Sunday, April 29, 2007

Are Jews reclaiming Jesus?

That seems to be what this guy is saying.

After two thousand years in a dark corner it seems that Jesus is making something of a comeback in the Jewish world. Not in a Christian, proselytizing "Jews for Jesus" manner, but as a historical figure, decidedly unchristian, who needs to be reassessed as a player in the Jewish tradition. In recent years the job of reclaiming Jesus has gone on in both low and high culture.

[...]

The great Jewish painter Marc Chagall, the subject of my recent biography, was, then, perhaps ahead of his time in his insistence that Jesus be seen as a great "Jewish poet and prophet." Chagall was gripped by images of Jesus from an early age, and could not, in fact, get them out of his mind. He began to paint crucifixion scenes while in his early twenties and continued to do so, sometimes obsessively, as in the years 1941-1942, throughout his long life. For Chagall it was a tragedy that religious schismatism had severed Jesus from the Jewish world. When, during the Holocaust, he searched for an image of martyrdom and suffering that would be commensurate with the suffering of the Jews, his mind moved naturally to a Jewish Jesus on the cross, a figure that, as in his great 1938 painting White Crucifixion he draped in a prayer shawl or tallit, so that viewers could not miss the point.

This Sunday, at the Center for Jewish History in New York, Nextbook is sponsoring a conference entitled "What's He Doing here? Jesus in Jewish Culture." An array of Jewish writers and thinkers: theologians, historians, poets and public intellectuals, including Leon Wieseltier, Stephen Greenblatt, Susannah Heschel, Paula Frederiksen, Jonathan Rosen, Stephen Prothero, Robert Pinsky, and I'm happy to say, myself, will attempt, as the title makes clear, to tease out the twists and turns, the history and the representation, of Jesus in Jewish culture. My man is Chagall, whose relation to Jesus is conflicted and contradictory: sometimes Chagall identified with Jesus as a suffering artist/poet, sometimes he saw him as a symbol of Jewish suffering and sometimes he portrayed him in more conventional "Christian" fashion. Others will take on Jesus and the Rabbis, Messianism, Jesus in the Promised Land. And Stephen Greenblatt, who has already let us know so engagingly what he thinks of Shakespeare, will now tell us what he thinks of Jesus.

Chagall's use of Christ to represent the suffering of the Jews is incredibly insightful, Christ went through the tribulation of the Jews on the cross (Deuteronomy 4:30) and there is no greater symbol of the suffering of the nation of Israel than the cross (I probably will develop this thought more on Life Under the Sun during the summer, so stay tuned).

I think it's great that Jesus is the current focus of Jewish thought and I'm glad that they're giving him a second look. But this type of analysis will mislead them:
and as for Jesus, we shall know him for who he was: Yeshua, a Jew who never imagined himself outside the normative Jewish tradition and who would no doubt be deeply surprised to find himself there.
It ignores the only credible record we have of Jesus' words, it totally misses what Jesus says of himself:
Matthew 5:17 "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus doesn't sound like a typical Second Temple rabbi. He's saying he's above the law and no rabbi at that time would have said that because the law was supreme. Messiah was to come and rule the nation of Israel by the law of God, he wasn't a law unto himself. The law was holy and given to the nation of Israel by God and was very precious in their sight. It's what set them apart from the other nations. It was a sign of their eternal covenant with God.

He also said this:
Matthew 12:1 At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. 2 But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, "Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath." 3 He said to them, "Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, and those who were with him: 4 how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him to eat nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? 5 Or have you not read in the Law how on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath and are guiltless? 6 I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. 7 And if you had known what this means, 'I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,' you would not have condemned the guiltless. 8 For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath."
A Second Temple rabbi would never call himself the Lord of the Sabbath because it is holy and belongs to God. It was the day that man focused his thoughts and attention on God and not his normal, everyday duties. He was to give the day over to God. Jesus was saying that he was somehow the master of that day and that he could determine what men did on the Sabbath. This was totally outside the norm of Jewish thinking because Jesus was saying that he was above the laws that regulated what could be done on the Sabbath. As far as the Pharisees were concerned, Jesus had delusions of grandeur.

