Does God just save nice people like you and me?
Think of the person you’d least like to reach with the Gospel (be honest now, we all have a nemesis out there, however we may deny it). I have someone in mind and it deeply shames me even to entertain such an unhelpful and self-condemning notion. But honesty has its downside, so I am giving us all a chance to redeem ourselves here.
It is a truly awesome thought that the spotless and sinless Son of God tasted depression. Where do WE go when there seems no way out?
Jesus tasted depression in Gethsemene and knows what it’s like. He also knows what we’re like; every thought and every deed. He says “I am with you always …” (Matt 28:20) and is with us in the darkest of times and in the depths of despair.
Alfred Edersheim's "Did the Lord Institute his Supper on the Paschal Night" is taken from the appendix of his "Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah".
When it comes to polemical discussions about Jesus’ messiahship, Messianic Jews are often accused of taking verses from the Hebrew Bible out of context, and deliberately christianising them, so that they appear to refer to the man from Nazareth.
Ironically however, many Christians are going in the other direction, and rejecting the relevance of Hebrew Bible prophecies to Jesus’ life!
Look at this quote from Christianity’s most popular academic theologian, N.T. Wright, from God and the Authority of Scripture Today [emphasis mine]:
The West is drowning in a sea of double standards and moral relativism in which murderers and tyrants are allowed to wallow in their crimes, while global indignation is turned only against the sole democracy in the Middle East: Israel.
Israeli hospitals have never stopped treating Palestinians, even during wars in Gaza. In Syria, by comparison, Bashar Al-Assad continues to bomb the country's hospitals.
Instead of scapegoating Israel, perhaps these "goodists", if they really care about helping oppressed people, as they claim, will finally promote a freedom flotilla to liberate Gaza from Hamas's tyranny and Syria from Assad's butchery?
It all happened around the same time, 200 kilometers apart. In one photo, Israeli schools were involved in a national drill in the event of a missile attack. In the other photo, a real missile attack in Syria caused 200 deaths, many of which were of children. On one side, you have Israel, a democracy forced to protect its children. On the other side, you have Syria, a brutal dictatorship where the civil war has caused more than 400,000 deaths.
Many Christians know their Bible back to front – when they should know it the right way round! David Andrew offers an appreciation of a recent two-part teaching from Chuck and Karen Cohen…
There’s a consistent note of sober purpose here, so don’t expect a snappy title. As it is, the title gets right to the point – and describes exactly what’s in the tin: “Breaking Down the Middle Wall of Partition: Confronting the Man-Made division between the Old and New Testament.”
Now some will be thinking: “This is clearly off-beam right from the title. Surely Jesus has already broken down the wall between Jew and Gentile? Surely Paul used a past tense?” No arguments there – but just because God has done something has never stopped us mortals from disagreeing with Him or revising the ‘truth’ to make it suit our prejudices. The clue to the title is in the ‘man-made division’ . As early as the early church, even Peter needed correction as he unwittingly started to rebuild the wall that Jesus had demolished (Galatians 2:11-21). Our authors are not in denial of Ephesians 2:14. Their argument – entirely dependent on Scriptural support – is that, historically, the Church in general has done a thorough job of rebuilding the wall by creating a false (distorting) division between the doctrine of the apostles and the ‘Old Testament’ writings they used to support their writings! The effect of this is two-fold:
It’s both a continent and an idea, with an alternately heroic and ignominious past and, until recently, an enviable present. Can the heart of the West survive the 21st century?
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Tough, tender, Gospel
Let’s analyse the first-ever sermon – you know the one delivered on that first Day of Pentecost that added 3000 people to the church in a single day… (Acts 2: 1-41)