The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


When is 'today'?

Now or in three days?

Jesus told the thief on the cross, “Today you will be with me in paradise.” But Jesus wasn't raised from the dead until “after three days.” How can you reconcile the seeming contradiction?

All four Gospels agree that Jesus died on Friday afternoon and that early on Sunday his tomb was found empty, a witness that he had been raised from the dead. In passages where Jesus predicts his resurrection, he either uses the phrase "after three days" or "on the third day." By mentioning "three days" Jesus points to the biblical understanding that the third day was a way to describe the day of God's salvation or deliverance (Hosea 6:2; Jonah 1:17). In this way, Jesus' resurrection is revealed as God's plan and purpose all along.

My husband and I are hesitant to rear our children in an ELCA congregation because we fear a watering down of God's truth on issues such as homosexuality and abortion. Where is the ELCA heading?

We water down nothing. The center of our church and our lives is the crucified and risen Christ. Because of his grace, mercy and sacrifice we trust in him for all things. Our attitudes, judgments and energies are shaped by the Gospels, through which Jesus speaks to us. We don't go to isolated passages of our choosing as the starting place for how we react to people who are homosexual or how we are to understand and live out our sexuality.

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