

Notes from the video:

Dr. Mark Williams – It’s undeniable that the Holy Spirit is at work in the world today. He is convicting people of sin. He is drawing them to Christ. We see Him at work, as the Lord is pouring out His Spirit in the last days, which are a sign, of course, of the last days. He is so important. And He is also very important in worship. Is He not?

Dr. Steven J. Land: Absolutely! How could we know God, unless God wanted to be known? You know, you can come together and simply remember facts and rehearse Scriptures, and if God doesn’t show up, to know God and encounter God, is it really worship? We remember we are taught things, but, by saying that this is an encounter with the living God, we participate in His life and He is in our midst, He speaks to us and moves and manifests gifts and informs us and speaks to His character, that’s what helps the whole world to see that we are a community that has God at the center. We’re not just a religion making group. But, we’re gathered around God at the very center. The closer we get to God, the closer we get to each other.

Dr. Mark Williams: 1 Corinthians 12:13-14 are really very important passages  for me as a disciple and as a pastor, as a shepherd, as I begin to learn  about the manifestations of the Spirit, the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 12:7 -the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every person to profit. And we see, as Paul, in a corrective way at the church of Corinth, begins to lay out the person, the work of the Holy Spirit, how he works, what the purpose of the Holy Spirit at work among us, corporately, really is- to glorify Jesus. Also, to edify. We see in those passages, the gifts of the Spirit. Perhaps in my view, not necessarily an exhaustive list. It’s certainly a representative list of the gifts of the Spirit. We see in there, gifts for the mind, gifts for might, gifts for the mouth- for utterance. We see, sandwiched in there, also, the ultimate test of the Spirit’s work, which is love.

Dr. Steven J. Land: And why is that? Because God is love. Again, it goes back to this participation in the life and mission of God. What would we be if we didn’t have love? If you didn’t have love, it means you wouldn’t have God. The whole point of God was not just to reveal information, but to reveal Himself. Let us know Him. And that He that hath the Son, hath life. And he that hath not the Son, hath not life. So, the very life at the center is the life of God given us in Jesus Christ, by the Spirit of life, the Holy Spirit. So, 1 Corinthians 13 can talk about the more excellent way . The most excellent way is not love. It’s love motivating all the other things: the tongues, the knowledge and the faith, and the giving and the sacrifice. That’s the most excellent way of life. It’s not a multiple choice test. It’s to make sure love is the central motive, the central reality. So that God remains central and we’re not competing with each other.

Dr. Mark Williams: How many times have I seen the Holy Spirit work corporately in pointing us to Christ? Pointing us to the love of God? And releasing supernatural enablements to help give guidance to the church. We read in Scripture about the word of knowledge, the word of wisdom and discerning the spirits. I would say, in your experience, you have also seen times when we didn’t know what to do, and the Holy Spirit would give to us divine direction that we could have never known before.

Dr. Steven J. Land: Or, the Holy Spirit speaking and revealing people’s hearts. Just astounding. People falling on their faces in reverence for God because He’d reveal things that no one would know, but God.

Dr. Mark Williams: I’ve got to tell you this. My dad was not raised in a Christian home at all, He came to faith out of dating my mom. He found Christ as His Savior. They were married. He was in the Air Force and he goes to church, a Church of God in Wichita Falls, Texas. And they invite a friend of my dad’s and his girlfriend, to go over with them to church. They were at a revival. Now, my dad was very skeptical about the person and the work of the Holy Spirit. He saw people living in such a way, you claimed to be baptized in the Holy Spirit and he thought, “Well, I live just as good as they do, and I even pay my tithes.” So, he really had doubts.

At this service, a preacher who is now in heaven, he was up preaching. And he had a prayer line and my dad’s buddy went up for prayer. And when my dad’s friend went up for prayer, brother Krutcher (?) a visiting evangelist who had never seen this guy before and this man had never been to this church before, brother Krutcher laid his hand on this man and looked at him in the eye and he said, “You’re living a lie. The woman you have brought with you does not know that you have a wife  back in Ohio. You have a family. You need to call on God.” The man fell to his knees, repented of his sins. I’ll tell you something else that happened. It made a believer out of my dad. And fear came upon the congregation. And my dad never doubted the person and the work of the Holy Spirit again.

Dr. Steven J. Land: It was either right or wrong, very specific.

Dr. Mark Williams: Yeah, this was no general… “There might be someone here…” He looked at him right in the eye. The gift of the word of knowledge was right there prophetically speaking.

Dr. Steven J. Land: Yeah, those are the things that made this revival, this renewal, this missionary movement  spread around the world. It’s also the thing touching people in other places. For example, we’re going to witness in the world where other religions are entrenched. Manifestations where there is Buddhism, or Islam or radical secularism. When you get the Gospel coming with words of Scripture and signs and demonstrations in the Spirit, that combination, not just separating them, just Scripture and just manifestations, but coming together. That’s a powerful combination.

Dr. Mark Williams: I long for this generation to see authentic supernatural at work. How important is that?

Dr. Steven J. Land: It is so essential because what we so often have is to believe that the individual is the key. Just finding the individual and just lifting up that individual. My mother said so often to me, she’s now with the Lord, but she would say, “Steve, when you teach or preach, you’ve got to find a way to always move behind the cross.” I think people need to carry away Christ, not you.” Move behind the cross, always. And isn’t that what the Holy Spirit does. The Holy Spirit continually lifts up Christ, even though the Holy Spirit is God, but lifts up Jesus Christ because He’s the Savior and in Him we know the life of the Father. We discover the will of the Father and we worship God. So, that’s very critical for us who are filled with the Spirit. To lift up Christ, to point away from ourselves and lift up Christ. And when we do that, the signs will follow.

Dr. Mark Williams: Okay, so you’re sitting in a service and you’re not skeptical. There’s a difference from the discernment of spirits and pure old skepticism. We’ve seen both before. How do you know whether a manifestation truly is of the Holy Spirit or whether it is of the flesh? Or, God forbid, another Spirit? Don’t we have some instructions on discernment there?

Dr. Steven J. Land: Discernment;s huge. True and false prophecy is the roots and fruits. If it comes from a guy who doesn’t bear Godly fruit- you don’t get sweet water out of a bitter well. And so it’s roots and fruits. And sometimes you don’t know til later, you wait and kind of see til it bears out, what fruit does it produce? Does it divide the church? Does it build up the church? Does it edify? Does it comfort? Does it  exhort to righteousness? You know, they are put in those tests in Scripture, whether in 1 Corinthians 14 or the prophetic passages of the Old Testament and you put all that together in discernment to determine true and false prophets and true and false prophecies, and you see what finally happens. Some people will clearly lift themselves up, they’ll say wild and exotic things. Some of it just won’t bear with Scripture. They’ve gone beyond Scripture. You know, [they'll say], “We’ve got further revelation.” But, how much sense will it make if the Holy Spirit will reveal things which contradict what He inspired people to write in Scripture? So we have to set it.

Dr. Mark Williams: The old timers used to say, “The Holy Ghost WILL NEVER contradict Himself!” What we have to be careful of not allowing the excesses to rob us of the genuine.

Dr. Steven J. Land: When I was growing up, there was a lady who came through and my aunt called my dad, and said, “You’ve got to come to church tonight. There’s a  woman here, God has filled her mouth with jewels.” Some people just go crazy over that. She would open her mouth and they’d see things glittering and they’d get excited. I had no confidence in that at all. It doesn’t lift up Christ and it’s just sensationalism. It’s not of the Lord, I’m not moved. And that proved to be the case. It turned out that she had taken this colored foil and put it in her mouth and got exposed. Well, it was just a show. It was not something lifting up Christ, and it wasn’t in the context of the word. It was just, “Look what God can do.”

It’s like gold dust falling from the ceiling. I got a call from a newspaper reporter. He said, “What do you think about this gold dust?” “Well, did you get a bag of it?” “No.” “Well, did anybody?” We need to question that, don’t we? “It fell, but nobody’s got any.” And if it’s just to lift up people, it’s just sensationalism.

And I go back to that quote from the Azusa Street revival and what it said: “People look for the spectacular and they miss the wonderful.” Signs and wonders, these are wonder works. They lead to wonder before God, in reverence before God, or does it lift up individuals? You know, if a manifestation of a gift leads to hate and not to love, not joy in the Lord, but despair in the Lord, not to peace, but to discord and strife; it’s pretty clear that there’s contradiction there between gifts and fruit. The fruit, as for the gifts, to manifest for the character. It’s like, our deeds should manifest our character and our motivation. The gifts of the Spirit, they should form us in that and not contradict us. Those should go together, the way that personality goes together with character. And the external and the internal. We should see that. In church, it should be like a garden. A place that cultivates the fruit of the Spirit, so we produce people that have Christian character. I think that’s what upsets me more than anything, that Christians  who make a claim of their character, it doesn’t bear it out.

Dr. Mark Williams: You know, by their fruit you shall know them. You know, my grandpa always had a statement. He would see people slain in the Spirit, and he would basically say, “You know, It’s fine to be slain in the Spirit. I believe in that, wonderful, but, when you get up, how you walk is what is really important.” There’s no doubt about it, God is a Spirit. Those that worship Him, must worship Him in Spirit, and in truth. God is seeking such. And I just pray that God would continue to favor us with the manifestations of the Spirit. Not for spectacle, not for show. But, that the name of Jesus might be lifted up and that the manifestation would become a platform upon which to to the good news of Jesus Christ.

Faith Matters Episode 12 –  “The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit”

featuring a discussion between

Dr. Mark Williams, General Overseer of the Church of God

and Dr. Steven J. Land,

President of the Pentecostal Theological Seminary

John Piper – Raspuns la “Un Cuvant Comun” (scris de musulmani) si Documentului de la Universitatea Yale (raspunsul crestinilor)

Photo credit www.yale.edu

Citeste documentul musulmanilor aici  - A Common Word (Un Cuvant Comun)

Citeste raspunsul Universitatii Yale, semnat de mai multi lideri Crestini (dar, nu de John Piper si Al Mohler) - “A Common Word” Christian Response (Un Cuvant Comun – Raspunsul Crestinilor)

Traducere Agnus Dei: Raspunsul lui John Piper, din 18 Noiembrie 2009:

Sunt deacord cu a doua propozitie din documentul “Un Cuvant Comun”, care spune in felul urmator: ,,Fara pace si justitie intre cele doua comunitati religioase (musulmani si crestini), nu poate exista o pace semnificativa in lume.” Eu prin aceasta inteleg ca este vorba despre un comportament national, social si personal, dar nu si exprimarea sentimentelor, sau exprimarea ideilor. Si, totodata sunt deacord cu propozitia din ultimul paragraf, care spune: ,,Deci, sa nu lasam ca diferentele noastre sa produca ura si cearta intre noi.” Acestea sunt dorinte enorme pe care le impartasesc si eu.

Piper s response to A Common WordIn Ioan 18:36 Isus a zis, de fapt El a renuntat la sabie, ca fiind o strategie pentru ucenicii sai, ca o modalitate de a avansa imparatia. El a zis: ,,Daca ar fi Imparatia Mea din lumea aceasta, slujitorii Mei s’ar fi luptat ca sa nu fiu dat in mainile Iudeilor; dar acum, Imparatia Mea nu este de aici.” Si, prin urmare, crestinii ar trebui sa lucreze impreuna cu oameni cu vederi religioase foarte radical diferite, cu scopul de a cauta modalitati pentru a evita violenta nejustificata. Ei ar trebui sa caute impreuna sa pastreze libertatea de inchinare religioasa, intrunirea religioasa, si proclamarea publica a religiei. Crestinii ar trebui sa renunte la folosirea fortei fizice atat prin violenta ilegala cat si prin pedeapsa legala care are ca scop limitarea expresiei religioase pasnice, ne coercitive, inchinarea sau discursul persuasiv religios.

Dar, centrul acestei chemari “Un Cuvant Comun” este defectuos. Aceasta chemare isi propune sa ofere un  fundament pentru fiecare dialog interconfesional din viitor. La pagina 15 scrie: ,,Fie ca acest fundament comun sa fie baza viitoarelor noastre intruniri interconfesionale, pentru ca acest fundament comun cuprinde toata Legea si Proorocii.” Matei 22.

Care este asadar chemarea centrala a cuvantului comun?

Fraza: ,,Un Cuvant Comun Intre Noi”, este luata din Koran. Citandu-l pe Dumnezeu, spune: ,,Oh oameni ai scripturii (evrei si crestini), veniti la un cuvant comun intre noi si voi, ca sa nu ne inchinam la nimeni, decat lui Dumnezeu.”

Acest citat este important deoarece arata clar ca chemarea centrala “A Cuvantului Comun” nu este ca noi suntem deacord ca monoteisti pe principiile formale de dragoste pentru Dumnezeu (oricare este El), si dragostea fata de aproapele nostru (oricare este el). Aceasta ar putea fi adevarat. Dar  ceea ce citatul din Koran face clar este ca chemarea centrala din ” Un Cuvant Comun” este aceea ca crestinii si musulmanii de fapt iubesc pe acelasi Dumnezeu. Cu alte cuvinte, cand am citit “Un Cuvant Comun” intrebarea mea a fost: Este disertatia ca oficial religiile noastre sunt similare? Voi pune-ti o mare importanta pe dragostea de Dumnezeu si de aproapele nostru. Noi punem o mare importanta pe dragostea de Dumnezeu si aproapele nostru. Acestea sunt structural si formal similare, si noi putem sa fim deacord in aceasta privinta.

Sau aceasta inseamna ca: Noi avem o dragoste pentru Dumnezeu, si voi aveti o dragoste pentru Dumnezeu. Ca dragostea comuna pentru un Dumnezeu comun, este temelia. Aceasta din urma este ceea ce documentul insemneaza. Sunt alte doua motive pentru a crede aceasta. Paragraful, care urmeaza imediat acestuia pe care l-am citat, identifica aceasta chemare din Koran cu o porunca mare din Biblie. Ele spun: ,,Este clar, ca inchinandu-te nimanui decat numai lui Dumnezeu se relata cu a fi devotat in totalitate lui Dumnezeu, si deci la prima si cea mai mare porunca. Astfel, noi suntem chemati sa stam impreuna, pe un fundament comun de o singura inchinare la Dumnezeu, un singur devotament fata de Dumnezeu si o singura dragoste pentru Dumnezeu.” A treia proba de evidenta din “Un Cuvant Comun”. Citeaza Koranul in felul urmator: ,,Sa ziceti, oh musulmanilor, noi credem in Dumnezeu, si in ceea ce Moise si Isus au primit. Si, daca ei cred in felul in care voi credeti, atunci ei sunt indrumati drept. Dar daca ei se intorc de la aceasta, atunci ei sunt in schisma si Dumnezeu iti va fi deajuns impotriva lor.”

Problema principala cu raspunsul Universitatii Yale

Asadar, este clar ca fundamentul comun prezentat in “Un Cuvant Comun” nu este o similaritate formala intre doua religii monoteiste, dar de fapt, o dragoste impartasita comun pentru un singur Dumnezeu. Inainte ca sa prezint ce este eronant in aceasta, principala problema cu raspunsul Universitatii Yale, care inca nu a fost adresat, este ca (universitatea) este deacord cu ea. Acestea sunt principalele probleme. Eu nu am nici un fel de obiectiuni la ceea ce ei adreseaza. Am cinci, dar toate acestea sunt de forme diferite. Si aceasta este cea mai principala, si propozitia cheie este gasita in sectiunea “Sarcina Ce Ne Sta In Fata”, si este scrisa in felul urmator – acesta este acum raspunsul lui Yale la “Un Cuvant Comun”: Noi trebuie sa lucram impreuna din rasputeri pentru a transforma relatiile dintre comunitatile noastre si dintre natiunile noastre, ca ele sa reflecte cu adevarat “dragostea noastra comuna pentru un singur Dumnezeu si a unuia fata de celalalt”. Aceasta este cea mai problematica propozitie din acest document.

Este clar ca din fraza “dragostea noastra comuna pentru un singur Dumnezeu” ca cei ce au scris aceasta sau ca s-au exprimat gresit – care este putin probabil din moment ce prea multe alte semne distinctive din acest document ne indruma inspre aceasta directie, sau ca ei sunt in agreanta cu “Un Cuvant Comun” si fundamentul comun de dialog Musulman- Crestin, nu este o similaritate formala in religiile noastre, dar de fapt, o dragoste impartasita pentru un Dumnezeu adevarat si pentru aproapele nostru.

Greseala din Fundamentul Comun propus in documentul Un Cuvant Comun si acceptat prin raspunsul Universitatii Yale, arata deslusit ca Isus nu exista

Opinia mea ar fi ca aceasta absenta intr-un astfel de fundament comun trebuie facut explicit, nu de dragul de a distruge acest dialog, sau de a submina pacea. Dar, din partea crestinismului, pentru a fi deschisi (sinceri), cinstiti, credinciosi public, inaltand pe Christos, un dialog care sa pastreze increderea, si pentru o pace durabila care sa fie bazata pe adevar. Isus a zis: ,,Stiu ca n’aveti in voi dragoste de Dumnezeu. Eu am venit in Numele Tatalui Meu, si nu Ma primiti; daca va veni un altul, in numele lui insus, pe acela il veti primi.” Deci, atunci cand Isus a zis,  “Ma primiti”, El zice sa-L primiti pentru cine este El cu adevarat – ‘Cel divin, eternul Fiu al lui Dumnezeu, care isi da viata pentru oile Sale; si o ia inapoi in trei zile.’ Daca o persoana nu-L primeste in felul acesta, Isus spune ca aceasta persoana nu-L iubeste pe Dumnezeu. Isus a spus deasemenea: ,,Tatal nici nu judeca pe nimeni, ci toata judecata a dat-o Fiului, pentru ca toti sa cinsteasca pe Fiul cum cinstesc pe Tatal. Cine nu cinsteste pe Fiul, nu cinsteste pe Tatal, care L-a trimes.” Si cand Isus a zis “cinsteste pe Fiul” El zice sa Il onoram pe El pentru cine El este cu adevarat – ‘Cel divin, eternul Fiu al lui Dumnezeu, care isi da viata pentru oile Sale; si o ia inapoi in trei zile.’

O persoana care nu-L cinsteste pe Isus in felul acesta, nu-L cinsteste pe Dumnezeu. Isus a zis: ,,Voi nu ma cunoasteti nici pe Mine, nici pe Tatal Meu. Daca M’ati cunoaste pe Mine, ati cunoaste si pe Tatal Meu.” Cand Isus spune ‘daca M-ati cunoaste’, inseamna “sa ma cunoasteti pe Mine pentru cine sunt Eu cu adevarat”. Deci, persoana care nu-L cunoaste pe Isus ca fiind Cel divin, etern, crucificat, Fiul lui Dumnezeu inviat din morti, nu-L cunoaste pe Dumnezeu. Din punct de vedere istoric musulmanii nu-L cunosc pe Isus, nu-L cinstesc pe Isus si nu-L primesc pe Isus pentru cine El este cu adevarat: Cel divin, eternul Fiu al lui Dumnezeu, care si-a dat viata pentru toti pacatosii prin moartea Sa pe cruce, si care apoi a inviat din morti. Si, orisicine crede in El sa primeasca mantuirea. Deci, Isus spune ca musulmanii nu-L cunosc pe Dumnezeu, nu-L cinstesc pe Dumnezeu, si nu-L iubesc pe Dumnezeu. Atat de ofensator cat este lucrul acesta, dar Isus a spus-o celor mai saturati oameni religiosi ai Bibliei, cu disciplina rituala, celor mai constienti oameni religiosi de prezenta lui Dumnezeu, din timpul Sau.

Asadar, chemarea centrala din “Un Cuvant Comun”, impartasita de raspunsul lui Yale, este profund eronata, cu alte cuvinte ea nu exista. Eu cred, prin urmare, ca exista o cale mai buna de a merge inainte, intre crestini si musulmani. In special, ma gandesc la scolarii biblici, nu cei ce fug la moara, cei obisnuiti, cei de la o intalnire evanghelistica, cei de peste drum de biserica mea, unde sunt mii de musulmani somali, vecini de-ai mei. Ma gandesc la scolari si cleri scriind documente unul celuilalt si care stiu deja ceea ce ceilalti cred, in general.

Din partea crestina, aceasta va fi cinstita, credinciosi bibilei, Christos ca punct central, preamarind pe Christos, dialog care sa pastreze adevarul, daca punem aceste lucruri la masa de discutie. Nici intr-un fel sa ne impingem unul pe altul deoparte, ci sa vorbim in baza celor mai dureroase diferente. Eu cred din toata inima mea, caci ca pacatosi iertati, care ne datoram viata prin harul lui Dumnezeu cu care ne-a rascumparat, noi crestinii putem privi cu dragoste si bunavointa si cu o compasiune blanda din adancul inimii, in ochii musulmanilor si sa le zicem: ,, Eu nu cred ca il cunoasteti pe Dumnezeu, eu nu cred ca il cinstiti pe Dumnezeu, eu nu cred ca il iubiti pe Dumnezeu. Si sper ca in timpul conversatiei noastre, frumustea lui Christos va fi vazuta mai clar, pentru cine este El cu adevarat. Si daca am fi amenintati in aceasta sala chiar acum, de crestini sau musulmani, eu as spera sa mor pentru acesti oameni. Nu sa-i imping in fata mea, ci sa stau nemiscat in fata lor. Cu alte cuvinte, cred ca este posibil ca sa vorbim in felul acesta cu afectiune, cu dorinta din inima, si totusi sa spun ceea ce am spus. Eu nu cred ca oamenii care il resping pe Christos, in principiu, sa nu-L primeasca pentru cine El este,  nu este pentru a nu-L cunoaste pe Dumnezeu, nu pentru a nu-L cinsti pe Dumnezeu, nu pentru a nu-L  iubi pe Dumnezeu.

