What Jesus Did Between His Death and Resurrection, Or Something Like That

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Apparently as I woke up this morning I said ( or “shouted” according to Sarah who was still trying to sleep), “I think I figured it out!  I know what Jesus did between His death and resurrection!” I don’t mean that I know exactly what He did, or every detail, but I think I have somewhat of a idea that I don’t think is too theologically nit picky. I’ll try to explain my thought process.

Between His death and resurrection, Jesus did exactly what every dead Christian is doing right now. 

Here’s why I think this:

Romans 1:1-4

“concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,” 

Jesus’ resurrection is the clearest declaration that He is the Son of God.

What links our experience with Christ’s experience:  Romans 6:5: “For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.”

When we are in Jesus, our experience becomes organically linked with His experience. The spiritual reality that we have died with Him, were buried with Him, and were raised to new life with him is a foretaste to a coming physical experience.

And, Romans 8:11:  “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.” 

The verse that really made me think about Jesus’ personal experience between His death and resurrection is this, Romans 8:19:  “For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.”  

This is that hermeneutological (totally made up that word) jump that I’m thinking here:  Just as creation (including us) is waiting with eager longing for the full revealing of the adopted sons (everyone brought into God’s family), Jesus was longing eagerly to be revealed as the Son of God by His resurrection. He knew that “it is finished.” He was looking towards the awards ceremony, when he was given the title of “Lord” and a multitude of nations.

I think His body bloated a little bit (there is a reason why they put spices on Him); He may have stunk a little bit, and I don’t think He was in Hell, and I don’t think He was in an unconscious state, and I don’t think He was exactly “resting in peace.” He was longing for resurrection, and His Spirit still prays for resurrection for us (Rom 8:26) when we don’t know what to say. The reason the Spirit knows what to pray for us as we long for resurrection is because Jesus groaned in the same way before His resurrection.


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April 5, 2015 at 3:32 am

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What I Can Pray Because Jesus Prayed Psalm 22 In My Place

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Because Jesus experienced Psalm 22 fully, in Him, I can pray:

“My God, my God, you’re my closest friend.

You’re here before I call for you. It’s like dialing your number, putting the phone up to my ear, and you’re already talking to me.

Even when I can barely sleep and focus when going about my day because of anxiety, you answer me and give me rest.

And you’re holy, riding the adoration of generations of faithful people like a king mounted on a proud Clydesdale horse. These people trusted you without looking back and you never let them down.

Yet I think I’m a boss. People usually love me (at least I think so–that’s all that matters, right?), smile at me, and think my opinions matter. I want them to say, “Look how happy he is and how nice of a life he’s made for himself! He’s found his place in this world!”

I wiggled away from you in my mom’s womb, pushed you away as a teenager, but you sprinted after me, tripped me from behind by kicking my legs out from under me and forced me to turned around and stare at you.

You were never far from me, but I was far from you.

You’ve bound the beasts that encircled me. I entertained them like a lion tamer in the circus.

My heart is refined like gold, my bones have extra cartilage, and my stature is strong.  My tongue moves freely, singing a new song, one that you downloaded into my heart free of charge like that U2 album that no one wanted.

Those “dogs” that surrounded me have been euthanized–they were rabid anyways. You did the work of putting them down while I turned my head. I used to think they were family pets, but a smart dad knows when his kids are in danger.

You’re always here–your Spirit is more present than my phone always vibrating in my pocket.  Notifications are turned on, along with location services, even though that sometimes takes extra battery.

Spirit is given to me like a sword–but I’m the one being handled.

I’m not sure what I can contribute. Other people’s stories seem more impressive than mine. But they all lead to you, and so I’m freed to be my true self.  I don’t have to be afraid like that kid who clashed his cymbals at the wrong time and ruined the whole performance.

The cultural, political, social, economic, and racial gap you crossed to get to me is wider than any ocean, train track, or Rio Grande.

Every Fortune 500 executive will cower and pull the lint out of their pockets.

Every dead person will dust off their shoulders.

The generation of unborn babies that is on their way (whether legislation wants them or not), will memorize this as their first nursery rhyme.

