Sunday, April 16, 2006

The Mystery of Godliness

And without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of the angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
1Timothy 3:16

This is an excerpt from Matthew Henry's commentary on the above passage:

Christianity is a mystery, a mystery that could not have been found out by reason or the light of nature, and which cannot be comprehended by reason, because it is above reason, though not contrary thereto. It is a mystery, not of philosophy or speculation; but of godliness, designed to promote godliness; and herein it exceeds all the mysteries of the Gentiles. It is also a revealed mystery, not shut up and sealed; and it does not cease to be a mystery because now in part revealed.

Death, Where is Your Victory? Grave Where is Your Sting?

The soldiers must have thought it was the world's biggest waste of time the guard a tomb. They had seen the lack of valor in the disciples. Who was kidding who? Jesus' followers where cowering in a locked room. Yet their orders where to keep zelots out of the tomb. Little did they know that it was the one inside the tomb that would pose a problem.

Behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door,and sat on it. His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men.
Matthew 20:2-4

It was before the crack of dawn and they where on the way to perform the last offices of love for a departed friend, but they where in for the biggest surprise in all of history...

"Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, He is risen, just as he said come, see the place were the Lord lay."
John 28:5-7

You know, I bet that Satan thought he had really scored a point by *ahem* "messing up" God's plan. But God is ironic, don't you think? The crucifixion was God's plan, yet the Parisees (and think it's biblical to say Satan himself) thought it was their plan. He not only beat the Devil at what he thought was his own game by bringing Jesus back to life, he used the evil shouts of "Crucify Him!" as the way to do it. He thus won not only the battle Satan waged against Christ in the form of man, he won the war with death, hell and the grave started in the garden. This is truly the ultimate example of God working all things for the good of those who love God who are the called according to his purpose.

How amazing our God is! This is a powerful statement on the person of Christ which you really should listen to.
You won't be sorry you did.

P.S. If you read this earlier today and it was slightly different, that's because I was trying to get the post up before I had to leave for church this morning, so I went ahead and posted it not quite done, and have now finished it.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Low in the grave he lay, Jesus my Savior, waiting the coming day, Jesus my Lord.

Robert Lowry, 1878

Friday, April 14, 2006

Good Friday

This, the first Friday after Passover, is the day that the western church has traditional designated as the day on which Christ was Crucified. There has been some recently been some debate as to whether Good Friday should be observed on Friday or on Thursday, but for the sake of keeping tradition (and because I lost track of time) I'll observe on Friday this year.

We Protestants tend to gloss over the reality and tragedy of Good Friday. We even call it good because we know the ending. We know that Jesus does not stay in the grave, we know that death looses and that Christ is is victorious. Imagine what it must have been like for those who lived through it. They did not know that this was the plan, that this was the way of salvation. All they knew was that their only hope was hanging on a cross. As for as human eyes could see, this was the end.

Not the way humans would have arranged things, but "as for God, his way is perfect"

This scripture always seems apt on Good Friday:

Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted an extolled, and be very high
As many as where astonished at thee: his vestige was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men; so shall the sprinkled many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that whish had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.

Who has believed our message, and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? for he shall grow up before him as a thnder plant, and as a root out of dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness ; and when we shall see him, there is not beauty that we should desire him.

He was despised and rejected of men' a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it where our faces from him, he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs, and carried out sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth. He is brought as a lamg to slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: and the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with rich men in his death; because he had done not violence, neither was any deceit found in his mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; and he hath put him to grief: when thou shall make him an offering for sin, she shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.

He shall see the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he has poured out his soul unto death, and the was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

Isaiah 52:13-53:12