This whole chapter is one of nostalgia for the good times of the past. It is the first part of a train of thought that carries through to the end of chapter 31. The past is contrasted with the pain of the present (chapter 30) and a plea of innocence (chapter 31).Read More
Abraham’s part in the divine drama draws to a close (vv 1-11). As he dies the text notes, “God blessed his son Isaac after this.” This is a legacy that every parent desires, that God would watch over our children and assist them to succeed in all the aspects of life that matter.Read More blessing, priorities
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 family, priorities, discipleship, follower, conflict, rewards
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
Since the death of John the Baptist, Jesus has been seeking a place of solitude and rest. Meanwhile, ministry needs have prevailed, to the point where the Twelve don’t even have time to eat (Mark 6:31). This passage opens with Jesus stealing away to a house by the Mediterranean, but even here he’s recognized. A Syrophoenician woman finds him and begs him to heal her daughter.
On first reading, Jesus’ response to the woman seems harsh.Read More mercy, priorities, balance
There are two stages in today’s story. First, the invitations are sent out. A lot of them. People accept. Then, when the day comes, they find they have other things to attend to, more important in their eyes than the feast. Have you ever been in the situation where you had planned something for a crowd of people and in the end only a few showed up? I have and I understand the anger of the man (v 21).
This is how Jesus feels if we “make a decision” and then put other things in front of following him.Read More obedience, priorities, discipleship
The psalmist begins by affirming God’s goodness to his faithful followers (v 1), but he didn’t always feel that way. After all, as he looked around his world, he observed evil people thriving, while he, one of God’s devoted people, struggled. At some point or other in our lives, we have all dealt with these feelings of envy and the sense that God is not fair.Read More priorities, jealousy, the wicked, the temple
Paul is addressing a church that that he had not founded, nor even visited. He longed to visit and teach believers in Rome in person, but he had so far been prevented because he had been so busy preaching the gospel in places where Christ was not yet known. Paul’s agenda consisted simply of fulfilling the mandate that he received from the Lord.Read More priorities, urgent