And if he was a typical Jew, why were the Pharisees ready to stone him for blaspheming God? He very clearly committed a grave sin in the eyes of the Pharisees because he made himself equal to God:
John 10:24 So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, "How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly." 25 Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name bear witness about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. 30 I and the Father are one." 31 The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. 32 Jesus answered them, "I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?" 33 The Jews answered him, "It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God."
There are many other examples of this in Scripture and reading the Gospel accounts would give anyone pause in thinking of Jesus as a "Jew who never imagined himself outside the normative Jewish tradition." I would also recommend A Rabbi Talks with Jesus. It is an excellent book that provides insight into why the Jews of Jesus' time rejected the claims of Jesus and why Jews of today continue to do so.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

New Blogger

I switched to the new Blogger. Well, to be completely honest, they switched me. I went to the dashboard but instead of seeing my blogs, I saw this:

Yikes! I was a little concerned but by the next morning I could access my blogs though I was bummed to see that I couldn't use the new features. They just copy your blog over as is and you can't use the cool widgets or change the colors of the links from the layout editor or anything else that makes the new blogger new. The only thing I can do is add labels to my post but I can't display the categories.

So, I've decided to switch templates but I have two problems: I don't have a lot of time because I have to study for a Greek test this week and I don't like any of the free templates. I was thinking about rewriting this template but I don't really know if I want to invest the time. This one is one of the few I liked so far but it's brown and I don't like dark colors (it's hard on the eyes). I may use this one but I'll have to modify it. Hopefully, there will be a new look to the place by the end of may.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Rodney Olsen is in jail!

He's trying to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis (CF) and will be sprung when he raises enough. He will be broadcasting from his cell. Go here for the details.

I don't think you can boil Calvin down to two points

Even if you are doing it for kids, it sort of loses something in the translation :-)



Calvin is so much richer than this, it really does a disservice to his teachings.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Meredith Kline died last Friday

Another wonderful scholar has gone home to be with the Lord. Meredith Kline was a brilliant Old Testament scholar who did a lot of ground breaking work on covenant theology which many scholars refer to today, he saw the link between the Suzerain-Vassal treaties and the covenants in the Bible. He also did a lot of work on the framework view of creation.

He was an ordained minister in the OPC and he taught at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia and California.

And he wrote a number of really hard to read books on the covenant. I really struggled with Images of the Spirit but had a much easier time with Kingdom Prologue (here is an excerpt for the it that explains covenants) I told my professor that he needed to provide his students with a Kline glossary because it's hard to understand what he meant by some of phrases he used. Here are some examples:

“As the Omega-point of the creative cloning of the archetypal Glory-temple, the divine design contemplated a living temple of created spirits, God created man in the likeness of the Glory to be a spirit-temple of God in the Spirit” (pg. 21).

The statement in Genesis 1:26 that man is created in the image of God has a “visible point of reference in the Glory-Spirit theophany of Genesis 1:2” (pg. 21). Genesis 2:7 supports this since it states that man was animated by a “divine inbreathing.” This should be understood “as the vitalizing breath of the Spirit” (pg. 21). Psalm 104:29-31; Lamentations 4:20; Ezekiel 37:1-10, 14; Luke 1:35 and John 20:22 all support this interpretation. The plural used in 1:26 is the link between the creation of man and the “Glory-Spirit” in 1:2. “The Glory-cloud curtains the heavenly enthronement of God in the midst of the judicial council of his celestial hosts” (pg. 22). God is addressing an “angelic council of elders.” Support for this is Genesis 1:26, 3:22, 24; 18:2; 19:1;and Isa. 6:8.

The Glory theophany, in which God was present as Logos-Wisdom and Spirit-Power, stood as archetype at the creation of man as God’s image” (pg. 23)
But once your professor explains it to you, it's really quite brilliant stuff.

