It is a common way, if being in many cultures, to wish a person God’s blessing when they sneeze. A practice of uncertain historic origin, it may derive from the attempt to quell the bubonic plague or it may have found it’s roots in a sense that something of one’s soul departs a person when they sneeze. In any case, to this day it is considered polite to wish a person blessing and not cursing whenever they are sneezing.Read More
Christians are often criticized as extremists. Normally when I hear this I feel offended. When Jesus makes the claim, it is harder to reject.
We really are extreme – at least we ought to be. Perhaps not in some of the ways we are perceived to be, but as faithful citizens of the kingdom of heaven, the label seems appropriate.Read More law, extremes, salt
Sometimes I don’t understand Jesus. Here he has been healing people, blessing people, astonishing people—his ministry is growing. To borrow a phrase from Malcolm Gladwell, Jesus has reached his “tipping point.” It seems a strange time to go to the lake.
It is surprising. Just when things really start to get going Jesus goes on retreat.Read More authority, leadership, confidence
Jesus seems awfully hard on his family in this text. Of course, when your mother and brothers are calling you the instrument of Satan, it might put a strain on the relationship.
We say that “blood is thicker than water” by which we mean that family is the most important relationship of our lives. That might depend upon the quality of one’s family. In my case, the saying seems appropriate, but in families where there has been abuse and abandonment, it might ring a little hollow.Read More family, adoption
The law is a good thing. Laws give us definition. They help us understand the boundaries and keep a check on violence – that is until they themselves become their own kind of violence.
What does one do when the law prohibits one from healing a disease or saving a life? Jean Valjean stole a loaf of bread to feed his starving family. Corrie Ten Boom hid her Jewish neighbors so to save them from the Nazis.Read More Sabbath, law, rest
They say that “timing is everything.” “Here today and gone tomorrow,” the benefits we enjoy today may not endure forever.
The people coming to Jesus were looking for healing. They wanted a better life – a healthier, happier existence. Who doesn’t?
Of course, Jesus does heal them, though his words deny somewhat his actions.Read More blessing, rewards, eternity
Lord, have mercy.
In my experience he does – plenty of it, which is a very good thing for us. The question is whether we will have mercy for anyone else. Having received mercy, can we find it in our heart to extend mercy?
Mercy is getting better than what we have coming. As Jesus says, when you repay money you have been lent, no mercy is required.Read More mercy, kingdom, generosity
I am near-sighted, which is to say that I can well see things that are right in front of my face, while anything more than about ten feet away becomes distorted and unclear. Without the corrective vision provided by my glasses, I would have a hard time making my way in life.
Clearness of vision is critically important to the servant of Christ.Read More grace, perspective, hypocrisy
A foundation always shows – eventually, though not overtly. The foundation lies underground, hidden from direct observation, waiting for its time when it will show its quality. A poorly founded home will appear the same as any other home until it is tested by the storm. It is under pressure that the importance of the foundation will be seen – and the pressure always comes, eventually.
You get what you plant.Read More integrity, foundation