Friday, 29 March 2013

Monday, 25 March 2013

When all affirmation is the prelude of rejection...

"When they heard that He was there, they came as a crowd on account of what he had done in raising the dead" John 12:9.

There are some parts of Christianity we don't mind. Being neighborly, perhaps. "Family" at Christmas. Chocolate at Easter, perhaps. Oh, and days off.

The people who witnessed Jesus, however, found themselves dealing with a bigger issue - a man who clearly could work wonders - not just the odd healing, but feeding thousands. Imagine what it would be like, they thought, to have such a person in charge.

There's little doubt that such aims lay behind the crowd's roar as Jesus entered Jerusalem for His final week.  Everyone, it seemed, was happy with such a person holding power... everyone, that is, except those who already were in charge.

The raising of Lazarus from death - the event which had brought about a polarizing conflict between Jesus and the religious leaders - wasn't the first. John shows us in his Gospel, on almost every page, that this conflict on the very nature and fiber of life with God had been at the core of the divide between them. Far from making Jesus King, on their terms, they wanted rid of Him as quickly as circumstances would allow - something which became much easier in that final week, as Jesus Himself made it clear, once again, that He wasn't here to satisfy our misguided notions of what counts.

Easter's prelude shows us we all want  a "god" on our own terms, whether that be to make life easier for us, or to just allow us to continue to hold sway though our own conceits. It also shows us, that in spite of such peripheral and carnal approaches to what counts, God is going to take us much deeper - into those 'dark rooms' that we all fear and yet all must face.

Power will be seen here not through mastery or miracle, as the crowds or the elite perceived them, but in the astonishing deed of the Son of God, hung between heaven and earth, pouring out His life as a ransom for many. It is as He is so lifted, that the graves are split, and all the pain and agony known in time and space are met by the giving of redeeming, reconciling grace, outpoured from the Father through His only Son.

We all, naturally, choose to cling to what we believe defines us, exult that which we think will keep us secure, but that's the very 'religion' that Easter calls us to loose, because when it comes to 'the final curtain', there is only place, one person, that stands in that realm, who was dead, but is alive forever more, and He is calling us to find our rest in His wounds, His suffering, His healing, for there is none to be had anywhere else.

The 'glory' of Easter is a death that seeds something deeper and richer than we could naturally ever know.

We can be like those who saw, and rejected Him, or we can find grace in our time of need.

He is lifted up before us - what shall we do?

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Outside of Us.

Mike Reeves delivers a sumptuous meal of the rich truth that brings us aid in time of need here.

Monday, 18 March 2013


Well worth a read - Alden's latest on Evangelicalism

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Easter Thinking for all...

"Christ can be admired as an aesthetic genius, the greatest ethicist, as one going to a heroic death for His ideals. Only this doesn't bring the center of ourselves into contact with the focal claim of Christ to speak the revelation of God and to be that revelation. Through such deflection, a great distance is maintained between us and the Word of Christ, and no true encounter can take place.
I can no doubt live without an ethical or religious Jesus in the same way I can live without Kant or Plato, but should there be something in Christ which claims my life entirely with the full weight that God Himself indeed speaks here, once made present in Him, then Christ has not only relative but absolute, urgent significance for me.
Understanding Christ means taking this seriously. We must release this truth from the folly of the times - the secular and the modernal - and see Christ as He seeks to be seen".

Dietrich Bonhoeffer - The Essence of Christianity.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Galatians 6

The true consequences of the emancipation we receive in Jesus Christ are real compassion and care for our fellow rescued family who are troubled by sin, given always in an awareness of our own frailty (Vs 1). Christ’s will is that we truly love each other from an understanding that we can only do this in Him, because if we believe we can have any confidence in our own abilities, we once again fall into the snare of self-righteousness (Vs 3). Paul calls us, then, to test ourselves on these matters – do we find in us a affection for those we see struggling? Are we careful not to give grounds to our all too natural inclination to find assurance in our own ‘religious' propensities, our own judgement about ‘our’ goodness? That is the burden we must bear (Vs 4).

The true role of the redeemed is to share the richness of what has been gained, to ‘sow’ amongst others the truth, thereby neglecting to invest in things that are contrary to the new life we now share, but truly communing in the life that comes from above (Vs 6-10). The great joy is that we can indeed encourage and assist each other in enjoying and expressing the astonishing life that is now ours.


The world boldly and easily parades religion that makes a ‘fair show in the flesh’ – it panders to our fallen state and feeds us on the lie that we can be ‘holy’ before the god of our own making (even if that god is just ourselves), but all this is dust in the wind. Our deeds, our morality, are no more than a wreath of rotting distractions on the graves of dead creatures that have defied and ignored the opportunity for true rescue from their peril and demise. The only boast we have, says Paul, is in the Lord Jesus Christ – His death is our life, for it cuts us off from our folly and alienation, and brings us peace with God… therein is the new creation.

Let us always look to Jesus.