A Tale of Two Betrayers

Matthew wove a subtle thread through his crucifixion account.  All the Gospel writers detailed Judas’ betrayal of Jesus, but only Matthew recorded what happened to Judas afterward (Mt 27.3-5; cf. Acts 1.18f.).  He did so in such a way to compare and contrast Judas with Peter: two deniers of Jesus.  Matthew magnified the sovereignty and grace of Jesus to secure his own despite their failings. Satan tried every tactic to […]

Wingless Bones, Not Boneless Wings

“For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven” (Mk 12.25). The Sadducees were the 1st-century version of the 21st-century liberals.  They denied all things supernatural, especially any notion of bodily resurrection from the dead (cf. Mt 3.7; 16.1, 11-12; 22.23, 34; Lk 20.27; Acts 4.1-2; 5.17; 23.6-8).  Sola Torah (Torah alone) was their creed.  They didn’t believe anything […]

The Crimeless Victim

“We live in a culture that has replaced soul with self.  This reduction turns people into either problems or consumers.  Insofar as we acquiesce in that replacement, we gradually but surely regress in our identity, for we end up thinking of ourselves and dealing with others in marketplace terms: everyone we meet is either a potential recruit to join our enterprise or a potential consumer for what we are selling; […]

And God said, “Let there be Dark”

At  9am on a bright Friday morning, Roman soldiers crucified Jesus like they’d done a thousand other derelicts (Mk 15.25).  They drove spikes through his wrists or maybe they toenailed his hands.  They likely drove spikes through his heels on either side of the cross. They shot dice for his clothes.  Souvenirs of a Man hung there like a carnival sideshow.  Another day at the office. The execution went normally until noon when something […]

He Descended Into Hell

Since last summer we have enjoyed the fellowship and ministry of a local Presbyterian church.  They have lovingly allowed me the privilege of the pulpit while they seek a pastor.  When the heavenly accounts are settled, we will be indebted to this congregation for their kindness to us.  The weekly liturgy and encouragement has helped us consider Christ’s work in anciently refreshing ways. Our weekly liturgy includes the Apostles’ Creed.  I […]

Forsaken, Yet Entrusting

The gospel of Jesus Christ is remarkably good news.  It is indeed “living water” (Jn 4.14) because it never ceases to flow in or satisfy the Christian soul.  The Christian needs only one Well and that Well is infinitely supplied.  The gospel is a living truth in that it does things in and for those who believe.  It changes those who welcome it.  It does so because Jesus is living.  […]

God’s Glory in a Full (and Limited) Atonement

Philip Bliss gave the church a treasure when he wrote the hymn “Man of Sorrows! What a Name” (1875).  There is no sweeter foretaste of heaven to hear your church belting out: Guilty, vile, and helpless we; Spotless Lamb of God was he; Full atonement! can it be? Hallelujah! what a Savior What is it about full atonement that Bliss (and we) would wonder if it could be? What about full […]

Would Jesus Join the Tea Party?

And Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Mark 12.17) Abraham Lincoln wrote in 1862 about the conflict over slavery between the Union and Confederacy “In great contests each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God. Both may be, and one must be wrong. God can not be for, and against the same […]

The New Adam

For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous (Rom 5.19). The type/antitype relationship between Adam and Jesus in Romans 5 is a theological gold mine.  In a sense, we can simplify all men down to this relationship.  We are sons of Adam until we are sons of Christ.  We are old men […]