Jesus Was Not a Long-Haired White Man

"What’s more is that Jesus probably didn’t wear bright colors or a brilliantly white robe. Bright colors were expensive to make, and bleached white clothing was a mark of politicians. Common people usually wore earth tones, reflective of the natural color of the sheep’s wool used to create the garments." - Kainos Project

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Refugee? Mixed-Race? Please stop co-opting Christ

"...when it comes to identifying Christ as a mixed-race savior or as a refugee, I can understand the desire to do so....It might be simply that they are saddened for the refugees around the world and want to make Jesus more attractive to the refugee they are evangelizing. But even with these motives it is quite dangerous." - Cripplegate

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What the Name “Jesus” Reveals

"Yeshua means Yahweh saves. That this unique child’s name would be Yahweh saves was understandable for Joseph. Of course, God’s people needed saving — from the Gentiles. From the Romans who ruled over them; from local puppets of Caesar, like Herod and Pilate. . . . Then the bombshell: 'he will save his people from their sins.'" - Mathis via Veith

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One is not like the other ...

The Septuagint (“LXX”) is the Greek translation of the Old Testament, dating to sometime in the mid to early 2nd century B.C. It came about because many Jews living abroad, particularly in Egypt, had lost much of their ability to read and speak Hebrew. They need a translation of the Tanakh (the Hebrew Scriptures) in their own language. The Mediterranean culture was heavily influenced by Hellenism at this time; a legacy of Alexander the Great’s conquests. So, the Hebrew Scriptures were translated into Greek.

This Greek version of the Tanakh was the version Jesus and the apostles used. The majority (but not all) of their Old Testament citations are from the Septuagint. This means the Septuagint is important.

I’m preaching from Zechariah 12:1 - 13:1 next week, as our congregation celebrates the Lord’s Supper. This passage contains the famous prophesy about the Israelites looking to Jesus, whom they pierced (Zech 12:10). This “piercing” clearly refers to Jesus’ death, and echoes an earlier prophet, Isaiah (“but He was pierced for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities …” Isa 53:5). But, there’s an interesting problem. The LXX is different from the Hebrew!

One of these is not like the other

Here is the difference between the two:

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What Child Is This?

"Adoration of the Shepherds" by Caravaggio (1609)

Jesus’ birth was the beginning of the end for Satan and his kingdom of darkness. That old serpent, the devil, tried his best to stop Christ from coming into the world. He knew if he failed, his fate would be sealed. Over and over again, Satan tried. 

In the wicked man Haman, he came near to pulling off a mass genocide of Israelites – cutting off Christ before He could come. Through Herod, he slaughtered untold numbers of young children in the region around Bethlehem (Mt 2:16-18).

The Apostle John summed up the matter in his vision of the dragon and the woman (Rev 12:4b-5a).  Satan tried to stop His own Creator, God’s unique and one and only Son, from coming into the world. He failed. Instead, Jesus completed His work, then “was caught up to God and to his throne.”

Why did Christ come? He came to save us from ourselves.

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Jesus is a...what?

The head of the religion department at Luther College in Iowa recently argued that Jesus Christ, the central figure of Christianity, was in fact, a Muslim. “‘Was Jesus a Muslim?” asks Prof. Robert F. Shedinger in the beginning of a book he published this year entitled Was Jesus a Muslim? “I will answer with a very qualified yes.”

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The Bible, Government, and Social Justice, Part 2: The "Menu" Problem in Handling Jesus’ Words

quoteboxRead part 1.

In an earlier article (Considering the Words of Jesus for Social Justice and other Applications), I asserted that Jesus’ conversations during His earthly ministry fit into four general categories: (1) dialogues—usually intended to challenge particular people to repentance (right thinking about who God was and how one could be justified by Him); (2) pre-rejection public discourses about the kingdom—usually intended for broad audiences with a view to promulgating and clarifying the details of the kingdom so that the nation would understand clearly what was at stake; (3) post-rejection public discourse about the kingdom—usually in parable form, in fulfillment of prophecy, and for the purpose of hiding the truth from those who had already rejected; and (4) preparation of the disciples—often including private instruction so that those He had chosen would be prepared for the task of founding and leading the forthcoming church (assembly).

With these contextual keys in view, let’s examine some passages often invoked to advocate for social justice. The goal here is (1) to discover what Jesus was actually advocating, and (2) whether or not government mandated social justice was on His agenda.

Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God (cf. Luke 6:20 and Matt. 5:3 and John 18:36).

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