In this angelic rescue, Peter is passive; God is active. Echoing language and themes of Passover, the account emphasizes human recognition of divine rescue. Being a witness for Christ may result in persecution and even death. But God is able to preserve us for His purpose – if He so chooses — Just as He did at the First Passover. Let’s not be surprised if/when He does
Research suggests that the modern conception of freedom — our most cherished value — is almost purely negative (i.e., freedom *from* constraints). The Truth of Jesus gives (negative) freedom *from* sin and (positive) freedom *to* fulfill our original purpose — right relationship with God. Though our culture often co-opts His words, His is the Truth that truly “will set you free.”
Children resemble their parents; Children of God must resemble their Heavenly Father. We must have a distinctive family resemblance — that sets us apart from the world. We must strive to be holy as He is holy. We must be the salt of the earth, and light of the world.
We cannot conform to our culture; We have to be distinct, set apart — holy. In doing so, we will be the salt of the earth that prevents moral decay and adds Christian flavor. And we’ll be the light of the world that dispels darkness and attracts others to the light of Christ — bringing glory to our Heavenly Father, the King
In the last of the traditional ‘Seven Last Words’ of Jesus from the cross, Christ quotes the first half of Psalm 31:5. This good ole Jewish song had become a good ole Jewish (bedtime) prayer. Just as Jews would pray this prayer, trusting their Heavenly Father to awaken them from sleep, Jesus also prays this prayer, trusting the Heavenly Father to awaken Him from death (cf. Lk 9:22, 18:31-33).
This popular prophecy of Isaiah (8th century BC) foretells of a Suffering Servant whose substitutionary, atoning death would heal the broken relationship between God and His people. In the NT, Jesus is identified as this messianic figure who was humbled before being exalted…
This prophecy of Isaiah foretells of the forthcoming Servant of the LORD who is a kingly, even divine, Messiah. Though the nation of Israel was supposed to be to the collective Servant of the LORD through whom He would bring about justice and salvation to the nations, they rebelled and transgressed their covenant with YHWH. The unimpressive, unattractive, humble, despised, suffering Servant was to come and make a substitutionary, atoning self-sacrifice that would heal the relationship between the LORD and His covenant people, bringing שָׁלוֹם (shalom).
To make his case for the Resurrection, Paul cites both his subjective, personal experience in addition to objective, historical evidence. We should do the same. For though people have their philosophical prejudices, given the historical facts that scholars of all stripes agree upon, the Resurrection is the best historical explanation.
People change. Societies change. Things change. But the facts of what Christ did for us do not change. Christ does not change. The widely-accepted historical facts are best explained by Christ’s Resurrection. This is the firm foundation of our faith. Because of God’s love and grace, we should respond with love and faithfulness.
When Jesus is asked about the greatest commandment, He quotes the Shema (Dt. 6:4-9) — the most fundamental confession of the Old Testament, which devout Jews still recite daily. Let us love the One who gives us everything with everything He’s given us.