- Created on Friday, 18 January 2013 12:40
Judas betrayed Jesus for the same primary reason that Peter betrayed Jesus. It's true that Judas was a thief, but his actions were not mainly driven by greed. Judas desperately wanted Jesus to conform to his idea of a militant nationalistic kingdom of force and power, rather than a Kingdom of love and service. The story of Judas is also a good example of the judgment. While judgment is usually seen as a unilateral judicial decree by God, the Bible describes judgment as revelation - - how we respond to the revelation of God's love in the person of Jesus Christ. "Unbelief, by shutting the door on God's love, turns his love into judgment, that man shuts himself off from God's love. There would be no judgment at all were it not for the event of God's love. And with the mission of the Son this judgment has become a present reality." Rudolph Bultmann ?
- Created on Friday, 11 January 2013 12:40
The story of Peter is an important "case study" of God's persistent love to heal and transform an individual. Of all the disciples, Peter was the most vocal in his desire that Jesus become a "prize fighter" Messiah. When Jesus warned of his coming suffering and crucifixion, it was Peter that scolded him. Finally, when Jesus rebuked Peter for using the sword it was too much for him to handle and, for a time, he gave up all hope and publically denied Jesus. The way that God won Peter back reveals the intensity of God's efforts with each and every human soul - never giving up, always forgiving, even some "tough love" if that is what it takes.
- Created on Friday, 05 October 2012 21:35
From Gethsemane to the Cross, Jesus was tempted to use his power to silence his doubters and to reveal who he was. He had to restrain Peter from using force and reminded him that he could call "more than twelve legions of angels" (Matthew 26:53). In this context, Jesus's words to Pilate are significant, "My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my followers would fight...but as it is, my kingdom is not from here" (John 18:36). Again and again throughout his ministry Jesus talked about his Kingdom. What is God's kingdom? Is it primarily a future event or a kingdom that is still to come? What does it look like and how can we distinguish it from the counterfeit kingdom?
- Created on Friday, 04 May 2012 11:53
The Gospel of John has an intentional focus on "the hour" of Jesus. Before his first miracle, Jesus said that "My hour has not yet come" (2:4). During his early life and ministry, we are twice told that "his hour had not yet come" (7:30 and 8:20). Toward the end of his life, Jesus realized that the hour was at hand, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified" (12:23). He recoiled from the horror of it, but knew that this hour was the fulfillment of his mission, "Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say - 'Father, save me from this hour'? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour" (12:27). The forward momentum of Jesus' hour in the Gospel of John reaches a climax at the Cross, "Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father" (13:1). "After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, 'Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you" (17:1).
There is a deep meaning of "the hour" in John's Gospel that wants to reveal more to us than merely "this is the hour when Jesus died."
- Created on Friday, 06 April 2012 11:53
The Gospels are considered by many to have been written long after the fact. Bart Ehrman compares their reliability to "the telephone game" - a game which is designed to produce distortion in the original message as it is whispered from one person to another.
Many recent publications, however have made a case for the Gospels as reliable eyewitness accounts. The most compelling case for this can be made for the Gospel of John which concludes, "This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and has written them" (21:24).
Do the Gospels represent an accurate reflection of the words and the life of Jesus Christ?
- Created on Wednesday, 25 February 2009 11:53
"Controversy surrounding William P. Young's "The Shack" has drawn attention to a major theological debate that many readers of the popular novel may not be aware of. The debate concerns how Christians understand the significance of Christ's death on the cross. Questions are being raised about one of the traditional concepts of the atonement. The controversy came to light in a popular forum recently, when Baptist pastor Kendall Adams interviewed Young on radio station KAYP in Iowa. Adams pressed Young on why he had God assert in the book: "I don't punish sin. Sin is its own punishment."
Adams replied that Young was denying "penal substitutionary atonement" -- that Jesus paid the penalty for human sins on the cross -- which Adams stated was "the heart of the gospel." Young agreed that he did not fully accept the penal substitutionary view of the atonement. In the interview, Young defended his position by stating that there is 'a huge debate that's going on in theology right now within the evangelical community' concerning the doctrine of the atonement."
- Created on Thursday, 15 January 2009 11:53
Our study of the 4 gospels concludes with a focus on the Cross. Why did Jesus have to die? How is the death of Jesus involved in our salvation? Was the Father persuaded to forgive at the Cross? Was our legal standing changed at the Cross? Was the wrath of God poured out on Jesus at the Cross? Many, many questions that are all tremendously important. The Cross is to be the "science of the ages" which would suggest that there is a tremendously deep meaning that we have not yet fully understood. One thing is clear: our understanding of the death of Jesus is critically important to our picture of who God is and "eternal life is to know God." (John 17:3)