Here's a website that contains a bibliography of his books and articles with links to the articles that can be found online.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

ESV Literary Study Bible

The ESV publishers are such tempters! How in the world can I possibly justify getting yet another study Bible? I have so many! And it's $50 but I think it would be worth it. You usually have to buy a separate commentary to get good literary analysis of the text. Having a study Bible would be helpful when I'm reading a particular book of the Bible and don't have a literary commentary available. Knowing the genre and other literary forms of a particular book of the Bible could be very helpful in my daily reading.

Dr. Leland Ryken provides the notes for the study Bible, he is an expert in the field of literary analysis. You can read more about it here where there's a link to a brochure. Do not click on that link unless you are strong willed and won't be tempted into buying it because it really does look great. I even love the cover. I'm going to save my money and get it when it comes out in September.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Happy Birthday, Sarah!!!!!

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

This is pretty powerful

I hadn't see this before. I'm glad this artist wrote this song the way he did. It's a window into feelings that people are pretty reluctant to share.




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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Why do I do it?

That is my question. I thought I would throw it out there and see if anyone has any idea why I do it. What is it? I want to say procrastination but it's more than that. Why can't I write anything until the night before it's due? I will sit down two months, a month, half a year even, the week before and I'm unable to think clearly enough to write. The only time I have no trouble writing is the night before it's due. My brain is sharp and clear, I'm disciplined and focused and the words flow from my head to the keyboard. No problem. But if I sat down before the due date, nothing!

Is it adrendline? Do I need it to write?

Sunday, April 08, 2007

He is risen

And the people said, "He is risen indeed!" You will probably be reading that a lot today on Christian blogs (I would hope). And the verse of the day is probably Luke 24:5 which says it all today as we celebrate an empty tomb and a risen Lord and Savior.

Luke 24:1 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. 2 And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. 5 And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, "Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, 7 that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise."
I'm thankful to God the Father that he accepted the sacrifice of Jesus as a substitute for our sins and that he gave the world a witness to warn them of the coming judgment:
Acts 17:30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead."
Thanks be to God for his gift of salvation.

Enjoy your day today as you celebrate the risen Christ. Don't eat too much chocolate!

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We liked The Last Mimzy

Sorry, I don't have time to write a review, I'm trying to work on my digest. But I did want to let you know that I really liked it and so did my daughters. I think it was interesting and didn't really lag at any point in the movie. I had a problem with two aspects of the movie. It was pretty much an environmentalist propaganda piece and I was not too thrilled by the fact that the science teacher was walking around in his underwear and canoodling his fiancee. I thought this was pretty inappropriate behavior for a kids' movie. It was kind of jarring since it was so unexpected. Other than that, I really enjoyed the movie and would recommend it for older children. I say this because the scenes from the future were a little scary.

We may see Meet the Robinsons next week, Sarah's friend was dragged to it by her mom and she didn't like it. Sarah wants to see it to see if it's as bad as her friend said it was. I think we should see it because we are going to Disney World and there may be references to characters that we won't get because we didn't see the movie.

BTW, we keep seeing the Nancy Drew trailer when we go to the moives and we are really looking forward to see it, I hope it's as good as it looks.


I used to watch the Nancy Drew TV show and loved the books and so did Sarah (unfortunately Samantha doesn't like to read, though she is looking forward to the movie because of the cute boy -- she wants me to take her to see Firehouse Dog because the "boy in it is cute").

Friday, April 06, 2007

Good Friday

The people of Israel were awaiting their salvation, they thought that this man might be it. He had performed so many miracles that they began to believe that he was who he claimed to be. He feed thousands with a loaf of bread and a few fish and he even raised the dead. How could someone who wasn't from God do that? But he wasn't doing the things that he was supposed to do, he wasn't taking control of Jerusalem. When he entered the city, he didn't set up his throne, he cleared the temple instead. He should have been preparing the people to take control of Jerusalem, instead of condemning Rome for it's oppression, he condemned the scribes and the Pharisees instead -- he called them hypocrites and white washed tombs. This didn't sound like the king they were expecting.

So, they condemned him to death because he didn't meet their expectations. He wasn't what they wanted. They tauted him on the cross, hurled insults at him:

Matthew 27:39 And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads 40 and saying, "You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross." 41 So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying, 42 "He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, 'I am the Son of God.'" 44 And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way.

