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”

The perils of prosperity

Throughout history people seem to have had the idea that those who were rich would get to heaven and those who were poor would struggle to get there. This seems to have been backed by this idea: the wealth of the rich was evidence that God was blessing them; the poverty of the poor was proof that God was not with them. As attractive as that philosophy has been, it doesn’t take much reading in the Bible to discover that, more often than not, it is the poor who are faithful to God.

This brings us to the young man who came to Jesus who was quite rich. He asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to gain eternal life?” (Matthew 19:16 NET). He had the idea that if he did something good he would be given eternal life. And since he was wealthy, he could afford to do whatever it was that this teacher asked of him. Continue reading “The perils of prosperity”

What did you go to see?

John the Immerser was imprisoned by Herod Antipas about 70 miles from where Jesus was preaching.

John sent some of his disciples to ask Jesus if he was the coming one or not. No one is sure why John did this, but it is understandable since he was about to lose his head for telling the king the truth about his marriage to his brother’s wife.

After answering John’s disciples, Jesus turned to the other people and asked them a question. When they went out to the wilderness, what did they go to see (Luke 7:24-26)? Continue reading “What did you go to see?”

Make time for God

“Now when Jesus heard this he went away from there privately in a boat to an isolated place. But when the crowd heard about it, they followed him on foot from the towns” (Matthew 14:13 NET).

Jesus had just received news of the death of John. We know from Luke 1:36 that their mothers were related, so it may not be speculating too much to suggest that Jesus and John may have known each other as children. Being close in age, if there had been family gatherings they would probably have ended up together. Continue reading “Make time for God”

Jesus did what was right

My wife watches me when we cut grass together. She watches closely. If I start mowing in a way she doesn’t like, she will stop her mower and make hand signals to correct me. I don’t mind. She’s only trying to help.

Jesus was at the synagogue one day and the Scribes and Pharisees were watching him closely. They weren’t watching Jesus to help him. Their motives were darker. Dr. Luke wrote they were watching to see if Jesus would heal someone on the Sabbath. They wanted to accuse him of doing something wrong (Luke 6:7). Continue reading “Jesus did what was right”