A Savior of Few Words

Jesus said and did a lot in His three years of ministry as the Son of Man, but when it came to His time on the cross, He was a Savior of few words, at least as recorded in Scripture. If the Bible’s accounts are complete (and my math is correct), He spoke only 55 words during six hours on the cross.

Part of Jesus’ restraint was no doubt of necessity. The point of Roman crucifixion was to rob its victims of air — not exactly the ideal circumstance for conversation. But we also know from the trial that preceded the crucifixion that Jesus was selective in how He answered the charges against Him. He said only what needed to be said to Pilate, Herod and His accusers.

The same was true from the cross. Aside from personal instructions to His mother and the apostle John, Jesus preached to the very end, as captured in a few phrases.

He preached forgiveness of the people responsible for His death: “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”

He preached hope to the penitent thief: “Truly I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”

He preached through His own suffering by appealing to the words of David (Psalm 22:1): “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

He preached as he fulfilled prophecy by taking sour wine and gall (Psalm 69:21): “I am thirsty.”

And He preached the completion of His mission: “It is finished.”

Those last three words weren’t about the end of His physical life. They were a statement about the debt that He paid for all mankind — the debt He paid for you and me.

This feast that we share each Lord’s Day — the bread that represents Jesus’ body and fruit of the vine that represents His blood — is a reminder that the bill for our sins never has to come due because we are alive in Christ. Remember Him now as we partake of these emblems.

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The Legacy of Matt Bassford

In the summer of 2021, evangelist Matt Bassford received the “death sentence” of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. He was only 42 years old at the time, a husband and the father to two children.

Matt had preached before about how to use personal suffering to the glory of God. He spoke from the experience of having lost a daughter to stillbirth. The ALS diagnosis gave him another opportunity to practice what he preached, and he did. Over the next 2 1/2 years, Matt preached sermons and wrote essays that drew spiritual applications from his own trials.

This memorial page includes links to that work (a memoir tentatively titled “Dying in Faith” reportedly is in the works), to the hymns Matt wrote, to interviews that he gave after his diagnosis, and to testimonials about Matt by others. Read Matt’s story at our newsletter, The Bible and the Internet.

The ALS Chronicles
٠ In Christ I Will Not Lose (July 8, 2021)
٠ The Assurance of Salvation (Aug. 4, 2021)
٠ A Spectacle (Aug. 13, 2021)
٠ The God of All Comfort (Aug. 16, 2021)
٠ Death and Life in Jesus (Aug. 23, 2021)
٠ Straight Talk about Hell (Nov. 11, 2021)
٠ To Live Is Christ; to Die Is Gain (Jan. 11, 2022)
٠ How We Should Walk (Jan. 13, 2022)
٠ Antidepressants, Six Months In (Jan. 14, 2022)
٠ A Man Is Judged by His Strength (Feb. 10, 2022)
٠ The Dispensable Man (Feb. 24, 2022)
٠ Passing for Normal (April 5, 2022)
٠ Loyalty (April 25, 2022)
٠ God’s Promises to the Faithful (April 27, 2022)
٠ A Word about Preaching (May 16, 2022)
٠ Revisiting ‘Servant Song’ (May 26, 2022)
٠ Worth Dying For (June 2, 2022)
٠ Thoughts and Prayers (July 6, 2022)
٠ Buried in the Promised Land (July 20, 2022)
٠ Uselessness (Aug. 16, 2022)
٠ Leaving the Pulpit (Aug. 24, 2022)
٠ Salvation by Grace (Sept. 14, 2022)
٠ Sons (Sept. 20, 2022)
٠ Gathered to His People (Sept. 8, 2022)
٠ The Bible (Sept. 13, 2022)
٠ James, Peter and I (Sept. 28, 2022)
٠ The Memory of the Righteous (Oct. 27, 2022)
٠ Lukewarmness (Oct. 31, 2022)
٠ Water in the Wilderness (Nov. 14, 2022)
٠ Disgusting (Dec. 7, 2002)
٠ Grudges (Jan. 2, 2023)
٠ White Noise (Jan. 23, 2023)
٠ What God Has Promised (Feb. 16, 2023)
٠ The Signs of the Spirit (Feb. 27, 2023)
٠ The Deadly Church Mask (March 8, 2023)
٠ Patience (March 27, 2023)
٠ Humility (April 4, 2023)
٠ More Than Conquerors (April 12, 2023)
٠ The People of God (April 26, 2023)
٠ Wasted Days (May 5, 2023)
٠ What Do I Do Now? (May 15, 2023)
٠ Sleep (May 17, 2023)
٠ The Quiet People (May 19, 2023)
٠ Small Victories (May 23, 2023)
٠ Compassionate and Merciful (May 26, 2023)
٠ Breathing (June 5, 2023)
٠ A Word about Hell (June 6, 2023)
٠ Right Index Finger (June 19, 2023)
٠ Caregivers (June 23, 2023)
٠ Learning to Rest (July 3, 2023)
٠ Shut In (July 10, 2023)
٠ The Man in the Gorilla Suit (July 24, 2023)
٠ Love Abides (Aug. 14, 2023)
٠ Dying for Jesus (Sept. 5, 2023)
٠ Providence (Sept. 18, 2023)
٠ 45th Birthday (Sept. 22, 2023)
٠ One Last Verse (published posthumously on Nov. 1, 2023)

