Showing posts with label Christ. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christ. Show all posts

Sunday, April 28, 2024

Knowing My Place

Sometimes the best way to get at the biblical meaning of a word is to strip it of all the false notions that encrust it. Within evangelicalism, humility is a subject that collects mistaken ideas like a picnic attracts flies. Identifying it and defining it is easier when we have first chased the flies away.

The Greek word most commonly translated “humble” is tapeinos, which literally means “not rising far from the ground”. It is an attribute of the Lord Jesus in his role as the last Adam. He could say, “I am gentle and lowly [tapeinos] in heart.”

So then, let’s have a quick look at what humility is and is not.

Sunday, April 07, 2024

Resurrection in Acts

It may be argued that the resurrection of Christ is the single most important truth ever preached. It is the lynchpin of the Christian faith.

The Holy Lamb of God came into the world, lived a perfect life, showed us the Father and died for our sins on the cross, but if God did not raise Jesus from the dead, we have no compelling evidence of any of these things and no reason to get excited about them. Paul trumpets the critical importance of resurrection in his letters to the Romans (“He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies”) and the Corinthians (“If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins”).

But we don’t have to wait for the doctrinal teaching of the epistles to understand the unique significance of Christ’s resurrection. It’s right there in the historical books of the New Testament as the central fact of apostolic doctrine, the truth that changed the world.

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Not Fade Away

When I was a kid I listened to a lot of rock music.

Most of it I got off the radio. I owned a few albums of my own, but was never the avid collector some of my friends were. I had some favorites, and I tended to stay with them for as long as they pleased me, then move on.

One thing I noticed right away, both on my albums and on the radio, was the “fade-out”. At the end of a song it was customary for the artist or producer to reduce the sound level progressively until the music sort of seemed to dim out in the distance — as if the artist never actually stopped singing, but just happened to be traveling away from me. Then there would be short silence, and then the next song.

I always thought that was weird.

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Even More Offensive

In my previous post, “Offensive Christianity”, I argued that many of us misunderstand the choice we have in facing Christ: we think it’s between faith and doubt — but in scripture, it is between faith and being offended.

Everybody struggles with doubt. And perhaps we tend to think that when we do, it signals something very, very bad. Maybe it means our faith has failed. Maybe it means we were never sincere in the first place. Maybe it means we’re lost.

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

The Substance Belongs to Christ

It is remarkable that the only mention of Sabbath-keeping in all the epistles comes in Colossians 2, where Paul identifies it as one of the requirements of Jewish law eclipsed in Christ. The apostle writes:

“Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.”

The Sabbath, Paul says, was a shadow. That’s important.

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Mining the Minors: Zechariah (6)

Zechariah is the penultimate Minor Prophet and the penultimate book of the Old Testament in the order we have it in English, as well as historically. He is also the penultimate prophet in the Hebrew Old Testament, though not the next-to-last book, which is Chronicles.

Given his proximity to the New Testament, we should not be surprised to find Christ so prominent in Zechariah, as we have mentioned. Zechariah’s vision in chapter 3 portrays Messiah in at least four different aspects: (1) as priest, (2) as the angel of the Lord, (3) as the Branch, and (4) as the stone with seven eyes.

Let’s dive in.

Monday, December 25, 2023

Right at the Last

It’s Christmas again. We’re right at the last of the year.

It makes you think, doesn’t it? When you’re young, it makes you think of toys and candy and holidays. You’re all about looking forward in your youth. Later, you’re more about looking on: about watching your own children experience the same pleasures, more than feeling them yourself. And as life moves on, and more and more of your lifespan slips into the rear-view mirror, you can’t help but gradually shift to a looking back sort of mood: the end of each year becomes an occasion for mental stock-taking and thinking about what it’s all added up to.

Sunday, December 24, 2023

Harking the Herald Angels

“So this is Christmas,” sang John Lennon, “and what have you done?”

That Lennon — never one to get a point.

Whatever Christmas means, you can trust me: it’s not about what you’ve done. When you get stock-taking at the end of the year, you can easily get more than a little depressed. How has the year worked out? Did you achieve all the goals you set for yourself? Did you always live up to the mark, always do your best, and always win what you hoped? How’s it all been going?

Merry, merry Christmas indeed!

