As we look at the conversation Jesus had with his disciples in the upper room, we can understand some of the frustration they were having. Jesus had been their teacher for a few years. They had travelled around as his pupils, learning from him. But they could feel that something was about to happen. He had washed their feet. He had talked about bread and wine representing his body and blood. And he kept talking about going away.
“Do not let your hearts be distressed. You believe in God; believe also in me. There are many dwelling places in my Father’s house. Otherwise, I would have told you, because I am going away to make ready a place for you. And if I go and make ready a place for you, I will come again and take you to be with me, so that where I am you may be too. And you know the way where I am going.” Thomas said, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going. How can we know the way?” (John 14:1-5 NET) Continue reading “Jesus is the way”
The Pharisees asked Jesus questions sometimes trying to catch him in one of their traps. They attempted this in Matthew chapter 22 with a question about taxes. The Herodians were with them for their purposes.
If Jesus said he was in favor of taxes, then the Pharisees could accuse him before the people for being pro-Roman. If Jesus opposed taxes, then the Herodians would report his disloyalty to Herod Antipas, who was Rome’s authority. Continue reading “Whose son is he?”
Jesus’ popularity was growing due to both his miraculous signs and his teaching. When over 5,000 ended up being out too late to find food, Jesus fed them with five barley loaves and two fish. Then Jesus left.
The next day they caught up with him in the synagogue in Capernaum (John 6:59). This developed into a conversation with Jesus talking on a ‘spiritual’ level about who he was but the people understanding his words on a ‘physical’ level. They really could not comprehend what he was saying. Continue reading “The bread of life”
How does one achieve glory? Humans think glory means to exalt self above others, and so people have tried to find a way to become the most exalted on earth.
Many used politics to find a route to glory by becoming a ruler. Others accumulated wealth as a way to find themselves exalted and enshrined in memory. Others have simply dominated others in an attempt to gain it. All of them have failed because they never understood what glory is. Continue reading “The road to glory”
How sad it is when Christians begin to compete with each other. Perhaps we want to have the largest congregation or to baptize the most people. Sometimes Christians will belittle the good work another is doing or even spread gossip and lies about them, all to try to make themselves look better or more important. But this is not what being a Christian is about nor is it what Jesus died for.
There was the potential for this to happen between Jesus’ disciples and John’s disciples when Jesus first began teaching. Both Jesus and John were in the same area and people were going to both to be immersed. John’s followers were concerned about this. After all, John was there first. Surely John should be concerned. Continue reading “It isn’t about numbers”
“…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”
The day the temple was dedicated, God’s glorious presence filled his house (2 Chronicles 5:14; 7:1-3). It was a momentous day filled with praise, sacrifice, and feasting. God was with his people. But times would not always be so good. In a preview of Israel’s fickle ways, God promised that if they would humble themselves, repent, and pray, then God would forgive them.
God’s glory would remain in his house through many difficult days. But a time came when no repentance was forthcoming, and a cleansing needed to occur. The last resort, a carrying away of the people into captivity, had already begun. Soon the house would be toppled by foreign invaders. Continue reading “When the glory of God returned”
“Who do men say that I the Son of Man am?” (Matthew 16:13).
The replies to Jesus’ question were varied: “John the Baptist.” “Elijah.” “Jeremiah.” “One of the prophets.”
Today, the replies still vary: Continue reading “Who is Jesus?”
Have you ever lost something and couldn’t find it? You search your entire house and even start looking in the same places again because you know it has to be there somewhere, but you just can’t find it.
What do you do when you find it? You are overjoyed – in fact you may be ecstatic! I’ve found it! And you have to tell someone (isn’t it the nature of good news that it has to be shared with others?). Continue reading “Lost and found”
“Now Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing around him to hear the word of God. He saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gotten out of them and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then Jesus sat down and taught the crowds from the boat.” (Luke 5:1-3 NET)
Jesus’ popularity was growing. Just standing by the lake (we know this lake better as the ‘Sea of Galilee’) caused a crowd to gather around him. They were eager to hear him teach more from God’s word. We aren’t given an exact location for this scene, but as Simon is there we are fairly safe to assume this was near Capernaum at the north of the lake. Continue reading “Leaving everything to follow Jesus”