The gospel highlights not our pursuit of God, but God’s pursuit of us. Unfortunately, many caricatures get the biblical story backward. Here’s three ways the gospel confronts our caricatures, to reveal afresh the relentless love of God.
Jesus is referred to by many different names, but perhaps the most intriguing title for Jesus in the letter is “author.” He is called the “author of … salvation” and the “author … of our faith” (Heb. 2:10; 12:2, NIV). This title has a rich connotation. The Greek word translated as “author” is archēgos. It expresses the idea of a leader, one who goes at the head of a group to open the way for others.
Stewardship is not about Jesus needing our money. It’s because Jesus is after our hearts, and He knows that the clearest window into what we truly love, desire and pursue is visible through our bank statements.
Do you wish you cared more about eternal things? Then reallocate some of your money, maybe most of your money, from temporal things to eternal things. Put your resources, your assets, your money and possessions, your time and talents and energies into the things of God. Watch what happens. As surely as the compass needle follows north, your heart will follow your treasure. Money leads; hearts follow.
In this latest volume, Jesus Before the Gospels: How the Earliest Christians Remembered, Changed, and Invented Their Stories of the Savior, Bart Ehrman addresses a new area of scholarly concern: the gap of time between the events of Jesus’s life and the earliest written Gospels that purport to record those events. So how were the stories of Jesus transmitted during this window of time? Can the process of oral transmission be trusted? And what of people’s limited, fallible, and spotty memories?
In a celebrity obsessed culture such as ours, it may be the case that God is looking to speak through pain instead of fame. In The Problem of Pain, C.S. Lewis wrote: "We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world."
The book, The Crucifixion: Understanding the Death of Jesus Christ (Eerdmans), attempts to resurrect (as it were) the centrality and necessity of preaching the Cross. She argues this is especially urgent in an age of unmitigated evils, which she says only the Cross can explain and redeem. She was interviewed by Mark Galli, the editor of Christianity Today.
When I eventually decided to investigate the Resurrection, I made a list of all the possible explanations for the claims of the disciples. Were they mistaken about the death of Jesus? Did they lie about the Resurrection? Were they hallucinating? I examined a number of explanations, including the possibility that an imposter tricked the disciples and convinced them that Jesus was still alive. If this were the case, the disciples might have unknowingly advanced a lie.