What Would Jesus Do?

Jesus and the moneychangers

What would Jesus do? This is a question that many religious people ask themselves when they attempt to decide if a particular decision or activity is right. Their intentions might be good – trying to focus on Jesus and please Him. However, this question is the wrong question!

Why is this the wrong question? It is too subjective. It turns our responsibility into nothing more than what we think Jesus would do in a given situation. Instead of asking a subjective question like this (What would Jesus do?), let us consider some other questions to ask – questions for which we can find objective and definitive answers from the Scriptures.
Continue Reading

“Behold, the Lamb of God”

Cross

John’s mission was to prepare the way for Christ (Isaiah 40:3; Malachi 3:1). On a day when he saw Jesus coming to the place he was preaching and baptizing, John announced, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).

There is a lot in John’s statement. Much of it may not have been understood at first. This is to be expected with prophecies. But as time went on and different things happened (Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, the establishment of His church, etc.), those who heard him could go back to declarations like this one and see more clearly the clues that were given and confirm the fact that God was behind all of this.
Continue Reading

The Three Things Jesus Accomplished in His Death

Cross

Toward the end of a lengthy discussion of Jesus’ work as our high priest, the Hebrew writer provided a summary in his explanation of Psalm 40:6-8. In this explanation, he spoke of the three things Jesus came to the earth to accomplish.
Continue Reading

The Lord’s Prayer in the Garden

Jesus in the Garden

Shortly before His arrest, trials, beatings, and crucifixion, Jesus spent time in the Garden of Gethsemane praying to the Father. Some interpret this prayer in such a way as to try and show that Jesus was praying that He might escape death. They say that this was a moment of weakness for Jesus and describe Him as being in dread of the cross. They depict Jesus (perhaps unwittingly) as if He were some miserable coward. Can such an interpretation be correct?

Notice Matthew’s account of the Lord’s prayer:

Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to His disciples, ‘Sit here while I go over there to pray.’ And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed. Then He said to them, ‘My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.’ And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.’ […] He went away again a second time and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Your will be done” (Matthew 26:36-39, 42).

After reading of His prayer, let us seek to answer this question: Did Jesus wish to avoid the cross?
Continue Reading

Of First Importance

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).

Paul told the Corinthians that he had and was presently preaching the gospel to them (1 Corinthians 15:1). The reason why it was important is because the gospel brings salvation (1 Corinthians 15:2). It is “the power of God for salvation” (Romans 1:16). In the preaching of the gospel, that which is “of first importance” is the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.
Continue Reading

Whose Place Did Jesus Take on the Cross?

Crosses

Jesus’ death on the cross is part of the foundation of our faith. Yet for an event so important and familiar, many have misconceptions about it. One common misconception is the idea that Jesus died in our place or in our stead. We sometimes hear the terminology that calls this sacrifice the vicarious death of Christ. Vicarious simply means a substitute. This is the idea that many have – Jesus died in our place as a substitute for us.

Let us notice a common illustration that is used to emphasize the presumed vicarious nature of Christ’s sacrifice. [I say this is a common illustration because I have personally heard it, or something very close to it, used on multiple occasions by gospel preachers from the pulpit.] The illustration goes something like this: You are a defendant in a court of law and, being found guilty, are sentenced to pay some outrageous fine that you could never be able to pay. Since you cannot pay, you are going to be sent to prison. Then someone you do not know steps forward and agrees to pay the debt for you. He takes your place. It is as if he was the one who committed the offense because the punishment for your offense fell on him. Your debt is transferred to and paid by him. As a result, you are free.

The parable described above is used to depict Jesus as one who willingly took our place and acted as a substitute for us. The punishment we were due for our sin, He endured. We are thus free from the penalty for sin. This is a heart-warming metaphor. But as we shall see, it is not Biblical.
Continue Reading

Proper Practice of the Lord’s Supper

Christians are commanded to partake of the Lord’s Supper. Paul gave instructions regarding the practice when he wrote to the church in Corinth (1 Corinthians 11:20-34). He relayed to them the command he had “received from the Lord” (1 Corinthians 11:23). The command from Christ was to “do this in remembrance of Me” (1 Corinthians 11:24). As the Christians in Corinth were commanded to partake of the Lord’s Supper, we are to partake as well.
Continue Reading