Journey of Sight

That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him.

And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad.

Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”

And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.”

And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them.

When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight.

They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?”

And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!”

Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread. They began to relate their experiences on the road and how He was recognized by them in the breaking of the bread.
Luke 24:13–35 ESV

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Zünd Gang nach Emmaus, Gemälde von Robert Zünd: Public Domain.
Die Jünger von Emmäus, Bernhard Rode: Cropped, Public Domain.
ESV: English Standard Version.

Original content: Copyright ©2014–2015 Iwana Carpenter

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Race of Hope

Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene *came early to the tomb, while it *was still dark, and *saw the stone already taken away from the tomb. So she *ran and *came to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and *said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.” So Peter and the other disciple went forth, and they were going to the tomb. The two were running together…
John 20:1–4a

Peter and John Running to the Sepulchre
James Gurney posted The Disciples Peter and John Running to the Sepulchre on the Morning of the Resurrection by the Swiss artist Eugène Burnand on his Facebook page last year, along with these enlargements of the faces of Peter and John. He pointed out the complexity of emotions that Burnand caught on each man. You can literally see their thoughts chasing across their faces—the anxiety and hope against hope on John’s face, and the hope against hope tempered with sorrow and regret on Peter’s face. In disbelieving shock, they run. Not knowing what they will find, they run. In hope against hope they run. They run.

John's Face

Peter's Face

and the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter and came to the tomb first; and stooping and looking in, he *saw the linen wrappings lying there; but he did not go in. And so Simon Peter also *came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he *saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself. So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb then also entered, and he saw and believed.
John 20:4b–8


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Eugène Burnand, The Disciples Peter and John Running to the Sepulchre on the Morning of the Resurrection. Click on the painting for an enlarged view.

*The NASB Explanation of General Format has this explanation of their use of an asterisk in translation:
ASTERISKS are used to mark verbs that are historical presents in the Greek which have been translated with an English past tense in order to conform to modern usage. The translators recognized that in some contexts the present tense seems more unexpected and unjustified to the English reader than a past tense would have been. But Greek authors frequently used the present tense for the sake of heightened vividness, thereby transporting their readers in imagination to the actual scene at the time of occurrence. However, the translators felt that it would be wiser to change these historical presents to English past tenses.

Original content: Copyright ©2014–2015 Iwana Carpenter

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Dawn of Joy

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…
1 Corinthians 15:3–4

Into the devastation of our world came the God-man Jesus Christ. A man who outrageously said He was God and performed miracles to authenticate His claims. A man who confronted those who lived in self-righteous piety and spoke with compassion and forgiveness to those who knew they were dead from the ravages of sin. A man who was nailed to the cross because of the debt of record of our sin that stood against us. A man who took upon Himself our punishment and the just wrath of God we deserved for our rebellion and who died in our place.

Christians know that our belief is in Jesus Christ, who is truly God and truly man. He was born into this world, He died and He rose again. Because of Him we know what it is to be brand-new, forgiven and clean. Because of Him we know that death will not hold us, for through Him the hold death had on us because of our sin is forever gone.

In the glimmering dawn of the first Easter, the women who came to minister to a dead man found instead an empty tomb.

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead ….”
Matthew 28:5–7a

Empty Tomb by Leo Richardson

O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?

The sting of death is sin; and the power of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:55–57
…who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord…
Romans 1:4

He is risen!

He is risen, indeed!

Happy Easter!


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Empty Tomb by Leo Richardson. Artist perspective at the link.
Original content: Copyright ©2011–2015 Iwana Carpenter

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Sabbath Mourning

Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away because of Me this night, for it is written, ‘I WILL STRIKE DOWN THE SHEPHERD, AND THE SHEEP OF THE FLOCK SHALL BE SCATTERED.’”
Matthew 26:31

Cross At Sunset 280ox

Men scattered by their fears to bleakest grief;
Mourning without hope; despairing sorrow.
Locked in two days with bitterness and tears;
Ungrasped still—His promise of tomorrow.

Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.
Hebrews 2:14–15
…having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.
Colossians 2:14

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Cross at Sunset: FreeFoto.com

Original content: Copyright ©2011–2015 Iwana Carpenter

Posted in Easter, Evil, Forgiveness, Grace, Jesus Christ, Judgment, Mercy, New Life, Poetry, Sin | Leave a comment

The Veil Torn

When the sixth hour came, darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour. At the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which is translated, My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”When some of the bystanders heard it, they began saying, “Behold, He is calling for Elijah.” Someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed, and gave Him a drink, saying, “Let us see whether Elijah will come to take Him down.” And Jesus uttered a loud cry, and breathed His last. And the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. When the centurion, who was standing right in front of Him, saw the way He breathed His last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”
Mark 15:33–39

Tearing of the Veil by EthalenSkye

Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh…
Hebrews 10:19–20

Charles Spurgeon, The Rent Veil:

…the rending of the veil of the temple is not a miracle to be lightly passed over. It was made of “fine twined linen, with Cherubims of cunning work.” This gives the idea of a substantial fabric, a piece of lasting tapestry, which would have endured the severest strain. No human hands could have torn that sacred covering; and it could not have been divided in the midst by any accidental cause; yet, strange to say, on the instant when the holy person of Jesus was rent by death, the great veil which concealed the holiest of all was “rent in twain from the top to the bottom.” What did it mean?

