History, Suffering, and Death Must Not Be Avoided

I often appreciate how Eugene Peterson describes different aspects of the faith.  For example, here are some words on death, suffering, and the Christian life.

“Jesus died.  There is no avoiding this.  This is fundamental.  And I am somehow or other going to die.  There is no avoiding this: this is also fundamental.  This conjunction of deaths, Jesus’ and mine, is where I begin to understand and receive salvation.”

“Paul distills the entire scheme of God’s working in our lives to this and only this: ‘Jesus Christ, and him crucified’ (1 Cor. 2:2), a crucifixion death in which he finds himself a willing participant (Gal. 2.20).”

“Nothing in the story of Jesus could be clearer or more plainly presented than this: that Jesus chose the way of suffering and death, that he did this in continuity with the entire history of the people of God before him, and that this suffering and death was kergymatic.  Suffering and death, the worst that life can hand us, is the very stuff out of which salvation is fashioned.”

“And that means if we want to live as followers of Jesus, live the way Jesus wants us to live, receive Jesus’ life as our life, our restored identity in the image of God, then we also follow him into this so-called mess of history.  History is not what we keep at arm’s length in impersonal study and analysis.  It must not be avoided or denied by withdrawal.  It has to be embraced.  The way Jesus did it becomes the way we do it.”

“…Jesus’ death is our way into salvation.  There is no other way.”

Eugene Peterson, Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places, 145.

Shane Lems

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