Jesus had just left Samaria where many had put their faith in him. On his way to Cana, he met an unnamed man. The text says the man was an “official,” a member of King Herod’s court. Herod was considered by most Jews to be a poser “King of Israel” installed by the pagan Romans. This man came and asked Jesus to heal his dying son.Read More
“Do you want to be healed?” The first time I read this passage I thought what a dumb question! Was Jesus being dense? Of course he wants to be healed! He has been sick for thirty-eight years, beside a pool believed to heal anyone who can be the first to enter it after the waters move. Why would he be there if he didn’t want to be healed? What a strange question. So often when we cry out to God and are denied, we complain, like the man in the story did.Read More prayer, trust
My boys loved Sesame Street. Thus, I have watched a lot of Sesame Street shows. One of my favorite songs was the song that helped children group things. Perhaps you know it? “One of these things is not like the others. One of these things just doesn’t belong. Can you tell me which thing is not like the others by the time I finish my song?”Read More truth, revelation
When we hear the question, “do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?” we recognize that the setting is a courtroom and the person taking the oath is giving testimony. Today’s passage has a similar setting which is often missed by the distance between our two cultures. It presupposes a Jewish law court where evidence must be provided by the witness of others rather than oneself.Read More witness, testimony, behaviour
I remember a story a former pastor of mine once told about a local department store prank. It seems that someone had broken into the store and, though they hadn’t stolen anything, had randomly gone throughout the store switching the price tags so that they no longer had any correlation between price and value. A generic baseball cap was priced at $999.99 while a luxury suit was priced at $4.99Read More priorities, law, identity markers
As people living in a post-Christian world, whenever we read about healings in the Scriptures our thinking often goes to debates about Jesus’ divinity or evidences that Scripture is true. But, as important as these debates might have been, they can take our mind off what is most important in Scripture by diverting our attention to what is most important to us.
Did you notice the connection made between Jesus’ healing ministry and Isaiah’s servant bringing about justice?Read More justice, healing, priorities, restoration
This passage gives us a strange and even intriguing picture of forgiveness. Most often forgiveness is portrayed as God’s response to our confession of sins. In this passage we see something very different. Here it is not because of the crippled man’s faith that Jesus pronounces him forgiven but rather the faith of the man’s friends: “When Jesus saw how much faith they had…”Read More faith, forgiveness, friendship
The disciples of John and the Pharisees are at odds with the disciples of Jesus. In accordance with Scripture, the disciples of John (and the Pharisees) regularly fast. All faithful Jews do. That’s what Scripture teaches. But the disciples of Jesus do not. Why? Isn’t Jesus teaching them to obey the Scriptures?Read More fasting, newness
The Christian life is difficult, even with God’s Word to guide us. Not only does our own sinfulness get in the way, but his guidance is so easily abused by those we look to as leaders.
This was certainly the case in ancient Israel as the Pharisees, zealous to lead the people of God, distorted the meaning and purpose of Scripture. Sabbath observance was at the core of Jewish faith.Read More life, Sabbath, rules, missing the point