What a Waste!

What a Waste! – The Pilferer. The scent was exquisite but almost overwhelming. The occasional, warm evening breeze through the open shutters was quite a relief. Whatever Mary had slavered on Jesus’ feet was clearly top-of-the-line perfume. “Probably cost her a fortune”, thought Judas. “What a waste!” (Matt. 26:8). “Why was this perfume not sold […]

God Goes to Synagogue

[Jesus] went into their synagogue. And a man was there whose hand was withered. And they questioned Jesus, asking, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—so that they might accuse Him. And He said to them, “What man is there among you who has a sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will he not take hold of […]

Magic Thinking

Magic is the use of special words or ceremonies in the belief that they produce results. Sadly, magic thinking1 creeps into Christian life sometimes. Jesus rejected it. The crafty suggestion came from Satan. Then the devil took Him into the holy city; and he had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple and said […]

Jesus Tested

Jesus was still dripping wet from baptism when the Spirit alighted and the Father spoke (Luke 4:1 says He filled Him). Behold, a voice out of the heavens, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.” Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the […]

Day Hike or Night Hike?

I always pack a flashlight because sometimes I misjudge how long a hike will take. Once, the sun set six miles from the trailhead. I did a two-hour night hike through trees, barely able to distinguish the path from the forest floor. If the battery had failed I would have had no choice but to […]

Friend of Tax-Gatherers and Sinners

It’s hard to hide a big party in a small town with an outdoor lifestyle and no sound-proofing. The Pharisees and scribes noticed Matthew’s and frowned. Then they asked a question that, of all the questions in the Gospels, might be the best cue for explaining Jesus’ mission. “Why do you eat and drink with […]

Tribulation?

Tribulation: On Groups and Causes Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. But […]

Pushed Buttons

People don’t like being challenged. Unknowingly, I pushed buttons recently. An acquaintance posted on social media a slanderous and inaccurate comment about a public figure. I simply asked for sources but it ignited a firestorm of abusive dismissals of me and any position that my question seemed to imply. When Jesus entered the temple complex […]

Is it Time?

Making Israel Great again Straddling two positions is awkward—spiritually too. Jesus’ followers live in two kingdoms—the kingdom of God and that of the world. The world is inescapably close and screams loudly; God’s kingdom comes, slow and gentle, like sprouting corn. Its fullness lies in a misty future. It’s easy to become confused. Six weeks […]

Grieving the Spirit

Consider two scenarios involving a person addicted to, say, smoking. In the first, a friend who wants to help the smoker break the addiction gets the person to agree to an unpleasant consequence if they continue to smoke. The consequence is painful and immediate, but lasting, so it outweighs any short term pleasure gained from […]