Sources of authority

“And coming to his hometown he taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, ‘Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works?'” (Matthew 13:54, ESV).

In the current great political divide which has enveloped our nation, it is unfortunately quite common for one side to reject a proposal simply because it was made by their opponents. Its intrinsic worth is rarely considered, but only, “If the other party is for it, we are against it.” Continue reading “Sources of authority”

What sort of man?

“And the men marveled, saying, ‘What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?'” (Matthew 8:27, ESV).

In Mathew 8:18-34 the evangelist records three encounters between Jesus and various people. First, there is a crowd from which some offer to follow Jesus. To them Jesus warns of the cost of discipleship (8:18-22). Second comes the calming of the storm with the twelve apostles’ confusion and wonder as to the great power he demonstrated (8:23-27). Finally, there is the healing of the two demoniacs in Gadara who confessed him as “O Son of God” (8:28-34). Continue reading “What sort of man?”

Rejecting Jesus like the Pharisees

John chapter seven showed how the Pharisees hated Jesus and wanted him killed. In this chapter, the Pharisees had sent the temple guard to arrest Jesus and bring him before them.

But something happened. When the temple guard arrived, they had an opportunity to arrest the Lord but didn’t. Imagine the incredulity of the Pharisees when the temple guard returned to them with no prisoner! The guard’s reason for failing to arrest Jesus was they had never heard anyone speak like him (John 7:46). Continue reading “Rejecting Jesus like the Pharisees”

He gave himself for us

Many people will sit in church meetings this Sunday and observe an occurrence they have never understood. It isn’t that they can’t understand it. It is that they have never truly considered what happened.

Before Jesus gave himself to the Jews and the cross, he explained what he was doing. Jesus told his disciples,

“The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the solemn truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains by itself alone. But if it dies, it produces much grain,” (John 12:23-24). Continue reading “He gave himself for us”

Holiness to the Lord

The work of the prophets Haggai and Zechariah was similar. Haggai’s message was plain and simple: the temple would be rebuilt. Zechariah’s message was mainly figurative, wrapped in visions and figurative language. Certainly, the temple would be rebuilt, the nations challenging Judah would be destroyed and Jerusalem would be rebuilt and inhabited by God’s people again. Continue reading “Holiness to the Lord”

The humanity of Jesus

Why did Jesus choose to become human for a while? Why did the timeless one, who was eternal, choose to become time-bound for a few years? When we think about this type of question we can become overwhelmed at the enormity of Jesus coming to the earth as a human being. The writer of the letter to the Hebrews gives us some insight to these questions.

“Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, he likewise shared in their humanity, so that through death he could destroy the one who holds the power of death (that is, the devil), and set free those who were held in slavery all their lives by their fear of death. For surely his concern is not for angels, but he is concerned for Abraham’s descendants. Therefore he had to be made like his brothers and sisters in every respect, so that he could become a merciful and faithful high priest in things relating to God, to make atonement for the sins of the people. For since he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted.” (Hebrews 2:14-18 NET) Continue reading “The humanity of Jesus”

Those who condemned Jesus

“Then the whole group of them rose up and brought Jesus before Pilate. They began to accuse him, saying, ‘We found this man subverting our nation, forbidding us to pay the tribute tax to Caesar and claiming that he himself is Christ, a king.’ So Pilate asked Jesus, ‘Are you the king of the Jews?’ He replied, ‘You say so.’ Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, ‘I find no basis for an accusation against this man.’ But they persisted in saying, ‘He incites the people by teaching throughout all Judea. It started in Galilee and ended up here!’” (Luke 23:1-5 NET)

The events leading up to the execution of Jesus of Nazareth show the extreme hatred that the Jewish leaders had towards him. They wanted rid of Jesus no matter what! They were desperate to find something they could charge him with that would result in his conviction and execution by the Romans. But that was the problem, wasn’t it? Continue reading “Those who condemned Jesus”

Your choice is…

It is common for many people to go into a church building on Sunday and listen to a sermon that sounds very similar to one they’ve heard many times before. The introductions may be different, but the main statements and lessons may seem very similar. This is a common occurrence with preaching the truth.

Jeremiah preached to Judah for 40 years and those people heard the same lesson over and over again. Judah was to face the destruction of their city and their freedom. They needed to repent and obey God. Continue reading “Your choice is…”

Attitude adjustment

As Jesus neared the end of his earthly life, it was time to give the people who loved him and hated him an opportunity for an attitude adjustment.

Lazarus, Jesus’ dear friend, had been sick and had died. The Lord had been away from Judea. Now, he returned to the home of his friends and where his enemies plotted his death. Continue reading “Attitude adjustment”

Rejection by his own

In Luke’s record of Jesus’ life, the Lord’s visit to his hometown of Nazareth would seem to take place just after his immersion and temptation. When we compare this with John’s account it would seem that around a year had passed. During this year were the events recorded in the first few chapters of John: the wedding at Cana, the visit to Jerusalem, and the visit in Samaria. Continue reading “Rejection by his own”