The apostle Paul tells us that we were baptized into Christ’s death. This is strange language considering we associate the sacrament of baptism with regeneration or spiritual renewal. Why would Paul speak of us being baptized into Christ’s death? What can this teach us about the meaning of baptism?
There are times when we are tempted to think that God is not walking with us in the midst of our trials. We can think that the Lord is not really there nor is the Lord really all that gracious. We can think that until we consider the words of Psalm 69. How can the words of Psalm 69 and the suffering of our Lord encourage us in those trying times?
This is the conclusion to the story of Job. This is a book that has a lot of twists and turns, and we are left in the story a bit curious about the Lord’s plan for this man. Is this man just going to suffer? Is this man going to be made whole? What can such suffering teach us about the Gospel?
When Isaiah speaks of the suffering servant we think that this is a champion who will prevail and will not falter. You would hope that a warrior would be one who would show up with armor, and adorned in such a way that the nations would tremble to be in his midst. However, this is not how the Lord conducts this war. What does this servant look like? What kind of servant and warrior do we see?
It seems fairly challenging for us to grasp the depth of Christ’s death on the cross. The reality is that we are people who probably do not fully grasp the Sanhedrin having to redefine their understanding of the messiah, the disciples wondering if they have been deceived, and Pilate never encountering a person like Christ. Why is it so hard for people to grasp Christ? Why is it that we think we grasp who He is without seeing the blind spots in our Christian life? Why is Christ’s death on the cross such a difficult thing for us to understand?
Christ is the one who does not deserve to die because He is the only one who can claim that He does not fall under the sentence of Adam. He is unjustly condemned so that we can be mercifully reconciled to the living God. We read in Hebrews that we have a high priest who can sympathize with us. How can the God-Man sympathize with mere humans? How can He really know our struggle if He Himself has not sinned, done any wrong, or struggled with sin? How do we know that Christ really does know the pain of this world?
Christ’s arrest did not really go that smoothly considering all that happened. It was not carried out in stealth, it was not after the feast of unleavened bread, and ironically Christ told them how they could have executed this arrest with greater precision. Christ told them that if they quietly escorted Christ out of the temple it would have gone a lot smoother. If the leaders of Israel desire to maintain credibility they better hope that the trial goes much better. So, does the trial go better? Is there proof against Christ that grounds their claims that He is a legitimate problem? Or is this another example where fallen man cannot competently conspire against the Lord?
This is a narrative that is not that encouraging read. The disciples are told that they will abandon Christ, Christ collapses, Judas betrays Christ, and his disciples fall asleep instead of praying after claiming to be heroes of the faith. So, what do we do with this discouragement? How can we see the sovereign hand of God in the midst of all that transpires in this story?
We know that our Lord is one who cares for the poor, the widow, and the orphan. We know that our Lord is the one who heals the sick, takes away diseases, and is one tho ultimately takes away the sting of death. If this is true, then why is Christ so cavalier by respond to the disciples that they will always have the poor? Why not hear their suggestion to sell the ointment, give the money to the poor, and then just use a cheaper bottle? What does this story have to do with the tragic decision of a disciple and the leaders of Israel finally having the fortitude to send Christ to the cross?
When we think about Christ on the cross it is not something that is celebratory. That means we do not look at this event and celebrate the reality of the promises of God. The reason why I say this is because Christ has died. He died on the cross for what? He died on the cross for our sins. The disciples are rattled, his followers are rattled, but what has Christ done that is so good? Why would we call this Good Friday and not Fatal Friday if this is about the death of Christ? Death means failure right? Or are we missing something about that?