Category Archives: Gospels

Luke 24:46-53; Acts 1:1-8 — The power to change the world

And so with today’s blog, we exit the gospels and enter the book of Acts. I’m not sure if it ever occurred to me that what Luke referenced in Acts 1:4 was probably the same event that he talked about … Continue reading

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Matthew 28:20 — The one who is always with us

We are rapidly coming to the end of the gospels.  It certainly took a lot longer than I expected.  I thought harmonizing the gospels would make things go a lot faster.  Maybe it has, but it’s still taken nearly 11 … Continue reading

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Matthew 28:16-20 — Making disciples

Somehow in 35 years of reading scripture, it never really occurred to me that the events in Matthew 28 and Acts 1 were two separate events.  One happened in Galilee and the other on the Mount of Olives. It was … Continue reading

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John 21:18-23 — Keeping our eyes on Jesus

It must be disconcerting to hear about how you’re going to die.  And so after Jesus told Peter exactly how he was going to die, there probably was an awkward silence.  Peter then suddenly realized that John was walking not … Continue reading

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John 21 — A God who believes in us

This is another of my favorite stories in the Bible.  Here we have Peter.  Brash Peter.  Bold Peter.  But because of his failure in denying Jesus three times, a lot of that has been stripped away, leaving a man not … Continue reading

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John 20:24-31 — Though we have not seen him

Seeing is believing. At least sometimes it is.  The Pharisees and teachers of the law saw all the miracles Jesus performed and they still didn’t believe.  They saw Lazarus alive after he had died and they plotted to kill him because … Continue reading

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Luke 24:36-49; John 20:19-23 — Filled and sent out

It seems like there was quite a bit of confusion and disbelief among the 11 and the others gathered in the upper room that Sunday.  Here was Mary, the women, the two followers of Jesus, and Peter himself saying that … Continue reading

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Luke 24:13-35 — Slow to believe

This appears to be the third or fourth appearance of Jesus after his resurrection, depending on when Jesus showed himself to Peter. And here we see two followers of Jesus walking down to Emmaus, which was perhaps their hometown.  And as … Continue reading

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Matthew 28:1-20; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-12; John 20:1-18 — The One who is always with us

A couple of notes on the resurrection.  I think I will be cutting out Mark 16:9-20 from my commentary since it is considered by most scholars to not be in the original text.  It was apparently added on to Mark … Continue reading

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Matthew 28:11-15 — A people that will not be convinced

The hardness of heart that the priests and Pharisees had is simply unbelievable to me.  Despite all their efforts, the tomb was empty.  That is one thing even they did not dispute. They had the testimony of the guard who … Continue reading

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Matthew 27:62-66; 28:1-4 — A God who cannot be thwarted

This is perhaps one of the more humorous incidents in the Bible if you really think about it.  The Pharisees and chief priests were concerned that perhaps the disciples might come to steal the body and claim that Jesus had … Continue reading

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John 19:25-27 — Seeing beyond our misery

I suppose one of the biggest tests of how selfish we are is how we respond in times of misery.  When we are suffering, when we are going through trials, where is our focus?  Is it on us?  That would … Continue reading

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Matthew 27:38, 44; Mark 15:27, 32; Luke 23:32-33, 39-43; John 19:18 — Railing at God, humbling ourselves before him

This is one of the most famous stories from the cross.  Along with Jesus, two robbers were crucified by his side.  And at first, both mocked him.  In the ESV, it says One of the criminals who were hanged railed … Continue reading

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Luke 23:34 — Forgive them

Forgiveness is one of the most difficult things people struggle with.  The reason is that the hurts we experience go straight to the depths of our hearts.  And as deep as our wounds go, they can be very difficult to heal. … Continue reading

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Matthew 27:33-37; Mark 15:22-26; Luke 23:38; John 19:18-22 — What has been written

The interaction between Pilate and the chief priests is very interesting.  Pilate put up the “charge” against Jesus, calling him the “King of the Jews.” The priests immediately went up to Pilate, asking him to change it to, “He claimed … Continue reading

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Luke 23:27-31 — The heart of Jesus

If there is one thing that always astonishes me, it’s the heart of Jesus.  And it is as he goes to his death, that we see the compassion that caused him go to the cross in the first place. On … Continue reading

