Archives For Easter

Lent: Questions and Answers

Chris —  February 28, 2017

Pastor Chris Brauns from the Red Brick Church with questions and answers about Lent.Lent – What is it? 

Lent is the 40 period (less Sundays) before Easter and is based on Jesus’s forty days in the wilderness. Some Christians fast, think soberly about their faith, and focus on repenting of their sins during this period.

Does The Red Brick Church observe Lent? 

No. We do not follow a formal liturgical calendar.

Is it wrong to observe Lent? 

No. There are advantages of intentionally focusing on Christ for a season. Fasting and praying should certainly be encouraged. See: Focus on Fasting

What “dangers” or misunderstandings might come with Lent observance? 

The dangers to avoid are essentially the same dangers to avoid when fasting (giving up some legitimate practice for a season to focus on God). When we fast, it is easy to allow a works mentality to creep into how we see our relationship with God. Said another way, we can consciously or unconsciously begin to believe that we are asking God to bless us because we are giving  something up.

The Christians confidence should never be on our effort but rather on the Gospel or Good News of what God has done for those who put their faith and trust in him. 

If, during Lent, I want to grow on being more centered on Jesus, how should I go about it? 

Three suggestions:

  1. Prayerfully read the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). Meditate on Jesus in his Word.
  2. Read The Final Days of Jesus: The Most Important Week of the Most Important Person Who Ever Lived to gain a clearer picture of Holy Week. For more on this recommendation, see my post, 7 Reasons to Read the Final Days of Jesus.
  3. Read my small, unedited booklet, Surveying the Cross: Pursuing An Increasingly Cross-Centered Life During Lent, that highlights a strategy for being more Cross-centered during Lent. Please note that the links are for my own use and don’t work in the pdf version. Essentially, this document is a copy of my study notes. 

The Seven Last Words of Christ

Chris —  April 3, 2015

Palm Sunday PicThe Seven Last Words of Christ reference Jesus’s final statements on the cross, not individual words per se. These seven final statements include:

  1. “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34
  2. “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise” Luke 23:43.
  3. “Dear Woman, here is your son!” and “Here is your mother!” John 19:26-27.
  4. “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46
  5. “I am thirsty” John 19:28.
  6. “It is finished!” John 19:30.
  7. “Father, into Your hands I commit my spirit” Luke 23:46

For more reflection see:

John MacArthur, “The Seven Last Sayings of Christ: A Plea for Forgiveness,” Grace To You, March 23, 2015, http://www.gty.org/blog/B150323.

 

Maundy Thursday IllustrationGiven the Old Testament’s explicit instruction to love our neighbors as ourselves (Leviticus 19:18), what’s new about the New Commandment?

Churches celebrate Maundy Thursday on the Holy Week in commemoration of the Last Supper and Jesus’ issuance of a new commandment.

“Maundy” comes from the Latin “mandatum” and references the word “commandment” in John 13:34.[1]

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:34-35.

Jesus illustrated his new commandment, prior to giving it, by washing the disciples’ feet (John 13:1-20). Christ’s example in servant love amazes us for at least four reasons:

  • The washing of feet was a menial task yet Christ, who is God, was willing to do it.
  • Christ washed the disciples feet fully conscious of the fact that his redemptive task would require him to go to the Cross.
  • Jesus washed Peter’s feet, and those of the other disciples, knowing that Peter would deny him and that all the disciples would scatter (John 13:36-38k, Matthew 26:31).
  • Jesus washed Judas’s feet even though Judas was going to betray him. In the Gospel of John, John makes sure that we do not miss that Jesus washed Judas’s feet.  Judas is mentioned at the beginning (John 13:2) and at the end of the passage (John 13:21-30).

Christ’s followers are to be known by their servant love. Jesus assured his disciples that their love for one another would distinctively identify them as followers of Christ.

The student of the Old Testament may wonder what is “new” about Jesus’s new commandment given that Leviticus 19:18 explicitly commands:

 You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD. Leviticus 19:18.

