A Key Theme in Acts
The book of Acts is one-hundred percent dependent on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. If Jesus died on the cross, but did not rise from the dead, there would be no “Acts of the Apostles.” In fact, there would be no Christianity.
Acts begins with the resurrected Lord giving his disciples final instructions and explaining to them their responsibility to be witnesses to the world of what they had seen (Acts 1:6-8). What was the chief thing concerning which they were called to be witnesses? Peter answers that question as the disciples began the process of finding a replacement for Judas, when he says that the new apostle “must become with us a witness to [Christ’s] resurrection” (Acts 1:22). The message the apostles were to proclaim was the message of the resurrected Christ, and every major sermon given by the apostles in Acts contains that message. Continue reading The Resurrection of Christ in Acts and Its Pastoral Implications
What I want to address quickly is, the timing of the atonement. I wish to answer the questions, When did Jesus begin to bear the sins of His people? When was Christ abandoned? Namely, I wish to debunk the popular notion that the three hours of darkness, when Jesus says “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me,” (Matt. 27:46) was the period where God laid the sins of His people upon Him. They say that the darkness was God turning His face from Jesus, for “God cannot look upon sin” (Hab. 1:13 taken out of context).
Please note I am not at all denying the doctrine of Divine Abandonment! I believe Jesus was abandoned because Jesus says He was abandoned. But where I would differ is the starting point of it all. I believe that Jesus was bearing the sins of His people, and enduring the wrath of God in their place beginning not only the first 3 hours on the cross in addition to the latter 3, but even before the cross. I shall quickly go over four reasons why I believe this is the case. The first two are more implicit, but the latter two are conclusive. Continue reading Divine Abandonment: Was Jesus Only Bearing Our Sins For 3 Hours?
Plain Statements that Jesus is God
John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” We begin with an outright statement that Jesus is God (“was God”), and that He is a distinct Person from God the Father (“with God”). This verse also teaches that Jesus was not created, for the timing is before Creation took place. Along those lines, we see Christ’s eternality, for He was with God before the world began.This is also affirmed in John 17:5 and 24 (see also 8:58; Mic. 5:2).
One common objection to this interpretation is from Jehovah’s Witnesses. They say that because there is no definite article before “God” in the last clause, it should rather be translated “and the word was a god”. To this we should immediately ask why John would abruptly change the meaning of “God” in the middle of this sentence. We could also ask how there can be more than one god when the Bible so often states that there is but One (e.g. John 17:3). Continue reading A Common Sense Look at the Deity of Christ