How Jesus explained the cross (Matthew 20:17-19)

Could we explain the gospel as Jesus did?

Why did Jesus die on the cross?

Many of my friends would say he needed to die for me, in my place, for my sins. That’s called substitutionary atonement, and it’s one of the explanations of the cross found in Scripture. But it’s not the primary way Jesus understood his crucifixion.

Here’s how Jesus described the cross:

Continue reading “How Jesus explained the cross (Matthew 20:17-19)”

Son of man: suffering king (Matthew 16:21–17:23)

The true king takes on his people’s suffering.

Why did Jesus call himself son of man? Here’s a clue: in the Synoptic Gospels, the vast majority of occurrences (78%) are after Peter calls him the Christ. Jesus has used the phrase previously in relation to his authority, but mostly he uses it once they recognize him as God’s anointed ruler. I think the phrase son of man contains a paradox he wanted them to understand. Continue reading “Son of man: suffering king (Matthew 16:21–17:23)”

Why didn’t God kill the devil instead of his Son?

Interesting question.

Recently I was asked this in a text message:
Q: Why did God sacrifice his only Son to save us instead of killing Satan directly?

Love this question! It accumulates so many misunderstandings of the gospel. Truth is, God’s goal wasn’t to kill Satan. God didn’t need a blood sacrifice before he would save us. And God didn’t kill his Son. Continue reading “Why didn’t God kill the devil instead of his Son?”

Jacob’s reconciliatory gift (Genesis 32:13-21)

How do you sort out a relationship with someone who wants you dead?

Jacob fears for his life. Esau will kill him if he believes he’s coming to claim the inheritance. Why else would he bring a posse of 400 men (32:6)? Continue reading “Jacob’s reconciliatory gift (Genesis 32:13-21)”