The Backlist: The Top Ten Posts on Blogging Theologically


Let’s take a trip back in time to see the top ten posts in March:

  1. Everyday Theology: God Won’t Give You More Than You Can Handle (July 2009)
  2. Where Is Jesus In The Old Testament? (June 2011)
  3. How can Christians maintain a faithful witness in Canada? (March 2013)
  4. Everyday Theology: God helps those who help themselves (July 2009)
  5. John Piper on Mark Driscoll & John MacArthur (May 2009)
  6. Up the (Willow) Creek: Kiva, Coffee, and Bono (August 2009)
  7. Celebrate the “extraordinary” AND “ordinary” testimonies (March 2013)
  8. Everyday Theology: Preach the Gospel always, if necessary use words (July 2009)
  9. Should we always expect God to heal? (March 2013)
  10. How does the gospel apply to dieting? (March 2013)

And just for fun, here are the next ten:

  1. What does the Bible say about worship? (March 2013)
  2. Charles Haddon Spurgeon: What is Humility? (February 2010)
  3. Preaching and Pragmatism (July 2011)
  4. Ministry Idolatry (January 2011)
  5. Church buildings: They’re actually useful! (December 2009)
  6. Guilt by association? (March 2013)
  7. Book Review: You Lost Me by David Kinnaman (December 2011)
  8. Three books (plus one) you should read for Easter (March 2013)
  9. Tell a more compelling story (March 2013)
  10. Did Jesus REALLY have to rise again? (March 2013)

If you haven’t had a chance to read any of these posts, I hope you’ll take a few minutes today to check them out.

Evangelism is not a sales pitch

Our small group is just getting started on a witnessing workshop designed to help us develop a lifestyle of personal evangelism. This is really important since so many of us—especially me—kind of stink at this.

One of the things many of us fear is getting the gospel wrong: saying the wrong thing that will somehow condemn a person to hell who otherwise would have believed. What our fears often reveal is a belief that the gospel’s effectiveness relies on us.


But, D.A. Carson explains in Jesus the Son of God, the idea that what we do makes or breaks the gospel may be what does the most damage to our evangelistic efforts:

…if you don’t believe that the gospel is the good news of God’s action – the Father electing, the Son dying, the Spirit drawing – that conversion is only our response to God’s giving us the grace-gifts of repentance and faith, and that evangelism is our simple, faithful, prayerful telling of this good news, then you will actually damage the evangelistic mission of the church by making false converts. If you think that the gospel is all about what we can do, that the practice of it is optional, and that conversion is simply something that anyone can choose at any time, then I’m concerned that you’ll think of evangelism as nothing more than a sales job where the prospect is to be won over to sign on the dotted line by praying a prayer, followed by an assurance that he is the proud owner of salvation. (Kindle location 1148)

Evangelism is not a sales pitch, any more than we are responsible for the outcome of our message. The Triune God is responsible for the outcome—and we are called to simply, faithfully, prayerfully share the news.

Links I like

“Watch me!” just put together a really nice video using audio of D.A. Carson where he “challenges us from the Bible how we must be sharing our lives, opening up the Bible and changing generations as we point them to Jesus.”

Good Christians Don’t Listen to…: Why A Blanket Divide on “Secular” Music Doesn’t Work

Douglas Adu-Boahen:

Let’s be clear – not all music that is produced by unbelievers makes for good listening. There’s a distinct reason I don’t listen to secular hiphop – no matter how talented some rappers are. Now I appreciate that for some, this comes into the category of Christian liberty (a claim I would quietly question), but I’m just down with hearing a guy talks about his life as a rich man’s harem fueled by drugs and drinks with the option to end your life if you cross him. In the words of Sweet Brown, “Ain’t nobody got time for dat!”

So how do I make that work and sleep well at night? Here are a couple of thoughts.

Get Defending Your Faith for $5 at

The ePub edition of Defending Your Faith by R.C. Sproul is featured in today’s $5 Friday sale at Also on sale:

  • By Grace Alone by Sinclair Ferguson (hardcover)
  • Dealing with Difficult Problems teaching series by R.C. Sproul (audio and video download)
  • A Taste of Heaven by R.C. Sproul (hardcover)

$5 Friday ends tonight at 11:59:59 Eastern.

SPAM: stop affirming positive message?

