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Hanging on His Every Word

I long for there to be an increasing number of people hanging on Jesus’ words rather than aiming to muzzle him.

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Jesus, the Fig Tree, and the Temple

On Tuesday of Passion Week Jesus curses a fig tree and visits the temple. But why did he curse the fig tree?

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Reflections on 20 Years with Jesus

I recently realized that it has been twenty years since I became a Christian. Here are twenty reflections on twenty years with Jesus.

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A Resurrection Day Posture Worth Modeling

Jesus is to be feared because he rose from the dead, but he is also to be joyfully worshipped because he did this for us.

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Can Jesus Relate to My Temptations?

Jesus’ temptation demonstrates both the depth of his identification with us while also showing the power of his victory for us.

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The Beautiful Son

Below is a poem meditation I wrote based upon the truth that God eternally smiles upon his Son (Mk. 1.9-11) and in time he has visited him in judgment and wrath as Christ was forsaken by God for us (Mt. 27.46). What a Savior! He makes rebels sons! He makes us his own.

Eternal favor rests on you
-the Father smiles, yes this is right
The joy of heaven- without ceasing
-rests upon Jesus Christ

Even as a man, still he can
-stand below in heaven’s sights
Hearing again the eternal song,
-‘My beloved Son with whom I delight’

Then the cross, where he died
-a death that truly should’ve been mine
Heaven’s frown now rests upon you
-all my sin, to you, God imputes

By the Spirit, my eyes are opened
-from enemy to son, I’m taught to hope and
Sing a new song, now clothed in white
-My beloved Savior, with whom I delight!

 

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Leading and Submitting Like Jesus

I remember reading Ephesians as a newer Christian and being shocked as I came across the Apostle’s words in chapter 5:

Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. (Ephesians 5:22)

I quickly became nervous because my wife was a brand new Christian and I was about as biblically literate as a flannel board. My first thought was, “This can’t mean what I think it means.” And my second thought was, “How in the world am I going to sell Christie on this?”

The first question was answered with a “yes” and a “no”. The concept of male leadership, even headship, was correct. However, I had this wrong perception of some type of bizarre patriarchal suppression of the wife by the husband. In my mind leadership and submission seemed to demean rather than provide for her flourishing.

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Don’t Miss the Christological Speed Bumps!

“and again, as was his custom, he taught them” (Mark 10.1c)

A couple of years ago our son began driving. As parents, we spent time with him so he would learn the rules of the road and became more familiar with the car. One thing he seemed to continue to forget about where the speed bumps. We would cruise over them at 35 mph only to elevate and then bottom out. Each time he’d say, “Whoops.” Eventually he learned to slow down a bit as he came upon the speed bumps.

Sometimes, when reading the life of Jesus, we just cruise over the Christological speed bumps. In other words, we jump over what appear to be minor details in order to get to bigger details that we we know are coming.

I would argue, however, that there really are no insignificant items.

Take for instance the above reference to Jesus teaching the crowds. We know that Mark 10 goes on to provide a highly charged debate between Jesus and the Pharisess on the topic of divorce and marriage. In this case Mark puts a Christological speed-bump before us. We are bidden to slow down a bit before charging into the narrative.

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Does Jesus Lack Compassion?

Does Jesus lack compassion? The question sounds ridiculous and at best has a whiff of being irrational and at worst dishonoring. But it is a helpful question to ask and answer in light of his words in Matthew 15.

Then the disciples came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard what this saying?” He answered, "Every plant that my Heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit. (Mt. 15:12-14)

On its face this instruction to “let them alone” seems a bit heartless. After all, they are heading towards a pit. What’s worse, they are leading others there as well. Does this advocate an anti-evangelism? Should we just leave people alone? And above all, was (is) Jesus lacking compassion?

No. And, no. Let me explain.

1. Jesus is the Incarnation of Compassion

His entire mission leaves in its wake the foamy waters of compassion. B.B. Warfield observed that the most common description of Jesus is that of compassion. Whether we are talking about healing the lame, raising the dead, or simply preaching the truth of the kingdom, he exemplified and was characterized by compassion. Remember, he came to save sinners (Lk. 19:10). This is compassion on steroids.

2. There is a Greater Context Here

The setting in Matthew’s narrative comes after some very dramatic and important scenes. In chapter 12, verses 22-32 the Pharisees (those referenced here) witness the …

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How We Should Think of Christ

As i like to do about this time of year, I am reading through the classic The Bruised Reed by Richard Sibbes. In addition to having the best nickname in church history, “The Sweet Dropper” this book is great. Sibbes throws strikes while encouraging, confronting, conforming and comforting us with Christ.

Here is a sample from what I read this morning: How Should we Think of Christ?

When we think of Joseph, Daniel, John the Evangelist, we frame conceptions of them with delight, as of mild and sweet persons. Much more when we think of Christ, we should conceive of him as a mirror of all meekness. If the sweetness of all flowers were in one, how sweet must that flower be? In Christ all perfections of mercy and love meet. How great then must that mercy be that lodges in so gracious a heart?

Whatever tenderness is scattered in husband, father, brother, head, all is but a beam from him; it is in him in the most eminent manner. We are weak, but we are his; we are deformed, but yet carry his image upon us. A father looks not so much at the blemishes of his child as at his own nature in him; so Christ finds matter of love from that which is his own in us. He sees his own nature in us: we are diseased, but yet his members. Who ever neglected his own members because they were sick or weak?

None ever hated his own flesh. …

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