Asa ca evit limbajul ca noi ne inchinam la Dumnezei diferiti. Eu vreau numai sa spun ceea ce Isus a spus aici. Daca dragostea noastra pentru Dumnezeu este ca sa fie vorbita, fiind centrul discutiei noastre, cred ca atunci ea trebuie  sa vina din 1Ioan 4:10-11 - ,,Si dragostea sta nu in faptul ca noi am iubit pe Dumnezeu, ci in faptul ca El ne-a iubit pe noi, si a trimes pe Fiul Sau ca jertfa de ispasire pentru pacatele noastre.” Aceasta este cea mai esentiala definitie de dragoste crestina divina. Si urmatorul verset este: ,,Prea iubitilor, daca astfel ne-a iubit Dumnezeu pe noi, trebuie sa ne iubim si noi unii pe altii.” Aceasta este baza mea pentru a ma apropia de musulmani. Dragostea lui Dumnezeu pe care ei nu o cunosc, este chiar dragostea lui Dumnezeu care ma face sa ma duc la masa de discutie.

Citeste documental musulmanilor aici  - A Common Word

Citeste raspunsul Universitatii Yale, semnat de mai multi lideri Crestini (dar, nu de John Piper si Al Mohler) - “A Common Word” Christian Response

NEW: Video of John Piper’s & Al Mohler’s response, on November 18, 2009-

ENGLISH:

 

John Piper:

I agree with the second sentence in ‘A Common Word’. which goes like this: “Without peace and justice between these two religious communities – Moslems and Christians- there can be no meaningful peace in the world.” I take that to be a national, social, and personal behaviors, not to expressed feelings, expressed ideas. And, I agree with the sentence in the last paragraph in the document, that says: “So, let our  differences not cause hatred or strife between us.” Those are massive longings and I share them.

In John 18:36 Jesus said, actually He renounced the sword, as a strategy for his disciples, as a way of advancing the kingdom. He said, “If my kingdom were of this world, my disciples would be fighting. My kingdom is not of this world.” and, therefore, christians should work together with people of very radically different views religiously, in order to seek ways to avoid unjust violence. They should seek together to preserve freedom of religious worship, religious assembly, religious public proclamation. Christians should renounce the use of physical force either through illegal violence or legal punishment aimed at restricting peaceful, non coercive religious expression, religious worship or persuasive religious speech.

But, the central summons of ‘A Common Word’ is flawed. This summons aims to provide a foundation for all future interfaith dialogue. Page 15 says, “Let this common ground be the basis for future interfaith dialogue between us, for our common ground is that upon which hangs all the law and the prophets.” Matthew 22.

So, what is the central summons of a common word?

The phrase “A Common Word Between Us” is taken from the Koran. Quoting God, it says, “Oh people of the scripture, (Jews and christians) come to a common word between us and you, that we shall worship  none but God.”

The quotation is important because it makes clear that the central summons of ‘A Common Word’ is not that we agree as monotheists on the formal principles of love to God (whoever He is) and love to neighbor (whoever he is). That may be true. But, what the quotation from the Koran makes clear is that the central summons of ‘A Common Word’ is that christians and Moslems actually love the same God. In other words, when I read ‘A Common Word’, my question was: Is the thesis that formally our religions are similar? You put a lot of importance in love for God and neighbor. We put a lot of importance in love for God and neighbor. Those are structurally and formally similar, and we can meet on that basis.

Or, does it mean: We have a love for God and you have a love for God. That common love for that common God is the foundation. It’s the latter (that) the document means. There are 2 other reasons for believing that. The paragraph, following the one I just quoted, identifies this summons in the koran with a great commandment in the Bible. They say, “Clearly, also worshipping none but God relates to being totally devoted to God, and hence, to the first and greatest commandment. Thus, we are summoned to stand together, on the common ground of one worship of God, one devotion to God, and one love for God.” A third piece of evidence from “A Common Word”. It quotes the Koran, as follows: “Say, oh Moslems, we believe in God, and that which Moses and Jesus received. And, if they believe in the like of that which ye believe, then they are rightly guided. But, if they turn away, then they are in schism, and God will suffice thee against them.”

The main problem with the Yale response

So, its clear that the common ground, held out in ‘A Common Word’, is not a formal similarity in the two monotheistic religions, but, an actual shared love for the one God. Before I turn to what’s flawed about that, the main problem with the Yale response, which has not been addressed, is that it agrees with that. That’s the main problems. I don’t have any objections to what they address. I’ve got five, but, they’re different form all of those. And this is the main one, and the key sentence is found in the section ‘The Task Before Us’, and goes like this-this is now the Yale response to ‘A Common Word’: “We need to work diligently together to reshape relations between our communities and our nations so that they genuinely reflect ‘our common love for God and of one another’.” That’s the most problematic sentence in the document.

It’s clear from the phrase ‘our common love for God’, that those who wrote this, either misspoke- which is unlikely, since too many other traits in the document point in this direction, or that they agree with ‘A Common Word’ and the common ground for Moslem-Christian dialogue is not a formal similarity in our religions, but, in fact, a shared love for one true God and for our neighbor.

The flaw in the Common Ground, proposed in A Common Word, and embraced by the Yale response is that Jesus makes clear it does not exist.

My contention would be that this absence of such a common ground must be made explicit, not for the sake of destroying dialogue, or undermining peace. But, from a christian side, for the sake of forthright, honest, publicly faithful, Christ exalting, trust preserving dialogue, and for truth based durable peace. Jesus said, “I know that you do not have the love of God in you. I have come in the Father’s name and you do not receive Me. If another comes in in his own name, you will receive him.” So, when Jesus says ‘receive Him’, He means ‘receive Him for who He really is- the divine, eternal Son of God who lays down His life for His sheep; takes it up again in three days’. If a person does not receive Him in this way, Jesus says that person does not love God. Jesus also said, “The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.” And when He says ‘honor the Son’, He means ‘honor Him for who He really is’- ‘the divine, eternal Son of God who lays down His life for His sheep; takes it up again in three days’.

The person who does not honor Jesus in this way, does not honor God. Jesus said, “You know neither Me, nor my Father. If you knew Me, you would know My Father.” When Jesus says “if you knew Me”, He means “know Me for who I really am”. So, the person who does not know Jesus as the divine, eternal, crucified, risen Son of God does not know God. Historically, Moslems do not know Jesus, honor Jesus or receive Jesus for who He really is: The divine, eternal Son of God, who laid down His life on the cross for sinners, and rose again form the dead. So, whoever believes in Him would be saved. Therefore, Jesus says Moslems do not know God, they do not honor God, and they do not love God. As offensive as this is, Jesus said it to the most Bible saturated, ritually disciplined, God aware religious people of His day.

Therefore, the central summons of ‘A Common Word’ shared by the Yale response is deeply flawed, namely it doesn’t exist. I believe, therefore, there is a better way forward between christians and moslems. Especially, I am thinking scholars. Not your run of the mill, average, evangelistic encounter, across the street from my church, where there are thousands of Somali moslems, as my neighbors. I’m thinking of scholars and clergy writing documents for each other and who know what each other already thinks, by and large.

From the christian side, it will be honest, biblically faithful, Christ centered, Christ exalting, truth preserving dialogue, if we put these things on the table. Not in any way to push each other apart, but, to talk in basis of the most painful differences. I believe with all my heart, that as forgiven sinners, who owe our lives to God bought grace, we christians can look with love, and good will, and even tender hearted compassion into the eyes of moslems and say, “I don’t believe you know God, I don’t believe you honor God, I don’t believe you love God. And I hope that through our conversation, the beauty of Christ will be more clearly seen, for who He really is. And, if we were threatened in this room right now, by christian or moslem, I would hope that I would die for these men. Not push them in front of me, but, stand in front of them. In other words, I think it’s possible to talk this way with affection, heart felt longings, and still say what I just said. I don’t think people who reject Jesus, in principle, not to receive Him for who He is, is not to know God, not to honor God, not to love God.

So I’m avoiding the language that we worship different Gods. I’m just trying to say what Jesus said here. If our love for God is to be spoken of as central, I think it has to come from 1 John4:10-11- In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. That is the most essential definition of christian divine love. And the next verse is: If God so loved us, we ought to love one another. That’s my basis for moving towards moslems. The very love of God that they don’t share is the love of God that moves me to the table. (15:00)

 

The Last Instructions of Jesus (Tenth Resurrection Appearance) and His Ascension

Ultimile Instructiuni ale Domnului Isus

Pentru traducere automata, fa click aici – Romanian

After Jesus’ resurrection, he was on earth for 40 days (Acts 1:3), then He led His followers out to Bethany, just outside Jerusalem, and “lifting up His hands, He blessed them. While He blessed them, he parted from them, and was carried up into heaven” (Luke 24:50-51).
John 21:1-23 relates the story of the last appearance of Jesus after His     resurrection.  Then Matthew’s center of these instructions is the future mission to spread the good news through baptism and teaching (Matthew 28:18-20). In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus teaches them to preach repentance and forgiveness of sins  (Matthew 24:47). In the fourth Gospel, Jesus breathes on the disciples the Holy Spirit, thereby empowering them to continue his mission, including the forgiveness of sins (John 20:22-23).

TENTH  RESURRECTION  APPEARANCE

From the upper room to the Mount of Olives. Mark 16:19, 20  Luke 24:50-53, Acts 1:4-11.

A. Jesus blesses them and promises the baptism of the Spirit.

B. He orders them to witness for Him:

  1. In Jerusalem
  2. In Judea
  3. In Samaria
  4. unto the uppermost parts of the earth.

C. He is received up into glory to the right hand of the Father.

D. This is the Old Testament Prophecy fulfillment number 38, that He would ascend. (Compare Psalm 24:7-10 with Mark 16:19; Luke 24:51). Did the resurrected Christ appear before any unsaved individuals? On the strength of Matthew 23:37-39 it would seem He did not.

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.”

These words conclude  the Bible’s account of the greatest  life that was ever lived. It should, however be said that His glory story is not limited to the four Gospel accounts. In fact, each of the sixty-six Biblical books presents a glimpse of this marvelous and mighty Messiah. Note the following “scriptural summary of the Savior”:

Christ in every book (of the Bible)

Christ is the theme of the entire revelation of God. He is promised in Genesis, revealed in the Law, prefigured in its history, praised in poetry, proclaimed in its prophecy, provided in its Gospels, proved in its Acts, preeminent in its Epistles and prevailing in Revelation.

(thanks to Gabi Bogdan for above video, illustrating Christ in every book, through song)

He is seen in every book of the Bible. Take a journey through the Halls of Holy Writ and and in every one of them you will see Christ. Starting with Genesis He is the seed of the woman; in Exodus the Lamb for sinners slain; in Leviticus, our High Priest; in Numbers, the Star of Jacob and the Brazen Serpent; in Deuteronomy,  the Prophet like unto Moses and the Great Rock; in Joshua, the Captain of the Lord’s Hosts; in Judges the Messenger of Jehovah; in Ruth our Kinsman-Redeemer and the Faithful Bridegroom; in 1 Samuel He is seen as the Great Judge; in 2 Samuel as the Princely King; in 1st Kings as David’s Choice; in  2 Kings as the Holiest of All; in 1 Chronicles as King by Birth; in 2 Chronicles as King by Judgement.

In Ezra He is seen as Lord of heaven and earth; in Nehemiah as builder; in Esther our Mordecai; in Job our Daysman and our Risen,  returning Redeemer; in Psalms the Son of God and the Good Shepherd; in Proverbs our Wisdom; in Ecclesiastes as the One above the sun; in Song of Solomon the great Church lover; the one Altogether Lovely and the Chiefest among ten thousand. (VIA)

The ascent into heaven

Only Mark (longer version) and Luke include an account of the ascension. For the other evangelists, Jesus’ return to the Father is taken for granted (implied). Luke wants both to round up (finish) his Gospel and to provide a link with his second volume, The Acts of the Apostles. Favorite themes, first appearing in his infancy narratives, are all fitted into these final two verses–journey, Jerusalem, rejoicing, prayers of praise(Luke 24:52-53). Jesus is portrayed as lifting His hands in blessing over the small group of disciples; in Acts 1:6-11, He will commission them to extend this blessing to the entire world and thus throughout the ages. (VIA)

The Ascent of Joy by John Piper (on Jesus’ Ascension forty days after the Resurrection)

 

Pentru traducere automata, fa click aici – Romanian

Luke 24:44-53

And Jesus said to them, “These are my words which I spoke to you, while I was still with you that, everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are my witnesses of these things. And behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city, until you are clothed with power from on high.”

And he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. While he blessed them, he parted from them, and was carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God.

In the book of Acts, which Luke writes to continue his account of Jesus’ work in history (by his Spirit), he says (1:1–3):

In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and to teach, until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commandment through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. To them he presented himself alive after his passion by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days, and speaking of the kingdom of God.

Therefore, we learn that the ascension of Jesus back to the right hand of God the Father occurred forty days after the resurrection. Had it been Easter 1981 when Jesus was raised from the dead, the ascension would have occurred last Friday, day before yesterday. And had we been among the disciples, we would now find ourselves waiting in Jerusalem for the outpouring of God’s Spirit which came about ten days later on Pentecost. Therefore, today I want to focus our attention on the ascension of Jesus, and next Sunday on the meaning of Pentecost.

More

Ascension Day – The Deity of Christ – Jesus Christ is God

Pentru traducere automata, fa click aici – Romanian

The world often attempts to remove the deity from Christ, in an attempt to make Him only “a good man”.   In contrast, you will find an almost overwhelming amount of Biblical support and affirmation that Jesus Christ is God, the second person of the Trinity.

1.    Jesus Christ is the Word who is God

Photo credit Ilie Marian

 ·    John 1:1—In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

 Literally, translated from the Greek, (kai theos en ho logos) “and God was the Word”.

 So, literally it would read like this,

 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word.”

·    Let’s take a step further and see how it would read if we remove the word “Word” and replace it with “Jesus”.

 “In the beginning was Jesus, and Jesus was with God, and God was Jesus.”

·    God became flesh.

2. Jesus Christ, Himself, claimed to be God.

·    Jesus repeatedly used the Jehovaic statement, “I AM” as used in Exodus 3:14. (John 8:25, 56-59; 18:6, 8).

·    The power of these spoken words of Jesus, knocked the soldiers backward to the ground in 18:6, “I AM He”.

·    Jesus claimed to be the Old Testament Adonai, (Matthew 22:42-45).

·    Jesus claimed to be one with the Father, (John 10:30), and that those who saw Him were also seeing the Father (John 14:3), and those that know Him also know the Father, (John 14:7).

·    Revelation 1:8– Jesus is called Almighty God, “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

 John 1:14—“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

3. Jesus accepted worship.

Jesus said,”You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only”
(Matt. 4:10). Yet, Jesus received worship, as God, many times.)

·    John 5:23—“So that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father”

·    Phil 2:9-11—at the name of Jesus “every knee will bow” (a quote from Isaiah 23:22-23 which calls him God).

·    Luke 24:52—Disciples worship Jesus

·    Matt. 14:33—those who were in the boat worshipped Him

·    John 9:35-38—and he said Lord I believe, and worshipped Him

·    Matt. 28:9, 17—took hold of His feet and worshipped Him; when they saw Him they worshipped Him

·    Heb 1:6—let all the Angels of God worship Him.

·    Rev. 5:8,14—When He had taken the book the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb…; And the elders fell down and worshiped.

·    Also, Matt. 8:2; 9:18; 15:25; Mark 5:6; John 5:23; Rev. 1:5-6; 5:12-13.

4. Jesus Christ is prayed to.

(Psalm 116:4 teaches, “call on the name of the LORD).

·    1 Cor. 1:1-2—“call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”

·    Romans 10:13—“Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”Acts 7:59—Stephen, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit” (psalm 31:5 “YHWH”).

·    John 14:13-14—Ask me anything in My name and I will do it

·    John 15:16—Whatever you ask of the Father in My name, He will give you

·    John 16:23—If you ask of the Father in My name, He will give you

5. Jesus Christ claimed power and authority to forgive sins.

(Forgiving sins is restricted for God alone in Isaiah 43:25).

·    Mark 2:5-10—“Son, your sins are forgiven.”

·    Luke 7:47-49– Then He said to her, “your sin have been forgiven.”

Source HT

JESUS IS THE GLORY OF GOD
The Deity of Jesus Christ
by John Piper

Christ does not exist in order to make much of us. We exist in order to enjoy making much of him. The assumption of this book is that to know the glories of Christ is an end, not a means. Christ is not glorious so that we get wealthy or healthy. Christ is glorious so that rich or poor, sick or sound, we might be satisfied in him. The first particular glory that upholds all the rest is the mere eternal existence of Christ. If we will simply ponder this as we ought, a great ballast will come into the tipping ship of our soul. Sheer existence is, perhaps, the greatest mystery of all. Ponder the absoluteness of reality. There had to be something that never came into being. Back, back, back we peer into endless ages, yet there never was nothing. Someone has the honor of being there first and always. He never became or developed. He simply was. To whom belongs this singular, absolute glory?

The answer is Christ, the person whom the world knows as Jesus of Nazareth. The apostle John, who wrote the last book of the Bible, received the decisive revelation. He quotes God: “‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty’” (Revelation 1:8). This is not Christ talking. This is the Almighty God. He calls himself “Alpha and Omega”—the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. In the alphabet, one cannot speak of anything (or nothing) before alpha. There is no “before” alpha in the alphabet. Nor can one speak of anything (or nothing) after omega. There is no “after” omega in the alphabet. So it is with God and reality. There is no “before” God and no “after” God. He is absolutely there, no matter how far back or how far forward you go. He is the absolute Reality. He has the honor of being there first and always. To him belongs this singular glory. This is the essential meaning of his Old Testament name Yahweh (or Jehovah). It is built on the verb “to be.” When Moses asked God his name, “God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM. . . . Say this to the people of Israel, “I AM has sent me to you”’” (Exodus 3:14). This “I am” is unfolded by God in Isaiah as implying absolute, eternal Reality—past and future. “‘You are my witnesses,’ declares the LORD . . . ‘that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no God was formed, nor shall there be any after me’” (Isaiah 43:10). To be “I am” is to be absolutely the first and the last. No “before” and no “after.” Simply “I am.” God makes this explicit in Isaiah 44:6, “Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: ‘I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no God.’” And again in Isaiah 48:12, “Listen to me, O Jacob, and Israel, whom I called! I am he, I am the first, and I am the last.” This is his name: Yahweh—the one who absolutely, eternally, and invincibly is. He has the unique honor and singular glory of always having been, when nothing else was. Nor will he be outlasted by anything. This is what it means to be God.

What, then, does this have to do with Christ, whom we know as Jesus of Nazareth? Everything. The apostle John quoted Christ near the end of his Revelation: “Behold, I am coming soon. . . . I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. . . . I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches” (Revelation 22:12-13, 16). This is Christ talking, not God the Father. Now, two cannot be “Alpha and Omega” unless they are one. Two cannot be absolutely “first and last” unless they are one. Yet Christ (who calls himself Jesus) claims for himself the same honor and glory belonging to God the Almighty (see also Revelation 1:17-18; 2:8). Christ even took to himself the uniquely glorious name of God, “I am.” “Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am’” (John 8:58). “I am telling you this now,” Jesus says to his disciples near the end of his life, “before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am” (John 13:19, author’s translation; see John 8:24). Nothing greater can any man Jesus Is the Glory of God say of himself. It is true, or it is blasphemy. Christ was God or godless.

John knew which. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. . . . And the Word became flesh . . . the only Son [some translations, “begotten”] from the Father” (John 1:1, 14). Jesus Christ, the “Word,” was “begotten,” not made—and not at any point in time, but eternally. Two Persons standing forth as one God, not two Gods—the “Son” begotten from the “Father,” one essential deity. This is a great mystery, as we would expect it to be. But it is what God has revealed about himself.

The apostle Paul also knew the unique glory that belonged to Christ. He is “according to the flesh . . . the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen” (Romans 9:5). Nevertheless, “though he was in the form of God, [he] did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant” (Philippians 2:6-7). Therefore, “in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily” (Colossians 2:9; see 1:19). And we Christians are now waiting not for a mere man, but for “the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13; see also 2 Peter 1:1).

This is why the writer to the Hebrews is so bold as to say all the angels worship Christ. He is not the chief among angels who worship God. He is worshiped by all angels as God. “And again, when [God] brings the firstborn into the world, he says, ‘Let all God’s angels worship him’” (Hebrews 1:6). For he is the Creator of all that is, and is himself God: “Of the Son [God] says, ‘Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. . . . You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning’” (Hebrews 1:8, 10).

Thus the Father bears witness to the deity of the Son. He “is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power” (Hebrews 1:3). Jesus Christ is the Creator of the universe. Jesus Christ is the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last. Jesus Christ, the Person, never had a beginning. He is absolute Reality. He has the unparalleled honor and unique glory of being there first and always. He never came into being. He was eternally begotten. The Father has eternally enjoyed “the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature” (Hebrews 1:3) in the Person of his Son. Seeing and savoring this glory is the goal of our salvation. “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me” (John 17:24). To feast on this forever is the aim of our being created and our being redeemed.