David Murray:

Scientists estimate that for every hundred pieces of information that enters our brain, ninety nine end up in our SPAM folder. We remember only one thing out of every hundred. And that’s a good thing. As many autistic people will tell you, if you don’t have a good SPAM filter, you can be overwhelmed with useless data.

The problem is that many of us have SPAM filters that are fantastic at filtering out the positive and letting in only the negative things of life. That’s partly because our education, political, and business culture rewards negativity experts, those who can pick out a single negative in a sea of positives.

Living as if I’m Waiting

Amber Van Schooneveld:

The problem with waiting mode is it steals us of our joy today. Nothing will ever be complete or perfect this side of Hades. We can’t wait to embrace and live fully in the joy God has given us today.

I’m preaching to myself here: I know that others have experienced tragedy and to simply say, “life isn’t perfect, live in today anyway” would be trite and even cruel.

Put away your bitterness before it’s too late


Matthew 18:15-17a is one of the most important passages in the Bible on the matter of church discipline. It’s also one of the most abused passages in all of Scripture (outside “Judge not” in Matt. 7:1). The passage reads as follows:

If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church.

While there’s a great deal that could be said about this passage, but there are a few important elements to note:

1. The passage deals explicitly with personal sin. According to this passage, personal sin is to be dealt with personally—”between you and him alone,” Jesus says (v. 15). The big idea here is that if you can resolve something quickly, without rumors starting to swirl, then do it. “You will have gained your brother,” Jesus says. In other words, the whole point is reconciliation.

2. Personal sin sometimes requires mediators. When you can’t get something resolved one-on-one, you need to bring in some help; “take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses” (v. 16). Personal issues should never devolve into a nasty game of one person’s word against another’s. Having someone else work with us to settle a dispute is often the thing we need to actually get it resolved.

3. Unrepentant sin is a matter for your community. There’s not really such a thing as “personal, private business” within the church—specifically our local congregations. Our sin affects everybody in our local church, whether we admit it or not, because we are all responsible to (and for) one another.

However not every sin falls into the Matt. 18 model.

Corporate sins, public sins, are handled differently. We see numerous examples throughout Scripture—Paul publicly rebukes Peter for falling back into law-keeping and causing confusion among the gentile believers and he rebukes the Corinthian church for, well, pretty much everything. Jesus rebukes the Laodiceans for being lukewarm, the Ephesians for abandoning their first love and the church at Sardis for being dead, although they had the appearance of life.

Over and over again, we see public sin being confronted publicly.

In these cases they weren’t handling things in the same fashion as you would personal sin. There were no mediators, no private approaches that we’re aware of—it’s just a loud, clear “repent!”

But something that’s important to note here, too:

The whole point of dealing with public sin publicly is reconciliation.

Yesterday Tim Challies publicly pleaded with Christians to stop giving airtime to “discernment bloggers/watchbloggers.” In recent weeks, he’s come under heavy criticism, particularly from those impacted by the ongoing issues within Sovereign Grace Ministries. His comments, naturally, caused even more insanity (as evidenced by the comments section).

While I’m not going to get into the particular issues surrounding Sovereign Grace, and I want to respect the feelings of those impacted, the direction I’m seeing in all of this (particularly in the way people went after Tim and Cruciform Press) should be cause for concern.

When we scour the Internet looking for “dirt” or something we can spin to continue to feed our injuries… the Bible has a name for that: malice.

Malice is a desire to do evil against another, a desire that grows out of bitterness. For a Christian to harbor bitterness, to let it fester and grow into malice—to begin intentionally plotting evil against others—that should cause us great concern as we look at ourselves.

Why? Because it’s an indication of our heart—it’s a warning that not all is right in our standing before God, even that our profession of faith may be a lie (see Acts 8:21-23; Rom. 3:10-14).

Simply, bitterness is incompatible with Christian character—and Paul commands us to “put it away” in Ephesians 4:31.

Before it’s too late.

When we look at the harsh words we see in Scripture, even the fiercest rebukes that come to God’s people—they’re motivated by a desire for one thing:


That’s the point of all biblical confrontation. It’s why we see in Matthew’s gospel, immediately following Jesus’ commands surrounding personal sin the parable of unforgiving servant (Matt. 18-21-35). It’s why we see Jesus give the Ephesians and Laodiceans and the rest of the seven churches an opportunity to repent. It’s why Paul says he handed Hymenaeus and Alexander “over to Satan”—that they might learn not to blaspheme and would repent (1 Tim. 1:20).

But bitterness is the enemy of reconciliation.

