Showing posts from 2018

Jesus Tunnel Vision: Hebrews 10:32-12:17

You have probably read or at least heard of two famous passages from Hebrews Chapter 11: the Hall of Faith and Chapter 12:1-2. What if we are missing the real point behind these passages? This passage is so much more than a demonstration of the power of faith, but there is a much greater and often missed point here. In order to understand this, we must go back to the context in Chapter 10. The author of Hebrews prompts his readers, Christians with a Hebrew heritage, to consider the struggles of their past brought about by persecution(Heb 10:32-35). The author tells his readers that they need to develop endurance. Once they have endurance to do God’s will, they will be able to receive their promised reward(10:35-36). He reminds his reader of a teaching from the prophet Habakkuk, the righteous will live by faith. This point launches the famous “Hall of Faith”(10:39). Based off the understanding that the righteous live by faith, the author of Hebrew defines faith- hope in things no

A Teaching of the Cross

During his crucifixion, Jesus hung on the cross in darkness for three hours. On the closing verge of the darkness, Jesus echoed the great question of David, recorded in Psalms (22) (Mark 15:33-34, Mtt 27:45-46, Lk 23:44): “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Psa 22:1). In order to understand why Jesus repeated David’s question, his crucifixion must be understood in light of Psalm 22. By quoting the Psalm, Jesus made an intentional appeal to the Psalm’s content and a personal connection to it’s spirit of agony. The circumstances in which David penned the Psalm are unknown; however, the message of the poetic prayer clearly portrayed suffering. Much of the suffering language David used can be applied directly to Jesus’ death and was regarded as a direct fulfillment by the authors of the Gospels. Verses 6-8 of the Psalm (Ps 22:6-8) seem to describe the exact situation Jesus was in. As he hung on the wood, the spectators jeered Jesus. Matthew and Mark both describe the spectato

Will God Reject Forever: Psalm 77

Dramatized reading of Psalm 77 Suffering can lead to some of the most surprising and difficult questions, often leading to the doubt of God’s goodness. The psalmist and musician, Asaph struggled with some of the great questions of God’s goodness while suffering and wrote them down in what is now the 77th Psalm . Asaph started by recording his suffering (either a past or present event): every time he thinks of God he is in despair, his soul is exhausted and his arms are outstretched without rest, he is speechless and does not obtain any rest (Psa 77:15). So the poet begins to use the recollection of the past to help him in his struggle. As he remembers his past, four great questions arise. Will God permanently reject me? Has his love stopped? Are his promises no longer valid? Has his compassion ended due to his anger? (Psa 77:6-9). The psalm describes Asalph’s soul as ‘’searching’’, showing this was not a simple consideration, but a very deep effort to discover the answers. T

Does God Treat Good and Bad Alike: Abraham's Question of Doubt

Why does it seem that God treats good and bad people the same? Abraham asked this same question. In 1897 BC, God visited Abraham and Sarah manifested as three men. He came with some good news, Sarah would give birth to Isaac well beyond her child bearing years. With the promise of many descendants, Abraham had the burden of imparting righteousness on his children, so that it would carry on for future generations. Standing by the trees in Mamre, the three men contemplated whether or not they should reveal God’s plan to Abraham. Wanting to teach Abraham God’s righteousness they revealed God’s plan- to visit the metropolis of Sodom and destroy it if it proved to be wicked. (Gen 18:18-20, 2 Peter 2:6) Just as the men got up to leave for Sodom, Abraham asked “Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city. Will you then sweep away the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it? Far be it from you to do su

Where's God When You Need Him?

When bad things happen, where is God and the good things he brings? This a common question that many people have today when going through times of suffering. Over 3,200 years ago (around 1191 BC), Gideon asked this very question. Yes, Gideon the mighty warrior of God struggled with the same question “if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying ‘Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the LORD has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian” (Judges 6:13 ESV) Israel had been under oppression of the Midianites (also the Amalekites and other eastern peoples) for seven years when Gideon asks God his question. Anytime the Israelites would farm, the Midianites would come and take all of their produce and livestock (Jdg 6:3-5). The oppression of Midian was so severe, many of the Israelites hid in caves. Grain was so scarce, people would stuff it down wine presses in order to h

Cause and Effect or God's Act? An Analysis of Romans 6:23

A verse commonly quoted by Christians is  Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (ESV)   this is a great summary of the grace of God. Sadly, it seems in today’s epidemic of biblical illiteracy, many do not see the full meaning of this thought . Reading the entire thought surrounding this line of Scripture and thinking about the wording can illuminate a message far deeper than what is commonly seen on the surface. By simply taking the time to think and consider the message Paul was communicating in his Epistle to the Romans, one can see what the Holy Spirit  has in the store. When one breaks down this verse you notice that this is a comparison, a contrast between death and eternal life. What is really profound about this verse is how the contrast between the opposites is made. Sin leads to death and God leads to eternal life, but many stop there. When the logic is not followed through, the full meaning of God’s W