I anticipate that most blogs will be relatively short. My plan is to post something new at least once a week.
Let's start with a quote by John Stott which I read just after Easter as a part of my devotional reading. While the biblical writers certainly affirm that Jesus Christ died on the cross--he didn't just swoon as some have tried to say--Stott notes that none of the gospel writers (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) say that Jesus died. They use other words to express the truth that he died. Matthew says that he "gave up his spirit" (Matthew 27:50). Mark says that he "breathed his last" (Mark 15:37). Luke puts the truth that Jesus died in his own words from the cross: "Father ,into your hands I commit my spirit" (Luke 23:46). And John says that Jesus "bowed his head and gave up his spirit" (John 19:30). Why don't the gospel writers just say that Jesus died? Why do they avoid the word "died"? Stott writes,
None of the evangelists says that Jesus "died." They seem deliberately to avoid the word. They do not want to give the impression that in the end death claimed him and that he had to yield to its authority. Death did not claim him as its victim; he seized it as its victor (John Stott, Through the Bible - Through the Year, Baker Books, 2006, page 262).
That is the good news that believers in Jesus Christ celebrate not just at Easter but all year long: Death did not claim Jesus as its victim. Instead he seized it as its victor!
"Where, O "death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:55-57).