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O death where is thy sting

When Monty Python’s Life of Brian came out 30 years ago it caused a tremendous stir. Now there are definitely reasons to object to the film.  But we should not object simply because the film makes fun of religious people.  Jesus made fun of religious people.  Constantly. (e.g. The Mote and the Beam or Straining at […]

The wages of sin is death

Driving across my wife’s home town of Belfast, it’s difficult not to come across this verse emblazoned on some billboard or other: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  (Romans 6:23) And it’s usually in the King James Version too! It serves […]

He is not here, he is risen

Woody Allen is famously fearful of death (of course he maintains he’s not afraid, he just doesn’t want to be there when it happens).  He was once asked, ‘Aren’t you pleased to know you’ll live on in the hearts and minds of those you’ve touched?’  Woody said ‘I don’t want to live on in hearts […]

It is finished

“To die is not a problem when a man has accomplished his historic mission.”  Unfortunately for Leon Trotsky, an icepick cut short his mission to rule Russia.  His death represented a failure.  But Christ would have us believe that His death was a success.  Yet there was absolutely nothing on Good Friday that looked victorious. […]

Gave up the ghost

—  An old car that breaks down for the last time. —  A sports team that knows it can’t win. —  A business that finally calls it quits. In all these situations we’d say they “gave up the ghost.” In the bible, the phrase describes death.  Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were all said to have […]

Hail, King of the Jews!

When you think of a martyr’s death, you might picture dignified suffering, noble sacrifice, perhaps a reluctantly admiring crowd, some final, well chosen words of grace and wisdom.  We often imagine a certain glory to martyrdom.  But that only goes to show we don’t know what we’re talking about. Richard Wurmbrand wrote “Tortured for Christ”, […]

Jesus wept

How do you handle death? Broadly speaking, people either deny it or they befriend it. Denial is the majority option.  “Life is for the living” we say and we put death out of our minds.  As best we can.  But it will come out in other ways.  Hebrews 2 says we are “subject to bondage” […]

I am the light of the world

Jesus is both the brightness of the Father’s glory (Hebrews 1:3) and the light of the world (John 8:12).  Let’s think about that for a minute. The Father radiates.  His nature is luminous.  His being shines out.  You cannot think of the sun without sunshine and, just so, you cannot think of the Father without […]

What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

To Peter it seemed that “the things of God” should involve glory and fame (see yesterday’s post).  He therefore shunned the way of the cross.  But Jesus insisted – it’s the things of men that are focussed on comfort and honour now. Such a preoccupation is in fact Satanic. On the other hand, “the things […]

Dives and Lazarus

This story is often studied to discover the “what” of judgement.  Yet it seems most in keeping with the context and content to read it as a parable.  And, though we will learn much about the nature of judgement, undoubtedly it was the “who” of judgement that would have shocked Jesus’ hearers: “19 There was […]