It would appear that being focused on your own agenda and doing things your own way are hallmarks of foolishness, as far as God is concerned. Strangely, many aspects of our contemporary society laud exactly that kind of approach. We value take-charge people who are certain that their way is the only way. A great many of our “heroes” on the screen or field of competition are iconoclasts who march only to their own internal drummer.Read More
No one enjoys hanging out with the wrong crowd, whatever crowd that may be. Different people do not mix easily, even when occupying the same space.
No one would choose a tax collector to befriend the Jewish populace. Many Jews considered tax collectors to be dishonest in financial matters and traitors to their own nations, as these taxes were given over into Roman hands.Read More sin, friends, forgiveness, change
The Law is Servant to the Master
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
Eternity is Everything
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 eternity, blessing, rewards
Fathers and Sons
Luke traces Jesus’ lineage through the paternal line (unlike Matthew, who traces it through the maternal line, with some startling surprises). Luke produces a pedigree of fathers and sons. The single dominant refrain of the entire passage: “he was the son of….”
Maybe nothing locates us as quickly and precisely in the human story as that little prepositional clause, the son of…. So much distils into that.Read More acceptance, redemption
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
Looking Straight at Him
“Everyone in the meeting place looked straight at Jesus.”
That’s a good posture, looking straight at Jesus. Whatever we bring to that gaze – adoration, curiosity, puzzlement – the face of Christ is the world’s best focal point. Everything else gets clearer, sometimes by fading away entirely, when we cast our eyes upon him. This is the heart of worship, looking straight at him.Read More worship, renewal
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 perspective, hypocrisy, grace
Friends Like That
Betrayal. From the time Cain lured Abel into the fields, only to turn on his brother in a jealous rage, (Genesis 4:1-16) betrayal at the hands of a loved one has been a recurrent theme through the ages. It was no different for King David. While there is no exact date attached to this psalm, it could very well have been David’s troubled cry when Absalom, a favourite son, attempted to overthrow his father’s kingdom, along with one of David’s once-trusted advisors (2 Samuel 15-17).Read More trust, betrayal, friendship