KING’S CROSS CHURCH exists to glorify God and enlarge His Kingdom by gathering regularly to proclaim and celebrate the Gospel of Jesus Christ, yielding to the authority of God’s Word as illuminated by the Holy Spirit and summarized in the historic Christian Creeds and Confessions, partaking together of Christ’s presence in the Sacraments, providing opportunities to love and serve one another in Community, equipping the saints for Ministry to those who are lost and hurting, both locally and globally, and preparing them to cultivate Shalom (peace and well-being) wherever God calls them to serve.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Lectionary Thoughts: April 15

Numbers 20: Having recently returned from Nepal where Hindus still regularly sacrifice animals to appease the gods, I am particularly (and almost daily) grateful for Jesus, the sacrifice "offered once for all" (Heb. 7:27). Previously, in Exodus 17:6, God had instructed Moses to strike the rock in order to provide the water necessary for Israel's survival in the wilderness. But in Numbers 20, God instructs Moses to "speak" to the rock for the same life-sustaining drink. So, it was necessary for the rock, who according to Paul was Christ himself (1 Cor. 10:4), to be struck in order for us to be saved. But it was only necessary for Christ to be stricken (Isa. 53:4) once never to be repeated. For after Jesus' "once for all sacrifice" words testifying to what he had accomplished would forever be sufficient to effect the salvation of those wandering in the wilderness of sin.

Numbers 22-24: Preachers in every age have much to learn from the pagan prophet, Balaam of Pethor, who, when called upon to curse the children of Israel, replied that he could not "go beyond the word of the LORD my God, to do less or more" even if given a "house full of silver and gold." Just like witnesses in American courts of law, faithful preachers are required by God to "speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth." But in truth, this is very difficult to do week after week. Please remember to pray for those who preach God's Word to you.

Psalm 55: In times of treachery and deceit, it is a very great comfort to know that we are not alone; that many godly men and women before us have suffered the intense pain caused by the betrayal of people close to them. In verse 12 the psalmist says that he could have easily avoided the attack if it had come from a known enemy, or at least have borne the pain knowing that it came from the same. But in verses 13-14 the psalmist describes with anguish the devastation caused by an attack that came from an associate; a counselor; someone with whom he had taken "sweet counsel together" and even worshipped with. In verse 22 the psalmist gives us the only sufficient remedy for such a betrayal of trust: Cast your burden (literally, that which has been given to you) upon the broad shoulders of the LORD, believing that He will sustain you, and will never permit you to be jostled out of His perfect plan for you. True comfort indeed!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Lectionary Thoughts: April 2

Numbers 10: Sometimes in the OT figures like Moses were foreshadowings of Christ, showing us, albeit imperfectly, something of Christ’s person and work. And just as often these same figures were employed by the Holy Spirit as so many foils whose weakness and sinfulness served as backdrops against which the strength and goodness of Jesus could be seen and understood in stark contrast.

Moses was not at his best in Numbers 10, but his weakness and waywardness nonetheless serves to highlight the faithfulness of our Savior Jesus Christ.

Whilst trekking through the wilderness, as Israel sunk into a state of whiny overt rebellion. Distressed by this, Moses complained to God that he was not able to bear the burden of her sinfulness and asked God to kill him in order to put him out of his misery.

In stark contrast, Jesus looked at the whiny rebellion of his people and willingly accepted the burden of our sin upon his broad shoulders. And having done so, submitted himself to the shameful death of the cross, not to end his own misery, but rather to embrace, endure and triumph over our sin and misery by taking them to the grave and leaving them there.

As we love to sing, “Hallelujah, what a Savior!”

Friday, March 11, 2016

Lectionary Thoughts: March 11

LEVITICUS 14: The God of Scripture a master-storyteller. Almost all of the literary devices that we enjoy today in both fiction and non-fiction first appeared in the "story of stories", the Bible.

According to vocabulary.com, "Foreshadowing is an advance sign or warning of what is to come in the future."And this being true, Leviticus 14 provides us with an amazing foreshadowing of the Jewish Temple's destruction in 70 A.D.

God's prescription for houses infected by "leprosy" had three phases. Phase I: After the contents of the house had been removed, a priest would visit the house in question to examine it for disease (Lev. 14:36). Phase II: The priest would return to the house for a second inspection. If the disease remained, then the house would be scraped and stones removed from the house (Lev. 14:39-40). Phase III: The priest would return for a third examination and if the disease remained, the entire house would be destroyed "stones and timber and all the plaster of the house"(Lev. 14:43-45).

Fast forward 2000 years to the time of Jesus' first advent. Phase I: Jesus, who was a priest "according to the order of Melchizedek" (Heb. 7:17) visited God's "house" (the Temple) near the beginning of his ministry, examined it and removed certain diseased elements from it (John 2:13-22). Phase II: Jesus made a second inspection of the God's house near the end of his earthly ministry, found it diseased and once again forcibly removed some of the diseased elements (Matt. 21:12-13). Phase III: Jesus, just as he had promised the Council in Matt. 26:64, visited Jerusalem in a cloud of judgment (e.g. Isa. 19:1-2) determined that God's house was still diseased and leveled the Temple and the holy city "stones and timber and all the plaster" via the might of Titus and the Roman army.