Written by keywoodblog

April 3, 2015 at 2:53 pm

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Lie Witness News

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This is unbelievable.  Jimmy Kimmel gives a great illustration of how everyone wants acceptance by something or someone bigger than themselves.  Is it just me, or does it take a lot of pride-swallowing to say, “No, I’ve never heard of that band,” or, “I’ve never read/seen that book”?  It feels so much better to say, “I’ve heard of it,” or, “I’ve read a few chapters,” or, “I’ve listened to a few of their songs,” instead of, “You know about something that I don’t know.”

Written by keywoodblog

April 25, 2013 at 3:41 pm

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John Stott and the TV Generation

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I have the tendency of being a tee-totaler.  When trying to figure out whether something is a good idea or not, such as watching television or drinking soda, I would rather quit cold turkey than finding that sweet spot of moderation. This is when I need guidanceIn his classic work on preaching Between Two Worlds: The Art of Preaching in the Twentieth Century (1982), the late John Stott outlines what he calls the “five deleterious tendencies of television”: 
  1. TV tends to make people physically lazy.  
  2. TV tends to make people intellectually uncritical. 
  3. TV tends to make people emotionally insensitive. 
  4. TV tends to make people psychologically confused.  
For those trying to work through these issues, I think Stott’s words are insightful.  He isn’t saying that TV is bad and that people who watch TV are bad, but rather that, just like any other good thing, it can work to our detriment.  It can make us passive consumers rather than active participants, most significantly in the life of the local church. This list helps us put a finger on what happens when TV becomes an idol and media consumption isn’t checked by God’s Word.  These insights help us understand more of how to communicate the gospel to a TV generation.

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July 5, 2012 at 1:08 pm

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Keywood Copiah County’s Marathon Man

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 My dad Jerry Keywood was spotlighted in a cool article by James Beasley, music minister at First Baptist Church, Crystal Springs, MS, this past week titled “Keywood Copiah County’s Marathon Man.” Not only am I amazed at Dad’s dedication to running, but I am humbled by his giving God the glory and receiving everything as a gift from Him.  You can read the article here.

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July 4, 2012 at 3:27 am

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A Response to “John the Baptist Looks at John Calvin”

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Dr. Jim Futral, executive director of the Mississippi Baptist Convention, in his recent article in The Baptist Record titled “John the Baptist Looks at John Calvin,” says, “More than a play on words is the fact that one John named the Baptist and the other named Calvin do not seem to have the same theology.” Though the amount of articles, books, blog posts, etc., arguing for or against Calvinism makes a mountain even bigger than a molehill, I think the boldness with which Dr. Futral writes and his influence among Baptists in Mississippi churches invites a response. I do not share an equality of credentials or experience with Dr. Futral, so if that is a requirement for you, you may as well stop reading here. Nevertheless, my goal is to address several points set forth by Dr. Futral that are biblically, historically, and experientially inaccurate.

Dr. Futral is alarmed at the number of Baptists who are “drawn toward looking to and listening to Calvinism.” A few paragraphs later he says, “Some would lean toward thinking that historically Baptists have always been a part of reformed theological thinking or Calvinist approach, and that has not been true. And for the most part, it is not true today.” I agree with his last point, that most Baptists today are not Calvinists/reformed. If by “historically,” he means “the last 100 years,” in which Baptist life has been largely affected by other theological systems besides Calvinism, then he’s probably true. However, if he means, since the early 1600s when the earliest Baptists appeared on the scene in England, he misinforms the reader. Doctrinally, these early Baptists were on point with Calvinist Presbyterians—only differing in the areas of church government and baptism. They were so like-minded with Presbyterians that they refused to change the wording in the areas of agreement in their earliest confessions of faith in order to avoid unnecessary division. Furthermore, is significant to remember the founders of the Southern Baptist Convention who were also professed Calvinists, such as John Broadus, John Dagg, Patrick Mell, and James P. Boyce. If Dr. Futral is attempting to support his argument by appealing to Baptist roots, he fails at several points. Many of the men and women upon whose shoulders he stands were Baptists who were also not ashamed to call themselves Calvinists.

