Seven Last Words

Here’s a series of edited iPhone photos I put together for the seven last words of Jesus.

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Pascal on our Perception of Power

The fact that kings are habitually seen in the company of guards, drums, officers and all the things which prompt automatic responses of respect and fear has the result that, when they are sometimes alone and unaccompanied, their features are enough to strike respect and fear into their subjects, because we make no mental distinction between their person and the retinue with which they are normally seen to be associated. And the world, which does not know that this is the effect of habit, believes it to derive from some natural force, hence such sayings as: ‘The character of divinity is stamped on his features.’

The power of kings is founded on the reason and the folly of the people, but especially on their folly. The greatest and most important thing in the world is founded on weakness. This is a remarkably sure foundation, for nothing is surer than that the people will be weak. Anything founded on sound reason is very ill-founded, like respect for wisdom.

Source: Pascal, Blaise (2003-05-29). Pensees (Penguin Classics) (p. 6). Penguin Books Ltd. Kindle Edition.

The Final Days of Jesus

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Few days ago, I finished reading Justin Taylor and Andreas Köstenberger’s book The Final Days of Jesus. In between loads of laundry, I turned to the book and was gripped again and again with the events of the final week of Jesus.

I’ve probably read the gospels a few dozen times since I became a Christian and have studied some parts of it in detail but nothing prepared me for the sense of clarity that I got by reading the story again in chronological order. That, I think, is the biggest strength of this book. I have always tried to ignore the “inconsistencies” of the gospel accounts of the final week of Jesus because I could not figure out how to reconcile them. For example, Jesus’ triumphal entry in Matthew 21 concluded with him overturning the tables of money-changers in the temple. In Mark, however, he simply looked around and went home to Bethany. Which one is correct? Or take the resurrection story as another example. How many women went to the tomb? And how many angels were there? Matthew and Mark mentioned only one angel while Luke said there were two. The authors showed that these details are not inconsistencies but marks of authenticity of the accounts. Even in modern investigations, no two witnesses say the same exact things.

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CT: Five Errors to Drop from Your Easter Sermon

Christianity Today posted these five errors preachers need to stop saying in their Easter sermon:

1. Don’t say Jesus died when he was 33 years old.

2. Don’t explain the apparent absence of a lamb at the Last Supper by only saying Jesus is the ultimate Passover Lamb.

3. Don’t say the same crowds worshiped Jesus on Palm Sunday and then cried out for his crucifixion on Good Friday.

4. Don’t bypass the role of the women as witnesses of the resurrected Christ.

5. Don’t focus on the suffering of Jesus to the extent that you neglect the glory of the Cross in and through the Resurrection.

You can read the whole thing here. 

From the Interwebs (04/16/14)

Free eBook: John Piper’s Love to the Uttermost:

It is not too late to download a copy of John Piper’s Love to the Uttermost, a short devotional ebook for Holy Week. And while you’re at it, check out the related resources below the page. Desiring God has done a great job in compiling hundreds of free resources to help believers all over the world grow in their walk with God.

Carl Trueman on Tragic Worship:

The psalms as the staple of Christian worship have been too often replaced not by songs that capture the same sensibilities”as the many great hymns of the past did so well” but by those that assert triumph over death while never really giving death its due. The tomb is certainly empty; but we are not sure why it would ever have been occupied in the first place.

Peter Kreeft on Pascal and Our Addiction to Distraction:

We want to complexify our lives. We don’t have to, we want to. We wanted to be harried and hassled and busy. Unconsciously, we want the very things we complain about. For if we had leisure, we would look at ourselves and listen to our hearts and see the great gaping hold in our hearts and be terrified, because that hole is so big that nothing but God can fill it.