Jesus Tasted Death On The Cross




…Adam tasted the sweetness of the apple and obtained the bitterness of death for the whole human race. In contrast to this, the Lord tasted the bitterness of gall and obtained our restoration from death’s sting to the sweetness of life. He took on himself the bitterness of gall in order to extinguish in us the bitterness of death.” – Chromatius Of Aquileia

“Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” – Matthew 16:24-25 ESV

Jesus took on Satan in head-to-head combat and won. He wrestled lost humanity from the devil’s evil grip. Our Lord lived in constant communion with the Father. And he waged spiritual war with the devil by obedience to the Father. Satan’s defeat on the cross was decisive. 

After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!” Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.” – John 19: 28 -30 NKJV.

Jesus took on the religious system of the day and exposed the worthless traditions of men that had taken it over. He came to offer the broken and hurting a new way of life. Jesus called those that would be his disciples to turn their backs on superstitions and dead religious practices. He commanded his disciples to deny themselves, take up their crosses, and follow him. And he is still calling us to embrace the way of the cross today.

The path to the cross is a path of submission to God – empowered by the Holy Spirit. We relinquish our rights of self-determination for the way of Jesus.

We need help to embrace the lifestyle of the Kingdom of God – Jesus is our example. He loved those who hated him. It’s contrary to our nature to love our enemies – we need God’s empowering grace.

By the time Jesus had reached the garden of Gethsemane, he could say that the devil had no place in him(John 14:30.) He was and is the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.

The first Adam lost the battle with Satan in a garden called Eden. Jesus (who represents the last Adam) won his struggle in a garden called Gethsemane.

Jesus tasted death on the cross so that – all who trust him would have eternal life in God’s kingdom.

Are We Having Another Jesus Movement? My Experience At Lee University



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Could God send another revival like the “Jesus Movement” of 1969? Historically, each revival tends to be unique. The one common factor is repentance. 

We could be at the beginning of another revival, but it may look different. 

Outpourings of the Holy Spirit have often started historically with young people. The Holy Spirit is renewing the lives of young believers and hopefully some old ones too! 

I have concerns about the attacks by (supposed) theologically sound Christians against this college prayer movement. Their harsh criticism is irresponsible.

It is yet to be determined if this is the beginning of another “Great Awakening” in America. I hope and pray that it is.

Students are – staying up all night praying – worshiping God – and repenting of sin. Isn’t that a good thing?

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I attended the last student-led chapel gathering at Lee University. When I entered the chapel, young and old alike sat in silence. The atmosphere was peaceful and gentle. We sang old hymns and modern praise choruses that would break out spontaneously. 

I heard the confession of sin, the reading of Scripture, testimonies, and people asking for prayer. They had no worship band or choir leading the meeting.

One accusation is that these are “copy-cat” meetings on College campuses. What’s wrong with that? Revival can spread that way! Spiritual hunger grows when we hear God is moving in power. 

The leadership at Lee University described these meetings as “prayer vigils.” They aren’t claiming this is another “Great Awakening”  or revival. 

God is sovereign, but prayer is a factor in the history of revivals.

The prayer meetings at Lee began with a small group of students who inquired of their professor about the meaning of revival. They ask their teacher – if they could go to their chapel to pray. He said yes – and this is how the “prayer vigil” began.

It sounds similar to the description of early church meetings by the Apostle Paul.

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. – Ephesians 5: 15-21 ESV

One of the charges against this move of the Spirit is – too much emotionalism. Do those biblical theologians who criticize emotions ever read the Psalms? Our emotions are a gift from God – He even has emotions. The Bible is our guide, but God’s presence in our lives produces godly emotions. 

“Taste and see that the LORD is good…” – Psalm 34:8


What is Revival—and is it Happening at Asbury? By Dr. Craig Keener




By Craig Keener

February 16, 2023

“I thought you were praying for revival. What are you doing downstairs?”

With those words, my wife summoned me from my basement last Wednesday evening, where I was working on a very long book and neglecting what was happening on the campus of Asbury University. I teach at neighboring Asbury Seminary. And if you’ve following the news, you know that people have been streaming to the university—and now the seminary—to witness and experience what some are calling revival.

After my wife’s prompting, she and I quickly headed to the back of Asbury’s Hughes Auditorium to pray. We found the worship service that started that morning had neither stopped nor declined. On Saturday, we found seats in the balcony. The university’s 1,489-seat auditorium was packed.

On Sunday, the spirit of worship felt deeper, and I felt more aware of God’s awesome holiness.

By Tuesday, Feb. 14, long lines waited outside the auditorium, where amplifiers allowed the music to be heard. When I finished my evening class at the seminary, the overflow crowds had filled the seminary’s Estes Chapel, which seats 660, its McKenna Chapel, which seats 375, and spilled over into the building shared by the local United Methodist and Vineyard churches. (I was informed that had already begun the preceding night.)

