Cleansing our temple

“The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. And he told those who sold the pigeons, ‘Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.’ His disciples remembered that it was written, ‘Zeal for your house will consume me.’” (John 2:13–17 ESV)

This event seems out of character for Jesus. It is quite a violent scene: animals driven out of the temple courtyard, coins scattered, tables overturned, people ordered to pack up and leave. Continue reading “Cleansing our temple”

Becoming like children

As we read through the accounts of Jesus’ life, it stands out that he took time for those that most people would not spend time with. We find him having meals with tax collectors and prostitutes, people who were rejected by Jewish society for being considered traitors (working for Rome) or sinners. Yet he also spent time with the religious leaders, talking with them and having meals with them. But one group he seems to have always had time for was children.

“Now people were bringing little children to him for him to touch, but the disciples scolded those who brought them. But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me and do not try to stop them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.’ After he took the children in his arms, he placed his hands on them and blessed them” (Mark 10:13-16 NET). Continue reading “Becoming like children”

He came for a reason

Why did Jesus come into the world? There are ten statements Jesus makes explaining why he was here. Five of them are in the gospel written by the apostle John.

Jesus said he had come in his father’s name (John 5:43). This means he came by his father’s authority. If a policeman knocks on someone’s door and shouts, “Open in the name of the law,” he means the door must open by the authority of the law.  Jesus talked a great deal about authority because it was important for people to know who was behind his teaching. Continue reading “He came for a reason”

It’s all about Jesus

There was much that those with Jesus did not understand – at least at the time. One of those was an amazing incident that took place on top of a mountain.

“Six days later Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and brought them to the top of a very high mountain where they were alone. He was transformed in front of them, and his clothes were amazingly bright, brighter than if they had been bleached white. Elijah and Moses appeared and were talking with Jesus. Peter reacted to all of this by saying to Jesus, ‘Rabbi, it’s good that we’re here. Let’s make three shrines—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’ He said this because he didn’t know how to respond, for the three of them were terrified. Then a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice spoke from the cloud, ‘This is my Son, whom I dearly love. Listen to him!’ Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus” (Mark 9:2-8 CEB). Continue reading “It’s all about Jesus”

Jesus can forgive

When Jesus began to teach and interact with the Jewish people, he did not avoid doing things which would have been viewed as controversial. When you read throughout the gospels, you get the impression that he often said or did things that he knew would provoke a reaction among the Jewish religious leaders.

Why would he do this? Why would Jesus, who advocated living peaceful lives, intentionally stir up controversy? Of course, we need to remember that not only did Jesus say that he came to bring peace (see John 14:27 and John 16:33) his coming would also bring strife (Matthew 10:34-38). Continue reading “Jesus can forgive”

Worse than the first

Jesus began Luke chapter 11 giving us an example of prayer. He continued teaching his disciples that God is keenly interested in giving his people what they need, but that they must also keep asking him, keep seeking him and keep knocking on the door.

After the Pharisees accused Jesus of casting out demons by the prince of demons, the Lord turned to them and told them that if that were true, they had nothing to worry about: he was sure to fail. But if what he was doing had God’s approval, then the kingdom of heaven had truly come. Continue reading “Worse than the first”

Go and do the same

A lawyer asked a medical examiner, “Doctor, how many autopsies have you performed on dead people?” The medical examiner smiled and said, “All of them. The live ones put up too much of a fight.”

There are all kinds of attorneys, aren’t there? There are good ones, inept ones, experienced, inexperienced. It’s just like every other work in life, isn’t it?

A lawyer asked Jesus a question one day: “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus, in Luke chapter 10, simply asked him what the law said. The expert in the law quoted the Shema which instructed one to love God with all one’s heart, soul, mind and strength and to love one’s neighbor. This scribe answered the question correctly. Jesus said he did. Continue reading “Go and do the same”

Two examples of faith

Jesus was in Capernaum, a city on the Sea of Galilee he called home.

When Jesus was in Capernaum the people usually acted as if he was nothing special. After all, wasn’t he the son of Joseph? Didn’t they know him (John 6:42)?

On this occasion, many of the people of Capernaum were waiting for Jesus (Luke 8:40) and they were excited to see him.

There are two others waiting for Jesus. Continue reading “Two examples of faith”

What are we doing?

In Matthew 25 Jesus tells three stories about the need to be ready for judgment, although the third looks to be giving us information about what will happen more than it is a story. Contextually, these are connected with his teaching about Jerusalem’s fall from chapter 24. But there are good lessons for us as we live our lives today.

The judgment scene in Matthew 25:31-46 is one which probably raised some eyebrows when the disciples heard what Jesus said. From the emphasis we often have – or don’t have – in our lives, perhaps it should raise some eyebrows today, as well! Continue reading “What are we doing?”

A worthless tree

“Early in the morning, as Jesus was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, ‘May you never bear fruit again!’ Immediately the tree withered” (Matthew 21:18-19 NIV).

This incident may seem a bit strange and quite harsh to us. It was early morning and Jesus was travelling back to Jerusalem with his disciples. He was hungry – after all, it was breakfast time. They saw a fig tree and went over to it, but there were no figs on it. So Jesus, basically, cursed the tree: “May you never bear fruit again!” Why did Jesus do this? Continue reading “A worthless tree”