Friday, November 17, 2023

Too Hot to Handle: Nothing to Complain About

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

Monty Python’s Eric Idle on their movie Life of Brian:

“Our movie is a kind of parody of a Hollywood biblical epic. And we realized we couldn’t really write about JC, because there’s nothing you can complain about. The man said, you know, ‘Blessed are the poor,’ ‘Feed and help people ...’ There was something more interesting about exploring what followers of a religion do, both to the religion and to the people they follow, and how unhealthy that becomes.”

Tom: Now, if we really wanted to be critical, IC, we could probably carp about Idle misquoting the Sermon on the Mount or being a bit flippant, but I found the point he was inadvertently making here much more interesting, and that is this: a troupe of comedians legendary for fearlessly spoofing everything under the sun drew a line in the sand at trying to make fun of Jesus Christ. And they did it themselves, not out of fear or respect, apparently, or even because of economic considerations, but rather because they came to the conclusion there were no legitimate laughs to be had at Christ’s expense. There really is nothing you can complain about in the life and character of God’s beloved Son.

Immanuel Can: No, indeed. It’s interesting that the Lord always seems to get a reaction nobody else ever gets, isn’t it?

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

When Nobody was Standing Around

Orthodox Christian faith declares our Lord was fully man and fully God. We can say we believe that, but getting our heads around it is another story. Speculating about the finer details of how his two natures operated together in specific moments of the Savior’s earthly experience can take us into perilous theological territory if we are inattentive to all that the scriptures say about him.

The apostle John writes that Jesus “knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man”.

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

The People Standing Around

“I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around.”

Sometimes Jesus said things he didn’t need to say. Sometimes he asked questions to which he already knew the answer, or asked to be given things he didn’t require. Once, he even went through a baptism of repentance when he had nothing whatsoever for which to repent.

He had to, on account of the people standing around.

Thursday, October 12, 2023

Perfect Confidence

We were talking in a previous post about the goal of perfection.

Christians sometimes expect this of themselves, and some even claim to have attained it. And we have to admit that since we serve a perfect God, it is most natural to jump to the conclusion that he expects perfection of us. And in a sense, he does: no one who is not perfect is fit for fellowship with God. But we ended on a hopeful note (I hope), since we saw that the work of making us perfect is not ours but God’s … and to him be the glory for it.

However, a question surely remains: If God’s going to do it, just how? Surely he expects some effort from me — he doesn’t want me to go on sinning like a wretch, while blithely waiting for him to sort me out in spite of myself; or worse, just presuming that because perfecting me is his work, and salvation is forever, I can live like a complete moral wreck and imagine God is obligated to take me in whatever state I end up. That can’t be the upshot.

Thursday, October 05, 2023

Do You Want to Go Out?

That’s what we used to ask back in the day.

Yeah, I know that was a hundred years ago, before the era of shacking up and then the era of hooking up, and today’s era of everything’s up.

Bear with me: I’m old.

Well, old-er. I’m not giving up my happy delusions of youth just yet. And I’m not so old that I can’t remember what it felt like to ask a girl out. Oh, yes: it was misery … the obligatory lump in the throat and sweaty palms, the tension in the air and the vertiginous moment when she made up her mind … and then … the answer.

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Pretending to See the Future

Watts Up With That lists seven times the global warm-mongers got it spectacularly wrong.

There’s biologist George Wald, who predicted “Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years”. Then there’s ecologist Kenneth Watt, who was convinced the crude oil supply would be fully depleted by the year 2000. And let’s not forget the Life magazine prognostication that “in a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution”. That was all in 1970 and so far so good, except maybe in China.

We laugh, but some Christians are not much more accurate when they attempt to read tea leaves.

Monday, August 21, 2023

Anonymous Asks (263)

“What does ‘despising the shame’ mean?”

Hebrews 12:2 calls Jesus “the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God”. I always love verses that talk about Jesus being exalted to the Father’s right hand. That’s our security as believers: the Father’s pleasure in the finished work of his Son. Every demonstration of that is a confirmation that we are loved and protected, and that the penalty for our sins will never come back to haunt us.

Thursday, June 08, 2023

Tracking True

So it was my birthday, and a friend says to me, “Why don’t we go sailing on the big water?”

I’d sailed in a small way before, but that sounded good. So off we set.