A PRAYER

Eternal Father, you never had a beginning. You will never have an ending. You are the Alpha and the Omega. This we believe, because you have revealed it to us. Our hearts leap up with gratitude that you have opened our eyes to see and know that Jesus Christ is your eternal, divine Son, begotten, not made, and that Jesus Is the Glory of God you, O Father, and he, your Son, are one God. We tremble even to take such glorious truths on our lips for fear of dishonoring you with withering and inadequate words. But we must speak, because we must praise you. Silence would shame us, and the rocks themselves would cry out. You must be praised for who you are in the world you have made. And we must thank you because you have made us taste and see the glory of Jesus Christ, your Son. Oh, to know him! Father, we long to know him. Banish from our minds low thoughts of Christ. Saturate our souls with the Spirit of Christ and all his greatness. Enlarge our capacities to be satisfied in all that you are for us in him. Where flesh and blood are impotent, reveal to us the Christ, and rivet our attention and our affections on the truth and beauty of your all-glorious Son. And grant that whether rich or poor, sick or sound, we might be transformed by him and become an echo of his excellence in the world. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

John Piper (via Monergim.com)

Jesus Of Testimony (Must See Documentary!)

Did Jesus really exist? If so, what can we know about Him historically? For any Christian, the historicity of Jesus isn’t merely a matter of curiosity. The Christian faith is dependent upon the incarnation, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus as historical reality. But how can we know if the Jesus of the the Gospels is historical or legendary? Jesus of Testimony answers many of the important questions for skeptics as well as Christians in the area of Christian apologetics.

  1. In Part 1: Lord or Legend, the historicity of Jesus Christ is demonstrated by the important non-Christian historical sources that are available to us today.
  2. Part 2: Are the Gospels Reliable? examines the historical reliability of the Gospels as eyewitness testimony to the life of Jesus.
  3. Part 3: Miracles provides strong evidence that miracles happen today and happened in history.
  4. In Part 4: The Testimony of Prophecy, many of the Old Testament messianic prophecies are quoted along with their New Testament fulfillments which establish a solid confirmation of Jesus’ credentials as the Messiah.
  5. In Part 5: The Resurrection — Fact or Fiction? the case is presented for the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Finally,
  6. Part 6: The Good News concludes that the portrayal of Jesus in the Gospels, dependent on eyewitness testimony, is more plausible than the alternative hypotheses of its modern detractors and presents the Jesus’ message of the Gospel.

The participants in the film include many of todays top Christian apologists, authors and scholars including Richard Bauckham, Craig Blomberg, Michael Brown, Paul Eddy, Steve Gregg, Gary Habermas, Craig Keener, Mike Licona, Dan Wallace and Ben Witherington III.

We would like to have this movie available with subtitles in multiple languages. English and Greek are available now. Please contact us if you would like to help.

VIDEO by Christianity Reason and Science

The Resurrection Appearances of Jesus

Pentru traducere automata, fa click aici – Romanian

Study By: Bob Deffinbaugh at http://www.bible.org. Our text deals with the first three of our Lord’s four post-resurrection appearances in the Gospel of John. The first appearance is to Mary Magdalene, and the next three are to the disciples. Jesus will appear to Mary Magdalene (20:10-18), then to the disciples, minus Thomas (20:19-23), then to the disciples, with Thomas (20:26-29), and finally to the seven disciples, including Thomas, who were fishing on the Sea of Tiberias (21:1ff.). There are some very important lessons to be learned here, so let us listen and learn, looking to the Spirit of God to interpret, apply, and implement these truths in our lives.

General Observations

It would serve us well to begin with several observations concerning our text and its relationship to the other Gospels.

We do not really know a great deal about the time between our Lord’s resurrection and His ascension. When you stop to think about it, a significant portion of each of the Gospels is taken up with the events of the last week of our Lord in Jerusalem. And yet, the 40 days following our Lord’s resurrection gets very little attention in comparison. The material we do have about this period is not meant to satisfy our curiosity about all that happened during this time, but is recorded to prove one important fact: Jesus Christ rose from the dead and ascended to the right hand of the Father!

Of the details we do find regarding our Lord’s ministry after His resurrection, a number of them are recorded only in Acts and 1 Corinthians. Until now I did not realize how much of my understanding of our Lord’s ministry after His resurrection is based upon New Testament books other than the Gospels. Some of the most important details come from Acts 1 and 1 Corinthians 15:

1 I wrote the former account, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after he had given orders by the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3 After his suffering he had also presented himself alive to these apostles by many convincing proofs. He was seen by them over a forty-day period and spoke about matters concerning the kingdom of God. 4 While he was with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for “what my Father promised, which you heard about from me. 5 For John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” 6 So when they had gathered together, they began to ask him, “Lord, is this the time when you are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He told them, “You are not permitted to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the farthest parts of the earth.” 9 After he had said this, while they were watching, he was lifted up and a cloud took him away from their sight. 10 As they were staring into the sky while he was going, suddenly two men in white clothing stood near them 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand here looking up into the sky? This same Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will come back in the same way you saw him go into heaven” (Acts 1:1-11).

3 For I passed on to you as of first importance what I also received—that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, 4 and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still living, though some have died. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as though to one born at the wrong time, he appeared to me also (1 Corinthians 15:3-8).

I am not sure why I had concluded that my understanding of the post-resurrection period was dependent solely upon the Gospels. It was probably due, in part, to my assumption that if one Gospel didn’t mention something I knew about this time period, it was because it was recorded in one of the other three Gospels. But this is not necessarily true. If it were not for Acts 1 and 1 Corinthians 15, we would not know nearly as much about the Lord’s ministry during the 40 days following His resurrection. From Acts 1:3 we learn that during this time, Jesus taught His disciples about the kingdom of God which was yet to come. While our Lord’s instruction to His disciples to wait for the coming of the Spirit can be found in Luke’s Gospel (24:49), we probably remember this command from Acts 1:4-5. Apart from 1 Corinthians 15:5, we would not know that Jesus appeared to over 500 people at one time after His resurrection. It is from Paul (1 Corinthians 15:5), as well as from Luke (24:34), that we know Jesus made a private appearance to Peter. We would certainly not expect the replacement for Judas to be Saul, to whom our Lord made another (albeit, a later) post-resurrection appearance (1 Corinthians 15:8). A good part of what little we know of this period in our Lord’s life and ministry comes from outside the Gospels.

Some of the details about events which occurred in this time period may appear to be contradictory. For example, in Mark we read that after the women saw and heard the angel at the tomb, “they went out and ran away from the tomb. They were in a state of trembling and amazement, and said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid” (Mark 16:8, emphasis mine). In Luke’s Gospel we read, “Then they remembered his words, and when they returned from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest ” (Luke 24:8-9, emphasis mine). I believe the solution to this apparent contradiction is found in Matthew’s account: “So they left the tomb quickly, with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. But Jesus met them, saying, ‘Greetings!’ They came to him, held on to his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee. They will see me there’” (Matthew 28:8-10, emphasis mine).

By putting all these details in sequence, we get a pretty good idea of what happened from the time the women left the tomb till they spoke with all the disciples and others. The women saw and heard the angel, who instructed them to go tell the disciples that Jesus was alive and would meet them in Galilee. The women rush off toward the city, but they are in a virtual state of shock. They tell no one they encounter on their way what they have just seen and heard (this conforms with what Mark tells us). Then, as they are still on their way to the city, Jesus Himself appears to them. This is the first time they have actually seen Him. He tells the women to go and tell the others, and indeed they do. Thus, all statements (those of Mark, of Luke, and of Matthew) harmonize when viewed in terms of the entire event. I believe we must assume this to be the case in every instance where an apparent contradiction appears. The details that differ are not an occasion for wringing our hands, they are the opportunity for a fuller grasp of what happened. Let us keep that in mind as we approach our text.

We find that some of the Gospel accounts are particularly brief at this point. This is especially true of Matthew and Mark’s accounts. Matthew writes of one appearance of Jesus to the women (28:9-10) and of one appearance of Jesus to His disciples (28:16-20). Mark’s account is terse as well, depending to some degree upon where you think his account really ends. Mark does briefly mention the appearance of Jesus to the two men on the road to Emmaus (16:12-13; compare Luke 24:13-35). He also tells of the appearance of our Lord to the eleven disciples (Mark 16:13-18). Mark does not include an account of Jesus appearing to any of the women, but only of the angel speaking to them (16:1-8). Luke and John have the most lengthy accounts of the post-resurrection ministry of our Lord. Luke does not describe an appearance of Jesus to the women; he chooses instead to emphasize the appearance to the two men on the road to Emmaus (24:13-35). He then writes of our Lord’s subsequent appearance to the disciples (24:36-39) and then of His ascension (24:50-53). John focuses on four of the Lord’s post-resurrection appearances: first to Mary Magdalene (20:11-18), then to the disciples minus Thomas (20:19-25), then the disciples with Thomas (20:26-29), and finally to the seven disciples as they are fishing on the Sea of Tiberias (21:1-25).

Finally, each Gospel has something unique to add to the story. Matthew informs us that the tomb was secured by a Roman seal and guards, provided at the request of the Jewish religious leaders who recalled Jesus’ promise that He would rise from the dead in three days, and who were afraid His disciples would steal His body. Matthew then follows up with an account of how the guards and the religious leaders fabricated a cover story to explain the missing body of our Lord. Mark’s account is indeed unique, causing much discussion as to where his Gospel should end. Luke provides us with a detailed account of the appearance of our Lord to the two men on the road to Emmaus. John’s account is almost entirely unique. He alone describes the investigation of the tomb by both Peter and John (Luke 24:12 tells us only that Peter went to see the tomb), of the appearance of Jesus to Mary, of three appearances of Jesus to His disciples—more than any other Gospel. His focus on Thomas’ reluctance to believe in our Lord’s resurrection is unique. The appearance of Jesus to the seven disciples at the Sea of Tiberias is also unique, including our Lord’s three-fold question and exhortation to Peter. With this background information in mind, let us take a closer look at the first three post-resurrection appearances of our Lord, as described in John 20.

Jesus’ First Appearance: Mary Magdalene (John 20:10-18)

10 So the disciples went back to their homes. 11 But Mary stood outside the tomb and wept. While she was weeping, she bent over and looked into the tomb. 12 She saw two angels in white sitting where Jesus’ body had been lying, one at the head and one at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” Mary replied, “They have taken my Lord away, and I do not know where they have put him!” 14 When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?” Because she thought he was the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will take him.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus replied, “Do not touch me, for I have not yet ascended to my Father. Go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene came and informed the disciples, “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them what Jesus had said to her.

It was Mary Magdalene who first arrived at the empty tomb in the early hours of the first day of the week. When she saw the stone had been removed, she seems to have jumped to a hasty conclusion—someone had taken the body. We do not know to whom the “they” (“They have taken the Lord from the tomb …”—verse 2) refers, and I doubt that Mary did either. I believe it is safe to say that it never occurred to her that any of the disciples took the body. She seems to have assumed it was either the Jews, or the Roman soldiers, or someone like “the gardener” (see 20:15). It never occurred to Mary that Jesus had been raised from the dead. She did not hope to see her risen Lord; she simply wished to locate His body and give it a proper burial.

A year or so ago a young woman’s body was stolen from its grave at Restland Cemetery, just a mile or so down the road from our church. It was a terrible thing to do, and the family was most eager to get the body back and see to it that it was buried properly, once for all. Someone had added insult to injury. Not only had this family lost a loved one, they suffered the agony of not knowing what had become of her body. Mary must have felt the same way this young woman’s family felt. She had devoted herself and her livelihood to following Jesus and supporting Him, along with some other women. She had watched helplessly as Jesus was tried, convicted, and crucified. She looked on as His body was laid in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. Now, she believed that the body of her Lord had been taken. It was almost too much to bear.

When Peter and John left the tomb, Mary remained behind. At first she stood outside the tomb, weeping. She stooped sufficiently to be able to see inside the tomb, apparently for the first time. Two angels were inside, clothed in white. An angel was sitting at each end of the place where Jesus’ body had been laid. From Mary’s response to these angels, one can hardly avoid the conclusion that Mary did not recognize these angels as angels. But then why should she? It is true that in Matthew’s account the one angel who sat on the stone had an appearance that was like lightening (28:3), and this fellow was so awesome the guards were terrified (28:4). But John does not tell us that these two angels were as awesome in appearance as the first angel was. And this should come as no surprise. Often in the Bible, angels simply look like men, so that their appearance alone would not reveal their true identity (see Genesis 18 and 19; Acts 1:10-11; Hebrews 13:2). It would seem that the two angels made no effort to identify themselves as angels, nor even to inform Mary that Jesus was not there. Perhaps it was because our Lord was going to do this personally.

The angels asked Mary, “Woman, why are you weeping?” The inference is that her tears were not really called for. They were tears of love, and of sorrow, but they were also ill-founded. In Mary’s mind, this was the darkest moment of her life, and yet her tears were based upon false assumptions: that Jesus was dead; that His body had been stolen; that she would not be able to find His body. If Mary had known the real reason why the tomb was empty, she would not have been crying.

Some have suggested that the angels gave a look of recognition when they saw Jesus behind Mary, outside the tomb. We do not know why, but for some reason Mary turned around to gaze at the risen Lord. She saw Him, but she did not recognize Him, in much the same way that I had seen Sally Rackets in the parking lot this past week, but did not recognize her. Mary’s vision may have been obscured by her tears, and Jesus may not have looked exactly the same as He did before His resurrection. He most certainly looked different from the way she saw Him last, from the horrible sight she could not erase from her mind—a badly beaten, bloody figure, who could hardly be recognized for all the abuse His body had taken: “Just as there were many who were appalled at him—his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness” (Isaiah 52:15, NIV).

Jesus asks Mary the same question the angels had asked her moments earlier: “Woman, why are you weeping?”, but He adds a further question, “Who are you looking for?”. Jesus knew why she was weeping. He knew that the empty tomb caused her great grief. He knew that she was seeking His body. His words indicate to Mary that He knows something about her dilemma. Mary’s grief still blinds her to the truth, but she nevertheless seems to discern that this “gardener” holds the key to her quest for the Lord’s body. She pleads with Him to convey any information He may have to her: “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will take him” (verse 15).193

Jesus answered with but one word—“Mary.” For Mary, seeing was not believing, but hearing was. Would you not love to have heard this one word just the way Mary did? That one word was spoken in the voice she knew so well. It was also spoken in the manner she knew so well. What love, what compassion, what healing was conveyed by this one word—“Mary.” I cannot help but recall the words of our Lord, spoken earlier:

1 “I tell you the solemn truth, the one who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs in some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The one who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The doorkeeper opens the door for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought all his own sheep out, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow himbecause they recognize his voice. 5 They will never follow a stranger, but will run away from him, because they do not recognize the stranger’s voice” (John 10:1-5, emphasis mine).

Immediately Mary recognized that it was her Lord, and called Him “Rabboni” (or teacher). We know from our Lord’s words that Mary has already locked Him in her grasp. It is as though she intended to keep holding on to Him, so that He would never leave her again. And it is because of this that Jesus responds, “Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God’” (John 20:17, NAB). I must differ with the NET Bible translation here (“Do not touch me, …”) for two reasons. First, it is not that Jesus could not be touched. In but a few verses we will read, “Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here, and examine my hands. Extend your hand and put it into my side. Do not continue in your unbelief, but believe’” (John 20:27). Why would Jesus tell Mary not to touch Him, and instruct Thomas to do so? In Matthew 28:9, Jesus allowed the women to take hold of His feet and worship Him. Second, the tense of the imperative is present, and this grammatical construction often conveys the thought of ceasing to do something.194 Jesus is not trying to prevent Mary from touching Him; He is trying to make it clear to her that He is going to leave this world to return to His Father. She should not suppose that by clinging to Him she can prevent His departure.

John does not include the command which Jesus gave to Mary, though it is clear that He instructed her as to what she was to tell the disciples (20:18). She who was the first to go out to the tomb was the first to see the risen Lord, and apparently the first to be privileged to share the good news of His resurrection with others.

Before we go on to the next appearance of our Lord, I would like to make a comment or two. I would like you to note that our Lord’s first appearance is not to one of the eleven disciples, but to Mary Magdalene. She will never be one of the apostles. She will never write a Gospel. She will never become a great preacher or leader. Nevertheless, our Lord chose to manifest Himself to her first. Why do you think this was? I would call your attention to three important factors. First, she had a great love for her Master, as He did for her. Second, she seemed to be the one with the greatest measure of grief. I am reminded of the words of our Lord in the Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are those who mourn, because they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4). In the context of this sermon, Jesus did not promise blessings to those who were the greatest, or the most powerful, but to those in the greatest need, with the greatest desire for spiritual things. There is a third reason: Mary was there first. Jesus revealed Himself first to the one who was there first. Mary came to the tomb early, because of her great love, and her great grief, and Jesus revealed Himself to her, first.

I would also like to point out an important lesson which this text teaches us: When we come to see things as they really are, we will find that many of our tears were unnecessary. To put it in different words, Many of our tears are ill-founded. Both the angels and our Lord questioned Mary as to why she was weeping. The reason she gave was that her Lord’s body had been taken, and she did not know where to find it. The truth of the matter was that Jesus was not dead; He had been resurrected. And beyond this, His body was not missing at all, and no one had taken it. Jesus did not need to be found by Mary; Jesus found Mary.

We know that in heaven there will be no more tears: “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death will not exist any more—or mourning, or crying, or pain; the former things have ceased to exist” (Revelation 21:4). Why will there be no more tears in heaven? The first answer is because there will no longer be those things which cause us to cry—no more suffering, no more sin, no more injustice, no more death. But the second reason is that we shall then see all of our sorrows in an entirely different light. We shall see them in the context of the perfect work God was achieving through the things which caused us to weep.

When you and I get to heaven, we will see things in a very different light, and when we do, we will discover that many of our tears of sorrow were as groundless as Mary’s tears were. I am not saying that Christians should not cry. What I am saying is that a good deal of our sorrow is the result of our inadequate knowledge of what God is doing in and through our adversities. When Christians get to heaven, they will see the entire picture, and thus they will find that everything that has ever happened to them is for their good and His glory. No wonder there will be no tears in heaven! Our comfort and joy may not come as quickly as Mary’s did, but it will be just as great, just as real, and it is just as certain.

Jesus’ Second Appearance: The Disciples, Minus Thomas (John 20:19-23)

19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the disciples had gathered together and locked the doors of the place for fear of the Jewish authorities. Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you!” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you! Just as the Father has sent me, I also send you.” 22 And after he said this, he breathed195 on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven; if you retain anyone’s sins, they are retained.”

John very kindly does not tell us what Mark and Luke record in their accounts—that when the disciples were told that Jesus was alive, they refused to believe it without seeing Him:

9 Early on the first day of the week, after he arose, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had driven out seven demons. 10 She went out and told those who were with him, while they were mourning and weeping. 11 And when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe (Mark 16:9-11; see also verses 12-13).

10 Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles. 11 But these words seemed like pure nonsense to them, and they did not believe them (Luke 24:10-11).

It was on the first day of the week—the same day that Mary saw Jesus—and the disciples were gathered together behind locked doors. They were afraid of the Jews, and rightly so. They were disciples of Jesus, and He had just been crucified for sedition. And now, the story was circulating that they had stolen the body of Jesus (Matthew 28:11-15). Remember that the tomb was sealed by Rome, and guarded by Roman soldiers. The disciples may have felt in greater danger here than on any previous occasion. They must have been deeply troubled by the reports they had heard that Jesus was alive. What were they to think of all this? What were they to do? They did not know.

And so the disciples met together behind locked doors. We are told that one disciple was missing—Thomas. We are not told why he was absent. There is no particular blame cast on him for his absence. In some miraculous way, Jesus enters the room, even though the door is locked. We do not know what the disciples saw, but John certainly leaves us with the impression that our Lord’s entrance was unusual—one more proof of His resurrection. Our Lord twice repeated the words, “Peace be with you” (20:19, 21). This certainly reminds us of what Jesus had said earlier to these men:

25 “I have spoken these things while staying with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and will cause you to remember everything I said to you. 27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; I do not give it to you as the world does. Do not let your hearts be distressed or lacking in courage. 28 You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I am. 29 I have told you now before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe” (John 14:24-29, emphasis mine).

It would appear that this was our Lord’s first appearance to the disciples after His resurrection. If this is so, it may be the same appearance that Luke describes, providing us with additional details:

30 When he had taken his place at the table with them, he took the bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 At this point their eyes were opened and they recognized him. Then he vanished out of their sight. 32 They said to each other, “Didn’t our hearts burn within us while he was speaking with us on the road, while he was explaining the scriptures to us?” 33 So they got up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem. They found the eleven and those with them gathered together 34 and saying, “The Lord has really risen, and has appeared to Simon!” 35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how they recognized him when he broke the bread. 36 While they were saying these things, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 37 But they were startled and terrified, thinking they saw a spirit. 38 Then he said to them, “Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself! Touch me and see; because a spirit does not have flesh and bones like you see that I have.” 40 Then when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41 And while they still could not believe it for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42 So they gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate it in front of them (Luke 24:30-43, emphasis mine).

Jesus would have appeared to Mary and the other women by now, and they have already announced to the disciples that Jesus was alive. But the disciples refused to believe. Then, the two men who talked with Jesus on the road to Emmaus arrived to tell the disciples of their encounter with the risen Lord. Once again, the disciples refused to believe:

12 After this he appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking in the country. 13 They went back and told the rest, but they did not believe them. 14 Then he appeared to the eleven themselves, while they were eating, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen him resurrected (Mark 16:12-14, emphasis mine).

John spares us from yet another account of the unbelief of the disciples, and of Jesus rebuking them for their unbelief. While their unbelief deserved rebuke, John moves on to tell us how Jesus convinced His disciples of His resurrection. He shows them His nail-scarred hands and His spear-pierced side. There was no mistaking the fact that His wounds, now healed, were incurred at His crucifixion. It was Jesus, and there was no denying it, incredible as that may be.

