Shepherds. Have you ever wondered why the first people beyond the family to hear about Jesus’ birth were shepherds? It’s all part of the great reversal that Jesus brings. As Mary had said, “He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.”Read More
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 light, Holy Spirit
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 suffering, freedom, service
This story amazes me. In Acts 13:22 Paul describes David as “a man after God’s own heart” and here we see why. The man who wrote “The Lord is my shepherd” had learned in his life leading the sheep that he was in turn led by God. But it is one thing to say this, and quite another to put it into practice. Especially in times of stress.
It is part of the bigger story that runs through chapters 24-26.Read More faith, patience, meekness
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, leadership, discipleship
“It’s wise to be patient and show what you are like by forgiving others” (v 11).
Among these five verses which seem to have little connection with one another, we find this gem. The English Standard Version reads “Good sense makes one slow to anger.” These words are rich in meaning. I can imagine someone being “patient” while gritting their teeth, checking their watch (or iPhone).Read More anger, forgiveness, love, patience, maturity
This part of Luke continues the section that began at 12:1, where Jesus warned the crowds of the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, who clung to him in the hope that they would catch him out in something he said (11:13-12:1). He was now surrounded by huge crowds.
We don’t know anything more about the incident related here, of Pilate ordering the massacre of Jews while they were offering sacrifice, presumably in the Temple.Read More sin, judgment, suffering, mercy
“Aha! We’ve caught him, breaking the law.” The law – everything in Leviticus and Deuteronomy – says that you should not work on the Sabbath. In the Ten Commandments God specifies that the seventh day belongs to the Lord and that means that both Jew and Gentile (and even animals!) should worship and rest. That means no work. It’s built into the way the world has been made (Genesis 2:1-3; Exodus 20:8-11).Read More compassion, worship, Sabbath, rest
I remember once being present when people were discussing whether, if Jesus were among us today, he would agree to being interviewed on T.V. It was an interesting discussion.
The Jews expected God’s kingdom to be launched with a big fanfare. It’s easy to see why. Passages like Zechariah 14:9: (“The Lord will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one Lord, and his name the only name.”) They looked forward to a day when God would rule.Read More kingdom, big numbers