Discovery of the site of Jesus’ trial?

Archaeologists have found what they are identifying as Herod’s palace in Jerusalem, which many scholars believe was the headquarters of Pontius Pilate and the site of Jesus’ trial. [Read more...]

Happy Circumcision & Name of Jesus Day!

I hope you had a big celebration last night and stayed up past midnight to see in the big holiday today.  Namely, the commemoration of the circumcision and naming of Jesus, a ceremony that took place one week after His birth.  To honor the occasion–and, oh, yes, it’s also New Year’s Day, isn’t it?–I am reposting something I wrote back in 2009:

Today is. . . the ancient feast celebrating The Circumcision and Name of Jesus. The week after Christmas, the Christchild was circumcised, thus taking upon Himself the fulfillment of the Law, a rite in which He was also officially given His name.

“Jesus” means “God saves” (literally, to put it even stronger, “YHWH saves”). Notice how the very name of Jesus attests to His divinity and to the Gospel.

Several years ago, we went to church on New Years Day and heard one of the most memorable sermons on the Name of Jesus. The pastor went through the different places in the Bible that talks about doing things “in the name of Jesus,” then bringing in the meaning of that name, that God saves. We are told to pray in the name of Jesus, because “God saves” gives us full access to the Father. When even two or three meet in the name of Jesus, He is with them, because “God saves” makes a new kind of worship possible. Disciples could cast out demons in Jesus’ name; that is, in the reality that “God saves.” At the name of Jesus, “God saves,” every knee shall bow and every tongue that Jesus is LORD. (Try that correlation yourself in your own devotions.)

via The Name of Jesus.

This is also a fitting contemplation for  the new year ahead.  So happy New Year’s, everybody!  May 2015 be a good and blessed year for all of you!.

Mary, Did You Know?

As I’ve said before, the great challenge for an artist–whether an author, musician, painter, or whatever–in depicting Jesus Christ is how to portray Him as both God and Man.  In Christmas art, some work portrays Him in His humanness as a cute little baby.  Other work, such as the classic icons, show the Child as transcendent God.  Both are fine, conveying profound truths about who Christ is.  But the very best art about Christ somehow evokes BOTH His divinity and His humanity.

I have a candidate, a contemporary Christmas song, that pulls this off:  Mary, Did You Know? by Mark Lowry and Buddy Greene.  Here are the lyrics.  After the jump, a video of my favorite performance of the song, the haunting version by Kathy Mattea. [Read more...]

Lessons And Carols

“Lessons and Carols” is a Christmas service consisting of nine Bible readings punctuated by the singing of Christmas carols.  It’s a simple service that goes back to 1918 featuring the choir of King’s College in Cambridge, which has been performing it every year except 1930 ever since.   BBC began broadcasting it in 1928, and listening to it on Christmas Eve has become a tradition for many citizens of Great Britain and its Commonwealth.   Churches often put it on.  So do Christian colleges.  But many families do it themselves for family devotions.  (For more background, go here and here.)

Cheryl Magness writes about it in the Federalist and says what it means to her and her family.  I’ll link to it after the jump and give her “Five Reasons” to attend a Lessons & Carols service.  She also says where you can listen to it live from King’s College on December 24 at 10:00 a.m., replayed at other times. [Read more...]

He will build you a House

We are on the road for Christmas, and we worshipped on the last Sunday of Advent at the church where my son-in-law is the pastor.  (As of now, our Advent Christmas embargo is over.)   Rev. Ned Moerbe preached on the Old Testament text for the day, 2 Samuel 7, in which David had the idea of building God a house; that is, a permanent Temple to replace the Tabernacle tent that the children of Israel had used as the place of sacrifice since the Exodus.  But God, through Nathan the prophet, tells David not to build Him a house; that He would build David a house, an eternal house, prophesying the perpetual reign of  David’s descendant, the Christ.

In the course of the sermon, we were told that the custom in the ancient Biblical cultures was when a couple was betrothed, they waited to get married until the groom built his bride a house for them to live in, either a separate structure or an addition to a family home.  This would probably have been the case with Joseph–whose profession as a carpenter, in the original languages, was not so much a builder of furniture but a builder of houses–and Mary, his betrothed.  And this speaks to us of Advent. . . [Read more...]

Cranach’s “Christ Blessing the Children”

One of my favorite Cranach paintings is “Christ Blessing the Children.”  See a discussion after the break.

Lucas_Cranach_the_Elder_Christ_blessing_the_Children,_Frankfurt_am_Main,_Städel_Museum

 

HT:  Rev. Anthony R. Voltattorni, Young Children Saying The Same Thing As Christ | Alien Righteousness.  (Read this post for a modern-day application.)

[Read more...]


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