 One of my seminary professors, Dr. Carl Hoch, whose life work was studying the New Testament use of the word “new” (καινός / kainos), identified five major ways that the new commandment is “new.”[2]

  • The New Model – Jesus himself set the example.
  • The New Motive – Jesus love for lost people is now explicitly stated.
  • The New Motivator – Jesus soon encourages his disciples that it is to our advantage that he is leaving because this means he will send the Holy Spirit.
  • The New Mission – The new commandment is the central feature of the mission of making disciples of Christ (John 13:35, Matthew 28:18-20).
  • The New Milieu – Dr. Hoch was stretching a bit for “m’s” when he got to this one, but his point is that our Lord’s death, burial, and resurrection inaugurated a new age. Dr. Hoch wrote, “The new situation created by the sacrifice of Christ anticipates in the present the condition of the age to come. The mutual love of the disciples is therefore the rule of the new era.”[3]

Hoch concluded:

The new commandment is the sine qua non of the Christian life. “It is simple enough for a toddler to memorize and appreciate, profound enough that the most mature believers are repeatedly embarrassed at how poorly they comprehend it and put it into practice. Can any more be said?[4]

See also:

Kevin DeYoung on Maundy Thursday[5]

John Piper on Thursday of the Commandment[6]

What Happened Each Day of Holy Week : This post gives a summary of what happened each day of Holy Week.

The people involved in the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ: Have problems keeping track of all the Marys and the other people involved in Holy Week? Here’s a summary.

Places Associated with Holy Week: Calvary is the same as Golgotha and other helpful facts about Holy Week places.

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[1] In the original language, the word “commandment” is first in John 13:34. The word order is literally, Ἐντολὴν καινὴν δίδωμι ὑμῖν, ἵνα ἀγαπᾶτε ἀλλήλους, καθὼς ἠγάπησα ὑμᾶς ἵνα καὶ ὑμεῖς ἀγαπᾶτε ἀλλήλους / commandment new I give to you, in order that you love one another, even as I have loved you so that and you love one another.”

[2] Carl B. Hoch, All Things New: The Significance of Newness for Biblical Theology (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1995), 142–145.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid., 145.

[5] Kevin DeYoung, “Maundy Thursday,” The Gospel Coalition, April 1, 2010, http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2010/04/01/maundy-thursday-2/.

[6] John Piper, “Thursday of the Commandment,” Desiring God, March 20, 2008, http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/thursday-of-the-commandment.

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Psalm 22 - Summary of New Testament UsageCharles Spurgeon believed Jesus may have repeated Psalm 22 word for word on the Cross. If you review the New Testament usage of Psalm 22, you will understand why Spurgeon thought so.

Psalm 22 is a psalm with application in David’s life (circa 1000 B.C) but it is prophetic and fulfilled completely only by Christ. Hence, it is sometimes called the 5th Gospel account of the cross.[1] Spurgeon says that this Psalm is beyond all others:

The Psalm of the Cross. It may have been actually repeated word by word by our Lord when hanging on the tree; it would be too bold to say that it was so, but even a causal reader may see that it might have been . . . O for grace to draw near and see this great sight! We should read reverently, putting off our shoes from our feet, as Moses did at the burning bush, for if there be holy ground anywhere in Scripture it is this psalm.[2]

 Regarding Psalm 22, Kaiser writes:

David did experience unusual suffering, but under a revelation from God he witnesses suffering of one of his offspring, presumably the last in that promised line, that far transcends anything that came his way.[3]

The Psalm’s essential message is summarized in verse 24. In spite of God’s awful delay in answering prayer, he answers and upholds ultimate justice.”[4] So, someone has said, that while Psalm 22 begins with a “sob”, it ends with a “song” in anticipation of the resurrection.[5]

Derek Kidner:

No Christian can read this without being vividly confronted with the crucifixion. It is not only a matter of prophecy minutely fulfilled, but of the sufferer’s humility – – there is no plea for vengeance—and his vision of a world-wide ingathering of the Gentiles. The Gelineau translation entitles it ‘The suffering servant wins the deliverance of the nations’.

 No incident recorded of David can begin to account for this Psalm. It is prophetic of the Cross.[6]

 

 ——–

[1] Peter C. Craigie, Psalms 1-50, ed. David A. Hubbard et al., Word Biblical Commentary (Waco: Word, 1983), 202.

[2] {Citation}

[3] Walter C. Kaiser, The Messiah in the Old Testament, Studies in Old Testament Biblical Theology (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1995), 113.

