“The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, as it is written in Isaiah the prophet: ‘I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way’ – ‘a voice of one calling in the wilderness, “Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.”’” (Mark 1:1-3 NIV)
Mark began his good news about Jesus connecting him with the Jewish prophets. And notice that this is ‘good news’! He identified Jesus as the Messiah, the son of God, and the one Isaiah wrote about: there would be a messenger sent to prepare the way for the Messiah. This messenger would be a voice calling in the wilderness. Continue reading “A voice calling in the wilderness”
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”
Purple on purple. There’s no better color combination, in my purple-loving mind! The pansies planted in the fall are a nice complement to the spring-blooming Ruby Giant crocus, which are decidedly NOT ruby-colored.
The Yard Boy spotted the first bloom, and so it seemed like it would be a good time to clean up that bed — for two reasons. First, It’s more fun to work in an area that is about to bust out in luscious color; and second, it’s a smart idea to have it tidied up before full blooms are in danger of damage by garden tools. Continue reading “Doing our level best”
“When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to ask him, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?’ Jesus replied, ‘Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me’” (Matthew 11:2-6 NIV).
Can you imagine what John must have been going through? When Jesus came to him at the Jordan to be immersed he had seen the Spirit descend on Jesus like a dove, identifying him as the promised Messiah. Yet if Jesus was the Messiah, why was John in prison? And why was Jesus doing nothing about it? So he sent his followers to ask Jesus if he really was the Messiah. Continue reading “Accepting who Jesus is”
“A single witness shall not suffice against a person for any crime or for any wrong in connection with any offence that he has committed. Only on the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses shall a charge be established” (Deuteronomy 19:15 ESV).
As the nation of Israel approached the Promised Land, God insured that they would have a fair system of justice. One aspect of this was that eye-witness testimony was only good if it could be corroborated. It wasn’t enough just to have one person testify against someone else.
There was a good reason for this. One person might give false evidence because he did not like the person. There was even a part of the law to deal with this. Continue reading “What is our verdict?”
One hour’s worth of work in the skin-scouring cold wind, and all I had to show for it was one six-pack of pansies planted under the cherry tree.
It’s not that I’m slow; well, not really. It’s not that I was digging great big holes for each one, and carefully spreading the roots around a soil mound concocted of a precise mix of humus and organic fertilizers and soil conditioners. Continue reading “Prep work”
It’s easy to understand why John was confused. When he baptized his cousin Jesus, he had been shown that this was the long-anticipated Messiah. But now John was in prison and Jesus wasn’t doing anything to win his release. Had John been mistaken? Was Jesus really who John thought he was?
John sent two of his followers to ask Jesus bluntly: “Are you the coming one, or do we look for another?” (Luke 7:20, NKJV).
Jesus responded by performing mighty deeds in the sight of these men: “And that very hour he cured many of infirmities, afflictions, and evil spirits; and to many blind he gave sight” (v. 21). It was a demonstration of deeds that no human could produce without divine empowerment. Continue reading “Divine Evidence”