– Graduation is the end of one type of education but the beginning of another, either at another school or in the world. It is fitting, then, that graduation season coincides with Pentecost (the Old Testament Feast of Weeks), because it is the graduation day of the Bride of Christ, the Christian Church! Pentecost is the Church’s commencement: the end of one type of education but just the beginning of…Keep Reading
– When we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, we usually focus on “past” aspect of the celebration. Jesus is the once-for-all Passover lamb and we are to “do this in remembrance of” him. But while an important part of the Lord’s Supper is looking back and remembering what God has done for us in Jesus Christ, another important aspect is looking ahead. The Lord’s Supper not only remembers but also anticipates….Keep Reading
– The early church was “enjoying the favor of all the people” (Acts 2:47), literally “looking good.” If the church is to be the Bride of Christ, we must not only be an adoring bride through Worship, a growing bride through Instruction, and a sharing bride through Fellowship, but also an outgoing bride through Evangelism. And while being attractive on the inside is essential to evangelism, that too easily lets…Keep Reading
– Church services and activities should be opportunities for us to experience what the Bible calls “koinonia” (fellowship), or “having things in common.” The Christian church arises from the wind and flames of Pentecost to find koinonia as one of her main objectives, a koinonia based on the love of Jesus Christ and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, which led them to express their common faith, hope of salvation, and…Keep Reading
– Worship (as we’ve seen) is incredibly important, but you could make the argument that Instruction is the “backbone” of the body of Christ. When we encounter people who can’t stand up for what they believe, who have no courage, we say they have no backbone, they are spineless — because the backbone enables us physically to stand up. This is true also of Christ’s body: we cannot stand, face…Keep Reading
– What does it mean to be the Church? The New Testament has many images of the church, but the most intimate is the Bride of Christ. This image gives us a fitting acronym for the main objectives of the church: WIFE — Worship, Instruction, Fellowship, Evangelism. As we take a look at the church’s job description over the next several weeks, we begin with the fact that from his…Keep Reading
Easter is one of the most joyful days of the Christian Church, but what does fear have to do with it? Isn’t it about Good News?! Yes! Today we feel great joy, and well we should! Jesus is risen, he’s alive, and there’s no better reason for celebration! But Mark tells us Easter also has something to do with fear, that, in fact, fear was the predominant emotion of the…Keep Reading
Palm Sunday is known as Jesus’ triumphal entry. In some ways it was, with the crowds who had heard him teach throughout the Galilee proclaiming him the Messiah. But Mark tells us the story of another triumphal march later in the week, not a triumphal entry but a triumphal procession, the one Paul speaks of: “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and…Keep Reading
The Gospel of Mark is written to an authentic, countercultural, persecuted church in Rome. Mark’s intention is that the Roman church was to understand that they might undergo similar rejection to that of Jesus, and chapter 15 is his true-to- reality recruitment poster. Reflecting on Jesus’ example in dealing with rejection might give them and us the strength and wisdom to endure went rejection comes our way.
During his passion week, while truly the “man in charge,” as the sovereign ruler of the world, Jesus gave himself over to the inmates; he submitted to the authority of human beings. Sovereigns don’t submit, kings don’t give themselves to their subjects, nor wardens to their prisoners. But God has a different way of saving the world.
There were times in a prophet’s ministry when words were not adequate to make the point, so he resorted to dramatically symbolic actions. Jesus, the ultimate prophet of Israel, was following a prophetic tradition when, during the feast with his disciples, he dramatically reinterpreted the Passover meal and instituted a radical new observance for his followers. As we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, we will explore the prophetic action of Jesus…Keep Reading
Next Sunday: Fig Tree Christians? (Mark 11:12-25) – As Jesus enters Jerusalem after his triumphal entry, he curses a fig tree because it yields no fruit and he’s hungry—but fig season is still five weeks away! Why would Jesus do such a thing? What might it have to do with Temple worship? What might it have to do with us?