If you find yourself reading a particularly critical blog, ask yourself: is the goal of this rebuke to see people reconciled to Christ and/or to one another? Does it create a desire for promote forgiveness?

Does it feed bitterness—or choke it out?

Links I like

The Gospel Project Experience

Not too long ago I hosted a giveaway for simulcast passes for the upcoming Gospel Project experience. Check out the new promo video for the event:

If you’re in the Nashville area and want to be physically present for the event, there are details over on the Gospel Project website.

In the Crosshairs of the Discernment Bloggers

Tim Challies:

I have sometimes warned about these discernment bloggers that are now all over the Internet, but somewhere in the back of my mind I’ve reserved a place for them. I’ve allowed myself to believe that they may serve a helpful purpose, that even while they go too far at times, a lot of their information is helpful. I’ve occasionally found myself visiting some of the sites, reading their articles, and justifying it all in my mind. After all, it is important that I know the truth about Christian leaders and their ministries, isn’t it?

Only As Deep As Your Gospel

Jared Wilson:

Yesterday morning I tweeted this: “The marriage controversy is not unrelated to the fact that many churches will be overdosing on silliness this Sunday.”

Some asked me what I meant by it. This is what I meant:

Steven Lawson and Chris Larson on The Heroic Boldness of Martin Luther

Ligonier’s president, Chris Larson, sits down with author Steven Lawson to discuss his book, The Heroic Boldness of Martin Luther:

Mike Leake:

“We don’t have bulletins”, said the pastor quite proudly.

“Why not?”, enquires a sheepish visitor.

The pastor confidently answers, “We want to give the Spirit freedom to work and move in our worship services. We do not want to be shackled and confined by some order of service”.

There’s no hope in self-help

This month is sexual assault awareness month.

It’s yet another awareness month I wish didn’t need to be. 

The statistics surrounding sexual assault are staggering—no less than one in four women have experienced it in some fashion; no fewer than one in six men have, too. It’s a sin that robs its victims of more than a sense of safety.

It robs them of their dignity.

So how do we best minister to victims of sexual assault, in whatever sphere of influence we have?

It’s not with self-help. 


In their important, painful and hopeful book, Rid of My Disgrace, Justin and Lindsey Holcomb remind us that self-help is horrible news for those needing to be rid of the stain of sexual sin:

Sexual assault victims are frequently told some version of the following: “One can will one’s well-being” or “If you are willing to work hard and find good support, you can not only heal but thrive.” This sentiment is reflected in the famous quote, “No one can disgrace us but ourselves.”

This is all horrible news. The reason this is bad news is that abuse victims are rightfully, and understandably, broken over how they’ve been violated. But those in pain simply may not have the wherewithal to “pull themselves up by their bootstraps.” On a superficial level, self-esteem techniques and a tough “refusal to allow others to hurt me” tactic may work for the short term. But what happens for the abused person on a bad day, a bad month, or a bad year? Sin and the effects of sin are similar to the laws of inertia: a person (or object) in motion will continue on that trajectory until acted upon by an outside force. If one is devastated by sin, a personal failure to rise above the effects of sin will simply create a snowball effect of shame. Hurting people need something from the outside to stop the downward spiral. Fortunately, grace floods in from the outside at the point when hope to change oneself is lost. Grace declares and promises that you will be healed.

The Kindle edition of Rid of My Disgrace is on sale right now for 99¢ at Amazon. If you want to know more about the book, you can read my review here, but if you’re ministering to anyone in any capacity, please read this book.

If you don’t have a dollar, let me know and I will buy you a copy.

There’s no hope in self-help. The only thing that can cleanse the stain of sin is the gospel. This is what we must offer victims of sexual assault and this book will help us do it well.

Links I like

To Death’s Great Surprise

Stephen Altrogge:

I took a long drag on my cigarette – Marlboro unfiltered if you must know – then tossed it to the ground. I know it’s bad habit, and with a pack of smokes running six bucks, it’s going to bankrupt me, but I figure I’m entitled to at least one vice. If you had my job you’d smoke too. I ground the cigarette into the ground with my black boot then surveyed the scene.

