Saturday, 23 October 2010

The lamb is prepared

Mark 14:1-11 (which I'll preach tomorrow, God-willing) is a very interesting passage in its structure:
  • In verses 1-2, Mark tells us that the Passover was near, and that the leaders of Israel were looking for a way to kill Jesus.
  • In verses 3-9, we are told how Jesus was anointed at Bethany, in preparation for his burial.
  • In verses 10-11, Judas goes to the leaders of Israel to betray Jesus to them.
The heart of the message of this portion is "hiding" in broad daylight. Jesus is the true Passover lamb who takes away the sin of the world. At that time of the Jewish calendar, the Passover lamb chosen by each family would be in each house, waiting to be slaughtered at the hour God had chosen (Exodus 12). Its doom was sealed, but for now it lived until the appointed moment. The chief priests and scribes were unaware that ultimately that was all pointing forward to this awesome, holy week. God, in his wisdom and power, had chosen this Passover for his Son to be offered up in the true, gospel Exodus. Whilst they prepared the lambs for the old Feast at home, they conspired together to prepare the lamb for the New Passover that was soon to fulfil the old shadow and make it pass away. As the path to the lamb's death was paved, so Jesus' body was anointed for its burial as the appointed means for his death as the great gospel Lamb fell into place under his Father's oversight.

Friday, 15 October 2010

How many will be saved?

I've added to my website an essay I wrote in 2004, about three forms of (soteriological) "inclusivism" - i.e. three classes of different ways in which writers have answered "yes" to the question, "will more be saved than lost?". Here it is.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

The big two (?) questions about home education

Someone planning to home educate asked me the other week - how do you answer the big two questions? I had to ask what those were, but here, having had a chew, are my brief answers:
  • Q. Won't your children be anti-social?
    A. At school, children are placed with those the same age as them and then go through the same experiences, for many years. i.e. They get a limited, narrow experience. Home-educators are free to take their children with them to all kinds of situations, meeting all kinds of people - much more like "real life" once school ends. Home education has the advantage here, and having far above average social, flexible children is the norm amongst home educators (at least, those we know).

  • Q. What about losing opportunities to witness to Christ at the school gate?
    A. That's a side-benefit. It's the secularism in the school buildings that's the major concern for me: the purpose of education is to educate my children, not to evangelise their peers' parents. But actually, home education does not mean that you lock your children indoors; it simply means that the parents are the primary educators. Where, when, and how, is up to you, and you can go and meet as many people in whatever situations you deem best.
Both these questions seem to assume that home education is about fear and avoidance of the outside world - lock 'em up, hide 'em away. That doesn't follow. There may well be home educators like that, but it's not of the essence of home education.

Monday, 11 October 2010

The family (audio MP3s)

There's one missing (broken technology - may get fixed next week), but I've added 3 sermons about family addressed to a men's conference in Kenya, to my sermons page here:

Saturday, 9 October 2010

But life works in you

These verses from Paul contain fantastic encouragement for those whose work is to spread the gospel:
For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you. (2 Corinthians 4:11-12)
John Calvin (IIRC) called the Christian ministry being put to death every day. Sometimes ministers can really feel that. But here's the good news: you might feel like the living dead, but by the power of the Holy Spirit your words can make the dead to live. Death works in you as you feel Satan's malice in the assaults against you. But unstoppable resurrection life is working in those who hear your words.