All too often churches feature the empty tomb only on Easter Sunday, or only during the Eastertide season until Pentecost. Christians commonly present the gospel as the death of Jesus, omitting his resurrection. This reduced, truncated gospel is not the real, triumphant gospel that we find in the New Testament. Perhaps it is not the gospel at all.
Call it what you like—Passion Week, Holy Week, Greater Week, Holy and Great Week—this is the time of year that reminds Christians of the foundation of their faith. It is observed in different ways by various Christian traditions. In this post I’m not concerned with how churches officially remember Christ’s death and resurrection every year but about how Christians personally resemble it every day. Can I explain?
All too often the church appears to the world as a militant Masada or a withdrawn Qumran, but it ought to be a welcoming oasis like En Gedi, a place where people who are thirsty can drink at the springs of living water.
Have you noticed that the internet is abuzz with reports that the Dead Sea is coming alive in fulfillment of biblical prophecy? We speak to this question below. And no tour of the land of the Bible is complete, apparently, unless it includes an opportunity to float in the Dead Sea. Hopefully these fads don’t distract us from the real significance of the Dead Sea.
We evangelicals have armed ourselves with prooftexts, laid out our exegetical battle plan, sharpened our rhetorical bayonets, and joined battle over the role of women in the church. . . . To what effect is all this? For me it’s like trench warfare. It’s a stalemate, a theological no man’s land.
The “land of the Bible” obviously encompasses more than the modern state of Israel. It reaches east to Babylon (modern Iraq), south to Egypt, west to Rome, and north to Syria and Turkey. At the heart of these Bible lands are today’s Israel, Palestine, and Jordan. Our recent study tour began in Jordan. As I reflected on this remarkable country, I was surprised about how much I had forgotten (and how much I hadn’t learned!) about Jordan and its role in the biblical narrative.