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Matthew 27:31-32; Mark 15:20-21; Luke 23:26; John 19:16-17 — If we were forced to bear the cross Christ bore

We know very little of this man of Cyrene, this Simon.  It is conjectured that he is the father of the Rufus mentioned in Romans 16:13, the only other Rufus mentioned in the Bible. In all probability, he was a … Continue reading

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Matthew 27:22-26 — His blood upon us

As I look at all the gospel accounts, the cries of the crowd shouting “Crucify!  Crucify!” resonate with me. How it must have broken the heart of Jesus to see the ones he loved reject him so. Pilate, in his … Continue reading

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John 19:14-15 — Who is your king?

As we look at the interaction between Pilate and the chief priests, we see one of the great ironies of scripture.  On one hand, we have this pagan governor who has little or no concept of who God really is, … Continue reading

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Luke 23:7-12 — Those to whom Jesus has nothing to say

We now see in this passage Herod’s response to Jesus.  Perhaps, though, it would be better to call it Jesus’ response to Herod. This was the same Herod that had beheaded John the Baptist, and had wondered if Jesus was … Continue reading

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Matthew 27:1-10 — A sorrow that leads to death

Here we see the end of Judas Iscariot’s life. Upon seeing that Jesus had been condemned to death, he became remorseful, and went to the priests and elders saying, I have sinned…for I have betrayed innocent blood.  (4) He even … Continue reading

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Matthew 26:57-68; Mark 14:53-65; Luke 22:63-71 — The ultimate question

The trial of Jesus was an atrocity on many levels.  Among them, the priests and Sanhedrin knew Jesus was innocent.  Yet because of their jealousy and hatred of Jesus, they were desperate to find a reason to kill him. Jewish … Continue reading

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John 18:12-14, 19-24 – Striking those who tell us the truth

We now go to the first hearing Jesus had, this one before Annas.  Annas had been the high priest before Caiaphas but had been deposed from his position by the Roman government.  Nevertheless, he was still held in high regard … Continue reading

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Matthew 26:47-56; Mark 14:43-52; Luke 22:47-53; John 18:1-12 — Power and authority, mercy and grace

In this passage, there are three things I see in Jesus. 1.  His power and authority.  Though surrounded by his enemies, he was in total command of the situation.  Standing to face his enemies, he asked them, “Who are you … Continue reading

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Matthew 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:39-46 — When my will is not God’s will

There are times in our lives when we go through trials and suffering.  It may be an illness.  It may be family troubles because of our Christian faith.  It may be problems in our ministry.  And so we pray for … Continue reading

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Matthew 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:39-46; John 18:1 — Weak

Nobody ever said Satan fights fair.  And he doesn’t.  When he sees us in our weakness, whether it be physically or emotionally, he will attack. You see this in these passages.  When Jesus and his disciples arrived at the Garden … Continue reading

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John 17:20-23 — Jesus’ desire for us

I wonder just how much people in the church really know the deepest desires of Jesus?  We saw one of those desires a few days ago, that he really desired an intimate relationship with us.  That eternal life is all … Continue reading

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John 17:16-19 — Sanctified, being sanctified

Sanctification. It’s one of those words that could best be described as “Christianese.”  A word that has meaning in the church, and very little outside of it.  It’s a word you often see in scripture, and one that you might … Continue reading

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John 17:11-15 — Prayed for in the midst of a hostile world

If there’s one thing I see in this passage, it’s the tender care that Jesus has for us as he prays for us. And he does pray for us. So often we pray for others.  But Jesus, as our high … Continue reading

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John 17 — What eternal life truly is

A lot of times, we think of eternal life as simply living forever in heavenly bliss.  Certainly we will experience that, but to many people, strangely enough, it’s a life devoid of God. Oh, they have some concept that God … Continue reading

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John 16:16-33 — Finding peace and joy

It’s very clear from this passage that all that Jesus was saying was weighing heavily on the disciples, mostly because they were so focused on the idea that Jesus was leaving.  As a result, it overshadowed everything else he was saying. … Continue reading

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John 16:5-15 — The work of the Spirit