The disciples had a job to do, and they were being left behind so that they could accomplish it. This task is summed up in the “Great Commission”:

18 Then Jesus came up and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20).

To accomplish this task, the disciples are in need of divine enablement. This was promised by our Lord in the Upper Room Discourse (John 13–16):

15 “If you love me, you will obey my commandments. 16 Then I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept, because it does not see him or know him. But you know him, because he resides with you and will be in you. … 25 I have spoken these things while staying with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and will cause you to remember everything I said to you” (John 14:15-17, 25-26).

26 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me; 27 and you also will testify, because you have been with me from the beginning” (John 15:26-27).

7 “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I am going away. For if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong concerning sin and righteousness and judgment— 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 concerning righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; 11 and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned. 12 I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. For he will not speak on his own authority, but will speak whatever he hears, and will tell you what is to come. 14 He will glorify me, because he will receive from me what is mine and will tell it to you. 15 Everything that the Father has is mine; that is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what is mine and will tell it to you. 16 In a little while you will see me no longer; again after a little while, you will see me” (John 16:7-16).

I had never noticed before that in His high priestly prayer in John 17, Jesus does not ask the Father to send the Spirit, which He has promised in chapters 14-16. Indeed, the Holy Spirit is not even mentioned in this prayer! How can this be? I believe that while our Lord prepared His disciples for the coming of the Spirit in the Upper Room Discourse, He did not intend to send the Spirit until after His ascension. In other words, the Holy Spirit would not come until Pentecost. Some suggest that in our text Jesus is temporarily bestowing the Spirit upon His disciples, until Pentecost comes. I don’t agree.

In the first place, John does not report anything out of the ordinary happening as a result of our Lord’s actions. The disciples are not transformed, as they will be at Pentecost. The gospel is not preached. In fact, the next thing to happen in John’s Gospel is that some of the disciples go fishing. I do not believe that the Holy Spirit was immediately bestowed upon the disciples at this moment, as a result of what Jesus says and does. I believe Jesus is symbolically bestowing the Spirit upon His disciples, although it will not actually take place until Pentecost. Jesus will have ascended to the Father then, and so this gesture indicates to the disciples that when the Spirit comes at Pentecost, it will be as a result of what Jesus had promised earlier, and symbolically indicates here.

I wish to be very clear here, both as to what I am saying, and as to what I am not saying. I am saying that our Lord is here symbolically bestowing His Holy Spirit on the church. This symbolic act will literally be fulfilled at Pentecost. Jesus wants it to be clear that it is He who is sending His Spirit to indwell and to empower His church. I am not saying that the Spirit is given at the moment Jesus breathes upon His disciples. I am not saying that this is a temporary bestowal of the Spirit, until the permanent coming of the Spirit at Pentecost.

Specifically, I believe that what Jesus is symbolically bestowing is the coming of the Holy Spirit upon His disciples as those who will act as His apostles. Earlier, Jesus outlined some of the ministries of the Holy Spirit. For example, the Spirit would call Jesus’ teaching to their minds. He would convict the world concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment. But here, none of these ministries seems to be in view. Here, the Holy Spirit is given to the apostles so that they can either proclaim the forgiveness of sins, or the retention of sins. I do not think this text justifies some priestly hierarchy, who hears confessions and grants absolution from one’s sins. Instead, I believe Jesus is giving the apostles the authority to declare men and women to be cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ. I believe we see an example of this in the Book of Acts:

1 Now the apostles and the brothers who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles too had accepted the word of God. 2 So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers took issue with him, 3 saying, “You went to uncircumcised men and shared a meal with them.” 4 But Peter began and explained it to them point by point, saying, 5 “I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision, an object something like a large sheet descending, being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came to me. 6 As I stared I looked into it and saw four-footed animals of the earth, wild animals, reptiles, and birds of the air. 7 I also heard a voice saying to me, ‘Get up, Peter; slaughter and eat!’ 8 But I said, ‘Certainly not, Lord, for nothing defiled or ritually unclean has ever entered my mouth!’ 9 But the voice replied a second time from heaven, ‘What God has made clean, you must not consider ritually unclean.’ 10 This happened three times, and then everything was pulled up to heaven again. 11 At that very moment, three men sent to me from Caesarea approached the house where we were staying. 12 The Spirit told me to accompany them without hesitation. These six brothers also went with me, and we entered the man’s house. 13 He informed us how he had seen an angel standing in his house and saying, ‘Send to Joppa and summon Simon, who is called Peter, 14 who will speak a message to you by which you and your entire household will be saved.’ 15 Then as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them just as he did on us at the beginning. 16 And I remembered the word of the Lord, as he used to say, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17 Therefore if God gave them the same gift as he also gave us after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to hinder God?” 18 When they heard this, they ceased their objections and praised God, saying, “So then, God has granted the repentance that leads to life even to the Gentiles” (Acts 11:1-18, emphasis mine).

It takes a monumental work of God to convince the Jews that God has purposed from eternity past to save Gentiles (see Acts 22:21-23). Our Lord had promised to send the Spirit, which He did at Pentecost. After Pentecost, the Holy Spirit directed Peter to go to the house of a Gentile and to proclaim the gospel to those gathered in his house. The Spirit then came upon all those who had come to faith, thus indicating that the gospel (the forgiveness of sins) was not just for Jews alone, but for all who believe, Jew or Gentile. It is difficult for Gentile believers today to grasp how hard it was for Jews to accept the salvation of the Gentiles. Even the apostles found this difficult. As the Spirit came upon the apostles, this truth was embraced, proclaimed, and defended by them. By means of the Spirit’s guidance and illumination, the truth that the gospel was for Jews and Gentiles was declared by the apostles, and particularly by Paul:

11 Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh—who are called “uncircumcision” by the so-called “circumcision” that is performed in the body by hands—12 that you were at that time without the Messiah, alienated from the citizenship of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who used to be far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he is our peace, the one who turned both groups into one and who destroyed the middle wall of partition, the hostility, in his flesh, 15 when he nullified the law of commandments in decrees. The purpose of this was to create in himself the two into one new man, thus making peace, 16 and to reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by which the hostility has been killed. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; 18 so that through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer foreigners and non-citizens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of God’s household, 20 because you have been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit (Ephesians 2:11-22).

1 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles— 2 If indeed you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, 3 that by revelation the divine secret was made known to me, as I wrote before briefly. 4 When reading this, you will be able to understand my insight into this secret of Christ. 5 Now this secret was not disclosed to mankind in former generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit, 6 namely, that through the gospel the Gentiles are fellow-heirs, fellow-members of the body, and fellow-partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus. 7 I became a servant of this gospel according to the gift of God’s grace that was given to me by the exercise of his power. 8 To me—less than the least of all the saints—this grace was given, to proclaim to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ 9 and to enlighten everyone about the divine secret’s plan—a secret that has been hidden for ages in the God who has created all things (Ephesians 3:1-9).

Jesus’ Third Appearance: The Disciples, Including Thomas (John 20:24-31)

24 Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he replied, “Unless I see the wounds from the nails in his hands, and put my finger into the wounds from the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will never believe it!” 26 Eight days later the disciples were again together in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and examine my hands. Extend your hand and put it into my side. Do not continue in your unbelief, but believe.” 28 Thomas replied to him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are the people who have not seen and yet have believed.”

The disciples seem to have been convinced of our Lord’s resurrection, except for Thomas who was not there. He did not see the resurrected Lord, nor did he behold the Savior’s wounded hands and side. And so it was that when Thomas was told that Jesus had appeared to them, he refused to believe. He insisted that in order for him to believe, he would have to see Jesus with his own eyes. He would have to personally inspect the Lord’s nail-pierced hands and His pierced side. Only then would he believe. Before we become too harsh with Thomas, let me remind you that the other disciples did not believe until they saw, either. Thomas is really demanding to see the same things that convinced the others. He is not asking for anything more than what the others saw.

Eight days passed. Apparently Jesus did not appear to any of His disciples during this period of time. The disciples were all together once again, including Thomas. The doors were locked, but in spite of this Jesus arrived and stood in their midst.196 Jesus repeats the greeting He gave at His earlier appearance, “Peace be with you” (verse 26; see also verses 19, 21). Immediately, Jesus turns His attention to Thomas. He summons Thomas to come and to put his finger where the nails had pierced His hands, and to feel His side where the spear had pierced it. He challenged Thomas to forsake his unbelief and to believe.

We do not know whether Thomas actually pressed his fingers into our Lord’s nail-pierced hands or not. Since John does not tell us that Thomas actually felt the wounds of our Lord, it may well be that after seeing Jesus alive he no longer required this proof. It may have taken this sight to convince Thomas, but once convinced, Thomas got it right. He does not merely profess a belief that Jesus has risen from the dead. Thomas professes to believe in what the resurrection proved—that Jesus was God, and that He was Lord (verse 28). Thomas now has it right.

Bible translations handle our Lord’s response differently. Some render the first words of verse 29 as a question, “Have you believed because you have seen Me?” (as does the NET Bible). Others render it as a statement: “Because you have seen me, you have believed” (NIV, KJV, NKJV). The difference is not important. The contrast Jesus seeks to emphasize is between those who must see in order to believe, and those who will believe without seeing. Peter seems to take up this same thought in his first epistle:

8 You have not seen him, but you love him. You do not see him now but you believe in him, and so you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, 9 because you are attaining the goal of your faith—the salvation of your souls (1 Peter 1:8-9).

It is not too hard to see what John is leading up to. John is writing this Gospel for those who have never seen the risen Lord. He has selected just a few of the many miraculous signs Jesus performed to demonstrate that Jesus is who He claimed to be, who John proclaims Him to be.

The Bottom Line: Believing Jesus Is the Christ, the Son of God (John 20:30-31)

30 Now Jesus performed many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples that are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are recorded so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

If there is one thing I despise, it is deceptive advertising. I hate those phone calls that come from unidentified (“out of the area”) sources, which begin with the assurance that the caller is not “selling” anything. John could not be more open and direct about the purpose of this book. I believe John has two conclusions. The first is found in chapter 20. It is aimed at those who have not yet come to faith in Jesus Christ. The second is aimed at those who have believed, and it is found in chapter 21.

In our text, John informs his unbelieving readers about the “bottom line” of all that he has written. John has one goal for the unbeliever: He wants to demonstrate as clearly and as forcefully as he can that Jesus not only claimed to be the Christ (the Messiah), the Son of God, but that by many miraculous signs He proved it! The last and greatest of these signs was His resurrection from the dead:

38 Then some of the experts in the law along with some Pharisees said to him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.” 39 But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For just as Jonah was in the belly of the huge fish for three days and three nights, so the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights. 41 The people of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; yet something greater than Jonah is here! 42 The Queen of the South will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; yet something greater than Solomon is here! (Matthew 12:38-42).

While the resurrection of Jesus from the dead was prophesied in the Old Testament, and by our Lord Himself, John makes it very clear that the disciples were not predisposed to believe it. Only after the most forceful and compelling evidence would the disciples believe Jesus really was alive. And having become convinced of this great truth, the disciples never ceased to proclaim it. The resurrection of Jesus is the final and compelling proof that He is the Son of God and the Savior of the world:

1 From Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God 2 that he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures, 3 concerning his Son who was a descendant of David with respect to the flesh, 4 who was appointed the Son-of-God-in-power according to the Holy Spirit by the resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 1:1-4).

Believing in Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God, is the only way God has provided for the forgiveness of your sins and for the gift of eternal life. By believing in Him, you will be saved:

9 Because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and thus has a right standing and with the mouth one confesses and thus has salvation. 11 For the scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between the Jew and the Greek, for the same Lord is Lord of all, who richly blesses all who call on him. 13 For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved (Romans 10:9-13).

11 He came to what was his own, but his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who have received him—those who believe in his name—he has given the right to become God’s children 13 —children not born by human parents or by human desire or a husband’s decision, but by God (John 1:11-13).

In many ways, the Gospel of John is not a simple book. But its message to the unsaved is incredibly simple, and John sums it up in these last verses of chapter 20. If you have never come to believe in Jesus as the Christ, the promised Messiah, the Son of God, then John has written this book to you, and for you, to give you all the evidence you need to believe in Him. Have you believed? This is the most important decision you will ever make. It determines your eternal destiny.


193 Some have criticized Mary for being so nave as to assume she will be able to carry away the body of our Lord. They are missing the point. She is not thinking in terms of logistics here. She is simply saying that if this “gardener” will tell her where to find the body, she will see to it that it is returned to its proper place. Of course she will get help to accomplish this. For now, she just wants to know where His body has been placed.

194 A. T. Robertson comments, “Present middle imperative in prohibition with genitive case, meaning “cease clinging to me” rather than “Do not touch me.” Jesus allowed the women to take hold of his feet … and worship … as we read in Mt 28:9. The prohibition here reminds Mary that the previous personal fellowship by sight, sound, and touch no longer exists and that the final state of glory was not yet begun. Jesus checks Mary’s impulsive eagerness.” Archibald Thomas Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1931), 6 vols. Vol. V, p. 312.

195 I am reminded that the breath of God is the source of life (Genesis 2:7; Job 33:4; Psalm 33:6; Ezekiel 37:9), even as it is also the means of divine judgment (2 Samuel 22:16; Job 4:9; Psalm 18:15). The breath of God is sometimes a symbol for His Spirit (Job 33:4). In a symbolic way, our Lord is breathing life into His church.

Both the NET Bible and the NIV smooth out the translation here. The NIV reads: “A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’” (John 14:26). Both the old and the new King James Versions and the NAS leave the translation a bit rough, in order to convey the unusual word order: “After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, ‘Peace be with you’” (NAS). “And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, ‘Peace to you!’” (NKJ). The original text seems to be emphasizing the fact that Jesus entered the room, in spite of the fact that the doors were shut and locked. (On seeing and believing, http://www.bible.org)

DORU POPE – Atributele lui Dumnezeu PARTEA 3-a – Omniprezenta lui Dumnezeu – Logos Podcast

photo credit www.theologyfg.com

Ted Pope: Dumnezeu nu este limitat de spatiu si nu exista nici un spatiu unde Dumnezeu sa nu fie prezent. Dumnezeu este spirit. Ori, un spirit nu are caracteristici spatiale, deoarece un spirit nu are substanta, materie, trup. El poate fi, astfel, prezent in inima unui om; inima insemnand nu neaparat, sau nu numai organul care pompeaza sangele, ci mai ales omul dinlauntru, spiritul omului. Dumnezeu poate fi prezent in spiritul omului, care devine astfel, din cauza prezentei lui Dumnezeu, un templu a lui Dumnezeu. Dar El poate fi prezent concomitent si in vastul cosmosului care se afla in expansiune.

Asculta emisiunea aici:
http://www.logospodcasting.com/doru-pope-atributele-lui-dumnezeu-partea-3

Dan Miclea: Aratami-L pe Dumnezeu. Vreau sa-L vad pe Dumnezeu. Unde este Dumnezeu? Continuam sa discutam despre atributele lui Dumnezeu. Si in aceasta zi vom discuta prezenta lui Dumnezeu. Unde este Dumnezeu? Totodata, vom discuta sentimentele lui Dumnezeu.

Doru Pope: Inainte de a continua cu lectia de astazi, am primit ceva feedback, de la unii care au recunoscut vocea mea sau numele meu si au ascultat podcasturi anterioare. Unii au zis sa inserez in discutia mea, mai multe texte biblice. O sa incerc sa fac lucrul acesta. De asemenea, altii au pretins ca discutia mea sa fie mai academica si acelora le-am raspuns cand am inceput podcasturile. Reiterez faptul ca  noi nu vrem sa fim foarte academici. Pentru cei care doresc sa studieze mai mult, exista manuale si exista scoli unde se pot studia lucrurile acestea. Noi vrem doar sa determinam, in copiii lui Dumnezeu, dorinta de-al cunoaste mai adanc pe Dumnezeu. In ultima instanta, in spusele lui Isus Hristos, viata vesnica este sa-L cunoastem pe Dumnezeu. Si aceasta este dorinta noastra. Acestea sunt niste studii care sunt create pentru a fi ascultate de pe telefon, in masina, sau chiar si acasa pe ecran, de cineva care se ocupa de altceva si  si vrea sa asculte ceva crestin in fundal. Si, al treilea feedback care l-am primit a fost dintr-acela- astazi este Vinerea Mare si imi amintesc ca unii i-au zis lui Hristos: “Ba, ba, Tu care ai promis ca strici Templu si il zidesti in 3 zile, da-te jos de pe cruce.” Aici, unii ne-au vorbit de rau si au zis: “Ba, voi n-aveti treaba, n-aveti de lucru? Vedeti-va de altele.” Si acelora, le multumim si lor, pentru feedback. Daca pana si Fiul lui Dumnezeu si lucrarea Sa a fost vorbita de rau de unii, atunci de ce ar fi vorbita de bine sau numai de bine lucrarea noastra? Cam atat.

Omniprezenta lui Dumnezeu –  Dumnezeu nu este limitat de spatiu si nu exista nici un spatiu unde Dumnezeu sa nu fie prezent. Photo credit - www.charlotteridge.com

De data aceasta vorbim despre insusirile sau atributele lui Dumnezeu – partea 3-a. As vrea sa luam omniprezenta lui Dumnezeu. Data trecuta am vazut ca ceea ce priveste relatia cu timpul – Dumnezeu este etern, este vesnic. Acum, pe scurt, vom privi la felul in care  se relationeaza Dumnezeu cu spatiul. Cu privire la spatiu, Dumnezeu este omniprezent, spunem noi. Adica este prezent pretutindeni in acelasi timp. Dumnezeu este concomitent prezent peste tot, dar El este si in afara spatiului. Spatiul, ca si timpul, sunt creatii ale lui Dumnezeu. Dumnezeu nu este limitat de spatiu. Si nu exista nici un spatiu in care Dumnezeu sa nu fie prezent.

Dumnezeu nu este limitat de spatiu si nu exista nici un spatiu unde Dumnezeu sa nu fie prezent. Dumnezeu este spirit. Ori, un spirit nu are caracteristici spatiale, deoarece un spirit nu are substanta, materie, trup. El poate fi, astfel, prezent in inima unui om; inima insemnand nu neaparat, sau nu numai organul care pompeaza sangele, ci mai ales omul dinlauntru, spiritul omului. Dumnezeu poate fi prezent in spiritul omului, care devine astfel, din cauza prezentei lui Dumnezeu, un templu a lui Dumnezeu. Dar El poate fi prezent concomitent si in vastul cosmosului care se afla in expansiune.

  1. Solomon a inteles omniprezenta lui Dumnezeu, cand s-a rugat cu aceste cuvinte la dedicarea Templului, construit de el la Ierusalim, si scrie in 1 Regi 8:27 -  Dar ce! Va locui oare cu adevărat Dumnezeu pe pămînt? Iată că cerurile şi cerurile cerurilor nu pot să Te cuprindă: cu cît mai puţin casa aceasta pe care Ţi-am zidit -o eu!
  2. Ieremia intelege si el cum este Domnul, cand vine in cuvantul Domnului cu aceste expresii. Ieremia 23:23-24 - ,,Sînt Eu numai un Dumnezeu de aproape, zice Domnul, şi nu sînt Eu şi un Dumnezeu de departe? 24 Poate cineva să stea într’un loc ascuns fără să -l văd Eu? zice Domnul. Nu umplu Eu cerurile şi pămîntul? zice Domnul.
  3. David intelege si el ca nu exista nici un loc unde s-ar putea el duce, unde sa nu gaseasca prezenta lui Dumnezeu. Astfel, el scrie in Psalmul 139:7-12 -

    Unde mă voi duce departe de Duhul Tău, şi unde voi fugi departe de Faţa Ta? Dacă mă voi sui în cer, Tu eşti acolo; dacă mă voi culca în locuinţa morţilor, iată-Te şi acolo; Dacă voi lua aripile zorilor, şi mă voi duce să locuiesc la marginea mării, 10 şi acolo mîna Ta mă va călăuzi, şi dreapta Ta mă va apuca. 11 Dacă voi zice: ,,Cel puţin întunerecul mă va acoperi, -şi se va face noapte lumina dimprejurul meu!“ 12 Iată că nici chiar întunerecul nu este întunecos pentru Tine; ci noaptea străluceşte ca ziua, şi întunerecul ca lumina.

Anterior, cand am mai vorbit despre aceste caracteristice ale lui Dumnezeu, mi s-a pus o intrebare. Este o intrebare foarte buna si anume: Daca Dumnezeu este pretutindeni prezent, este El prezent si in iad? Eu cred ca da. iadul manifesta o prezenta a maniei a lui Dumnezeu si a pedepsei Sale fata de cei ce n-au ascultat de adevar si au trait o viata in afara voii lui Dumnezeu. Deci, daca Dumnezeu este prezent pretutindeni, El vede totul, El vede orice pacat comis, dar de asemenea, El vede si orice fapta buna. De aceea, nu ramane fara rasplata niciun pahar de apa oferit in Numele Domnului.

Omniprezenta lui Dumnezeu nu trebuie sa fie inteleasa in sens panteistic. Panteismul este o conceptie conform careia Dumnezeu este totul si totul este Dumnezeu. Sau altfel spus, Dumnezeu este sinonim cu creatia. Dar omniprezenta nu trebuie inteleasa nici in sens panenteistic, un termen mai recent care defineste o conceptie conform careia divinitatea este aparte de creatie, dar creatia ii confera divinitatii un trup, ca sa zicem asa. Adica, Dumnezeu nu exista in afara si separat de creatie. Deci, Dumnezeu nu este o fiinta corporala si n-are substanta fizica care sa fie raspandita pretutindeni. El este pretutindeni prezent ca esenta, chiar daca Biblia afirma ca Dumnezeu este aproape de cineva, intr-un mod special. Este clar prezent in actiuni si interactiuni a lui Dumnezeu cu omul si cu creatia in spatiu si in timp intr-un mod antropomorfic, adica, are caracteristici umane.

