Why We Glory in the Cross! – Special message from Dr. Jeremiah Johnston

Do you know how to take “screen-shots” with your phone or computer? I would encourage you to take plenty of “screen-shots” during my video message “Why We Glory in the Cross.”

Skeptics say we cannot trust the gospels. They are not historically unreliable, says the skeptic. Really? Notice the crucifixion spike of Jehohanan discovered in 1967.

  • The iron spike is 11.5 centimeters or 4.5 inches.
  • Skeleton dates to the late 20s on the basis of coin evidence.
  • Pontius Pilate would have been governor or prefect of Judea.
  • Learn more in my video message and please feel free to share!

Dear test,

I a mountain-peak passage of importance related to the physical, bodily resurrection of Jesus, Paul began in an interesting way: “Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel …” Wait, what? Paul needed to remind the Corinthians “of the gospel”? Exactly. Why did the Corinthians, and why do you (and me), need to be reminded? Because the power of the Gospel is so easy to forget. Let us never forget, without Jesus death and resurrection, there is no good news or Gospel! 

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the central point of Christianity, and has been since the earliest days of the faith, which is why I am sending you numerous emails this week with hours of content to equip you to live a resurrection-centric faith! Followers of Christianity do not have to take the bodily resurrection of Jesus on faith alone because the evidence is so persuasive. Furthermore, I want to teach you why the resurrection of Jesus is not only historically impactful, but transformationally energizes your walk with Christ from day to day. 

The claim that Jesus was truly resurrected assumed a heavy burden of proof. What persuaded Jesus’ followers to speak of Jesus’ resurrection was their conviction that Jesus had died, had been buried in a known place, and had exited that place. These factors, in combination with His appearances, convinced His followers that Jesus was indeed the bodily resurrected messiah.

Early believers had little to gain in their society and everything to lose for believing in the risen Lord. Jesus was a pariah in both Roman and Jewish cultures. Yet, His resurrection gave proof that He was Lord, and that followers of Christ could experience eternal life as well. John 14:19 is one of the greatest promises in the New Testament: “Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.”

I have great news for you today. Jesus Christ rose from the dead and He lives, and there are great evidences for that belief.

As Christians, let’s commit to three principles related to the resurrection of Jesus:

1) we must recover a resurrection-centric faith,

2) we should refresh our minds with evidence of the resurrection, and

3) we should recommit to live the mission of the resurrection.

No matter what life throws at you, the resurrection promises that God is a God of new beginnings. The resurrection changes everything.

The fact that Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to disciples and followers changed the course of history, and Christianity continues to influence the world for good. The hope that is found through Jesus is the basis for the Gospel. Paul writes, “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith” (I Corinthians 15:14). He goes on to say, “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep” (I Corinthians 15:20).

Wherever you’re at, I pray this program equips you with evidence for the faith. Let the power of the resurrection fuel you every week of your Christian life!

– Jeremiah J. Johnston, Ph.D.

Some of Jeremiah’s teaching reminders from his presenter slides are below …

  • One half of John’s Gospel and 1/3rd of Matthew, Mark, and Luke focus on the death of Jesus Christ.
  • There are 10 sermons in the book of Acts: Five by Peter and five given by Paul … each of them focus on the cross and the impact of the death of Christ.
  • So convinced of the power of the cross was Paul that he determined to know nothing “except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” (1 Cor 2:2)
  • Paul authors the greatest document ever written called the Book of Romans and makes it clear that we are “justified by his blood” and “reconciled to God though the death of his Son. Romans 5:9-10
  • No wonder Paul boasted in nothing except the cross – Galatians 6:14
  • Finally, in the Book of Revelation 28 xs Jesus is symbolized as the lamb … the lamb who was slain. Our salvation is eternal, our redemption is endless because our names are written in the Lambs book of life … what’s more the redeemed people fo God … that number that no-one could count who are drawn from every nation and langue and stand before God’s throne  .that dramatic scene in Revelation 7…
  • And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb. (Rev 7:10)
  • We stand righteous before God … in robes washed white in the blood of the lamb (Rev 7:14)
  • This is where God promises to wipe every tear from our eyes.
  • The Lamb’s name is written on our foreheads in Revelation 14:1

If you missed my earlier email with links to the conversation Sheila Walsh had with me on the importance of the resurrection of Jesus, you can click here or on the image below.

Watch Interview: The resurrection is the only way we make sense of the suffering in our lives

The Resurrection of Jesus is the only way we ultimately make sense of the suffering in our lives. In this Holy Week, I want you to be reminded that the resurrection of Jesus is what energizes our faith and service for our Lord. The resurrection, as you will see in the clip and interview below, is the eternal life support we have available when faced with grief, suffering and pain.

I enjoyed visting “Wednesdays in the Word,” with my dear friend Sheila Walsh (a gifted Bible teacher, author and amazing woman of God) of Life Today with James and Betty Robison.

