Tag Archives: cross of Christ

Stop and Think about the Bible

torahImPaul wrote to the church in Corinth when it was all in an uproar about celebrity preachers.

    Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one may say that you were baptized in my name. (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. 1 Corinthians 1:13-17

The members were saying things similar to things we hear in our own churches. “I wish our preacher were more like Joel Osteen,” or “I get so bored on the days Pastor Bill preaches.” What does Paul consider to be the central thing in church?

The word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18

When you meet people who claim to be atheists or agnostics, what do they say about the cross? What about Hindus or Buddhists? Do you have Christian friends who think you are untutored because your faith is simple? How do you respond?

 It is written,

 “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 1 Corinthians 1:19-21

 “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise.” Who is speaking in this sentence?

There are many people who believe they can find God through disputation till they see the truth, and many believe that through disputation, they have proved that God does not exist.  How would you answer such a hypothesis?

How did you meet Christ? How do you introduce people to Christ?

If you could know who would be present at your deathbed, and if you could plan what to say, what would you say?

By Katherine Harms, author of Oceans of Love available for Kindle at Amazon.com.

Image:Torah Scroll http://library.duke.edu/exhibits/hebrewbible/torah.html
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.


A Verse for Meditation

Torah ScrollFor dominion belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations. Psalm 22:28

This verse occurs in the psalm that begins with the cry of one abandoned, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus on the cross cried out in these words. The psalmist screams these words in agony, yet he ultimately asserts with equal fervency, “Dominion belongs to the Lord.” How do you reconcile the two images in one poem?

Read some of the verses that precede this verse, and notice how the psalmist is moves back and forth between deep despair (O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer) and exultant hope (To you they cried, and were saved). Can you of a time when you felt confused like this, alternately complaining that God had done nothing for you, and then remembering that he actually has blessed you richly? Did you pray your confusion, or were you afraid to admit your confusion?

The word “dominion” implies a person with power. It is a person to whom one might plead for help:     

But you, O LORD, do not be far off! O you my help, come quickly to my aid! Deliver my soul from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dog! Save me from the mouth of the lion!

Psalm 22:19-21

In the culture wars in the USA, what makes Christians feel under attack by ravenous wild animals? Have you ever felt that way? How did you pray under those circumstances? Were you able to feel confident in the “dominion” of the Lord?

This psalm is filled with imagery and thoughts that call to mind the crucifixion of Jesus. The fact that Jesus quoted it leads readers today to think of Jesus’ death whenever they read this Psalm. In the crucifixion of Jesus, the cross became Christ’s throne.  The seeming weakness of Christ on the cross is the power that conquered evil and won our salvation. When have you felt weak and powerless in the face of cultural, political and legal challenges to your faith? How does the image of Christ taking dominion over evil on the cross help you in your own weakness?


The thoughts expressed in this psalm relate closely to the vision John recorded in the book of Revelation. Carried into God’s heavenly throne room, John said:

Between [God’s]throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain … And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne.  Revelation 5:6-7

A slaughtered lamb would seem to be a powerless creature, yet in the heavenly throne room, only the Lamb has the power to take the scroll of judgment from God’s hand and set its words free on earth.  The image in Revelation is the reality of the faith expressed in Psalm 22. When you feel that evil is winning and the imaginations and words of people around you are either completely malevolent or completely mad, how does this image sustain your hope?

In countries where government or angry neighbors may steal or burn the Bibles Christians treasure, the Christians have learned that internalizing Scripture is the only secure way to have God’s words at the ready when trouble strikes. Do you think that knowing this verse by memory would help you when you feel that the culture is trying to destroy Christ’s church?