Crucifixion and Resurrection

O LORD,
I marvel that thou shouldst become incarnate,
    be crucified, dead, and buried.
The sepulchre calls forth my adoring wonder,
    for it is empty and thou art risen;
    the four-fold gospel attests it,
    the living witnesses prove it,
    my heart’s experience knows it.
Give me to die with thee that I may rise to new life,
    for I wish to be as dead and buried
        to sin, to selfishness, to the world;
    that I may might not hear the voice of the charmer,
        and might be delivered from his lusts.
O Lord, there is much ill about me — crucify it,
            much flesh within me — mortify it.
Purge me from selfishness, the fear of man, the love of approbation,
            the shame of being thought old-fashioned,
            the desire to be cultivated or modern.
Let me reckon my old life dead because of crucifixion,
    and never feed it as a living thing.
Grant me to stand with my dying Saviour,
        to be content to be rejected,
        to be willing to take up unpopular truths,
            and to hold fast despised teachings until death.
Help me to be resolute and Christ-contained.
Never let me wander from the path of obedience to thy will.
Strengthen me for the battles ahead.
Give me courage for all the trials, and grace for all the joys,
Help me to be a holy, happy person,
    free from every wrong desire,
            from everything contrary to thy mind.
Grant me more and more of the resurrection life:
    may it rule me,
    may I walk in power, and be strengthened through its influence.

The Valley of Vision
A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions

“It Is I” Says the Christ

He who hung the earth is hanging.
He who fixed the heavens in place has been fixed in place.
He who laid the foundations of the universe has been laid on a tree.
The master has been profaned.
God has been murdered.

But He rose up from the dead
and mounted up to the heights of heaven.

When the Lord hath clothed Himself with humanity,
and had suffered for the sake of the sufferer,
and had been bound for the sake of the imprisoned,
and had been judged for the sake of the condemned,
and had been buried for the sake of the one who had been buried,

He rose up from the dead,
and cried with a loud voice,
“Who is it that contends with me?
Let him stand in opposition to me.
I set the condemned man free;
I gave the dead man life;
I raised up one who had been entombed.
Who is my opponent?
I am the Christ
I am the one who destroyed death,
and triumphed over the enemy,
and trampled Hades underfoot,
and bound the strong one,
and carried off humanity
to the heights of heaven.”

“It is I,” says the Christ.

—Melito of Sardis
Easter sermon (ca. A.D. 195)

Via: Trevin Wax

Do Not Shrink from the Topic of Hell

In light of the recent controversy over Rob Bell’s book, here are some helpful and hopeful words written in 1857 from the pen of J.C. Ryle.

There is no mercy in keeping back from men the subject of hell. Fearful and tremendous as it is, it ought to be pressed on all, as one of the great truths of Christianity. Our loving Savior speaks frequently of it. The apostle John, in the book of Revelation, often describes it.

The servants of God in these days must not be ashamed of confessing their belief in it. Were there no boundless mercy in Christ for all that believe in Him, we might well shrink from the dreadful topic. Were there no precious blood of Christ able to cleanse away all sin, we might well keep silence about the wrath to come. But there is mercy for all who ask in Christ’s name. There is a fountain open for all sin.

Let us then boldly and unhesitatingly maintain that there is a hell, and beseech men to flee from it, before it be too late. “Knowing the terrors of the Lord,” the worm, and the fire, let us “persuade men.” (2 Corinthians 5:11) It is not possible to say too much about Christ. But it is quite possible to say too little about hell.

—J.C. Ryle
Expository Thoughts on Mark

Via: Erik Raymond – Ordinary Pastor

That Is How Jesus Died

Shredded flesh against unforgiving wood, iron stakes pounded through bone and wracked nerves, joints wrenched out of socked by the sheer dead weight of the body, public humiliation before the eyes of family, friends, and the world – that was death on the cross, ‘the infamous stake’ as the Romans called it, ‘the barren wood, ’ the maxima mala crux. Or as the Greeks spat it out, the stauros. No wonder no one talked about it. No wonder parents hid their children’s eyes from it. The stauros was a loathsome thing, and the one who dies on it was loathsome too, a vile criminal whose only use was to hang there as a putrid decaying warning to anyone else who might follow his example.

That is how Jesus died.

—Greg Gilbert
The Gospel: God’s Self-Substitution for Sinners

Via: Of First Importance