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James Cameron and the Ministry of the Apostle Paul

February 28, 2007

In case you have not heard, James Cameron (producer of the movie Titanic) is releasing a documentary claiming he has found the tomb of Jesus with his body still there – not resurrected. Also with his wife Mary Magdalen and his son Judah. His claims are based on DNA evidence and other research analysis. Despite the fact that his evidence and research is on shaky ground (it is hard to judge how much of an understatement this is) and his lack of scholarly backing, it does stir up some thoughts and force Christians to reflect again on the resurrection of Christ, like all evangelical oppositions.

Tuesday afternoon, about lunch time, my wife made the comment, “I wonder what the Lord will do with this?” It automatically showed me the perspective she was having over the whole thing. She didn’t wonder who was going to be the first Christian scholar to put together a response book. She didn’t whip out The Case for Faith or The Case for Christ to reassure herself again. She simply wondered how the Lord will cause this to play out, which ultimately will be for good.

Ephesians 3:7-13 has a good response for Christians sweating over this. This passage argues for the sovereignty of God in fulfilling his plan. First, starting with verse 7, Paul states, “Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God,” and verse 8, “To me though I am the least of all the saints, this grace [his call to ministry] was given.” The sovereignty of God is shown in these two passages in that Paul’s very call to ministry was a “grace” or “gift”, and it was not of anything that God foresaw in Paul. God formed Paul and called Paul according to “the working of [God’s] working power” (v. 7). Then verses 8b-10 show what exactly Paul’s ministry was:

  1. “To preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ” (v. 8b).
  2. “To bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things” (v. 9).
  3. “So through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places” (v. 10).
While this is Paul’s mission given to him by God, verse 11 has something to say as to whom the credit is actually due, “This was according to the eternal purpose that [God] has accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.” This not only shows that God is ultimately responsible for accomplishing the work, but shows who he accomplishes it through: Jesus Christ. So then, finally, in verse 13, Paul starts his verse with “Therefore”, meaning in light of all of what I have said about the sovereignty of God, “I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you” (v. 13). In the suffering of Paul or in the contemporary opposition that we are facing, Christians are not to lose heart, for God is sovereign over his purposes.

ps. – good article by John Piper – Eight Reasons Why I Believe That Jesus Rose From the Dead

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