Monthly Archives: August 2014

Matthew 22:34-40; Mark 12:28-34 — What we need to understand to enter the kingdom

Of all the people that had come to question Jesus, there was one that seemed to be impressed with what Jesus had to say.  And so he asked Jesus, Of all the commandments, which is the most important?  (Mark 12:28) … Continue reading

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Matthew 22:23-33; Mark 12:18-27; Luke 20:27-40 — When we fail to understand the scriptures and the power of God

There’s a children’s song that humorously describes the Sadducees.  It says, “I don’t wanna be a Sadducee, ’cause a Sadducee is ‘sad, you see?’” Yes, I know, a very bad joke.  🙂 Nevertheless, they were a sad bunch of people … Continue reading

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Matthew 22:15-22; Mark 12:13-17; Luke 20:20-26 — Giving to God what is his

I hate paying taxes.  When March rolls around (tax time in Japan), it’s not so bad in that I actually get money back (after the pain of filling out all the tax forms).  But when June rolls around, that’s when … Continue reading

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Matthew 22:1-14 — Entering God’s kingdom on his terms

In this story, we see continued warnings from Jesus about rejecting him and the consequences of doing so. He told the story of a king who invited people to his wedding banquet.  But when all was ready, the would-be guests … Continue reading

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Matthew 21:33-46; Mark 12:1-12; Luke 20:9-19 — When we reject the one on whom all things rest

After nailing the leaders for their unbelief, he then told a parable warning them of what would happen if they didn’t repent. And the start of it is very similar to Isaiah 5 in which God describes a vineyard that … Continue reading

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Matthew 21:23-32; Mark 11:27-33; Luke 20:1-8 — When you’re too proud to admit you’re wrong

It’s hard to admit when we’re wrong.  I know I struggle with it at times.  The reason?  Pride.  It takes a great deal of humility to simply say, “I was wrong.” But if we want relationships that last, relationships with others … Continue reading

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John 12:44-50 — When we see and hear Jesus

So many people say, “I believe in God,” but refuse to put their faith in Jesus. But if you truly believe in God, that is exactly what you cannot do.  Jesus says here, Whoever believes in me does not believe … Continue reading

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John 12:42-43 — From whom we seek praise

One of the saddest comments you’ll ever read in the Bible comes from these two verses. Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him.  But because of the Pharisees they would not confess their faith … Continue reading

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John 12:27-41 — Before it’s too late

Sometime people put off following Christ thinking they can always do it later.  But in this passage, we see the danger of that. Jesus in thinking about the cross and his determination to follow the Father’s plan cried out, Father, … Continue reading

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John 12:20-26 — In order to serve

With all the buzz surrounding Jesus, both with his spectacular entry into Jerusalem, and his just as spectacular cleansing of the temple, it’s little wonder that first time visitors would wish to see him.  In this case, it was some … Continue reading

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Matthew 21:18-22; Mark 11:20-25 — How much faith do I have?

Faith.  It’s something I must admit I struggle with, particularly in prayer.  When I pray, do I pray in faith?  And what does it mean? When the tree Jesus cursed withered, the disciples were amazed and asked how it could … Continue reading

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Matthew 21:12-22; Mark 11:11-25; Luke 19:45-48 — Fruitless

This is a story where it is a little hard to understand the actions of Jesus.  Why would he curse a tree that wasn’t bearing fruit though it was not even the season for it? There does tend to be … Continue reading

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Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-44; John 12:12-19 — What would bring us peace

Lots going on in these passages, and as you look at all four gospels, you really get an idea of the frenzy going on due to Jesus’ entrance in Jerusalem.  People are shouting, Hosanna to the Son of David!”  “Blessed is … Continue reading

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Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-40; John 12:12-16 — The Lord needs it

We have now reached the home stretch of the life of Jesus, his final week. As I read this passage, one phrase struck me.  Jesus was instructing his disciples to do something very unusual, to go into the village, and … Continue reading

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Luke 19:28; John 11:55-57 — A cleansing that goes beyond the surface

Right after Jesus’ parable about those who were determined to reject him as king, we see the actual people whom Jesus was speaking of. Jesus was fast approaching Jerusalem, and a lot of people were already there to celebrate the Passover. … Continue reading

