“No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62, ESV).
When I had a more fitting location than my present one, I used to grow a decent-size garden. We tried to grow pretty much everything: tomatoes, beans, corn, cucumbers, lettuce, eggplant, weeds.
We grew a lot of weeds.
These days, I only have space for a few tomato plants. Not nearly as rewarding, but much less work. Continue reading “Don’t Look Back”
“…a greater than Solomon is here” (Lk. 11:31)
By my count, Jesus mentioned Solomon twice in the gospels. In one instance, he pitted the iconic glory of Solomon – a king who expanded Israel’s wealth and territory like no king before or since – against a flower.
The flower won. Continue reading “Greater than Solomon”
“This man receives sinners and eats with them” (Luke 15:2, ESV).
What was intended as an insult was really a compliment: “This man receives sinners and eats with them” (Luke 15:2).
Notice the words in the text. The word receive means to wait actively or expectantly. It is reminiscent of the way a mother longs to finally see her newborn child. Jesus welcomed those who were not otherwise welcome. Continue reading “This man receives sinners”
“Which of these three…was neighbor?” (Luke 10:36, NASB).
Did you hear about Lizzie Velaquez from Austin, Texas, a.k.a., “The World’s Ugliest Woman?” who was searching YouTube and stumbled upon a video (which had been viewed over 4 million times) urging her to kill herself because she was so ugly?
She decided to leave her self-pity behind, and parlayed her new-found fame to become an anti-bullying advocate all over the nation! What an admirable way to turn the tables on her bullies! Continue reading “The carpenter on the other side of the table”
“Unless you repent, you will all…perish” (Luke 13:3).
Most people cannot imagine Jesus saying, “You will go to hell if you do not change your ways.” I’m not sure if the scholars of the Jesus Seminar cut that phrase out, attributing it to some other source than the “real” Jesus, but it wouldn’t surprise me. Most people like the idea of what they deem to be God’s positivity – his love, his longsuffering, his grace – leading us to repentance. But can suffering and death do the same thing? Continue reading “Are some of Jesus’ sayings too harsh?”
I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs” (Luke 11:8, ESV).
When waiting on an answer from God, it is easier to doubt than trust. Continue reading “God is not like your friends”
” ‘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”
“Do not judge” (Luke 6:37, NASB).
It is quite ironic that some of the same people who accuse Christians of selecting a passage out of its context and giving it whatever meaning they wish, are in fact guilty of taking this passage out of its context and giving it whatever meaning they wish.
What did Jesus mean, and not mean, when He made this statement? Continue reading “Thou shalt see clearly”
“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”
“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”