Here’s a clip of Why The Resurrection of Jesus Matters Today as much as it did 2,000 years ago … I also encourage you to watch the entire interview. You may be surprised to learn life expectancy in the time of Jesus and the early church averaged twenty years of age. Skeletal remains suggest that as many as one quarter (25 percent) of the Roman Empire, on any given day, was sick, dying, or in need of immediate medical attention. Suffering was everywhere. Then came the man from Galilee who said, “The dead are raised up!” (Luke 7:22). Please watch and share these encoring evidences for our faith linked in this email.

He is Risen Indeed!

– Jeremiah J. Johnston, Ph.D.

Wednesdays in the Word with Sheila Walsh – Watch Full Interview

LINKS: An mp3 of the interview can be downloaded here and the transcript of the interview is available here. Please feel free to share and encourage others this Holy Week!

Key Point: The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the seminal issue for the church today, as it was that first Easter morning in Jerusalem. If the resurrection did not happen, Christianity is a waste of time. If I were a critic of Christianity, perhaps the most difficult problem would be coming up with a reason for why there are any Christians (Christianoi) in the first place. Their founder was a crucified criminal. Crucifixion was considered to be the most heinous and shameful way to die. In the gospel of Luke, His disciples are said to have lost all hope following the crucifixion. They gave up, and why would they not? In that gripping scene in Luke 24:13–35, two disciples on the Emmaus road encounter an interesting stranger. Not realizing they are walking and conversing with the resurrected Messiah, they admitted, “we had hoped that he was the one” (Luke 24:21), with a particular note of defeat. The early Christian movement should have died out, but instead it thrived. Why? The resurrection of Jesus.

Coming Soon: UNLEASHING PEACE – We Need God’s Shalom! (you can pre-order now!)

Honoring my wife Audrey, on her birthday (April 5th), with a special story or two

Honoring my wife Audrey, on her birthday (April 5th), with a special story or two

Romans 13:7 … “give honor to those whom honor is due” 

Picture above is an attempted Easter selfie, 2021.

I am going to attempt to implement Romans 12:10 with this email tribute for my wife Audrey’s birthday – today – April 5th! Audrey is celebrating birthday #37 and we have now “been together” for twenty incredible years (we first went out when Audrey was 17!). I want to bring my wife honor with a few words from my heart. By the way, Romans 12:10 challenges us to “outdo one another in showing honor.”

It is easy to express faith when things are going well. My wife, Audrey, has the incredible Christian quality of expressing faith when life becomes unexpectedly difficult. So here are a few thoughts from my heart to you, Audrey.

Audrey’s Faith. 

Charles Surgeon said, “A little faith will bring your soul to heaven; a great faith will bring heaven to your soul.” Audrey, your faith brings heaven to earth.

Audrey, for your birthday, I want to acknowledge your great faith. I can think of so many different major life moments where your immediate reflex was … faith.

Specifically, I remember the time I told you I should quit Christian Thinkers Society (the year was 2011). I think I was pretty emphatic in my home office. I probably said it more than once. In fact, I know I did. In those moments of my little, weak faith, you spoke big faith into my life. By most outward appearances, Christian Thinkers Society started strong, seemed “successful,” certainly impacted lives for Christ, but I felt so inadequate (and still do). I never felt up for the task, but you reminded me that God began a “good work in me and would bring it to completion” (Phil 1:6). Christian Thinkers Society was about calling and Christian destiny.

Audrey, Christian Thinkers Society, by the grace of God, would not exist today without you speaking faith to me in those early moments.

With our children (I sometimes lose count of how many children we have!), there have been some significant health challenge moments where, again, your immediate reaction was … faith. What better example can I offer than the faith you expressed to honor God in our triplet pregnancy.

Thank you for expressing faith in the difficult moments. Thanks for praying first.

Audrey’s Faithfulness, “let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering; for he who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23)

As a family on the front lines of ministry, traveling often, even living in foreign countries pursuing our calling, we have not shared the familiar support system of other families. We’ve lived in the UK, Canada, and thankfully now call Texas home. You never complained. To be sure, it has not been easy. In fact, nothing worth having ever comes easy, does it? You have always been faithful. For those who watch your leadership in our home, with our five children (it is five children, right? lol), and the hope you offer so many far and wide through Christian Thinkers Society, I (and others) cannot think of a better descriptor for you than “faithfulness.” Thank you for your faithfulness to our calling, and family, but most importantly, to Jesus, because I know your faithfulness to him energizes and informs your faithfulness to everything else.