De exemplu, citim ca Dumnezeu este sus si ca El este in ceruri. Psalmul 97:9 spune  Căci Tu, Doamne, Tu eşti Cel Prea Înalt peste tot pămîntul, Tu eşti prea înălţat mai pe sus de toţi dumnezeii. Iar Psalmul 108:5 spune - Înalţă-Te peste ceruri, Dumnezeule, şi fie slava Ta peste tot pămîntul! Cerul. Hum, devine o astfel de casa a lui Dumnezeu, un fel de palat regal, daca vreti. Imaginea unui loc in spatiu, sa zicem, dar nu neaparat in spatiu, in care este scaunul de domnie a lui Dumnezeu si unde prezenta lui Dumnezeu este manifestata intr-o slava si o maretie, ca sa spunem asa, vizibila. In cartea sa, Elenctic Theology, Francis Turretin (1623 – 1687) spune ca in cer este manifestata gloria deplina a lui Dumnezeu. Este locul unde gloria deplina a lui Dumnezeu este manifestata. 

  • Citim in Biblie ca Isus s-a ridicat in ceruri dupa invierea Sa. Fapte 1:9 - După ce a spus aceste lucruri, pe cînd se uitau ei la El, S’a înălţat la cer, şi un nor L -a ascuns din ochii lor.
  • Si Biblia ne spune ca, acum, Hristos este asezat acolo. 1 Petru 3:21-22, cand Petru vorbeste despre botez, el zice - Icoana aceasta inchipuitoare va mintuieste acum pe voi, si anume botezul, care nu este o curatire de intinaciunile trupesti, ci marturia unui cuget curat inaintea lui Dumnezeu prin invierea lui Isus Hristos, 22 care sta la dreapta lui Dumnezeu, dupa ce S-a inaltat la cer, si Si-a supus ingerii, stapinirile si puterile.
  • Evrei 12:2 - Să ne uităm ţintă la Căpetenia şi Desăvîrşirea credinţei noastre, adică la Isus, care, pentru bucuria care -I era pusă înainte, a suferit crucea, a dispreţuit ruşinea, şi şade la dreapta scaunului de domnie al lui Dumnezeu.

Tot in stilul unei naratiuni cu un caracter antromorfic, Dumnezeu coboara din cer pe pamant pentru a privi mai indeaproape ce se petrece intr-un anumit loc. Expresiile acestea trebuie intelese ca fiind analogice cu actiuni umane. Deoarece, Dumnezeu este prezent oriunde si petutindeni. El nu trebuie sa coboare intr-un anume loc pentru a vedea ceva intr-un mod specific. Vreau sa precizez aicea ca naratiunile descriptive ale lui Dumnezeu si ale actiunilor Sale trebuie mereu intelese in lumina versetelor care Il definesc direct pe Dumnezeu si nu invers. De exemplu, un scriitor spune ca lui Dumnezeu ii pare rau sau regreta ca a facut o anumita alegere. Exprimarea autorului respectiv trebuie inteleasa prin prisma unui enunt clar  despre Dumnezeu.

  • Ca acela din Numeri 23:19 cand Dumnezeu spune ca ‘Dumnezeu nu este un om ca să mintă, Nici un fiu al omului, ca să -I pară rău. Ce a spus, oare nu va face? Ce a făgăduit oare, nu va împlini?
  • Sau 1 Samuel 15:29 – ‘Cel ce este tăria lui Israel nu minte şi nu Se căieşte, căci nu este un om ca să -I pară rău.`

Deci, acestea sunt enunturi cum este Dumnezeu, clare, si altele sunt actiuni narative descriptive. Astea din urma trebuie intelese in lumina enunturilor clare despre Dumnezeu si nu invers.

Omniprezenta lui Dumnezeu, ca fapt ontologic, aicea vreau sa spun ca ontologia este ramura filozofiei care se ocupa cu natura sau cu esenta fiintei, cu studierea naturii existentei. Deci, omniprezenta lui Dumnezeu, ca fapt ontologic, nu exclude , ci implica vis a vis de poporul lui Dumnezeu sau de cei ce sunt numarati prin alesii lui Dumnezeu, o prezenta a lui Dumnezeu specifica si speciala. In promisiunea unui Mantuitor, Dumnezeu spune ca  Numele acestuia va fi Emanuel, adica Dumnezeu este cu noi. Inainte de plecarea Sa la cer, Isus a promis in Matei 28:20 – ‘Şi iată că Eu sînt cu voi în toate zilele, pînă la sfîrşitul veacului. Amin‘ Astfel intelegem ca Acela care este pretutindeni, fata de alesii Sai are o manifestare  a prezentei, aparte , intr-un fel personal  in care El nu este prezent in si cu restul creatiei. In Teologia sa sistematica, John Frame spune ca este o prezenta etica, adica este manifestata de cel neprihanit. Spre deosebire de prezenta lui Dumnezeu cu cel ce nu este neprihanit, fata de care, Dumnezeu, intr-un fel, este departe sau separat.

Deasemenea, gasim in Biblie descrieri ale unor locuri in care Dumnezeu este prezent iarasi in mod specific. Aceste locuri devin din cauza prezentei lui Dumnezeu, locuri sfinte, ca sa zicem asa. Si asta pentru perioada de timp in care Dumnezeu este  prezent acolo, in felul acesta special. Astfel, Moise intalneste un tufis care nu se consuma de niste flacari de care el arde. Si in tufisul acesta, Moise Il intalneste pe Dumnezeu. I se spune sa scoata incaltamintea din picioare, deoarece locul din jurul acestui tufis este sfant, din cauza prezentei lui Dumnezeu. Tot in Vechiul Testament intalnim si Muntele Sinai unde a dat Dumnezeu legea Sa. Acest munte era in flacari si se cutremura si poporului ii era interzis sa se atinga sau sa se apropie de munte, precum si unor animale ale poporului. Caci oricine s-ar atinge de munte sau s-ar apropia va fi ucis. Noi nu intelegem ca in asemenea locuri exista o concentratie a prezentei lui Dumnezeu mai mare decat in alta parte. Ci doar ca in asemenea spatii, Dumnezeu cere celui care se afla acolo un respect si o reverenta mai mare, nu fata de loc, ci fata de Dumnezeul acestui loc. Reverenta, in lipsa careia pedeapsa lui Dumnezeu va veni peste omul prezent acolo. Prezenta aceasta a lui Dumnezeu, specifica cu cei ce sunt ai Lui, va culmina in viitor, cum o descrie Ioan in Apocalipsa 21:1-4 -

Apoi am văzut un cer nou şi un pămînt nou; pentrucă cerul dintîi şi pămîntul dintîi pieriseră, şi marea nu mai era.
2 Şi eu am văzut coborîndu-se din cer dela Dumnezeu, cetatea sfîntă, noul Ierusalim, gătită ca o mireasă împodobită pentru bărbatul ei.
3 Şi am auzit un glas tare, care ieşea din scaunul de domnie, şi zicea: ,,Iată cortul lui Dumnezeu cu oamenii! El va locui cu ei, şi ei vor fi poporul Lui, şi Dumnezeu însuş va fi cu ei. El va fi Dumnezeul lor.
4 El va şterge orice lacrimă din ochii lor. Şi moartea nu va mai fi. Nu va mai fi nici tînguire, nici ţipăt, nici durere, pentrucă lucrurile dintîi au trecut.`

Un alt atribut, o alta insusire,  despre care vrem sa discutam in momentele urmatoare, este impasibilitatea. La ce ne referim? O sa intrebam daca Dumnezeu simte ceva, daca El are sentimente. Am vazut deja ca Dumnezeu este suficient in Sine Insusi. Se El este singura fiinta independenta de tot si de toate. De asemenea, o sa vedem intr-o emisiune urmatoare ca Dumnezeu este neschimbabil. Dar, intrebarea este, daca asa este Dumnezeu, are El sentimente? Citim prin Biblie si vedem ca Dumnezeu este descris in Biblie ca avand mila, ca iubind, rabdator, fiind gelos, maniinduse. Aceste emotii le simte Dumnezeu. Are El aceste sentimente? Daca nu le are, atunci ce urmareste Dumnezeu cand inspira pe autori sa descrie in felul acesta? Deja am spus in alta parte ca Dumnezeu nu are trup fizic. N-are corp; este o fiinta spirituala. De aceea, El nu este o fiinta spatiala. Acuma, cand un om gandeste, de exemplu, El gandeste cu ajutorul unui organ fizic ale carui conexiuni nervoase sunt esentiale procesului de gandire. De asemenea, cand un om iubeste, in organismul lui fizic se petrec anumite reactii chimice. De asemenea, corpul uman secrete un hormon numit adrenalina, cand omul este confruntat cu anumite experiente traumatice si sufera in urma lor, sau cand este confruntat cu sentimente puternice de frica sau de groaza, sau cand este provocat, de exemplu, ca inaintea unei provocari sportive pe 100 de metri.

Este clar, din cele de mai sus, ca Dumnezeu nu are sentimente diferite de sentimentele omului. Dumnezeu gandeste si El are ganduri. Insa, gandurile lui Dumnezeu nu pot fi legate de un creier divin, Dumnezeu fiind duh. Apoi, emotiile omului sunt in general privite ca fiind reactii la anumite evenimente, la intamplari, experiente. In ce fel putem spune despre Dumnezeu, fara sa gresim, ca El reactioneaza la ceva ce El deja cunoaste din vesnicie? De exemplu: El creeaza ceva si apoi priveste ceea ce a creat. Simte o anumita placere, ca sa zicem asa,  si declara ca lucrul acela este bun.

Nu stia Dumnezeu ca va fi bun ceea ce ce urma sa faca, inante de a incepe sa faca?  Aici lumea teologica se desparte in doua.

  1. Unii care cred ca descrierile lui Dumnezeu ca avand emotii sunt doar descrieri cu caracter antromorfic pentru a ne face sa intelegem cum ar reactiona Dumnezeu. Dar mai ales, pentru a determinacate reactii sau emotii… De exemplu: Citim ca lui Dumnezeu ii pare rau, cititorul poate evalua prin prisma direct experimentat personal, cam cum ar trebui sa simta Dumnezeu cand ii pare Lui rau.
  2. Altii cred ca Dumnezeu are cu adevarat sentimente. Si ca faptul ca Dumnezeu a creat totul si ca din vesnicie a determinat totul, nu Il impiedica pe Dumnezeu ca impreuna cu planul facut de El, sa fi predeterminat  si reale reactii la evenimente si la evaluarile acestuia in timp real.

Dumnezeu este fara timp si fara spatiu, sau in afara lor.  Dar am spus cu o alta ocazie ca El esti si imanent. Ca este in spatiu si in timp, in istorie. Este oare imposibil ca Dumnezeu sa aibe sentimente cand evalueaza evenimentele din interiorul istoriei sau a spatiului, sau a timpului? Astfel, eu cred ca Dumnezeu se bucura de bine si se supara pentru rau. Si El este cu cel ce sufera si vede, aude, sufera alaturi de el. El promite in Isaia 43:2 – ‘Dacă vei trece prin ape, Eu voi fi cu tine; şi rîurile nu te vor îneca; dacă vei merge prin foc, nu te va arde, şi flacăra nu te va aprinde.‘ El are raspunsuri emotionale la ceea ce se intampla in interiorul istoriei. Dar e de alta parte, oamenii, avem sentimente pe care Dumnezeu nu le are. Dumnezeu nu este nerabdator. El nu este curios ce se va intampla maine. Nu este curios cum se va sfarsi un anumit lucru. Nu-i este dor de casa. samd.

De asemenea, cand vorbim despre sentimentele lui Dumnezeu sa nu uitam aspectul intruparii lui Dumnezeu. In intruparea Sa, Dumnezeu a plans. Eu cred ca a si ras. I-a fost foame, sete, a obosit. A experimentat intreaga gama de sentimente ce sunt si nu doar necesare, ci proprii omului. Experienta umanitatii lui Hristos n-ar fi insemnat nimic daca Dumnezeu nu are sau nu este capabil de sentimente.

O alta intrebare cu care vom incheia acest studiu scurt este daca Dumnezeu sufera. Afirmam mai sus, pe scurt, ca Dumnezeu sufera alaturi de cel ce sufera. Este lucrul acesta adevarat? Ce impact, daca are vreun impact asupra lui Dumnezeu, suferinta mea? Care-i suferinta mea. Dar a omului in general si a crestinului in special? Teologii au privit pentru raspuns la aceasta intrebare la Dumnezeu intrupat in Hristos. Jürgen Moltmann, de exemplu, in cartea ‘The Crucified God‘, da motive pentru care Dumnezeu sufera.

  1. Primul motiv este datorita suferintei lui Hristos. Este adevarat ca Isus a murit ca om, sau in umanitatea Sa. Dumnezeu nu moare. Dar cel ce a suferit chinurile premergatoare mortii n-a fost numai omul Isus, ci persoana lui Isus care este 100% om si 100% Dumnezeu.
  2. Un al doilea motiv al suferintei se datoreaza dumnezeirii lui Dumnezeu. Natura iubirii este de asemenea intr-un fel incat cei ce iubesc sunt predispusi suferintei provocate de fiintele pe care le iubesc. La cruce am vazut manifestarea iubirii lui Dumnezeu.
  3. Un al treilea motiv pentru Moltmann este problema suferintei umane in general. El zice ca nu exista un alt raspuns adecvat la problema raului si a suferintei din lume, decat ca Dumnezeu sufera alaturi de fiintele umane  care sufera din cauza pacatului lor.

Am amintit aici pe Jürgen Moltmann, numai pentru a arata un fel de parere cu privire la intrebarea noastra cu privire la suferinta. Trebuie sa tinem cont de faptul ca Dumnezeu Tatal, Fiul si Duhul Sfant  sunt una si nu putem separa suferintele lui Isus de suferintele lui Dumnezeu. Dar desi Fiul are anumite experiente, suferinte, dupa rolul pe care Il are in mantuire, in mantuire, Dumnezeu are un altfel de rol. De exemplu, Fiul se boteaza. In timp ce Fiul este in apa botezului, Tatal este in ceruri de unde vorbeste. Fiul este rastignit, Tatal nu este rastignit. Deci, ca Dumnezeu intrupat, Dumnezeu are anumite suferinte care sunt impartasite de Dumnezeu Tatal.

Dar intr-o alta dimensiune sau intr-o alta masura si calitate, vreau sa concluzionez in cuvintele lui John Frame, din Teologia sa sistematica, parafrasez- ‘Dumnezeu in existenta Sa e in afara de spatiu si timp, planifica si determina in slava Sa anumite evenimente care produc intristare si necaz si le evalueaza corespunzator. Adica se intristeaza, dar fara a suferi pierdere sau fara sa fie ranit  cum suntem noi de obicei, sau cum simtim noi o la o anumita pierdere.  In al doilea rand, in spatiu si timp, Dumnezeu sufera alaturi de creaturile Sale si chiar experimenteaza infrangeri temporale in drumul Sau catre biruinta finala. El sufera cand iubitii Sai sufera. Dar le promite victorie finala si completa. Deasemenea razbunarea le va fi inclusa in razbunarea lui Dumnezeu.

logos podcasting

 Podcasturi precedente

Alte Emisiuni Logos, Realizator Dan Miclea-

  • Misionarul Român din Egipt Partea 1-amisionarul ne-a povestit cum a ajuns in Cairo, cum si-a inceput misiune printre egipteni si calatoria pe Raul Nil, ca sa duca evanghelia la nubieni, iar apoi calatoria la muntele Sinai unde a propovaduit evanghelia la beduini. E foarte fascinant sa asculti martuira misionarului si felul in care Dumnezeu se face cunoscut egiptenilor musulmani prin vise, ca mai tarziu diferite persoane sa-l traga la o parte pe strada si sa-l intrebe daca e crestin, si sa le spuna despre acel Isus pe care ei L-au visat.
  • Misionarul Român din Egipt Partea 2-a - Pretul platit de 3 convertiti egipteni, credinciosi pana la moarte… – Misionarul Român din Egipt – Partea 2-a
  • Gicu Stan -
    1. Cand s-a nascut Biserica Domnului?
    2. Exista vreo diferenta intre manifestarea Duhului Sfant  inainte de Cincizecime si dupa Cincizecime?
    3. Unde e frontiera care desparte insusirile noastre native, cat si cele pe care noi le dobandim prin instruire, de darurile pe care le imparte Duhul Sfant?
  1. Dumnezeu Tatal Introducere (1) In crestinism, Dumnezeu este prezentat in Cuvantul Sau din Biblie. Cel mai bine putem sa-l cunoastem pe Dumnezeu de aici, din Scripturi. El este o persoana, in primul rand, El este prezentat ca fiind o persoana.
  2. Teologia: Arma sau Ajutor? (2) Ce inseamna teologie? Ce este teologia, in special teologia crestina. Sigur ca teologia se ocupa, in general, despre existenta Divinului si interactiunea dintre divin si cosmos si lume. Din punct de vedere crestin, teologia se ocupa de un studiu sistematic a revelatiei crestine cu privire la Dumnezeu, la natura lui Dumnezeu, la scopurile lui Dumnezeu si la relatia lui Dumnezeu cu universul in care noi traim. Este un studiu a lucrurilor sfinte, a Divinitatii, a adevarului lui Dumnezeu.
  3. Despre Trinitate (3) Dumnezeu este doar unul singur. Dar atunci, de ce vorbim despre Trinitate? Si mai ales, de ce vin scriitorii Noului Testament si ne vorbesc despre Duhul Sfant si Fiul? Si ne spun ca si Fiul si Duhul Sfant au caracteristicile lui Dumnezeu. Cand au aparut aceste fiinte care sunt asemenea lui Dumnezeu? Chiar si in Vechiul Testament avem pasaje despre un Dumnezeu existand in mai multe persoane. Numai trebuie sa intelegem ca descoperirea lui Dumnezeu a fost progresiva, adica, Dumnezeu nu a corectat azi ceea ce am gresit ieri si n-a inlocuit azi ceea ce ne-a spus ieri. Ci, ceea ce El nu ne-a dezvaluit despre Sine, ne-a dezvaluit astazi. Deci, de ce a procedat astfel Dumnezeu?
  4. Exista Dumnezeu? (4) Gandul despre Dumnezeu nu-l putem scoate din mintea noastra, fie ca suntem atei, fie ca suntem credinciosi. Atunci, ramane intrebarea: Cum stim ca exista Dumnezeu? Nu se poate stii despre existenta lui Dumnezeu decat daca El se descopera, daca se reveleaza pe Sine. Indiferent cat suntem de savanti sau puternici, noi suntem extrem de limitati. Si cu toate descoperirile noastre in diverse domenii, nu putem decat sa admitem ca stim ca exista din ce in ce mai mult necunoscut.
  5. Atributele lui Dumnezeu PARTEA 1 (5) Introducere - Insusirile lui Dumnezeu: Incomunicabile si Comunicabile - Atribute transcendente si imanente a lui Dumnezeu - Insusiri absolute si insusiri relative.
  6. Atributele lui Dumnezeu PARTEA 2-a (6) Daca Dumnezeu este suficient in El Insusi, care este ratiunea pentru care am fost noi creati? Ce inseamna autosuficienta lui Dumnezeu, aseitatea lui Dumnezeu, eternitatea lui Dumnezeu? Cum intra in timp Dumnezeu? Pentru ca noi, cand intram dintr-o dimensiune, dintr-o camera intr-alta, atunci parasim primea dimensiune, aceea din care am iesit. Deci, cand Dumnezeu intra in timp, si lucreaza in succesiunea timpului, iese El, sau altfel spus, abandoneaza calitatea Sa de a fi in afara timpului? Iese El din afara timpului si intra in timp?
  7. Atributele lui Dumnezeu PARTEA 3-a (7) Pagina actuala - Dumnezeu nu este limitat de spatiu si nu exista nici un spatiu unde Dumnezeu sa nu fie prezent. Dumnezeu este spirit. Ori, un spirit nu are caracteristici spatiale, deoarece un spirit nu are substanta, materie, trup. El poate fi, astfel, prezent in inima unui om; inima insemnand nu neaparat, sau nu numai organul care pompeaza sangele, ci mai ales omul dinlauntru, spiritul omului. Dumnezeu poate fi prezent in spiritul omului, care devine astfel, din cauza prezentei lui Dumnezeu, un templu a lui Dumnezeu. Dar El poate fi prezent concomitent si in vastul cosmosului care se afla in expansiune.

Urmareste Emisiunea Logos aici-

 

More on Bart Ehrman’s new book – Biblical Scholars call it ‘Sloppy Scholarship’

photo patheos.com

Pentru traducere automata, fa click aici – Romanian

Craig Evans discusses Bart Ehrman’s assertions against the divinity of Christ in Ehrman’s book ‘How Jesus became God’, as he published in his own book ‘How God became Jesus’.

~~ Bird et al, How God Became Jesus. http://amzn.to/1gJHalo (Canada: http://amzn.to/1jmdez6 )
~~ Ehrman, How Jesus Became God. http://amzn.to/OKT20e (Canada: http://amzn.to/1plFQKP )

You can read an article in the Christian Post on the latest response to bart Ehrman’s book here - http://www.christianpost.com/news/theologians-challenge-bart-ehrmans-sloppy-scholarship-in-how-jesus-became-god-with-book-on-how-god-became-jesus

Here’s an excerpt from that story: Ehrman’s newly published findings have been resoundingly challenged by some of his peers, a group of which has put forth their own book in response to his work, which they reportedly view as “populist conspiracy theories and sloppy history.”

Bird, in a submission made to The Christian Post, argues for “5 Lines of Evidence Missing from Ehrman’s Latest Popular Study, How Jesus Became God.” Read it here. Bird explains how he and his colleagues’ challenges to Ehrman’s work in the video below.

