Showing posts from March, 2009


Matthew 20:
20Then the mother of Zebedee's sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him.
21"What is it you want?" he asked. She said, "Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom."
22"You don't know what you are asking," Jesus said to them. "Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?" "We can," they answered.
23Jesus said to them, "You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father."
24When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers.
25Jesus called them together and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.
26Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant,
27and whoever wa…


Slavery still exists.Internationally, there are millions who are owned by others and forced to do anything their masters require.While this may come as a shock to many in civilized societies, it is an economic system prevalent from the ancient times.
Freedom from slavery is an internationally recognized human right. Article 4 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:
No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.[i]
I suppose that slaves in every period of history have known that something was wrong and longed for a time when they would be free.The gospel compels us to bring hope and freedom to the oppressed and bound.
Jesus lived in a time of slavery and oppression.
Strangely, he saw something powerful and compelling servants could teach the world – a new kind of attitude towards God, competition and our fellow man.This was a difficult message that most would not want to hear.
He defined greatness as volunteer sl…


Isaiah 56:7 I'll bring them to my holy mountain
and give them joy in my house of prayer.
They'll be welcome to worship the same as the 'insiders,'
to bring burnt offerings and sacrifices to my altar.
Oh yes, my house of worship
will be known as a house of prayer for all people."
8 The Decree of the Master, God himself,
who gathers in the exiles of Israel:
"I will gather others also,
gather them in with those already gathered."

Consider God’s heart toward all people:
a)God brings the outsider to the holy mountain. This was a special place in Israel’s history where God revealed Himself to Moses, gave direction and had intimate communication. The new beginner with God is brought to the same place as the chosen people.
b)God gives outsiders joy in the house of prayer. What is prayer? It is the believer’s privileged access to speak with and hear from God. Sometimes people approach prayer with agonizing and uncertainty. But to the one who approaches…


The Temple money-changers were conveniently located.
If you were not a Jewish male, the court of the Gentiles was the end of the pilgrimage.The Jewish males were allowed to go further into the Temple area.
If you were not Jewish by birth, if you were a woman or a leper, you could only go as far as the Court of the Gentiles.This is where the temple sacrifices could be purchased and offered on your behalf by the priests.
In other words, they wanted your money but not your presence in approaching God.It was one rule for the Jewish males and something else for everyone else.

According to Ched Myers in Binding the Strong Man, Jesus calls for an end to the entire cultic system—symbolized by his overturning of the stations used by lepers (Mark 1:44) and women (Mark 5:25–34). They represented the concrete mechanisms of oppression within a political economy that doubly exploited the poor and unclean. Not only were they considered second class citizens, but the cult obliged them to make reparation,…


The Scriptures speak about God’s anger many times.If anyone has rightful reasons to be angry, it is God.Anger is best expressed when it is coming from a place of deep love and respect.
Jesus got angry.He reached the boiling point and anger spilled over.It was messy.The people around felt the tension and saw a side of Jesus they were not used to seeing.

Mark 11:15 On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, 16 and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. 17 And as he taught them, he said, "Is it not written: " 'My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations'? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.' "

Jesus was angry enough to overturn tables and stop people from doing their business.What was going on?Why was the characteristically gentle shepherd boiling over?What…


I know two kinds of angry people.
The first practices ‘microwave anger’.Put something in their mind and it will be fully cooked and hot in seconds.We call these people ‘hot-heads’.It doesn’t take much provocation to get a hot response.Homer Simpson would fit into this category.I love the scene where he comes to great self-realization and cries, “I am a rage-aholic!I can’t live without rage-ahol.”
The second angry person practices ‘slow-cooking anger’.They can slowly simmer all day like a crock-pot when something is put into their mind.But rest assured the result will be the same – piping hot anger!Marge Simpson is a slow-cooking angry person.
‘Microwave’ or ‘slow-cooker’, anger is a normal part of the human experience.
Anger is a flame.For it to be useful, it must be a controlled burn.Managed anger can warm up a cold relationship; refine an impure heart and burn away falsehood.
Anger unmanaged can destroy everyone and everything in its path.It will scorch the earth.
Mostly, our anger is mes…


In Greek mythology there is a legend in which Zeus, the righteous ruler of the world, presents his subjects with a big vase filled with everything they would need to be whole and happy persons. The people are overjoyed by this great gift. They begin to dance with such exuberance that the vase falls to the ground and its lid pops off. And before the lid can be put back in place, all of the life-giving gifts escape, except one. The people cringe before the all-powerful Zeus. "Well," he asks, "what is left?" Peeking inside the vase, one of the subjects reports, "Only hope remains." To which Zeus replies, "It is enough!"
In our lives, the true and living God fills us with everything we need to be whole and happy persons.In fact we are described as jars made out of clay.As we are filled with God’s Holy Spirit, there is an over-abundance of God poured into us.It spills out of us.
Jesus said we could be filled with righteousness if we would hunger and th…


John 1:47 When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, "Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false."48 "How do you know me?" Nathanael asked.
Jesus answered, "I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you."49 Then Nathanael declared, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel."50 Jesus said, "You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You shall see greater things than that." 51 He then added, "I tell you the truth, you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man."

I know people who delight in the fact that they can spot a phony.Before others know, they have already discerned that a person is a fraud or has false motives.While this is a shrewd quality to have, discernment also works in the positive.
A truly discerning person will also be able to size up a person’s heart and see the truth and good…