Dr. Futral’s ecumenicism influences his simple profession “I am a Baptist.” I have several colleagues who choose to do this, and feel that it is particularly wise when not wanting to invite unneeded dissension among believers or putting forth an intellectual obstacle when preaching to a non-Christian. His contrast of terms is not always helpful, however. To help illustrate, take for instance the following conversation: 

“I like to go outside,” says Tim. Wanting to know more about Tim’s appreciation of the outdoors, you ask, “What do you mean?” He says, “Well, I like to move fast.” “How so?” you ask. “I like to run,” he replies. “Just run?” you question him further. Tim explains, “Well, I like to kick a ball around when I run.” Finally catching on, you say, “You mean… Play soccer?” With a sigh of relief, he exclaims, “Yeah, I love to play soccer!” You ask him, “How long have you played?” Counting on his fingers, he says, “About twenty years—since I was a boy.” “Do you ever play in any games?” you ask. “I played in a big competition a few years ago,” he says. “What was it called?” you ask with a puzzled look on your face. “The Olympics,” he says.

It turns out that Tim is a professional soccer player. This is a completely different response that you get from someone else who enjoys elk hunting. Here’s what I mean: Saying “I’m not a Calvinist; I’m a Baptist,” is like saying, “I’m not an athlete; I’m a baseball player.” There are certain times when we have to qualify our terms. In a perfect world, we could just say, “I’m a Christian,” and be understood. However, saying “I’m a Christian” doesn’t tell anyone if you are Greek Orthodox, Catholic, Pentecostal, or Seventh-Day Adventist. In many circles, this doesn’t even distinguish you from being a Mormon. I would love to be able to simply say, “I’m a Baptist” and nothing else, but that is just is not possible if I want to be understood and share biblical truths accurately. And as long as human language continues to be affected by our ever-changing culture, it will stay that way. Qualifying what we mean when we say certain words is a crucial to effective communication.

Next, the acrostic TULIP is not the magnum opus of John Calvin’s contributions to Christian theology. The notorious Five Points are a counterattack against the five points of Arminianism, which were formulated before TULIP. To reduce Calvin’s teaching to TULIP as if this is all he taught does not give honor where honor is due. I would recommend picking up Calvin’s book On Prayer at your local Christian bookstore. Also helpful are his commentaries on the Bible, of which there are more than 20 volumes.

True Calvinism nowhere claims that the blood of Christ is not powerful enough to save every human on the planet. In fact, Calvinism heartily affirms the cross’s power to save a multitude that no one can count (Rev 7). It would be helpful for the reader to study the lives of the Calvinist revivalists Charles Spurgeon, Jonathan Edwards, and George Whitefield, and the Calvinist missionaries William Carey, Henry Martyn, and Adoniram Judson to see examples of this lived out. Limited atonement, or particular redemption, did not keep them from dedicating their lives to the spread of the gospel. I would also argue that Paul believed the same thing. God encourages Paul to continue preaching to the Corinthians, telling him, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you…for I have many in this city who are my people” (Act 18:10). He does not say, “Everyone in this city is my person.” He says, “Out of everyone in this city, there are those for whom Christ died. Find them by preaching to as many as you can.” It is no wonder that in Paul’s letters to the Corinthian churches he says, “God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God” (1 Cor 1:27-29). When understood correctly, limited atonement is an encouragement to missions, not a discouragement. Is God the Father opposed to the work of Jesus? Certainly  not. But if Jesus wants to save everyone, but the Father does not do that, how can the Father and the Son disagree with one another? Missionary boldness is grounded in the truth that the Father planned, the Son accomplished, and the Spirit applies redemption to lost sinners. It is grounded in the reality that God will accomplish His eternal purpose.

Dr. Futral equates predestination with fatalism and appeals to the reader’s emotions in saying that if God chooses some to eternal life and others to eternal punishment, then we should give up hoping for our children to be saved. This is a skewed view of what Calvinists believe about predestination. Calvinists believe that God ordains the ends as well as the means. This means that our decisions count. Much can be said and has already been said about predestination, so I will leave it up to the reader to consider my points. I challenge you to read the gospels, Acts, and Romans, and wrestle with difficult texts such as Jesus’ words, “No one can come to me unless the Father draws him,” which is recorded three chapters after John 3:16.

Dr. Futral says that wherever Calvinism has become a discussion in the churches, there arises a sense of superiority. But doesn’t this happen anytime people are involved? The problem is not with Calvinism, but with people. We are the prideful ones who have a sense of superiority. And if the truth of our faith is based on our behavior, then indeed, “God deliver all of us.” Thankfully, our sins do not nullify the truths of Christianity: “Let God be true though every man were a liar” (Rom 3:4).

