Showing posts with the label Cross

True Power

Mao Zedong famously declared that “political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.” This accurately represents the modus operandi of the State since the dawn of human civilization. In this life, men and women can be led in one of two ways – by persuasion or force. Invariably, the State chooses the latter.

Having the Mind of Christ

In his letter to the Philippians, Paul points to the obedience of Jesus as the model for proper conduct by his disciples. His willing submission to death on the Roman cross sets the pattern for his followers. And his subsequent elevation to reign over all things is the result of that “ obedience to death ,” for exaltation did not precede death, but followed it.

Meaning of Discipleship

To be his disciple means a life of self-sacrificial service to others, especially to the weak and insignificant .  On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus explains what it means to be the Messiah, and not for the first time. In the city of David, he will face his final confrontation with the Temple authorities and death at the hands of the Romans. Was not that city the appointed place where the prophets are killed, and where the Messiah himself must suffer rejection and death?

Following Jesus

Jesus admonished his disciples that if anyone wished to come after him, “ let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me .” This was more than metaphorical or hyperbolic language. It was said at the very time he was on his final journey to Jerusalem where he would demonstrate to the world just what it meant to “ deny oneself and take up the cross .”

Recognizing Jesus

A theme threaded through the gospel of  Mark  is the inability of men to recognize Jesus as the Son of God until  AFTER  his crucifixion, and even then, and most paradoxically, he is called the “ Son of God ” by the unlikeliest of persons, the Roman centurion on duty at his execution. His self-identification as the suffering “ Son of Man ” made him unrecognizable to unregenerate men. He was and is the kind of Messiah no one expected, and his identity and mission cannot be comprehended apart from his sacrificial death.

Did Jesus Triumph?

Did Jesus triumph and begin his messianic reign at his death and resurrection, or is he waiting for some future event to do so?  Did Jesus triumph over his enemies on Calvary? Did he conquer his enemies and begin his reign following his resurrection from the dead? Most of us would answer, “Well, of course, he did!” Yet certain common interpretations, if taken at face value, intentionally or not, deny that he did, that his reign will not commence until his return in glory.

Signs and Wonders or Golgotha?

The cross of Christ will conquer the world, not superpowers, political might, or “signs and wonders . ”  Since 1989, I have been hearing how God is “about” to pour out an unprecedented “revival,” one characterized by great “signs and wonders,” the likes of which even Jesus and the apostles never witnessed, miraculous displays that will awe billions of men and women into accepting the gospel. Well, one can only hope!

True Power and Wisdom

Jesus performed miracles, exorcised demons, and taught with great authority. For a time, he attracted great crowds. Nevertheless, his contemporaries failed to recognize who he was despite his miracles and preaching. In the end, only the Roman centurion at Golgotha recognized him as the “ son of God ” when he breathed his last.

Paradigm of Calvary

Christ crucified is the pattern disciple of Jesus are summoned to emulate, and the test of genuine faith in him .  The death of Jesus is the paradigm for discipleship, the benchmark against which Christian conduct is measured, and the criterion for discerning true followers of him from false ones. Whether examining spirituality, wisdom, or the miraculous, Golgotha is the red line that divides the true from the counterfeit, and God cannot be known apart from His crucified Messiah.

On the Way

On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus explains to his disciples just what it means to be the Messiah of Israel  - Mark 8:27-38.  Jesus queried his disciples: Who do men say that I am? At least nine times,  Mark  declares that Jesus is “ on the way .” His march to Jerusalem echoes the words in  Isaiah  applied at the outset of Mark’s account to John the Baptist- “ I send my messenger before your face  WHO SHALL PREPARE YOUR WAY .”

True Spirituality

Overused today, the English term ‘spiritual’ is virtually meaningless. To some, it is synonymous with religion. To be religious is to be spiritual. To others, it refers to things that are not of this physical universe, things and beings that are supernatural, otherworldly, noncorporeal, invisible, and timeless.

Power and Wisdom

The power and wisdom of God have been revealed in the proclamation of the Messiah who was crucified on Calvary.  Jesus performed miracles, exorcised demons, and taught with great authority, for a time, attracting large crowds. Nevertheless, his contemporaries failed to recognize who he was despite supernatural displays of power. In the end, only the Roman centurion on duty at Golgotha perceived him to be the “son of God” when he breathed his last.

Who is this Man?

In Galilee, the disciples witnessed Jesus heal the sick, cast out demons, forgive sins, and even calm a violent storm, all performed with great authority. But all too often, his words and deeds produced confusion and the question – “ Who is this man? ” Only at his execution did someone begin to understand who Jesus of Nazareth is.

Way of the Cross

To follow Jesus wherever he goes necessitates a lifetime of self-denial and sacrificial service for others .  When Jesus dispatched his disciples to announce the “ good news ” to the “ lost sheep of Israel ,” he warned them to expect to find themselves as “ sheep among wolves .” Hostile men would haul them before “ councils and whip them in their synagogues ,” and his followers would be hated “ by all men for my sake .”

Satan's Kryptonite

What Satan fears most is Christ crucified and people conforming to that pattern who will follow him wherever he goes .  I have observed that Satan offers a smorgasbord of deceptions, and I doubt that he cares which one you choose. Whatever floats your boat! But regardless of which one you prefer, one trail common to them all is the attempt to steer us away from the Word of God, and especially, from embracing and emulating the crucified Messiah.

Signs and Wonders or Christ Crucified?

SYNOPSIS: Claims that God will reap a great harvest of souls because of the mighty “signs and wonders” the church will perform do not square with Scripture.  I hear a lot of stress these days on seeking “signs and wonders.” Seemingly, church “leaders” are convinced, or they want to convince you, that it is through mighty supernatural “signs and wonders” that God will reap a final harvest of souls before the return of Jesus, an idea that does not fit comfortably with the gospel accounts of the New Testament.

Blind Man Saved Along the Way

SYNOPSIS  -  A blind man’s eyes were opened, and the man "saved" as Jesus continued “on the way" to Jerusalem and his inevitable death  -  Mark 8:22-26 .  The healing of the blind man in Bethsaida is recorded only in the  gospel of Mark . Bethsaida means “house of the fisher” or “house of fish.” Fishing was its major industry - It was located on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee near the entrance of the Jordan River. In  Mark , the preceding three stories pointed out the  spiritual blindness  caused by unbelief, especially the inability to perceive what God was doing in Jesus and who he was.

My Rights or His Cross

For disciples of Jesus, rage and violence are NOT appropriate reactions to hostility, though certainly, his instructions in this regard are contrary to the “ wisdom of this age .” Angry responses by Christians to perceived violations of their political and individual “rights” only demonstrate how far many churches have strayed from his teachings.