My friend let me take the tiller while he went up to the prow deck and relaxed in the sun. “Just keep your eye on the compass in front of you and trust that,” he said. “So long as it says what it says now, we’re going to be on course.”

Sunday, June 04, 2023

Servants and Sons

“Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son.”

Servants and sons operate on different levels, says the writer to the Hebrews. Two differences right there in this single verse. First, Moses the servant was, Christ the Son is; that is to say the Son still being faithful when the servant has long ceased from service. Second, Moses the servant was in the house, Christ the Son is over it. Those are different spheres of responsibility.

Sunday, January 22, 2023

More Where That Comes From

Being transformed into the image of the Son of God does not depend on me.

Thank the Lord for that.

There are things about Christian service that can be learned. Skill sets can be developed. Techniques can be applied. Practice sometimes makes perfect. I could, for instance, wholly apart from the Spirit of God, acquire a greater understanding of Hebrew and Greek through diligent study and as a consequence become a more accurate Bible teacher.

Whether much of eternal value would come from that apart from the Spirit of God is a separate question, but it can certainly be done.

Saturday, December 24, 2022

The Line of the Forever King

“To you in David’s town this day
 Is born of David’s line
 A Savior, who is Christ the Lord
 And this shall be the sign …”

— from While Shepherds
    Watched Their Flocks

The Messiah of Israel had to be from the tribe of Judah. Not just that, he had also to be of the specific line of David, Israel’s greatest king, and the “man after [God’s] own heart”.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Holiness and Vision

“Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.”

What is the writer to the Hebrews saying in the latter part of this verse?

A casual reading might leave us with the impression that it’s something to do with salvation. We might paraphrase that sort of interpretation this way: “Without being holy, nobody will be able to enter the presence of God and enjoy heaven.”

That’s perfectly true, but I don’t think it’s the writer’s intended meaning.

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Sympathy and Separation

Jesus of Nazareth was — and remains — unique in his nature.

He was the Word become flesh, and yet dwelling among us. Who is the Word? One with the Father, the creator of worlds, yet becoming man.

What does it mean when we say that the Savior was “separate from sin”?

Sunday, December 04, 2022

When Is It Wrong to Pray? (2)

In a previous post, we were considering the danger of using prayer as a sort of blanket to hide under when we ought to be doing something else, and I suggested that there are times when it is inappropriate for us to pray.

We will come back to that idea shortly, but let’s begin with this statement:

All men are either in Adam or in Christ.

Monday, November 28, 2022

Anonymous Asks (225)

“If perfection is impossible in this life, why did Jesus tell people to go and sin no more?”

Jesus actually did this twice, and both accounts were preserved for us by John, one in chapter 5 of his gospel, and the other in chapter 8. In my Bible, the latter narrative comes with a disclaimer to the effect that the earliest manuscripts of John’s gospel do not include it, which, frankly, doesn’t bother me a whole lot. I have always loved the story of the woman “taken” in adultery. It portrays the Lord in a way that seems to me wholly consistent with his revealed character. I believe John wrote it and that it is God-breathed just like the rest of his gospel.

Still, opinions vary about that passage. If you discount it, then you only have to answer this question once.

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Mining the Minors: Micah (13)

Why our English Bibles start Micah 5 where they do is one of those little mysteries to which I will likely never find an answer, but in Hebrew, chapter 5 begins with verse 2. That makes more sense, because the prophet has manifestly changed subjects, moving from a future siege of Jerusalem to God’s answer to a nation’s prayers. It’s a better spot for a chapter break.

In chapter 4, Micah spoke of a king-less Israel longing for the restoration of its monarchy. In chapter 5, he gives us more information about this coming king.

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Who Wants to Live Forever?

“Who wants to live forever?” sang Freddie Mercury of Queen, somewhat prophetically, in 1986. He died of AIDS five years later, a shell of himself at the end. Freddie didn’t write the song (guitarist Brian May did), but its answer to “Who wants to live forever?” is a rhetorical “Not me.” It ends with the line “Forever is our today.” If anything, the song is a plea to live life to the fullest in the here-and-now, rather than an expression of yearning for infinite time on earth.

Brian May is no idiot. We live in a fallen world. “What is this thing that builds our dreams yet slips away from us?” he writes. “Who wants to live forever when love must die?” Better to expend whatever one has left in a good cause, no?

