The wounds of crucifixion on Jesus’ resurrected body

Question 209, from Jo, United Kingdom

If, when you’re resurrected, all physical ailments and disabilities are cured, then why did Jesus still have holes in his hands from the nails which Thomas could put his fingers into after He was resurrected?

There are three aspects to this question. Firstly, there is the understanding that post-resurrection human bodies are significantly improved versions of current bodies. The Apostle Paul writes about mortal, perishable bodies being raised immortal and imperishable (1 Corinthians chapter 15, verses 53-54). There are statements about heaven being a place with no pain or suffering (Revelation chapter 21, verse 4). Combining these leads to a conclusion that resurrected human beings will have new, immortal bodies that are not subject to sickness or disability. (more…)

Jesus sweating blood in the Garden of Gethsemene

Question 208 from Simon, United Kingdom

Could you tell me if Jesus really did sweat blood? I know it’s medically possible (haematohidrosis).

The reference to Jesus sweating blood while praying in the Garden of Gethsemene immediately before being betrayed and arrested only appears in Luke’s Gospel, which contains a slightly different version of events to Matthew and Mark.

The actual text of Luke chapter 22, verse 44 says that “he prayed more earnestly and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground”. This is an accurate translation of the Greek text (more…)

How does perfect love cast out fear? (1 John 4.18)

Question 207, from John, United Kingdom

What does it mean that “perfect love casts out fear”? How does it cast it out?

This phrase is found in the first letter of John, 1 John chapter 4, verse 18: “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” (more…)

Questions about Angels

In December 2014 Jon the freelance theologian did an interview with UCB Radio about angels. Here are some answers to the questions he was asked.

What are angels?

In Christian theology and tradition, angels are spiritual beings sent by God to convey messages or perform certain tasks. The word ‘angel’ is (more…)

God’s protection for believers

Question 206, from Michelle, USA

If God favours a person and has a mission for them, will God protect this person from others who want to harm or stop them?

This is a hard question to answer as it draws up questions of free will and whether God prevents people from acting freely to prevent them causing harm.

There are examples in the Bible of God protecting leaders and prophets of Israel from harm, often by causing confusion amongst their enemies. For example, in 1 Samuel chapter 14, soldiers in the Philistine army turns on each other in confusion before the Israelite army arrive. (more…)

Applying Matthew 7.13-14 today (the narrow and wide gate)

Question 205, from Mark, United Kingdom

In Matthew chapter 7, verses 13-14 Jesus said…
“You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.”
I’ve been thinking about these words quite a bit recently and just wondering if you have any thoughts about context and application for us today.

The idea that there are two ways to choose was common in Jewish thought and stems from Deuteronomy chapter 30, verse 15, where the Israelites are given a choice between “life and prosperity” and “death and destruction”. The words ascribed to Jesus in this passage in Matthew follow this pattern and are used to show how Jesus is fulfilling the Jewish Law by replicating its key teachings.

These verses then introduce the main concerns of this passage – that there are ‘false prophets’ who could lead the disciples astray (verse 15). The disciples are told to judge people ‘by their fruit’ (verse 16). There follows a warning of destruction for ‘trees’ that bear bad fruit and the statement that not everybody who calls Jesus ‘Lord’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. (more…)

Dreams, interpretations and scientific evidence

Question 204, from Ben

What was the ancient Jewish viewpoint of dreams and their interpretations? How ought we read Biblical passages referencing dreams in light of this and in light of Modern Scientific Understanding?

There are several accounts in both the Old and New Testament of people receiving premonitions and warnings ‘in dreams’, with the idea that God revealed truth to people through their dreams. Some examples include Joseph of Technicolor Dreamcoat fame, the prophet Samuel, Daniel, Joseph the adoptive father of Jesus, and even people like the unnamed wife of Pilate (Matthew chapter 27).

In the Bible, dreams are regarded as a way that God communicates. For example,they are part of the prophetic vision of the fully consummated world in the book of Joel – where young men will see visions and old men will dream dreams of God (Joel chapter 2, verse 28). (more…)

Living radically for Jesus in a normal life

Question 203, asked via Twitter

How can I live radically for Jesus if I’m middle class, have a good job, house, 2.4 children and lead a ‘comfortable’ life?

This is an interesting, practical question that affects a number of Christians. It does, however, reveal a ‘sacred-secular divide’. The unwritten subtext in the question seems to be that radical faith is something spiritual, while the family, house and career are in fact compromises made with normal life. This tension has always been a part of the Christian faith, modelled by the disciples who left their fishing boats – their livelihoods – to follow Jesus. (more…)

Christians and the Sabbath

Question 202, from Ben, United Kingdom

What’s the summary of the Biblical teaching regarding the observance of the Sabbath? Particularly with regard to if it is binding on Christians today and what day it ought to be observed.

The Sabbath was established in the Old Testament, and was listed in the Ten Commandments with the order to ‘keep it holy’. The instructions regarding the Sabbath can be found in Exodus chapter 20, verses 8-12, where all work by the entire household and even non-Jews in the area is banned.

The reasoning given alongside the Sabbath instructions links the working week to the six days of creation in the book of Genesis, and the Sabbath to the ‘seventh day’ when God rested from the work of creation. A different reason is given when the Ten Commandments are included at the start of Deuteronomy (chapter 5, verses 12-15), where it is linked to giving servants a day to rest (more…)

Did Jesus suffer more than any other human being?

Question 201, from S, Lebanon

Is Jesus the person that has been most hurt? Aren’t people dead and being destroyed by war more hurt than Jesus (e.g. the loss of innocent children)? Jesus did miracles while he was on earth – why doesn’t he do interventions on wars or at least keep innocent people safe while war?

The idea that Jesus suffered more than any other human being often appears in Christian writings, however it is an impossible claim to prove. (more…)