This last Saturday was the first Extra Life Ministries Bible Study. We’re off to a good start.
We spent about forty minutes talking about — as you may have caught in the title — why the cross is the most epic thing ever. I’ve posted my notes below, after the link to the recording.
After the study, we shared some lunch and hung out. I can heartily recommend Safeway-brand frozen lasagna, by the way.
Plans are already underway for next month’s study. We’re gonna try to have it in a local comic book shop. The lesson, I’m thinking, is gonna be about how holiness is practically a superpower. More details to come.
Until then, thank you so much to everyone who came on Saturday, and everyone else who follows XLM as it develops into what God made it to be. Here’s our first Bible study.
Why the Cross is the Most Epic Thing Ever (.mp3)
We say things all the time like “Jesus died for your sins.” We call Him the “lamb of God.” We sing songs like “The Wonderful Cross.” All of Christianity seems focused around this one event: the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. It’s a big deal. And today, I want to talk about why.
Yesterday, the church commemorated one of the oddest, most ironic moments in history.
Around 2,000 years ago, Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem during one of the major Jewish festivals. He’d been teaching for three years, gathering followers and gaining momentum. Some thought He was the Messiah, the conqueror God promised them in ages past.
As He entered the city, the crowds flipped out. They grabbed palm branches and their own cloaks and threw then on the road out of respect. They chanted, “save us!” They hailed Him as their savior.
He accepted their praise, knowing they would soon turn on Him. Through tears, He said, “If only you knew what would bring you peace.”
Somewhere in the following five days, public opinion shifted. The man whom they thought would wage war against their oppressors instead challenged their views. He defied expectation by portraying Himself not as a political authority, but a spiritual one above all others. He called them out for their sins and thereby offended a lot of people.
By Friday, the crowd was chanting for His blood.
Sadly, they had it right the first time. Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah they were waiting for. And though He would prove it, they would kill Him first.
Whenever I look at the story of Palm Sunday, I’m relieved I was born into such an enlightened time. I mean, people today aren’t fickle like that. We don’t just turn on people when they say something we don’t like. No, we weigh the evidence and make sober, reasonable decisions, untainted by emotion.
Especially on the Internet.
Yeah, I think the main difference between us and the crowd back then is that we don’t actually kill people as often.
The contrast between Palm Sunday and Good Friday reminds me to slow down and choose my words carefully. It reminds me to examine what I really believe. It reminds me to breathe deep in moments of intense emotion, before I say or do something dumb.
And it reminds me that even though people make really bad mistakes, God forgives us.
A lot of characters and ideas from the Bible would make great Magic cards. Here are a few of my thoughts from the Old Testament.
You got any?
Creature – Israelite Prophet Legend (2/2)
T: Target King gets +2/+2.
T: Target King gets -2/-2.
Year of Jubilee (G1)
Return all permanents to their owner’s control. Untap all permanents you control. You cannot tap lands for mana or play activated abilities for the rest of this turn.
Lucifer, the Adversary (BlBlBl2)
Creature – Fallen Angel Legend (6/6)
4: Target creature gains +3/+0. Destroy that creature at end of turn.
[Lucifer is printed on a white card.]
David, Chosen Shepherd (WW2)
Creature – Israelite Legend (1/1)
If David deals combat damage to a creature with power or toughness 2 or more greater than his, destroy that creature, and flip David.
David, King of Israel
Creature – Israelite King Legend (2/3)
If David attacks, all attacking creatures get first strike.
Wages of Sin (Bl2)
Cumulative Upkeep: Place a -1/-1 counter on a creature you control.
Draw two cards during your draw phase.
Your maximum hand size is 6.
Fire of Retribution (RR)
Each creature that dealt damage to you this turn takes 5 damage.
Covenant Promises (Bu4)
Rearrange the top 10 cards of your library. Reveal only the last three cards, then place all 10 cards on top of your library.
Bronze Snake (3)
3, T: Remove all your poison counters.