Broken to Heal: a Good Friday message

Here is the complete text from my Good Friday message given yesterday at Eastbrook Church. You can view the message here.Chosen Words Series Gfx_Web Ad

The Apostle John, one of Jesus’ closest companions, begins his telling of Jesus’ life with profound words. John describes Jesus as the ‘Word of God’ – that perfect wisdom and revelation of God – who “was with God in the beginning” (John 1:1, 2). He says Jesus was “the true light” shining “in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome” that light (1:5, 9). John even goes so far as to say that Jesus surpasses Moses in His authority as a teacher because Jesus is “the One and Only Son, who is Himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father” (1:17, 18). These rich words show us how highly John thought about Jesus and exactly who we are dealing with when we come to the Gospels: Jesus’ timelessness, Jesus’ authority, Jesus’ wisdom, and Jesus’ divinity.

If we had never encountered the story of Jesus, it may strike us as odd when we read the following words from John nestled amidst those earlier descriptions:

The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory.” (1:14)

The lofty One comes into our midst in human flesh, John says, and that is a revelation of His glory. Certainly, it could be a slight surprise to hear this. The glorious Word – unstained and pure – steps into rough and tumble human experience – right where we live.

Yet that slight surprise is nothing compared to what we encounter later in John’s story: that Jesus would suffer the brutality of violent execution by human hands. This is exactly what we have heard from another early Jesus follower, Matthew, in his record of Jesus’ life read throughout the service today. It is a litany of broken human experience: Jesus’ isolated and suffering alone in prayer while His disciples fall asleep; Jesus’ betrayed by one of His own followers named Judas; Jesus arrested by Temple guards without clear accusation; Jesus facing authorities who bend justice to match their own aims, even as they stand as representatives of God; Jesus’ utter rejection by a close friend, Simon Peter; Jesus’ life exchanged for the freedom of a known murderer, Barabbas, at the request of the crowds; Jesus humiliatingly mocked as a broken king by the Roman soldiers, complete with a robe, a staff, and a crown of thorns; the voices of cynics shouting insults as Jesus is heaved up on a cross to slowly die of asphyxiation or heart failure.Read More »

Resurrection Hope

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Beginning this weekend with our celebration of Jesus’ resurrection, we begin a new series at Eastbrook entitled “Resurrection Hope.” Over the next five weeks we will explore the questions: “why is the resurrection so important to Christianity?” and “what does it mean for us today?” The series will be rooted in 1 Corinthians 15.

April 19/20 – “Resurrection Grace” (1 Corinthians 15:1-11)

April 26/27 – “Resurrection Matters” (1 Corinthians 15:12-19)

May 3/4 – “Resurrection Timing” (1 Corinthians 15:20-34)

May 10/11 – Resurrection Bodies” (1 Corinthians 15:35-49)

May 17/18 – “Resurrection Victory” (1 Corinthians 15:50-58)

||40days|| week seven: Jesus Died

Jesus walked into Jerusalem hailed as a king. Within a few days, the crowd was calling for His execution: “Take Him away! Take Him away! Crucify Him!” (John 19:15).

A thorny crown fiercely adorned His kingly head (19:2). Purple robes signaled His royalty as soldiers spit on Him, slapped Him and mocked Him (19:3). But the only throne given to this King was a rough and brutal wooden cross (19:18). They raised Him up on it for all the world to see. A sign saying “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” displayed His identity in mocking irony (19:19).

Weak and pitiful, naked and bloody, thirsty andRead More »

||40days|| week one: a journey like Jesus

Can you imagine 40 days of fasting and prayer in the wilderness? That was Jesus’ journey as recorded  in the Gospels. As it says in Mark 1:12-13: “At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.” Matthew and Luke tell us of the encounter Jesus had with the evil one himself during this trying time (Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13).

This ||40days|| journey leads us into the desert like Jesus, where we will struggle with the raw temptations and trials that the evil one puts before us. We face the cravings of the world that the Apostle John described as “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (1 John 2:16, NIV).

Watch this video below, Read More »

||40days|| week one: a journey like Israel

When Israel rebelled against God on the verge of Canaan, the land of promise, God sent them on a 40 year journey in the wilderness. You can read about that journey in Numbers 13 and 14.

It was a journey of punishment for sin. It was a journey of purification from rebellion. It was a journey of repentance and returning to the Lord. For 40 years the people had opportunity to reflect on their wrongs. I have to believe that does something to a person. I have to believe that shapes a community.

What does it look like for us to go on our own journey of repentance and return to the Lord? What purification do we need? What work must God do in us to restore us to true life?