VIDEO by  YouTube/religionphilosophy (Via Christian Post) In the video-

Michael F. Bird comments on Bart Ehrman’s new book, “How Jesus Became God,” and his own work written in response, “How God Became Jesus.”
You can also watch a video response by Craig Evans, one of Bird’s coauthors, here - http://wp.me/p1eavz-gbO

Christ has risen! The significance of the Resurrection

Pentru traducere automata, fa click aici – Romanian

Matthew 28:1-10

1. According to the four gospels, Jesus rose from the dead following
   His crucifixion...
   a. Matthew records how the women found the tomb empty and were
      instructed by an angel to tell the disciples - Mt 28:1-8
   b. Also how Jesus appeared to them while on their way - Mt 28:9-10
   -- In all, the New Testament records ten distinct resurrection
      appearances of Christ prior to His ascension to heaven

2. The significance of the resurrection of Jesus to the Christian faith
   cannot be overestimated...
   a. It has great significance for one who has yet to believe in Jesus
   b. It also has great significance for those who are Christians

[In this study we shall consider "The Significance Of The Resurrection"
for both unbelievers and believers...]

I. FOR THE UNBELIEVER

   A. IT VERIFIES THE DEITY OF JESUS...
      1. The resurrection proves that Jesus truly is the Son of God
         - Ro 1:4
      2. It also demonstrates that He truly has all authority in heaven
         and on earth - Mt 28:18; Ac 2:36

   B. IT VERIFIES THE TRUTHFULNESS OF JESUS...
      1. Jesus foretold His resurrection on three occasions - Mt 16:21; 17:22-23; 20:17-19
         a. If Jesus was telling the truth in describing His suffering
            and resurrection...
         b. ...then He was telling the truth in everything else He said
         -- Would God raise a liar?
      2. Therefore the following teachings of Jesus are true:
         a. He was from the Father above, and spoke the words of the
            Father - Jn 8:28-29
         b. No one can come to the Father but through Him - Jn 14:6
         c. His blood was shed for the remission of sins - Mt 26:28
         d. He came to offer abundant life - Jn 10:10
         e. He went to prepare a place for us - Jn 14:2
         f. He shall come again - Jn 14:3
         g. There will be a resurrection of the dead and ensuing
            judgment - Jn 5:28-29; 12:48; Ac 17:30-31

[If Jesus was in fact raised from the dead, "The Significance Of The Resurrection" for the unbeliever is enormous!  It compels unbelievers
to come face to face with reality, and the need to accept the Lordship
of Jesus.  The resurrection of Jesus has even more significance...]

II. FOR THE BELIEVER    

   A. IF JESUS HAS NOT BEEN RAISED...
      1. Gospel preaching is vain - 1Co 15:14
         a. The preaching of the apostles is empty, meaningless
         b. There would be no purpose in preaching about a liar, or
            lunatic
      2. Our faith is vain - 1Co 15:14
         a. Our belief in Christ would also be empty, meaningless
         b. For our faith would be in a liar, or lunatic
      3. The apostles were false witnesses - 1Co 15:15
         a. They swore that God raised Jesus from the dead - Ac 2:32
         b. They claimed to spend 40 days with Him after the
            resurrection, eating and drinking with Him - Ac 10:39-41
         c. There is no way they could have been deceived or mistaken;
            either they told the truth or they were deliberate liars,
            deceivers, and frauds!
      4. We are still in our sins - 1Co 15:17
         a. It would have been a liar or lunatic that died on the cross
         b. No such person could have provided a sacrifice that was
            holy and without blemish
      5. Believers have perished at death - 1Co 15:18
         a. Their faith would have been in a false Messiah
         b. They would have had no atonement for their sins
         c. Dying in their sins, there would be no hope
      6. Christians are to be pitied - 1Co 15:19
         a. Because we believe in a false Messiah
         b. Because our faith in Him leads us to refrain from much
            worldly pleasure
         c. Because we are often ridiculed or persecuted for our faith

   B. IF JESUS HAS BEEN RAISED...
      1. It verifies our justification - Ro 4:24-25
         a. Jesus claimed His blood would be adequate - Mt 26:28
         b. By raising Jesus from the dead, God demonstrated His
            acceptance of Jesus as a sacrifice for our sins! - Ro 8: 33-34
      2. It demonstrates the power available to the Christian - Ep 1: 18-20
         a. Power available at our conversion - Col 2:11-12; 1Pe 3:21
         b. Power available to live the Christian life - Ro 8:11-13; Php 2:12-13; 4:13; Ep 3:20; 6:10
      3. It gives us hope concerning our own resurrection - 1Pe 1:3
         a. His resurrection gives us a living hope! - 1Pe 1:21
         b. Especially concerning the resurrection of believers! - 1 Th 4:13-14
      4. It demands our complete loyalty to Him - Ro 14:9
         a. He was raised and then exalted to become our Lord - Ac 2: 32-36; Ep 1:20-23
         b. Thus our lives and service belong to Him - Ro 14:7-8; 2 Co 5:15
CONCLUSION

1. The impact of the resurrection of Jesus should not go unfelt in our
   lives...
   a. As a historical event it has everlasting implications
   b. For both the unbeliever and believer

2. The unbeliever needs to examine the evidence for the resurrection
   carefully...
   a. The nature of the testimony provided by the witnesses
   b. The unfeasibility of alternative explanations for the empty tomb
   -- For if Jesus rose from the dead, one must believe in Him! - Jn 8: 24

3. The believer must never lose sight of the significance of the
   resurrection...
   a. Do our lives demonstrate that we serve a risen Lord and Savior?
   b. Do we possess the hope, peace, and strength that the reality and
      power of His resurrection gives to the Christian?

May we never forget "The Significance Of The Resurrection" of Jesus
Christ in our lives!
(VIA)

Ian Hamilton – Christ is All and in All

Pentru traducere automata, fa click aici – Romanian

via Banner of Truth Trust, UK
John Brown was one of the most illustrious Bible commentators of the nineteenth century. The Banner of Truth publishes his commentaries on Galatians and Hebrews in the ‘Geneva’ series, and his 3-volume work on The Discourses and Sayings of our Lord. Also published by Banner of Truth, but currently out of print, is his 2-volume commentary on 1 Peter. Why mention him at the beginning of my pastoral letter? For this reason: While recently perusing Brown’s commentary on 1 Peter, I came across this wonderful paragraph that I wanted to share with you. He is commentating on the opening verses of 1 Peter 2 and in particular on the Christ-saturated content of these verses:

The religion taught in the New Testament, of which our text is a fair specimen, is Christianity in the most emphatic and peculiar sense of the term, ‘Christ is all in all’. It is his religion. It is all by him; it is all about him; he is its author, he is its substance; he is the sum of this system, the soul of this body. Every thing is viewed in its connexion with him. Every doctrine and every precept, every privilege and every duty, every promise and every threatening. The ground of acceptance is his sacrifice; the source of light and life, holiness and peace, his Spirit; the rule of duty, his law; the pattern for imitation, his example; the motives to duty, his authority and grace; the great end of all, his glory, God’s glory in him . . . let the language of our hearts be that of the dying martyr: ‘None but Christ, none but Christ’. [1 Peter, Volume 1, pp. 238-239]

Are these not stirring, moving, and true words?

In essence, Brown is telling us that Christianity is Christ. He is the ‘so great salvation’ that God holds out to us in the gospel. This was something Jesus himself was self-consciously aware of. When you read through the Gospels you cannot miss that he preaches himself. This is seen perhaps most startlingly in Matthew 11:28-30 ‘Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest . . .’ Jesus does not prescribe for the weary and burdened some spiritual panacea; he prescribes himself. Jesus’ personal sense of his comprehensive ability to meet the needs of a broken, sin-weary world is staggering: ‘Come to me’!

Now, why am I saying this? For one simple reason, to encourage you (and me) to look alone to our Lord Jesus for the comfort, help, strength, reassurance, and hope that we all need to sustain us in our walk with God. It is in Christ that God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing (Eph. l:3). God has nothing else to give you, for in his Son he has given you everything. Not just everything you need, but everything!

This is but another way of saying what our Lord himself tells us in John 15: ‘I am the vine, you are the branches.’ He is our life. To live by faith is to live ‘out of Christ’ (see Gal. 2:20). Faith is like a bucket that we drop into the inexhaustible riches and depths of our Saviour, to draw up out of him all we need to live a godly, God-pleasing, gospel-useful life. Do you lack wisdom? Go to Christ who is the wisdom of God. Do you lack patience? Go to Christ the epitome of godly patience. Do you lack constancy? Go to Christ who was obedient unto death. Do you lack courage? Go to Christ ‘who endured the cross’. John Calvin puts this truth beautifully in The Institutes (2.16.19):

We see that our whole salvation and all its parts are comprehended in Christ (Acts 4:12). We should therefore take care not to derive the least portion of it from anywhere else. If we seek salvation, we are taught by the very name of Jesus that it is ‘of him’ (1 Cor. 1:30). If we seek any other gifts of the Spirit, they will be found in his anointing. If we seek strength, it lies in his dominion; if purity in his conception; if gentleness, it appears in his birth . . . If we seek redemption, it lies in his passion; if acquittal, in his condemnation; if remission from the curse, in his cross (Gal. 3:13) . . . In short, since a rich store of every kind of good abounds in him, let us drink our fill from this fountain, and from no other.

Now that is theology at its most biblical and glorious. Ponder that. Thank God for that. Live in the great good of all that Jesus Christ is.


(Post #1,000 ) All glory, laud and honor to the Redeemer King!

Ephesians 1:18-19

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe.

Passion Week – Good Friday 2/2 – Jesus arrested and crucified – It is finished!

Pentru traducere automata, fa click aici – Romanian

 

 

  1. Jesus is taken for an informal hearing before Annas. (Annas served as high priest from A.D. 6–15; his son-in-law, Caiaphas, was high priest from A.D. 18–37.) Archaeologists have uncovered what would have been a two-level, 6,500 square foot mansion in the Upper City, which may have been Annas’ residence and may be the site of this initial hearing. The apostle John is able to enter the court with Jesus; Peter stays outside.
  2. Annas binds Jesus and sends him to stand before Caiaphas and some members of the Sanhedrin Council, where he is mocked and beaten. They render him guilty of blasphemy. Then the Jewish portion of his trial concludes with Jesus bound before the full Sanhedrin, perhaps after or through sunrise.

(VIA) Justin Taylor at the Gospel Coalition

Holy Week: What Happened on Good Friday?

With help from the ESV Study Bible, here’s an attempted a harmony/chronology of the words and actions of Jesus in the final week of his pre-resurrection life.

Jesus is betrayed by Judas and arrested by the authorities (perhaps after midnight, early Friday morning)

Matthew 26:47-56   Mark 14:43-52   Luke 22:47-53   John 18:2-12

Jewish trial, phase 1: Jesus has a hearing before Annas (former high priest and Caiaphas’s father-in-law)
John 18:13-14, 19-24

Jewish trial, phase 2: Jesus stands trial before Caiaphas and part of the Sanhedrin

Matthew 26:57-68   Mark 14:53-65

Peter denies Jesus

Matthew 26:69-75   Mark 14:66-72   Luke 22:55-62   John 18:15-18, 25-27

Perhaps after sunrise, phase 3 of Jesus’ Jewish trial: final consultation before the full Sanhedrin; sent to Pilate

Matthew 27:1-2   Mark 15:1   Luke 22:66-71

Judas hangs himself

Matthew 27:3-10

Phase 1 of Jesus’ Roman trial: first appearance before Pontius Pilate; sent to Herod Antipas

Matthew 27:11-14   Mark 15:2-5   Luke 23:1-7

Phase 2 of Jesus’ Roman trial: appears before Herod Antipas; sent back to Pontius Pilate

Luke 23:6-12

Phase 3 of Jesus’ Roman trial: Jesus’ second appearance before Pilate; condemned to die
Matthew 27:15-26   Mark 15:6-15   Luke 23:13-25   John 18:28-19:16

Jesus is crucified (from approximately 9 AM until Noon)

Matthew 27:27-54   Mark 15:16-39   Luke 23:26-49   John 19:16-37

The Arrest
Matthew 26:47-56

47 While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent by the chief priests and elders of the people. 48 (Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I kiss is the man. Arrest him!”) 49 Immediately he went up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi,” and kissed him. 50 Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you are here to do.” Then they came and took hold of Jesus and arrested him. 51 But one of those with Jesus grabbed his sword, drew it out, and struck the high priest’s slave, cutting off his ear. 52 Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back in its place! For all who take hold of the sword will die by the sword. 53 Or do you think that I cannot call on my Father, and that he would send me more than twelve legions of angels right now? 54 How then would the scriptures that say it must happen this way be fulfilled?” 55 At that moment Jesus said to the crowd, “Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest me like you would an outlaw? Day after day I sat teaching in the temple courts, yet you did not arrest me. 56 But this has happened so that the scriptures of the prophets would be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples left him and fled (Matthew 26:47-56).

Jesus was not “overtaken;” our Lord came from the garden (or orchard) to meet Judas and the multitude who accompanied him. Taking all the Gospels into account, we see that a very large group – a multitude – had come out to arrest Him. This group included Judas, the high priest and his servants, the chief priests, the scribes, the elders of the Jews, the temple police, and a cohort of Roman soldiers. These folks came prepared for the worst. Not only were they armed with swords and clubs (verse 47), they also had lanterns and torches. They seemed to expect Jesus to resist arrest, and they were ready for it, or so they thought.

4 Then Jesus, because he knew everything that was going to happen to him, came and asked them, “Who are you looking for?” 5 They replied, “Jesus the Nazarene.” He told them, “I am he.” (Now Judas, the one who betrayed him, was standing there with them.) 6 So when Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they retreated and fell to the ground. 7 Then Jesus asked them again, “Who are you looking for?” And they said, “Jesus the Nazarene.” 8 Jesus replied, “I told you that I am he. If you are looking for me, let these men go.” 9 He said this to fulfill the word he had spoken, “I have not lost a single one of those whom you gave me” (John 18:4-9, emphasis mine).

John’s account makes it clear that Jesus is still in control. He went out to meet those who sought Him. He asked who they were looking for. When they told Him they were seeking Jesus, He responded, “I am.” Now it is likely that they understood this to mean, “I am He; I am the one you seek.” But it is difficult for the reader not to understand this response in the light of John 8:58 and Exodus 3:14:

Jesus said to them, “I tell you the solemn truth, before Abraham came into existence, I am!” (John 8:58)

Those who came so prepared to overpower Jesus find themselves backing away from His presence, and falling all over themselves. They are so disarmed by this confrontation of Jesus that they let Jesus’ disciples walk (run?) away, untouched. In this way, Jesus fulfills His promise to keep them (John 18:9).

Matthew provides a somewhat more abridged account. A large crowd arrives at the garden (or orchard), and Judas steps forward to kiss Jesus. This is the sign he had prearranged with the soldiers so that they would know who it was they were to arrest. How ironic that Judas would choose a kiss, a token of love and affection, to identify Jesus. Remarkably, Jesus finds it possible to refer to Judas as “friend” (verse 50). No words of malice or even rebuke are spoken to Judas here, something that may have later haunted Judas. As the soldiers stepped forward to arrest Jesus, “one of the disciples” (we all know it is Peter, thanks to John 18:10) pulled out his sword and cut off the ear of Malchus (again, we have his name thanks to John), the slave of the high priest. It is clear from Luke’s account that some of the other disciples were thinking the same thing:

When those who were around him saw what was about to happen, they said, “Lord, should we use our swords?” (Luke 22:49)

Peter was already taking action, which comes as no surprise to the reader. Jesus rebuked His over-zealous, sword-swinging, disciple. Peter’s response was wrong for several reasons. First, he was wrong because violence begets violence. “All who take hold of the sword will die by the sword” (verse 52). The kingdom of God will not be achieved by the use of force or violence. The disciples were to “take up their cross” and not their swords. Secondly, Peter’s hasty use of the sword betrayed a lack of faith in the Messiah’s ability to defend Himself, and in God’s ability to come to His defense, should He wish to do so. At any point in time, Jesus could have called upon the host of heaven at His disposal and annihilated His enemies. This was indeed the challenge put to Jesus while on the cross:

41 In the same way even the chief priests—together with the experts in the law and elders—were mocking him: 42 “He saved others, but he cannot save himself! He is the king of Israel! If he comes down now from the cross, we will believe in him! 43 He trusts in God—let God, if he wants to, deliver him now because he said, ‘I am God’s Son’!” (Matthew 27:41-43)

The wonder of wonders is that Jesus chose to remain on that cross, to die for those who hated Him.
Thirdly, Jesus must be arrested, tried, and executed in this manner because the Scriptures must be fulfilled (verse 54). Jesus had indicated earlier that He must be arrested, persecuted, and crucified. He was to be opposed by unbelieving Jews, and also by Gentiles. Peter and the disciples saw what was coming and reached for their swords. Jesus knew everything that was about to happen to Him (John 18:4), but since this is what God had purposed to take place, Jesus would not allow any of the disciples to defend Him by force. It must happen this way.

After rebuking His disciples for attempting to defend Him by force, Jesus then turned to those who had come to arrest Him. Why were they seeking to take Him by force? What was the need for this great “posse” (to use a term from the old Western movies – a large party of folks authorized to assist in the arrest of Jesus)? Why did they have to arrest Him at night? Jesus had not been in hiding, as if He were a wanted felon. He had publicly taught in the temple. He was never more accessible for arrest than during the previous week. If the disciples’ (threatened) use of force revealed some wrong thinking, so did the show of force by those who came to arrest Jesus in the garden.

Let us leave these verses by taking note that Peter surely was willing to die for His Lord, just as he had claimed earlier. No one would start swinging his sword against an armed force this large without expecting to die (or at least expecting our Lord to intervene with some “heavenly firepower”). Our Lord was indicating to Peter and the rest that if He needed heaven’s intervention, He could do so without His disciples precipitating violence.

You can read the entire article at Bible.org

The Day Christ Died

By Bob Deffinbaugh at Bible.org

For many in Jerusalem, it looked just like any other day. Simon of Cyrene was on his way into the city from the country (Mark 15:21). Little did he know that Jesus had been arrested, tried during the night and early morning hours, and had just been delivered over for crucifixion, taking, it would seem, the place of Barabbas. A centurion and several other soldiers had drawn the duty of executing three men. They had probably performed this duty numerous times, and so today’s task did not appear to be anything new or unusual.

It was not an ordinary day for the two thieves. These men were scheduled for execution on this day. We are not told what these men knew about Jesus, but it may have been very little, since we can assume that Jesus would have been a last-minute addition to their number as they took up their crosses and made their way to Golgotha. After nailing Jesus and the others to their crosses, the soldiers settled down to a ritual they knew all too well. Little did anyone know what this day held in store for them. It was, however, a day no one would ever be able to forget. It was the day Christ died.

Act 1: Jesus Endures the Wrath of Men
Matthew 27:32-44

32 As they were going out, they found a man from Cyrene named Simon, whom they forced to carry his cross. 33 They came to a place called Golgotha (which means “Place of the Skull”) 34 and offered Jesus wine mixed with gall to drink. But after tasting it, he would not drink it. 35 When they had crucified him, they divided his clothes by throwing dice. 36 Then they sat down and kept guard over him there. 37 Above his head they put the charge against him, which read: “This is Jesus, the king of the Jews.” 38 Then two outlaws were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. 39 Those who passed by defamed him, shaking their heads 40 and saying, “You who can destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are God’s Son, come down from the cross!” 41 In the same way even the chief priests—together with the experts in the law and elders—were mocking him: 42 “He saved others, but he cannot save himself! He is the king of Israel! If he comes down now from the cross, we will believe in him! 43 He trusts in God—let God, if he wants to, deliver him now because he said, ‘I am God’s Son’!” 44 The robbers who were crucified with him also spoke abusively to him.

Pilate knew that Jesus was innocent, but he could not seem to find a way to release Him. Eventually, he gave in to the demands of the crowd and released Barabbas, handing Jesus over for crucifixion. The condemned normally carried their own cross, but it would seem that Jesus had endured such abuse that He no longer had the strength to carry His. A man named Simon, from Cyrene, a north African city of Libya, happened by. A large crowd was following Jesus, made up mainly of women (Luke 23:27). Simon does not appear to have been following Jesus, but rather was coming into Jerusalem from the country (Luke 23:26). Perhaps he was passing by Jesus just as our Lord stumbled under the load of His cross. Simon was forced to take up our Lord’s cross, an unforeseen event that I believe changed the course of Simon’s life.

Why is this man mentioned by name in all three of the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke)? And why are we told the city from which he came? Mark goes even further, telling us that Simon was the father of Alexander and Rufus (Mark 15:21). I believe Mark expects his readers to recognize this man, and his sons. It is my opinion that until this fateful day, Simon was an unbeliever, but what he saw on this day, the day Christ died, changed him forever, bringing him into God’s kingdom.

The procession arrives at last at Golgotha, where all three men are to be crucified. They offer our Lord “wine mixed with gall,” but when He realizes what it is, He refuses to drink it. More than likely this was provided for the condemned as a kind of sedative or pain reliever. Jesus refused anything which would diminish His suffering, for He must drink the cup of God’s wrath on guilty sinners to the brim.

Notice how quickly Matthew (and the other Gospel writers) pass by the description of the actual crucifixion procedures. We are not told all the gory details about how the nails were driven through our Lord’s hands, though we know that they were (see John 20:25, 27). Neither Matthew nor any of the other Gospel writers dwells on the physical sufferings of our Lord, though there was much that could have been written about this. Matthew turns our attention to the soldiers, who throw the dice to determine who will get our Lord’s garments. John provides greater detail here (John 19:23-24); he alone specifically calls attention to this as the fulfillment of prophecy:

23 Now when the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and made four shares, one for each soldier, and the tunic remained. (Now the tunic was seamless, woven from top to bottom as a single piece.) 24 So the soldiers said to one another, “Let’s not tear it, but throw dice to see who will get it.”This took place to fulfill the scripture that says, “They divided my garments among them, and for my clothing they threw dice.” So the soldiers did these things (John 19:23-24, emphasis mine).

