There was a time I wondered why so much emphasis was placed on the resurrection. Jesus died on the cross as the all-sufficient sacrifice for the sins of the world. Even if there had been no resurrection, his sacrificial death would have brought salvation; what could be more important than that?
The blood of Jesus was a more excellent sacrifice than that of bulls, sheep and birds. His death on the cross brought an end to the temple sacrifice system. The entire Gospel pivots around the cross. It is the universal symbol of Christianity. But the implications of resurrection are equally powerful, a fact that I can now appreciate as well. Continue reading →
The Gospel is good news. It is the power of God unto salvation. It is the story of God with us. As Christians, we believe all these wonderful things, and more, about the Good News of Jesus Christ. But the vast majority of people will say “Thanks but no thanks,” and some will get defensive first and then angry. For better or worse, hearing the good news offends people.
Jesus has a long conversation with some Jews that “had believed him” in John 8:31-59. In verse 39, the Jews respond to Jesus that Abraham is their father. In 41, they say that God is their only father. Jesus’ final statement, “Before Abraham was I am,” is the Gospel. Jesus is using language that only God would use (i.e. the burning bush), and seems to make a play on words with God’s name. It was not only blasphemy to use God’s name this way, he is saying that in fact he is God; God with us. That’s good news. But on this occasion, it’s not good news for Jesus. They were picking up stones with which to kill him as he escaped from their midst. Continue reading →