Assumptions

Some of the biggest mistakes people make come from assumptions. 

The people of Nazareth made assumptions about Jesus that were very wrong. When he visited his hometown, Nazareth, Jesus attended the synagogue and taught there. It was an opportunity to tell people the truth about himself and God.

As Jesus taught the hometown folks, many of them became indignant (Matthew 13:54). One said, “Is not this the carpenter’s son?” That was an assumption. These people had seen Jesus all his life. They figured they knew who he was. But, oh, how little they did know! Continue reading “Assumptions”

Follow the example of love

Jesus never forced anyone to accept him or his teaching. In Matthew chapter 8, when Jesus healed two possessed men in the Gadarenes and people asked him to leave, he left.

After crossing the Sea of Galilee and arriving in Capernaum, Jesus saw a paralyzed man. The paralysis was so severe  the man was carried. The scripture tells us Jesus saw their faith, and the Master said the man’s sins were forgiven (Matthew 9:2). The scribes watching this accused Jesus of blasphemy.

There is a contrast here that we should understand. Continue reading “Follow the example of love”

Keep his commandments

Commandment-keeping gets a bad reputation in the religious world.

There are those whose theology forces them to promote belief without obedience to Christ’s commands. There is a fly in this ointment. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15).

F.F. Bruce wrote, “Hitherto, Jesus has spoken of his love for his disciples and of their obligation to love one another; now for the first time in this Gospel he speaks of their love for him.”/1 Continue reading “Keep his commandments”

Losing your life in Christ

According to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, the people of the United States spent $3.5 trillion, or 18 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product on healthcare.

Satan made a similar observation when talking to God about his servant Job when he said, “Skin for skin! Indeed, a man will give up all that he has to save his life” (Job 2:4 NET). Many people have done just that.

Jesus, however, said a person who truly loves his life would “destroy it” (John 12:25 NET). Guy N. Woods wrote, “… the Lord’s statement is paradoxical and means simply that he who appears to be little concerned about the preservation of his earthly life is really guaranteeing the permanence of his life in heaven.”/1 Continue reading “Losing your life in Christ”

Are you prepared to follow him?

Jesus had just taken five barley loaves and two fish and fed 5,000 people (John 6:22ff). Imagine the power of that miracle. The people who witnessed it wanted to make Jesus their king.

Later, people were looking for Jesus and found him miles from where they thought he was. They asked him when he arrived. It was then that Jesus told them what they were seeking. They were looking for another meal.

Have you ever noticed how much emphasis some people place on food, drink, and material possessions? One would think there was nothing else for which to live. While it is true that people must attend to priorities, these people had mistakenly put their emphasis on eating. Continue reading “Are you prepared to follow him?”

Traditions or God’s law

The Jews had a tradition. They thought washing one’s hands before eating bread prevented them from being “defiled” or unclean. In the thousands of years of Israel’s history, there was not one single word of this practice in the Law of Moses or any other written word of God. It was a creation of the Pharisees.

The sect of the Pharisees started out as a group of people who were determined to keep themselves separate from sin and holy. This was a good idea, but it changed over time. Ultimately, the Pharisees were more interested in making laws than obeying them. Give people power over others and sometimes they take the law into their own hands.

By the time Jesus started his earthly ministry, the Pharisees were the power in Judea. They held office in the Sanhedrin, the ruling body of the Jews. They used their considerable influence to tell people what they could or could not do. For example, they created oral traditions that would allow people to mistreat their mothers and fathers in violation of the scriptures. In doing so, the Pharisees set aside God’s law for laws they made. Continue reading “Traditions or God’s law”

Following Jesus involves a cross

Crucifixion was Rome’s way of dealing with people it didn’t like. Crucifixion was Rome’s way of dealing with enemies. Its gruesome nature was a part of Rome telling people they’d best behave or they might find themselves hanging from a cross one day.

Jesus had a discussion with his disciples that put the figure of the cross front and center. In Luke 9, Jesus told the men following him that if they were his disciples, they must deny self and take up a cross. The condemned was required to carry his own cross to the place of execution. The figure is clear. Continue reading “Following Jesus involves a cross”

How’s your hearing?

What an amazing thing it is to have ears!

Think of all the things one hears in the course of a day. As I was playing golf with my grandson today, we heard the nice sound a golf ball makes when it is well hit by a metal golf club. We turned at one point in the day and heard the rustle of a deer just before it broke through the woods into the fairway. What is more relaxing than the sound of rain falling gently on leaves?

Yet, there is more to hearing than the ability to detect sounds. There are many people who hear the biblical and moral advice of parents only to walk away without really hearing anything at all. There are those who have heard the truth once but now are so far away from it as to seem ignorant of it. Continue reading “How’s your hearing?”

With all your mind

What is the most important commandment of God in the Bible?

The lawyers of Jesus day, men trained in the text of the Old Testament, sent one of their own to ask the Lord that very question. Opinions differed. Some thought sacrifice was the most important of God’s commandments. Others thought there were so many commandments it was impossible to determine which was most important.

Jesus said, “you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength (Mark 12:30). Continue reading “With all your mind”

“Abraham rejoiced to see my day”

The Lord Jesus Christ did his best to show the Jews the truth of his deity, but they were not receptive.

In John 8, Jesus told them Abraham rejoiced to see his day. The Jews, not believing the statement said, “You are not yet 50 years old and have seen Abraham?” Then Jesus said, “Before Abraham was, I am.” The Jews would have stoned the Lord right then and there because they knew he claimed that he was God. As F.F. Bruce wrote, “He was using language which only God could use.”[1]

Jesus attempted to show and prove that he is the Messiah for which the Jews had waited. True, however, to the prophecy of Isaiah, “he was despised, and we considered him insignificant,” (Isaiah 53:3). Continue reading ““Abraham rejoiced to see my day””