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Harmonizing the Five Thousand

Yesterday we looked at the only miracle found in all four gospels: the feeding of the 5,000. We noted that the synoptic gospel accounts have many common elements, though each writer has tailored his version of the story to fit his overall purposes in writing about the life of the Lord Jesus.

For example, Matthew emphasizes the relationship between the Lord and John the Baptist, only just executed by Herod: “When Jesus heard this [that John had been executed], he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place.” Mark and Luke emphasize the Lord’s care for his disciples, who had just had their first taste of successful solo ministry: “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while,” he invites them.

We often make choices with multiple purposes in view. The Lord Jesus was no exception.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Inbox: Random Mutterings About Infinite Value

Recently received:

If I said I had a million dollars and I asked you how much I needed to add to that to reach infinity, you’d shortly tell me something like “You can’t get there from here.”

If I said I was completely broke and had zero in the bank — and then asked how much I needed to add to that to reach infinity, you’d answer in precisely the same way.

Thursday, July 28, 2022

The Worship of Angels

I went to an old-time hymn sing last week.

It’s not that I prefer the old hymns. I’m just as much a fan of new choruses as the next guy … provided they’re theologically sound, of course. And singable: there’s no point in trying to sing something that’s lame musically. But if it’s all coming together, I don’t much care how new or old the tune is. If the words are good, and the tune is great for congregational singing, I say let’s go.

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Do You Love the Lord?

Well, do you? It’s a hugely important question. It merits serious thought.

Love for God is fundamental. Jesus taught that the first and greatest commandment in the Law of Moses was to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind”. So then, God claims the right to rule my thoughts, to control how I define and express my self, and to direct my understanding. Allowing him to exercise his rightful domain unimpeded is the first and greatest expression of love toward God.

This truth was fundamental to a right understanding of the Law, and it is fundamental to Christianity. All true goodness follows from it.

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Flyover Country: 2 John

What we think of Christ is the most important thing about us.

Our relationship with God depends on thinking rightly about his Son, who came into the world at the Father’s behest to save sinners. Heaven’s gate is forever closed to those who do not come to love the Lord Jesus. Moreover, true Christian fellowship is impossible for us to maintain with anyone who does not think accurate, biblical thoughts about the Savior of the world, just as the apostles and writers of the New Testament taught.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Goodness or Godhood

The following post is an edited version of a flyer created in 2016 for the author’s neighbors. He went to be with his Lord and Savior January 20, 2020, which is “far better”.

“Good” is a word often carelessly used in conversation.

Three examples: “People who work for the government earn a good wage”, or “The weather should be good tomorrow”, or you ask a friend, “How are you?” and he replies, “I’m good.”

That last one is too much for anyone to say of themselves. We have “all sinned and come short of the glory of God”. At best we are not absolutely good, though we may have done some relatively good things that we hope our neighbors appreciate.

Sunday, May 01, 2022

Representative Men

The Bible consists of 66 books. Thousands of years lie between the first human author and the last, but the way its history, its prophecies, its songs and its teachings blend into a cohesive story implies the oversight of one person. He must have existed throughout the years of its production! The Bible claims for itself that it is “God-breathed” or inspired.

What is its story all about? Serious students of its pages have made various suggestions as to its overall purpose and plan depending on which of its themes interested them. Every valid idea put forward is like a thread woven into the overall fabric of scripture. It becomes possible to trace these themes throughout its pages like the colored strands in a tapestry. The topics of the glory of God, the sinful condition of mankind, the need for a sufficient sacrifice, etc., all contribute to the total impression left on the mind of the thoughtful reader.

And each strand of truth that begins in the first book has its counterpart, contrast and climax in the last.

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Levitical Interlude #2: Day of Atonement

There are individual sins and there are corporate sins. A woman who has an abortion commits the former; a nation that enshrines her right to do so in its law commits the latter. I leave it to you to weigh which is the greater offense.

From Sinai onward, upon becoming conscious of having personally violated God’s laws, individual Israelites could bring their offerings to the tabernacle or temple all year round to have their transgressions covered over. But Israel’s corporate transgressions also needed a way of being covered over, being arguably more offensive to God than sins any lone Israelite might commit, and therefore more likely to be the source of an outbreak of divine wrath against the entire nation.