[4] Waltke, Bruce K., Houston, James M., and Erika Moore, The Psalms as Christian Worship: A Historical Commentary (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2010), 398.

[5] “Psalms Studies – Book 1,” accessed March 27, 2012, http://www.christadelphianbooks.org/booker/psalms1/psabka30.html.

[6] Derek Kidner, Psalms 1-72, ed. D.J. Wiseman, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 1973), 105.

See also:

What Happened Each Day of Holy Week : This post gives a summary of what happened each day of Holy Week.

The people involved in the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ: Have problems keeping track of all the Marys and the other people involved in Holy Week? Here’s a summary.

Places Associated with Holy Week: Calvary is the same as Golgotha and other helpful facts about Holy Week places.

Holy Week Links of Interest

Chris —  March 31, 2015

Palm Sunday PicThe following links will help you review what happened during Holy Week and why it is important.

What Happened Each Day of Holy Week : This post gives a summary of what happened each day of Holy Week.

The people involved in the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ: Have problems keeping track of all the Marys and the other people involved in Holy Week? Here’s a summary.

Places Associated with Holy Week: Calvary is the same as Golgotha and other helpful facts about Holy Week places.

Important theological terms: Terms we must know. These help understand why Jesus went to the Cross.

R.C. Sproul on the Most Horrible and Beautiful Example of God’s Wrath For Us  – To understand the Cross, we must understand that Jesus went there in the place of his people.

Only the Resurrection of Christ Can Explain These Facts – This will bolster your confidence in the historical truth of the resurrection.

Summary and Select Quotes of Isaiah’s Servant Songs Including Isaiah 53 – Isaiah vividly prophesied the Cross 700 years prior to the time of Christ.

Sing Psalm 118 in Anticipation of Palm Sunday and Holy Week – Shows the connections between Psalm 118 and Holy Week.

7 Reasons I Recommend the Final Days of Jesus by Taylor and Kostenberger – Points to the best introductory resource on Holy Week.

John R.W. Stott: 3 Truths Enforced by the Cross – Vintage Stott giving a powerful summary of truths enforced by the Cross.

Help Select Good Friday and Easter Hymns – Hymns like these are an essential part of worship during Holy Week.

What Will You Look Like After Your Resurrection : A link to a post by pastor Steve Dewitt that helps us consider how our resurrection bodies will look after Christ returns.

S.M. Lockridge: Sunday’s Comin: An excerpt from one of the all time great sermons on the hope of the resurrection when all seems lost.

Isaiah’s servant songs (Isaiah 42:1-4, 49:1-6, 50:4-9, 52:13-53:12) are four passages in Isaiah that uniquely prophesy Christ and are of central importance as we remember the death, burial, and resurrection. Select quotes below show the importance of Isaiah’s Servant Songs.

Eugene Peterson’s Summary of the Four Servant Songs[1]

Servant Song Peterson Thought
Isaiah 42:1-9 The servant is chosen for a mission. He won’t force his way, but will do it quietly and gently.
Isaiah 49:1-7 The servant is formed in the womb. It will be a huge task, but he will be given as a light to the nations.
Isaiah 50:4-9 This song reaffirms the servant’s work of witness and preaching that is met with scorn and contempt.
Isaiah 52:13-53:12 The servant will win the victory through the unlikely approach of suffering in the place of those he saves: “sacrificial suffering, suffering with and for others.”

Youngblood says that the theme of the suffering servant is the most important theme in Isaiah.[2]

Oswalt regarding the Servant Songs writes:

 . . . there is a unique emphasis on what the Servant will accomplish for the world . . . my position is that in these passages Isaiah is speaking of an individual, almost certainly the Messiah, who will be the ideal Israel. Through his obedient service to God, Israel will be enabled to perform the service of blessing the nations that had been prophesied in Gen 12:3 and elsewhere.[3]

 God’s answer to the oppressors of the world is not more oppression, nor is his answer to arrogance more arrogance; rather, in quietness, humility, and simplicity, he will take all of the evil into himself and return only grace. That is power (Oswalt, 111).[4]

In the context of reflecting on the Servant Songs, Edward J. Young writes:

Christ was sent in order to bring the whole world under the authority of God and under obedience to Him.[5]

