The following 20 quotes caught my attention as I read Trevor Laurence’s helpful book, The Story of the Word: Meditations on the Narrative of Scripture (Wipf and Stock, 2017).
The only way back to the tree of life is to trust in the one who hung upon the tree of death. (11)
Anger isn’t opposed to love. It’s part of love. Anger is the loving response to anything that threatens what we cherish. . . . A God who doesn’t get angry is a God who doesn’t care about justice. A God who doesn’t get angry is a God who doesn’t love. (14)
In Genesis 15, God walks through the pieces to show that he would rather die than break his word. In Jesus Christ, God walks the lonely path to the cross where he will die in order to keep his word. (19)
Though God had every right to demand the life of a sinful human, God himself provided the sacrifice that he required. . . . All of us deserve to die for our sins, but God provides the lamb for the sacrifice—the lamb of God, Jesus Christ. Rather than having Abraham offer up his beloved son, God the Father will offer his beloved Son in glorious fulfillment of his covenant of grace. (23)
That’s the kind of king Jesus is—the kind of king who willingly walks into the wilderness to face down the Devil so that sinners like us can receive grace for all the ways that we’ve rebelled against God and chased after our temptations. (64)
We expect a king to approach in royal garb and power, but Jesus comes in humility. We expect a king to arrive mounted on a military horse and poised for war, but Jesus arrives on a donkey, a sign that he comes to bring peace. This King will receive in his body all the violence men can muster so that sinners can have peace with God. (82)
Sin isn’t always easily identifiable. A heart devoted to idolatry isn’t always observable from the outside. Judas managed to spend years on the inside of the community of disciples without raising a suspicion precisely because wickedness can so easily wear the mask of righteousness. Corruption can adopt the public persona of virtue. (86)
The way to God isn’t a what that you have to perform. It’s a who that you have to trust. (89)
Whatever we ask on the basis of Christ’s work, in line with Christ’s character, consistent with Christ’s promises, for the glory of Christ’s Father, Christ will certainly do for us. (89)
Obedience is love brought to completion and expressed in life. . . . Love divorced from obedience is love in name only. (90)
In an ironic twist, the same fear of man that has fueled the leaders’ hatred of Jesus has also prevented them from destroying him. The crowds have flocked to Jesus, and if the chief priests openly oppose him, they risk losing the favor of the people. And so the fear of man leaves them paralyzed. In order to look good, they must kill Jesus. In order to look good, they can’t kill Jesus—at least not yet. When Judas enters the picture, however, everything changes. Judas has access to Jesus and, for a small price, he can deliver him into their hands under the cover of night. Here is a horrific marriage of idols. If the religious leaders will feed Judas’ greed with silver, he will feed their fear of man by helping exterminate the one obstacle to their public praise. So together they plot to kill the Son of God. (96–97)
In [Gethsemane], both the disciples and Jesus demonstrate weakness—but completely different kinds of weakness. The disciples are weak because they think they’re strong when they’re not. Theirs is a foolish weakness that underestimates the power of temptation and the danger of sin. Jesus, on the other hand, is weak because he refuses to trust his own strength and instead submits to the Father’s will and depends upon the Spirit. This is a godly weakness that models the self-denying path of faith and obedience. Ironically, the disciples’ apparent strength is actually perilous weakness, but Jesus’s apparent weakness is in fact the truest kind of strength, because humble dependence will empower him to walk the road the Father has set before him. (102)
Power always gives us the impression that we can create the truth rather than submit to it. . . . Pilate’s lack of concern for the truth leads to a lack of concern for justice. . . . The road of idolatry is littered with the carcasses of innocent people who got in the way. (105, 106)
Our love affair with sin thrusts us into a living death that will eventually lead to eternal death. (139)
The true Son left his home with the Father and went to the cross so that we who had run from the Father could be welcomed as sons. (140)
Our whole way of thinking, living, and loving was shaped by the narratives and priorities of a world in hostility toward God. Now that we’re alive to God in Christ, his story has to permeate every part of who we are, reshaping our desires, our worldview, our moral compass, and our character. As God’s Word—centered on the person and work of Christ—re-narrates our lives, we grow in our ability not only to understand but also to delight in and obey God’s revealed will for his creation. (144)
If you believe that final justice is up to you to administer, you’ll either become an oppressor yourself, or you’ll give up on the possibility of justice altogether. But when you trust that God will ultimately take care of justice, you can seek to overcome evil with good in a way that stirs repentance in your enemies and commends the gospel to all through your honorable living. (145)
Belonging to the covenant people no longer requires entering into Israel, but entering into Jesus. (161)
Before God’s throne, the sea—the symbolic source of evil and chaos—is so still that it looks like a sea of glass. Though the Devil rages against God’s people, though evil wreaks havoc on the world, the point here is that, from God’s perspective, they’re completely under control. God’s gracious sovereignty extends even over sin, death, and Satan, and in the death and resurrection of Jesus he secured their ultimate defeat. We’re awaiting the day when Christ returns to do away with them entirely, but if we view history from the vantage point of God’s throne, we find that God’s kingship means that there’s nothing to fear. (172)
Just as God presented Eve to Adam in the first wedding ceremony, so now the Father walks the church down the aisle to Jesus her bridegroom in the marriage celebration to which every other marriage points. (180)
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