Luke 23:35 And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, "He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!"

Luke 23:39 One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, "Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!"
Jesus knew they didn't understand:
Luke 23:34 And Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." And they cast lots to divide his garments.
But the suffering of the Servant of God was clearly revealed in the prophet Isaiah:
Isaiah 53:1 Who has believed what they heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. 3 He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. 8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? 9 And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. 10 Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. 11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.
They didn't understand that they had just crucified their Messiah. They didn't understand that he came to do this very thing, to die for the sins of his people. They were expecting to live in a kingdom of peace and righteousness but how could they expect to that when they had been unable to do so throughout their history? They thought the kingdom would be governed by the Law but how would they keep it, since they have never been able to keep it before. God gives them the answer through the prophet Jeremiah:
Jeremiah 31:1 "At that time, declares the LORD, I will be the God of all the clans of Israel, and they shall be my people." 2 Thus says the LORD: "The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness; when Israel sought for rest, 3 the LORD appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you. 4 Again I will build you, and you shall be built, O virgin Israel! Again you shall adorn yourself with tambourines and shall go forth in the dance of the merrymakers. 5 Again you shall plant vineyards on the mountains of Samaria; the planters shall plant and shall enjoy the fruit. 6 For there shall be a day when watchmen will call in the hill country of Ephraim: 'Arise, and let us go up to Zion, to the LORD our God.'" 7 For thus says the LORD: "Sing aloud with gladness for Jacob, and raise shouts for the chief of the nations; proclaim, give praise, and say, 'O LORD, save your people, the remnant of Israel.' 8 Behold, I will bring them from the north country and gather them from the farthest parts of the earth, among them the blind and the lame, the pregnant woman and her who is in labor, together; a great company, they shall return here. 9 With weeping they shall come, and with pleas for mercy I will lead them back, I will make them walk by brooks of water, in a straight path in which they shall not stumble, for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn. 10 "Hear the word of the LORD, O nations, and declare it in the coastlands far away; say, 'He who scattered Israel will gather him, and will keep him as a shepherd keeps his flock.' 11 For the LORD has ransomed Jacob and has redeemed him from hands too strong for him. 12 They shall come and sing aloud on the height of Zion, and they shall be radiant over the goodness of the LORD, over the grain, the wine, and the oil, and over the young of the flock and the herd; their life shall be like a watered garden, and they shall languish no more. 13 Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old shall be merry. I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow. 14 I will feast the soul of the priests with abundance, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, declares the LORD." 15 Thus says the LORD: "A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted for her children, because they are no more." 16 Thus says the LORD: "Keep your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears, for there is a reward for your work, declares the LORD, and they shall come back from the land of the enemy. 17 There is hope for your future, declares the LORD, and your children shall come back to their own country. 18 I have heard Ephraim grieving, 'You have disciplined me, and I was disciplined, like an untrained calf; bring me back that I may be restored, for you are the LORD my God. 19 For after I had turned away, I relented, and after I was instructed, I slapped my thigh; I was ashamed, and I was confounded, because I bore the disgrace of my youth.' 20 Is Ephraim my dear son? Is he my darling child? For as often as I speak against him, I do remember him still. Therefore my heart yearns for him; I will surely have mercy on him, declares the LORD. 21 "Set up road markers for yourself; make yourself guideposts; consider well the highway, the road by which you went. Return, O virgin Israel, return to these your cities. 22 How long will you waver, O faithless daughter? For the LORD has created a new thing on the earth: a woman encircles a man." 23 Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: "Once more they shall use these words in the land of Judah and in its cities, when I restore their fortunes: "' The LORD bless you, O habitation of righteousness, O holy hill!' 24 And Judah and all its cities shall dwell there together, and the farmers and those who wander with their flocks. 25 For I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish." 26 At this I awoke and looked, and my sleep was pleasant to me. 27 "Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man and the seed of beast. 28 And it shall come to pass that as I have watched over them to pluck up and break down, to overthrow, destroy, and bring harm, so I will watch over them to build and to plant, declares the LORD. 29 In those days they shall no longer say: "' The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge.' 30 But everyone shall die for his own sin. Each man who eats sour grapes, his teeth shall be set on edge. 31 "Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more."
Before they went into the promised land, Moses told them to remember the commandments he had given them, they were to bind them on their hand and forehead:
Deuteronomy 6:1 "Now this is the commandment, the statutes and the rules that the LORD your God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it, 2 that you may fear the LORD your God, you and your son and your son's son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be long. 3 Hear therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them, that it may go well with you, and that you may multiply greatly, as the LORD, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey. 4 "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
But in Jeremiah we see that God will put his commands in their heart. They will no longer be external but internal, a part of them. They will keep the commandments because they will no longer be external rules that they have to remember but part of who they are. We see this thought developed further in Ezekiel:
Ezekiel 11:19 And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, 20 that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God.

