The following video, filmed in conjunction with the book, The Final Days of Jesus, features short explanations from and interviews with New Testament professors Grant Osborne (of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) and Andreas Köstenberger (of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary) along with historian of ancient history Paul Maier (of Western Michigan University), focusing in particular on the opposition to Jesus and what angered his Jewish antagonists so much.
As Jesus leaves the home of the Pharisee, attacked by the Pharisees and experts in religious law, he faces a crowd of thousands, clamoring to see and hear him. It is at this moment - of attack and popularity - that Jesus chooses to teach his disciples about the danger of hypocrisy.
(RSS readers may need to click-through to view the video.)
From Joe Carter:
Holy Week is the week before Easter, a period which includes the religious holidays of Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. Here's what you should know about the days that commemorate the Passion of Christ:
1. Holy Week observances likely began in Jerusalem in the earliest days of the church, though the term first appears in the writings of fourth century bishops, Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria, and Epiphanius, bishop of Constantia. Holy week does not include Easter Sunday.
2. The first recording of a Holy Week observance was made by Egeria, a Gallic woman who made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land about 381-384. In an account of her travels she wrote for a group of women back in Spain, Egeria describes the Palm Sunday she observed in Jerusalem:
. . . all the children who are [gathered at the top of the Mount of Olives], including those who are not yet able to walk because they are too young and therefore are carried on their parents' shoulders, all of them bear branches, some carrying palms, others, olive branches. And the bishop is led in the same manner as the Lord once was led.
3. Because of the difficulty in some parts of the world of procuring palms for Palm Sunday, leaves from yew, willow, olive, or other native trees are frequently used. The Sunday was often designated by the names of these trees, as Yew Sunday, or by the general term Branch Sunday.
4. An archaic and infrequently used name for the Wednesday before Easter is "Spy Wednesday", named for Judas' becoming a spy for the Sanhedrin.
5. Maundy Thursday is the day before Good Friday. The term "Maundy" is derived from the Latin word mandatum (commandment). The term refers to the commandment given by Jesus at the Last Supper: "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another." (John 13:34)
6. The historical origins of the "Good" in Good Friday remain unclear, though some entomologists believe the term "good" is an archaic form of "holy."
7. In Catholic and Eastern Orthodox traditions, Holy Saturday commemorates the "harrowing of hell," the time between his Crucifixion and his Resurrection when Christ is believed to have descended into hell. Some Protestants, however, don't believe that Scripture warrants believing the claim, found in the Apostle's creed, that "[Christ] descended into hell." As John Piper says, "there is no textual basis for believing that Christ descended into hell."
8. In Medieval Europe, Christians would abstain from eating eggs and meat during Lent. Eggs laid during that time were often boiled to preserve them and were given as Easter gifts to children and servants. Some traditions claim the Easter egg is symbolic of the resurrection of Jesus, with the shell of the egg representing the sealed Tomb and cracking the shell representing the Resurrection. Christians in the Middle East and in Greece painted eggs bright red to symbolize the blood of Christ.
9. The Christian scholar Bede (673-735 AD, aka, the Venerable Bede) claimed in his book De Ratione Temporum that Easter was named after Eostre, a pagan goddess of the Saxon people in Northern Europe. Later scholars, however, claim that the term derives from the Anglo-Saxon word "oster", meaning "to rise" or for their term for the Spring equinox, "Eostre."
Monday, March 30, AD 33.
The following video, filmed in conjunction with the book The Final Days of Jesus, features short explanations from and interviews with New Testament professors Nicholas Perrin (of Wheaton College) and Grant Osborne (of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School), focusing in particular on the cursing of the fig tree, the cleansing of the temple, and the role of the temple in the theology and practice of Jesus.
A new video will be released each day this week.
(HT: Justin Taylor)
Sunday, March 29, AD 33.
The following video, filmed in conjunction with the book The Final Days of Jesus, features short explanations from and interviews with New Testament professors Doug Moo (of Wheaton College Graduate School) and Andreas Köstenberger (of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary).
A new video will be released each day this week.
(HT: Justin Taylor)
Despite my best efforts, I am a chronological snob. I get wrapped up in the here and now, in my generation's take on things. I am too influenced by my peers, to narrow in my experience, disconnected from the long and faithful lives of all those - particularly all those saints - who have gone before me.
noun. a custom, practice, convention, ritual, observance, or way.