Who is the Holy Spirit?  Even today, many Christians are confused as to who he is. And that’s one thing to remember.  The Holy Spirit is a “he”, not that he’s literally of the male gender although God chooses to … Continue reading

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John 15:18-16:4 — An occupational hazard

I remember one time working for a church here in Japan, and the pastor’s daughter was working at a Christian pre-school.  But one day, she complained that one of her students stabbed her hand with a pair of scissors (fortunately, … Continue reading

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John 15:12-17 — The command of love

I wonder if we really understand the implications of Jesus’ command that we love one another. One of the clear implications is that love is not merely a feeling but a choice. No one can command a feeling, not even God … Continue reading

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John 15:7-17 — Asking that we might bear fruit

In this passage, Jesus makes a very powerful promise. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.  (7) A lot of people take these kinds of words to … Continue reading

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John 15:1-11 — The need to abide

Yesterday I talked about the Father’s work in our lives.  That our righteousness, our fruit, does not come from our own efforts but through his work in us.  He cleans us through his Word (verse 3), he lifts us up … Continue reading

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John 15:1-2 — Lifted up and pruned

One of the biggest differences between Christianity and every other religion is that our righteousness does not depend on our own efforts.  Rather, it comes from God’s work in us, changing us from the inside out. God first introduces that concept in … Continue reading

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John 15:1-17 — Chosen to be fruitful

This is one of the most famous passages in the Gospels in which Jesus shows us a beautiful illustration of our relationship with God. Here he calls himself the vine.  In the Old Testament, Israel was referred to as a vine. … Continue reading

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Luke 22:35-38 — Preparing to face a hostile world

As Jesus led his disciples out of the upper room, he asked them, When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?  (35) This is referring to the two times he sent out the disciples to preach … Continue reading

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John 14:15-31 — Never alone

One thing my five year old daughter used to do quite often, and even does now from time to time is to crawl into my wife’s and my bed and snuggle in between us.  And when we ask why, she’ll … Continue reading

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John 14:15-31 — If we truly love Jesus

This is one of those passages that would probably make many people turn their heads if they really thought about it. Jesus says to start off, If you love me, you will obey what I command.  (15) Think about that a … Continue reading

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John 14:12-14 — Powerful promises

Jesus made some pretty amazing promises here.  The type that make you say, “Really?  Are you serious?” Jesus said, I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing.  He will do even … Continue reading

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John 14:7-11 — To see and know God

How can we possibly know God?  How can we know what he is like? Obviously, when we’re talking about an invisible God, there can only be one answer:  if he chooses to reveal himself. God first revealed himself through direct contact, … Continue reading

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John 14:4-6 — The Way

This is the one passage that provides such a stumbling block to so many people in the world today.  Many people simply refuse to believe it because the implications of what Jesus said are so deep, and they are simply … Continue reading

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John 14:1-3 — What’s waiting for us

As I said in my last blog, the disciples were both stunned and troubled by what Jesus had just told them.  First he told them he was leaving and they could not follow, and then he told them that they … Continue reading

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Matthew 26:31-35; Mark 14:27-31; Luke 22:31-34; John 13:36-38 — A God who knows our weakness, and accepts us anyway

When Jesus told the disciples that he was leaving for a place they could not follow, it must have really troubled them.  He was their teacher, and they couldn’t imagine life without him. As usual, it was Peter who spoke … Continue reading

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John 13:31-35 — That the world may know

With Judas now gone, Jesus begins his final address to his disciples before the cross.  And to this bickering, prideful group, he said, A new command I give you:  Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must … Continue reading

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Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-26; Luke 22:14-20 — Pictures of the cross

The Old Testament is rich with pictures of Christ.  And in this passage, we see the fulfillment of them in Christ. The disciples were having the Passover meal, and after the first cup of wine, Jesus pulled out a piece … Continue reading

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Matthew 26:20-25; Mark 14:17-21; Luke 22:21-23; John 13:18-30 — Betrayal

As I’ve mentioned before, harmonizing these passages is a little tough.  One question is whether Judas participated in the first communion.  Luke seems to imply so, while the other gospel writers seem to say Judas didn’t.  It’s just my opinion, … Continue reading

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John 13:6-11 — Getting our feet cleaned

