John the Baptist was asked to describe himself. He responded by quoting the prophet Isaiah: “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord’” (John 1:23). The point of John’s life was to direct people’s attention elsewhere. That is so refreshing in a world of me, myself … Continue reading What’s the point?
Jesus healed a man who was born blind. This irked some of the Pharisees. They peppered the man who was healed (and his parents) with questions, trying to discredit the man or the miracle. Quite understandably, he got tired of repeatedly explaining how it happened. “I have told you already,” he said, “and you would … Continue reading Will you knock in vain on a closed door?
Maybe it sounds like a strange suggestion, but I think that when we talk about Jesus we should do it more frequently in the present tense. Instead of always saying that “Jesus said” such-and-such, why not say that “Jesus says” such-and-such. For example, Jesus says that we should love our enemies. Jesus says that we … Continue reading Speaking about Jesus in the present tense
In the much-quoted Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). Brothers and sisters, you don’t actually believe beliefs that don’t change how you live. Notes: … Continue reading Beliefs that change how you live
Recently my wife Laura came across a quote by actor Jim Carrey: “I think everyone should get rich and famous and do everything they dreamed of so they can see that it is not the answer.” Imagine that scenario playing out. Everyone gets rich. Then they get famous. They do whatever they want. They assume … Continue reading Jim Carrey’s wish
Hebrews 2:11 says that “Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.” I’m blown away by that. Jesus calls his followers brothers and sisters. Siblings. What’s more is that he is “not ashamed” to do so. Think of all the times we have gone against God’s teachings. Think about the wayward thoughts, decisions, … Continue reading A firm (not flimsy) identity no matter what
“Because [Jesus] himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” So says Hebrews 2:18. But how? How is he able to help those who are being tempted? Let me make three suggestions. First, talk to God about it—honestly. Think of your most painful or frequent temptations. We … Continue reading 3 suggestions to help with temptation
Hebrews 1:5 says: “For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father”? It’s a rhetorical question. The answer is ‘None.’ Jesus is greater than angels. Apparently some people had been doubting Jesus. Since they were still seeking the wisdom, strength and blessing of God, … Continue reading Single-minded fidelity
Bible scholar Luke Timothy Johnson says the most important question we need to answer is whether or not Jesus is alive. Not only do we believe in the Jesus of history, but in the Jesus who was raised and continues to be alive—reigning and ruling at God’s right hand. See Hebrews 1:3: “The Son [i.e. … Continue reading Sustained by his powerful word
Hebrews 1 begins like this: “In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe” (verses 1-2). Wow, what … Continue reading Looking for something other than Jesus?