Posts Tagged Jesus
It’s already been 10 years since the release of The Green Mile (1999). The Stephen King film stars Tom Hanks as a Death row guard and the massively large and mysteriously gifted prisoner named John Coffey played by Michael Clark Duncan. I finally saw it for the first time this weekend at the request of one of my youth group boys who has been powerfully moved by the Christian themes found throughout.
Here’s a general plot summary:
“Paul Edgecomb is a slightly cynical veteran prison guard on Death row in the 1930′s. His faith, and sanity, deteriorated by watching men live and die, Edgecomb is about to have a complete turn around in attitude. Enter John Coffey, He’s eight feet tall. He has hands the size of waffle irons. He’s been accused of the murder of two children… and he’s afraid to sleep in a cell without a night-light. And Edgecomb, as well as the other prison guards – Brutus, a sympathetic guard, and Percy, a stuck up, perverse, and violent person, are in for a strange experience that involves intelligent mice, brutal executions, and the revelation about Coffey’s innocence and his true identity.” Written by Kadi Lynnith
On a basic level this movie presents the difficulty for some to believe in the miraculous. At a much deeper level what comes through very clearly — even to the casual observer — is the obvious similarities between John Coffey and Jesus Christ as depicted especially in the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53. Here are some of the strongest parallels between Christ and Coffey:
- John Coffey is a hated and despised man, rejected and unwanted because of his race, reputation and size. “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not” (Isaiah 53:3).
- John Coffey is a striking blend of power and might clothed with Jesus-like meekness and gentleness. He’s 8 feet tall with barrels for biceps yet afraid of the dark and wouldn’t hurt a fly. “A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he leads justice to victory” (Isaiah 42:3).
- He has the ability to see what’s inside people’s hearts. “For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance,but the LORD looks on the heart” (1 Sam 16:7).
- He is characterized by “light” and cannot stand the darkness. “I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12); “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). Read the rest of this entry »
The gentleman who drew this is Joe Castillo. He went to Asbury Theological Seminary.He did this during a chapel service. It was fascinating – he told the Gospel story – each part of Jesus’ life – and he was drawing the story as he told it.The longer you look at this picture, the more you see. Look closely.
On the cross, Jesus gets into it with his mother. “Woman, behold thy son,” he says to her. Mary, look at the child you are losing, the son that you are giving over for the sins of the world. Maternal love is that love that loves in order to give away. In Mary’s case, it was particularly so. When Jesus was born, old Simeon had predicted, “A sword will also pierce your heart.”
From the first, it was not easy to be the mother of the Son of God. And now, even from the cross, Jesus is busy ripping apart families and breaking the hearts of mothers. Because he was obedient to the will of God, because Jesus did not waver from his God-ordained mission, he is a great pain to his family. “Woman, behold thy son.”
In that day, in that part of the world, there were no social attachments as rigid or determinative as that of the family. Family origin determined your whole life, your complete identity, your entire future. So one of the most countercultural, revolutionary acts of Jesus was his sustained attack upon the family.
In a culture like our own, dominated by “family values,” where we have nothing better to command our allegiance to than our own blood relatives, this is one of the good things the church does for many of us. In baptism, we are rescued from our family. Our families, as good as they are, are too narrow, too restricted. So in baptism we are adopted into a family large enough to make our lives more interesting. Read the rest of this entry »
A great reminder — and the idea behind MainStreet Merge Forums. -JB
by Cathleen Falsani 05-31-2012
Ah, the life of the church. So many arguments, so little time.
The list of subjects about which the saints disagree is seemingly endless, encompassing both the profound and the woefully mundane.
The ordination of women. The proper role of religion in politics. Climate change. Homosexuality and same-sex unions. Pre-, Post-, or A-millennialism. Biblical translation. Gender pronouns for God. How best to aid the poorest of the poor. How best to support the sanctity of marriage. Hell. Heaven. Baptism. Which brand of fair-trade coffee to serve in the fellowship hall. The use of “trespass/es” or “debts/debtors” in reciting the Lord’s Prayer. Whether to use wafers, pita, home-baked organic wheat, gluten-free or bagels at the communion table. What color to paint the narthex.
It should come as no surprise to most Christians that the world outside the church looking in sees it rife with conflict, bickering, arguments and castigation — of the “unbeliever” and fellow believers alike.
Frankly, it also should come as no surprise to the rest of the world that the church — by virtue of being a community of humans — naturally would have such disagreements and discord.
We are imperfect. Our communities are imperfect. And our faith, too, is imperfect.
But I would argue that it is not the imperfection or presence of conflict themselves within the Communion of the Saints that too many of those who would not call themselves Christians find repellent. It is how the church deals with them that repels so many. Read the rest of this entry »
Reposted from 2009. -JB
If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit—but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock. But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach. When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards” (Matthew 7:25-27 MSG).
I watched the little tike as he built his sand castle with great care and pride on the beach shore. He must have been 5 years old. Just as he was putting the finishing touches on his castle wall, a large boat pulling a wake boarder cruised by just a stones throw out from the shore. Within seconds the waves hit the shore and wiped out the boy’s sand masterpiece. And he ran to his mommy in tears.
Life went on for this little boy. He soon got over the destruction of his sand castle and was soon laughing on the playground minutes later.