The Hymns

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Protected: The 14 Apostles

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The Bible Story in Art

Rich with colorful characters and intriguing plot lines, the gospel has inspired artists for centuries, and in the digital age, their works are readily available online. At “The Bible and the Internet,” we have been republishing works of art in the public domain to tell the Bible story in visual form, one picture at a time. The artwork reproduced in the pages linked below piece that story together in larger collections.

Bookmark this page and check it periodically for new collections, as we build a digital library over time. To access the pages below, please become a founding member of “The Bible and the Internet.”

Bible Characters
The Apostles

Disclaimer: The inclusion of any images in our galleries is not an endorsement of the artwork as representative of the actual characters or events in the Bible. They merely reflect each artist’s perspective on those characters or events.

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What to Think During the Lord’s Supper

A common refrain we sometimes use as we partake of the Lord’s Supper is that God help us to put the cares of the world out of our minds and think about the gravity of this moment of worship. We ask Him to help us think about what really matters.

The potential trains of thought are plentiful. We can dwell on:

  • The innocence of the Son of God
  • The unfairness of the kangaroo trial that sent Him to the cross
  • The mockery and beatings He endured to save mankind, including the lives of the very people mocking and beating Him
  • The damage to His body as represented by this unleavened bread
  • The blood that spilled from His body over several hours as represented by this cup
  • The communion that we share with each other on this day as God’s children

There is at least one other thought worth considering at this time: What am I going to do after this memorial is over? How am I going to keep this “new covenant” with God written in the blood of Jesus the rest of this week, until we gather here again next Sunday?

Do this in remembrance of Him. Then remember Him in your words and deeds.

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Greater Love

“Greater love has no one than this, that a person will lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:12-13). Jesus spoke those words to His 12 apostles at the Last Supper, the feast that we recreate every Sunday in remembrance of Him.

He defined this “greater love” as part of an admonition for them to love each other — so deeply that they would be willing to die for each other. How deeply? “Just as I have loved you,” Jesus said.

No man ever loved as deeply as Jesus, as Paul explained in Romans 5: “For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous person; though perhaps for the good person someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6-8).

He loved unrighteous men so deeply that He knew and accepted that fate before God even created man in His image.

Think about that. We all like to think we would give our lives in the moment to save those we love the most — like the parents in Uvalde, Texas, who were willing to rush into a building, against the orders of police, to save their own children at risk of their own lives.

But what if the parents knew in advance all of that was going to happen? What if they knew and sent their children into the building anyway? What if they had the power to stop the murder of innocent children and let it unfold? What if the children had the power to call 10,000 police officers into the building to prevent the injustice?

That’s how much God loved us. That’s how much Jesus loved us. And they knew it was going to happen before the beginning of time — before God ever created man in His image, long before God came to Earth as Man in the flesh.

“Greater love had no man than this.” And we live because of it. Let’s remember that love again today as we partake of these emblems that represent the body of Jesus hanging on the cross and the blood that spilled from His body.

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Churches of Christ in the Age of COVID

On Jan. 19, 2020, a 35-year-old Washington man who had returned home after a family visit to Wuhan, China, reported to an emergency room with a persistent cough and fever. The next day, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the man had the first known case of coronavirus disease in the United States.

No one fully appreciated the potential ramifications for organized religion at the time, but within two months, the spread of COVID-19 had upended worship practices across the United States. Led by autonomous elderships or by collective membership decisions, churches of Christ adapted to the realities of a 21st-century pandemic.

