A pearl and an apple

One of the shortest parables of the Lord Jesus is in Matthew chapter 13. Like most of Jesus’ teachings, its meaning and wonder extend beyond the simple 32 words of the text.

The Lord said the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for pearls. Then, he saw “one pearl of great price” and desired it so much he sold all he owned to buy it (Matthew 13:45-46). The merchant knew what was important to him and sacrificed everything he had. Continue reading “A pearl and an apple”

A faithful father listens

Talking to people can be a bit of a chore but talking to a child is always a delight.

My grandchildren talk to me about their pets, their toys, their schoolwork and it’s never boring. My eyes never leave their faces, and my ears never turn away from their voices.

In prayer, God’s attention never wavers. He is intently interested in everything we have to say even when we might bore people. Continue reading “A faithful father listens”

Into your hands

Jesus was arrested and stood trial at night in violation of the Sanhedrin’s own rules. He had been beaten and slapped by the Temple’s soldiers. When Pilate received the case, the Jews changed the charge from blasphemy to treason because they knew the Romans would not crucify Jesus except for a violation of Roman law. He was judged innocent, yet he was scourged, mistreated and crucified.

After several hours on the cross, the Son of God neared the end of his life. As death drew near, he said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit,” (Luke 23:46 NET). Continue reading “Into your hands”

The greatest person

Who is the greatest person who ever lived? Who is the greatest ruler or king of all time?

Those questions could cause fights.

Some people may point to a particular president or even a dictator as the answer to either one or both questions. There are others who would also like consideration.

Let’s complicate the issue a little. You must prove your answer with the incontrovertible truth. Continue reading “The greatest person”

Jesus: the truly qualified teacher

Jesus was expected to travel to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Tabernacles.

It was fall in Palestine, about the 15th of Tishri (October 12 on our calendar), and the harvest of wheat and olive oil was complete. It was a time of plenty and thanksgiving for God’s blessings.

The Feast of Tabernacles commemorated the wilderness wandering of the Jews at the end of the year.

Although Jesus would go to the feast, he continued walking in Galilee. He knew the Jews were seeking an opportunity to kill him. Jesus’ brothers came to him and warned him to stay away from Jerusalem. Continue reading “Jesus: the truly qualified teacher”

Eternal truth

Truth is taking a terrible beating.

Politicians have carved truth into two camps. One camp is that the things they say are always the truth, and the other is that their fellows across the aisle always lie.

The religious world is also suffering a crisis of confidence. Many of the things religious bodies have taught are becoming known as doctrines of men instead of teachings from God.

It seems that everywhere one looks, someone is trying to obfuscate or suppress the truth for their purposes.

Jesus knew all about these things. Jesus knew a few more things about the truth. Continue reading “Eternal truth”

The greatest injustice

Jesus suffered arrest even though he had done nothing wrong and not even the false witnesses could agree on what he had done.

Jesus preached love, joy, and peace in a world that needed all three. He helped people understand their need to obey God and live according to God’s word. He pleaded with the Jews to abandon their hypocrisy and become the shining lights the world needed.

For all this, Roman soldiers and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus, bound him and delivered him to Annas and Caiaphas, the two men acting as high priests.

They hated Jesus for no other reason than they were envious of him (Matthew 27:18; Mark 15:10). Continue reading “The greatest injustice”

Simple things

Education is great. My wife and I told our children to do their best in school and go as far as possible. One of our children went “all the way.”

My admiration for those who have a doctorate or post-doctorate education in theology is genuine, and they work very hard on difficult subjects so simple-minded people like me can understand. I need what they can teach me.

Jesus Christ was the smartest man who ever lived. Continue reading “Simple things”