Aaah yes, this was nice. A good old fashioned crucifixion. I pulled out another cigarette, lit it with my black Zippo, and took a long, unhurried pull. There was no rush with a crucifixion. Those poor saps would be hanging on those wooden crosses for hours before I was required to pull the plug. I miss the days of the crucifixions. These days it’s all gunshots and stab wounds. I usually arrive on the scene and have to pull the plug before I can even catch my breath. I have to move quickly to ensure that I get the job done before the paramedics arrive on the scene. In my hurry I occasionally make mistakes. Then I have to go into the ambulance and brawl with the paramedics as they try to revive the victim. I miss the long, slow, unhurried death of crucifixion.

Cheap eBooks

Here are some excellent deals on a number of terrific books:

The Missing Ingredient: Devoted to ________ and Preaching

Gary Millar:

Everyone who has ever preached regularly knows something about the mystery of the sermon that you thought was brilliantly constructed but fell completely flat. In God’s kindness, you may also have listened to yourself giving a really dud sermon and then led someone to become a Christian (I much prefer those days). Why does that happen? It’s because God works through preaching. We need to remember that, and we need to remember to rely on him for that. How?


 The Best Kind of Protest

Daniel Darling:

Last week, on the way home from classes at TEDS, I listened in on a radio conversation on Moody Radio (90.1 FM). The host was my friend, Chris Fabry. Chris told the story of a listener who wrote in to express his appreciation for Christian radio. The man had come across Moody in a roundabout way. His car was in the shop for repair and the mechanic had not done the work in the time the customer thought appropriate. So he berated the mechanic quite forcefully.

First-Day Thoughts on Not Being a Pastor Anymore

John Piper:

How can one speak of finishing a ministry — a pastorate? Can one really finish? Death snatches some men away in the midst of their ministry, and they feel, “I wasn’t finished.” Others are removed against their will, and they don’t feel like it was finished. Others run away from a hard situation, and no one feels it was finished.

Crucifying Morality by R W Glenn


I remember the first sermon series I heard on the Beatitudes, the opening verses of the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5:2-11). The pastor spoke about every characteristic Jesus lists with great conviction—but something didn’t sit right. Every message followed the same basic pattern: each week one or two characteristics were described and then we were challenged to be more meek, be more pure in heart, work harder at making peace and so on.

The problem, I realized later, is this isn’t what Jesus was trying to tell us in the Beatitudes. This well meaning pastor was looking at these verses as commands—as imperatives to obey.

But Jesus didn’t give us these words as more rules to obey.

“The Beatitudes are not commands; they represent the profile of a Christian, the profile of someone who has already come to understand God’s grace and is growing in that understanding,” pastor and author R W Glenn explains in Crucifying Morality: The Gospel of the Beatitudes

This is why every approach to the Beatitudes that turns them into commandments to keep, mandates to fulfill, or imperatives to obey turns them into something contrary to what Jesus intended.

Over the book’s 10 short chapters, Glenn unpacks a vision of the Beatitudes that challenges the false ideas we may hold about these verses and points us to our only source of hope: the gospel.

Like Martyn Lloyd-Jones and D.A. Carson before him, Glenn understands that the gospel is at the heart of the Beatitudes. It’s really, really important that we get that.

But why?

Why does a gospel vision of the Beatitudes matter so much—especially when so many people are content to turn this passage into a checklist?

Simply, you can’t make sense of them without it.

The Beatitudes are a representation of the upside down world of the Kingdom of God. “Jesus says you are to be congratulated—sincerely congratulated—if you are the object of people’s scorn, ridicule, and violence, because you know that God’s blessing is on you,” Glenn writes. The idea of blessing coming from scorn… we don’t like that very much.

It’s not fun. But there it is; that’s “radical reality of the Beatitudes” as Glenn puts it.

The gospel, though, helps us make sense of this reality. In Christ, we see how scorn really does lead to blessing, how meekness leads to great inheritance and how our hunger and thirst for righteousness is satisfied.

But it’s more than this—a gospel vision of the Beatitudes protects us from their impossible standard.

“The Beatitudes are all about what happens to people when their hearts are gripped with the unmerited favor and undeserved acceptance of God,” Glenn writes. If you were to try to attain each characteristic with a checkbox mentality, where would it lead you?

You’d wind up little more than a blubbering puddle of yuck, crushed under the weight of your failure.

When looked at from this perspective—when we see the grace of God at work in the Beatitudes, when we recognize that they’re the characteristics of a renewed heart and mind in Christ—then we truly begin to see them as cause for rejoicing.