Eighteen months into the pandemic, Bible Study Page conducted an informal survey to gauge how much impact COVID has had within non-institutional churches of Christ and for how long. The survey explored the traditional practices of individual congregations, how these groups changed their practices in response to the pandemic, how they used audio/video technology, and how many of their members contracted and/or died of COVID. Elders, deacons, evangelists, Bible class teachers and members of churches shared insights about the experiences and challenges within their own congregations.

To learn about the findings of the survey, download our new report, “Pandemic Distress: Churches of Christ in the Age of COVID.” The report is free, but donations to support the work of Bible Study Page are both welcome and appreciated. If you have trouble downloading the report, contact Danny Glover to request a copy via email.

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The Abundant Gifts of Jesus

Buried in the heart of Romans 5, we find this familiar passage: “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die.”

But the chapter is also rich with reminders of everything we have gained (and will gain) through Jesus’ death on our behalf. Let’s think about those gifts as we remember His sacrifice today:

  • We were justified by His blood.
  • We were reconciled to God.
  • We received the gift of righteousness.
  • We have peace with God.
  • We abound in the grace of God.
  • We exult in hope of the glory of God.
  • We will be saved from God’s wrath.
  • We exult in our tribulations because they teach us to persevere, prove our character and give us hope.
  • We will reign in life through Him.

The chapter closes with this summation: “As sin reigned in death, even so grace reigns through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Justification. Reconciliation. Righteousness. Peace. Grace. Hope. Salvation. Life.

That’s how we benefit from the death of Jesus Christ our Lord. Let us thank God for sacrificing His Son as we break the bread, the symbol of Christ’s broken body on the cross, and drink the fruit of the vine, the symbol of the blood he spilled in agony for us.

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A Two-Course Meal to Remember Jesus

In the world of fine dining, the more courses you have, the fancier the dinner. The number can range from as few as five to as many as 21 in the extreme, with each course designed to complement the one that follows. The feast is more about the experience than the food.

That’s how men think; it’s not how God thinks:

  • When God chose a deliverer for Israel, He chose Moses, a humble man who did not consider himself eloquent and who used his brother, Aaron, as a spokesman.
  • When God relented to Israel’s foolish demands for a king, He picked David, the youngest son Jesse, not because of his physical stature but because he had a heart after God.
  • When God sent our King to earth in the form of Man, He did not give Jesus the kind of superficial beauty that appeals to mankind.

Likewise, when God designed a feast to remind us of His Son, He kept it simple – a two-course meal for all time.

The first course is the bread: “This is My body, which is being given for you; do this in remembrance of Me,” Jesus said in explaining the symbols to His apostles.

The second course is the fruit of the vine: “This cup, which is poured out for you, is the new covenant in My blood,” He added.

The menu never changes because this feast also is about the experience, not the food. “If anyone is hungry, have him eat at home, so that you do not come together for judgment,” Paul told the Corinthians when they turned the Lord’s Supper into a common meal.

Simple but substantive: The Son of God made Himself lower than the angels. He was tempted just like we are yet without sin. He died in anguish on the cross, an innocent man, so we could live through Him. We are here today to remember that sacrifice and gain spiritual strength from this two-course meal.

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Remembering Jesus

“Do this in remembrance of me.” We associate that phrase with this part of our weekly worship to God because Jesus said it to His disciples at the Last Supper.

“And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, which is being given for you: do this in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19)

The words are so profound that some version of them are burned into the wood of many tables like this one.

But what are we supposed to remember? Here are some snapshots from God’s Word to consider as we partake of the bread and the cup this morning:

  • “As He existed in the form of God, [He] did not consider equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself by taking the form of a bond-servant and being born in the likeness of men.” (Philippians 2:6-7)
  • “He was despised and abandoned by men, a man of great pain and familiar with sickness; and like one from whom people hide their faces, He was despised, and had no regard for Him. However, it was our sickness that He, and our pains that He carried.” (Isaiah 53:3-4)
  • “He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth.” (Isaiah 53:7)
  • “He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our wrongdoings; the punishments for our well-being was laid upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)
  • “His grave was assigned with wicked men, yet He was with a rich man in His death, because He had done no violence, nor was there any deceit in His mouth.” (Isaiah 53:9)
  • “He poured out His life unto death, and was counted with wrongdoers; yet He Himself bore the sin of many, and interceded for the wrongdoers.” (Isaiah 53:12)
  • “He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said.” (Matthew 28:6)
  • “For the joy set before Him, [He] endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)

Through inspired men, God etched those memories into His Word for our benefit. Always remember what Jesus did for you, and commit your life to Him. It’s the least you can do after everything He endured for you.

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