Indeed, being right is one of the hardest burdens human beings have to bear, and few succeed in bearing up under it gracefully. There is a little placard I have seen that reads, “Lord, when we are wrong, make us willing to change, and when we are right, make us easy to live with!” A very wise prayer.
- Dallas Willard, Hearing God, 54
But it was our sins that did that to him, that ripped and tore and crushed him — our sins! He took the punishment, and that made us whole. Through his bruises we get healed.
- Isaiah 53:5
Jesus is the Lord, but it’s the crucified Jesus who is Lord–precisely because it’s his crucifixion that has won the victory over all the other powers that think of themselves as in charge of the world. But that means that his followers, charged with implementing his victory in the world, will themselves have to do so by the same method. One of the most striking things about some of (what we normally see as) the later material in the New Testament is the constant theme of suffering, suffering not as something merely to be bravely borne for Jesus’s sake, but as something that is mysteriously taken up into the redemptive suffering of Jesus himself. He won his victory through suffering; his followers win theirs through sharing in his.
The Spirit and suffering. Great joy and great cost. Those who follow Jesus and claim him (and proclaim him) as Lord learn both of them. It’s as simple as that.
- N.T. Wright, Simply Jesus, 205
We had the privilege of hearing from Fuller Seminary president Mark Labberton this past Sunday, as he shared from Matthew 7:24-8:13 about “Voice & Touch” and what it means to live lives of integrity.
Here’s the video from our third service:
Mark Labberton – Voice & Touch from The District Church on Vimeo.
And for a slightly different message, check out the audio from the second service!
Perfect listening/meditation material for Holy Week and Easter.
Just a reminder. Romans 8:29-39:
God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him. After God made that decision of what his children should be like, he followed it up by calling people by name. After he called them by name, he set them on a solid basis with himself. And then, after getting them established, he stayed with them to the end, gloriously completing what he had begun.
So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture:
They kill us in cold blood because they hate you.
We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.
None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.