Thinking Out Loud

April 15, 2017

A Tall Tale for Fools Told by a Fool

I went to two Good Friday services yesterday. I know. You wish you could be a spiritual giant as I am, and I say that in all humility. Perhaps not coincidentally both pastors this year chose the same text, I Cor 1: 18-25. As I started to write some reflections on both sermons, I thought a better strategy might be to reproduce the text here in one of the more adventurous translations, The Voice.

18 For people who are stumbling toward ruin, the message of the cross is nothing but a tall tale for fools by a fool. But for those of us who are already experiencing the reality of being rescued and made right, it is nothing short of God’s power. 19 This is why the Scripture says:

I will put an end to the wisdom of the so-called wise,
    and I will invalidate the insight of your so-called experts.[Isaiah 29:14]

20 So now, where is the philosopher? Where is the scholar? Where is the skilled debater, the best of your time? Step up, if you dare. Hasn’t God made fools out of those who count on the wisdom of this rebellious, broken world? 21 For in God’s deep wisdom, He made it so that the world could not even begin to comprehend Him through its own style of wisdom; in fact, God took immense pleasure in rescuing people of faith through the foolishness of the message we preach. 22 It seems the Jews are always asking for signs and the Greeks are always on the prowl for wisdom. 23 But we tell a different story. We proclaim a crucified Jesus, God’s Anointed. For Jews this is scandalous, for outsiders[lit: Gentiles] this is moronic, 24 but for those of us living out God’s call—regardless of our Jewish or Greek heritage—we know the Anointed embodies God’s dynamic power and God’s deep wisdom. 25 You can count on this: God’s foolishness will always be wiser than mere human wisdom, and God’s weakness will always be stronger than mere human strength.


Learn more about The Voice at this information page at Bible Gateway.

Image: A few days ago at C201 we ran a piece on what the Bible says about real fools. You can read that at this link.

 

March 25, 2016

I Have Placed My Hope in a Crucified Man

Filed under: Christianity — Tags: , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 8:15 am

April 5, 2015

How Can I Live Uncrucified?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 6:06 am

This is a song my wife wrote several years ago which she re-recorded more recently. (Coincidentally, today is her birthday; but she’d want the focus to be on the song, its subject and its message.)  Hit the play button below to listen.

Galatians 2:20

I will not live uncrucified
I will not live with heart unbroken
With unpierced hands and feet and side
With tears unshed and love unspoken
How could I live uncrucified
Knowing my Lord was crucified

With wounded hands he covers me
On bleeding feet he runs to save
With a broken voice, “Forgive” his plea,
With body killed shatters the grave
How could I live uncrucified
Knowing my Lord was crucified

On the day when death demands an answer
On the day when justice calls my name
I will stand and say you did my dying
I will stand and say you took my blame

So I’m taking my hands out of my pockets
Telling my feet get up and go
Teaching my tongue to talk your language
Tuning my heart to sing what I know

My Christ as you have died for me
Embraced the shame, knowing the cost
I pledge myself the same to be
To take up and carry my own cross
How could I live uncrucified
Knowing my Lord was crucified

© 2007 Ruth Wilkinson, all rights reserved

March 29, 2013

Good Friday

Filed under: Jesus — Tags: , , , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 1:08 pm

good-friday

“On the night Jesus was betrayed, He took bread and… broke it saying, ‘This is my Body, broken for you; do this in remembrance of me.'”

As English shifts, modern ears might be getting this as “After Jesus was betrayed he took bread…”

I think a better reading would be, “On the night that Jesus was about to be betrayed…”

Or better yet, “Knowing full well that he was just a couple of hours from being betrayed, he took bread…”

Judas was about to exit the building. His scheming mind hatched the plan needed to locate and identify Jesus with the least interference from the crowd, and bring him before the Romans to mete out the death penalty on charges of blasphemy. There would be profit in this, not to mention a place of honor among both Pharisees and Romans alike.

But before he even left, Jesus says, “This is my Body, broken for you.” He is in control. He is giving Himself.

