Many Christians are familiar with the tradition of remembering Jesus’ Seven Last Words from the Cross during Passion Week. The seven last words tell us what the cross meant to Jesus. They also ask us what the cross means to us. Jesus’ last words confront our deepest fears, and call us to face them in the power of his victory.
How do your typical prayers stack up next to Jesus’ model prayer? The Lord’s prayer is one of those passages of Scripture where the old saying “familiarity breeds contempt” is applicable. Not that we would necessarily hold the Bible in contempt, but we do tend to react with a nonchalant “ho-hum” to well-known texts. We think we already know all about such texts, but our current issues and experiences always sensitize us to see “new” things that have been there all along! We can always use a reminder that centers our prayer-lives on what really matters for eternity.
In this post we focus again on the Gospel of John, where power figures largely into the story of Jesus before Pilate. The Jewish leaders were not empowered by Rome to carry out capital punishment on their own, so Pilate the governor enters the story. Frustrated by Jesus silence, powerful Pilate threatened him with crucifixion (John 19:10). That’s when Jesus spoke truth to power. When Jesus spoke truth to power, Pilate spoke power to truth. But Jesus true truth trumped Pilate’s false power. There are many ancient remains in the Mediterranean world that testify to Rome’s powerful past. There are living churches all over the planet that testify to Jesus’ past, present and future power. That’s the truth.
Millions of sermons have been preached since the days of Jesus, but only one of them could be known as “The Sermon.” Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5-7) is probably the most well-known of all the teachings of Jesus. The Sermon isn’t just counter-culture—sadly, in some ways, it’s counter-Christian culture. And that’s putting it mildly.
The history of the Bible in Italy is instructive. Early reformists and later protestant reformers exemplify the clash between the reformed view of the sufficiency and clarity of the Bible and the practice of magisterial authority by the institutional church. Where do you stand on this question?
I never tire of listening to Gordon Lightfoot’s song “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.” I’m hooked from the first strum of the Asus2 chord to the ninth time the haunting guitar riff is played as the song fades out. But for me as a believer in and student of the Bible, the most significant part of the song is the question “Does anyone know where the love of God goes when the waves turn the minutes to hours?”