…According to the explanation given in our second text, the rending of the veil chiefly meant that the way into the holiest, which was not before made manifest, was now laid open to all believers. Once in the year the high priest solemnly lifted a corner of this veil with fear and trembling, and with blood and holy incense he passed into the immediate presence of Jehovah; but the tearing of the veil laid open the secret place. The rent front top to bottom gives ample space for all to enter who are called of God’s grace, to approach the throne, and to commune with the Eternal One….

…I shall ask you to consider what has been done. The veil has been rent. Secondly, we will remember what we therefore have: we have “boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood Jesus.” Then, thirdly, we will consider how we exercise this grace: we “enter by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh.”

…and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
Hebrews 10:21-22

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Tearing of the Veil by EthalenSkye
©2010-2015 EthalenSkye

Posted in Easter, Forgiveness, God, Grace, Holy Week, Jesus Christ, Judgment, Lovingkindness, Mercy, New Life, Spurgeon, Charles | Leave a comment

Psalm 118: Passover & The Cornerstone

“The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief corner stone.
This is the LORD’S doing;
It is marvelous in our eyes.”
Psalm 118:22–23

Psalm 118 is in Book V of the Psalms and is the last psalm of the ‘Egyptian Hallel’, Psalms 113–118, a group of psalms used at Passover. Derek Kidner wrote:

A short run of psalms used at the yearly Passover begins here [at Psalm 113], and is therefore commonly known as the ‘Egyptian Hallel’ (Hallel means Praise). Only the second of them (114) speaks directly of the Exodus, but the theme of raising the downtrodden (113) and the note of corporate praise (115), personal thanksgiving (116), world vision (117) and festal procession (118) make it an appropriate series to mark the salvation which began in Egypt and will spread to the nations. By custom, the first two psalms are sung before the Passover meal, and the remaining four after it. So these were probably the last psalms our Lord sang before His passion (Mk. 14:26), and Psalm 118 had already made itself heard more than once in the confrontation of the previous few days. There was more relevance in these psalms to the Exodus—the greater Exodus—than could be guessed in Old Testament times.”1

Kidner referred to Psalm 118 having made itself heard during confrontations in the previous days. If you look in the Gospels, you’ll find that records of Jesus’ confrontations with the Pharisees during Holy Week. After telling the parable of the vine-growers killing the son of the vineyard owner (cf. Matthew 21, Mark 12 and Luke 20), Jesus quoted Psalm 118:22–23:

Therefore when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vine-growers?” They *said to Him, “He will bring those wretches to a wretched end, and will rent out the vineyard to other vine-growers who will pay him the proceeds at the proper seasons.”

Jesus *said to them, “Did you never read in the Scriptures,

‘The stone which the builders rejected,
This became the chief cornerstone;
This came about from the Lord,
And it is marvelous in our eyes’?

Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it. And he who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust.”

When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard His parables, they understood that He was speaking about them. When they sought to seize Him, they feared the people, because they considered Him to be a prophet.
Matthew 21:40–46

At the end of His formidable indictment of the Pharisees Jesus quoted Psalm 118:26:

“Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’”
Matthew 23:38–39

Jesus knew Psalm 118 referred to Himself, but not only that, He told the Pharisees this through His use of this psalm. Leslie M’Caw and J. A. Motyer point this out about Psalm 118:22:

“Isaiah (28:16) uses identical terminology about God’s promises to David: it was the error of Hezekiah at that time to seek military security rather than the security of trusting the promises. In standing by His promises, God chooses the stone which the worldly-wise rejected. Cf. Dn. 2:34, 35, 44, 45; Zc. 3:9; 4:7. Stone was obviously in common use as a symbol of Davidic monarchy and a Messianic term.”2

Now think about that for a moment. Jesus knew this. The Pharisees and other religious leaders knew this. He was clearly telling them He was Messiah, and they knew this. Psalm 118 was the final psalm of Passover, and now the Passover Lamb Himself quoted it as He confronted them. Not only Jesus, but the Pharisees themselves would have sung this psalm after Passover, and they, themselves, would have remembered His words.


I am in awe as I think of His use of this psalm timed as it was both to confront and to emphasize who He was as they ate the Passover meal, and that it was probably the last psalm He sang before He as our Passover Lamb went out to face arrest, trial and crucifixion so that death would pass over those of us who believe in Him.

Take the time to read Psalm 118.

