People can misunderstand

The transfiguration of Jesus must have been an amazing sight for Peter, James, and John. Still, the significance of the event could be misunderstood.

Jesus told his disciples not to tell anyone until after he was raised from the dead (Matthew 17:9). Why weren’t the other disciples to know? Why keep the knowledge from them?

The reason was probably simple: people can misunderstand. Continue reading “People can misunderstand”

The faith of a Canaanite

Jesus left Galilee. Perhaps it was because he wanted a break from the Jews who always sought a “sign.” Perhaps he had tired of the Pharisees.

All we know is he left and went to Tyre and Sidon on the Mediterranean Sea.

Phoenicia was known as a land filled with false gods. Yet, the Gentile woman that came to Jesus had a need. Her daughter suffered from a case of severe demon possession (Matthew 15:22). Continue reading “The faith of a Canaanite”

God’s law

God sent his law to the patriarchs and to the Jews not to demonstrate a minimum acceptable requirement, but to help them remain holy. The law was given as the way to live before God.

Mankind promptly made a mess of God’s law. An example of how the Jews of Jesus’ day were so pitiful with their idea of the law is the definition of the word, “neighbor,” in Luke chapter 10. Continue reading “God’s law”

“Give us each day our daily bread”

It is difficult to understand how people who had been freed from bondage would ever say they wanted to go back.

Yet, that is exactly what Israel did in Exodus chapter 16. God’s people had been freed from bitter bondage but were actually wishing they were back in Egypt. They complained they had pots full of meat and plenty of bread (Exodus 16:3).

So God gave his people quail and bread from heaven to eat. Continue reading ““Give us each day our daily bread””

A lesson of contrasts: Mary and Judas

The Bible does much teaching through contrast. Jesus and Satan in Matthew chapter four show the contrast of the spiritual thinking of the son of God and Satan’s temptation from selfishness.

In John 12, there is another contrast between Mary, the sister of Lazarus and Judas Iscariot, the soon-to-be betrayer.

Imagine the great emotion in the house as Jesus entered. Not too long before, Jesus had raised Mary’s brother Lazarus from the dead. Not since Elijah had anyone seen a miracle like that one. Imagine the welcome Jesus received as Lazarus, Martha, and Mary embraced the Lord. Continue reading “A lesson of contrasts: Mary and Judas”

A God that feels

The ancient Greeks believed their gods were completely devoid of feeling and emotion. The gods, they thought, were so far above humanity they could not feel sorrow, pain, or grief.

Imagine a Greek who was alive in the first century and managed to read John chapter 11. In this text the son of God is overcome with feelings of sadness and grief at the death of his friend, Lazarus. Jesus was overcome with a wide array of emotions. Continue reading “A God that feels”

The Good Shepherd

Roman citizens had the absolute assurance of safe travel to any part of the known world. All a Roman had to say when traveling was, “civis romanus sum,” and free passage was guaranteed.

The ability for people to go anywhere has been prized for centuries. In Israel, the leader was the man honored with the responsibility of leading the people out and bringing them in (Numbers 27:17).

A shepherd was charged with the responsibility of leading sheep safely to food and water. He made certain the flock could “go in and out” without fail. Continue reading “The Good Shepherd”

A world of blindness

There is something wrong in the world. Have you noticed it?

The world is afflicted with blindness.

It isn’t that people can’t use their eyes; instead, people don’t want to use their eyes.

The Jews witnessed the powerful miracles of Jesus and yet they were mysteriously afflicted with blindness. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world,” (John 8:12). The Jews couldn’t see it. Jesus said, “For if you do not believe that I am he, you will die in your sins,” (John 8:24b). The Jews continued to grope in the dark. Jesus said, “If you abide in my word, you are my disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free,” (John 8:31-32). And the Jews, still blind, told Jesus they had never been enslaved. Continue reading “A world of blindness”

Zeal

Jesus went after the money changers.

They had set up shop in the Temple where they did not belong. The Temple was a place of sacrifice, reflection, prayer, and worship to God; it was not a place for unscrupulous men to make a fortune exchanging currency.

The Lord took a whip of cords, overturned the money changers’ tables and drove them all out along with the sheep and the oxen (John 2:14-17). Continue reading “Zeal”

True judgment scene

There was a recent article in a widely-read publication entitled, “Judgment Day Excuses that Won’t Work.” The article was right, but the title was off the mark.

Many people think Judgment Day will seem like a courtroom drama such as “Perry Mason.” They think God will sit on the judgment bench ruling on the trials of billions of people. Jesus never taught that scenario. Continue reading “True judgment scene”