Monday, February 21, 2011

Jesus Christ in Leviticus

I read the book Radical by David Platt. It messed me up. That's all I can say. I decided in December when I finished Radical that I would read through the Bible in 2011. I started out really strong. I blew through all 50 chapters of Genesis, no problem. I was a week ahead of schedule. So how is it that in February I find myself behind already? The answer is: Leviticus. I was on pace (or close to it) all the way through the book of Exodus. The end got tough but when I found myself wading the deep waters of Leviticus...well, Exodus looks like a cake walk in retrospect.

And now that I'm finally done with Leviticus I can tell you this: the juice is worth the squeeze.

Jesus is everywhere in the Bible, you just have to look for Him in the pages. In Leviticus, it is much more obvious than some other books. I mean the entire book is basically about sacrifice and priest law. And the cool thing is, I've read the Gospel accounts and Hebrews before. So it's so clear that Jesus is supreme over all these sacrifices and sacrificial law. I mean, Leviticus just goes on and on about the different sacrifices and their different uses and all the rules and regulations that go with each one. I mean I can't imagine having to memorize these things and then carry them out on a daily basis!

So when Hebrews says the Law was a shadow of good things (i.e. Jesus) to come, I believe the text. When Hebrews says that by the Will of God we (Christians) have been sanctified (cleansed, purified) through the one time offering of the body of Jesus and that one time sacrifice is sufficient's not hard at all for me to believe that text, because now I've read Leviticus. I see that Jesus is better. Why would anyone go back to he Law after tasting and seeing that Jesus' Way is so much sweeter?

Just to be clear, there is nothing wrong with the Law, there is something wrong with us. We are broken, not the Law. But Jesus overcame our inability to keep the law.

It's so clear that His preisthood is higher and supreme over all other priests. After all, he's the first (and only) High Priest to ever sit done and declare that His work as a High Priest is finished. He foffered one sacrifice and hHe was done. He said, "It is finished." Every other priest has had to make another sacrifice...and then another and another and another. They were never done. They could never sit down as if they were finished. And they always had to come up with another sacrifice. More blood had to be shed in order to continue the sacrifices. But, Jesus' sacrifice was a one time deal that was eternally satisfactory to the Father. It was one and then done because it was eternally and infintely worthy as a sacrifice for guilt, sins, and everything else found in Leviticus.

Jesus is the Great High Priest. He has earned His priesthood by way of His indestructible life.
Jesus is the Ultimate Sacrifice. He was worthy to be slain as an all-satisfying sacrifice.

You can't see the Supremacy of Christ at its highest heights in the book of Leviticus until you read Hebrews. And you can't see our desperate need for Jesus at its deepest depths in Hebrews until you've read Leviticus. The entire Bible is important. The entire Bible is relevant. You can read the entire Bible...and find Jesus all along the way.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Gnomeo, Juliet, Jesus

Last Friday I went to see the new movie Gnomeo and Juliet with my friend Kimberly. I figured, "Hey, it's G-rated and it's only 84 minutes long, so if it big deal." But, it did not suck. It did not suck at all. No doubt, that movie was worth $10.

However, the best part of the whole film will never happen to me again, even if I watch it 1000 times. Why? Because I'll never get to watch it again with the kid that sat to my left in the row below me on that night. He literally made the whole film for me just ten times better.

Here's why: At the moment in the movie, the climax, where everything seems lost...

Sidebar: Let's be honest, we all knew it was going to be okay because we knew this film wasn't going to end badly like the real Romeo and Juliet story, because it's a kids movie and no one makes a G-rated spoof of R & J to break the hearts and souls of toddlers and small children; but if they did, I secretly commend them for being true to the story and cinematically daring but then I would publicly condemn them like everyone else...I'm just saying...okay, back to the point.

...this little boy (a pre-schooler), right in the middle of the awkward "are they alive or are they dead?" silence gets out of his chair, stands to his feet and yells:

"Nooooo! It cannot be!"