Those who gather about him to hear his teaching will discover that he spoke as never man spoke. His teaching was not accomplished through loud proclamation but by quiet instruction.[6]

Isaiah 52:12-53:12 is one of four servant songs. In the Old Testament “Only the strange, silent figure of Isaiah 53 stands before us as one who, it is said, remains innocent and righteous.” N.T. Wright[7]

Along with Psalm 22, Isaiah 53 is the central prophetic prophecy of the atonement found in the Old Testament. It vividly describes Christ’s substitutionary death 700 years before the cross. The Church Father Polycarp said Isaiah 53 is the golden “passional” of the Old Testament evangelist. Youngblood tells us that this song is often called the Gospel of the Old Testament and this passage is quoted more often than any other in the New Testament.

Regarding the importance of Isaiah 53 in regards to the atoning work of Christ, Stott writes:

But it is particularly the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah, describing the servant’s suffering and death, which is applied consistently to Jesus Christ. ‘No other passage from the Old Testament’, Joachim Jeremias has written, ‘was as important to the Church as Isaiah 53.’19 The New Testament writers quote eight specific verses as having been fulfilled in Jesus. Verse 1 (‘who has believed our message?’) is applied to Jesus by John (12:38). Matthew sees the statement of verse 4 (‘he took up our infirmities and carried our diseases’) as fulfilled in Jesus’ healing ministry (8:17). That we have gone astray like sheep (v. 6), but that by his wounds we have been healed (v. 5) are both echoed by Peter (1 Pet. 2:22–25), and so in the same passage are verse 9 (‘nor was any deceit in his mouth’) and verse 11 (‘he will bear their iniquities’). Then verses 7 and 8, about Jesus being led like a sheep to the slaughter and being deprived of justice and of life, were the verses the Ethiopian eunuch was reading in his chariot, which prompted Philip to share with him ‘the good news about Jesus’ (Acts 8:30–35). Thus verses 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 11 – eight verses out of the chapter’s twelve – are all quite specifically referred to Jesus.[8]

Stott also notices that Jesus himself made numerous references to Isaiah 53.[9] For example, Christ said that he would be:

  • Rejected
  • Taken away.
  • Numbered with the transgressors

Many other statements allude to Isaiah 53. Regarding Isaiah 53, Spurgeon wrote:

This is one of the chapters that lie at the very heart of the Scriptures. It is the very Holy of holies of Divine Writ. Let us, therefore, put off our shoes from our feet, for the place whereon we stand is especially holy ground.

And:

This fifty-third of Isaiah is a Bible in miniature. It is the condensed essence of the gospel. I thought that our beloved friend, Mr. Moody, answered with extreme wisdom a question that was put to him when he came to London some years ago. A number of ministers had come together to meet Mr. Moody, and they began to discuss various points, and to ask what were the evangelist’s views upon certain doctrines. At last, one brother said, “Would Mr. Moody kindly give us his creed? Is it in print?” In a moment the good man replied, “Certainly; my creed is in print, it is the 53rd of Isaiah.” It was a splendid reply. How could a man come closer to the very essentials of the faith than by saying, “My creed is in the 53rd of Isaiah”? I trust that many of you, dear friends can not only say, “This is my creed,” but also, “This is the foundation upon which I have built all my hopes for time and for eternity; this is the source of my sweetest consolation; this is the sun that makes my day, and the star that gilds my night.” In these twelve verses there is everything that we need to teach us the way of salvation; God, the infinitely-wise Teacher, has revealed to us, within this short compass, all that is necessary to bring peace to troubled Spirits.

[1] Peterson, The Jesus Way: A Conversation on the Ways That Jesus Is the Way, 175–176.

[2] Ronald F. Youngblood, The Book of Isaiah (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1993), 147. See also Peterson, The Jesus Way: A Conversation on the Ways That Jesus Is the Way, 174.

[3] John N. Oswalt, The Book of Isaiah Chapters 40-66, ed. R.K. Harrison and Robert L. Jr. Hubbard, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998), 108.

[4] Ibid., 111.

[5] Youngblood, The Book of Isaiah, 111.

[6] Ibid., 113.

[7] N.T. Wright, Evil and the Justice of God (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2006), 72.

[8] Stott, The Cross of Christ, 145.

