March 26, 2019
SEEING THE GOOD NEWS SPREAD THROUGHOUT After Jesus interrupted a funeral procession to raise a widow’s son from the dead, the news of his miracles and teachings “spread throughout Judea and the surrounding countryside.” This illustrates a truth easily discovered anywhere humans dwell, namely, news spreads. Whether it’s good or bad news, people love to
March 27, 2018
JESUS STILL GOES AROUND FORGIVING SINS
The men sitting at Simon the Pharisee’s table questioned Christ’s habit of forgiving sins. He had just allowed an immoral woman to anoint His feet and said nothing to rebuke her. Then, to top it off, Jesus forgave the woman her sins.
Perhaps their question should be worded, “Who does he think he is going around forgiving sins?” I think that was the real sense of their question. They questioned His authority because they rejected His identity. How can a mere man go around forgiving sins? That’s God’s job.
The other revealing thing about their question is the one they didn’t ask. They didn’t ask why Jesus had forgiven the woman, but had not forgiven their sins. Why? Because they didn’t see themselves as sinners. They didn’t see their need for a savior.
The first part of their question, “Who is this man?”, when rightly answered also answers the second part. When Christ asked, “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matt.16:15-16). Since Jesus is the Christ, and the Son of God, He is able to forgive sins. And Jesus is still going around forgiving the sins of those who rightly recognize Him and receive Him today.
March 26, 2018
THE WISDOM OF THE SPIRIT-FILLED LIFE
The wisdom of the Spirit-filled life appeared in both John as the ascetic and in Christ, as the social and later the suffering. Yet, the Pharisees rejected both of them. For they did not see with spiritual eyes, but with natural. As the apostle Paul wrote, “So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense. But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Cor. 1:23-24).
There is a wisdom that is beyond the world’s understanding. This is the wisdom that is ours in Christ alone.
March 26, 2016
Jesus is a funeral crasher. When he encountered the crying widow of Nain marching behind her only son’s coffin in a funeral procession, he interrupted their progress (Who does that?). He was moved with compassion for the widow whose only link to a hopeful future lay in the casket. The rights and possessions of her husband belonged to her now dead son. She would be left destitute and alone. But Jesus crashed the funeral and told the widow, “Don’t cry!” How offensive this would be if he were only telling her to deny her feelings. After all, what else could she do? She had no power to overcome death. She had every right to those tears! Who is this that he would stop a funeral along with its tears? He is Jesus, the Resurrection and the Life. And when death meets Life, Life wins. So, Jesus touched the bier and told the young man to arise. And the dead boy arose and began to speak, and Jesus gave him back to his mother. Because Jesus has defeated sin, death, and the grave, He is able to turn our mourning into laughter.
March 26, 2014
Jesus doesn’t like funerals. When he encountered the crying widow of Nain marching behind her only son’s coffin in a funeral procession, he interrupted their progress. He was moved with compassion for the widow whose only link to a hopeful future lay in the casket. The rights and possessions of her husband belonged to her now dead son. She would be left destitute and alone. But Jesus crashed the funeral and told the widow, “Don’t cry!” How offensive this would be if he were only telling her to deny her feelings. After all, what else could she do? She had no power to overcome death. She had every right to those tears! Who is this that he would stop a funeral along with its tears? He is Jesus, the Resurrection and the Life. When death meets Life, Life wins. And tears end and laughter begins.
March 25, 2014
Notice the rhythm of operation in Jesus’ early ministry. He often returned to Capernaum as his home base. In this chapter, a group of Jewish elders came with a most unusual request, they wanted his help on behalf of a Roman officer and his deathly ill servant. This shows the crossroads of culture that Capernaum was in those days, as the Jewish elders expressed concern and gratitude for this Roman patron who had paid for the construction of their synagogue. So Jesus went with them to heal the Roman officer’s servant. What a different relationship Jesus had with the Jewish elders and Romans living in Capernaum and their counterparts in Jerusalem. Jesus healed the Roman soldier’s servant at the request of Capernaum’s elders, who described the Roman as a lover of the Jewish people. While in Jerusalem the Jewish elders hated their Roman rulers, and yet, they conspired together to crucify Jesus. I suppose Jesus could have remained in Capernaum, for that matter, he could have remained in heaven, but he left there. And went up to Jerusalem to be crucified.
March 27, 2011
Our love for Christ is connected to an awareness of our own sinfulness. As long as one speck of self-righteousness remains in us, love for the Redeemer will be lacking.