"The one who is coming after me is stronger than I am. I’m not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire."
Ministry of John the Baptist
3 In those days John the Baptist appeared in the desert of Judea announcing, 2 “ Change your hearts and lives! Here comes the kingdom of heaven! ” 3 He was the one of whom Isaiah the prophet spoke when he said:
4 John wore clothes made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He ate locusts and wild honey.
5 People from Jerusalem, throughout Judea, and all around the Jordan River came to him. 6 As they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River. 7 Many Pharisees and Sadducees came to be baptized by John. He said to them, “ You children of snakes! Who warned you to escape from the angry judgment that is coming soon? 8 Produce fruit that shows you have changed your hearts and lives. 9 And don’t even think about saying to yourselves, Abraham is our father. I tell you that God is able to raise up Abraham’s children from these stones. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be chopped down and tossed into the fire. 11 I baptize with water those of you who have changed your hearts and lives. The one who is coming after me is stronger than I am. I’m not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12 The shovel he uses to sift the wheat from the husks is in his hands. He will clean out his threshing area and bring the wheat into his barn. But he will burn the husks with a fire that can’t be put out. ”
The Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus comprise the two-part event at the heart of the Christian story. Because of its unique meaning and the intense emotions it invokes, Holy Week brings high expectations on the part of congregations and places unusual demands on those who deliver the messages. It takes a specially gifted preacher to communicate the profundity of Christ's Passion and its supreme relevance for our contemporary world.
Fleming Rutledge is just such a preacher. Heralded by congregations and peers alike as one of today's most compelling and powerful Christian voices, Rutledge is also a best-selling author whose previous collections of sermons have touched readers deeply. This new volume, representing twenty-five years of Holy Week and Easter preaching, offers a wide-ranging vision of the Cross and Resurrection that will inform and inspire committed believers and serious seekers alike.
Divided into seven sections that progress through Holy Week from Palm Sunday to Good Friday to Easter and on through Eastertide, these sermons incorporate the biblical themes of sacrifice for sin, vicarious suffering, victory over evil and death, and the new creation arising out of eternal love. Many of these sermons are brand-new; others — especially those for Good Friday — have been rethought and reworked over a period of years. None have ever been published before. All of them consistently display Rutledge's startling ability to bridge the message of the ancient biblical texts with the distinct needs of modern people.
Intellectually engaging, pastorally wise, and beautifully written, The Undoing of Death is accented with thirty-three artistic masterpieces depicting the events of Holy Week, making it a feast for the eye as well as the soul.