Some voices in social media are hotly debating whether this should be called a revival or not. Since the term is an extrabiblical one, my thinking is, “Who cares what we call it? Let’s celebrate what God is doing!”

Different events labeled revivals in the past few centuries have looked different—from dramatic weeping to dramatic joy, from massive conversions to empowerment for missions, leading to even more conversions.

Calvinists dominated the First Great Awakening, the Hebrides Revival, and the West Timor Revival. Wesleyans dominated the Second Great Awakening, the Azusa Street Revival, and the 1950 and 1970 Asbury Revivals. Witnesses from the West Timor Revival reported a sound like a rushing wind. Witnesses from the revival at Pandita Ramabai’s orphanage in India reported tongues of fire. Miraculous signs accompanied evangelism in the Shandong Revival.

Why should an infinite God fit our boxes?

What we find in the Book of Acts are outpourings of the Spirit (for that wording, see Acts 2:17-1810:45, but other terminology, like the Spirit falling on or filling people, is also used).

In Acts 2:17-18, Peter describes their new experience of the Spirit as prophetic empowerment to speak for God. In 4:31, God fills petitioners with his Spirit for boldness to continue speaking for him. Other collective experiences appear in 10:44, 13:52, and 19:6—not to satisfy our merely historical curiosity, but to whet our appetite.

One characteristic Luke reports in connection with the first two outpourings is concern for the needy (2:44-45; 4:32-35). This observation suggests that these outpourings involved not simply an initial emotional experience (though some did—see 2:13!) but a deep, long-range impact in how Jesus’s followers treated one another, related to what Paul calls the “fruit” of the Spirit.

During the First Great Awakening, Jonathan Edwards noted visions and “manifestations” such as falling to the ground and weeping. He also noted that, while some manifestations were human responses to the work of God’s Spirit, some were imitations or worse. The long-term fruit of the revival, he pointed out, is about how we live.

A week into what is happening at Asbury may be premature to talk about long-range fruit. That said, if this latest phenomenon fits the pattern of previous Asbury revivals, we may expect a generation of laborers raised up for harvest. Some of the revivals noted above lasted for several years or even decades. Continuous worship at earlier Asbury revivals have sometimes lasted just a week or two, yet with profound effects that fit a pattern in the history of revivals on college campuses in the U.S.

The history is extensive. By 1823, most U.S. universities and denominations set aside a day of prayer for colleges. This tradition fell away through much of the twentieth century. But this year, a concerted day of prayer for colleges has been scheduled for Feb. 23, with Francis Chan leading a simulcast. The host campus for this Collegiate Day of Prayer, in honor of the 1970 Asbury Revival, is Asbury University.

This was not in the gospel choir’s mind on Feb. 8 as they simply kept worshiping the Lord. But at least some of us suspect it’s providential.

What is happening at Asbury began spontaneously and unexpectedly. But spontaneity does not mean lack of preparation. Anna Gulick, a French professor at the university during the 1970 revival, reported that many students had begun praying among themselves before cries of repentance broke out in chapel. Similarly, people within the Asbury community have been praying for decades that God would get the campus ready.

Connection with prayer is a common (though not universal) characteristic of both corporate and individual experiences of the Spirit in Acts (see Acts 1:144:318:159:17). When I teach on this theme in Acts, I first highlight Jesus’s promise in Luke’s first volume that God will answer prayers for the work of his Spirit (Luke 11:13).

A number of new seminarians over the years shared that the Lord showed them revival coming. Zach Meerkreebs, who preached in the original chapel service that hasn’t stopped, mentioned that he felt something like this coming a year ago.

I meant to be supportive of these expectations. But as years passed, I wondered if an outpouring of the Spirit would happen on any significant scale while I was still here.

Others, however, such as visiting scholar Hong Leow, remained vocal and insistent. Hong prayed and fasted for such prolonged periods that I grew concerned for his health. Last week, he flew back to witness the fruit of his prayers.

Hughes Auditorium feels like a holy place at the moment. But in Scripture, God’s people are his temple. Whatever other places might be special to us in some respects, we are his most sacred place, and we don’t have to be near campus to welcome and honor God’s presence.

When I first visited Asbury Seminary to interview for a position in late 2010, I peeked into the university’s vacant auditorium. My eyes fell on the words emblazoned indelibly on the high, back wall of the sanctuary, “Holiness to the Lord.” At that moment, I felt a wave of the Spirit, like some special vestige remained from the earlier outpourings. But despite the currently filled auditoriums, it’s not about the place. It’s about holiness to the Lord.

Any reader of The Roys Report, Christianity Today or even secular media knows that a lot goes on in the name of Christianity that isn’t very Christian. The same is true in the history of revivals. God is God, but people are still people. One generation’s unique behavior during some revival can become the next generation’s tradition—and the following generation’s legalism. Some claims of revival are attempts to stir up emotion or create hype. And those who want a name for themselves often hijack movements that God initiates among the lowly.

