Showing posts from August, 2020

Fish or get out of the boat

Our two passages before us today couldn’t be more different. One is a story of Peter, once more, getting it wrong. Paul’s letter to the Romans is almost a laundry list of living for Jesus. I propose they are more related than we think. Matthew paints a bold background of what it means to follow Jesus. Jesus uses a ‘roller’ as He plasters dark reds and brown on the canvas before us. Painted with His blood, the ESV uses 20 words to define Christ’s calling, “If anyone would come after me, let them deny themself and take up their cross and follow me” v 24. Jesus makes it so clear b ecause moments earlier Peter had tried to tell Jesus what was best for him. Jesus was headed to Jerusalem to die but Peter thought that was a horrible idea and told Jesus so. I’m pleased to hear Jesus does not give in to Peter but called him to account, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance” v23. This is because Jesus’ call is for us to follow Him to death—Yes, eternal life. But death nonetheless becau

Rules and Worship

  When reading scripture, it is important to know the context in which the verses take place. What we learn in verses 10-28 flow from the Pharisees complaining to Jesus about the disciples breaking of the “tradition of the elders” v2. In answer, Jesus shows them their own ‘law-breaking’ in order to further their greed. Connected stories From here Jesus address the people who have gathered to hear Him. These two stories—what defiles a person and the healing of the Gentile’s daughter are connected. Those of Israel, the Pharisee, and everyday Jews had been raised on the logic that “ceremony=rightness with God”. Keep the Sabbath and its rules and God blesses you. Bring the proper sacrifice at the right time and God accepts you, forgives your sin, etc. Do ritual washing and don’t touch non-Kosher food and you will stay healthy. “But” Jesus does here what he did earlier in the Sermon on the Mount. There Christ said, “You have heard… BUT I say” . He doesn’t offer an expansion on th

I Got You!

  A universal truth in life is that we will have stress.   Acute’ stress is short-lived, situational, but can be earth-shattering—death of a friend, stuck in traffic, argument with a spouse, child, or boss. Acute stress passes. Following an experiment demonstrating  how acute stress can increase mental acuity one doctor wrote, “I think intermittent stressful events are probably what keeps the brain more alert, and you perform better when you are alert,” she said ( Sanders ) Chronic stress is just nasty, it increases risks like “chronic obesity, heart disease and depression (Sanders)." Chronic stress can come from the constant presence of acute stressors partnered with no way to escape. There is no control over those things that bring chronic stress into our lives. The biggest contribution to date by atheist Dr. Richard Dawkins (IMHO), is gifting the world with the word ‘meme’. They are important because they allow us to deal with some of the stressors we face in our world on

What did you eat today?

Matthew 14:13-21 is one of the few experiences shared in each of the Gospels. Matthew, Mark, and Luke are very similar in many places, but it must have been a special reason for John to record it.  John, like the others, is concerned with showing his readers and the world who Jesus is. John records the intent of the people, to take Jesus and make Him King. Soon afterward in John 6: 26ff, Jesus confronts the crowd, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves” which leads to verse 35 where Jesus reveals “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” Jesus and God At the center of God’s creation is Jesus. The tipping point for all life is found in Jesus. Nothing is grander, more life-changing, fulfilling, earth-shattering, or joyous than Jesus. Jesus is the Gospel and if we miss this, we miss everything, everything! I owe a lot in this discus