Discussion of the Best News in the World, the Gospel of Jesus, and related topics
I am watching the series, A.D.–the Bible Continues on NBC and we are right in the middle of the series. This article from the BBC in 2009 captures some of the issues depicted in A.D.–the Bible Continues.
The events leading up to the arrest and crucifixion of Jesus are well-told by the Gospel writers, as are stories of the Resurrection. But why did Jesus die?
In the end the Roman authorities and the Jewish council wanted Jesus dead. He was a political and social trouble-maker. But what made the death of Jesus more significant than the countless other crucifixions carried out by the Romans and witnessed outside the city walls by the people of Jerusalem?
The death and resurrection of this one man is at the very heart of the Christian faith. For Christians it is through Jesus’s death that people’s broken relationship with God is restored. This is known as the Atonement.
The word atonement is used in Christian theology to describe what is achieved by the death of Jesus. William Tyndale introduced the word in 1526, when he was working on his popular translation of the Bible, to translate the Latin wordreconciliatio.
In the Revised Standard Version the word reconciliation replaces the word atonement. Atonement (at-one-ment) is the reconciliation of men and women to God through the death of Jesus.
But why was reconciliation needed? Christian theology suggests that although God’s creation was perfect, the Devil tempted the first man Adam and sin was brought into the world. Everybody carries this original sin with them which separates them from God, just as Adam and Eve were separated from God when they were cast out of the Garden of Eden.
So it is a basic idea in Christian theology that God and mankind need to be reconciled. However, what is more hotly debated is how the death of Jesus achieved this reconciliation.
There is no single doctrine of the atonement in the New Testament. In fact, perhaps more surprisingly, there is no official Church definition either. But first, what does the New Testament have to say?
The New Testament uses a range of images to describe how God achieved reconciliation to the world through the death of Jesus. The most common is the image of sacrifice.
For example, John the Baptist describes Jesus as “the lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world”. (John 1:29)
Here are some other images used to describe the atonement:
And here are some examples of how the New Testament explains the death of Jesus:
‘For the Son of Man himself did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many’.
Words attributed to Jesus in Mark 10:45
‘Drink all of you from this’, he said. ‘For this is my blood, the blood of the covenant, which is to be poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.’
Words attributed to Jesus in Matthew 26:28
Well then, in the first place, I taught you what I had been taught myself, namely that Christ died for our sins, in accordance with the scriptures…
Written by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:3
How have later writers and theologians interpreted the Biblical accounts and theologies? In varied, and sometimes conflicting, ways.
From the BBC, 2009.
The following is a quote from Andy Braner. I rarely direct quote but this concept is so needed in America and right now! We don’t see each other and we do not hear one another.
“No, it’s not a joke. There’s no punchline. Last night in Durango Colorado, it really happened. I’ll explain.
A few weeks ago, my friend DJ threw out a crazy idea. “I wonder if we could get more interaction in town if we invited people of different belief systems to a forum?” he asked. Read more of this post
2 The people who walk in darkness
will see a great light.
For those who live in a land of deep darkness,
a light will shine.
6 For a child is born to us,
a son is given to us.
The government will rest on his shoulders.
And he will be called:
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 His government and its peace
will never end.
He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David
for all eternity.
The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies
will make this happen!
My words: read and wonder!
11 1-5 A green Shoot (Jesus) will sprout from Jesse’s stump,
from his roots a budding Branch. (a new branch)
The life-giving Spirit of God will hover over him,
the Spirit that brings wisdom and understanding,
The Spirit that gives direction and builds strength,
the Spirit that instills knowledge and awe of God.
The awe of God will be all his joy and delight.
The whole earth will be brimming with knowing God-Alive,
a living knowledge of God ocean-deep, ocean-wide.
10 On that day, Jesse’s Root will be raised high,
posted as a rallying banner for the peoples.
The nations will all come to him. His headquarters will be glorious.
Not so fast. Ph.D. mathematician and professor Dr. William Dembski loves science and seeing what scientific discovery points to: the necessity of a Master designer. Watch him explain how. Dembski is the author of Evidence for God: 50 Arguments for Faith from the Bible, History, Philosophy, and Science.
1,000 pages of Bible drawn on a napkin? Author James Choung draws 4 circles to communicate the fall of man, then Jesus and the cross, up through today’s issues like social justice.
Go for justice!