Monday, January 24, 2022

Anonymous Asks (181)

“ ‘Son of man’ is a title that belongs to Christ. Why is it also used for Ezekiel?”

Ezekiel not only had the title before the Lord Jesus, he had it used to describe him many more times than the Lord Jesus, 93 in total. More importantly, it was God himself who chose to address him that way, though Daniel is also called a “son of man”. But Ezekiel and Daniel are not the only places you find the phrase in the Old Testament; you also find it in Job, Numbers, the Psalms, Isaiah and Jeremiah.

What can we learn from the fact that both Ezekiel and Daniel had the title earlier, and Ezekiel more frequently? Not much, probably, except maybe not to measure spiritual importance by such metrics.

Friday, January 14, 2022

Too Hot to Handle: Tearing Down Strongholds

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

[Editor’s note: When we were young we used to play road hockey. Now we do this. I missed out on this particular email discussion, but I thought the rest of you might enjoy it as much as I did when I woke up to find it in my inbox. And yes, I got called out for not participating, but these days I will take sleep whenever I can get it.]

Bernie: Okay, bear with me ...

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

14 Inches to the Northwest

I actually wrote this one back in November 2017, but Millennium Tower is back in the news again, so here goes ...

Apparently building your house on something quasi-rock-like won’t cut it.

San Francisco’s Millennium Tower has sunk 17 inches and tilted 14 inches to the northwest since 2006. If that sounds like nothing, bear in mind that this is a 58-storey state-of-the-art concrete monster that drew millions in investment dollars from people like former NFL quarterback Joe Montana.

The problem? Not built down to bedrock.

Does that take you back 2000 years or what?

Sunday, January 02, 2022

Christ and the Police State

The Rutherford Institute is a nonpartisan organization whose self-appointed mission is to hold the U.S. government accountable to abide by the rule of law, sound the alarm over institutional abuses of power, and educate Americans about reclaiming their constitutionally-guaranteed but steadily-eroding freedoms. Its founder John Whitehead is deeply concerned that America is becoming a police state, and he offers plenty of evidence to back up his claims.

All very important stuff in its own place, I’m sure, but what does it have to do with Christians? Well, Whitehead has written a Christmas post entitled “The Christmas Baby Born in a Police State: Then and Now”, in which he asks the question “What if Jesus had been born 2,000 years later?”

Okay, now I’m interested.

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

A Man With No Handles

“The ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father.”

What was the Lord talking about here? It is true that he always did what the Father commanded, but I suspect in this time and place he was talking specifically about what might motivate him to go to the cross. He prefaced his declaration by noting that the “ruler of this world” was making his move.

Nevertheless, for all his apparent power, Satan had no claim on him.

Sunday, December 05, 2021

Seven Sabbaths

Quick question: How many Sabbaths was the Lord Jesus accused of breaking?

Well, we can’t say for certain, as there is no guarantee the writers of the Gospels were attempting to document every occasion on which the Jewish leadership became offended with him for allegedly doing it.

What we do know is that the first four books of the New Testament make reference to seven occasions when the Lord explained the reasons for his behavior.

Sunday, November 07, 2021

Kissing the Son

“If anyone has no love for the Lord, let him be accursed.”

That’s a very strong statement. Catholics would say, “Let him be anathema”, which simply means “devoted to destruction”. Paul leaves us no fence to straddle: it’s love or destruction. Choose one or the other.

That word translated from Greek to English as “love” refers to affection or approval. It’s also a word that means “to kiss”. In the ancient East, when you saw someone you knew and liked on the street, you would greet them with a kiss. It was a way of publicly identifying yourself with that person; of saying to everyone around, “This is my guy, right here.”

Or you could just turn your head away and walk on by. But what an insult that would be.

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Present Perfect

Everybody likes gifts, they say. Still, some are better than others.

A funny story: My in-laws were on their way to a wedding. Along the roadside, a hack artist was selling a number of truly horrible original oil paintings. (Doubtless this poor soul labored under the delusion he was some sort of Michelangelo.) Anyway, my relatives pulled over for a look. These ‘masterpieces’ were supposed to be landscapes, but they all looked like they’d been painted with a really fat brush using earth tones, pale blues and dark blacks. (If you imagine an explosion in a factory that produces toothpaste, peanut butter and licorice, you’ve roughly got the aesthetic here.)

