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”
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”
Is all life on earth the result of an accident that caused an accident?
Instead of an accident, consider the design of the eye. Scientists believe they understand how vision works by comparing the eye to a camera and how it focuses an image on the retina. But, what happens after the image arrives on the retina? Science doesn’t know how that “message” is transported to the brain and how that message is recreated there. Continue reading “Obey the giver of life”
“When he had concluded saying all this to the people who were listening, he entered Capernaum. A centurion’s servant, who was highly valued by him, was sick and about to die. When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders to him, requesting him to come and save the life of his servant. When they reached Jesus, they pleaded with him earnestly, saying, ‘He is worthy for you to grant this, because he loves our nation and has built us a synagogue’” (Luke 7:1-5 CSB).
This centurion seems to have been an exceptional Roman. Stationed in Galilee, he became involved in the local life, even to the point of building a synagogue for the Jews of that town. Perhaps he was attracted to the God they worshipped and their way of life. If you visit Capernaum today you will see extensive excavations of the first century town and an impressive synagogue that would have dominated the town even in Jesus’ day. The current synagogue dates from the 4th century but it is built on the foundation of the first century synagogue, so you get an idea of the size of the one built by this Roman centurion. Continue reading “A faith that amazed Jesus”
Brightly colored ribbons were tied around precious packages for family and friends. Wonderful holiday feasts warmed guests inside only to be matched by the love shown and shared.
Want to see real love? Let’s go straight to the cross.
Jesus had been tried by the Jews, but they knew their accusations against him would have no traction with Pilate, so they made up different ones. After a cursory examination of Jesus, Pilate could find no fault and told the Jews and sent Jesus to Herod. Herod sent him back without charge (Luke 23:15). Continue reading “Want to see love?”
What would it have been like to be the first to discover that Jesus’ tomb was empty? With all that Jesus had said about his rising on the third day, you might think that the apostles excitedly camped out the night before at the tomb awaiting Jesus’ resurrection. But that was not what happened!.
It was a group of women who discovered that the tomb was empty early that Sunday morning. They went to tell the apostles and all his followers that he was no longer in the tomb. “But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them” (Luke 24:11 ESV). Continue reading “Why didn’t they believe?”
“The time is fulfilled…the kingdom is at hand” (Mark 1:15).
(the previous article in this series can be found here)
Just recently, this writer attended a funeral of an 82-year old woman. Among other qualities and talents, she was a quilt-maker. She made over 50 beautiful and personalized quilts for her loved ones during her life. Many were made entirely by hand. Many of them were on display near the casket.
Like some people, she had previously related to her family a few preferences for her funeral, like her favorite passage of Scripture. But she had a rather unique wish as well: she hoped it would snow on the day of her burial. As uncomfortable as this would be for her attendees, she hoped that they might all gather ’round the grave site, wrapped in the quilts she gave them. Continue reading “History’s Mysteries, Revealed (2)”
The chief priests and the scribes wanted Jesus dead.
But, these kinds of things are delicate. The Sanhedrin didn’t have the power to put a man to death — only the Romans could do that — and Jesus was innocent and not worthy of any sentence at all.
Importantly, the enemies of Jesus needed a way to make sure they had their man. They needed someone who knew Jesus to hand him over to them. Accuse the wrong man and the Romans would be less likely to listen next time. In addition, the scribes and priests knew the people supported Jesus. The religious leaders couldn’t just take the Lord into custody. Riots may ensue. Continue reading “Leaving the heart’s door open”
Have you ever wondered how the apostles and writers of the good news of Jesus were able to record all the things he did while teaching and helping people? Not only did Matthew, Mark, Luke and John record the events of Jesus’ life, but they did it without contradicting each other.
How did Peter, Paul, James, Jude, and John know what to write in the letters they sent to the first Christians? How did they know what Jesus wanted written down about living the Christian life, not only for those living then but also for those who would be Christians in the future? Again, they did it without contradicting the other writers. Continue reading “The helper”
“The time is fulfilled…the kingdom is at hand” (Mark 1:15).
In each of the gospels, there is a first recorded utterance in the public ministry of Jesus. John and Luke provide interesting complements: “What are you seeking?” (John 1:38), and, “Why were you looking for me?” (Luke 2:49).
Matthew and Mark also complement one another. They record the crux of the Messiah’s message: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17), and, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). Continue reading “History’s mysteries, revealed (1)”