Christian Delight

Question ninety in the Heidelberg Catechism asks, “What is the birth of the new man?” In other words, it wants to know what it is that distinguishes the believer from the unbeliever…or more personally, what distinguishes your life today as a Christian from the way you lived before as a non-Christian. The answer to this… Read More

Nicodemus’ Participation

“So, after these things, Joseph, who was from Arimathea and a disciple of Jesus (covertly out of fear of the Jews), asked Pilate that he might take down the body of Jesus. And Pilate commanded it. So, he went and took down his body. And Nicodemus, who had formerly gone to him at night, came… Read More

Are You Ready to Go to Church Tomorrow?

Okay, the pastor is just on one of his soapboxes, again. Sure, this is a soapbox…but if you are a Christian, it should be your soapbox as well. So, hear me out. You see, many people are simply satisfied that you are going to church in the first place — you remember that kind old… Read More

Blood and Water from the Lord’s Side

“Thus the soldiers went and with respect to the first, they broke the legs and also of the other who was crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus, they saw that he was already a dead man, and so they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers took his spear… Read More

Easter, the Resurrection, and Worship

Folks that know me well, know that I don’t much like the choice of the word, “Easter,” that is used in English speaking and German speaking congregations. The term originates from the name of a pagan goddess of the woodlands and is just one more reminder of syncretism that is found in the Christian world.… Read More

Joseph of Arimathea

“When evening came, a rich man from Arimathea, who was named Joseph (and was also a disciple of Jesus), arrived. And he went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. This, Pilate commanded to be given him.” (Matthew 27:57-58) “Joseph, who was from Arimathea, a respected Counselor who was also waiting for the… Read More

The Women Who Were With Jesus at the Cross

“And there were many women there who watched from afar, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him. With whom was Mary of Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.” (Matthew 27:55-56) “And there were also women there who watched from afar, with whom was… Read More

Short Devotions for Holy Week

Pilgrim Thoughts: Previously Unpublished Devotions for Good Friday and Passion Week For a number of years now, I have been writing short devotions for Holy Week or Passion Week as well as for Good Friday. These devotions have not appeared either here on this blog or in print form, so this year, I decided to… Read More

Up From the Grave They Arose!

“Then the graves were opened and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. Coming from the graves after his resurrection, they entered the holy city and were visible to many.” (Matthew 27:52-53) Everything…everything…for the record, everything surrounds the resurrection of Christ. At the death of our Lord, we are told that… Read More

Elijah Has Already Come

“But the others said, ‘Hold on! Let us see if Elijah comes to save him!’” (Matthew 27:49) “So, someone quickly came and filled a sponge with vinegar to put on a stick for him to drink, saying, ‘Wait! Let us see if Elijah will come to take him down.’” (Mark 15:36) As we have mentioned… Read More

“My God, My God, Why have You Forsaken Me!”

“Then, about the ninth hour, Jesus cried out with a great voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, Lema Sabachthani!’ That is, ‘My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me!’ Certain ones of those who were there, hearing it, said, ‘He is calling to Elijah!’” (Matthew 27:46-47) “And at the ninth hour, Jesus cried out in a… Read More

The Greater Temple on the Cross

“And those passing by blasphemed him, shaking their heads, saying, ‘He is the one who would destroy the Temple and in three days rebuild it — You save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross also!’” (Matthew 27:39-40) “And those passing by blasphemed him, shaking their heads, saying, ‘Ha!… Read More

The Charge for which Jesus was Executed

“So, they sat down and guarded over him there, and they put over his head the accusation against him, reading, ‘This is Jesus the King of the Jews.” (Matthew 27:36-37) “And there was an inscription of the accusation against him, reading, “The King of the Jews.” (Mark 15:26) “And there was an inscription over him:… Read More

Men without Ears

In 1943, C.S. Lewis published his short, apologetic work, The Abolition of Man, in which he tackles “The Green Book,” a new text being used in the British educational system, one that elevates observational science over the arts and moral norms. Lewis’ premise is ultimately that the educational system was producing “men without chests” —… Read More

INRI and Politics

“Therefore, many Jewish people read this notice, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city. It was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek. So the Chief Priests of the Jews said to Pilate, ‘Do not write: ‘King of the Jews,’ but instead, this man said, ‘I am king of the Jews.’ Pilate… Read More

There’s Something Missing from Our Conversation on the Body

In 1 Corinthians 12, the Apostle Paul makes an impassioned plea for the unity of the body…a unity that can only built up in love, when the body itself is functioning properly (Ephesians 4:16). Love in the body is indeed the “better way” (1 Corinthians 12:31) toward which we should strive. To make his point,… Read More

Simon of Cyrene

“But going out, they found a man from Cyrene who was named Simon, they pressed him into service in order that he might bear his cross. And they were going up to the place called ‘Golgotha,’ which is called the Place of the Skull.” (Matthew 27:32-33) “And they pressed into service one passerby, Simon the… Read More

The Place of the Skull

“And he bore his own cross and went to what is called the Place of the Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha.” (John 19:17) After the third unjust and unfair trial, our Lord is led toward the place of his execution. He begins, battered and torn as he was, carrying his own cross. This,… Read More

Salting the Earth

“And it came to pass on the morrow that the people went out to the fields and it was reported to Abimelek. And he took the people and divided them up under three heads and he laid in wait in the field and he beheld the people coming out of the city. And he rose… Read More

And then they Asked the Bramble…

“Then all of the trees said to the bramble, ‘You come and reign over us.’” (Judges 9:14) The final candidate is the bramble — אָטָר (atar) — a thorny bush that has no real redemptive value — it is simply fit for the fire (and even in that, the bramble does not produce much heat… Read More

The Vine’s Rejection!

“And the vine said to them, ‘Shall I leave my new wine, which is joy to God and men, and shall I go to dominate the trees?’” (Judges 9:13) And thus, the “New King Search Committee” has received their third rejection. On one level, we might be tempted to feel sorry for these trees, working… Read More