Monday, 30 March 2015

What has risen?

Well we know who has risen- Christ is risen.  Jesus Christ is alive though He once was dead.

But that is not the question today:  What has risen?

The resurrection of Jesus is God's eternal proof that the cross really finished things - because Jesus didn't rise for His own sake - but for ours.

When He took on our flesh and was born, God took on our cause.  He saw our human nature all sinful and corrupt.  He saw us dead in our sins.  So He took on our nature to make things new.  Because only He is without sin - without death - and without slavery to the devil.

His crucifixion beat those enemies (sin, death and the devil).  Human nature was punished in Christ.  Human nature has been made pure again in Christ by His perfect life.  But Easter...

Easter is the proof that our human nature has risen in Christ.  Mankind is new in Jesus.  We are alive.  Free.  Safe.  Christ has made a new humanity by His own human life, death and resurrection - and He wants all to be in it with Him - Christ died for all. 

So when you marvel at the resurrection this glorious Easter season - marvel that human nature has risen in Christ - marvel that in Christ you have risen, ascended into heaven and even sit at the right hand of the Father.  Marvel and sing and confess the good news - Christ is risen!  He is risen indeed!

Friday, 20 March 2015

Which is more sad?

Very often in my conversations with the agnostic or the atheist (those who do not believe, or don't know what to believe), I hear them offer a common obstacle to the faith.

"I don't want to be tricked.  You know, what if it is wrong?  How sad would it be to live your life trusting in Jesus if the whole thing isn't true?"

Pride prevents faith.  "I don't want to be tricked."  Being duped would be the worst shot to my pride. 

The problem they fail to see is that you could be tricked either way!  In fact, the Bible specifically says we are being tricked, by the devil, our sinful pride and the influence of the world.  By trying not to be tricked by God, they are tricked by their own sin and the devil's words.

But this isn't even the worst thing.  It's one thing to be tricked, but which is more sad?  To live your whole life trusting in Christ and be wrong - meaning, you simply die and that's it.  OR, to live your whole life trying not to be tricked and be wrong - meaning, you gave up the most precious gift imaginable. 

Think about it.  It isn't all that sad to live for Christ if God doesn't exist, because at least you helped others during the blip of life you had.  BUT, since Christ has risen and offers eternal life, it is so unendingly sad for someone to reject His gift for the sake of an "if".  What "if" He isn't real... but what if He is!?

And here we come face to face with the Word of God, man's reason cannot produce faith.  Man's reason cannot believe in God, for it is entirely reasonable to conclude as we have above - yet man does NOT!  Reason is fallen.  It is broken.  It is curved inward on itself, looking only at "me, myself and I".  It cannot and will never look to the true God in faith, because only the Word of God produces faith.  Only God's Word untwists our minds from looking inward, that we might see Jesus hanging on the cross for our sake.  Here is God's promise:  You have rejected me, but I have accepted you in Jesus.  Look to Him.  See my love for you.  Stop looking everywhere else, and know me alone in the death and resurrection of my Son.  I forgive you in Him.  I save you in Him.  I give you eternal life in Him, and I will never withdraw my promise.  You are engraved into the hands of my Son.

May the Lord give you every confidence in His unfailing mercy this Lenten season and always.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

How does Jesus' entire life foreshadow His last 12 hours?

It dawned on me this morning that everything in Jesus' life, even the early portions of His life - all foreshadow His last 12 hours.  They foreshadow His Passion.  It is like they are clues that the Gospel writers left that point towards why Jesus has come and what He has come to do.  Take a look at the Gospel readings for the season of Lent.

First Sunday in Lent: Jesus is tempted in the wilderness: foreshadows Jesus tempted in the garden of Gethsemane.

Second Sunday in Lent: After following Him for years and even calling Him "the Christ", Peter rebukes Jesus for speaking about death and resurrection: foreshadows Peter vowing to go to death with Him at the Last Supper but denying Him three times at the palace of the high priest.

Third Sunday in Lent: Jesus cleanses the temple with a whip of cords (a scourge), naming His body as the temple: foreshadows His own body being scourged as a punishment for our sin.

Fourth Sunday in Lent: Jesus declares the Son of Man must be lifted up like Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness: foreshadows His crucifixion.

Fifth Sunday in Lent: Jesus declares the Son of Man came to give His life as a ransom for many: foreshadows His death.

These clues focus us on all that Christ endured to save us.  They highlight His Passion for our salvation - His great zeal to save us from our enemies - sin, death and the devil.  And these are not the only clues.  The clues are nearly endless, but during this season of Lent may our Lord set our eyes on His Son, His Only Son, that we may see He held nothing back, but gave us sinners His most precious gift.