This is a citation from Psalm 22 (verse18), a psalm whose prophecies are fulfilled several times in the crucifixion of our Lord.

The thing I wish to point out is that these soldiers have little or no interest in who Jesus is, or in what He has done. This is just another day on the job for them. After casting lots, they settle down for what they have come to expect – a number of hours of human agony, to which they seem to turn a deaf ear. Later events will cause them to get much more interested in what is happening on this day, the day Christ died.

Then there is the sign, posted on the top of our Lord’s cross: “This is Jesus, the king of the Jews” (Matthew 27:37). John’s Gospel makes much of this, because the Jews didn’t like the wording of the sign. They much preferred that the sign clearly indicate this was merely what Jesus claimed. Pilate seemed to take pleasure in their displeasure, using the sign to irritate them. It was really what this was all about, anyway. Jesus was here because He claimed to be the King of the Jews, and the Jews refused to accept Him as such.

The emphasis of the paragraph in Matthew 27:32-44 is upon the mocking of those who looked on as Jesus was being crucified. Consider several characteristics of this mocking.

First, this mocking was virtually unanimous. Everyone there  took part in mocking Jesus. In our text, Matthew specifically names “those who passed by” (Matthew 27:39), the chief priests, experts in the law, and the elders (27:41-43), and the two robbers who were crucified along with Jesus (Matthew 27:44). Luke also includes the soldiers who stood by (Luke 23:36-37). One gets the impression that Jesus was the center of attention and that all who were there joined in mocking Him. He bore the wrath of men, and of God, alone.

Second, this mocking was intense and angry. There is a deep hostility and anger evident in the words spoken. If Jesus were a murderer, like Barabbas, one could understand how angry words could be spoken to Him and of Him. I am reminded of the title of one of the last chapters in R. C. Sproul’s book, The Holiness of God“God in the Hands of Angry Sinners.” That is what we see here. The wrath of men is being poured out upon the sinless Savior.

Third, this mocking is against the essence of what our Lord Jesus claimed and taught concerning Himself.While the disciples seemed obtuse to much of what our Lord was teaching, the crowd has it nearly right. They don’t mock Jesus for advocating revolution, or for teaching that they should not pay their taxes. They mock Jesus for claiming to be “the King of the Jews” (Matthew 27:37), the “King of Israel” (Matthew 27:42), “the Son of God” (Matthew 27:40, 43), for “saving others” (Matthew 27:42), and for “trusting in God” (Matthew 27:43). The only thing they had somewhat twisted was our Lord’s alleged claim to be able to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days (Matthew 27:40).

Fourth, this mocking is a really a dare, and thus a recurrence of the same kinds of temptation our Lord experienced in the wilderness. Satan’s challenge, “If you are the Son of God…” (Matthew 4:3, 6), is echoed by those who now say, “If you are God’s Son, come down from the cross!” (Matthew 27:40b). In both cases, the temptation is for Jesus to act in a way that men would expect, in a way that men would do, if they were the Son of God. In other words, the temptation is for our Lord to use His divine power to avoid pain and suffering and to satisfy Himself. They cannot conceive of Jesus having the power to save Himself, and not using it to do so. They cannot conceive of God suffering at the hands of sinful men.

Fifth, the mocking of those who witnessed the death of Christ was a challenge for our Lord to act in a way that would nullify His saving work. If men had their way, our Lord would have saved Himself, and at the same time, He would have ventured from the predetermined plan of God whereby sinful men could be saved. Men are not acting in the best interest of our Lord, and they are not acting in their own best interest, either.

In this first act, men seem to have the upper hand, and Jesus appears to be the helpless victim. Men pour out their wrath on Jesus for not acting as they would expect, as they demand. The guards cast lots for the garments of our Lord, and then settle down for what experience has taught them will be a long vigil. Things quickly and radically change by the time we come to act two, as we are about to see.

Act 2: Our Lord Endures the Wrath of God
Matthew 27:45-56

45 Now from noon until three, darkness came over all the land. 46 At about three o’clock Jesus shouted with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 47 When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, “This man is calling for Elijah.” 48 Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge, filled it with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink. 49 But the rest said, “Leave him alone! Let’s see if Elijah will come to save him.” 50 Then Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and gave up his spirit. 51 Just then the temple curtain was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks were split apart. 52 And tombs were opened, and the bodies of many saints who had died were raised. 53 (They came out of the tombs after his resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.) 54 Now when the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and what took place, they were extremely terrified and said, “Truly this one was God’s Son!” 55 Many women who had followed Jesus from Galilee and given him support were also there, watching from a distance. 56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee (Matthew 27:45-56).

What a difference three hours can make. It was high noon, and yet darkness suddenly fell over all the land, a darkness that lasted for three hours. Matthew, Mark, and Luke all call attention to this darkness, yet none of them attempts to explain how it happened. There really is no simple explanation. We do not get the impression that this is a dust storm, a cloudy day, or an eclipse. This is sudden and sustained darkness. The best example of this kind of darkness is found in the Book of Exodus, when God brought darkness over the land of Egypt:

21 The Lord said to Moses, “Extend your hand toward heaven so that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness that can be felt.” 22 So Moses extended his hand toward heaven, and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt for three days. 23 No one could see another person, and no one could rise from his place for three days. But the Israelites had light in the places where they lived (Exodus 10:21-23).

I believe that this darkness that fell over the land of Israel during the crucifixion of our Lord was the same intense darkness we read about in Exodus. I suspect that a hush fell over the crowd, and that all that could be heard were gasps of fear, even terror. You will remember that when Paul was stopped short on the road to Damascus he was stricken with blindness for three days. It gave him time to ponder what he had just experienced.

I believe the main reason for this three-hour darkness over the land of Israel was to place a veil of darkness over the suffering of our Lord, suffering at the hand of His Father. Jesus is now suffering the eternal wrath of God on sinners. While Mel Gibson’s movie, The Passion of the Christ, may dramatically depict the driving of nails through the hands of our Lord (something the Scriptures don’t describe), there is no way any human could depict the separation our Lord experienced from the Father. This agony our Lord bore alone, veiled from the eyes of those who mocked Him.

I should add that while we rightly make much of the suffering of our Lord, let us not forget what this meant to the Father. Those of us who have children know how painful it is for us to observe the suffering of our children. Add to this the fact that the suffering of the Son was the plan and purpose of the Father. Can you imagine what it would have been like for the Father to put His Son on the cross, and then to hear sinners daring Him to save His Son? What a price the Father and the Son paid to save unworthy sinners like us.

At the end of this three-hour period of darkness, Jesus uttered this cry in a loud voice: “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (Matthew 27:46). Matthew interprets it for us: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). We know that Jesus is calling out the first words of Psalm 22, a Messianic Psalm that depicts the suffering of Messiah at Calvary. Several prophecies found in this psalm are fulfilled in the death of Jesus at Calvary. Jesus is identifying Himself as the Suffering Servant, the Messiah whose death will bring about salvation for lost sinners.

It is almost amazing to read that a number of the bystanders didn’t realize what Jesus was saying. They did not see this as our Lord’s citation of Psalm 22:1; they saw it as Jesus calling to Elijah for help. I’m not surprised that some of the bystanders would fail to grasp the meaning of our Lord’s words here. What I wonder is what the Jewish religious leaders thought Jesus was saying. Would they not recognize this as the first words ofPsalm 22? And if they did, what did they make of that? We are not told. We are told that one of them obtained a sponge and dipped it in sour wine to give Jesus a drink. Some of the others urged Him to hold back and see if Elijah would come to His rescue. It may well be that this was said in jest or sarcasm. But it may also be that some were not entirely convinced that Jesus would be left to suffer on His cross. Some might have been curious to see if God did come to rescue Jesus.

Notice that this time Jesus does drink some of the wine. If this wine did contain any tranquilizer or pain reliever, it would not have had time to produce its effect, for Jesus will die almost immediately after He drinks some of the wine. My own sense is that Jesus took some of the wine to relieve His parched throat, so that His final, triumphant shouts would be loud and clearly heard. When taking all the Gospels into account, I am inclined to think that Jesus first shouted, “It is finished!” (John 19:30), followed by, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” (Luke 23:46). It is the latter statement that would seem to have preceded our Lord’s giving up of His spirit, so that it was apparent to all that He gave up His life. His life was not taken from Him; He voluntarily gave it up:

17 This is why the Father loves me—because I lay down my life, so that I may take it back again. 18 No one takes it away from me, but I lay it down of my own free will. I have the authority to lay it down, and I have the authority to take it back again. This commandment I received from my Father” (John 10:17-18).

Our Lord’s death occurred at the moment He cried His last utterance, but His death was but the first of a sequence of miraculous events. Matthew is the one Gospel that emphasizes the supernatural phenomenon that accompanied our Lord’s death:

50 Then Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and gave up his spirit. 51 Just then the temple curtain was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks were split apart. 52 And tombs were opened, and the bodies of many saints who had died were raised. 53 (They came out of the tombs after his resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.) (Matthew 27:50-53)

All three Synoptic Gospels record the rending of the temple veil at the moment of our Lord’s death; only John’s account omits this. The implications of this symbolic event are immense, but they are not spelled out here. These matters will be taken up later in the New Testament. In short, the rending of the veil signified the end of the Old Covenant, under which people had to keep their distance from God, and the commencement of the New Covenant, under which men and women may draw near, through the shed blood of Jesus (note Hebrews 9; 10:19-24).

Now we come to something that is unique to Matthew: the great earthquake, in which rocks were split, tombs were opened, and dead saints were raised to life. What a punctuation mark God placed at the death of His Son! Jesus cries out triumphantly, proclaiming that His work is finished, and committing His spirit to the Father. Jesus then breathes His last and gives up His spirit. At the very moment of His death, the temple veil was rent, and a great earthquake shook the place so hard that the rocks split and graves were broken open. All this took place in close proximity to the three hours of darkness.

We know that the dead were not raised until after the resurrection (Matthew 27:53), so why are we told here that the tombs were opened? Why not wait until the resurrection itself? For one thing, I believe Matthew wants us to see the hand of God plainly in the events surrounding the death of our Lord. For another, I believe that the graves were opened in preparation for the resurrection of these Jerusalem saints coinciding with our Lord’s resurrection. The earthquake sets the stage for the resurrection of the dead Jerusalem saints. Third, I believe that we are meant to see the connection between the death of our Lord and His resurrection. The death of our Lord was a supernatural event, and the spectacular phenomena that accompany it underscore this fact. To Matthew (and the other apostles – see Acts 2:22-36), the resurrection of our Lord is a necessary corollary to the cross, and he wants us to recognize this.

Now, the bodies of “many saints who had died” and had been buried were raised to life, and they went into “the holy city” (Jerusalem) where they appeared to many people (Matthew 27:53). This is amazing! Can you imagine the impact this would have had on the people of Jerusalem? What a way to underscore the resurrection of our Lord. Not only did Jesus rise from the dead, but a large group of saints were raised at the same time. It might be worth considering just who some of these resurrected folks could have been:

33 Nevertheless I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the next day, because it is impossible that a prophet should be killed outside Jerusalem.’ 34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those who are sent to you! How often I have longed to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you would have none of it! (Luke 13:33-34; see also Matthew 23:37)

Jerusalem was where the prophets were killed and were buried:

29 “Woe to you, experts in the law and you Pharisees, hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. 30 And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have participated with them in shedding the blood of the prophets’” (Matthew 23:39-30).

I think it is therefore reasonable to assume that some of those who were raised and who went about Jerusalem were martyred prophets. What a story they would have had to tell! And what an impact they must have had on the people of Jerusalem.

But let’s get back to the cross and the moment of our Lord’s death. There were those who were greatly impacted by the way our Lord died:

Now when the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and what took place, they were extremely terrified and said, “Truly this one was God’s Son!” (Matthew 27:54)

Mark and Luke have similar statements:

Now when the centurion, who stood in front of him, saw how he died, he said, “Truly this man was God’s Son!” (Mark 15:39)

47 Now when the centurion saw what had happened, he praised God and said, “Certainly this man was innocent!” 48 And all the crowds that had assembled for this spectacle, when they saw what had taken place, returned home beating their breasts (Luke 23:47-48).

Luke has the centurion declaring our Lord’s innocence, adding to the testimony (in Matthew) of Judas (Matthew 27:4), Pilate (Matthew 27:23-24; see also Acts 3:13; 13:28), and Pilate’s wife (Matthew 27:19). Luke adds some other details. First, he has the centurion praising God, not just confessing Jesus’ innocence. Second, he informs us that the crowds went home “beating their breasts” (Matthew 23:48). The crowds may not have been willing to declare the innocence of our Lord, but they most certainly did not go home with a satisfied smile on their faces. They knew that something terrible had happened that day, something they did not understand, but which terrified them greatly. There was no pleasure for them in this crucifixion.

Unlike the other Gospel accounts, Matthew goes beyond the confession of the centurion himself. Matthew tells us that the centurion, along with the other soldiers who were guarding Jesus, confessed that Jesus was the Son of God. These soldiers, who had just a few hours earlier settled down for a long vigil, aloof to the suffering of Jesus (and even joining in on the mockery of Jesus – see Luke 23:36-37), were now wide-eyed with terror. They could do nothing other than confess that Jesus’ claim to be the Son of God was true. What a powerful testimony this was.

Matthew, like Mark (15:40-41) and Luke (23:49), tells about the women who had supported Jesus throughout His earthly ministry, looking on from some distance away. It was all they could do. They were the only ones, it would seem, who did not take part in mocking Jesus. They remained faithful to Jesus, not forsaking him (as it would seem ten of His disciples did). One wonders what they were thinking as they observed the supernatural phenomena that accompanied the death of the Savior.

Act 3: The Burial of Jesus
Matthew 27:57-61

57 Now when it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus. 58 He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered that it be given to him. 59 Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60 and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut in the rock. Then he rolled a great stone across the entrance of the tomb and went away. 61 (Now Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there, opposite the tomb.) (Matthew 27:57-61)

Joseph of Arimathea is a most interesting fellow. We have not met him before, and we shall not meet him again, except in the parallel accounts of the other Gospels. Every Gospel mentions the burial of our Lord by Joseph of Arimathea. John’s Gospel informs us that Nicodemus assisted Joseph of Arimathea in burying Jesus (Matthew 19:39-42). Matthew tells us that Joseph was a disciple of Jesus (Matthew 27:57), but John adds that he was a secret disciple because he feared the Jews (Matthew 19:38). Mark informs us that he was a highly regarded member of the Sanhedrin, who was looking forward to the kingdom of God (Matthew 15:43). Luke adds that “he was a good and righteous man” (Matthew 23:50), who did not consent to the Sanhedrin’s decision to kill Jesus (Matthew 23:51).

Mark tells us that Joseph went “boldly” to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus (Matthew 15:43). One would have to say that it must have taken great courage to identify with Jesus as this moment in time. Peter and our Lord’s disciples were not yet willing to do so, at least after His arrest. Even more so, I am impressed with Joseph’s boldness in distinguishing himself from his colleagues on the Sanhedrin. You can well imagine that Joseph was no longer welcome on the council after he publicly identified with Jesus. His actions spoke louder than words, for it became evident that he was a follower of Jesus, and therefore distanced himself from the other members of the Sanhedrin and the action they had taken.

Being a rich man (Matthew 27:57), Joseph had a tomb already prepared for his own burial, a new tomb that had been cut out of the rock (Matthew 27:60). Time was short, and the Jews were eager to get the bodies down from the crosses so that they could observe Passover. I am inclined to think that many of the executed criminals may not even have been buried. Joseph knew that his tomb was nearby and available, so he made good use of it. The body of Jesus was hastily prepared (probably with the assumption that further preparations could be made after Sabbath) and placed in the tomb. A large stone was then rolled across the entrance as Mary Magdalene and “the other Mary” looked on (Matthew 27:61).

Conclusion

Let us first give thought to the importance of our text and to the death of our Lord Jesus Christ. I believe that Matthew has written this Gospel in a way that makes the cross the main climax of the book. Here is what our Lord has been about from the beginning. The death of Christ on the cross of Calvary is the one and only way by which men can obtain the forgiveness of sins and the gift of eternal life.

14 Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” 16 For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through him (John 3:14-17).

This week I will preach the funeral service for a neighbor who just passed away. I’m going to use this passage in Matthew for my funeral text, even though I’ve never used it for a funeral message before. The death of our Lord Jesus Christ puts death (especially the death of a Christian) in a whole new light. The death of our Lord, ugly and wicked though it was (so far as man’s participation in it is concerned), was such that it drew people to faith. Christ’s death can be the death of death for us, if we trust in the saving work of our Lord on the cross. He was innocent, as Judas, Pilate, Pilate’s wife, one of the two thieves who hung beside Jesus, and the Roman soldiers testified. This is what makes His death unique and effective for us. He did not die for His sins (because He was innocent), but for the sins of lost men and women like you and me.

We should see ourselves in those who rejected our Lord and mocked Him as He was dying on the cross. We should see only innocence and perfect righteousness in Jesus. Let us acknowledge our sin, and the fact that the death He died was for the sins of others, and not His own. Let us trust in His death in our place, bearing the penalty for our sins, for the forgiveness of our sins, and the gift of eternal life.

The death of our Lord Jesus is the payment for our sins, and the only way that we will ever obtain eternal life. But it is also a pattern for us to follow:

18 Slaves, be subject to your masters with all reverence, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are perverse. 19 For this finds God’s favor, if because of conscience toward God someone endures hardships in suffering unjustly. 20 For what credit is it if you sin and are mistreated and endure it? But if you do good and suffer and so endure, this finds favor with God. 21 For to this you were called, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving an example for you to follow in his steps. 22 He committed no sin nor was deceit found in his mouth. 23 When he was maligned, he did not answer back; when he suffered, he threatened no retaliation, but committed himself to God who judges justly. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we may cease from sinning and live for righteousness. By his wounds you were healed. 25 For you were going astray like sheep but now you have turned back to the shepherd and guardian of your souls (1 Peter 2:18-25).

Just as our Lord Jesus “took up His cross,” so we too must take up our cross, daily:

23 Then he said to them all, “If anyone wants to become my follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it” (Luke 9:23-24).

The cross alone is the basis for our boasting, for salvation is not a work that we do, but a work that He has done, which we receive as a gift:

But may I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world (Galatians 6:14).

As we focus on Matthew’s account of the death of our Lord, we should ask ourselves why he has placed such great emphasis on the cross, on the death of our Lord. In particular, why does Matthew make a point of including the report of so many miracles in connection with the death of the Lord Jesus? Aside from the fact that it is only through the death (and subsequent resurrection) of the Lord Jesus that lost sinners can be saved, there are a couple of other reasons for Matthew’s emphasis on miracles in conjunction with the death of the Savior.

First, I would suggest that these miracles in Matthew testify to the uniqueness of the death of the Lord Jesus. No one ever died like this before or will ever die like this in the future. The death of the sinless Son of God in the sinner’s place is a most unique thing. This was no ordinary crucifixion, no ordinary death. Even those who refused to believe in Jesus left Golgotha beating their breasts, as Luke has informed us.

Second, I would suggest that these miracles in Matthew testify to the presence of God in the process by which He had chosen to save men – through our Lord’s rejection, suffering, and sacrificial death. It is on the cross that our Lord suffered the eternal torment of separation from the Father. This is why our Lord cried out using the words of Psalm 22, verse 1. There is a sense, then, that God was not there, that is, God the Father had withdrawn from the Son. This had to be since the penalty for our sin is death – separation from God. Jesus had to experience that in our place. But these miraculous events remind us that while the Father was separated from the Son while He was on the cross, He was present in the event. The death of Christ was the sovereignly ordained purpose of the Father:

22 “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man clearly attested to you by God with powerful deeds, wonders, and miraculous signs that God performed among you through him, just as you yourselves know— 23 this man, who was handed over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you executed by nailing him to a cross at the hands of Gentiles (Acts 2:22-23).

36 Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and became anguished and distressed. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, even to the point of death. Remain here and stay awake with me.” 39 Going a little farther, he threw himself down with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if possible, let this cup pass from me! Yet not what I will, but what you will” (Matthew 26:36-39).

5 You should have the same attitude toward one another that Christ Jesus had, 6 who though he existed in the form of God did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself by taking on the form of a slave, by looking like other men, and by sharing in human nature. 8 He humbled himself, by becoming obedient to the point of death —even death on a cross! 9 As a result God exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow —in heaven and on earth and under the earth— 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:5-11).

Our Lord Jesus submitted Himself to the will of the Father that He should die on the cross of Calvary, and then be raised again. On the cross, the Son suffered separation from the Father, but the miracles associated with our Lord’s death tell us that the Father was in this, for it was His will and purpose to save men in this way.

Third, these miracles testify to the fact that Jesus was who He claimed to be. I believe that all of these – Simon of Cyrene, one of the two thieves, Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodemus, and the centurion with his soldiers – came to recognize that the events surrounding the death of Christ proved Him to be the Son of God, the King of Israel. The unbelief of the crowds revealed that the hearts of many were hardened to the point that this compelling evidence was somehow set aside. But there were those who could do nothing else than to believe, because of what they saw. We don’t know about Simon of Cyrene, but we would probably be correct to assume that the thief on the cross and the Roman soldiers had little background or knowledge of Israel’s Messiah. In spite of this, they found the evidence so compelling that they believed the same claims for which Jesus had earlier been mocked.