Crucifying Morality is a tremendously helpful book, whether you’re a new believer or a seasoned vet. We’re all prone to take the Beatitudes and moralize them or turn them into a rule book for “nice” living. But, as Glenn reminds us, “You cannot put the mind-altering, world-shattering nature of the Beatitudes into neat categories. Jesus won’t let you.”

Take these words to heart, give Crucifying Morality a careful read and work through it’s implications.

Title: Crucifying Morality: The Gospel of the Beatitudes
Author: R W Glenn
Publisher: Shepherd Press (2013)

Buy it at: Amazon

Links I like

4 Ways to Respond to the Gay Community

John Freeman:

Homosexuality is one of those topics that draws vibrant reactions. Complex issues of the heart usually do. Christians are in a sort of no-man’sland here. Suggesting that homosexuality is sinful can appear, to the world, as uneducated, rude, and stupid. On the other hand, suggesting that God loves and forgives sinners who struggle with homosexuality and that we should do the same may appear compromising and wishy-washy.

While we can oppose the advancement of this movement by vocalizing our concerns and participating in the political process, for the Christian a far deeper response to homosexuality and the gay community is needed. In such a heated debate, Christians have a responsibility to represent Christ to a fallen world in four ways.

Intended Allegory in the Song of Songs?

Jim Hamilton:

…is it possible that Solomonintended to represent the spiritual relationship between God and his people through a poetic depiction of the human relationship between the King and the Bride in the Song of Songs?


Why So Many Preachers Annoy So Many Christians

Clint Roberts:

Maybe this is due in part to having simply grown older and having heard so many sermons from so many preachers over the years – in person, online, by television, etc. – but I find myself increasingly annoyed by things preachers say and how they say it.  Maybe it’s the repetition of all of those preacherly terms & phrases, or the pulpit personas that preachers adopt. Maybe I’m just cynical & unfair in my overall perspective on the subject.

Or maybe T. David Gordon was onto something when he wrote a book a few years ago arguing that “preaching today is ordinarily poor” as a result, more or less, of our culture.

Evangelism and the Better Story

Logan Gentry:

It can be easy to view the Sermon on the Mount as directed simply to believers, but Jesus’s view was beyond the disciples sitting with him; it involved the non-believing, curious, and even the antagonistic crowd around him. He doesn’t supply a complete explanation of any of the topics he addresses. He spends two verses dealing with divorce, makes simple statements about how we should use our money, and provides a small insight on anger and lust being rooted in the heart.

In all of the issues Jesus addresses, he is presenting a better story, a better narrative to follow than the world offers. It truly is picture-perfect evangelism, declaring through “you have heard it said, but I say” statements that contrast of the cultural narrative lived around us and the Kingdom life he brings.

Don’t substitute niceness for godliness


Don’t you want to be a better person?

Not really.

What about a nicer one?


There’s nothing wrong with niceness—it’s just I’d rather be godly.

C.S. Lewis explains it well:

“Niceness”—wholesome, integrated personality—is an excellent thing. We must try by every medical, educational, economic, and political means in our power to produce a world where as many people as possible grow up “nice”; just as we must try to produce a world where all have plenty to eat. But we must not suppose that even if we succeeded in making everyone nice we should have saved their souls. A world of nice people, content in their own niceness, looking no further, turned away from God, would be just as desperately in need of salvation as a miserable world—and might even be more difficult to save. (Mere Christianity, Kindle location 2642)

Niceness isn’t a bad thing; as Lewis says, it’s an “excellent thing.” But being a nice person is a poor substitute for being a godly one.

If I had to choose between the two, I’ll choose the latter every time.

Links I like

Edith Schaeffer (1914 – 2013)

Tim Challies offers a lovely tribute:

Edith Schaeffer (nee Seville) has gone to be with the Lord at the age of 98. She was born on November 3, 1914 in Wenzhou, China, the child of missionaries associated with China Inland Missions. As a young adult she attended Beaver College in Glenside, Pennsylvania and it was there that she met Francis Schaeffer. The two were married in 1935. Francis subsequently attended Westminster Theological Seminary and went on to pastorates in Pennsylvania and Missouri.

Shocking—simply shocking

I echo Trevin’s assessment—”there are no words“:

Why do (modern) Christians rarely talk about rewards in heaven?

Michael Kruger:

When is the last time you heard a sermon that suggested that a motive for our obedience should be the rewards we receive in heaven?  I imagine for most of us it has been a long time, maybe even never. Whenever a sermon (or book) provides a motive for obedience, it is almost always thankfulness for what Christ has done.  And certainly that is a wonderful and foundational motivation.  But is it theonly motivation?

