Most of us have not-so-fond memories of some authority figure sitting us down to explain “the way it is.” We’d rather live in our own fantasy than in what we see as someone else’s reality, but Jesus has unique authority when he speaks of reality. Before he sent his disciples out on their first ministry assignment, he gave them (and us) a reality check. Some of what he told his disciples doesn’t fit well with the fantasies by which people prefer to live.Read More
In these few verses we have a powerful and sobering narrative. The words and works of Jesus are affirmations that the promised kingdom has arrived. Resistance to the message of the kingdom has serious consequences. Those in the crowds did not like what they were hearing and they “demonized” the messengers. Jesus now zeroes in on more egregious examples of this resistance to the good news that the kingdom has come.Read More discipleship, indifference, radical obedience, responsibility
It comes as a bit of a surprise that the scribes and Pharisees would ask for a sign. Surely healing the blind, raising the dead, and casting out of demons, should count for something. How can they miss what is going on through the words and works of Jesus? Well, perhaps through stubbornness, blindness and the wish to hang on to their own version of things rather than be disrupted by an alternative.Read More discipleship, self-centredness, sign
Wisdom begins with an understanding of God—who he is and how he responds to the world around us. In Jesus, we have the perfect example of who God is. Seeing the world through God’s eyes requires us to know him personally through his Son. We can do this by having a living relationship with Jesus and reading the Bible.Read More discipleship, success, values
The whole structure and flow of the Gospel change with this paragraph. “From that time on…” Matthew used the same expression in chapter 4:17 as the Gospel began to move from John the Baptist to Jesus. Now it moves to the culmination of the story that Matthew wants to tell. The immediate future does not look bright.
Peter is front and center and will stay there for the next several years.Read More discipleship, Kingdom of God, self-interest
The whole structure and flow of the Gospel change with this paragraph. “He then began to teach them…” The Gospel moved from John the Baptist to Jesus and all the encounters we have read since chapter three. Now we move to the culmination of the story that Mark wants to tell. The immediate future does not look bright.
Peter is front and center once again and will stay there for the next several years.Read More discipleship, self-interest
Joshua looks up and sees a man with a drawn sword. It is not designated as a vision and Joshua does not treat it as a vision. He walks toward the man and speaks to him, asking him “Whose side are you on?” The one-word answer is pivotal to the story and to all of life. “Neither.” The question, as others have said, should be “Whose side am I on?” for we face Christ on holy ground, the Lord of history and the Lord of our lives.Read More discipleship, obedience, self-centredness
Finally the wars were coming to an end and Joshua is gradually distributing the land to the various tribes so that they can settle down. A familiar name comes up again in this story – the name of Caleb. Caleb had been with the people of Israel when they left Egypt. He was present when God divided the waters of the Red Sea. He was one of the twelve spies who had been sent out to survey the land and one of the only two who stood with Joshua in their recommendation to press on into the promised land with the profound belief that God was with them.Read More courage, discipleship, faith, fear, wilderness
Weddings are incredible occasions. A while back, I officiated at my son’s wedding. What an enormous moment, leading two young people in love through their vows to love, honour, and cherish one another, no matter what comes their way. The promises a couple makes on their wedding day are almost shocking in their boldness.
It would be even more shocking, though, if a couple didn’t make those promises to each other on their wedding day.Read More commitment, discipleship, love
And now what? David was in a difficult position. He knew that Samuel had anointed him to be king, and that Samuel was acting from God. Saul may be dead, but he had many supporters who were still living. How was this supposed to work out?
David was careful.Read More character, discipleship, leadership