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Final Days of Jesus Interview

Interview with Rick Hove

Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down for an interview with Rick Hove, Executive Director of Faculty Commons, Cru. Rick has a wonderful ministry engaging college students and also serves as an elder at Chapel Hill Bible Church. In this interview, we cover a range of topics including the final days of Jesus, marriage, mission, and the Gospel of John.

Rick Hove: I love your book, The Final Days of Jesus. And I asked you to come here to help kick off an effort in the Bible Church to get a hundred people (or however many) to journey with Jesus on his final days. Why is this a prize opportunity? What might God do in our hearts in this pilgrimage with him?

Andreas Köstenberger: It’s the “most important week in the life of the most important person who ever lived”! The gospel is not just an abstract set of truths, it is a series of events in the life of a historical person, the Lord Jesus Christ. He was crucified, buried, and risen, and going on this journey through Jesus’ final week together can help us connect and reconnect with what Jesus did for us on the cross and through the resurrection.

This week’s journey can help us focus on what is most important in life. It’s so easy to get busy, to do a lot of good things but to slowly lose focus. This journey can help us refocus:

  • It can help us refocus on the cross: Jesus suffered the just penalty for our sin; he gave himself as a vicarious sacrifice for us; he took our place; he demonstrated the full extent of God’s love for sinners.
  • It can also help us refocus on the resurrection: Jesus rose from the dead on the third day, so we can enjoy new life already in the here and now and for all eternity. He is the firstborn from the dead.

Rick Hove: This Spring we are doing Colossians, and right after Easter we will do the household codes. You’ve written a lot about the family lately. Why is a Christian view on family so important? How does a distinctly Christian family offer a gift to the world?

Andreas Köstenberger: I believe God created marriage and the family for his glory. As we live out his design for man and woman, we glorify him. I believe the Bible teaches that marriage and the family are witnessing tools by which we display to the world around us God’s beauty, goodness, and wisdom.

  • As a husband leads his family sacrificially and as a Christlike servant and leader, he glorifies Christ.
  • As a wife partners intelligently with her husband and chooses to submit to his leadership, she glorifies Christ.
  • Together, we glorify Christ as parents as we raise our children to love and serve Him.

So, God’s command to the man and woman to exercise dominion over the earth and to be fruitful and multiply is fulfilled in us. I even think the Great Commission includes making disciples of our children first and foremost. So, marriage and the family are an incredibly important arena in which we can live out God’s calling for our lives and witness to Him and glorify Him.

Rick Hove: Sometimes people in this class, and the church, could be tempted to think “Oh, I could never teach the Bible like Andreas, or even Rick; they are professionally trained.” But God hardly gave his Word to the professionals, nor the teaching of it just to professionals. Say a few words about how your typical person in church could grow in their own Bible knowledge/walk with God and begin to teach/help others.

Andreas Köstenberger: It all starts with conversion, and with a love for God and His Word. In 2 Tim 2:15, Paul wrote, “Be diligent to show yourself approved by God as a worker who doesn’t need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” So, we ought to make studying Scripture, and applying it, a matter of utmost priority because we’ll have to give an account to God for how we handled his Word!

How do we grow in our ability to handle God’s Word correctly? I’d say it all starts with a concerned, and sustained, effort to cultivate interpretive virtues such as the following:

  • historical-cultural awareness
  • canonical consciousness
  • literary and linguistic competence
  • sensitivity to genre
  • theological astuteness; and
  • an ability to apply and proclaim God’s Word to others.

If you’re interested, you can read more on this subject in my book Invitation to Biblical Interpretation or the abridgment For the Love of God’s Word.

Rick Hove: A handful of books/resources that you think would be good for anyone. And why.

Andreas Köstenberger: A good Study Bible is a strategic purchase (ESV, CSB). Also, a Bible app is useful for comparing different English translations. The YouVersion of the Bible is helpful to study the Bible individually or with others (I’m doing this with my sons right now). A good OT and NT introduction such as The Cradle, the Cross & the Crown (abridged as The Lion & the Lamb) or The Word and the World can be extremely useful. Also, I would highly recommend a book on how to study the Bible, such as my above-mentioned Invitation to Biblical Interpretation or For the Love of God’s Word or a book I co-wrote with R. Alan Fuhr, Inductive Bible Study.

Rick Hove: We (the elders) are trying to get everyone in the church engaged in being an “owner,” in utilizing the gifts they have to serve, in pulling together to do something. The “pull,” if you want to call it that, is for people to come in, hear a sermon, and go out the door. And attend about half the services a year. We are a highly professional, mobile, hit and run, church, and we are trying to steer it more towards a committed family, on a mission. So, I think if I asked you about the “sent” theme in John, it might lend itself for you to comment some on how the “norm” for believers is to be in a family and be sent together.

Andreas Köstenberger: Being a Christian is so much more than going to church on Sunday morning most of the time. Jesus is the model who was sent by the Father to go on mission. Of course, Jesus himself was not married, for obvious reasons. But in the way in which he went about carrying out his mission—faithful to the Father, humble, loving, united, serving, obedient, not pursuing self-interest or self-promotion but seeking the glory of the Father—he is a powerful example of what mission for God looks like. He called together people from all walks of life to form a believing community, united in their faith and commitment to him, to love each other and to be unified. We’re not called to serve God alone but to serve him in community, with each of us contributing our gifts and our abilities. We can enter strategic partnerships with others like us who are serious about following and serving Christ.

Rick Hove: Thanks so much, Andreas, for fielding these questions—from the final days of Jesus, to marriage and the family, to mission and John’s Gospel! I appreciate your friendship and your ministry and look forward to future opportunities to talk about biblical topics and leadership development. Keep up the good work, and God bless you and your family!

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