A guest post by Karsten Piper
With “Descending Theology: The Resurrection,” Mary Karr offers us a poem on an over-familiar yet hyper-daring topic: Jesus rising from the dead.
From the far star points of his pinned extremities,
cold inched in—black ice and squid ink—
till the hung flesh was empty.
Lonely in that void even for pain,
he missed his splintered feet,
the human stare buried in his face.
He ached for two hands made of meat
he could reach to the end of.
In the corpse’s core, the stone fist
of his heart began to bang
on the stiff chest’s door, and breath spilled
back into that battered shape. Now
it’s your limb…
The book featured in our homepage banner today, Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die, has an introduction that might be interesting to your Jewish friends. In answering why Jesus came to die, I tried to connect Calvary with the concentration camps. It’s risky. But I tried to be very sensitive.
I would like this introduction to be winsome for Jewish people who wonder what Christians believe about the death of Jesus. Here’s a quote from the Introduction.
I am not the first to link Calvary and the concentration camps—the suffering of Jesus Christ and the suffering of Jewish people. In his heart-wrenching, innocence-shattering, mouth-shutting book Night, Elie Wiesel tells of hi…
One puzzle in the passion story is, Who’s the young man running through the garden without his clothes on?
Mark 14:51–52 says,
And a young man followed [Jesus], with nothing but a linen cloth about his body. And they seized him, but he left the linen cloth and ran away naked.
There are several options for who this is. But the best may be that it's the Gospel-writer Mark himself, who was in the city and an eyewitness to the Passion week proceedings. William Lane explains:
Several Fathers of the Church conjectured that the young man was Mark himself, who is known to have been a resident in Jerusalem (Acts 12:12) and in whose house, it was held by traditi…
Hello, Death, my old enemy. My old slave-master. Have you come to talk to me again? To frighten me?
I am not the person you think I am. I am not the one you used to talk to. Something has happened. Let me ask you a question, Death.
Where is your sting?
My sting is your sin.
I know that, Death. But that’s not what I asked you. I asked, where is your sting? I know what it is. But tell me where it is.
Why are you fidgeting, Death? Why are you looking away? Why are you turning to go? Wait, Death, you have not answered my question. Where is your sting?
Today, sixty-four years ago, Dietrich Bonhoeffer was hanged for his part in the conspiracy to assassinate Adolf Hitler. He is known by many for one main sentence. It is worthy of Holy Week.
Here is the context of his most famous quote:
The cross is laid on every Christian. The first Christ-suffering which every man must experience is the call to abandon the attachments of this world. It is that dying of the old man which is the result of his encounter with Christ. As we embark upon discipleship we surrender ourselves to Christ in union with his death—we give over our lives to death. Thus it begins; the cross is not the terrible end to an otherwise god-fearing and happy lif…
This is an open letter of gratitude to the staff and elders and people of Bethlehem Baptist Church at the end of my two-month writing leave. If writing books can be compared to having babies, there were two births on this leave. And, like a mother rejoices over her newborn children—and the end of labor—I rejoice over finishing these books...
Read the rest of the article.
One of the massive differences between life with God in the Old Testament and life with God in the New Testament is that in the New Testament all our conscious glorifying of God should be “through Jesus Christ.”
“. . . to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.” (Jude 1:25)
“. . . that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 4:11)
“. . . to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.” (Romans 16:27)
“. . . filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the …
I made my annual visit to a Sunday morning service in a “mainline Protestant church” a couple weeks ago. It is an eerie experience. Heart-wrenchingly eerie.
- A magnificent building.
- A magnificent choir singing, “Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of he world, have mercy on us” (in Latin).
- A closing hymn, “Lord, I want to be a Christian.”
- Three women pastors on the platform and two men.
- Pews filled with well-to-do looking folks.
The reason I say it was eerie is that much of this religious language means something totally different in their minds from what I mean by it. There is a keeping of the language and a demythologizing of the origin…
If you look at sunsets and sunrises without knowing that God is painting them then and there, you will miss the point. Sunsets and sunrises do not just happen. God does them.
You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy. (Psalms 65:8)
What are they so happy about?
Psalm 19 gives the answer. They are happy because they are showing the glory of God. “The heavens declare the glory of God” (v. 1).
How happy is the rising sun to display the glory of God? Answer: “In them [the heavens] God has set a tent for the sun, which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy” (Psalm 19:4-5).
The difference between heaven and hell is not that heaven will be ethnically diverse and hell won’t be. Both will be diverse. All races and all ethnicities and all cultures will be present in hell.
The difference between heaven and hell is that in heaven—that is, in the new heaven and new earth—there will be perfect racial and ethnic harmony, but in hell, racial and ethnic animosities will reach their fullest fury and last forever.
Paul spoke of the ethnic diversity of hell in Romans 2:9,
There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek.
“Jew and Greek” was shorthand for all ethnic groups.