One more point from this story before I go on. As Jesus went to wash Peter’s feet, Peter exclaimed, No…you shall never wash my feet.  (8) When Jesus replied that Peter would have no part with him if he refused, Peter then went … Continue reading

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John 13:1-17 — The ultimate servant

The Bible is full of pictures concerning Jesus and his work on the cross, starting from God’s promise of someone to come stomp on the serpent’s head even while getting his heel struck in the process, to Abraham’s sacrifice of … Continue reading

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Luke 22:24-30; John 13:1-17 — True leadership

Trying to harmonize the gospel accounts at this point is a little sticky.  I get the impression that things were not always told in chronological order and that there were little asides thrown in.  This passage in Luke, in my … Continue reading

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Matthew 26:1-19; Mark 14:12-16; Luke 22:7-13 — Room for the master

Jesus’ final public appearances (of his own volition, anyway) are now over.  And he now knows that the time of his arrest and crucifixion is close at hand.  But before that happens, Jesus prepares to have one last meal with his … Continue reading

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Matthew 26:1-16; Mark 14:1-11; John 12:1-11 — True love, false love

Here we see a stark contrast in love.  One person’s love came from the heart.  The other’s came only for what profited him. Jesus was in Bethany having dinner at the house of a man named Simon.  Lazarus, Mary, and … Continue reading

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Matthew 25:31-46 — How we treat others

Jesus finishes his dialogue on the end times with this last story.  And it talks about the final judgment following the tribulation.  At that time, God will judge the nations, separating the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from … Continue reading

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Matthew 25:14-30 — Being faithful

The second parable in this chapter goes to the point that Jesus brought up earlier.  That we need to be faithful, doing the things that God has called us to do until he returns. In this story, Jesus talks about … Continue reading

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Matthew 25:1-13 — Being ready

In this chapter, we see two parables on what Jesus was just talking about, watching for his return and also doing the things he’s asked us to do until he comes. In this first parable, I think it’s easy to try … Continue reading

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Matthew 24:36-51; Mark 13:32-37; Luke 21:34-36 — Being ready whenever

There are a lot of people concerned about when Jesus will return.  And over the years, many people have predicted when he will come back.  I remember back in my high school days, a book came out called, “88 reasons … Continue reading

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Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21:5-38 — Until our Lord returns

The Lord talks a lot about the events that will occur before he returns.  And the thing that you get from all he says is that things will get worse before he returns.  A lot worse.  There will be wars, … Continue reading

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Matthew 24:1-35; Mark 13:1-31; Luke 21:5-33 — A sign of things to come

I mentioned in my last blog that this is one of the more difficult passages in scripture, and part of the difficulty comes in the harmonizing of it.  Jesus had just told the disciples that the temple was going to … Continue reading

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Matthew 24:1-2; Mark 13:1-2; Luke 21:5-6 — When our temple becomes corrupt

We now come to one of the more difficult passages in scripture.  I want to say straight off that if you’re hoping to get all the answers for what all this means, I don’t have them.  There are other people … Continue reading

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Mark 12:41-44; Luke 21:1-4 — What God is looking for

After the blistering criticism Jesus gave the Pharisees, he settled back, and quietly started to watch the people walking past the place where offerings were put. A number of rich people walked past, and with great ceremony dumped in large … Continue reading

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Matthew 23:29-38 — When we reject those sent to us

Nobody likes to be rebuked.  To be told you’re wrong.  But how do you respond when you are? The Pharisees followed the long line of their ancestors throughout Israel’s history.  Instead of listening and repenting when rebuked, they turned on … Continue reading

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Matthew 23:25-28 — Cleaning out the inside

Jesus continues his scathing of the Pharisees and teachers of the law by saying, Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites!  You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed … Continue reading

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Matthew 23:23-24 — Remembering what’s important

It’s really sad the reputation that a lot of Christians have in the world, particularly in the States. Some of it is the natural response of the world to people who love the Lord.  Jesus did say that there would … Continue reading

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Matthew 23:16-22 — Loopholes

I’ve mentioned before the different problems of legalism.  Here we see another problem.  People who are legalistic tend to try to find loopholes.  They may keep the letter of the law (as they see it), but try to find ways … Continue reading

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Matthew 23:13-15 — When those who teach are bad

