During one of the feasts in Jerusalem, the Lord Jesus entered the city through the northeast gate called the “sheep gate.” Nehemiah had built the portal and probably a sheep market when he supervised the reconstruction of the city’s walls.
There was a pool there that was deep enough for swimming. The sick gathered because of a legend that said when an angel “stirred” the water the first one into the pool would have a cure. Continue reading “Get up and keep on walking”
History tells us the great philosopher Socrates was arrested and tried for denying the Athenian gods and for corrupting young people. Some writers suppose Socrates was arrested and tried because he criticized politicians and disliked the election system.
The real reason why Socrates was arrested, tried and executed was that the people of Athens (including the politicians) didn’t like the method of cross-examination he used. Socrates revealed their poor reasoning and foolish assumptions. He challenged them to explain and define what it was they believed. Continue reading “He still drives people’s minds”
In the first century A.D., slavery was everywhere. According to estimates, 30-40 percent of the population of Italy were slaves.
Slaves did not have relationships with their masters. No master ever let a slave know his business. Slaves were considered living tools for the master. Slaves obeyed their masters or faced the lash.
It is important to realize Jesus did not want slaves. He told his disciples everything they needed to know to discharge their responsibility to preach the gospel to the world. He made his disciples partners in helping others find salvation. Continue reading “A son or daughter; not a slave”
One of the Stoics’ original ideas of God was a being of complete apathy.
To them, God cared about no one and nothing. William Barclay described Stoic philosophy in the First Century by writing, “No one can be greater than God; therefore no one can influence God; therefore, in the nature of things, God must be incapable of feeling.”
Jesus was compassionate. He wept at the grave of his friend Lazarus (John 11:35). He felt compassion for the hungry multitude of people with him (Matthew 9:36). He showed great feeling for a leper — a person everyone avoided, and many hated — yet a person Jesus loved and healed (Mark 1:40-42). Continue reading “The Caring Son of God”
There had been no announcement. No one had come with a message. Jesus told his disciples, “Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there that you may believe” (John 11:14-15a).
Can you imagine the look of shock and surprise on the faces of the disciples?
Jesus raised his friend Lazarus from the dead so that his followers and others might believe he is the son of God. But they hadn’t seen anything, yet. Not too many days after Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead the Jews finally had the Lord killed as they wanted. Continue reading “Both Lord and Christ”
The Pharisees asked Jesus questions sometimes trying to catch him in one of their traps. They attempted this in Matthew chapter 22 with a question about taxes. The Herodians were with them for their purposes.
If Jesus said he was in favor of taxes, then the Pharisees could accuse him before the people for being pro-Roman. If Jesus opposed taxes, then the Herodians would report his disloyalty to Herod Antipas, who was Rome’s authority. Continue reading “Whose son is he?”
How does one achieve glory? Humans think glory means to exalt self above others, and so people have tried to find a way to become the most exalted on earth.
Many used politics to find a route to glory by becoming a ruler. Others accumulated wealth as a way to find themselves exalted and enshrined in memory. Others have simply dominated others in an attempt to gain it. All of them have failed because they never understood what glory is. Continue reading “The road to glory”
Have you ever made a promise to someone and didn’t keep it? Remember how you felt the next time you saw that person?
Peter and his friends had been fishing all night and caught nothing (John 21:3). The next day, Jesus was standing on the beach. The disciples didn’t know who he was but they heard a voice saying, “Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat and you will find a catch,” (John 21:6). When the net came up with so many large fish and it only came to the surface with much effort, John said, “It is the Lord.” Continue reading “Do you love me?”
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”
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”