A historical reenactor in Roman centurion costume. Note the transverse crest on the Galea (helmet).It was worn to indicated the wearer’s rank in regimental ‘triumph’ and honorific parades. It purpose was purely symbolic. In ordinary events, it was not part of the standard battle-dress of Roman soldiers in the field.
Just before ascending into heaven, Jesus told his disciples to be his witnesses “in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). In Matthew 28:20, he specifically said to “make disciples of all nations.”
It took a while for them to understand that he meant for more than just Jews to become disciples.… Read the rest
Judas receiving silver for betraying Jesus. 16th century fresco painting on the vault in the Saint Sébastien Church, in Planpinet. Clarée valley, Hautes alpes département, France.
I wrote of Jesus’ trial before Pilate a couple of years ago and noted that Jesus had to work very hard to keep from being acquitted. Studying the Last Supper and events leading up to it, I notice that Jesus had to work just as skillfully to orchestrate his betrayal.
Judas went secretly to the chief priests and offered to betray Jesus. Luke’s account (Luke 26:3) specifically says that Satan entered him. Once the conspirators agreed on the fee, He kept his eyes open for an opportunity.… Read the rest
Moses and the burning bush / Raphael, ca. 1515
Fire appears in the Bible a lot.
- God is like a refining fire (Malachi 3:2).
- His word is like a fire and like a hammer that breaks the rock (Jeremiah 23:29). Three friends of Daniel spent some time in a fiery furnace.
- Elijah called down fire on the men sent to arrest him (2 Kings 1:10, 12).
- James and John wanted to call down fire on the Samaritans (Luke 9:54).
- Tongues of fire appeared over 120 people in the upper room on Pentecost (Acts 2:3).
- And during the Exodus God appeared as a pillar of fire at night (Exodus 13:21-22).
… Read the rest
I’m sitting at a computer tonight. Since it’s night, I have the light on. If that seems too commonplace to mention, try it some stormy night when a falling tree branch has severed the overhead cable that supplies your electricity. Leaving battery operated gadgets aside for a while, all of our electrical stuff must be plugged in before we can use it. The fuse or circuit breaker must allow current to flow. Our home is connected to power lines, transformers, and other equipment that can be traced all the way back to the electrical generating plant. That’s the source of all the electrical power we use.… Read the rest
What do you know about Samson? Is he a Bible character you particularly admire or respect? His story, told in four chapters in Judges, is full of foolish choices. He had a special weakness for Philistine women. His last Philistine girl friend, Delilah, kept bugging him to tell her the secret of his strength. Twice he lied to her, and twice she sent Philistine men to capture him. What kept him from turning his back on her instead of finally telling her the truth? And he had such a great start in life!
The angel of the Lord appeared to Samson’s mother, a barren woman.… Read the rest