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This passage is beyond doubt the most theologically significant statement about the person and work of Jesus to be found in the NT. I have summarized it in 20 points.   1.         It has long been suggested that 2:6-11 is a pre-Pauline hymn to Christ. Support is drawn from the presence in the text of numerous words that appear only once in the NT as a whole. The balanced clauses have a poetic form that might belong to an ea...Read More

Before we begin, a word is in order about the attempts to deny the reality of the virgin birth. As Robert Stein notes, "for some, the very possibility of such a conception and birth is excluded as a logical consequence of the elimination of the supernatural from history. If miracles cannot happen, then by definition there cannot be a virginal conception" (Jesus the Messiah, 64). Among other attempts to reject this biblical truth, we take note of three: (1)  &n...Read More

“Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” (Mt. 16:13)   This question asked by Jesus was not the fruit of insecurity or uncertainty on his part. He knew exactly who he was. Nor was it a question designed to boost his self-confidence, bolster a sagging ego, or reassure himself of his popularity. He knew he wasn't popular. Rather, it was a question designed to elicit faith in his followers.   1)        ...Read More

A.            Chalcedon and the Personal Union The Council of Chalcedon (451) affirmed the following of the two natures in Christ: “Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, in two natures, inconfusedly (or unmixed, or without confusion), unchangeably (or unchanged, or without change), indivisibly (or undivided), inseparably (or inseparable), the distinction of the natures being by no means taken away by the union, b...Read More

The various theories of Christ’s atoning death can be broken down based on the object or focus or orientation of his sufferings. In other words, on whom or on what do the sufferings of Jesus terminate? Objective theories of the atonement are those that envision his death as terminating on God. Subjective theories insist that Christ’s sufferings focus on human beings with a view to inducing some change or experiential reaction in us.   A.  &n...Read More

"You shall measure the height of his love, if it be ever measured, by the depth of his grief, if that can ever be known" (Spurgeon)   Not too long ago a book was published with the title: What was God doing on the Cross? It appears that there are two questions being asked, not one. First, "What was God doing on the cross?" Why was the God-man impaled on a Roman gibbet? It seems shocking that God should be crucified? Second, "What was God doing on the cross?...Read More

Aspects of the Atoning Death of Christ (1)            Reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18-21)   See Rom. 5:10-11; 11:15; 2 Cor. 5:18,19,20; Eph. 2:16; Col. 1:20,22.   1)            The objective dimension - There are several different, but related, kinds of reconciliation:   ·      John persuades Frank and Tom to g...Read More

The identity and mission of Jesus are incomprehensible apart from an understanding of his roots in the OT. Jesus did not appear in a historical vacuum. He entered history not merely as a man, but as a Jewish man who brings the OT to its proper consummation. As Christopher Wright has said,   "Jesus is . . . 'the end of the line', as far as the Old Testament story goes. It has run its completed course in preparation for him, and now its goal or climax has been reac...Read More

This was not a war of modern weaponry, but of moral will. It was not a war between two nations, but between one man and the principalities and powers of darkness. This was a war that happened in history, yet whose consequences transcend history. It was not an event that we can view with that sort of objective detachment with which we study other historical events. This was a war on which our very lives depend, spiritually speaking. Our eternal redemption was at stake, fo...Read More

What strikes us most as we approach Gethsemane is the shocking contrast it presents with what has preceded. The events of Passion Week, up to this point anyway, seemed to have the aura of divine control. His display of confidence and courage and determination reassures and reaffirms our faith in him. In his handling of each situation and in the unfolding drama of Passover, the prelude to his death, he expressed a calm dignity, a quiet power that cannot help but evoke awe...Read More

A.        His Betrayal (Mt. 26:47-56)   One can only gasp at the thought that Jesus was weighed in the balance by Judas Iscariot and found to be worth only 30 pieces of silver! The irony is overwhelming. He whose “weightiness” and “worth” are beyond calculation is auctioned off for a mere pittance. The payment (Mt. 26:15) was probably given to Judas for information as to where Jesus could be arrested in a...Read More

Is forgiveness possible? It may sound like a silly question, especially to a Christian audience that I assume knows what the Bible says about God’s grace and redemption and the forgiveness of sin through faith in Christ. But even for Christians, sometimes “forgiveness” is only a word lost in a stack of abstract theological language that we speak and confess and recite and even affirm in the liturgy. But if you’re anything like me, all that doesn&...Read More

Following the description of Judas' suicide (Mt. 27:1-10) and the trial before Pilate (Mt. 27:11-25), we find a brief, but vivid, portrayal of the brutalization of Jesus at the hands of the Romans. In these few verses are found 8 terse, but poignant, statements descriptive of his treatment at the hands of his accusers.   Anyone who saw Mel Gibson’s film, The Passion of the Christ, will inevitably read the following portrayal of our Lord’s suffering in...Read More

The place of Jesus' crucifixion is called Golgotha (v. 33), lit., "place of the skull." It was located outside the city proper in accordance with Jewish and Roman custom (Lev. 24:14; Num. 15:35f.; Acts 7:58; Heb. 13:12-14).   According to v. 34, “they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall, but when he tasted it, he would not drink it.” This has been interpreted in two different ways:   1)        &nb...Read More

A.            Rending of the Veil, Resurrection of the Saints (Mt. 27:51-56)   Before looking at the consequences of our Lord's death, we need to return to v. 50 and his dying words. He has already died spiritually (= separation/alienation from the Father) as witnessed by the cry, "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?" In that death he quenched the fires of divine wrath that otherwise would have consume...Read More