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Psalm 118:1


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Isaiah 42 Photograph: ChristianPhotos.net – Free High Resolution Photos for Christian Publications
The Corner Stone (Le pierre angulaire), James Tissot, No known copyright restrictions.
Agnus Dei, Francisco de Zurbarán: Public Domain.
1Derek Kidner, Psalms 73–150, p. 401. Psalm 118:26 is also quoted in the Gospels in their record of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, and Jesus quoted it earlier in His ministry (cf. Luke 13:35).
2Leslie S. M’Caw, J. A. Motyer, “Psalms,” The New Bible Commentary: Revised, D. Guthrie, J. A. Motyer, eds., A. M. Stibbs, D. J. Wiseman, contributing eds., p. 526.

*The NASB Explanation of General Format has this explanation of their use of an asterisk in translation:

“ASTERISKS are used to mark verbs that are historical presents in the Greek which have been translated with an English past tense in order to conform to modern usage. The translators recognized that in some contexts the present tense seems more unexpected and unjustified to the English reader than a past tense would have been. But Greek authors frequently used the present tense for the sake of heightened vividness, thereby transporting their readers in imagination to the actual scene at the time of occurrence. However, the translators felt that it would be wiser to change these historical presents to English past tenses.”

Original content: Copyright ©2011–2015 Iwana Carpenter

Posted in Easter, God, Jesus Christ, Judgment, Love, Lovingkindness, Mercy, New Life, Sin, Suffering | Tagged | Leave a comment

Death & The Passover Lamb

Tonight was the first Passover seder.

The Signs on the DoorThen Moses called for all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go and take for yourselves lambs according to your families, and slay the Passover lamb. You shall take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood which is in the basin, and apply some of the blood that is in the basin to the lintel and the two doorposts; and none of you shall go outside the door of his house until morning. For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to come in to your houses to smite you. And you shall observe this event as an ordinance for you and your children forever.”
Exodus 12:21–24

Exodus 11–12 describes the last of the ten plagues that God brought upon Egypt. The final plague is also the best known of the ten—the death of the firstborn of both people and cattle.

“For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments—I am the LORD.”
Exodus 12:12

In Exodus 11 and 12, God gave explicit instructions for the first Passover: the Hebrews were to put the blood of a slain, unblemished male lamb on the two doorposts and lintel of their homes.

“The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.”
Exodus 12:13

Now it came about at
midnight that the LORD
struck all the firstborn in
the land of Egypt, from the
firstborn of Pharaoh who
sat on his throne to the
firstborn of the captive who
was in the dungeon, and all
the firstborn of cattle.

Pharaoh arose in the night, he and all his servants and all the Egyptians, and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was no home where there was not someone dead.
Exodus 12:29–30

And Pharaoh told Moses and Aaron to “get out from among my people,” and go.

It is no coincidence that Jesus’ crucifixion took place at Passover, because the Passover lamb of Exodus was a type of Jesus Christ. Indeed, the word lamb in the New Testament almost always refers to Christ.

If you’re not familiar with the terms type and antitype, Edmund Clowney explains them as anticipations of God’s final salvation in Christ in his discussion of Peter’s reference to Noah in 1 Peter 3:

Peter continues to relate the time of Noah to that of the church by appealing to typology. The inspired authors of the New Testament find in the Old Testament history not merely instances of God’s saving power, but also anticipations of his final salvation in Christ. By providing the ark, God saved Noah and his family from the judgment of the flood. That deliverance, however, did not in itself give eternal life to the eight persons that were spared. Like the exodus liberation, it was a symbol of God’s final salvation from all sin and death. Peter uses the term ‘antitype’ to describe the relation of the new to the old. (3:21; NIV’s verb symbolizes translates the Greek noun antitypos). This use of ‘type’ and ‘antitype’ is itself figurative, drawn from the striking of coins or the impression of seals. ‘Type’ describes either a matrix from which an impression is made or an image created. In the letter to the Hebrews, the typology is vertical. That is, the heavenly realities are called the ‘type’ and the earthly symbolizes the ‘antitype’. The tabernacle in the wilderness was therefore the antitype of the heavenly sanctuary. In Paul’s letters and here in 1 Peter, the typology is horizontal in history: the Old Testament is the type, and therefore Christ’s fulfillment is the antitype.1

The Passover lamb anticipated the Lamb of God. The Passover lamb was slain so that God would pass over the people of a house marked with blood and not visit them with a judgment of death. This week we remember the death of the Lord Jesus for His people and celebrate His Resurrection. God does not visit us with the judgment of death we deserve for our sins because Jesus Christ, our Passover Lamb, was slain for us.

The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
John 1:29

Agnus Dei

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James Tissot, The Signs on the Door.
J. M. W. Turner, First Born Plague
Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Death of the Pharaoh’s firstborn son (Ex. 12:29).
Francisco de Zurbarán, Agnus Dei.
1Edmund Clowney, The Message of 1 Peter (InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove IL: 1988) 164–165.

Original content: Copyright ©2014–2015 Iwana Carpenter

Posted in Easter, God, Grace, Jesus Christ, Judgment, Love, New Life, Sin, Suffering | Tagged | Leave a comment