Stunned by what he has witnessed, the centurion declares, “Truly this man was God’s Son!” (Mark 15:39). Impressed by the manner of Jesus’ death and the signs that attend it, the Roman centurion confesses of Jesus what he should only confess of the Roman emperor: Caesar is not the “son of God”; Jesus the crucified Messiah is. The mockery is now over.
In calling Jesus the Son of God, the centurion has switched his allegiance from Caesar, “son of God,” to Jesus, the real Son of God. The centurion now ascribes to Jesus what he had earlier ascribed to Caesar: Caesar is not divi filius (“son of God,” alluding to the Latin title of the great emperor Augustus). Jesus is.
Evans, C.A. & Wright, N.T. (2009). Jesus, the Final Days: What Really Happened [ebook]. Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, Location 394
All this is drawn to its head as Jesus dies on the cross, with the single Greek word tetelestai, ‘It is finished’. For us, ‘finished’ can mean, simply, ‘stopped’, ‘it’s over’; ‘that’s enough of that’. But tetelestai means, much more, ‘It is completed’; the work is done. And, tellingly, it echoes the word spoken at the end of the sixth day in Genesis 1: God finished all his work which he had made. Not, God stopped, as though he was bored; rather, God completed the full task.
Now, on the sixth day, God completes his work.
Again, [Martin] Luther’s German gets it exactly right: Es ist vollbracht, from the verbvollbringen: it is ‘brought to the full’. And the result, for the moment at least, is the same as in Genesis: on the seventh day God rested from all his work. Thus Bach’s setting [from his St. John Passion composition] closes with the great chorus Ruht Wohl, ‘Rest Well’.
This is not the final end; as the short closing chorale will tell us, this ‘rest’ is but the prelude to the first day of the new week, the day of resurrection. But, for now, we watch the Lord of Glory laid to rest in the tomb with his work complete.
Wright, N.T. (2009). The ‘Passion’ of St John Today. NTWrightPage. Available http://ntwrightpage.com/2016/04/25/the-passion-of-st-john-today/. Last accessed 10th April 2017.
The first reason that Jesus aroused opposition was because of the manner of his entry into Jerusalem at the beginning of the final week of his ministry. He entered the holy city mounted on a donkey, amid shouts of “Hosanna! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David!” (Mark 11:1-10; here vv. 9-10, NRSV, modified).
Entering the city in this way deliberately mimicked Solomon, David’s son, who one thousand years earlier rode the royal mule as part of his declaration of kingship (1 Kings 1:32-40). Such an entry also answered the ancient prophecy of the anticipated humble king (Zechariah 9:9).
Not only did Jesus’ act recall hopes of a coming son of David, but the crowd’s response reflected the same popular interpretation of it. Their Hosannas, as an allusion to Psalm 118, were a pronouncement that this one who comes to the temple “in the name of the Lord” is none other than David, the one destined to be Israel’s king and ruler (see Psalm 118:19-27, according to the Aramaic paraphrase).
Such an event suggested in unmistakable terms that Israel’s king was Jesus, not Caesar. Thus, from the very moment of entry into Jerusalem, Jesus was set on a collision course with Roman authority.
Evans, C & Wright, N.T. (2008). Jesus, the Final Days: What Really Happened [ebook], Westminster John Knox, Location 87-95
The earth was created to be the Kingdom of God. The cornerstone of that Kingdom is justice. Those who deny God’s law will have the earth itself against them. Christ, who as King of the new creation, gave His life in satisfaction of God’s justice, cannot be used to set aside the law of God.
To set aside the law of God is to deny the cross and to say that murder can now prosper, and the earth yield her strength readily and freely, to the enemies of God. It is tantamount to saying that the purpose of the King’s coming and atonement is to give freedom for sin.
Rushdoony, R.J. (1982). The Institutes of Biblical Law, Volume II: Law and Society. Ross House Books, Vallecito, p. 321
It is interesting that one hundred years ago, at a time when most people were totally oblivious to the direction the public educational system was moving, Dr. A. A. Hodge of Princeton saw with an eagle eye the direction it was taking…And here is what he prophetically declared a century ago:
“I am as sure as I am of Christ’s reign that a comprehensive and centralized system of national education, separated from religion, as is now commonly proposed, will prove the most appalling engineer for the propagation of anti-Christian and atheistic unbelief, and of antisocial nihilistic ethics, individual, social and political, which this sin-rent world has ever seen.”
He was saying that a state public educational system separated from religion would become the most atheistic, anti-Christian, nihilistic system the world has ever seen. How remarkably accurate a prediction!
Kennedy, D.J. and Newcombe, J. (2001). What if Jesus Had Never Been Born? [ebook]. Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, locations 981,983
In late 1992, Mississippi Governor Kirk Fordice raised firestorm of controversy by publicly declaring that America is a “Christian nation.”…Many years ago, a leading American had the audacity to say something similar to what Governor Fordice said:
“I believe no one can read the history of our country without realizing that the Good Book and the spirit of the Saviour have from the beginning been our guiding geniuses. . . . Whether we look to the first Charter of Virginia . . . or to the Charter of New England . . . or to the Charter of Massachusetts Bay . . . or to the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut . . . the same objective is present; a Christian land governed by Christian perspectives.”
Who made this outlandish, politically incorrect statement? Jerry Falwell? Billy Graham? Dan Quayle? No, it was no less than Earl Warren. Warren, who was then governor of California, spoke these words in 1954. He later became chief justice of the Supreme Court and ironically did much, whether inadvertently or purposefully, to chisel away America’s Christian heritage, which he had apparently admired earlier in his life.
Kennedy, D.J. and Newcombe, J. (2001). What if Jesus Had Never Been Born? [ebook]. Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, Location 1036
The other day I read a book on the Ken Ham/Bill Nye debate from 2014. Ken Ham said this afterward:
I told the secular media that if as a result of this debate, the conversation about creation vs. evolution and God’s Word is opened up with people who normally wouldn’t discuss such issues — then it would be a great success. And that certainly has happened.
Also, when I realized that this debate was to become a worldwide sensation (our conservative estimate is that upwards of 15 million people worldwide have now seen the debate in one way or another), I was greatly burdened to ensure I honored God’s Word and presented the Gospel. Knowing the platform the Lord was giving me, I understand the incredible responsibility to ensure the message of the truth of God’s Word and the message of salvation came through clearly.
If the Lord used the debate to save one person for eternity, there would be rejoicing in Heaven (“Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents,” Luke 15:10). Actually, I’ve heard quite a number of testimonies from people saved as a result of the debate — and numerous instances of skeptics who were prepared to discuss the creation topic with their Christian friends, whereas previously they would not do so.
Ham, K. & Hodge, B. (2014). Inside the Nye Ham Debate [ebook]. Master Books, Green Forest, Location 5502