Its my body?

1. It is my body

One of the clear principles in our society is the general saying goes, I am my own person, I am in control of my own body, and it belongs to me, and I get to do whatever I want with it.

Whether it be same-sex marriage, abortion, euthanasia (yep pretty much the big controversial issues) is this idea, that it is my body; therefore I get to do whatever I want. For example, lets take abortion; it is my body, I get to determine what I do with it, whether to terminate the baby inside (although of course they just see it as an extension); or to continue in giving the child birth. Or even euthanasia, it is my body, I get to determine how and when I die.

2. A different perspective

But this is where the Christian perspective, and the way that Christians brothers and sisters have been shaped by the Gospel is so radically different. Continue reading “Its my body?”

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Tearing open the heavens

“Oh, that You would rend the heavens and come down,
That the mountains might quake at Your presence”
Isaiah 64:1

1. Allusion at Jesus baptism

This particular verse is significant and alluded to at Jesus’ baptism. All three Gospel accounts, apply similar Greek words in describing the events of Jesus’ baptism. However it is Mark’s account that is of particular interest:

“Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.’
Mark 1:10-11

One of the key themes that seems to be addressed and realised in this particular event in Isaiah, is the coming of Yahweh (God) to his people, and dwelling with them. Isaiah 63, has many questions being asked of God. One of particular notice is in verse 11:

“Where is He who put His Holy Spirit in the midst of them?”  Isaiah 63:11b

This itself is an allusion back to the days of the Exodus; so in the baptism of Jesus; it seems to echo the idea that God is now with his people, as he promised; and that is through and in the man Jesus Christ.

2. Allusion at Jesus’ death.
The phrase ‘torn open’ in Mark’s account is a very specific Greek word (σχίζω schizō) that occurs again during the time of Jesus’ death.

“The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.”  Mark 15:38

(As an aside, the occurrence of the earthquake in Matthew’s account only strengthens and complements the allusion between this event and Isaiah 64:1).

Most people would understand already how the temple curtain being torn signifies that we now have direct access to God; and understand that being torn from top to bottom, is to represent that it is an act of God to humanity.

In understanding the connection to Isaiah 64:1 properly (and apparently, Josephus in Antiquities, affirms the same conclusion that is made here); one needs to understand that the earthly sanctuary is supposed to reflect the heavenly sanctuary, namely heaven itself, as noted in Hebrews:

‘They [the priests of the law] serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things. For when Moses was about to erect the tent, he was instructed by God, saying, ‘See that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown you on the mountain.'” Hebrews 8:5 

In understanding this, we can certainly affirm the common understanding that the tearing of the curtain means direct access to God, in every sense. It signifies that the work on the cross is finished and complete; but that God himself accomplished it. In that case, along with the resurrection as well, the writer of Hebrews can also write:

“We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain”  Hebrews 6:19

Life Lessons

1. Hope with a Reason

Life can be unforgiving, nature can be unrelenting. Nothing is new under the dying sun, and life will continue to be full of toil, trouble and tragedy. I have experienced this and seen in the life of others.

The last year has been filled with much joy and tears; friendships and relational tensions; comfort and insecurity; stupid decisions and courageous acts of love; times of fellowship and times of tragedy, both in my own life and the life of many friends and family members. The world itself is filled with great stories  but also tragedy.And if all we had was this perspective under the Sun, which many do; then all you will see is tragedy and futility.

But what if God removes you from this, and see the bigger picture; bigger than your desires, decisions, doubts and difficult situations. One of the great ways and life lessons that God has made more fuller, certainly for me and many other friends is this eternal perspective. That this life actually has something to life for, that this life actually has a meaningful destination, and despite that not all things will make sense, there is a way of orientation, that is new, different and with hope focused on eternity. And the rescue plan of God through Jesus, his death and resurrection, is the reason.

2. Purpose of writing

With this in mind, I wanted to start up writing again, not as a commentary on my own life or even the lives of my family or friends; but rather to give an answer to everyone for the hope that you have. I think this would be more useful and loving towards all of my friends and family, as well as those who are reading this, whom I don’t know very well.

Also this here should be a better place for most of the things I will post than social media, simply because of their length.

While encouraging others will be good in doing this. I think it would be more useful and loving not to specifically try to challenge family and friends in writing these things; nor to encourage them to do what is good, as often that is not my place. But there is certainly great reason to be thankful for many people.

More generally in life, I have been aiming to change in;

  • Taking responsibility for my own life in different things
  • Committing plans, people and places to God in prayer
  • Adapting my own personal boundaries to be flexible but also more tighter.
  • Seeking to show love and invest time better in family, friends, work colleagues, people at university; as well as Christian brothers and sisters
  • To seek to grow in godliness, in the spiritual disciplines; and to make decisions that reflect that in both in my own life and in the lives of family, friends, work colleagues, people at university; but especially Christian brothers and sisters

Consider those things my resolutions for 2017, somewhat; and things that I hope that in writing things here, will help to achieve.

3. Behind the name

But at the heart I wish this to the motivation for everything I do:

“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect”   1 Peter 3:15

The reason behind the name is this verse. I know that personally, and I can only guess for the lives of many others; is how easy is to put our hope in things that are temporary or futile.

But the God I believe in and wish to write about; gives us real hope with real assurance; and hence a reason to hope. One of the biggest ways I have been convicted in, is to put hope in the things that last…