"My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?"

Michael Johnson
"My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?"

A sonnet by Don Carson on Matthew 27:45-46—

The darkness fought, compelled the sun to flee,
And like a conquering army swiftly trod
Across the land, blind fear this despot’s rod.
The noon-day dark illumined tyranny.
Still worse, abandonment by Deity
Brought black despair more deadly than the blood
That ran off with his life. “My God, my God,”
Cried Jesus, “why have you forsaken me?”
The silence thundered. Heaven’s quiet reigned
Supreme, a shocking, deafening,... Continue Reading

Could My Tears Forever Flow

Jon Bloom
Could My Tears Forever Flow

“So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. There they crucified him” (John 19:16-18).

One astonishing thing about the Gospel accounts of the death of Jesus is that they include almost no detail. They all simply say some form of “they crucified him.”1

If the gospels were our only historical source we would not know what crucifixion is. We would not know how bloody it was since the only... Continue Reading

Why God Created the Universe—For Good Friday

John Piper
Why God Created the Universe—For Good Friday

On the panel at The Gospel Coalition I was asked how my preaching may have become more Christocentric over the years. Here’s the summary of my answer.

My devotion to the truth that God magnifies himself in all that he does has been increasingly refined in a Christ-centered direction. I have been driven in this direction by a cluster of insights.

1. The apex of God’s display of his own glory is the display of his grace.

“God predestined . . . according to the... Continue Reading

Augustine on God's Love, Wrath, and the Cross

Michael Johnson
Augustine on God's Love, Wrath, and the Cross

How (and when) does God’s love for us relate to Christ’s death on the cross?

Augustine:

God’s love is incomprehensible and unchangeable. For it was not after we were reconciled to him through the blood of his Son that he began to love us. Rather, he has loved us before the world was created, that we also might be his sons along with his only-begotten Son—before we became anything at all.

The fact that we were reconciled through Christ’s death must not be understood... Continue Reading

Salt, Suffering, and Satisfaction

John Piper
Salt, Suffering, and Satisfaction

Try this interpretation of what it means for Christians to be salt.

I suggest that being salty as a Christian means at root being so profoundly satisfied by Christ as our eternal reward, we are freed from fear and greed for the sacrifices of love, while rejoicing at persecution.

Let’s see if that works in three texts.

Matthew 5:11-13

Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for... Continue Reading

Packer on the Cross and Christ’s Love

Michael Johnson
Packer on the Cross and Christ’s Love

Luther gazed at Christ’s cross with steady joy and gloried in the fact that whoever trusts Christ can be assured of his love. He once wrote to a troubled friend, “Learn to know Christ and him crucified. Learn to sing to him, and say, ‘Lord Jesus, you are my righteousness, I am your sin. You have taken upon yourself what is mine and given me what is yours. You have become what you were not so that I might become what I was not.’” There has been an exchange, a great and... Continue Reading

Recovering a Theology of Martyrdom

Paul Miller
Recovering a Theology of Martyrdom

When I first read as a child about early Christian martyrs, I was fascinated but puzzled. I was fascinated by their willingness to follow Jesus to death, to witness (the meaning of martyr) through their deaths. I could see the necessity and even beauty of martyrdom, but I was puzzled by the early church’s treating it as a prize, as a kind of Academy Award, something to be sought after. It is one thing to have martyrdom happen to you, it is an entirely another to prize it.... Continue Reading

How to Live Like Christ

Josh Etter

In Ephesians 5:1 Paul tells us to be "imitators of God". How can we obey such a holy commandment? William Temple writes:

"It is no good giving me a play like Hamlet or King Lear, and telling me to write a play like that. Shakespeare could do it — I can’t. And it is no good showing me a life like the life of Jesus and telling me to live a life like that. Jesus could do it — I can’t. But if the genius of Shakespeare could come and live in me, then I could write plays like this. And if... Continue Reading

Stott on The Self-Substitution of God

Michael Johnson
Stott on The Self-Substitution of God

We strongly reject, therefore, every explanation of the death of Christ which does not have at its centre the principle of ‘satisfaction through substitution’, indeed divine self-satisfaction through divine self-substitution.

The cross was not:

a commercial bargain with the devil, let alone one which tricked and trapped him;

nor an exact equivalent, a quid pro quo to satisfy a code of honour or technical point of law;

nor a compulsory submission by God to some moral... Continue Reading