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HE IS RISEN INDEED!!

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-45) was a German theologian and pastor who spoke out against the Nazi regime during World War II. His resistance against Hitler’s regime culminated with him being hung in a concentration camp at Flossenbürg.

Today, Bonhoeffer’s works are loved by many. His writing, despite time, is still youthful, enlightening, and inspirational.

Additionally, Bonhoeffer is most known for his rich writing on discipleship. In celebration of the Easter season, we thought it would be timely to share his comments on discipleship and the cross. [Plus, we asked if you all wanted to read something from Bonhoeffer on our Instagram account. The answer was a resounding: YES!]

So, check out Mark 8:31–38 because it’s the passage Bonhoeffer discusses in the following excerpt. Then… read and be encouraged!

DISCIPLESHIP AND THE CROSS

The call to discipleship is connected here with the proclamation of Jesus’ suffering. Jesus Christ has to suffer and be rejected. God’s promise requires this, so that scripture may be fulfilled. Suffering and being rejected is not the same. Even in his suffering, Jesus could have been the celebrated Christ. Indeed, the entire compassion and admiration of the world could focus on the suffering. Looked upon as something tragic, the suffering could in itself convey its own value, its own honor, and dignity. But Jesus is the Christ who was rejected in his suffering. Rejection removed all dignity and honor from his suffering.

It had to be dishonorable suffering.

Suffering and rejection express in summary form the cross of Jesus. Death on the cross means to suffer and die as one rejected and cast out. It was by divine necessity that Jesus had to suffer and be rejected. Any attempt to hinder what is necessary is satanic. Even, or especially, if such an attempt comes from the circle of disciples because it intends to prevent Christ from being Christ.

The fact that it is Peter, the rock of the church, who makes himself guilty doing this just after he has confessed Jesus to be the Christ and has been commissioned by Christ, shows that from its very beginning the church has taken offense at the suffering Christ. It does not want that kind of Lord, and as Christ’s church, it does not want to be forced to accept the law of suffering from its Lord. Peter’s objection is his aversion to submitting himself to suffering. That is a way for Satan to enter the church.

Satan is trying to pull the church away from the cross of its Lord.

So Jesus has to make it clear and unmistakable to his disciples that the need to suffer now applies to them, too. Just as Christ is only Christ as one who suffers and is rejected, so a disciple is a disciple only in suffering and being rejected, thereby participating in crucifixion. Discipleship as allegiance to the person of Jesus Christ places the follower under the law of Christ, that is, under the cross.

For the rest of the post…

By Trevin Wax

 

April 5, 2015

jesus-resurrection

(See the previous post: My Jesus – Dead.)

Mary Magdalene went
and announced to the disciples,
“I have seen the Lord!” 
(John 20:18)

~~~~~

He is alive! This man from Nazareth, the Messiah of Israel, the Lord of the world.

With the breath of creation, He speaks of peace, faith, and mission.

With lungs full of air, He breathes on His disciples and grants His Spirit. My Jesus – alive!

The eyes that saw the darkness of death now drink in the sunlight of Easter. My Jesus – alive!

The arms that hung from a cross of wood now embrace a a world of grief. My Jesus – alive!

The hands that bear the scars of love now lift the head of doubters. My Jesus – alive!

The ears that were deafened by death are now filled with the joy of God’s people. My Jesus – alive!

The lips that that cried out, “Finished!” now promise ”I make all things new!” My Jesus – alive!

The voice that lay silent in the grave now sings the song of life. My Jesus – alive!

The feet that were wrapped in grave clothes now stroll the shores of Galilee. My Jesus – alive!

The heart that bled for sinfulness now beats again in righteousness. My Jesus – alive!

The Bread from heaven, a feast for earth.

The Light of the world, chasing away the shadows.

For the rest of the post…

tomb

In a new piece for Christianity Today online, Andreas Köstenberger and I look at Five Errors to Drop from Your Easter Sermon. Here is a comment on the role of the women that may be helpful to remember:

As you preach this Easter, do not bypass the testimony of the women as an incidental detail.

In the first century, women were not even eligible to testify in a Jewish court of law.

Josephus said that even the witness of multiple women was not acceptable “because of the levity and boldness of their sex.”

Celsus, the second-century critic of Christianity, mocked the idea of Mary Magdalene as an alleged resurrection witness, referring to her as a “hysterical female . . . deluded by . . . sorcery.”

This background matters because it points to two crucial truths.

For the rest of the post…

Jon Walker in his book, In Visible Fellowship: A Contemporary View of Bonhoeffer’s Classic Work:  Life Together writes in chapter 36, the final chapter, about the “Ministry of Communion”. Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote…

It is the command of Jesus that none should come to the altar with a heart that is unreconciled to his brother. If this command of Jesus applies to every service of worship, indeed, to every prayer we utter, then it most certainly applies to reception of the Lord’s Supper. 

Walker writes that The Big Idea of the chapter is…

Communion is about the sharing of life. It is about knowing others and being known by others, about caring and being cared for on a deep and personal level. And, when we take Communion (The Lord’s Supper) together, we should reflect the life we share with one another because the Life of Christ is active in our hearts.

Walker added:

We cannot love like Jesus loves us unless we enter each other’s lives in an intimate and personal way.

…And so Jesus expects us to come up-close to each others.

…During the Last Supper, Jesus emphasizes the reality of our oneness with him, with the Father, and with each other; yet, we’ve lost that emphasis in the way we shares the Lord’s Supper (Communion) today. We’ve reduced it to a superficial ritual, where we focus entirely on the sacrifice of Jesus, but the exclusion of the oneness we are called to with each other. .

Don’t misunderstand, the death and resurrection of Jesus is the unimpeachable core of our relationship with God and each other. It is the very thing, the only thing, that brings us into communion with the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

…And so our communion with Christ should compel us into communion with each other.

…Jesus spent most of the Last Supper speaking about his love for us, and our oneness with him and the Father.

…Yet, somehow we’ve truncated the message into a memorial service for Jesus. We say, “Let’s remember what he did for us,” but then we stop before we get to the part where we’re supposed to remember what we should do for each other because we are in union with Christ… 

…To be like Jesus is…When we are united in Christ, we “can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God…” (Romans 15:6 NLT).

(Jon WalkerIn Visible Fellowship: A Contemporary View of Bonhoeffer’s Classic Work: Life Together, Chapter 36).

HE HAS RISEN INDEED!

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