[9] Ibid.

Palm Sunday PicPsalm 118, with its repeated hopeful refrain that the LORD’s steadfast love endures forever, is important during Holy Week because:

  • The crowds quoted Psalm 118  during the  Triumphal Entry when they cried “hosanna” (Matthew 21:9, Mark 11:9-10).
  • Jesus infuriated the Pharisees when he quoted Psalm 118 in the Parable of the Tenants (Matthew 21:33-46, cf. Mark 12:10, Luke 20:17, Acts 4:11, Ephesians 4:20).
  • It is likely that Psalm 118 was the hymn that Jesus and the Disciples sang on Thursday night after the Last Supper before going out to the Mount of Olives.[1]

Hosanna on Palm Sunday (Matthew 21:1-11). The crowds quoted to Psalm 118 in during the Triumphal Entry when they shouted “hosanna.”

           [1] Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, [2] saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. [3] If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.” [4] This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying,

[5] “Say to the daughter of Zion,

‘Behold, your king is coming to you,

humble, and mounted on a donkey,

on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’”

 [6] The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. [7] They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. [8] Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. [9] And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” [10] And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?” [11] And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.” (Matthew 21:1-11 ESV)

 “Hosanna” appears only in the Old Testament is in Psalm 118:25. (See Piper’s article on Hosanna).

In Psalm 118, the words “save us” translate the Hebrew word “hosanna.” Hosanna carries the obvious meaning of a cry to God for help. But by the time we get to the Triumphal entry “hosanna” also carries the connotation of victory. We might paraphrase, “Our God will save us.”

Today we should cry out hosanna both as a petition for God to save us, but also triumphantly knowing that Jesus has won the decisive victory over death.

The Parable of the Tenants. Jesus references Psalm 118 in Matthew 21:42 in the Parable of the Tenants. The Pharisees perceived that Jesus was talking about them and did not appreciate it (Matthew 21:45-46).

 [33] “Hear another parable. There was a master of a house who planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and dug a winepress in it and built a tower and leased it to tenants, and went into another country. [34] When the season for fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants to get his fruit. [35] And the tenants took his servants and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. [36] Again he sent other servants, more than the first. And they did the same to them. [37] Finally he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ [38] But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and have his inheritance.’ [39] And they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. [40] When therefore the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” [41] They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons.”

 [42] Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:

“‘The stone that the builders rejected

has become the cornerstone;

this was the Lord’s doing,

and it is marvelous in our eyes’?

 [43] Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits. [44] And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.”

[45] When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they perceived that he was speaking about them. [46] And although they were seeking to arrest him, they feared the crowds, because they held him to be a prophet. (Matthew 21:33-46 ESV)

Jesus’s meaning was not lost on the Pharisees. He was identifying himself as the chief cornerstone and the Pharisees as the builders who rejected the chief cornerstone. Both Peter (1 Peter 2:7) and Paul reference our Lord’s exposition (Ephesians 2:20).

After the Last Supper. Matthew 26:30 tells us that, “And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.” Given the place of Psalm 118 in Passover, it is likely that they sang Psalm 118 together including 118:22-24.

The stone that the builders rejected

has become the cornerstone.

This is the LORD’s doing;

it is marvelous in our eyes.

This is the day that the LORD has made;

let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Psalm 118:22-24

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Kidner writes these introductory paragraphs for the occasion of Psalm 118:

The stir of a great occasion lends its excitement to the psalm as it proceeds, and we become aware of a single worshipper at its centre, whose progress to the Temple to offer thanks celebrates no purely private deliverance like that of Psalm 116, but a victory and vindication worthy of a king. . .

As the final psalm of the ‘Egyptian Hallel’ sung to celebrate the Passover . . . this psalm may have pictured to those who first sang it the rescue of Israel at the Exodus, and the eventual journey’s end at Mount Zion. But it was destined to be fulfilled more perfectly, as the echoes of it on Palm Sunday and the Passion Week make clear to every reader of the Gospels.[2]

[1] Kostenberger and Taylor, The Final Days of Jesus: The Most Important Week of the Most Important Person Who Ever Lived, 912.

[2] Derek Kidner, Psalms 73-150, ed. D.J. Wiseman, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 1975), 412–413.