What is it about young people that we rankle against tradition?
"How do we keep our balance?," asked Tevye, in the famous, Fiddler on the Roof, "That I can tell you in one word...Tradition!
And, because of our traditions, every one of us knows who he is, and what God expects us to do."
Yes! - traditions can do that. With their ritual and structure, they provide a path for learning and growth, if you are willing to enter into the journey, a journey that supplies a departure from the norm. The tradition of Lent is blessing me with just such an opportunity to pursue balance. I am thirty-four days into this walk of forty days of meditating upon Jesus and his journey to the cross, of who I am in him, and, because of what he has already done in me and who he has made me, what God expects me to do in response.
For the past week, my devotional has me gazing upon the nature of sacrifice in the life of Jesus, and therefore, for those who follow him.
We live in a culture obsessed with self-improvement. We want to change our job, our body, our house, our habits, and hobbies. We even want to “improve” the people around us. When it comes to opportunity and options for change, our day is unparalleled in history. The problem is that we also live in an age of unparalleled convenience. I can shoot a video on my phone and send it to someone a thousand miles away, all within minutes. I can take a pill and lose weight while I sleep, allegedly. Without any work of preparation, I can eat nearly whenever and whatever I want. Privileges like these have cultivated unrealistic expectations and unwarranted impatience. We cannot escape the effects of our technological age.
The Bible offers an entirely different norm for change, which is more profound and deliberate. It promises holistic change, but not all at once, and not without sacrifice. In Romans 12, after Paul has laid out the theology of the gospel, he exhorts his readers to take action, to let the gospel change them, if you will: “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship” (Romans 12:1).
O how I chafe against this reality, and how good to be reminded! Read that again:
The Bible offers an entirely different norm for change, which is more profound and deliberate. It promises holistic change, but not all at once, and not without sacrifice.
But just how does the change come about?
The way we take action is to present the entirety of who we are to God “as a living sacrifice” to him.
This is a peculiar phrase.
The allusion to Old Testament sacrifice is clear, but what is being sacrificed on that altar dies. So what are we to make of this “living sacrifice?”
So, Paul is telling us that in our following of Jesus we become a living sacrifice. Which means, something in us needs to die...
On one hand, personal growth is sacrificial. We do not need to atone for our sins (Jesus is the final sacrifice for sin), but we do have to put to death our selfish ambition and our desire to be in control. So much of our motive for change is to secure ourselves by our own means. We want to change our bodies to secure a good image, acquire wealth to secure comfort, and gain power to secure our happiness. All of that must be put to death.
...so that we may truly live...
But that is only part of what Paul is saying here. Our worship is sacrificial, but it is also living: “If by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Romans 8:13). In other words, our sacrifice of worship is to live for God, to present the members of our body to God as “instruments of righteousness” (Romans 6:13). This is possible because “he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also [give life to our] mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in [us]” (Romans 8:11). Because Jesus offered up his body on the cross to secure our salvation forever, we can offer up our entire life to God as a continual act of worship.
...and thus, we find the heart of Lent...
The norm in our culture is to sacrifice whatever we have to get what we want. The way of true sanctification is to sacrifice everything we want because of what we already have in Christ. This is the heart of Lent. We are decluttering our lives, inside and out, testing the values and habits and desires that have become our acceptable norm. We are making room in our heart and mind to consider what Jesus gave up for us, and it is changing us. It’s not all at once, because that would rob us of the joy we experience in knowing the one who changes us.
I know you probably have a very full schedule. Time is short. But would you mind reading all that again, and thinking over it. Before you do, pray and ask the Holy Spirit to show you something, to teach you in the way of Jesus.
And then, take another few moments to reflect:
1. What kinds of things do you want to change about yourself and your life?
2. What would it look like to offer these things to God in worship?
3. How will pursuing change help you seek God above all else?
And to pray:
Almighty God, Father of all mercies, we, your unworthy servants, give you humble thanks for all your goodness and loving-kindness to us and to all whom you have made. We bless you for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life, but above all for your immeasurable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ, for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory. And, we pray, give us such an awareness of your mercies that with truly thankful hearts we may show forth your praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives, by giving up ourselves to your service, and by walking before you in holiness and righteousness all our days, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory throughout all ages.
(Again, all these quotes were taken from the Lenten devotional I'm using, Journey to the Cross.)