Sunday, October 24, 2021

The Thought Life of Christ

There’s tremendous potential in you as a believer. God has great purposes for you as a believer.

We know these great purposes. He wants us to be conformed to the image of his Son. That’s going to include not only our external activities, but surely it’s also going to include the transformation of our thought lives.

Sunday, October 17, 2021

The Hatred of King Jesus

“You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”

These “companions” were not bad guys.

The psalmist is probably speaking of other Israelite royalty, so Jesus had something significant in common with them despite their human failings: they were all kings. People like David, Solomon and Hezekiah. They served God, they honored God, and they led his people out to victory.

Not bad guys at all, some of them.

Friday, October 01, 2021

Too Hot to Handle: The “Divinity” of Christ

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

Our friend Michael Gungor is at it again, doubling down on his statement to the effect that “Genesis is a poem if I’ve ever seen one.”

Which would be fine, as mere opinions go, but now he’s brought Jesus Christ into it:

“Even if he was wrong, even if he did believe that Noah was a historical person, or Adam was a historical person, and ended up being wrong, I don’t understand how that even would deny the divinity of Christ. The point is it wouldn’t freak me out if he was wrong about it, in his human side.”

Tom: Let’s just catch us up here.

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Finally! An Elected Official We Can Believe In

When I was a little kid, I have to admit I wasn’t much of an athlete. Having been raised with different games and sports than were popular in the country to which my family had returned, I had only opaque knowledge of the rules, and little practice at executing the conventional skills. So I was equally lousy at football, baseball, basketball, soccer and even volleyball, and only marginally competent at hockey.

It would be years before I caught up to my peers who had been raised with those games. Nevertheless, I tried. And I played, whether I was good or not.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Bible Study 09 — Context [Part 3]

Another instalment in the re-presentation of our 2013-2014 series about studying the Bible using methods deduced from the Bible itself. The series introduction can be found here.

The second Bible study tool we are discussing is context. For justification, see the first post on this subject.

Sunday, July 11, 2021

A Thwarted Coup d’État

“And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, ‘He is out of his mind.’ ”

The synoptic gospels recount an incident where Jesus is informed that his family members have gathered outside his residence in Capernaum and want to see him. The Lord then turns to his disciples inside the house and asks them, “Who are my mother and brothers?”

Such a reaction may at first sound a little dismissive to us if we do not understand the circumstances. But of the three accounts, only Mark provides insight into the true motives of Mary and the Lord’s earthly siblings.

Thursday, July 01, 2021

Command Performance

I’ve been thinking about the commandments.

People say that in the Old Testament, God is full of these things. Rabbis claim there are 613 of them, as a matter of fact — an odd number, to be sure. Why should God have an opinion on these particular items? Why not 614? Why not fewer?

And the nature of the commandments — everything from killing each other, to what people eat, to how they wash, to how they match their fabrics … and still the list is not exhaustive, for it leaves many aspects of life totally unmentioned and spends what we might deem far too much time on others.

Why does God care about all these particulars?

Thursday, June 24, 2021

It Ain’t Over ’til It’s Over

The Lord is king forever and ever.”

The 2014 NCAA football championship final was an amazing game. The Florida State Seminoles and their Heisman Trophy winning quarterback, high on a record-breaking season, were pitted against the upstart Auburn Tigers, recent defeaters of last year’s national champions. Florida State was touted as the prohibitive favorite — but as they say, it ain’t over ’til it’s over.

Auburn stormed out onto the field and took the Seminoles off guard. Their crafty game plan, superior aggression at the line and some stellar execution by their offense rapidly staked them to an overwhelming 21-3 lead. Meanwhile, nothing the Seminoles tried seemed to work, and Auburn’s every touch of the ball was golden.

But as they say, the game weren’t over yet.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Putting It in Words

“They did not honor him as God or give thanks to him.”

Years ago I was blathering to one of my brothers about some girl who shall remain nameless, mostly because I can’t even remember who she was now; just another in a lengthy series of post-teen passing interests that remained unreciprocated, a blessing I appreciate more today than I did then.

Early in this conversation my brother told me to please shut up.