[3] Piper, “Hosanna!”

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See also:

What Happened During Holy Week

John Piper’s Hosanna

The Final Days of Jesus: The Most Important Week of the Most Important Person Who Ever Lived by Andreas Kostenberger and Justin Taylor offers an accessible overview of Holy Week. This book would make a useful resource for families and a great gift for someone considering Christ. A free study guide is available.

Here are 7 reasons why I encourage our church family to buy and read The Final Days of Jesus:

1. Help with Harmonizing – Anyone who has closely studied Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John knows that at times it is difficult to see how the accounts fit together. For instance, compare the difference in wording of what was written above Jesus’s head on the Cross (John 19:19, Matthew 27:37, Mark 15:26, Luke 23:38). Kostenberger and Taylor not only offer a harmonization, but they also give a wonderful explanation of how to read the gospel accounts responsibly and charitably (p. 19-20).

2. Parallel Gospel Accounts Brought Conveniently TogetherThe Final Days of Jesus is organized so that the Scripture for the events of each day is included in the text. Readers who want to read parallel accounts without flipping back and forth in their Bibles will benefit.

3. A Glossary and Reference Guide – If you are new to the Easter story, then simply the task of keeping track of the various Marys can send you over the edge of confusion. This is not to mention recalling who Caiaphas is or the Sanhedrin or Joseph of Arimethea. An alphabetized glossary and reference guide at the end makes it easy to look up anyone in the cast.

4. 21 Charts, Diagrams, and Maps – There is so much to “picture” when reading the Gospel accounts of Holy Week. Where did everyone sit at the Last Supper? Why was Peter motioning for John to ask Jesus who would betray him? Charts, diagrams, and maps provide resources that can quickly be reviewed.

The Final Days of Jesus (page 59)

The Final Days of Jesus (page 59)

5. Succinct Summaries – Kostenberger and Taylor blend depth and accessibility. Consider, for instance, their summary of Peter’s denial of Jesus.

Peter’s denial of Jesus stands as one of the most poignant and memorable events that transpired during Jesus’s final day. One of Jesus’s closest friends, a man who hours earlier had sworn to stand by Jesus no matter what the sacrifice or cost, denies even knowing Jesus and abandons him in his darkest hour. Pathos drips from the Gospel accounts— the tragedy is palpable, and Peter leaves the scene a broken man.

6. The Most Important Question Ever Asked is Directed to the Reader at the End – The first 202 pages of The Final Days of Jesus all lead up to the most important question about the most important person who ever lived, “Who do you say that he is?”

7. Holy Week is The Most Important Week of the Most Beautiful Person – Christ is the only true King. He deserves all our worship. There is nothing we could imagine that we would want in a savior that we do not find in Him. Nowhere is the beauty of Christ seen more vividly than in the biblical accounts of Holy Week. Seize this opportunity to look deeply at our Savior. The remaining items in this list are only miscellaneous observations. But this is the heart of the matter. Let’s think deeply of Christ.

See also:

We were blessed with a wonderful community service tonight at the Red Brick Church. We were joined by  our brothers and sisters from Valley Evangelical Covenant and Kishwaukee Evangelical Presbyterian. We were blessed to remember the cross together.

I preached and stressed that the goal of our Good Friday Service is not to recreate what Jesus’s followers experienced when our King was crucified.

  • They were scattered – – yet we gather together.
  • They were conflicted and in turmoil. We have peace.
  • They were confused – – but, we have heard our Lord’s words on the road to Emmaus – – and we know the message of the gospel.

Still, we are solemn at our Good Friday service. Solemn because:

  • Atonement is expensive. Using Scot McKnight’s umbrella phrase – – Christ identified with us to incorporate us into community – – and it was costly.
  • It was our rebellion for which Christ was paying a price. As Luther said, “We carry about in our pockets the “nails” that crucified Christ.”
  • Christ left us an awesome example to follow (1 Peter 2:21-25). We were called to follow his example. He did not retaliate. He issued no threats. He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly. What have we been petty about this week?
  • Untold millions are still untold. Many – – most – – -still don’t know Christ. It is ours to go out into our communities and to proclaim the gospel.

Have you said to anyone – – would you be my guest at church on Easter? I would like to sit with you and celebrate the resurrection.