How is a Calvinist who does not “come out of his closet” to avoid division in the local church deceptive when Dr. Futral himself does the same thing? If the members of said pastor’s church have as skewed of an understanding of Calvinism as many do, I can certainly understand why this pastor does not want to use the term “Calvinist” in his trial sermon. In many occasions, Jesus Himself did not disclose His identity as the Messiah, not because He was being deceptive, but because He would have been grossly misunderstood (Mark 8:30; Luke 9:21). This is not deception, but practical wisdom.

Dr. Futral refers to John the Baptist’s preaching as simplistic. The word simplistic means “treating complex issues and problems as if they were much simpler than they really are.” I ask the reader to consider the following words of the Baptist, 

“You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Matt 3:7-11, ESV). 

I have read this a countless number of times, yet I still do not completely understand it. It is interwoven with allusions to the entire Old Testament canon, recalling the promises made to Abraham and how they are fulfilled in Christ. Not only that, but he speaks in figurative, prophetic language. John is not making salvation history out to be something simpler than it really is, but showing how the kingdom of God foreshadowed in Genesis is finally at hand in the God-man Jesus Christ. A politician who says, “The problem with this country is bad education,” is being simplistic. That is to be deceptive, and forbid it that we should make this accusation against the one of whom Jesus said, “Among those born of a woman there is no one greater than John” (Luke 7:28). The gospel is simple enough for a child to understand it, yet expansive enough that all the books in the world could not contain it. For this reason, we should not scoff at men who devote their lives to expound upon into “huge volumes of instruction.” Would John the Baptist also be shocked to see what the apostles Peter and Paul did to the same message? Even Peter himself said that some of Paul’s writings were hard to understand (2 Pet 3:16). Why would Paul complicate John the Baptist’s “simplistic” message? Maybe because it is not so simplistic after all. 

Written by keywoodblog

July 3, 2012 at 10:23 pm

I’m in Love with Judas, Baby

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“Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.” Psalm 41:9

Though in this Psalm’s immediate context, it is King David who is lamenting personal betrayal and subsequently pleading for God to deliver him, I believe that this Psalm is fully realized in Christ, specifically in his being betrayed by Judas Iscariot.

We know the scene.  Jesus and the Twelve are in the upper room, eating and drinking the Passover meal, which would be Jesus’ last meal until the coming of God’s kingdom in its fullness.  This Passover is different than the others, for Jesus tells them that He is initiating a new covenant, not with unleavened bread, but with His own body, and not with wine, but sealed by His own blood.

The mood becomes even darker when Jesus tells them, “One of you will betray me.”  These alarming words cause the Twelve not only to look around, but to look inward, examining themselves.  They ask Him, one after another, as if in a game of Russian roulette, “Is it I, Lord?” They had heard Jesus’ words that not everyone who professes Him or takes part in His ministry will enter His kingdom.  Jesus tells them that it is indeed one of them at dinner that evening.  Jesus laments the sad reality, and Judas answers him, “Is it I, Teacher?”  Jesus replies, “You said it.”

Note the difference in how they address Jesus.  Eleven confess Jesus as “Lord,” while Judas simply calls Him “Teacher” or “Rabbi.”  It is as if inherent in Judas words and tone of voice is his diabolical plan to destroy Jesus.  We know the rest of the story.  We know that Judas already had blood money in his pocket.  It ends tragically for Judas.  His life is a tragedy.

Lately, I have begun to realize that I have been desensitized to both the empty sadness of Judas’ destruction and the intensity of pain in Jesus’ heart upon being betrayed.  In this post, I’d like to recover both of those, at least a little bit.

First, here are two reasons why I think I am desensitized, or distanced, to these things:

  • We are put in the know early on in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and fairly in John, of the demise of Judas.  In MML, the Twelve are listed with Judas Iscariot named last, followed by, “who betrayed him,” (Matt 10:4; Mark 3:19) and “who became a traitor” (Luke 6:16).  Though John waits longer to tell us, he does give us fair warning in 12:4: “He who was to betray Him.”  He also tells us of Judas’ character–that he was a thief (12:6).  Therefore, Judas’ betrayal comes as no surprise to us by the time it happens towards the end of the gospel.
  • We often think of Jesus as a ghostlike character floating around with no emotion except maybe a smirking nod here and there.  He may have chuckled at a joke or two, but only if it was really clever.  This made-up Jesus never experienced pain and, since he knew everything that would happen to him, hurt less when it did.  However, the gospels teach that Jesus’ divinity did not separate him from the human experience.

