Tag Archives: Sacrifice

Christ the Just

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Genesis 9:8-17
Psalm 25:1-9
1 Peter 3:18-22
Mark 1:9-15

 

Rabbi Tovia Singer has become very popular on YouTube as a debunker of the faults of Christianity. One such attack was on the very essence of the faith. In verse 18 of First Peter, we read: Remember that Christ the just suffered for us the unjust, to bring us to GodPhillips

Singer responds that Jesus did not sacrifice anything. If he knew that he only had a few hours of suffering to go through and that with his death he would put an end to sin, that is not a sacrifice, that is like winning the power ball. A real sacrifice is giving up your life to save another person with no expectation of any reward.

You can listen to his much longer explanation here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51PcjmeG0hA

On the surface, R. Singer seems to have made a solid case. Most of us would be willing to do what Jesus did if we knew we would end up saving all humanity.

The problem is that the Rabbi has left out important information. He did so because he does not accept Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of Man, or the Son of God. He rejects any notion that Jesus was without sin. He even rejects the importance of animal sacrifice in the First Century Temple.

By the Rabbi’s account, Jesus willingly went to the cross in the mistaken impression that his death would eliminate sin. By Peter’s account, Jesus was the Once and Only Pure Lamb, put to death for the sins of the world. He chose to enter Hell to preach to the people there. God took him from the grave and raised him up to sit at His right hand in Heaven.

As we know, Jesus had many disagreements with the Pharisees. One of them was their insistence that they could stand in God’s presence as perfect humans because they observed the Law and all its supplements, amendments, codicils, and refinements. Jesus wanted them to worry more about the people they met every day instead of avoiding them for fear of contamination.

The Gospel message is that we do not have to worry about our sins. What the Pharisees did not understand was that they were sinning every day, throughout the day, without knowing it. We all do. To stop every time I sin and ask for forgiveness would eliminate most of the time I have to help other people.

After Peter describes the salvation of the Ark, he adds this: And I cannot help pointing out what a perfect illustration this is of the way you have been admitted to the safety of the Christian “ark” by baptism, which means, of course, far more than the mere washing of a dirty body: it means the ability to face God with a clear conscience. For there is in every true baptism the virtue of Christ’s rising from the deadPhillips

 

Read my earlier comments on this theme here.

 

Be righteous and do good.

Mike Lawrence

Righteousness

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Genesis 22:1-14
Psalm 13
Romans 6:12-23
Matthew 10:40-42

Genesis contains a dozen chapters of stories about Abraham.  The Jewish Oral Tradition contain additional stories, enough to fill a small book.

There is a reason.

There are important stories of people who responded to God before Abraham.  But Abraham is the beginning of a nation that will respond to God.  We find the Messiah in Abel, Noah, Lot, and many others, but we find the nation in Abraham.

We also find in Abraham the ultimate image of God’s redeeming power in the world.  God spoke to Abraham and said, Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.  Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey.

God looked for one man who would do what God himself was willing to do, give his Son as a sacrifice.  Abraham loaded his donkey.  No complaints.  No negotiating.  No asking why.  Abraham loaded his donkey

His absolute faith in God is beyond what most of us can achieve.  He could have cried as did David:

How long, Adonai?
Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I keep asking myself what to do,
with sorrow in my heart every day?
How long must my enemy dominate me?

But Abraham loaded his donkey.

We cannot be satisfied with being a partial Christian, doing God’s work when it fits our schedules.  We must take Paul’s words to heart:   That means you must not give sin a vote in the way you conduct your lives. Don’t give it the time of day. Don’t even run little errands that are connected with that old way of life. Throw yourselves wholeheartedly and full-time—remember, you’ve been raised from the dead!—into God’s way of doing things. Sin can’t tell you how to live. After all, you’re not living under that old tyranny any longer. You’re living in the freedom of God.

Abram was a full time follower of God; he loaded his donkey.

Jesus said:  This is a large work I’ve called you into, but don’t be overwhelmed by it. It’s best to start small. Give a cool cup of water to someone who is thirsty, for instance. The smallest act of giving or receiving makes you a true apprentice. You won’t lose out on a thing.

 

Be righteous and do good.

Mike Lawrence