Paul tells us that Jesus “made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:7-8, emphasis mine, HR). We understand that Jesus came to this world to die for our sins because no one else could accomplish this task. He was our only hope. However, someone might ask, “Why did Jesus have to die on a cross?”
Death by crucifixion was the most painful manner in which a person could be put to death. Suspended from the ground, the weight of the victim’s entire body pulled against metal spikes which were driven through the hands (wrists) and the feet. The victim would writhe in pain as he slowly died of asphyxiation. Continue reading » Why the Cross?
Editor’s Note: Joe Wright, of Las Cruces, NM, sent in the following article when Mel Gibson’s movie, The Passion of the Christ, was first being played in movie theaters.
About that same time, I wrote an article for the local paper where I normally pen a weekly sports report on the local high school. The editor (with whom I have a good relationship), refused to run the article. I had taken issue (mildly) with aspects of the film, and as she felt it was a good evangelistic tool, she was unwilling to print my criticism.
This is an example of the dangerous attitudes which brother Wright mentions in his short article. I commend it to you.
It is easily arguable that popular culture has designed the attitudes within our nation concerning a myriad of issues from eating habits to races for the highest offices in the land. We live in a time where an endorsement from a shoe company will get you stardom, and having your name or image associated with a soft drink can propel you to a position of status and wealth only very few will ever know. You know, I know, and “they” know all such is meaningless and empty on the whole, but it is “good for business.” Regardless, we have a habit of allowing ourselves to slip into the fantasies prescribed for us by the money and fame motivated forms of media in our nation almost without question. Now, as it has gotten closer to the heart, we must stop, meditate, and pray that we are not led into an empty popular culture.
Continue reading » The Passion in "Pop" Culture
Note: I wrote the following article for a local newspaper. I write weekly columns for the newspaper as a sport’s reporter for the local high school. That week there was nothing to report on, so I wrote a "general interest" article. I do this through the summer. It is for this reason that the article is short, and is not particularly "scripture oriented."
In this case, the editor (with whom I have a good working relationship), refused to run the column. She and her friends in the newsroom took issue with the article, as they believed the movie to be a fine evangelistic tool. Too, she was afraid that it would bring a flood of letters to the editor, and she did not want to open a can of worms. So, the readers of Watchman are the first to read the following thoughts concerning Mel Gibson’s movie, The Passion of the Christ.
Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ is a cinematic hit, to the surprise of entertainment experts who were doubtful of its popular appeal. Perhaps it is the controversy surrounding the film that has given it such a boost at the box office, but Gibson’s personally financed project is turning out to be a financial bonanza due to the box office and the merchandizing that is accompanying the release of the movie.
Continue reading » Passionate for "The Passion"?
(At the Parking Lot)
“And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left” (Luke 23:33).
“And when they had come to a place called Golgotha, that is to say, Place of a Skull…then they crucified Him” (Matthew 27:33-35).
Visitors coming to tour Jerusalem learn rather quickly that it is a modern, living city. While our biblical knowledge of Jerusalem forever seals it in the past, ancient and timeless, unchanged and undisturbed, today’s reality is quite different. The blare of car horns, hordes of tourists, electronic technology and modern architecture compete with ancient ritual, bearded men, cloaked women and sites where holy events took place. If ever there is a dichotomy of space and time, it is Jerusalem with its contrast of old and new, sacred and profane, reverent and blasphemous. Continue reading » The Land of Jesus: “There They Crucified Him…” (Luke 23:33)
In the May installment of Evidences, we looked at the exodus of the Israelites from the land of Egypt. In particular, we focused on the crossing of the Red Sea, and how that crossing foreshadowed the New Testament concept of baptism. This month, we will focus on another event which God brought about in the course of freeing His people from their slavery: the tenth plague.
In order to convince the Egyptians of His deity, engrave the fear of Himself on their hearts, make Himself known to all peoples, and to convince Pharaoh to let Israel go, God sent a series of plagues upon the Egyptians. The tenth – and final – of these plagues was the most terrible of all:
Then Moses said, “Thus says the Lord: ‘About midnight I will go out into the midst of Egypt; and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the maidservant who is behind the handmill, and all the firstborn of the beasts.'” (Exodus 11:4,5) Continue reading » Evidences of Faith: The Blood of the Lamb