Unfortunately, many of us never completely grow out of the foolish practice of building fragile castles in the sand. Read the rest of this entry »
As the OT comes to a close, God’s plan to bring a tone-deaf and clumsy footed people back into the harmonious rhythms of The Father’s Song seems a giant failure. If only these notes on a page could become music in one’s ear. If only someone could learn to play each note perfectly, perhaps the world would be irresistibly drawn to the music and join in the chorus. If only someone could breathe life into the sheet music and make it dance like those dry bones did in Ezekiel’s vision. If only the Word, God’s very wisdom, power and purposes, could become flesh and dwell among us.
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). This shocking statement brings us to the climactic point of “The Father’s Song” survey of the Bible. Read the rest of this entry »
Once upon a time, two brothers who lived on adjoining farms fell into conflict. It was the first serious rift in 40 years of farming side-by-side, sharing machinery and trading labor and goods as needed without a hitch. Then the long collaboration fell apart. It began with a small misunderstanding and it grew into a major difference and finally, it exploded into an exchange of bitter words followed by weeks of silence.
“Yes,” said the older brother. “I do have a job for you. Look across the creek at that farm. That’s my neighbor. In fact, it’s my younger brother! Last week there was a meadow between us. He recently took his bulldozer to the river levee and now there is a creek between us. Well, he may have done this to spite me, but I’ll do him one better. See that pile of lumber by the barn? I want you to build me a fence… an 8-foot fence — so I won’t need to see his place or his face anymore.”
The carpenter said, “I think I understand the situation. Show me the nails and the post-hole digger and I’ll be able to do a job that pleases you.” The older brother had to go to town, so he helped the carpenter get the materials ready and then he was off for the day. The carpenter worked hard all that day — measuring, sawing and nailing.
“You are quite a fellow to build this bridge after all I’ve said and done.”
The two brothers stood at each end of the bridge, and then they met in middle, taking each other’s hand. They turned to see the carpenter hoist his toolbox onto his shoulder. ”No, wait! Stay a few days. I’ve a lot of other projects for you,” said the older brother. ”I’d love to stay on,” the carpenter said, “but I have many more bridges to build.”
The following post is worth reading. I found it during my Easter sermon study and preparation as I prepare to trace the New Creation theme through the Gospel of John. I have read the book he’s referring to by N.T. Wright. I, too, am a huge fan and student of Wright. Get the book! Enjoy! -JB
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us; we beheld his glory, glory as of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1: 14)
It’s official: I’m an N. T. Wright fan.
I think every Christian should at least read one book by N. T. Wright. You may or may not agree with everything he writes (for instance, I’m not quite sure if I agree with his take on justification), but he’s one of the most top-notch and accessible biblical scholars today. Go to any major bookstore and you’ll find several of his works in the Christian/religion sections.
Basically all of the thoughts here on this post are from the 4th chapter of his book Following Jesus: Biblical Reflections on Discipleship titled “The Glory of God: John.” His brief, yet profound insights into the meanings and nuances of the gospel of John really opened my eyes to not only the text itself, but more importantly, how everything in it connects (eschatologically) with the message of the whole Bible and how it ties to what it means to be a Christian, or more specifically, a disciple of Jesus Christ today.
So let’s get right to it.
The gospel of Matthew takes us into the synagogue if you will, where the people of God are learning to recognize Jesus as their King.
In Mark, we’re given a handbook on discipleship and how to be a follower of the Servant King.
Luke presents Jesus to the cultured Greek world and is presented to a predominantly Gentile audience.
With the letters of Paul, we feel as if we’re in a seminar room: we argue things out, look up references, take notes, think deeply about things, reflect, and analyze what the gospel means and then we’re sent out to preach the gospel to the nations.
But then we get to the gospel of John and we’re not even given a chance to breathe or to even take a moment to catch a breather. Almost immediately we’re thrust up to the mountain top. He invites us to be still and peer deeply into the human face and eyes of Jesus of Nazareth. As we read his text, he leads the reader to be inundated with the awesome reality that we’re not just looking into the face of a great prophet, teacher, or revolutionary, but rather, we’re brought face to face with the living God as we look at the face of Jesus of Nazareth. Read the rest of this entry »
The Garden of Gethsemane was the Garden Decision — of sacrifice, of abandonment and suffering, of temptation resisted, where the Last Adam chose God’s will over his own. This was the garden where the savior’s blood began to pour out for the sins of the world.
But the story doesn’t end in either of these two gardens. There’s another garden and gardener on the other side of Golgotha’s darkness. Read the rest of this entry »
How slow the moments must have seemed,
there in the garden,
among the olive trees that moonlit night,
as the trees uplifted their branches
in the dappled light and shadow
like arms uplifted in prayer.
Only they managed to stay and watch with you.
The garden grew quiet as your followers fell asleep
one by one,
unable to keep vigil,
even though you asked,
Their gentle snoring was almost the only sound.
Did you see Peter
struggling to keep his eyes open,
John nudging him to stay awake,
only to succumb himself?
Was this, then, how it was to begin,
the isolation of the sacrificial victim,
The Father requiring you to give up everything that comforted
as you gazed into the gathering darkness,
even your companions in this long journey,
the witnesses to a loving God’s concern.
No crutches or helpers then,
just you and the night.
How quiet it all was.
Did you begin to strain your ears
listening for sounds
of the gathering mob?