Think of it. These folks believed in Jesus while He was dying, and before His resurrection. Some (like the thief on the cross) believed even before the miraculous events occurred. How could Jesus, a man dying as a criminal, be so convincing? Because He died like no one else had ever died, and because God testified to the uniqueness of Jesus and His death by the miracles associated with His crucifixion and death.

While miracles are certainly prominent here, there is something missing, something we are accustomed to seeing. Up till now, Matthew has made it a point to show how the events of our Lord’s life fulfill prophecy. We saw this at the time of our Lord’s birth and early childhood (see Matthew 1:22; 2:15, 17, 23). We saw it again during Matthew’s account of our Lord’s public ministry (Matthew 4:14; 8:17; 12:17-18; 13:14, 35). And now, we know that many of the events Matthew describes pertaining to our Lord’s death are the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies, and yet Matthew does not make a point of indicating this. Why not? I am inclined to think that it is for two reasons.

First, the people who witness these events did not recognize them as the fulfillment of prophecy at the time they occurred. And second, Matthew wants us to see that people believed because of the sheer weight of the evidence, apart from the prophecies they fulfilled. In other words, they were not predisposed to believe; they just saw no other option than to believe.

The death of our Lord Jesus is the most unique death in all of human history. It will radically change the way we view death if we are Christians. It is a death that is so unique that men have come to faith in Jesus even before the resurrection.

Every Sunday we celebrate communion, and in so doing, we commemorate the death of our Lord:

For every time you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes (1 Corinthians 11:26).

I believe that we are to observe communion weekly for several reasons. First, it appears to be the practice of the early church (Acts 20:71 Corinthians 11). Second, it is because the death of Christ is so central to the gospel message (see 1 Corinthians 1:18-25). Third, it is because the cross is so central to the way we are to live out our daily lives (see Romans 6). Fourth, it is because the cross of Christ is so strongly detested and opposed by the world:

18 For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and I will thwart the cleverness of the intelligent.” 20 Where is the wise man? Where is the expert in the Mosaic law? Where is the debater of this age? Has God not made the wisdom of the world foolish? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world by its wisdom did not know God, God was pleased to save those who believe by the foolishness of preaching. 22 For Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks ask for wisdom, 23 but we preach about a crucified Christ, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles. 24 But to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength (1 Corinthians 1:18-25).

The message the world hates is the truth that we celebrate. The message the world hates is the only message that will save lost sinners, the only message that we should proclaim. Jesus Christ died on the cross of Calvary, bearing the penalty for my sins, and setting a pattern for the kind of life I should live as a Christian. The cross of Christ is such a glorious mystery that it will take all eternity to begin to fathom what God has done in this magnificent event, to His glory.

You can read the entire article at Bible.org.

Passion Week – Thursday – The Last Supper in the Upper Room & Gethsemane

Pentru traducere automata, fa click aici – Romanian

(via) Justin Taylor from the Gospel Coalition

Holy Week: What Happened on Thursday?

With help from the ESV Study Bible, here’s an attempted harmony/chronology of the words and actions of Jesus in the final week of his pre-resurrection life.

Jesus instructs his disciples Peter and John to secure a large upper room in a house in Jerusalem and to prepare for the Passover meal

Matthew 26:17-19  Mark 14:12-16  Luke 22:7-13

In the evening Jesus eats the Passover meal with the Twelve, tells them of the coming betrayal, and institutes the Lord’s Supper

Mathew 26:20-29  Mark 14:17-23  Luke 22:14-30

After supper Jesus washes the disciples’ feet, interacts with them, and delivers the Upper Room Discourse

John 13:1-17:26  

Jesus and the disciples sing a hymn together (probably from Psalms 113–118), then depart to the Mount of OlivesMatthew 26:30    Mark 14:26  Luke 22:39

Jesus foretells Peter’s denials
Jesus gives his disciples practical commands about supplies and provisions

Jesus and the disciples go to Gethsemane, where he struggles in prayer and they struggle to stay awake late into the night

Matthew 26:36-46  Mark 14:32-42  Luke 22:40-46

The Last Supper

By Bob Deffinbaugh at Bible.org: We find Luke’s account (and, the other gospel accounts as well) of the last supper amazingly brief and unembellished. Somewhere 30 to 50 years after our Lord’s death, resurrection, and ascension, the gospel of Luke was written (depending upon which conservative scholar you read). In spite of all the time which passed, and of the great significance of the “Lord’s Supper” or “Communion,” neither Luke nor any other gospel writer makes a great deal out of the celebration of the last Passover, just before our Lord’s death. I am not saying this celebration was unimportant, but rather that because of its importance, I would have expected it to have been a more detailed account. This brevity is the first of several “tensions of the text.”

There are other tensions as well. Why is nearly as much space devoted to the preparation for the Passover meal as for the partaking of it? Furthermore, why was Jesus so eager to partake of the Passover, when it preceded and even anticipated His death? Finally, why is there such confusion and consternation (including a deletion of some of the text) over Luke’s account of the Lord’s Table, in which it appears that the (traditional) order of the bread and wine may have been reversed?

Events Surrounding the Last Supper

Before we begin to look more closely at the partaking of the Passover, let us pause for just a moment to remind ourselves of the broader setting in which this event is found. The Jewish religious leaders in Jerusalem have already determined that Jesus must die (not to mention Lazarus, John 11:47-53; 12:9-10).After the meal at the house of Simon the Leper, at which Mary anointed the feet of Jesus, “wasting” her expensive perfume on him, Judas decided to betray the Lord, approached the chief priests, and received an advance payment (Matthew 26:14-16Luke 22:1-6). Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, and after He cleansed the temple, the sparks really began to fly, with the religious leaders making every effort to discredit Him, or to get Him into trouble with the Roman authorities (Luke 20:19-20). When these efforts, as well as their attempts to penetrate the ranks of our Lord’s disciples miserably failed, the chief priests were delighted to have Judas approach them with his offer. It was only a matter now of waiting for the right chance. This could have been the Lord’s celebration of the Passover, along with His disciples.

At the meal itself, a number of events took place. It would seem that the Lord’s washing of the feet of the disciples was the first item on the agenda (John 13:1-20). During the meal, once (cf. Matthew 26:20-25Mark 14:17-21), if not more (Luke 22:21-23), the Lord spoke of His betrayer. The meal seems to have included some (perhaps most all) of the traditional Passover elements, and in addition, the commencement of the Lord’s Supper, with words that I doubt the disciples had ever heard at a Passover meal (Luke 22:19-20). John’s gospel avoids giving us yet another description of this ceremony. He, unlike the other gospel writers, includes an extensive message known as the “upper room discourse” (John 14-16), concluded by the Lord’s “high priestly prayer” of intercession for His followers, which may have been prayed during the meal time, or perhaps later on in Gethsemane (John 17). The synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) report the disciples’ argument about who would be the greatest, along with our Lord’s response (cf. Luke 22:24-3), the Lord’s specific words to the over-confident Peter (Luke 22:31-34), and then His words about being prepared to face a hostile world (Luke 22:35-38). With this the party is said to have sung a hymn and to have departed to the Garden of Gethsemane, where our Lord prayed, with little help from His disciples (Luke 22:39-46). The arrest of Jesus then follows, concluding in His being handed over for crucifixion.

The point in all of this is simply to remind you that the meal was a lengthy one, during which time the Passover was memorialized, and also the Lord’s Supper was inaugurated. It was also during this time that a great deal of teaching took place, as recorded primarily by John. Click here to read the entire article at Bible.org.

Jesus and the Martyr

by Stephen Witmer - Here is an article by Stephen Witmer posted at the Gospel Coalition on Jesus in the garden of Ghetsemane and His divine nature. (Jesus and the Martyrs.)

And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground (Luke 22:41-44).

In this passage, the eternal Son of God pleads with God the Father not to make him go to the cross, requires the help of an angel, and experiences great emotional upheaval in light of his approaching death. He is profoundly shaken. Early in church history, already in the second century, critics of Christianity were pointing to Jesus’ agonized prayer as reason to doubt that he was divine. The problem is heightened when we compare Jesus’ reaction in the face of death to other martyrs, ancient and modern, who appear to be more composed and able to face death with greater dignity than Jesus showed (see Timothy Keller’s The Reason for God for an insightful treatment of this). Here I provide three such examples.

Stephen Witmer gives examples of 3 ancient and modern  cases of martyrdom where the men involved appear to face death with a calm dignity and contrasts it with Jesus’ agonizing prayer.

He concludes-

first, the Gospel writers had to be honest, to include such passages of struggling by Jesus and

second, ‘ What sets Jesus’ death apart from the death of any other person in the history of the world is the spiritual component of his suffering’.

We have an indication of that terrible spiritual reality in Luke 22:42: “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me.” To what “cup” is Jesus referring?

We get an answer in the Old Testament. Psalm 75:6-8 uses the imagery of a cup to refer to God’s judgment upon his enemies:

For not from the east or from the west and not from the wilderness comes lifting up, but it is God who executes judgment, putting down one and lifting up another. For in the hand of the LORD there is a cup with foaming wine, well mixed, and he pours out from it, and all the wicked of the earth shall drain it down to the dregs.

Isaiah 51:17 makes explicit that the “cup” is the cup of God’s wrath: “Wake yourself, wake yourself, stand up, O Jerusalem, you who have drunk from the hand of the LORD the cup of his wrath, who have drunk to the dregs the bowl, the cup of staggering.”

The “cup” Jesus is going to drink on the cross is far worse than the horrific physical suffering of crucifixion he faces. Jesus’ “cup” is the infinite wrath and judgment of almighty God upon human sin. The wrath of God that Jesus will experience on the cross is, very literally, hell. On the cross, he will experience separation from God the Father. He will be cut off from God. He will be considered an enemy of God because our sins will be counted as his (2 Cor. 5:21).

This is why Jesus agonizes and struggles in the Garden—because he knows he will soon be crushed under the infinite weight of the wrath of God.

click here to read the entire article…

Passion Week – Wednesday Events and Judas Iscariot,the suicide of Satan and the Salvation of the World

Pentru traducere automata, fa click aici – Romanian

(via) Justin Taylor from the Gospel Coalition

Holy Week: What Happened on Wednesday?

Jesus continues his daily teaching in the Temple

Luke 21:37-38

With Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread approaching, the chief priests, elders, and scribes plot to kill Jesus

Matthew 26:3-5 Mark 14:1-2 Luke 22:1-2

Satan enters Judas, who seeks out the Jewish authorities in order to betray Jesus for a price

Matthew 26:14-16 Mark 14:10-11 Luke 22:3-6

Luke 22:1-6

Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called the Passover. 2 And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to put him to death, for they feared the people. 3 Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve. 4 He went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers how he might betray him to them. 5 And they were glad, and agreed to give him money. 6 So he consented and sought an opportunity to betray him to them in the absence of a crowd.

This is the final message in the series called Spectacular Sins and Their Global Purpose in the Glory of Christ. The aim has been to show that over and over in the history of the world, the epoch-making sins that changed the course of history never nullified but only fulfilled the global purposes of God to glorify his Son and save his people.

My prayer is that, as these great historical vistas of God’s sovereignty over sin take their place in your renewed mind, they would have a profoundly practical effect in making you strong in the face of breath-stopping sorrows and making you bold for Christ in the face of dangerous opposition. Christ-exalting strength in calamity and Christ-exalting courage in conflict. I pray that the Lord will weave cords of steel and silk into the fabric of your soul.

History’s Most Spectacular Sin: The Murder of Jesus

The most spectacular sin that has ever been committed in the history of the world is the brutal murder of Jesus Christ, the morally perfect, infinitely worthy, divine Son of God. And probably the most despicable act in the process of this murder was the betrayal of Jesus by one of his closest friends, Judas Iscariot.

Judas was one of the twelve apostles that Jesus had personally chosen and who had been with Jesus during his entire public ministry. He had been entrusted with the moneybag for the whole group (John 13:29). He was close enough to Jesus at the Last Supper to be dipping bread with him in the same cup (Mark 14:20).

“Satan Entered into Judas”

On the night of the Last Supper, Luke tells us in Luke 22:3-6 that “Satan entered into Judas. . . . He went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers how he might betray [Jesus] to them. And they were glad, and agreed to give him money. So he consented and sought an opportunity to betray him to them in the absence of a crowd.” Later he led the authorities to Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane and betrayed Jesus with a kiss (Luke 22:47-48). With that, Jesus’ death was sealed.

When Luke tells us in verse 3 that “Satan entered into Judas,” several questions come to our minds. 1) One is whether Satan simply mastered a good Judas or whether Judas was already walking in line with Satan and Satan simply decided that now is the time. 2) Another question is why Satan would do this since the death and resurrection of Jesus would result in Satan’s final defeat, and there is good reason to think Satan knew that. 3) And the third and most important question is: Where was God when this happened? What was his role or non-role in the most spectacular sin that ever was? So let’s take these questions one at a time.

1) Satan’s Power in Judas’ Sinful Passions

When it says in Luke 22:3 that “Satan entered into Judas,” how are we to think about the will of Judas and the power of Satan? Judas was not an innocent bystander when Satan entered into him. The apostle John tells us in John 12:6 that he was a thief. When Judas complained that Mary had wasted money in anointing Jesus, John comments, “He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it.”

If that sounds incredible, just think of the scandalous behavior of so-called Christian leaders today who use ministry gifts to buy $39,000 worth of clothes at one store in a year, and send their kids on a $29,000 trip to the Bahamas, and drive a white Lexus and a red Mercedes. As Judas sat beside Jesus with his pious, religious face and went out and cast out demons in Jesus’ name, he was not a righteous lover of Jesus. He loved money. He loved the power and pleasures that money could by.

Paul tells us how that works together with Satan’s power. Listen to Ephesians 2:1-3: “You were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air [notice the connection: dead in sins, following Satan], the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” Dead in our sins, walking in the passions of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of body and mind, and therefore following the prince of the power of the air.

Satan does not take innocent people captive. There are no innocent people. Satan has power where sinful passions hold sway. Judas was a lover of money, and he covered it with a phony, external relationship with Jesus. And then he sold him for thirty pieces of silver. How many of his tribe are there still today! Don’t be one. And don’t be duped by one.

2) Satan’s Role in His Own Destruction

The second question is why Satan would lead Judas to betray Jesus. Doesn’t he know that the death and resurrection of Jesus would result in Satan’s final defeat (Colossians 2:13-15; Revelation 12:11)? There’s good reason to think Satan knew that.

When Jesus began his ministry on the way to the cross, Satan tried to turn him away from the path of suffering and sacrifice. In the wilderness, he tempted him to turn stones into bread and jump off the temple and get the rulership of the world by worshipping him (Matthew 4:1-11). The point of all these temptations is: Don’t walk the path of suffering and sacrifice and death. Use your power to escape suffering. If you’re the Son of God, show your right to reign. And I can help you do it. Whatever you do, don’t go to the cross.

Then do you remember the time when Jesus predicted he would suffer many things from the elders and the chief priests and be killed and Peter rebuked him and said, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you” (Matthew 16:22). In other words, I will never let you be killed like that. Jesus did not commend him. He said, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man” (Matthew 16:23). Hindering Jesus from going to the cross was the work of Satan. Satan did not want Jesus crucified. It would be his undoing.

But here he is in Luke 22:3 entering into Judas and leading him to betray the Lord and bring him to the cross. Why the about face? Why try to divert him from the cross and then take the initiative to bring him to the cross? We are not told. Here is my effort at an answer: Satan saw his efforts to divert Jesus from the cross failing. Time after time, Jesus kept the course. His face was set like flint to die, and Satan concludes that there is no stopping him. Therefore he resolves that if he can’t stop it, he will at least make it as ugly and painful and as heartbreaking as possible. Not just death, but death by betrayal. Death by abandonment. Death by denial (see Luke 22:31-32). If he could not stop it, he would drag others into it and do as much damage as he could. It was a spectacular sequence of sins that brought Jesus to the cross.

3) God’s Role in the Murder of His Son

Which brings us now to the third and final question—the most important one: Where was God when this happened? Or more precisely: What was God’s role or non-role in the most spectacular sin that ever happened—the murder of Jesus Christ?

To answer a question like that we should put our hands on our mouths and silence our philosophical speculations. Our opinions don’t count here. All that counts is what God himself as shown us in his word. And the first thing he shows us is that the details surrounding the death of Jesus are prophesied in God’s word hundreds of years before they happen.

The Scriptures prophesy that evil men will reject Jesus when he comes.

Matthew 21:42: “Jesus said to them (quoting Psalm 118:22), ‘Have you never read in the Scriptures: “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes”?’”

The Scriptures prophesy that Jesus must be hated.

In John 15:25, Jesus quoted Psalm 35:19 and said, “The word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’”

The Scriptures prophesy that the disciples would abandon Jesus.

In Matthew 26:31, he quotes Zechariah 13:7: “You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’”

The Scriptures prophesy that Jesus will be pierced but none of his bones will be broken.

John quotes Psalm 34:20 and Zechariah 12:10 and says, “One of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear. . . . For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: ‘Not one of his bones will be broken.’ And again another Scripture says, ‘They will look on him whom they have pierced’” (John 19:34-37).

The Scriptures prophesy that Jesus would be betrayed by a close friend for thirty pieces of silver.

In John 13:18, Jesus cites Psalm 41:9 and says, “I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’”

And in Matthew 26:24, Jesus says, “The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed!”

And in Matthew 27:9-10, it says, “Then was fulfilled what had been spoken by the prophet Jeremiah, saying, ‘And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him on whom a price had been set by some of the sons of Israel, and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord directed me’” (Jeremiah 19:1-13; Zechariah 11:12-13).

And not only the Scriptures, but Jesus himself prophesies, down to the details, how he will be killed.

In Mark 10:33-34, he says, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles. And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise.”

And on that last night, Jesus looked at Peter and said, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times” (Matthew 26:34).

According to His Sovereign Will

From all these prophesies, we know that God foresaw, and did not prevent, and therefore included in his plan that his Son would be rejected, hated, abandoned, betrayed, denied, condemned, spit upon, flogged, mocked, pierced, and killed. All these are explicitly in God’s mind before they happen as things that he plans will happen to Jesus. These things did not just happen. They were foretold in God’s word. God knew they would happen and could have planned to stop them, but didn’t. So they happened according to his sovereign will.

And all of them were evil. They were sin. It is sin to reject, hate, abandon, betray, deny, condemn, spit upon, flog, mock, pierce, and kill the morally perfect, infinitely worthy, divine Son of God. And yet the Bible is explicit and clear that God himself planned these things. It is explicit not only in all the prophetic texts we have seen, but also in passages that say even more plainly that God brought these things to pass.

God Brought It to Pass

For example, in Isaiah 53:6 and 10, it says, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. . . . It was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief.” So behind the spitting and flogging and mocking and piercing is the invisible hand and plan of God.

And I say that carefully and with trembling. This truth is too big and too weighty and too shocking to be glib about or to be cocky about. I choose to say that the invisible hand and plan of God are behind these most spectacular sins in all the universe—more grievous and more spectacular than the fall of Satan or any others. The reason I use these very words is because the Bible says it in those very words.

The Hand and Plan of God

In Acts 4:27-28, we have the clearest, most explicit statement about God’s hand and plan behind the horrific crucifixion of his Son. “Truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand (cheir) and your plan (boule) had predestined to take place.” Those are the two words I am using: the hand of God and the plan of God.

It is a strange way of speaking—to say that God’s hand and plan have predestined something to happen. One does not ordinarily think of God’s “hand” predestining. How does a hand predestine? Here’s what I think it means: The hand of God ordinarily stands for God’s exerted power—not power in the abstract, but earthly, effective exertions of power. The point of combining it with “plan” is to say that it is not just a theoretical plan; it is plan that will be executed by God’s own hand.

This explains Isaiah 53:10: “It was the will of the Lord to bruise him; he has put him to grief.” Or more literally, with the King James Version, “It pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief.” The Lord bruised him. Behind Herod and Pilate and the Gentiles and the people of Israel was Jesus’ own Father who loved him with an infinite love.

The Gospel: God At Work in Death

Why should this matter to you? It should matter because if God were not the main Actor in the death of Christ, then the death of Christ could not save us from our sins and we would perish in hell forever. The reason the death of Christ is the heart of gospel—the heart of the good news—is God was doing it. Romans 5:8: “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” If you break God’s activity from the death of Jesus, you lose the gospel. This was God’s doing. It is the highest and deepest point of his love for sinners. His love for you.

Romans 8:3: “Sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh.” God condemned sin in Jesus’ flesh with our condemnation. So we are free.

Galatians 3:13: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us.” God cursed Jesus with the curse that belonged on us. So we are free.

2 Corinthians 5:21: “For our sake [God] made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” God imputed our sin to him, and now we go free in God’s righteousness.

Isaiah 53:5: “He was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities.” God wounded him. God crushed him. For you and me. And we go free.

The Cross of Christ: The Work and Love of God

The reason why this series of messages matters is this. If you embrace the biblical truth (and I pray you will) that God ordains spectacular sins for the global glory of his Son, without in anyway becoming unholy or unrighteous or sinful in that act, then you will not shrink back from the cross of Christ as a work of God. You will not be among the number of those who call the most loving act that ever was “divine child abuse.” You will come to the cross and fall on your face. And you will say: This is no mere human conspiracy. This is the work of God and the love of God. You will it receive as his highest gift. And you will be saved. And Christ will be glorified. And I will not have preached in vain.

© Desiring God

Previous Older Entries

Vizite unicate din Martie 6,2011

free counters

Va multumim ca ne-ati vizitat azi!


Zilele trec…

Click pe harta pt ora actuala World Time Click on map for timezone

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 5,427 other followers