Seven purposes of Jesus’ miracles

” ‘Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.’ And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak” (Luke 7:14-15).

There were several people who became instruments of God’s miraculous power in biblical history: Moses, Elijah, the apostles – including Judas – were all instruments of God’s miraculous power. Did this prove they were divine? Of course not.

What about Jesus’ miracles? Did they prove he was divine? Jesus’ miracles – taken alone – no more point to his deity than miracles performed by these other individuals of the Bible prove their deity. However, the miracles of Jesus do collaborate with other evidences to build the case for his deity. Interestingly, Jesus’ miracles also served several other purposes: Continue reading “Seven purposes of Jesus’ miracles”

The rise of Sabbath controversies

The Son of Man is Lord over the Sabbath” (Luke 6:5)

Palestine is a relatively small parcel of land on the eastern Mediterranean coast. The whole of the region is roughly the size of Rhode Island. The land of Palestine is also in a geo-political vice. Before the jet age, whoever ruled Palestine controlled the trade routes in and out the African continent. Therefore, every major empire of the world has had interest in Palestine – the very land to which God called Abraham, and planted his unique people.

In the 2nd century B.C. the region became particularly unstable and volatile for Hebrew residents, as Syrian rulers to the north and Egyptian rulers to the south (known as Seleucids and Ptolemies, respectively) struggled for control of the region [note: the map above reflects modern day, but the regions have basically remained unchanged]. Continue reading “The rise of Sabbath controversies”

Fifth Soil

“The sower went out to sow…” (Luke 8:5).

Some years back I was listening to a sermon by the late Roy C. Deaver. At present, I don’t recall the specific topic he was preaching on, but he said something in that sermon that has stuck with me. He referenced the Lord’s parable of the sower/soils (Luke 8:4-15). After listing each soil and what they represented, he asked, “But I want to know why our Lord didn’t say anything about the fifth soil.”

The fifth soil? Continue reading “Fifth Soil”

Six things Jesus shows us

“After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, ‘Follow me'” (Luke 5:27).

While in the construction industry some years back, I sometimes found myself in a pickle. I would come across something I had never seen or done before. A few times I actually went to the library and got out a book to try to understand what I needed to do (those were not pre-Google days, they were pre-internet days!). I usually struggled with the descriptions and diagrams in the book.

But when I had someone with me, actually showing me how, I was able to grasp the concept and duplicate it fairly easily. I would not be surprised if this was the very method by which Jesus learned his trade (Mark 6:3). Continue reading “Six things Jesus shows us”

Does sin really exist?

“Man, your sins are forgiven” (Luke 5:20).

Most of us can identify with Charlie Brown. We set some goal: “This time, I’m going to kick that football!” then somebody pulls the ball away at the last second, and we fall flat on our back. But there was one man in the Bible who set his sights high, and got even more than he asked for. That was because his goal was to encounter Jesus. Continue reading “Does sin really exist?”

What happens when we ignore the Composer?

“Be cleansed” (Luke 5:13).

Behold the impact of Jesus’ words:

  • Jesus said, “Be still!” and the storm stopped immediately (Mark 4:39)
  • Jesus said, “Be cleansed,” and the leper was cured instantly (Luke 5:13).
  • Jesus said, “Come forth,” and Lazarus walked out promptly (John 11:43).
  • Jesus said, “Come out” and demons fled fearfully (Luke 4:35-36).
  • Jesus said, “Let there be” (Genesis 1:3,6,14) and the heavens, the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, sprang into existence from nothing, unhesitatingly (Exodus 20:11; Psalm 146:6; John 1:3).

Continue reading “What happens when we ignore the Composer?”

Sinking boats and broken nets: 4 things you should know about faith

“Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught” (Luke 5:4)

A preacher placed a small, empty cardboard box on the floor. He said, “I believe with all my heart this box will hold my weight.” Then he raised his leg and began to stand upon the box – which immediately began to collapse. He said, “You see, it doesn’t matter what I believe, if my faith is misplaced. People place a great deal of faith in all kinds of things, but that doesn’t mean those things have any substance. The only thing that matters is the strength of the object in which I place my faith.” Continue reading “Sinking boats and broken nets: 4 things you should know about faith”

Do these two things ever distract you?

“I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.” (Luke 4:43)

There are numerous things that vie for our attention in this digital age. Computers, smart phones, tablets, social media apps – they all ring, bleep, notify, chime and alarm us of the next seemingly important thing. Much of the time, it is just social candy that distracts us from more nourishing things in life.

This is also true spiritually. We can easily become distracted from our mission and purpose as Christians, if we’re not careful. Here are a couple of things that can distract us: Continue reading “Do these two things ever distract you?”