Today is both Earth Day and Good Friday. For some people, Earth Day is of primary importance. Others are only talking about Good Friday and think that people who celebrate Earth Day are pagan nature worshipers.
But maybe an emphasis on the cross and on creation is appropriate for a day like today. In Romans 8, Paul writes the following:
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us. For the creation eagerly waits with anticipation for God’s sons to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to futility-not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it-in the hope that the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage of corruption into the glorious freedom of God’s children. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together with labor pains until now. And not only that, but we ourselves who have the Spirit as the firstfruits-we also groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. Now in this hope we were saved, yet hope that is seen is not hope, because who hopes for what he sees? – Romans 8:18-24 (HCSB)
The cross brings hope and the promise of healing to all of creation. The suffering, the corruption, and the futility we experience in the world is a direct result of the creation turning our collective backs on our Creator. It started with Adam and Eve’s first act of disobedience but every denial of God since then has contributed to the mess.
The resurrection of Jesus is hard to believe. The most we can expect for someone to return from the dead is minutes, not hours, and certainly not days. If someone claimed to have been dead for three days we would find it hard to believe and hard to prove. Much less if it happened nearly 2,000 years ago. How would we even begin to think historically (and rationally) about such a claim?
Yet, the resurrection is the most plausible explanation for the historical “facts in evidence”. In his book, The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach, Mike Licona does an amazing job of outlining a) how to conduct historiographical research and b) how the resurrection of Jesus is the best explanation of the “historical bedrock” that is accepted by virtually all New Testament scholars (which includes Jewish scholars, liberal scholars, atheist and agnostic scholars, evangelical scholars, etc. who study the Bible for academic purposes).
So what is the historical bedrock? Licona informs us that apologist and theologian Gary Habermas has completed an academic review of 3,400 scholarly books and journal articles written on the resurrection of Jesus since 1975. An overwhelming majority of those scholars, whether skeptics or believers, will grant a high probability of historicity to the following four events:
I have talked with a lot of people who argue that Jesus never said the words, “I am God.” So, if that were true, why does orthodox Christianity teach that Jesus is, in fact, God in the flesh?
First, I would say that the Gospels present us with four perspectives on the life, teaching, death, and resurrection of Jesus and I find them to be trustworthy. We have these four witnesses to the divinity of Jesus who are quoting Him and giving us a record of His activity on earth.
As I have studied the Gospels and the languages and culture of these early followers of Jesus, it is clear that they were thoroughly convinced of Jesus’ divinity and that they
communicated that fact very clearly to their original audience. They showed that Jesus
was God both by what He did and by what He said.
Jesus’ Actions Confirm His Divinity
The Gospels are filled with all of the evidence for Jesus’ divinity, so for the sake of this post I’ll highlight just a few events in the life of Jesus from the Gospel of Matthew.
See, the virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and they will name Him Immanuel, which is translated ‘God is with us.’
It’s not every day that a virgin conceives and the significance of the baby Jesus fulfilling prophecy and being named “God is with us” isn’t lost on Matthew’s Jewish audience.
I started blogging in 2004 to chronicle my move from New Orleans to Boston to become a church planter. Seven years later I’m starting fresh with blogging. This is my first post at nathancreitz.net.
A lot has developed in the past seven years. I met, dated and married my wife; I graduated from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity; my wife and I had a girl and now have a boy on the way.
A lot has remained the same over the past seven years. I’m passionate about engaging a post-Christian culture with the Gospel; I’m energized by making disciples; I’m committed to networking, resourcing, and multiplying the local church.
With all that in mind, I wanted to start fresh with a new blog. This blog will focus on my
role as a disciple maker and church leader. I want to share what I’m learning as a young, local church leader. I want to share what I’m learning as I make disciples. I want to share what I’m learning about ministry in a post-Christian context. I want to share what I’m learning as I spend time with God in prayer and in the Word.
This won’t be a leadership blog or a theology blog or a technology blog. This will be a blog that combines all of those issues (and more) that might face a local church leader. As I share things that I’m learning I hope you will take a moment and join the conversation.
If you’d like to learn more about me, here’s a link to my bio. I will also add sermon audio and videos from time to time so you might want to check out my media page. I’d love to hear from you, either in the comments section, on Twitter, or you can contact me via email.