Taking care of what is needed

“As Jesus came ashore he saw the large crowd and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he taught them many things.” (Mark 6:34 NET).

Jesus cared about people. When he saw this crowd – a large crowd at that – he felt for them. They needed a shepherd, someone to guide them. So he did, by teaching them many things.

And that caused the problem. It became too late – definitely too late for anyone to get anything to eat. There were no McDonalds they could go to (or even fish and chips) – they were in the middle of nowhere. Jesus’ disciples thought they should get rid of the people: “This is an isolated place and it is already very late. Send them away so that they can go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy something for themselves to eat” (Mark 6:35-36). In other words, “it’s not our problem.” Continue reading “Taking care of what is needed”

Are some of Jesus’ sayings too harsh?

“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?”

What will eternal life be like?

“Now some Sadducees (who contend that there is no resurrection) came to him. They asked him, ‘Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies leaving a wife but no children, that man must marry the widow and father children for his brother. Now there were seven brothers. The first one married a woman and died without children. The second and then the third married her, and in this same way all seven died, leaving no children. Finally the woman died too. In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For all seven had married her’” (Luke 20:27-33 NET).

During the last week of his life before his crucifixion, Jesus spent time teaching the people. The Jewish authorities were desperate to trap him in something that he was saying to discredit him with the people. On this particular day the Pharisees began by asking about paying taxes. Jesus gave an answer that impressed those who were there. Continue reading “What will eternal life be like?”

Choosing the best

“Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.’ But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her’” (Luke 10:38-42 ESV).

When we think about those people who were close to Jesus, there is a family of siblings who seem to have held a special place in his heart. This was the family of Mary, Martha and Lazarus (although Lazarus is not mentioned here). We don’t know when Jesus met this family – it could have been that this is his first visit with them. Although it isn’t found in this text, we know that they lived in the village of Bethany, which was about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) from Jerusalem. Today we would have said it was a suburb, but back in Jesus’ day it would have taken about a half-hour to walk from one to the other. Continue reading “Choosing the best”

Planting Seeds

“A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell along the path and was trampled on, and the wild birds devoured it. Other seed fell on rock, and when it came up, it withered because it had no moisture. Other seed fell among the thorns, and they grew up with it and choked it. But other seed fell on good soil and grew, and it produced a hundred times as much grain” (Luke 8:5-8 NET).

Jesus frequently told stories as he was teaching the people, stories that are referred to as “parables.” These were taken from everyday life in rural Palestine of the first century. They were stories, but they were more than stories – they were told to teach a truth to people and in a way that they could be remembered. Continue reading “Planting Seeds”

Who do we love?

“But I say to you who are listening: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. To the person who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other as well…Treat others in the same way that you would want them to treat you” (Luke 6:27-31 NET).

When Jesus taught the people, whether in a large setting such as what we find here or in a smaller setting, he often said things that went against how people usually live. Here he is dealing with who people love and how they show it. Although taught almost two thousand years ago, it is equally applicable to us today. Continue reading “Who do we love?”

One thing you should know about the Bible

This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears” (Luke 4:21).

A recent article told how people can acquire more clicks on their websites by using “listicles.” Listicle is a newly coined term that refers to the trend of framing articles around lists. The titles often sound like this:

  1. “Four things you need to know about Forthright.net”
  2. “Five reasons why Forthright.net is the best site you’ll visit this week.”
  3. “Three websites you must visit right now (hint: you’re on one now).”

Continue reading “One thing you should know about the Bible”

What exactly is “born again?” (Pt. 1)

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5, ESV).

Jesus often made use of a linguistic/grammatical tool called parallelism. It is a colorful and repetitious communication that God employs throughout Scripture in order to aid our comprehension of spiritual things. Continue reading “What exactly is “born again?” (Pt. 1)”