State of the Bible 2013

Barna’s released some new stats on America’s view of the Bible. Check out the helpful infographic:


HT: Marc Cortez

No cause for alarm, whatever may come


But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. (Matt 28:5)

These words were spoken with a deep meaning. They were meant to cheer the hearts of believers in every age, in the prospect of the resurrection. They were intended to remind us, that true Christians have no cause for alarm, whatever may come on the world. The Lord shall appear in the clouds of heaven, and the earth be burned up. The graves shall give up the dead that are in them, and the last day come. The judgment shall be set, and the books shall be opened. The angels shall sift the wheat from the chaff, and divide between the good fish and the bad. But in all this there is nothing that need make believers afraid. Clothed in the righteousness of Christ, they shall be found without spot and blameless. Safe in the one true ark, they shall not be hurt when the flood of God’s wrath breaks on the earth. Then shall the words of the Lord receive their complete fulfillment—”when these things begin to come to pass, lift up your heads, for your redemption draws near.” Then shall the wicked and unbelieving see how true was that word, “blessed are the people whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 33:12).

J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Book of Matthew

Links I like (weekend edition)

What You Can’t Sing Without Penal Substitution

Kevin DeYoung:

The notion that Christ died as our sin-bearing substitute who bore the curse for our sakes is considered, by some, too primitive, too violent, and too narrow. Penal substitution is only a theory of the atonement, just one idea among many, maybe not even a good theory, at the very least not the best or the most important once. I would argue that texts like Isaiah 53, Mark 10, Romans 3, 2 Corinthians 5, Galatians 3, and Philippians 3 demonstrate that Christ is not only our wrath-sustaining Savior, he is also the Lord our Righteousness. The Son’s propiatory sacrifice for sinners is the best news of the good news, the biblical truth that holds the gospel together.

The cup and the crucifixion

HT: Joe Thorn

Jesus paid it all

King’s Kaleidoscope’s rendition of this song is very nice:

Expiation and Propitiation: Two Important Words This Good Friday

R.C. Sproul in an excerpt from The Truth of the Cross:

When we talk about the vicarious aspect of the atonement, two rather technical words come up again and again: expiation and propitiation. These words spark all kinds of arguments about which one should be used to translate a particular Greek word, and some versions of the Bible will use one of these words and some will use the other one. I’m often asked to explain the difference between propitiation and expiation. The difficulty is that even though these words are in the Bible, we don’t use them as part of our day-to-day vocabulary, so we aren’t sure exactly what they are communicating in Scripture. We lack reference points in relation to these words.

Can we say ‘God died’?

Douglas Wilson:

One of the central tenets of the Christian faith is that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. Another is that Jesus was divine—Jesus was fully God. What is to keep us from putting these two things together in a particular way and saying, “God died on the cross”?

Actually, there is a way of saying this that would be quite appropriate, as we shall see in a moment. But there is another way of saying it that would quickly lead (within minutes) into various bad heresies. God is immortal (1 Tim. 1:17), for example, and the definition of immortal is “incapable of dying.” Wouldn’t this mean that, if we say God died, are we saying that God ceased to be God?

Turn our faces to the Mount of Calvary


What myriads of eyes are casting their glances at the sun! What multitudes of men lift up their eyes, and behold the starry orbs of heaven! They are continually watched by thousands—but there is one great transaction in the world’s history, which every day commands far more spectators than that sun which goeth forth like a bridegroom, strong to run his race. There is one great event, which every day attracts more admiration than do the sun, and moon, and stars, when they march in their courses.

That event is, the death of our Lord Jesus Christ.

To it, the eyes of all the saints who lived before the Christian era were always directed; and backwards, through the thousand years of history, the eyes of all modern saints are looking. Upon Christ, the angels in heaven perpetually gaze. “Which things the angels desire to look into,” said the apostle. Upon Christ, the myriad eyes of the redeemed are perpetually fixed; and thousands of pilgrims, through this world of tears, have no higher object for their faith, and no better desire for their vision, than to see Christ as he is in heaven, and in communion to behold his person. Beloved, we shall have many with us, whilst this morning we turn our face to the Mount of Calvary. We shall not be solitary spectators of the fearful tragedy of our Saviour’s death: we shall but dart our eyes to that place which is the focus of heaven’s joy and delight, the cross of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Charles Spurgeon, The Death of Christ