Category: Theology

Jesus and the Last Supper: more than just a meal

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As part of Holy Week, Maundy Thursday is recognized this evening. It was the night in which Jesus ate the Last Supper with his disciples. The time in which Jesus died corresponded with the Jewish holiday of Passover. And the Last Supper was the first night of Passover. An annual dinner for Passover is held, called a Seder, which is the Hebrew word for “order.” In 3,500 years, rabbinical tradition and teaching helped to form the ceremony of the Seder.

Some of these pieces were traced back to the original Passover. Others came in Jewish history from rabbinical traditions. Continue reading “Jesus and the Last Supper: more than just a meal”

Sunday to Friday: Save us! To Crucify!

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Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons – Ben Stassen

Jesus enters Jerusalem riding on a donkey. It’s a festive scene. Passover week, one of the most significant holidays in the Jewish calendar. Jesus has been preaching throughout the region of Galilee. He has built up quite the following: teaching on the kingdom of heaven and performing miracles.

And here he enters the holy city, the crowds shouting “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” (Matthew 21:9). Palm branches had become a Jewish symbol of victory and the crowds bring these branches out as they chant. The processional they created was somewhat makeshift, but it had kingly overtones. They’re treating him like someone who was returning to Jerusalem after having conquered an enemy. Ironically, he was coming into Jerusalem to conquer sin. Continue reading “Sunday to Friday: Save us! To Crucify!”

Murders, mobs, dictators and the gospel

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(originally posted March 7, 2016)

In the gospel of Matthew, when Jesus was before the ruling Jewish council, he made a reference to his divine status. To the ruling council, this was taken as blasphemy. Within Rome, they didn’t have the authority to execute Jesus for his action, so they took him to Pontius Pilate, who was the governor of Judea

Pilate questions Jesus: “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus said, “You have said so.” But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he gave no answer. Then Pilate said to him, “Do you not hear how many things they testify against you?” But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed. (Matthew 27:11-14). Continue reading “Murders, mobs, dictators and the gospel”

A Sinner’s Guide to Repentance

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Repentance is sincere remorse or regret for an action. Theologically, repentance is associated with the idea of turning away from sin and turning to God.

James 4:7-10 gives what’s almost like a “how to” guide for repentance. It’s not exhaustive, but he says five things that are important to repentance.

1. Repentance involve submission to God

Repentance isn’t just about moralism. It’s about an actual desire for God.

It’s not “well I’ll just drink less” or “get control my temper better.” It’s not just “don’t do that,” but it’s a turning to God. It’s recognizing that God is greater than your sin, that he is better. That his ways are better. That turning from sin is turning to a better way. Continue reading “A Sinner’s Guide to Repentance”

Blessed are the persecuted? 

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

-Matthew 5:10

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus begins the sermon with a section called The Beatitudes, 8 statements, most of which seem counterintuitive at first glance. But these are much deeper than pithy statements. They point us to the ethics of Jesus. 

The final beatitude is in Matthew 5:10, while verses 11 and 12 elaborate on it. 

Blessed are the persecuted.  Continue reading “Blessed are the persecuted? “

Not man’s gospel 


In Paul’s letter to the Galatians, he says “For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel” (Galatians 1:11). 

That is one of the most fundamental misunderstandings that 21st century American society has with Christianity. 

It is not man’s gospel.  Continue reading “Not man’s gospel “

Faith that works 

The Bible is clear that we are justified by faith. Jesus died on the cross. Jesus’ life was enough, his death was enough, the blood that he spilled was enough, his body that was broken was enough, the life he was resurrected to was enough. We could not earn God, we could not be Godly, and from his mercy and goodness, Jesus came for us, to live for us, to die for us, to save us from our sins. And all you have to do is to trust in that, to have faith in that.  

And when you do, God gives you his Spirit. Like the Apostle Paul said in Galatians 2:20, “It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Continue reading “Faith that works “