To us a “fool” is a silly person; in the Old Testament a fool was someone who turned away from God, rejected his wisdom and chose not to follow him. You wouldn’t expect godly talk from a person like that. But still less would you expect a ruler to lie.Read More
“She gave birth to her firstborn, a son . . .” Such a simple description of an event that’s happened millions of times in this world. Except that this time it was unique. Earth changing.
Luke the historian frames the story in the political history of the day. Augustus, the adopted son of Julius Caesar and the Roman Emperor, had ordered a census. Joseph, in obedience to the Roman authorities, had gone back to his ancestral town to register. Augustus, who by an iron hand had brought peace to the whole empire, was in control.Read More birth, history, kingdom, poverty
Luke’s story of how Jesus was born ends with two more anecdotes which connect the present (Mary and Joseph’s present) with the past. Mary and Joseph were God-fearing Jews, who took Jesus to be circumcised when he was a week old, and returned to the Temple when it came time for Mary to be purified.Read More Holy Spirit, light
We have not finished with Simeon. As he blessed the young family he also, under the inspiration of the Spirit, added words that introduce the first ominous hint into Luke’s story. Jesus is the promised Messiah, yes, but the light of his truth introduces a foreshadowing of conflict. Mary will suffer, beyond anything we can imagine, as she watched her own dearly loved son, crucified. The blessing comes with unspeakable pain.Read More freedom, service, suffering
This account of the 12-year-old Jesus is not found in any of the other gospels. In the story we see Mary and Joseph’s commitment to their faith as they went to Jerusalem for the Passover every year. Though this was required of every Jew, few could afford the finances and time to make the trip.
According to the Mishnah, the first major work of Rabbinic Judaism, Jesus’ religious instruction would have become more intense at the age of 12.Read More learning, parents, Passover
As we read the life of David, we are made aware that he was often attacked by his enemies and often on the run for his life. Psalm 86 is David’s prayer in a time of great trial. His violent enemies have conspired to kill him. While many of us may never know this level of threat, still we have times of desperation and can discern much from him. What do we do when we are hard pressed, threatened or under attack?Read More dependence, refuge, strength, weakness