As far as the first reason goes, just because we are told beforehand what was going to happen does not lessen the seriousness of the matter.  We are also told on numerous times by Jesus that He would be handed over and crucified, but that certainly does not lighten that occasion.  And for the second, this isn’t like our Jesus at all.  He was a man, and as a man, he could be betrayed, and feel the pain of betrayal.

I want to consider the following:

  • Judas was numbered with the Twelve.  Even though he is distinguished early on in the gospels, he is still one of them.  In Acts 1 Peter says concerning Judas, “He was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.”  We have this idea that Judas is the weird little brother that no one likes, not even Jesus– always lurking around, staying on the outside while in his mind knowing what he was going to do.  I would like to un-demonize Judas.  Judas was one of Jesus’ closest friends.  He listened to his teaching and witnessed the miracles.  They were buddies for Jesus’ entire ministry.  They were ministry partners.  Even in John’s character-revelation of Judas in John 12, we learn that Judas was in charge of the money!  He was, as a friend put it, “the guy who organized the funds for the mission trips,” hence the Psalm, “my friend, in whom I trusted.”
  • The intensity of betrayal is proportional to the intimacy of the relationship between the betrayer and the one betrayed.  Dipping food in the same dish is a sign of intimate fellowship.  It symbolizes the closeness of Judas and Jesus.  Jesus doesn’t say, “The guy that I saw two weeks ago at the market is going to betray me.”  Rather, he says, “The guy whose spit is swirling around in this sauce bowl with mine is going to stab me in the back.”
  • There is a sense of mourning in Acts 1 over Judas’ suicide.  The disciples were praying together with the women concerning how to replace Judas.  Peter assures them of God’s sovereignty in the midst of tragedy.  They moved from there to seek God concerning Judas’ replacement.  It seems that Judas’ sandals were big ones to fill, because here are the criteria for his replacement:  “One of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us… You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place” (Acts 1:21-25).
  • Judas’ fall came gradually, in slowly being taken over by the love of money (John 12).  Satan fills Judas’ heart and  God hands him over.  We see the same thing happen to Ananais and Sapphira in Acts 5, when they embezzled money from the church.  Peter asks them, “Why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit?  You have not lied to men but to God.” The same thing happens to Demas, who had been a friend and ministry partner of Paul (Col 4:14):  “For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me…” (2 Tim 4:14).

Listen to Jesus’ words, “Would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?”– “Judas, would you abandon me with the most intimate sign of friendship?”  Jesus’ heart broke, not only for the pain of personal betrayal, but lamenting over Judas himself:  “Woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed!” (Luke 22:22)  He loved the things of this world more than the things of another.  He loved this life more than true life.  It is such a tragedy because in our hearts we know that what happened to Judas would happen to us if God removed His grace from us.  It is what should happen to us, if we got what we deserved.  But God has not given us what we deserved; he gave that to Christ, and Christ took it upon Himself on the Cross.  We do not have to purchase a Field of Blood (Acts 1:18) on which to die because we have the cross of blood upon which Christ died.

Christians when reading the gospels like to relate to certain characters.  For instance, “I’m like Peter because I’m always putting my foot in my mouth,” or “I’m like Thomas because I doubt”; “So-and-so is like Mary, but so-and-so is like Martha.”  However, I think in our attempts to personalize the gospels, we miss the warning laced throughout their entirety, “DO NOT BE LIKE JUDAS.”  The gospels are a call to discipleship–an invitation and exhortation to follow Jesus.  And within that discipleship, we are to “REMEMBER LOT’S WIFE,” who loved where she came from more than where she was going (Luke 17).  Do we not think that Lot wept for days when his wife turned to a pillar of salt?  And should we not weep when we consider Judas?  Should we not look into our hearts and come face to face with the fact that there is some Judas in all of us?  When Jesus says, “One of you will betray me,” do you look at him and say, “Is it I, Rabbi?”

Written by keywoodblog

April 25, 2012 at 2:18 pm