It was one of the greatest moments of my long movie going career. You just can't script that, you just can't plan those sort of things and they just make the movie so much better. But the real power in that statement came to me much later on that night while I was in bed trying to fall asleep.

Most of us want the movie to end well. Most people on this planet want to see Romeo (or rather, Gnomeo) and Juliet live. I like the fact that some movies and other stories end tragically because I think that's more in tune with reality. But, everyone has seen the movie or read the story that ends badly when we are all so desperate for it to have a happy ending.

I mean...this should have heard his voice. It was so honest and so innocent as he proclaimed his longing to see this tragedy end in peace and joy and happiness. I think that most adults, regardless of culture, look out on the world they see, either first hand or through the news media, and say the same thing: "No...It cannot be."

The real tragedy is that the world seems so confused about what is really broken. We're either in denial or we just have outright blindness to the fact that what's really broken is us. And most of the world is confused about who or what can save the day when the dust settles. Many have no hope for the world at all. Some turn to empty religions or even irreligion based on dead men, statues made by men or animals owned by men. Some people believe our savior will be money, education, political freedom, or some other finite form that won't fix us or free us.

"No. It cannot be."

But thankfully, a Savior has already come to save and now we are patiently waiting for His return. The hope and truth that we as Christians so faithfully and joyfully holdfast to is this: Hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, and all other natural disasters; epidemics, famines, millions of kids dead because they dont have clean water; and all other tragedies, including homicide, suicide, genocide...they were all paid for and made right by The Righteous Regicide.

Regicide is the killing of a king. The Righteous Regicide was the killing of The King. The Regicide of Jesus Christ by His Father is the single greatest act of love. Ever. And yes, I did just say that the Father killed the Son. What did you think Genesis 22 was alluding to? Read Acts 2 if you don't believe me.

The "It" that kid was talking about is tragedy. Jesus' death and resurrection means that "No. It cannot be." will one day be "Yes. It is no more." I'm so thankful that when the dust of this real life tragedy settles, Jesus Christ will stand alone, supreme over all else, because he said, "It is finished."

The craziest thing about all of this is that when it's all said and done...we get Jesus. All of those tragedies disappearing for eternity is great, but better yet...we get Christ. Forever. If eternity is free of all tragedy and Jesus isn't there...I don't want it. I want Jesus. Show me where the King is and that's where I'm going, because He's there and I'm His.


Thank you for the Cross my Friend.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Book Review: "What is the Gospel?"

Title: What is the Gospel?
Sub-title: (gŏs'pel)
Author: Greg Gilbert
Publisher: Crossway
Book Type: Christian Theology/Soteriology
Page Length: 121
Chapters: Foreword (D.A. Carson), Introduction, 8 Chapters
SRP: $12.99
Suggested Audience: All Christians

Strengths: It's short. It's sweet. It's hard hitting. It's not too deep. It's not too shallow. And it is absolutely "smathered" with Scripture.

Weaknesses: I could on and on about things here but I think they are really just preferences and at that, they would all be preferences of hypothetical readers. For example, this book isn't very meaty for the heavy academic types. But then again, D.A. Carson is smarter than you (I don't care who you are, and I'm included) and he loved this book so much he wrote the Foreword.

My thoughts: I think every Christian should be issued two things when they become Christians: an ESV Study Bible and this book. It's that good. There is nothing more important for a new Christian to know than the Gospel. After all, God uses the Gospel to save us (Romans 10). This book is contains very basic soteriology (the study of salvation) and I think every baby Christian needs to be discipled through this little gem. It's one of my favorite books and God willing, I'll be teaching Sunday School classes on it for years to come.

Notable quotes: "This is the Bible's sobering verdict on us. There is not one of us righteous, not even one."
"Jesus if you don't catch me, I'm done. I've no other hope, no other savior. Save me, Jesus or I die."
"Repentance is not just an optional plug into the Christian life."
"...what was really astonishing about the gospel of Jesus was that his King died to save his people..."