Monthly Archives: April 2012

The Right Page of the Right Story

Here is the sermon I preached this morning at Grace Chapel; it was great to see all of our dear friends in Lincoln. Also, if you go to GC, give Mike and Ben a hug sometime – preaching three services in a row is no easy feat.

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Reclaiming the Resurrection

I am certainly not the first person to remark that evangelicals often struggle to know what to do with Easter. Oh, we’re all for the resurrection. We insist that it happened, and write all sorts of books defending its historicity. However, once the proofs have been trotted out and the usual alternative theories debunked, we often struggle for the application, the ‘so what’ of the empty tomb. At best, we say something like “and this really proves that Jesus was God, so you should believe it.”

Belief is certainly a good response to Christ’s resurrection, and I’m all for apologetics, but this approach deeply impoverishes us if it is the whole story. We often talk about the significance of the cross, plumbing the depths of Good Friday. Unfortunately the resurrection often ends up as an addendum in our theology. This is tragic, especially since the Scriptures actually have a lot to say about Jesus’ resurrection. It is a central event, as pivotal as the crucifixion, in the story of God’s work in Jesus. Of course we ought not pit the two against each other, but Easter provides an opportunity for us to reflect on all the things the resurrection of Jesus Christ means.

To that end, I thought I’d post some ways (by no means all of them) the resurrection is viewed as significant in Scripture. I’m breaking with my usual form and offering proof texts in parenthesis without specific comments for the sake of space. I hope their connection to the given idea will be evident. If not, I’m happy to expand any of them in the comments. In addition, I’ve tried to give the list some progression. The first few applications are the ones I hear most often, the later ones are less emphasized, at least in my experience. Continue reading

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Good Friday Meditation

Note: This is the meditation I’m giving tonight at our Good Friday service.

Text: Luke 22:66-71

It was the dawn of the last day for the Son of Man. The morning sun was stretching into a courtroom already buzzing with action. Luke’s account is terse and to the point, but Matthew and Mark help us paint in around the edges. This “trial” was no careful, judicious affair. It was pure chaos. Men were being brought in from all over the city, the rabble-rousers and usual suspects, to accuse the Son of Man. Money was switching hands under the table to convince false witnesses to make up accusations, but none of the charges would stick. Nobody could agree; they were simply yelling contradictions.

In the midst of it all was Jesus, humiliated, chains on his wrists, facing the men said to be the holy leaders ofIsrael. He wasn’t pleading for his life. He wasn’t giving some rousing defense. No, the gospels tell us that he stood silent, unwavering, not speaking a word as every attempt to fabricate his guilt fell to pieces. How uncomfortable it must have been for those seeking to accuse him. He didn’t speak, didn’t give them the chance to argue or twist his words. He didn’t even have the dignity to treat them like the judges they believed themselves to be.

Finally, exasperated, the council silences the crowds and addresses Jesus directly. They ask the question that has stood in the shadows behind every false accusation: “Is this your claim? Are you the Christ, the Messiah? Tell us.” Continue reading

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