Ezekiel 36:22 "Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord GOD: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came. 23 And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them. And the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Lord GOD, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes. 24 I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land. 25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. 28 You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God. 29 And I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses. And I will summon the grain and make it abundant and lay no famine upon you.
How would they keep the law? God would not only put the law in their hearts but would fill them with his Spirit who would cause them to walk in his statutes. He would guide them to righteousness. But what about the sins that they had already committed? God says that he will purify them, that he would cleanse them of their sins. In the Old Testament the only way to be cleansed was the shedding of blood:
Hebrews 9:18 Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood. 19 For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20 saying, "This is the blood of the covenant that God commanded for you." 21 And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. 22 Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.
They themselves knew that the blood of animals was not enough because they had to repeatedly shed the blood of animals to atone for their sins:
Hebrews 10:1 For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near. 2 Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have any consciousness of sin? 3 But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sin every year. 4 For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. 5 Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, "Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me; 6 in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure. 7 Then I said, 'Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.'" 8 When he said above, "You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings" (these are offered according to the law), 9 then he added, "Behold, I have come to do your will." He abolishes the first in order to establish the second. 10 And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11 And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet.
Christ's death was necessary because there can be no forgiveness without the shedding of blood and the sacrifice had to be a spotless lamb. How could anyone in the nation of Israel die for the sins of the nation? No one was sinless. No one could die for the sins of others when he bore his own sin. He would have to atone for his sin first and then the sins of the nation. The only one who is sinless is God himself, so God sent his Son to die for the sins of the nation (and, as we see in 1 John 2:2, the sins of the whole world). He had to be born of a woman so that he could represent man to be his sin bearer but he also had to be God because only God is sinless.

And in Ezekiel we see that the purpose of the cross was to vindicate the holiness of God. The world has seen what it takes to atone for sinning against God; what it takes to purify a people so that they could be called the people of God. A sinless perfect man and very God himself had to take our place and bear the wrath of God. That is the payment for sin, he doesn't wink at it and say, "Poof it's gone." He expects it to be paid in full. Christ paid that price for those who are united to him but those who aren't in Christ will pay for their own sin throughout eternity.
2 Corinthians 9:15 Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Going to see The Last Mimzy this week

Have you seen it yet? I've wanted to see it since we saw the trailer when we went to see The Bridge to Terabithia. We'll be seeing it this week even though it didn't get great reviews. Which I can't understand because the trailer looks really good (I guess you can't judge a movie by it's trailer :-)



I'll try to write a review after we've seen it.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Samson as a suicide bomber and other links

I was so focused on my Palm Sunday post that I didn't do any April Fool's Day joking. I did a couple on Reformed Chicks but not here. So, I'm letting you know about this and this. Very funny.

The director of the Victoria Philharmonic Choir has updated Handel's Samson oratorio to reflect our times: Samson as a suicide bomber. I blog about it at Reformed Chicks.

Kevin Stilley does an excellent job honoring national poetry month in a truly unique way.

And make sure that you check out my Google Reader widget. I added some interesting posts I found among my RSS feeds.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Carnival of the Blogging Chicks #35 Easter/Passover

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketThe Carnival is up but it's small. It's open to all female blogger, so if you blog about Easter or Passover, send me a one line description with a link to the post and I will add it.

