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A Word From the Pastor

Posted: March 26th, 2015


Each year followers of Jesus embark on an ancient pilgrimage that culminates in first-century Jerusalem during the week of Jewish Passover. Most of Christendom marks the beginning of the journey on Ash Wednesday. That is what we do here at FBC Arlington. We gathered this year in our Sanctuary on February 18, 2015 and worshiped together. We reflected upon our annual Easter journey as a congregation.

This year we have allowed the Apostle John to be our guide. We have read his account of the life of Jesus of Nazareth together as a church family. Here is how I would summarize John’s work:

John’s account is a holistic presentation of the life of Christ woven together in a beautiful tapestry that proclaims the concrete facts of the Gospel and is layered with symbolism.

John’s work is holistic. He is a first-century Palestinian Jew. He is steeped in the Old Testament. He connects the Messiah to the prophecies in His Bible. He is an artistic and thoughtful theologian. He combines artistry with truth to paint a beautiful mosaic of the story of the Messiah.

He is committed to truth. He faithfully recounts the facts of Christ’s life and teachings in an unparalleled fashion. He is enamored with the signs and symbols communicated through the Person and Work of Christ. He produced a masterpiece!

As we have read and reflected together, we are prepared for our annual Holy Week journey. We are in Jerusalem. Following the footsteps of Jesus. We hear His voice through the incredible teachings recorded in John 13-17. We watch the drama unfold as the disciples come to grips with reality as the greater cosmic drama unfolds.

Jesus always is in control in John’s account. He is content in His role. He is not intimidated by Pilate. In fact, he corrects Pilate’s understanding of power in John 19:11 – when He informs the Roman procurator that God is truly in charge!

Jesus is no victim in this story. He is the victor! As N. T. Wright observes in his book, Simply Jesus, even in the crucifixion, Jesus is victorious, “What we have, rather, is the extraordinary story of Israel’s Messiah taking upon himself the Accuser’s sharpest arrow and, dying under its force, robbing the Accuser of any further real power.” (N. T. Wright, Simply Jesus: A New Vision of Who He Was, What He Did and Why It Matters, HarperOne, 2011, p. 188)

So – we finally come to Holy Week this Sunday. I am praying for you as you walk this ancient path. May the reality of the Cross and the miracle of the Resurrection have its full effect upon us all.