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”
There are many things that can “fill us up.” Fried chicken can fill one up. Marital love can fill one up. Our vocation in life can often come pretty close to filling us up in several ways.
The apostle Paul had a wish for the members of the church at Ephesus. He wrote, “That you may be filled up to all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19b). One might achieve that by learning the breadth, length, height, and depth of the love of Christ, which, he said, surpasses knowledge. Continue reading “Christ’s love from all sides”
Good parents in every country of the world have one thing in common: they want their children to become happy and productive people. To send the children on their way, parents teach their idea of success life. Sometimes that idea does not bear the best fruit.
God wants his children to learn how they can achieve true happiness, and his only son, Jesus, communicated his wishes in the “Sermon on the Mount” in Matthew chapters 5-7. Jesus’ sermon is more than platitudes. It is not a speech designed to please people. Instead, it is the ultimate parent’s love, and intelligence poured into a message designed to teach people the righteousness that exceeds. Continue reading “The true formula for happiness”
The events of Mark chapter 10 are probably very close to the time Jesus would be arrested, tried, convicted, and crucified. One would think the disciples would grow more introspective, but that was not the case.
James and John came to Jesus to ask him to seat them on his left and right hands, positions of honor, and authority. Jesus told them they misunderstood what they were asking. Continue reading “Serving as slaves”
By Johnny O. Trail — One radio station in Nashville does nothing but talk radio. As an avid listener to talk radio, I am always interested in the questions and comments of those who call in to the radio station. On one show in particular, the host deals with e-mails that are sent in by listeners. Last week, one e-mail in particular caught my attention. The lady who sent the e-mail asked the host, “How do I choose a church?”
The host then gave her some suggestions for finding a church to suit her needs. He proceeded to tell her to look at churches as communities and that she simply needed to find one that had people who most met her needs for friendship. Continue reading “How do I choose a church?”
While teaching in the temple, Jesus said something that probably interested the Pharisees and Scribes who were likely there. Jesus asked, “How was it that the experts in the law said Christ is David’s son?”
Jesus was not trying to show that he was better than David. He was trying to show his listeners the Messiah was greater than David. How could that be since he descended from David? The answer is because the Messiah is divine, not human. Continue reading “Jesus the Messiah”
Of the churches Jesus mentioned in Revelation chapters two and three, his most pointed remarks concerned the lukewarm members at Laodicea.
Laodicea, in Greek literature known as Laodikeia, was a city of Romans, Phrygians, and Syrians. It was known as a producer of a powder used to treat diseases of the eyes, probably why the Lord Jesus advised them to “buy eye salve to put on your eyes so you can see” (Revelation 3:18). Their materialism had blinded them to what was truly important: the service of God. Continue reading “Behold, I stand at the door and knock”
The disciples of Jesus were a study in contrasts.
In Luke 10, 70 of them went to tell others the kingdom of heaven was at hand. They returned with great joy, informing the Master that even the demons were subject to them (Luke 10:17).
Fast forward to Jesus’ arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, and another picture emerges. Continue reading “Standing with Jesus”
Jesus was urged to stop and eat, to which he replied, “I have food to eat that you do not know about” (John 4:32, NASB).
The disciples were befuddled. One can imagine them scratching their heads, looking around for Jesus’ secret stash of goodies: “No one brought Him anything to eat, did he?” (John 4:33).
Then he said, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work” (John 4:34). Continue reading “Jesus’ Favorite Food”
As the United States fought the Axis powers in World War II, scientists discovered splitting one of the tiniest particles of matter, an atom of Uranium, would yield enormous power. The atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima was the most powerful explosion known.
Who could have realized splitting something as small as an atom would create such a terrible result? The explosion over Hiroshima killed thousands of people. Another bomb dropped on Nagasaki had the same effect.
There is power in small things. Continue reading “The power of faith”