Monthly Archives: April 2014

John 6:60-71 — The One who gives offense

I wonder what it is exactly that gave the Jews offense as they listened to Jesus.  It’s very possible that they simply didn’t understand what Jesus was saying and were taking his words literally, instead of figuratively as he meant … Continue reading

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John 6:22-65 — “Working” for true bread

This is one of the more powerful passages in scripture, but it is also a somewhat difficult one. After Jesus fed the 5000, they wanted Jesus to become their king, and so he left.  When they found him, Jesus admonished … Continue reading

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Matthew 14:22-36; Mark 6:45-56; John 6:16-21 — Doubting Jesus

As I was looking through the three gospel accounts of this story, there are a lot of things that struck me. First, the balance that Jesus kept in his life.  That though he would often sacrifice his needs to meet the … Continue reading

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Matthew 10:40-42 — The “great” and the “small”

It’s interesting to me how Jesus finishes this discourse.  He tells the disciples that if people receive them, they are receiving him.  The reverse is also true.  When people reject us because of the gospel, they aren’t merely rejecting us, … Continue reading

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Matthew 10:32-39 — A sword that divides

Jesus concludes his discourse on persecution by saying something a bit disturbing. Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth.  I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.  For I have come to turn “a … Continue reading

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Matthew 10:14-31 — When persecution comes

Persecution. Not a pleasant word.  And not something that I really want to go through.  But one thing that the Bible warns us is that it will come.  Paul warns us in 2 Timothy 3:12, In fact, everyone who wants … Continue reading

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Matthew 10:1-25 — Trying to be loved by all

I was reading Matthew 10 with my wife last night, and I realized that I had meant to come back to this passage in a bit more detail, and never did.  So before I move on, let’s go back a … Continue reading

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Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:30-44; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:5-13 — Though we may have little…

I have probably read or heard this passage a billion times, so it’s always exciting when God gives me a new way of looking at a passage. Jesus’ disciples had just come back from their mission trip, and were probably … Continue reading

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Matthew 14:1-12; Mark 6:14-29; Luke 9:7-9 — I respect you, but…

As I look at this passage, Herod is a puzzle to me.  He apparently wasn’t happy with John the Baptist when John condemned him for taking his (that is, Herod’s) brother’s wife and marrying her.  It’s possible he would never have done … Continue reading

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Matthew 10-11:1; Mark 6:6-13, 30; Luke 9:1-6, 10 — Discipleship: The spiritual and the practical

Happy Resurrection Sunday people west of Japan!  🙂  I hope you enjoy yours as much as I did mine.  I’m now back blogging after a short one day break. Anyway, as I look at how Jesus discipled his men, he … Continue reading

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Matthew 10:1-4; Mark 6:6-7; Luke 9:1-2 — A tare in the wheatfield

As I look at this passage, for some reason, Judas sticks out to me.  Jesus called his 12 disciples to go out and minister to the people of Israel.  Look at what he did.  He gave them the authority to … Continue reading

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Matthew 9:35-38 — Seeing the harvest

Lots of things to see in this passage. Jesus went.  He went out to preach the good news, to touch, and to heal those who were hurting. Jesus saw.  So many times we see people, but we don’t really see them. … Continue reading

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Matthew 13:53-58; Mark 6:1-6 — When people we love refuse our testimony

I mentioned before that there were two times Jesus was amazed.  The first time was when he saw a Roman centurion’s great faith (Matthew 8:5-13). The second time was here.  Jesus, by this point, had become well known throughout the … Continue reading

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Matthew 9:27-34 — What Jesus can do, and what he can’t

I had to do a double-take here as I read through these two stories because they are so similar to two others.  One was another case in which Jesus cast out a demon that caused a man to be mute (Matthew … Continue reading

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Matthew 9:18-26; Mark 5:21-43; Luke 8:41-56 — The God who cleanses and raises the dead

When you look throughout the Old Testament, particularly the law of Moses, you see the concept of “clean” and “unclean” a lot.  Namely, things that the Jews were to avoid and things Jews were allowed to come into contact with. … Continue reading

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Matthew 8:28-34; Mark 5:1-20; Luke 8:26-39 — Set free

A very bizarre story to say the least.  Here, Jesus and his disciples come to the other side of the lake following the storm, and when they do, they immediately come across two demon possessed men.  (One wonders why only … Continue reading

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Matthew 8:23-27; Mark 4:35-41; Luke 8:22-25 — Our faith

I look at Jesus’ words, “O you of little faith,” and I can’t help but think that if he were to see me now, he would say the same thing.  “O Bruce, why do you have so little faith?” Think … Continue reading

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Matthew 13:51-52 — Sharing what we know

What do we do with what we have received? This is the question that will be asked of us when the day of judgment comes.  And I think that’s partially, at least, what Jesus was telling his disciples here. First, … Continue reading

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Matthew 13:47-50 — A coming judgment

It has been said that Jesus spoke more on hell than he did about heaven.  And here we see one of his teachings on the coming judgment. As I’ve mentioned before, it can get frustrating to see all the evil … Continue reading

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Matthew 13:44-46 — The joy of salvation

I read a story recently of a couple in California that were walking through their garden and found a can sticking out from under their tree.  When they took a careful look, they found a number of gold coins in it.  … Continue reading

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Matthew 13:34-35; Mark 4:33-34 — The qualities of a good teacher

I have been teaching English for the last 19 years, and have been teaching the Bible in some way, shape, or form for the last 27, going back to my high school days. But  as long as I have been … Continue reading

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Matthew 13:33; Luke 13:20-21 — Transformed

I’m not a baker, but Jesus gives an illustration about God’s kingdom that even non-bakers can understand. When a baker makes bread, he puts a bit of yeast in the dough.  What does the yeast do?  Two things.  First, it … Continue reading

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Matthew 13:31-32; Mark 4:30-32; Luke 13:18-19 — Starting small

I love the vividness of the pictures Jesus paints as he tells stories. As he talks about God’s kingdom, he talks about how the mustard seed, though it is extremely small, grows into tree in which birds can find shade … Continue reading

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Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43 — Why evil?

The problem of evil is one that many people in this world struggle with.  They wonder how a good God could allow evil in this world. In this parable, we see at least part of the reason. I think the … Continue reading

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Mark 4:26-29 — The seed of the kingdom

I think this parable is very similar in meaning to the last one.  As I said before, while we may plant the word of God in people’s hearts, only God can make it grow.  Many times, the growth is happening, … Continue reading

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Matthew 13:1-23; Mark 4:1-20; Luke 8:1-15 — Planting the seed

As I looked back on the last blog, there was one last point that occurred to me that I want to put here. So often, I think of the farmer as Jesus.  But I think it’s equally if not even … Continue reading

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Matthew 13:1-23; Mark 4:1-20; Luke 8:1-15 — The state of our hearts

This is the first full on parable we hear from Jesus, although he did give numerous illustrations to explain his points on previous occasions. Here he gives a picture of a farmer scattering his seed along the ground.  It wasn’t, … Continue reading

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Matthew 13:1-23; Mark 4:1-25; Luke 8:1-18 — Eyes to see, ears to hear

One of Jesus’ favorite phrases was, He who has ears to hear, let him hear.  (Luke 8:8) You see this admonition in the gospels, and you also see it in Revelation. What did Jesus mean? When Jesus told his parables, … Continue reading

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Luke 11:27-28 — To find blessing

Everyone wants to find blessing in their lives from God.  But how do we find blessing? As Jesus was speaking to the crowd, a woman called out, Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.  (27) But … Continue reading

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