Want to see love?

Brightly colored ribbons were tied around precious packages for family and friends. Wonderful holiday feasts warmed guests inside only to be matched by the love shown and shared.

Want to see real love? Let’s go straight to the cross.

Jesus had been tried by the Jews, but they knew their accusations against him would have no traction with Pilate, so they made up different ones. After a cursory examination of Jesus, Pilate could find no fault and told the Jews and sent Jesus to Herod. Herod sent him back without charge (Luke 23:15). Continue reading “Want to see love?”

Why didn’t they believe?

What would it have been like to be the first to discover that Jesus’ tomb was empty? With all that Jesus had said about his rising on the third day, you might think that the apostles excitedly camped out the night before at the tomb awaiting Jesus’ resurrection. But that was not what happened!.

It was a group of women who discovered that the tomb was empty early that Sunday morning. They went to tell the apostles and all his followers that he was no longer in the tomb. “But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them” (Luke 24:11 ESV). Continue reading “Why didn’t they believe?”

History’s Mysteries, Revealed (2)

“The time is fulfilled…the kingdom is at hand” (Mark 1:15).

(the previous article in this series can be found here)

Just recently, this writer attended a funeral of an 82-year old woman. Among other qualities and talents, she was a quilt-maker. She made over 50 beautiful and personalized quilts for her loved ones during her life. Many were made entirely by hand. Many of them were on display near the casket.

Like some people, she had previously related to her family a few preferences for her funeral, like her favorite passage of Scripture. But she had a rather unique wish as well: she hoped it would snow on the day of her burial. As uncomfortable as this would be for her attendees, she hoped that they might all gather ’round the grave site, wrapped in the quilts she gave them. Continue reading “History’s Mysteries, Revealed (2)”

Leaving the heart’s door open

The chief priests and the scribes wanted Jesus dead.

But, these kinds of things are delicate. The Sanhedrin didn’t have the power to put a man to death — only the Romans could do that — and Jesus was innocent and not worthy of any sentence at all.

Importantly, the enemies of Jesus needed a way to make sure they had their man. They needed someone who knew Jesus to hand him over to them. Accuse the wrong man and the Romans would be less likely to listen next time. In addition, the scribes and priests knew the people supported Jesus. The religious leaders couldn’t just take the Lord into custody. Riots may ensue. Continue reading “Leaving the heart’s door open”

The helper

Have you ever wondered how the apostles and writers of the good news of Jesus were able to record all the things he did while teaching and helping people? Not only did Matthew, Mark, Luke and John record the events of Jesus’ life, but they did it without contradicting each other.

How did Peter, Paul, James, Jude, and John know what to write in the letters they sent to the first Christians? How did they know what Jesus wanted written down about living the Christian life, not only for those living then but also for those who would be Christians in the future? Again, they did it without contradicting the other writers. Continue reading “The helper”

History’s mysteries, revealed (1)

“The time is fulfilled…the kingdom is at hand” (Mark 1:15).

In each of the gospels, there is a first recorded utterance in the public ministry of Jesus. John and Luke provide interesting complements: “What are you seeking?” (John 1:38), and, “Why were you looking for me?” (Luke 2:49).

Matthew and Mark also complement one another. They record the crux of the Messiah’s message: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17), and, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). Continue reading “History’s mysteries, revealed (1)”

Seeing as clearly as a blind man

There was a man in Jerusalem who was born blind. One Sabbath Jesus stopped as he was passing by. While his followers argued over why the man was blind, Jesus made mud from his own saliva and the dust on the ground, put it on the blind man’s eyelids, and told him, “Go wash in the pool of Siloam” (John 9:7 NET). The blind man made his way there, washed the mud off his eyes, and came back seeing. He had been healed!

His neighbors could tell there was something different about him. Some weren’t sure if it was really him, but the man kept insisting that it really was. That led to the obvious question: “How then were you made to see?” (John 9:10). The man then told his neighbors what had happened. They wanted to meet Jesus for themselves, but the formerly blind man did not know where he had gone (after all, he had been blind and had gone to wash off the mud). Continue reading “Seeing as clearly as a blind man”

Who was he?

People today are divided in their consideration of who Jesus is. Some believe that he was a good teacher, but that is as far as they are willing to consider him. Others believe he was an imposter. Some even believe that he never existed. Still others maintain that he is who he said he was: the Messiah and the son of God.

That people are divided in their view of Jesus today should not surprise us when we realize that even when Jesus lived on the earth people were divided over who he was. Continue reading “Who was he?”

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”