The Unexpected King

Today we remember Jesus' triumphant entry into the city of Jerusalem on the back of a donkey. Jesus was greeted by the people as the King of Israel:

John 12:12 The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 13 So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!" 14 And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written, 15 "Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey's colt!" 16 His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about him and had been done to him. 17 The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness. 18 The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign.
Of course this didn't last too long because in a few days the people were shouting, "Crucify him!"
John 19:14 Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, "Behold your King!" 15 They cried out, "Away with him, away with him, crucify him!" Pilate said to them, "Shall I crucify your King?" The chief priests answered, "We have no king but Caesar."
They rejected their King. Why? Because he wasn't what they expected. He didn't save them from the oppression they were living under, he didn't remove the yoke of the Roman government from off their necks. They expected a king like the other nations had but he didn't establish his kingdom. Instead of preparing the people to battle their enemy, he prepared them to love them. Instead of overthrowing the yoke of oppression, he told them to do more than was expected (Matt. 5:41). And instead of attacking the Roman soldiers, he attacked the religious leaders of Israel. He came to save them from a greater enemy than Rome and they did not realize it. They wanted salvation from Rome but he wanted to give them salvation from the wrath of God.

How could this be the Messiah? What kind of kingdom was he offering, not one that they expected. They expected a king like they had when they were living in a theocracy, they expected a king like David but Jesus stated that his kingdom was not of this world (Matt. 18:36). When he spoke of the kingdom it was in parables of fish, seeds, sheep, wheat and tares, and the prodigal son who was welcomed back even though he squandered his inheritance. What kind of kingdom was that?

The Jews believed that the coming kingdom would be governed by the law of God but Jesus said that he fulfilled the law, how could this be?
Matthew 5:17 "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
Even John the Baptist, who proclaimed that Jesus was the Lamb of God (John 1:36), was confused. If this was the kingdom in which righteous would dwell, why was he in jail (Matt. 11:2-6)? Persecuted for speaking out against the sins of the people including Herod.

The people were expecting a son of David but they didn't expect the Son of God. How could he say that he was like God when he was born of a woman? He was flesh just as they were, how could he blaspheme God that way? Why would the Messiah equate himself with God?

And if they had trouble with the teaching of Jesus before the crucification, then after the crucification it would be impossible for them to think that someone who hung on a tree could be the Messiah because the law states that whosoever hangs on a tree is cursed by God:
Galatians 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us- for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree"
How could this be the Messiah who would usher in a time of holiness and righteousness:
Zechariah 14:20 And on that day there shall be inscribed on the bells of the horses, "Holy to the LORD." And the pots in the house of the LORD shall be as the bowls before the altar. 21 And every pot in Jerusalem and Judah shall be holy to the LORD of hosts, so that all who sacrifice may come and take of them and boil the meat of the sacrifice in them. And there shall no longer be a trader in the house of the LORD of hosts on that day.
They did not realize that though Christ was cursed for us, God accepted his payment for our sin because he was the Lamb of God without a blemish or a stain. He was the perfect sacrifice to be made in our stead. He bore the sins of his people and now we are free of them because the resurrection proved that his sacrifice was accepted by God. The resurrection that we celebrate next Sunday and every Sunday, is the vindication of his sacrifice. We can proclaim that we worship a risen Saviour, one who ushered in the kingdom when he ascended to sit at the right hand of the God.

After Jesus' resurrection, the disciples still didn't get it:
Acts 1:6 So when they had come together, they asked him, "Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?"
But then he sent his Spirit and they understood and were soon proclaiming the kingdom of God to Jerusalem, Samaria and to the ends of the earth. They understood that the kingdom wasn't a matter of this world but the one to come:
Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
The king of Israel has arrived and we worship him. The long awaited kingdom has come and though we cannot see it, we have been transfered to it:
Colossians 1:13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
We are in the kingdom now but we await it's final consummation:
Revelation 21:1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away." 5 And he who was seated on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." Also he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true." 6 And he said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.
Once again we await the King, who has promised to come and usher in the final consummation of his kingdom:
Revelation 22:20 He who testifies to these things says, "Surely I am coming soon." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!
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