Hope for a better future

When Jesus entered Jerusalem on the Sunday before his execution he rode in as a conquering king. Approaching from the Mount of Olives he would have seen the temple and the city spread out before him. Even today that is an awe-inspiring view.

Jesus was riding on the colt of a donkey when he entered Jerusalem. Although that might seem almost demeaning to us today when we compare a donkey to a magnificent horse, there was symbolism in riding a donkey. A donkey was what a king would ride (see 2 Samuel 16) while a horse was what a warrior would ride. This symbolism wasn’t lost on those who accompanied Jesus. Continue reading “Hope for a better future”

He left the scars

Each Lord’s day Christians have the privilege and the duty of remembering our Lord’s death. We take our minds back to his sacrificial suffering. In observing the memorial feast which reminds us of his body and his blood we proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes (1 Corinthians 11:24-26).

Perhaps you feel compelled to limit your thoughts to the suffering and sorrow of the cross during this sacred time. If so, when was the last time you contemplated our Lord’s scars? Have you thought about the link between our sin and his scars? Have you reflected upon what Jesus’ scars mean for your own? Continue reading “He left the scars”

Born for this

Moments of great consequence summon the best out of us. It is at this moment that some might claim, “I was born for this.”

Never had a moment been as consequential, nor the need as great, as when God’s plan to save man approached its consummation.

Never had a person entered the world with more expectation, nor greater burden than when God clothed himself in flesh.

Never had one so perfect for the task met it with such perfection. Truly Jesus was born for this. Continue reading “Born for this”

A Sinner, the Savior, and Simon

When Jesus was invited to a meal, the whole neighborhood might come. The common people wanted to see and hear Jesus, a rabbi who was often in conflict with the Pharisees. When Jesus was invited to dine with a Pharisee, it was one part evening entertainment and one part religious instruction.

When Jesus came to dine at Simon’s house (Luke 7:36-50), word spread. A woman who is identified as “a sinner” comes to see Jesus. But she is not content with standing on the periphery, or peering in to get a fleeting glimpse. She moves through the crowd to the feet of the Savior. Weeping, she wipes the tears off his feet with her hair, kisses his feet, and pours over them expensive ointment.

The reaction by Simon was one of disgust and rejection. He rejects Jesus as a prophet because he certainly doesn’t know who is touching him for she is a sinner (Luke 7:39). Continue reading “A Sinner, the Savior, and Simon”

The Rider with the robe dipped in blood

The first and last times a word is mentioned in the Bible may not be doctrinally significant, but I find them fascinating nevertheless. Indulge my fascination for a moment.

In Revelation 19.13 appears a description of Jesus with the word “blood” — our theme for this month. It is the last occurrence of the word in the Bible.

We usually associate blood with our cleansing from sin, and rightly so. John takes a different tack here. Continue reading “The Rider with the robe dipped in blood”

Walk in the light

Have you ever tried to walk on an unfamiliar path when it is dark? I can tell you from experience that it isn’t easy. Over the years I have enjoyed hillwalking (hiking, as others might refer to it). Sometimes we might set out a bit later than planned, or perhaps underestimated the time it would take us to complete the day’s walk. As the sun set we would still be on the hill. Descending a hill in the dark on a rough, unfamiliar path can be difficult. It always helped to carry a torch (flashlight), in our backpacks to use if we ended up being out after sunset. The light would illuminate the path.

This is the same condition we find ourselves spiritually when we are without light. Notice how this is described by the apostle John. Continue reading “Walk in the light”

One God who forgives sins

When Jesus forgave the paralytic man of his sins, the scribes went berserk. Mounce’s translation bring to the fore a fascinating thought: “Why does this man speak like that? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins except the One God?” Mark 2.7. Most versions translate it as “God alone,” “only God,” or something similar. CEB puts it this way: “Why does he speak this way? He’s insulting God. Only the one God can forgive sins.”

The scribes were much like Job’s friends. Much of what they had to say was spot on, Matthew 23.1-3. But their application of it was way off. It is true that, in the absolute sense, only God can forgive sins. What the scribes missed was that Jesus is God. And God is one. The one God has one plan for forgiveness. Continue reading “One God who forgives sins”

Baptism and deathbed conversion

The following question and answer was published in Edificação magazine and translated for our editorial today. The questioner wrote that he was satisfied with the answer: “I never received an explanation as good as this.” Pray that he may soon be immersed into Christ.

Q: What is your opinion, based on the Bible, of people who accept Christ as they are dying? Is baptism a condition for the Christian to go to heaven? -S.P.

A: Questions about baptism are always welcome, since the subject is of great importance in the New Testament. It is also important to rely on the Bible as the word of God and its unique authority on any spiritual matter. Thus, the truths proclaimed by it do not constitute opinion, but rather revelation from God. Continue reading “Baptism and deathbed conversion”

Four steps to eternity

Walter Scott was a pioneer preacher. Born in Scotland, Scott immigrated to the United States in 1818 and subsequently moved west. Scott famously contrasted the tenets of Calvinism with a five-finger exercise.

When he came to preach in a community, Scott would teach children that Acts 2:38 teaches (1) faith, (2) repentance, (3) baptism, (4) forgiveness, and (5) the gift of the Holy Spirit. He’d then tell the children to tell their parents that he would be preaching that message later on in the day.

Scott’s mnemonic device is imminently scriptural, and provides a basis for more teaching on how God saves man. He helped people find salvation in Christ using this teaching method. However, if we are not careful, it can transform into something resembling a check-list, which after completion obligates God and satisfies our service.

I want to suggest a complement of sorts. Consider, if you will, four steps that will take you from where you are to eternity. Continue reading “Four steps to eternity”

Running out?

“And there was a great famine in Samaria; and behold, they besieged it, until a donkey’s head was sold for eighty shekels of silver, and a fourth of a kab of dove’s dung for five shekels of silver” (2 Kings 6:25 NASB).

During this Covid-19 crisis the people of Nepal are under lockdown orders, which means they cannot work and therefore earn money. Relief packages are being prepared for many of the poor, consisting of about 60 pounds of rice, 12 pounds of dal (beans), a half gallon of cooking oil, 5 pounds of salt, 2.2 pounds of soybean nuggets, and 2 bars of soap. This is considered a month’s supply of necessities for a family of 5. The cost of one such package is $22. That may seem like a small amount to some, but is beyond the ability of a large segment of the population under these circumstances. Continue reading “Running out?”