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Archive for the ‘Jesus’ Category

Faith and Reason

I was listening to Tim Keller sermon called “Noah and the Reasons of Faith” and caught this thought on faith and reason. In Matthew 6 when Jesus teaches the crowds about worry, he instructs them to “look” and “consider”. This is not some blind leap or naive hope. He is challenging them to use reason to build their faith. Science and reason are signposts, not obstacles, in the walk of faith.

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Unprecedented

It’s a white Boxing Day in Memphis after flurries (that didn’t stick) on Christmas Day.  Both very unusual, but not unprecedented.

This morning I began to read Luke.  What strikes many readers in chapter 1 is that Zach and Mary seems to have similar responses to the angelic promises, yet Zach gets struck mute in judgment.  Mary’s concerns seem to be valid:  “How on earth will this happen, since I’m a virgin?”

But Zach’s concern seems justified to modern readers as well.  We all know about being too old to reproduce, and we all know about being barren.

One big difference here is that Zach, being “righteous in God’s sight” (1:6), should have known his salvation history well enough not to doubt that God could give life to a dead womb.  It wasn’t frequent, but it certainly happened, and if an angel of YHWH showed up to tell you that grace was falling on you, there was really no option but trusting the God of Abram and Sarai and buying a skin of wine to split with Elizabeth.

But Mary’s pregnancy had no precursor.  Her question for clarification shows that something new was happening in salvation history, something that was even greater than what happened for Sarah, Rachel, and Hannah.

The Messiah came in an unprecedented fashion, precisely because he himself was unprecedented.

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The quote below is from Bono, discussing his thoughts while meditating on the Christmas story during a Christmas Eve service in Dublin:

“It dawned on me for the first time, really. It had dawned on me before, but it really sank in: the Christmas story. The idea tha God, if there is a force of love and logic in the universe, that it would seek to explain itself by becoming a child born in straw poverty, in (dirt) and straw…a child… I just thought:”Wow!” Just the poetry…Unknowable love, unknowable power, describes itself as the most vulnerable. There it was. I was sitting there, and it’s not that it hadn’t struck me before, but tears came down my face, and I saw the genius of this, utter genius of picking a particular point in time and deciding to turn on this. Because that’s exactly what we were talking about earlier: love needs to find form, intimacy needs to be whispered. To me, it makes sense. It’s actually logical. It’s pure logic. Essence has to manifest itself. It’s inevitable. Love has to become an action or something concrete. It would have to happen. There must be an incarnation. Love must be made flesh.”

from Bono, in conversation with Michka Assayas

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John 1:37-38, Hood’s unauthorized translation:

John saw Jesus as he walked by and said, “LOOK!  That’s the Lamb of God!” Two of John’s disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus.

May that pattern be duplicated by all of us.  We speak the gospel.  When people hear us, they follow Jesus rather than us.

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Advisor or Lord?

Christians thinking of buying a vacation home often ask, “Can we afford it?” But what about asking, “Will a second home elevate us above people?” “Will it isolate us?” In the first set of questions, God is a financial advisor. In the second set, he has become your Lord.

Adapted from Paul Miller, A Praying Life

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Why aren’t there as many explicit connections of Jesus to OT characters as one might expect?  I’m not sure I’ve ever asked the question in that way.  But we have to admit that the evidence even in the NT is often more allusive than explicit, as seen in an earlier post on the parallels between Elijah-Elisha and John the Baptist-Jesus.

Given the man links between the two, including the fact that the names “Joshua,” “Elisha,” and “Jesus” have essentially the same meaning (“God saves”), and that John the Baptist is so clearly identified in the Gospels with Elijah . . . it it intriguing that more is not explicitly made in the NT of the Jesus-Elisah connection.

Yet it may be that it is precisely because both Joshua and Elisha are successors to more famous men that this kind of thinking was inhibited.

There would have been a natural desire within the church to avoid the suggestion that Jesus was John’s successor in any sense that detracted from his pre-eminence–particularly since this was apparently a live issue in some quarters . . . Thus it is not surprising that the typological significance of Elisha in relation to Jesus has been downplayed.”

Iain Provan, 1 and 2 Kings, 234.

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This graphic stands for Jesus Christ, Victor.  I’m pretty sure there’d be an exclamation point at the end, if koine Greek had such things. . .

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