April 17, 2006
Thanks Al for a great post on the Gospel (and don’t you love C.J.’s answer to his own questions?!), and for pointing us to Mark’s important article on the atonement. Thanks Mark for the Spurgeon quote.
I quoted John Piper yesterday, during the morning services (from his Easter sermon in 2000). It’s a great example of a Gospel response to the power of Christ’s resurrection. John tells the story of Ruby Eliason and Laura Edwards – two elderly missionaries who had just then died in Cameroon in a car accident. John says: "Ruby [was] in her eighties and Laura in her seventies. Ruby gave all her life in medical missions among the poor. Laura, a doctor who practiced in India for many years and then here in the Cities, was giving her retirement for the bodies and the souls of the poor in Cameroon. Both died suddenly when their car went over a cliff."
John then asks: "Was that a tragedy? Well, in one sense all death is tragic."
The following is John’s answer:
Ruby Eliason and Laura Edwards, at their age, could have been taking it easy here in retirement. Think of tens of thousands of retired people spending their lives in one aimless leisure after another – that is a tragedy. The fact that Jesus Christ took authority to make Ruby Eliason and Laura Edwards valiant for love and truth among the poor and lost and diseased of Cameroon when most Americans are playing their way into eternity – that is not tragedy. And that he took them suddenly to heaven in their old age in the very moment of their love and service and sacrifice, and without long, drawn-out illnesses and without protracted and oppressive feelings of uselessness – that is not a tragedy. Rather, I say, "Give me that death, O Jesus Christ, Lord of the universe, give me that life and that ministry and that death!"
This is why Jesus came. This is why he was crucified. This is why he rose from the dead with all authority and promised to be with us to the end of the age – to create a people whose sins are forgiven, and whose hearts are full of the love of God, and who are so emboldened by the triumphant Christ, that they spend their lives with risk and sacrifice and love to help others know and enjoy the greatness of Christ forever and ever.
Is this not what you were made for? Is there not something in your own soul that witnesses to you that this is true and worthy of full acceptance?