We abide in Christ like a branch abides in a tree, but how do we do that in day to day life?
Paul Brand, the hand surgeon renowned for his discoveries in leprosy and his vibrant Christian faith, wrote often about the parallels between the church as the Body of Christ and the human body. The metaphor Jesus used in John 15 about the relationship between Him and His people, that of a vine, is another powerful illustration of the intimate, dependent, and fruitful relationship we have with Christ our Creator and Sustainer.
As each organ, liver, brain, kidneys, and heart, is an integral part of the human body, so the branch is an integral part of the vine and each man an integral part of the body of Christ. More precisely, as each human cell is vital to the life of man so each plant cell is to the life of the vine and each believer is to the body of our Lord. To abide in Christ is, therefore, analogous to the relationship between a cell and the body and a branch and its vine.
Continue reading “What does it mean to abide in Christ?”
No one on earth or even in mythology defeated Death, except Jesus. Life finally conquered death. Can you feel it?
Jesus physically rose from the dead. This statement, if true, is the most radical statement in human history. If there is one thing that seems certain about the human condition, even more so than taxes, it is death. This event separates Christianity from all other religions, and makes Christ unique among religious leaders. Islam does not make that claim for Mohammed, nor Judaism for Moses nor Buddhism for Siddhartha Gautama, better known as the Buddha. Yet the Bible makes that claim for Jesus Christ. Not only does it make the claim but stakes the truth or falsehood of Christianity, the religion founded by Jesus Christ, on that event (1 Corinthians 15:3, 4). If Jesus physically rose from the dead, Christianity is true. If not, it is false. The most widespread religion in the world is thus founded on the most preposterous claim in the world.
Continue reading “On the Physical Resurrection of Jesus Christ”
Jesus died, there is no doubt, what happened next, is what the Gospel is about.
Christianity is unique among the religions of the world for many reasons, but one of the most important is that it can be disproven. The fundamental event of Christianity is the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:3, 4). There is no claim in the Koran that Mohammed physically rose from the dead after his death; neither is there a similar claim for Moses, the Buddha, or any founder of a major religion in the world today. The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, if they actually happened, separate Christianity from all other religions, and make Christ unique among religious leaders.
Anyone who wants to refute Christianity and make the Church wither and die simply has to prove that Jesus Christ did not die, at least not in the way that the Bible records, and did not physically rise again. In the two millennia since Jesus’ life, many skeptics have tried to disprove the Bible on this issue. None have succeeded thus far, but there are many theories about how Jesus did not really die as the Bible suggests.
Continue reading “On the Physical Death of Jesus Christ”
Political tension, jealously, misunderstanding, fear, laziness, and all of the natural human sins and frailties led Jesus to Calvary.
Jerusalem in the 1st century AD was an uneasy place. A thin veneer of calm covered a seething cauldron of oppression, resistance, hatred, racial and religious conflict, and murder. Palestine, known to all conquerors since antiquity as a hot bed of revolution, had by 30 AD been under Roman domination for nearly 100 years since Pompey conquered Jerusalem and desecrated the temple in 63 BC.
The political arrangement was simple. The Roman conquerors wanted peace and taxes, the first to limit the expense in blood and treasure of holding Palestine, and the second to get as much as possible out of the province to finance their Imperial tastes and adventures. Lacking a natural port like Greece, resources like Asia Minor, or major wheat harvests like Egypt, Palestine had little to offer their conquerors except for being an eastern outpost against the Parthians and a land bridge between Europe, Asia and Africa. Many troops and lots of money were necessary to hold the land, so the Romans wanted the Jews to be quiet.
Continue reading “Passion Week – The Intractable Conflicts that Sent Jesus to Calvary”