Audrey’s Fruitfulness. “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” (Gal 5:22-23)

St. Augustine was significantly impacted by St. Ambrose of Milan. Ambrose was known as a powerful speaker; however, what impacted Augustine was Ambrose’s kindness. Augustine wrote, “To him was I unknowing led by Thee, that by him I might knowingly be led to Thee. That man of God received me as a father, and showed me an Episcopal kindness on my coming. Thenceforth I began to love him….” Augustine was powerfully impacted by the kindness shown him by Ambrose, which made Ambrose’s teaching all the more powerful.

In a time when talent, ability, and achievements are (sometimes) used by influencers as excuses not to be kind and sometimes even to “railroad” others, Audrey, your kindness makes your “other ministries” all the more powerful. Thank you for your kindness.

You also have the gift of encouragement. We were living in Oxford, England. I was pursuing my Ph.D. (as you know!). I was pretty pleased with a section I had written of my thesis, which took me some time to finish (at least, I thought I was finished!). I sent said section to my supervisors and was presently eviscerated. I remember asking you, “maybe I am not cut out for this?” “Are you sure we heard God on this? (or some nonsense like that).” The fruit of the spirit and encouragement through your life kept me going. I look back and cannot believe I thought I wouldn’t succeed, but hindsight is always 20/20. As you know, I published a nearly 96,000-word thesis as an academic monograph, but I remember the days you spoke life into my research. Thank you.

Happy Birthday, Audrey. Thank you for your faith, your faithfulness, and your fruitfulness!

– Jeremiah J. Johnston, Ph.D.

What would Jesus’s New York Times Obituary Look Like? 

What would Jesus’s New York Times Obituary Look Like?

I was among a group of scholars who participated in a very interesting project on how Jesus of Nazareth’s obituary may have read in the New York Times (published in Vanity Fair, not an academic publication!).

But first …. 

The Johnston triplets (Ryder, Abel, and Jaxson), along with their classmates at Fort Bend Christian Academy, proclaiming the eternal truth: HE IS NOT HERE, HERE IS RISEN! (video is 9 second)

Jesus of Nazareth, Whose Messianic Message Captivated Thousands, Dies at About 33

 

As published at Vanity Fair … 

Sam Roberts, an obituary writer for The New York Times, imagines how, given the facts available then, his predecessors might have reported the aftermath of an execution in the Middle East one Friday two millennia ago.

By Sam Roberts

Jesus of Nazareth, a Galilean carpenter turned itinerant minister whose appeals to piety and whose repute as a healer had galvanized a growing contingent of believers, died on Friday after being crucified that morning just outside Jerusalem, only days after his followers had welcomed him triumphantly to the city as “the anointed one” and “the Son of David.” He was about 33.

For a man who had lived the first three decades of his life in virtual obscurity, he attracted a remarkable following in only a few years.

His reputation reflected a persuasive coupling of message, personal magnetism, and avowed miracles. But it also resonated in the current moment of spiritual and economic discontent and popular resentment of authority and privilege, whether wielded by foreigners from Rome or by the Jewish priests in Jerusalem and their confederates.

Still, Jesus had been preceded in recent years by a litany of false messiahs. He followed a roster of self-styled prophets who promised salvation and, with their ragtag followers from separatist sects, cults, and fractious rebel groups, were branded as bandits by the governing Romans, ostracized by the ruling priests as heretics in a period of pessimistic apocalyptic expectation, and already lost to history.

Despite the throngs that greeted him in Jerusalem and applauded his daring assault on the Temple and his attack on the money changers who operate within its precincts with impunity, it is arguable whether the legacy of this man—whom some contemporaries dismissed, if guardedly, as “the one they call Messiah”—will be any more enduring or his followers any more committed than the prophets and their devotees who preceded him.

(Moreover, what he might have accomplished further had he lived is also debatable, since the average life span today is not much more than 40.)

Jesus seems to have been universally respected as a wise man whose appeal for mercy, humility, and compassion reverberated powerfully. But he left no written record, and, according to those who heard him, he sometimes preached mixed messages. He would bless the peacemakers, but also suggest that his followers buy swords. He would insist that his mission was solely to minister to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel,” but would also direct his devotees to proselytize to other nations.

Read the rest of the Obituary of Jesus … click here. 

He is Risen Indeed!

– Jeremiah J. Johnston, Ph.D.

Did you read our previous three Holy Week emails? For your convenience, here they are: 

Holy Week 2021 Email 1 – The resurrection of Jesus is the only way we make sense of the suffering in our lives

Holy Week 2021 Email 2 – Why We Glory in the Cross! Special message from Dr. Jeremiah Johnston

Holly Week 2021 Email 3 – 7 Reasons We Believe Jesus Rose from the Dead

Why Can We Trust in the Bodily Resurrection? – Part 1

Why Can We Trust in the Bodily Resurrection? – Part 2

LINKS: An mp3 of the interview can be downloaded here and the transcript of the interview is available here. Please feel free to share and encourage others this Holy Week!