For some reason, one of the English teachers in the Japanese high school I teach at was showing Karate Kid 2 to his students yesterday.  I can’t say much for the film, but the one character I really like is Mr. … Continue reading

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Matthew 23:1-12; Mark 12:38-40; Luke 20:45-47 — A wrong view of leadership

What is leadership?  What is leadership not? In a scathing criticism of the Pharisees and teachers of the law, Jesus gives us insight into what true leadership is about. He first warned the disciples and the crowds, The teachers of … Continue reading

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Matthew 22:41-46; Mark 12:35-37; Luke 20:41-44 — Son of David, Son of God

Perhaps tiring of the hypocrisy of those questioning him, Jesus posed his own question to them that ultimately shut them up.  He said, What do you think about the Christ?  Whose son is he?  (Matthew 22:42a) This was an easy … Continue reading

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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 withered, the disciples were amazed and asked how it could wither … 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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Luke 18:9-14 — Remembering our need for grace

It’s amazing how though times change, some things never do.  And in this passage, we see an example of this.  Luke writes, To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this … Continue reading

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Luke 18:1-8 — Keeping the faith through times of trial

It would be easy from looking at just the first verse to think that Jesus’ point is simply that we should keep praying and not give up when God seems slow to answer. This is most certainly true, but the … Continue reading

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Luke 17:20-37 — A sudden but certain judgment

After addressing the Pharisees on God’s kingdom, Jesus turns to his disciples with a word of warning. He told them that there would be times of trouble when they would long for his coming, and because of that, it would … Continue reading

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Luke 17:20-21 — Seeing God’s kingdom

Well, I’m back from vacation.  And straight into one of the more difficult passages to interpret. The Pharisees came to Jesus asking when God’s kingdom would come.  I’m not sure what they meant by that, but perhaps they were saying, … Continue reading

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Luke 17:11-19 — Grateful

Just a blogging note:  this will probably be my last blog for the next few days as I will probably be computerless over the last few days of my vacation. In this passage, we see ten lepers hanging out together … Continue reading

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John 11:45-57; 12:9-11 — Recognizing truth when we see it

I’ve mentioned the problem the Pharisees and the priests had where they saw all that Jesus said and did, and still did not believe.  It all comes to a head here.  Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, and there was absolutely … Continue reading

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John 11:23-44 — The one who calls forth the dead

Yes, we will eventually finish this chapter.  But not today.  It’s a passage that is so totally rich in truth. When Jesus told Martha that her brother would rise again, she said, I know he will rise again in the … Continue reading

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John 11:17-44 — Uncovering our pain before Jesus

So often in our lives, we go through pain and hurt, but instead of dealing with it, we bury it.  We try to ignore the pain.  Or we cover it over with other things, busyness, food, pleasure, or whatever else we can … Continue reading

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Luke 11:7-10 — Walking by the light

When Jesus made the decision to go back to Judea to see Lazarus, his disciples objected, saying, But Rabbi…a short while ago the Jews tried to stone you, and yet you are going back there?  (8) Jesus’ answer is very striking. … Continue reading

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Luke 11:1-45 — That we might believe

This is one of the most famous miracles Jesus performed, and I’ve spoken on it at church more than once.  But as I read it through this time, these words strike me: So that you may believe.   (15) We … Continue reading

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Luke 17:7-10 — Our attitude in service

We all like a pat on the back.  A “Well done” after we do something.  But is that why we serve?  For the praise of others?  For the praise of God even? Do we feel underappreciated when it doesn’t come? … Continue reading

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Luke 17:3-6 — Forgiveness

As I was reading this passage, something new struck me as I was reading the ESV. Jesus is, of course, talking about forgiveness here.  He said, If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.  (3 — … Continue reading

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Luke 17:1-3 — Causing others to fall

Just a quick note:  I’m currently on vacation back home in Hawaii.  So, I may or may not be blogging every day as usual.  We’ll see how things fall out. Speaking of falling, Jesus says here, Things that cause people … Continue reading

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Luke 16:19-31 — When we fail to prepare

This is one of the most graphic depictions of the afterlife, probably because it’s the most personal.  In particular, it is a graphic picture of what hell will be like. Many people think that this was an actual incident, the … Continue reading

