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?”

Who is this man?

Jesus was travelling through Samaria with his disciples. While his disciples went into the city to buy something to eat, Jesus sat down at the well. A woman came to draw water.

Jesus surprised the woman by asking her for something to drink. This was surprising to the woman for two reasons. First, this man was speaking to her, a woman, in public – that just wasn’t done. And secondly, this man was a Jew and she was a Samaritan – Jews did not have time for Samaritans. So she asked him, “How can you – a Jew – ask me, a Samaritan woman, for water to drink?” (John 4:9 NET). Continue reading “Who is this man?”

The Kingdom

Behold the kingdom of God is in the midst of you” (Luke 17:21).

The Jews of the first century made a fundamental mistake. They expected the Messiah to come to earth and establish a physical, earthly kingdom.

Jesus was, it seems, always trying to tamp this expectation down. When he fed the five thousand, they tried to make him king, and he had to escape their poorly directed fervor (John 6:15). When Pilate asked whether he was a king, he had to explain that his kingdom was “not of this world” (John 18:36). Continue reading “The Kingdom”

What should we do?

It is late May, the Day of Pentecost. The past few months have been momentous. Almost two months ago the prophet from Nazareth was executed – crucified – by the Romans, although we hear it was instigated by the Jewish leaders. Yet within days many of his followers were saying that he had come back from the dead. Some claimed to have seen him within the past few weeks! You can’t help but wonder what might happen at Pentecost.

Jews from all over the world have come home for this great Jewish festival. It is now about nine o’clock on Sunday morning. Many have gathered for the morning sacrifice and prayers. Suddenly, we hear the sound of a great gust of wind but, strangely, we can’t feel even a breeze stirring the air. Continue reading “What should we do?”

Who got what?

Jacob’s life was nearing its end. Like his father before him, it was time to give the family blessing before he died. “Jacob called for his sons and said, ‘Gather together so I can tell you what will happen to you in the future. Assemble and listen, you sons of Jacob; listen to Israel, your father.’” (Genesis 49:1-2 NET). Although it was his blessing to his sons, like Isaac’s blessing there contained an element of the prophetic about it – he would be stating what would happen in their future. Continue reading “Who got what?”

Red sky at night, shepherds delight…

Most of the family holidays we took as our children were growing up were camping holidays – we had a tent big enough for the family and off we would go to see some new area of Scotland or England, and occasionally Wales.

One summer we went to Ireland. Our children were in their teens and it had been a particularly wet week. They had been wanting to go to the beach and we were camping within easy reach of several nice sheltered beaches. (Keep in mind that the north Atlantic feels like it has ice in it in the middle of summer!) Continue reading “Red sky at night, shepherds delight…”

Jesus, the Son of God

“Now because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began persecuting him. So he told them, ‘My Father is working until now, and I too am working.’ For this reason the Jewish leaders were trying even harder to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was also calling God his own Father, thus making himself equal with God” (John 5:16-18 NET).

Jesus was in Jerusalem because of a “feast of the Jews” (John 5:1). Although which feast is not specified in the text, most scholars take this to be Passover. If this is true, one year had now passed since the first Passover recorded in John 2, when Jesus cleared the temple. He would have two more Passovers, two more years, before his crucifixion. While in Jerusalem, Jesus did two things which angered the Jewish leaders. Continue reading “Jesus, the Son of God”

Tell no one until…

After witnessing the Transfiguration of Jesus on the mountain, the Lord commanded his three disciples not to tell anyone what they had seen until after he had been resurrected from the dead (Matthew 17:9 NASB).

Jesus had commanded his disciples to be silent on other occasions (e.g. Matthew 8:4; 9:30; 12:16; and 16:20). Jesus’ reason for this was most probably because of the tendency some people had (and still have) for jumping to an incorrect conclusion. Continue reading “Tell no one until…”