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Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Acts 4:12

The Most Important Message You Will Ever Read. . . More Info
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." - John 3:16 And Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me."
- John 14:6

VOLUME 18  |  NUMBER 4| APRIL 2008 |  ONLINE EDITION   |  (636) 936-8119



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Why the Cross Offends
By Bob DeWaay

     The cross was an executioner’s device. It meant either a literal cross on which someone would be executed, or it meant living as one condemned to die (cross- bearing). Later Paul used the term “cross” to mean the message of the cross. It might surprise people today to learn that the term “cross” when used in the Bible never meant a Christian symbol. And yet many modern churchgoers see the cross as an endearing Christian symbol and have trouble understanding what it meant to the people who heard Jesus teach about it.
    Consider therefore the implications of this teaching of Jesus: “And He was saying to them all, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me’” (Luke 9:23). This call to discipleship came in a section of Luke’s gospel where the key issue was Jesus’ identity. Herod had asked about it (Luke 9:7-9) and Jesus had asked what the people said about it (Luke 9:18). When He asked the disciples what they thought, Peter answered correctly “The Christ of God” (Luke 9:20). So far so good—but then came the utter shock: “The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day” (Luke 9:22). The Messiah would be rejected by the Jewish leadership and killed. Not only that, but His followers would have to live in this world as those condemned to die. That is what it meant to take up a cross.
    Crucifixion was a horrible, cruel means of execution which the Romans used not on their own citizens, but on people they wished to intimidate, humiliate and make an example of. People who raised sedition against Rome were usually targeted. The Jewish people whom Jesus addressed had personal and corporate memories of crucifixion that made the concept horrifying and loathsome. Let me explain.
    The Jewish historian Josephus described a number of incidents of crucifixion before the time of Christ. The first involves the infamous Antiochus Epiphanies in 167 BC, the same tyrant who desecrated the temple. Here is what Josephus wrote about that incident: “And indeed many Jews there were who complied with the king’s commands, either voluntarily, or out of fear of the penalty that was denounced; but the best men, and those of the noblest souls, did not regard him, but did pay a greater respect to the customs of their country than concern as to the punishment which he threatened to the disobedient; on which account they every day underwent great miseries and bitter torments; for they were whipped with rods and their bodies were torn to pieces, and were crucified while they were still alive and breathed: they also strangled those women and their sons whom they had circumcised, as the king had appointed, hanging their sons about their necks as they were upon the crosses.”

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Resurrection Life Today
By Rev. Chris Baker

    Resurrection. How improbable! The Greeks scoffed at it. Returning to life from the dead. How unsettling! The Jews were angered by it. New life after life. How surprising! It gave wings to the heels of the apostles, and it made everything in the world different.
    The world has experienced nothing more profound or more difficult than the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. To this day, when confronted with the news of His resurrection people will explain it away, deny it, challenge it, puzzle over it, wonder at it, and sometimes receive it. But no one will or can ignore it. Atheists may attempt to annihilate it as mere artifice by the Church, and pantheists clambering to cosmic consciousness may conceive to conscript it for their service, and post-moderns may suppose it to be passé power-mongering, but the resurrection stands uniquely against all the machinations of men…and men know it. It is a world-shattering, world-shaping incident. The resurrection of Jesus Christ shouts that death does not have final say; not today, not ever.
    Some people treat the resurrection as a merely historical event or as a useful theological construct to keep the faithful faithful. But certainly there is much more than being simply a proposition or one more religious event. The resurrection has changed the rules of engagement with life.
    The Bible speaks almost off-handedly about the believer “dying with Christ” and being “raised with Christ.” Such language is not literary device used by the ancient writer. There is a power and an effectiveness in the resurrection that enables us to live today. Today, we are “raised with Christ” and today we have the spirit of resurrection dwelling in us. Perceptions of life and reality can no longer remain untouched and unchallenged. Purposes and motivations can no longer go unquestioned now that there is much more than what daily meets our fleshly eye.
    The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the vigor and vitality of a creative Western civilization. Through the last two thousand years, Western Europe has experienced a series of renaissances because the resurrection has injected into life an energetic creative hope; a sort of sanctified restlessness. Such sanctified restlessness should impact our perceptions, our actions and our motivations.

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Jesus and Muhammad Compared

 

 


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