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Luke 16:15-18 — Justifying ourselves

One major problem of the Pharisees was that they were so self-righteous.  They were so proud of keeping every little rule there was that they couldn’t see the sin that was so obviously there in their lives.  And when their … Continue reading

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Luke 16:13-15 — Who or what we serve

The god of Money is very big in our society.  Many people long for it.  They work for it.  They even give their lives for it.  But Jesus tells us here, No servant can serve two masters.  Either he will … Continue reading

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Luke 16:10-12 — Being faithful

While Jesus praised the dishonest manager in his story for at least planning for his future, he also criticized him, saying, Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little … Continue reading

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Luke 16:1-9 — Securing our future

Everyone desires security for their future.  But how many of us really plan for it?  Not just in terms of life here on earth, but in terms of eternity? This story Jesus tells is a very unusual one, because he … Continue reading

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Luke 15:11-24 — The extravagance of God’s grace

This is perhaps the most famous of Jesus’ parables in the Gospels.  Yet it must have been utterly shocking to the Pharisees. For here in this story was just the type of person they despised.  Here was a young man, … Continue reading

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Luke 14:25-35 — Counting the cost

As the large crowds followed Jesus, I wonder if Jesus was searching their hearts as to why they were following him? Were they following him because of the miracles?  Because of his great teachings?  Or was it truly because they … Continue reading

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Luke 14:15-24 — Excuses

In warning the Pharisees not to just assume they will enter the kingdom, Jesus, as he often did, told a parable. It was a story of how a man invited people to a great banquet.  In those days, they didn’t … Continue reading

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Luke 14:15-24 — When we reject Jesus

After Jesus mentioned how God would reward the generous in the resurrection of the righteous, one of the guests at the dinner said, Blessed is the man who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.  (15) This man … Continue reading

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Luke 14:12-14 — Giving

As Jesus looked around the room, I wonder what kind of people he saw?  A lot of people were invited to this dinner, and I would guess that he was the only one who was not considered at least moderately … Continue reading

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Luke 14:7-12 — Humility

In this passage, we see a cultural issue that we don’t really see so often in Western culture, if at all.  Jesus noticed at the meal he was at, that people were jockeying for the best seat.  Generally, the person … Continue reading

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Luke 14:1-6 — Arguing people into belief

Jesus was not only a master teacher, he was a master debater.  We see it here, when once again he confronts the Pharisees with the “legality” of healing someone on the Sabbath. The thing that strikes me here is the … Continue reading

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Luke 13:33-35 — What God longs to do, what he won’t do, what he can’t do

This is one of the more poignant portions of scripture.  After dealing with the Pharisees, Jesus weeps, O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children … Continue reading

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Luke 13:31-33 — Refusing to give in to fear

It is very easy to tell other people not to be afraid, it’s another thing to live it.  Yet, that is exactly what Jesus did. Some Pharisees came up to him saying, Leave this place and go somewhere else.  Herod wants … Continue reading

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Luke 13:22-30 — Before it’s too late

None of us like to think about hell.  And none of us like the idea that anyone is going to hell.  We’d like to think that everyone (or almost everyone) will go to heaven someday. Perhaps that’s the feeling this … Continue reading

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Luke 13:20-28 — The need to be watchful

I wrote on this passage when we came across it in Matthew (the same illustration is used twice, though probably on different occasions). The more I look at it, however, I wonder if perhaps Jesus didn’t mean something else than … Continue reading

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John 10:22-42 — When seeing is not believing

A lot of times, people say, “I’ll believe in God if he appears to me and talks to me.”  There is a fatal flaw with this line of reasoning.  God did appear.  He did talk to us.  He walked among … Continue reading

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Luke 13:10-17 — To set people free

Old ways of thinking die hard.  You’d think that by now, the Jewish leaders would start to understand that healing on the Sabbath was not wrong.  They had tried time and again to argue the point with Jesus, and time … Continue reading

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Luke 13:1-9 — Taking a hard look at ourselves

I suppose it’s only natural that after Jesus talked about the need for being reconciled to God before the coming judgment, that someone would bring up an incident that had just happened.  Apparently, the Roman governor Pontius Pilate had just … Continue reading

