The cross of Christ is essential to the Christian faith. No question about it (1 Corinthians 1:18). But there’s another aspect of the Christian faith that is as essential as the cross. So essential in fact, the work of Jesus upon the cross depends upon it as much as it depends upon the work of Jesus on the cross. What is it? (More …)
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This story is headlined with the words, “Jesus’ Tomb Opened for First Time in Centuries.”
I know what they’re trying to say, but my first thought was, “Jesus’ tomb hasn’t been closed in nearly 20 centuries.”
Humanity has a habit of desiring material spiritual shrines (almost sounds like an oxymoronic statement there). We seek to make the intangible something tangible.
I’m not saying God has never asked his people to make something that is physically visible and spiritually important at the same time. God indeed directed the children of Israel (and several others before them when it came to altars) to build the Tabernacle and all of its complementing features such as the altar, the washing basin and the rest of the furniture that went inside the most important tent that fleshly Israel traveled with from the wilderness right into the promised land. But God had a purpose for the Tabernacle’s meaning that went far beyond what could be seen with the eyes. And that purpose was fulfilled after God-in-the-flesh came and tabernacled among his people in person, and then atoned for their’s and our sins, ultimately leaving behind an empty tomb that has refused to be closed two millennia.
My point is that when it comes to us (as spiritual Israel), God has not asked his people to make a shrine out of any supposed “holy-site” today. God has not asked for this because we do not need this. And the reason we do not this is because our holy-site is a sight that has yet to be beheld.
“Now when these things had been thus prepared, the priests always went into the first part of the tabernacle, performing the services. But into the second part the high priest went alone once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the people’s sins committed in ignorance; the Holy Spirit indicating this, that the way into the Holiest of All was not yet made manifest while the first tabernacle was still standing. It was symbolic for the present time in which both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make him who performed the service perfect in regard to the conscience— concerned only with foods and drinks, various washings, and fleshly ordinances imposed until the time of reformation. But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.” (Hebrews 9:6-12 -NKJV)
Here’s a link to the latest PDF issue of the Christian Worker.
Here are the topics that you will find:
- Deuteronomy 18:15-19—A Prophet Like Moses (Bryan Hodge)
- Genesis 49:10—Until Shiloh Come (Cody Westbrook)
- Jeremiah 23:5-6—A Righteous Branch (Steven Lloyd)
- Psalm 40:6-10—I Delight to do Thy Will (Bill Burk)
- Psalm 22—The Cross (Troy Spradlin)
- Psalm 16—The Resurrected Christ (Tom Moore)
- Zechariah 13:1—The Fountain for Sin and Uncleanness (Rob Whitacre)
Christian Worker is an edification effort of the Southwest church of Christ in Austin, Texas.
You can subscribe to the email version of the Christian Worker paper by clicking on the publications link on their website and then following the given instructions…or by clicking on the link provided here in The Fellowship Room under the “Friends” category to your right.
Copyright © 2015 Southwest church of Christ, All rights reserved.
There is a form of music called the “sonata-allegro” format, in which there are three segments—exposition, development, and recapitulation. The concept is that you present a melody called a “theme” in the exposition, perform more-or-less recognizable variations of it in the development, and then restate it almost verbatim in the recapitulation, often a bit more dramatically. The Bible is kind of the ultimate demonstration of the “sonata-allegro” format. Exposition – Man breaks his covenant with God, and God seeks to restore the broken relationship. Development – the rest of the Old Testament—the flood and Noah, the covenant with Abraham, the covenant with Moses, the judges, the prophets, etc. Recapitulation – Jesus reconciles man to God on the cross. What I have written below has probably been noticed before and written about hundreds of times, but you always feel like you’ve got something when you discover it for yourself.
The second paragraph below will mirror the first one. The best way to see the comparison is to read the first sentence in the first paragraph below, followed by the first sentence in the second paragraph below; then the second sentence in the first paragraph, followed by the second sentence in the second paragraph, etc.
It was the will of God for Jonah to go to Nineveh. Jonah knew that the men on board needed to sacrifice him to calm the wrath of God being demonstrated in the storm. The men did not want to throw him overboard; but the will of God cannot be prevented, so no matter how hard the men tried to row, the storm kept them from reaching shore. So the men prayed, declaring their innocence in the matter. They threw Jonah overboard, and the wrath of God subsided, resulting in the abating of the storm. The men then knew that Jonah’s God is the real God, and they turned to Him. Jonah then spends three days and three nights in the belly of the fish, before being vomited onto the shore.
It was the will of God for Jesus to go to Golgotha (Matthew 26:39-42). Jesus knew the angry mob needed to sacrifice Him to calm the wrath of God, which would otherwise be demonstrated in the final judgment of all mankind. Pilate was hesitant to sentence Him to death (Matthew 27:22-23); but the will of God cannot be prevented, so no matter how hard Pilate tried to avoid sentencing Jesus, the angry mob continued to demand His life. So Pilate washed his hands before the crowd, declaring his innocence in the matter (Matthew 27:24). He handed Jesus over to be crucified (Matthew 27:26), and when this was accomplished, the wrath of God subsided, resulting in salvation for mankind. Upon the signs accompanying His death (the veil rent in two, the earthquake), the guards keeping watch over Jesus knew that He was the real God, and they were frightened. Jesus spent three days and three nights in the tomb before being seen alive on the third day.
The symmetry is amazing. Parallelism is a desired feature in all kinds of artwork, from architecture to music to painting to sculptures to story-telling to dance to fill in the blank. God is the ultimate Artist, and His Word contains beautiful demonstrations of this effect. Should we be surprised? After all, He programmed our brains to search for it. – Joshua Gulley
Josh is a teacher of music at the High School level and a member among the saints at the Smithville Church of Christ