It’s no surprise, then, that there are threats to the integrity of what is happening at Asbury. Some may come for hype or to seek attention for themselves, though hopefully they will leave with something different.

Administrators, campus ministry staff, and student leaders have been working overtime, sometimes on little sleep, trying to guard the movement’s integrity and focus. The leaders don’t want the focus to be about them or about Asbury. When President Kevin Brown addressed the assembly on Saturday evening, he prefaced his powerful comments by indicating that he was almost afraid to speak, lest he interrupt the holiness of God moving among the students.

And that is the correct posture to take because this is not about us, but about Him and His holiness. He alone is worthy of honor. He has made his presence felt. And in his presence, no flesh may boast.

Dr. Craig S. Keener is Professor of Biblical Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. He has authored numerous books including Miracles Today: The Supernatural Work of God in the Modern World (2021, Baker Academic).

Some Context For The Asbury Revival




(This post was copied from Lee Grady’s Facebook page. “Asbury University is named after Methodist leader Francis Asbury (1745-1816), who was only 26 when he came to evangelize the American colonies. He became a leader of the 2nd Great Awakening. It’s estimated that he traveled 270,000 miles on horseback preaching and planting Methodist churches. But circuit-riding wasn’t glamorous; prior to 1847 more than half of Methodist circuit riders died before the age of 30 because of animal attacks, exposure to bad weather and the hardships of travel. Their sacrifice was a seed that died in the ground and produced a massive spiritual harvest.

Francis Asbury’s life was marked by white hot spiritual fervor. After being sent to our shores by John Wesley, Asbury wrote: “We must reach every section of America, especially the raw frontiers. We must not be afraid of men, devils, wild animals, or disease. Our motto must always be FORWARD!” Like a modern Joshua, Asbury possessed the land, in spite of his frequent ailments. He never married, perhaps because he knew his sacrificial lifestyle would be difficult for a wife. He was so loved by his Christian brethren that more than 20,000 people followed his coffin when he was buried in Virginia after his death at age 70.

Asbury University is named after this giant of faith. I think it’s fitting that the revival that erupted last week on the campus also reminds us of Francis Asbury. I’m not listening to religious critics who are skeptical of the music being sung at the revival, or worried about “emotionalism,” or which translation of the Bible is being used, or which denominations are represented in the audience. God please forgive us for the cold, heartless Phariseeism that quenches the Holy Spirit. Francis Asbury would have been thrillled to see young people repenting and worshipping Jesus. May this holy fire spread to the world, and may an army of young Francis Asburys be sent out to claim the nations for Jesus.”

Christianity Was Not – “Made in America!”




“For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” – (Romans 1:21 ESV)

Some argue the violence in America is the result of gun ownership. Others blame it on the lack of prayer in public schools. These are arguments for the current culture wars in America. A war of words, thoughts, and ideologies. Scripture teaches that people become arrogant when they refuse to acknowledge their Creator – spiritual darkness and violence increase. 

 “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” – (Ephesians 4:30 ESV)

The United States is experiencing spiritual evil, desensitizing us through exposure to images and ideologies of violence and perversions. God is – grieved by so much sin.

During the nineteen sixties, the U.S. experienced a spiritual invasion from the east. We are all ‘gods’ was what the eastern mystics told us. That view of spirituality combined with self-centered western materialism makes for a bad combination. 

The new ‘priest’ of society are those who control education, politicians, extreme environmentalists, the news media, and the entertainment industry. Many of their ideas form the minds of the American public. And science has the final word on everything in the western world – while the biblical worldview – is ignored.

A Christian worldview does not reject ‘real’ science because God gives knowledge to the world through many different sources. But followers of Jesus understand that the supernatural cannot be proven scientifically.

Those from the “majority world” outside of the western world have a greater understanding of spiritual – realities – both good and evil. Christianity was not – “Made in America!” It is an eastern religion that teaches the true nature of reality. God came to live among his creation as a Jewish man. He existed in eternity past with God the Father and the Holy Spirit. One God in three distinct Persons. What other religion has a god who came to live with those he created? Christianity is perceived as – just another religion – by those who have not encountered the living Christ. Following Jesus is not one of many ways to enter heaven – he is the only way.

“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” – (John 14:6 ESV)

Holding to a strictly scientific, naturalistic, anti-supernatural worldview grieves the heart of God. We saw the results or the fruit of this atheistic worldview from the Nazi and Communist regimes of the twentieth century. Will we ever learn?

Education and passing better laws can be helpful, but until the human heart is changed, we are only putting a band-aide on a terminal wound. 

Religion without the love of Christ does not work either. That is the reason Jesus told Nicodemus, “you must be born again.” When Jesus returns to the earth to set up his kingdom – those that follow him will experience the Utopia that so many long to obtain.

 But until His return, we must share the life-transforming truth that only Jesus Christ can give.