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Luke 12:54-59 — Reconciling ourselves with God

It’s been interesting going through the gospels and looking at the teachings of Jesus, because as I’ve mentioned before, Jesus often repeats what he says, but in different contexts. In the Sermon on the Mount, he admonished the people to … Continue reading

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Luke 12:49-53 — The fire of the gospel

Fire can be a terrifying thing, especially in a forest.  The speed with which it can spread and the damage it can cause can be incredible.  But fire can also do positive things for a forest. Among other things, fire … Continue reading

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Luke 12:35-48 — Being ready

Jesus closes up his warnings against hypocrisy, greed, and desiring the things of this world with one last admonition.  Be ready for his return. He told his disciples, Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting … Continue reading

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Luke 12:13-34 — What this life is all about

What is this life all about? So many people wander about lost because they don’t know.  Often times they search for meaning in money, possessions, and things. That’s what the man who asked Jesus to judge between he and his … Continue reading

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Luke 12:13-21 — When our time comes

Our life is fragile.  And in an instant, it can be taken from us.  Whether it be in a car accident, an earthquake, or whatever it may be. And on that day, when we see God, what will he say … Continue reading

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Luke 12:1-8 — Undercover Christian

I remember hearing a comedy sketch one time about an “undercover Christian.”  Someone for whom his faith was “a personal thing.”  Something he kept to himself. But Jesus has another word for an undercover Christian.  A hypocrite.  An actor.  Someone who … Continue reading

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Luke 12:4-7 — Fear, fear not

Just a brief note concerning this blog:  for the teachings of Jesus, if he repeated things (as he often did), I may or may not comment on the things he repeated, depending on if God brings something new to light … Continue reading

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Luke 12:1-3 — Hypocrisy

It’s interesting to me how Jesus used the same illustrations to bring out different points.  This passage is an example. Earlier, when he had sent his twelve disciples out, he talked about how everything concealed would be revealed, and how … Continue reading

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Luke 11:47-54 — When actions speak louder than words

One of the things that the teachers of the law and the Pharisees did was pay lip service to the prophets.  They even built tombs to honor them, basically saying, “We really respect these guys.  If it had been us, … Continue reading

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Luke 11:45-46 — The problem with legalism

From blasting the Pharisees, Jesus turned to the teachers of the law.  Why? Jesus told them, And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will … Continue reading

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Luke 11:37-44 — What’s in the heart

In this passage, Jesus give a blistering criticism of the Pharisees.  And basically what it came down to was what was in their hearts. The Pharisees looked so good on the outside.  They were so careful to keep the law. … Continue reading

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Luke 10:38-42 — What Jesus really wants

This is another one of my favorite stories, I suppose because it shows us something that’s easy to forget. Martha opens up her home to Jesus, but then promptly neglects him.  Why?  Because she’s too busy trying to “serve” him. … Continue reading

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Luke 10:25-37 — Going beyond the head knowledge

As I look at this passage, there is one more thing that strikes me. This is a story about three people that knew God’s word very well.  One, of course, was real (the expert in the law), and two were … Continue reading

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Luke 10:25-37 — To love in deed and truth

As I read this passage, the words of John spring to mind when he said, Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.  (I John 3:18) We see this in the “Good Samaritan.” … Continue reading

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Luke 10:1-24 — Ask…then go!

I hope you all enjoyed the Japanese lesson!  🙂 Sorry about that, actually.  I have a Japanese version of this blog, and it accidentally got posted here. At any rate, we see Jesus not only sending out the 12 disciples, … Continue reading

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John 10:1-21 — The good shepherd

Here we see a beautiful picture of Jesus’ relationship with us.  And he paints the picture with the imagery of a shepherd  and his sheep. He said, The sheep listen to [the shepherd’s] voice.  He calls his own sheep by … Continue reading

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John 10:1-10 — The Gate

Many people wonder, “Why does Jesus have to be the only way to God?” The short answer:  because he said so. Jesus told the people, I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by … Continue reading

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John 9:39-42 — When you think you know it all

The irony in this passage is very thick. The man who had been blind could see who Christ really was and worshiped him.  The people who could see all their lives, couldn’t recognize who Jesus was though he was standing right in front … Continue reading

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