The Wycliffe Version isn’t the translation on Bible Gateway that most bloggers turn to, but its rendering is unique: “Take ye, and eat ye; this is my body, which shall be betrayed for you; do ye this thing into my mind.” (italics added)

It clears up the verb tense thing as it relates to the order of events, which shall (or will) be broken for you, only it has the surprise element of bringing betrayal in that clause as well: shall be betrayed for you.

Christ’s body was physically broken for us, but his esprit was no doubt broken by the betrayal of someone who He had walked and talked with; someone whom He had taught in the give and take sense of eastern teaching — for three years.

The Amplified Bible is one of the few other translations that addresses the order of events. Note the section I’ve italicized: “For I received from the Lord Himself that which I passed on to you [it was given to me personally], that the Lord Jesus on the night when He was treacherously delivered up and while His betrayal was in progress took bread…”

In a culture that grows less Biblically literate by the day, I think it necessary to sometimes look twice at details of the story that we just assume that people know. Necessary to clarify, to remove confusion.

But sometimes, in the examination, there is discovery, and the familiar narrative continues to take on shades of depth and meaning beyond anything we’d already considered.

Thinking Out Loud, Jan 4, 2010

Good Friday is the mirror held up by Jesus so that we can see ourselves in all our stark reality, and then it turns us to that cross and to his eyes and we hear these words, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” That’s us! And so we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves. We see in that cross a love so amazing so divine that it loves us even when we turn away from it, or spurn it, or crucify it. There is no faith in Jesus without understanding that on the cross we see into the heart of God and find it filled with mercy for the sinner whoever he or she may be.

~ Robert G. Trache

Several years ago I was in one of those gatherings where several churches come together for a single Good Friday service. The “mass gathering” effect sometimes overshadows the “Good Friday” message as soloists and worship teams tend to want to want to do things up big on a day that I believe musically calls for minimalism.  As one soloist was belting out the words to what would be a nice song any other day of the year, I put my head in my hands and internally screamed out loud:

God, what are we supposed to be thinking of today?

And that’s when it hit me: Sin. We’re supposed to be thinking about our sin. Our propensity to sin. Our sin condition. Our individual sins. The sin that necessitated the cross. Yes, we should think about the price that was paid for our redemption, but we should also think in terms of how we must appear in contrast to a holy God; mindful of our sin nature. It was our sin and guilt that put Him there. And that reminded me of the words of a song that perhaps he should have sung, the song, “Our God Reigns” reproduced below.

How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him,
Who brings good news, good news;
Announcing peace, proclaiming news of happiness.
Our God Reigns! Our God Reigns!

Our God reigns! Our God reigns!…

He had no stately form, He had no majesty
That we should be drawn to Him.
He was despised and we took no account of Him.
Yet now He reigns, with the Most High.

Our God reigns! Our God reigns!…

It was our sin and guilt that bruised and wounded Him.
It was our sin that brought Him down.
When we like sheep had gone astray our Shepherd came,
And on His shoulders He bore our shame.

Our God reigns! Our God reigns!…

Meek as a lamb, that’s led out to the slaughterhouse,
Dumb as a sheep, before it’s shearer;
His life ran down upon the ground like pouring rain,
That we might be born-again!

Our God reigns! Our God reigns!…

Out from the tomb He came with grace and majesty;
He is alive, He is alive!
God loves us so, see here His hands, His feet, His side;
And yes, we know, He is alive!

Our God reigns! Our God reigns!

The message of the cross is God’s triumph over sin and death. The message of Good Friday is that it was our sin that put Him there, our guilt that needed atoning.

Christianity 201, April 22, 2011

ChristOnCross

May 13, 2012

Classic Christian Music Song

While assembling things for my own little YouTube upload project, we discovered one of the songs I most wanted to include was already online, and we’d determined only to do songs that didn’t exist anywhere else.  I might still make an exception for this one, but I wanted to share it with you today in this tribute video form.  The band is Scarlet Red; the song is simply titled Why.

It wasn’t long before I saw the painful truth before my eyes
All my sin had brought a price to pay,
and I knew it was for me that Jesus died.


I truly love this song, and I hope you enjoy listening to it, perhaps even more than once.

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