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Luke 19:11-28 — If we are determined to reject Christ

There is another point to this story that Jesus told that we didn’t get to touch on yesterday. It says in verses 12-15, A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then … Continue reading

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Luke 19:11-27 — While we are waiting

It says that Jesus told this next parable because, He was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once.  (11) In other words, there was an idea that he wanted to dispel … Continue reading

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Luke 19:1-10 — Because of us

This is a very famous story in the Bible, and it’s one I’ve heard (and sang) since I was a kid.  But as I looked at it today, verse 3 struck me. [Zacchaeus] wanted to see who Jesus was, but … Continue reading

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Matthew 20:29-34; Mark 10:46-52; Luke 18:35-43 — Looking beyond ourselves

As I read the story of Bartimaeus and his friend, what strikes me is the incredible compassion and love Jesus had for people. Here Jesus is, headed for the cross, and his closest friends, despite all he’s told him, still … Continue reading

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Matthew 20:20-28; Mark 10:35-45 — A totally different attitude

As I mentioned in my last blog, though Jesus had been as crystal clear with the disciples as he possibly could, they still didn’t get it.  They still didn’t get why he was there, and what was facing them.  Because … Continue reading

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Matthew 20:17-19; Mark 10:32-34; Luke 18:31-34 — Failing to see what is clear

As I look at this particular story, it is the last phrase in Luke’s account that strikes me. The disciples did not understand any of this.  Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was … Continue reading

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Matthew 20:1-16 — But it’s not fair!

I believe this parable Jesus told was in direct response to Peter’s question of, We have left everything to follow you!  What then will there be for us?  (Matthew 19:27) And in telling this story, I think Jesus meant both to … Continue reading

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Matthew 19:27-30; Mark 10:28-31; Luke 18:28-30 — Is it worth it?

Is it really worth it to follow Christ?  That was the question the rich young ruler had to face.  Unfortunately, he decided that it wasn’t. Peter too asked himself the same question.  “I’ve given up everything to follow after Jesus. … Continue reading

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Mark 10:21-22 — Loving people enough to tell the truth

It would be easy to think that Jesus was being mean by throwing out such an impossible challenge to the young ruler who wanted so desperately to enter the kingdom of God.  Who at least to some degree was quite zealous … Continue reading

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Matthew 19:16-26; Mark 10:17-27, Luke 18:18-27 — The impossibility of salvation

My religion professor in university brought up this story when talking about Christianity.  His point?  “If you want eternal life, you have to sell everything you have.” Which shows the fallacy of not looking at a scripture in its context, … Continue reading

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Matthew 19:13-15; Mark 10:13-16; Luke 18:15-17 — Like a child

When Jesus rebuked his disciples for trying to chase the children away, he said to them, Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  I tell … Continue reading

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Matthew 19:13-15; Mark 10:13-16; Luke 18:15-17 — The God of the “insignificant”

As a father, I really love my daughter, but I have to admit there are times when she can be annoying.  Particularly when I’m trying to do something, sometimes important, sometimes not, and she desperately wants my attention. It’s so … Continue reading

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Matthew 19:1-12 — Better to be single?

The disciples’ response to Jesus’ teaching on marriage and divorce is very interesting.  They said, If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.  (10) Put another way, “Man, if marriage is really … Continue reading

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Matthew 19:1-12; Mark 10:1-12 — When our spouse is hardened against us

I’ve mentioned before our need as a husband or wife to search our hearts.  To see if there is any way in which we have hardened our hearts to God, or to our spouse.  This is important for any marriage, … Continue reading

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Matthew 19:1-12; Mark 10:1-12 — When we harden our hearts toward God and our spouse

It’s kind of interesting looking at the gospels and trying to harmonize them sometimes.  I don’t know if I’m harmonizing Matthew and Mark well here, but it’s amusing to look at these passages this way. Pharisees:  “Is it lawful to … Continue reading

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Matthew 19:1-12; Mark 10:1-12 — Why divorce hurts so much

Divorce is one of those touchy topics that is difficult to deal with, if only because of the emotions and hurt that is often involved.  But considering the social climate we’re in, in which marriages fall apart at such a … Continue reading

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