Well, here it is, Volume 52 of “Links I Like.” One year of reading and sharing and encouraging other writers to continue writing and influencing others with the gospel. That’s my aim with this series. My goal remains to read and share as much as I can, so others can see vast array of glory that’s contained in God’s gospel of grace. Looking back through these lists, it’s cool see the various resources I’ve gathered from. I hope you’ll stick with me as I continue share more links that I like in the months to come. Keep writing, keep sharing.
Also, Happy Easter! I pray that as you spend time with immediate and extended family members, you’d be reminded of Jesus’s resurrection and the weight of that glorious day when He rose from the grave, conquering sin and death. I pray your Easter services will be drenched in the grace of the Lord’s return and the truth that His resurrection is yours also.
Now, on to the links! Lots to get to, including the first trailer for Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi. I’m getting giddy already!
My God, My God, Why Have You ______ Me? Rethinking Psalm 22:1
Perhaps the most devastating words in all of Scripture are uttered by Christ Himself. On the cross, He cries, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” These words are brimming with gospel ramifications. But sometimes, as Chad points out, we miss the full point of what Jesus means here. Yes, in these tragic words are also the triumphant words of substitution, but they also carry with them the weight of the world’s banishment. “Because Jesus prayed, ‘Do not forsake me,’ we know that God will not forsake us. The Messiah has brought us home from exile.” Beautiful Good Friday reflection from Chad Bird. continue reading→
How Is Jesus Our Prophet, Priest, & King?
It is often said that Hebrews is the most Old Testament book of the New Testament. The writer of the epistle certainly had strong knowledge of the law and prophets. But more so, he had an intimate awareness of what they’re aiming to show. Not only was the Pentateuch the law of Israel, it pointed to a greater Law-Giver and Law-Fulfiller to come. The motif running through Hebrews is that Jesus is the truer and greater Prophet, Priest, and King of the Old Testament. Throughout the book, we’re made to see how Christ fulfills and surpasses these offices, and how, in Him, “we have the quintessential prophet, priest, and king who is for us, acts on our behalf, and is over us.” Great read from Matthew Richard and CCC Discover. continue reading→
Even though it shouldn’t, ascribing to the mission of preaching Jesus week in and week out opens the door for criticism. The critics will cry that preaching the same thing every week does nothing. It’s the same old, same old. It causes “Jesus fatigue.” Such notions, however, are utterly false. The moment we grow tired of hearing about the crucified One, we’ve accepted salvation by works. The old Adam will never be satisfied with hearing, “It is finished.” He’ll always be looking for more things to do, more to accomplish, more ways to earn merit and buy the favor of God. But the gospel is opposed to this line of thinking. Indeed, the gospel says, “Jesus did it all. And He’s more than enough.” continue reading→
3 Theological Reasons to Look for Patterns in Scripture
The greatest interpreter of Scripture is Scripture itself. All throughout the pages of the Bible, you can find repeated phrases, illustrations, and ideas. These we should take acute notice of, marking the pattern of Scripture. What you’ll find is that this pattern is distinctly and absolutely Christ-centered. “Christ is not only the center of biblical history; he is also the center of human history, of the entirety of God’s economic activity in redemption and also in creation.” The repetition of the Bible is there to beat into our stubborn skulls the overarching narrative of life itself, which is: God for us. Superb read from Matthew Emerson over at the Center for Baptist Renewal. continue reading→
The Black Mirror-ing of Christianity
It’s no secret that the old Adam in each of us is adamantly opposed to whatever the gospel proposes. That which is true is considered false, and that which is false is considered true. This fight for the opposite has led to a sundry of distorted interpretations of our world, the least of which is likening religion to something out of The Matrix. There’s a rampant idea that rejecting religion and “quitting” on God is like being “unplugged” from the matrix to see the “real world,” a world in shambles, devoid of God. Yet, as Matt so expertly shows, it’s quite the opposite of this. The gospel is reality and sin is the matrix. Those still plugged in are those believing the lie of virtual peace and satisfaction. Fantastic read from Matt Tolander and The Gospel Economist. continue reading→
The Disruption After the Triumphal Entry
We remember the story of Jesus’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem, complete with crowds shouting, “Hosanna! Hosanna!” in adoration of Him. But we often forget what happens afterwards when Jesus goes from the king “gentle and riding on a donkey,” to the man flipping tables and driving people out of the temple (Matt. 21:12). What’s often lost is what Jesus was really angered by. Yes, money had something to do with it, but, as RJ shows, it had more to do with missions. “Jesus was upset because they ignored the mission outside the temple. Jesus wasn’t upset about commerce, he was upset that they eliminated the place for outsiders to worship.” The gospel of Christ is the promise that the outcast have a home, that the foreigners can come close, that the unclean can draw near — all in and because of Christ. Excellent post from RJ Grunewald. Glad to have him writing again after the birth of his daughter! continue reading→
The Social Upheaval of Martin Luther
For all of the German reformer’s exploits, Martin Luther’s legacy is only partially explored. I believe we get glimpses of the man he was throughout his writings, but I don’t think we have the full picture of the brash theologian from Wittenberg. For Luther, the preeminence of Scripture overlaid everything that he did. Which is why he spent much of his life translating the Bible into the German tongue. But for all of Luther’s “social upheaval,” his primary goal wasn’t revolution, it was reformation — a return to the authority and necessity of the Word of God. Great piece, here, from Obbie. continue reading→
Unchristianity: Putting Jesus on the Unemployment Line
We live in a transactional society. You do this for me, I’ll do that for you. You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. This is the inescapable law of the land, from which there’s no hope of avoiding. You only have to learn how be better at this exchange, be a better negotiator, you might say. Similarly, we negotiate with God. We do righteous things in order to get favor from Him. We practice virtue in exchange for grace, all in the hopes and for the means of winning heaven, claiming paradise. But this is more than false, it’s unchristian. As Chad writes, “The fundamental flaw in transactionalism is this: we’re too late. Way before there was even an ‘if,’ ages before we could even attempt to bargain with God, He had already wrapped everything up.” Wonderful piece on the true nature Christianity and the glorious exchange from Chad Bird and 1517 Legacy. continue reading→
Hungry for Religion
The advent of the “foodie” culture has brought with it a wave of new laws — new methods of measuring up and comparing ourselves amongst ourselves. It’s become the pseudo-religion of American culture. Where once spiritual morality was the norm, grocery morality rules the day, becoming the ultimate barometer by which we determine the goodness or badness of a person. But, as per usual, the Scripture has much to say on this topic. The apostle Paul’s words to the Corinthian Christians are especially convicting as we live in a society of food religion — or more accurately, food superstition. And who better to delineate this text for modern Christianity than David Zahl. This piece via Mockingbird is so timely and relevant in helping those who are caught in the “foodie” religion. continue reading→
Contentment & Thankfulness
You know, you really should be careful what you pray for — because praying for patience won’t ever bring patience, it’ll only bring opportunities to show patience. And even though I say this slightly “tongue in cheek,” asking the Lord for anything — patience, kindness, courage, contentment, wisdom, etc. — opens the door for His trying and molding of those traits in your life. And as my sister writes, learning and praying about thankfulness and contentment will almost always bring about a chance for you to really show yourself thankful and content. Great piece by Bethany! continue reading→
Star Wars: The Last Jedi Official Teaser
As has become the new tradition, the next installment of the Star Wars saga, Episode 8: The Last Jedi, releases this December. In due fashion, the first official trailer for this monumental movie dropped this week. And I, for one, can’t stop watching it!
Song of the Week
“Untitled” by Paper Route. I have this song on endless repeat right now.