Ryan & Jordan

with Pioneer Bible Translators

Tag: atonement

Good Friday

by ryan

Our Dear Readers,

This post will build off the last one—my main point in that post being:

“The fruit of disobedience is death”

(see last post if you want “What is the question?”)

It is fitting that it is Friday—even the 13th perhaps—because I will be reflecting on Good Friday.

The consensus among us, the American working class, is that Fridays are indeed good.  In fact, some people even thank God for Fridays. In related news, dogs who wear matching accessories might be learning this from their humans too.

image at https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/37/2a/12/372a12856e686a6536e9e69d9db17f7d.jpg

It is remarkable that even restaurants have named themselves in honor of this weekly act of thanksgiving. Before I inadvertently begin advertising for restaurateurs, I will . . . beep de mee beeeeeeeeep meeedo lumpa grumpa DING!

Our Dear Readers,

It is now hundreds of years BC and we are in the Kingdom of Judah, and for some reason, I am still writing in English. Are you still reading in English? Latin? Hebrew?

This depiction of Isaiah looks very Roman if you ask me

This depiction of Isaiah looks very Roman if you ask me, but props to Michelangelo for the chapel, and of course props to God for Michelangelo and Isaiah and their moms too

Isaiah, a prophet of the Most High, is preaching. Even if you think he is crazy (or you think I am crazy), come listen to him for a minute.  Check it out!

Isaiah cries out something like:

“Indeed, who would ever believe it?

Who would possibly accept what we’ve been told?

Who has witnessed the awesome power and plan of the Eternal in action?

Out of emptiness he came, like a tender shoot from the rock-hard ground.

He didn’t look like anything or anyone of consequence—

He had no physical beauty to attract our attention.

So he was despised and forsaken by men, this man of suffering, grief’s patient friend.

As if he was a person to avoid, we looked the other way;

He was despised, forsaken, and we took no notice of him.

Yet it was our suffering he carried, our pain and distress, our sick-to-the-soul-ness.

We just figured that God had rejected him, that God was the reason he hurt so badly.

But he was hurt because of us; he suffered so.

Our wrong doing wounded and crushed him.

He endured the breaking that made us whole

The injuries he suffered became our healing. . .”

Jesus is the ultimate champion of obedience even though he was far from successful in the world’s eyes. As Paul, or Saul of Tarsus, addressed Students-who-do-too of Jesus,

“He humbled Himself, obedient to death—a merciless death on the cross.”

And again to followers of Jesus:

“But think about this: while we were wasting our lives in sin, God revealed his powerful love to us in a tangible display–the Anointed One died for us. As a result, the blood of Jesus has made us right with God now, and certainly we will be rescued by Him from God’s wrath in the future.”

He died the death of a criminal well before even being able to celebrate being “over the hill”; He died on that hill, naked and mocked, the wrath of the Almighty poured out on him. He was cursed, his lifeless body hanging from a tree.

Mysteriously, Jesus has invited us to die with him and commanded his disciples to teach this to all peoples.

Jesus said something like:

“If any of you want to walk My path, you’re going to have to deny yourself. You’ll have to take up your cross every day and follow Me. If you try to avoid danger and risk, then you’ll lose everything. If you let go of your life and risk all for My sake, then your life will be rescued . . . Listen, what good does it do you if you gain everything–if the whole world is in your pocket–but then your whole life slips through your fingers and is lost to you.”

Scripture translations were taken from the Voice Bible
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What is the question?

by ryan

To be, or not to be–that is the question:

Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer

The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune

Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,

And by opposing end them. To die–to sleep

No more; and by a sleep we say to end

The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks

That flesh is heir to. ‘Tis a consummation

Devoutly to be wish’d. To die–to sleep.

Perhaps one of the most famous soliloquies in British Literature is the one partially quoted above, spoken by Hamlet.  Perhaps the question that begins it is one of the most well-known questions in English literature.  It is a question that many in North America still ask. It is a question asked by a person who knows evil. To live, or end my life? All too often, the answer is “End my life.” But this post is not primarily about suicide.

I want to back up and ask an ancient question, perhaps a question that would have been part of a soliloquy if the protagonist was penned by a playwright, brought to life by a playwright. But this protagonist was formed from the earth and received the breath of life. This protagonist is you and me.

One protagonist is called Eve.  Her question, our question, is: To obey or not to obey?

The Book of Genesis, as it is often called by the English-speakers, is about creation but it is also about ordination. In the beginning, God created. The earth and everything in it is the King’s, God’s. But in the account we also see a profound ordination: mankind is made to obey God.

Jesus

Instead of obeying the King, we have rebelled. You don’t have to look far to see the disease, the destruction, the disdain and the death this rebellion has caused. The problem for us is that there has only been, and there is, and there will always be, only One King. God will not be dethroned.

The fruit of disobedience is death. So before you choose suicide or death by rebellion, please ask another question and think carefully about your answer.

To obey or not to obey?

Sweet Relief

by Jordee

I often feel it when I’m weary. When I feel the weight of the world and wonder if I’ll get rest soon. When I feel like I’m swimming against the tide, or when someone I love is barely holding on, finding strength only to come up and gasp for air.

We are not as we should be, and when we look around, the effects of this are everywhere. Sometimes the brokenness seems so awfully pervasive, and I wonder for a moment if there’s hope.

But only for a moment.

Then I remember the God Who Sees and the One who healed the sick and raised the dead. It only takes a moment because He is right here, holy and transcendent,  inevasible and loving.

He loves us.

He sees the pain and evil, our rebellion, weakness, and doubt. He does not turn a blind eye. He saw it and took it on Himself, and it had no power over Him.

A dear friend of mine was walking through a difficult time, a time of fighting the tide and gasping for air. She recently told me that she felt a breakthrough when she was riding in the car and a familiar song about the love of God came on the radio. Air filled her lungs again. She stopped flailing as if it were up to her to stay afloat. She said she cried out of relief.

He loves us. We are often burdened and broken. We are sometimes rebellious and ready to give up, but He loves us. What a divine relief.

Thank God.

Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus
Far surpassing all the rest
It’s an ocean full of blessing
in the midst of every test
Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus
Mighty Savior, precious Friend
You will bring us home to glory
Where your love will never end
Samuel Trevor Francis, 1890