Shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?” (John 18:11)
We often consider the unfair treatment Jesus suffered. He was mocked, beaten, ridiculed, spat upon, struck, blindfolded, stripped, beaten, humiliated (Isaiah 53:1-12; Acts 8:32; 1 Peter 2:19-23). All this, before he was nailed to a cross and hung up to die.
He who created man and placed him in a Garden of paradise and showered him with blessings, found himself in a Garden of sorrow, showered with bloody sweat. Continue reading “He knew it all along”
Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28).
Off the coast of Greece, since the days of Plato, free divers have been plunging to depths of 50-100 meters with no breathing apparatus at all to harvest sea sponges. Others do this kind of diving for sport.
But it is extremely dangerous.
In 2013, Nicholas Mevoli died after performing a dive. He resurfaced, signaled “OK,” then lost consciousness, and died. In 2015, Russian free-diver, Natalia Molchanova, who held 41 world records and earned 23 gold medals, plunged into the Mediterranean darkness off the coast of Spain for a recreational dive, and failed to resurface. After a few days, rescue efforts ceased. Continue reading “Free-diving into eternity”
“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending” (Revelation 1:8)
In the Revelation, Jesus speaks for the final time. Four times (Revelation 1:8,11; 21:6; 22:13), he refers to himself as “Alpha and Omega.” Why? What does this phrase mean, and why does he use it? Continue reading “Why did Jesus refer to himself as “Alpha and Omega?””
“Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Mark 14:38, NASB) Jesus’ ordeal on the cross was not only extremely painful, it was humiliating. It was not only … Continue reading Why Peter failed, and Jesus didn’t
“If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell…” (Matthew 5:29-30; see also: Mark 9:43-47).
Would you be surprised to learn that heaven will cost you an arm and a leg? And maybe even an eye?
I believe the above passage presents a great – indeed, an insurmountable – difficulty for those who believe that we incur no cost in our own salvation. Does our obedience to the gospel turn God’s grace into a payment for services rendered? Continue reading “Are you pulling my leg (off)?”
No saying of Jesus is more perplexing than this: “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34).
I’ve tried most of my life to understand this saying. I’ve heard preaching on it, read books and chapters of books and commentaries about it. It all seems satisfactory in some ways, unfulfilling in others.
Invariably, I will say that it puzzles me, and someone retorts with a statement that sounds as if they figured it out years ago. I’m sorry (not sorry) if I don’t believe you. Continue reading “God’s “theory of everything””
“You would have no power over me at all unless it were not given you from above” (John 19:11)
Imagine having power to create a universe with billions of galaxies, and more billions of stars within, planets around those stars, and – at least in essence – the power to duplicate even your own self.
This is the awesome power of God (Exodus 20:11; Psalm 146:6); His strength is unlimited (Job 36:22). Continue reading “The God who does nothing”
“…from the beginning it was not so” (Matthew 19:8)
In 17 years of ministry (part and full-time), I have met with numerous married, and to-be-married couples. One thing I’ve found by this experience is that to-be-married couples generally understand the concept of adultery, and see it as a legitimate – if not the only – reason for divorce. Even if their Bible knowledge is somewhat limited, or they are not Christians, they will often say that this is the only legitimate grounds for a biblical divorce. I have this in writing from almost every couple I’ve married.
Yet, in nearly every troubled marriage that I’ve tried to help, one or both have a completely different, and non-biblical view of divorce and/or adultery. Continue reading “Five (unpopular) things Jesus said about divorce”
Can any of you prove me guilty of sin?” (John 8:46)
Jesus was unconventional in so many ways, but never more than in his claim to be sinless. It is audacious. It is something the gospel writers would not have chosen if they were merely inventing Jesus. It was an unnecessary risk. Continue reading “Who will cast a stone at Jesus?”
It is written” (Luke 4:12).
“The Bible means exactly what it says!” I’ve heard this a number of times, and in one sense, I agree. In another sense, that statement could inadvertently be more dangerous than it seems.
The Bible is not just a literal composition. Yes, it is a rule of thumb to understand any passage literally unless there is good reason or evidence to understand it otherwise. However, it should also be understood by all students of the Bible that there is plenty of reason to not take some passages literally. We will illustrate this in a moment. Continue reading “The Bible means what it says. Or, does it?”