Just as Jesus said in Luke 24, all of the Old Testament is about him. Even the hard to read passages about leprosy, open sores and the demolition of houses.

And, for what it's worth, Leviticus 13:40-41 are two of my all-time favorite verses in the Bible. And if you've ever seen my forehead (actually, more of a fivehead) you will understand why ;).

HT: James B. Jordan and Peter J. Leithart.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Lectionary Thoughts: March 2

JOHN 21: This chapter could be read as the second act of three act play.

Act I: Jesus calls his first disciples and promises them that if they follow him, he will make them "fishers of men" (Mark 1:17).

Act II: After a night of fruitless fishing, Jesus directs these same men to cast their net on the right side of the boat producing a haul of fish that strained the nets to the point of breaking (John 21:6-11). And recall that in the Old Testament, the sea/sea creatures were associated with the Gentile nations/Gentiles.

Act III: As Peter preaches to the Gentile Cornelius and his household the Holy Spirit falls upon them and they are gathered into the family of God via baptism (Acts 10:44-48). Although Paul is known as the "Apostle to the Gentiles", it was Peter who landed the first "fishes" from the Gentile sea just as Jesus had foretold and foreshadowed.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Lectionary Thoughts: March 1

LEVITICUS 4: In this chapter we have the rather strange instructions concerning the sacrifice that priests were to offer when they sinned "bringing guilt upon the people." The sacrificial bull was to be taken "outside of the camp" to a "clean place" and burned with fire on "the ash heap." Hmm. What in the world...?

We know that Jesus is the fulfillment of every Old Testament sacrifice. Like the bull in Leviticus 4, Jesus was sacrificed (crucified) outside of the camp (Jerusalem.) And like the sacrificial rite in Leviticus 4, "the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin" (1 John 1:7). How, you ask, did the rite in Leviticus 4 "cleanse"? Well, as our pioneer forefathers well knew, when you render animal fat with fire and mix it with ashes you make, wait for it.....soap. Soap!? Yep, soap.

Jesus, the one who was sacrificed on a hill outside of the holy city is the fulfillment of the sin offering in Leviticus 4, and the answer to David's, and every penitent sinner's prayer, "Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow" (Psalm 51:7).

Monday, February 29, 2016

Lectionary Thoughts: February 29

JOHN 20: In Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15, Paul presents Jesus as the "last Adam"; the covenant head of a race who would be as faithful and obedient as the first Adam was unfaithful and disobedient.

John's account of Jesus' resurrection bears a striking resemblance to the Garden scene in Genesis 2-3, with one striking dissimilarity. In John 20 we have a garden setting, a man who (albeit mistakenly) is referred to as a "gardener." And we have a woman (Mary Magdalene.) A garden, a man and a woman. Sound familiar?

But here is the striking difference. Mary is no un-fallen Eve. Mary at best was simply a former demoniac. And at worst, she was a grossly immoral woman as well. So Jesus, the last and faithful Adam begins where the first and unfaithful Adam left off by a faithful "do-over" of the man/woman/garden scenario. And note that Mary's checkered past is a glorious indication that Christ's bride (the Church) is not lovely to begin with. But rather, a bride to be made lovely by the selfless love of her husband (Ephesians 5:22-32). No wonder they call it "The Good News."

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Lectionary Thoughts: February 24

EXODUS 38: Our eyes tend to glaze over when we read the incredibly minute details of the Tabernacle's blueprint. But if Jesus is right (and he most assuredly is!) then every chapter of the Old Testament says something about him (Luke 24:27).

Here's a question: What did the Garden of Eden and the Tabernacle share in common? The Garden was, well, a garden. And the Tabernacle was "garden-esque." Trees and wood paneling. Rivers and the bronze basin. Flowers/blossoms and flower/blossom shaped ornaments (e.g. Exo. 37:17-24). Both were respectively the meeting place of God and man (Gen. 3:8 and Exo. 25:22).

Now, if you were standing in the courtyard outside of the Holy Place watching the priest offer up your sacrifice on the altar, as you looked around you would have been struck by an odd pairing of materials. You would have noticed that the bases of pillars holding up the curtain/walls surrounding the courtyard were made of brass (a relatively common metal) and the "hooks and fillets" holding up the curtains at the top were made of silver (an extremely precious metal.) In other words the materials of the Tabernacle would have reminded you that you were standing at the earthly intersection of the common (man) and the uncommon (God); the only place in the universe where heaven and earth "overlapped" as it were.

Fast forward 2000 years to Jesus who, according to John, "tabernacled among us" (the literal translation of John 1:14); Jesus in whom the fullness of deity dwells (Col. 1:19, 2:9); Jesus the intersection of divine and human natures; Jesus the only place in the universe where God and man can meet together in mutual love and sweet communion.