The book of Luke ends with these verses:
When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God. — Luke 24:50-53 (NIV)
Over the past several months, Jesus had tried more than once to explain his coming death and resurrection. His disciples could not hear that message. When the time came, they basically fell apart. They ran away.… Read the rest
“Woman, who is it you looking for?” — John 20:15a (NIV)
Everyone knows about the seven last words of Christ on the cross. Many churches probably offered musical settings of them some time during Holy Week. Of course, as I wrote in the immediately previous post, Jesus violated everyone’s expectations by his resurrection from the dead. And then he had more to say. Easter Sunday has passed, but not Easter season. It’s a great time to look at the next words of Christ after the cross.
[I recently came across a book by Shane Stanford, The Seven Next Words of Christ: Finding Hope in the Resurrection Sayings (Abingdon Press, ©2006), and acknowledge my debt to it.]
We probably can’t reconcile the four surviving accounts of what happened on that chaotic Easter morning, but all agree that Mary Magdalene was the first to see the risen Christ.… Read the rest
“. . . to grant those who mourn in Zion, giving them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of the spirit of fainting, so they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”–Isaiah 61:3 (NASB)
Twice in one recent day, I encountered the concept of fasting from bad attitudes. I see what the two people are getting at, but I don’t think “fasting” is quite appropriate. Fasting generally means not eating for a period of time. Jesus and Moses each fasted for forty days.… Read the rest
“Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and stand he will, for the Lord is able to make him stand.” Romans 14:4 (NASB)
Why do Christians find it so easy to criticize other Christians? Perhaps because Jesus so greatly desires unity in the Church. It is not easy to build unity if everyone has cause to be on the defensive against carping criticism from everyone else. It is not easy to build unity if everyone is attuned to pointing out everyone else’s weaknesses and failures.
From time to time I like to go back through old, worn-out Bibles that I no longer carry.… Read the rest
“Yet for Your sake we are killed all day long. We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Psalm 44:22
The Kingdom of Judah was under siege, undoubtedly because of its persistent idolatry. The psalmist remembers the glory of past generations and wails that God no longer goes out with the nation’s army.
I simply assume that anyone whose poetry was worthy of inclusion in the psalter must have been a godly man. When, in verse 20, he denies forgetting God or worshiping idols, I believe him. I don’t believe that he could speak for the nations a whole.The righteous must often suffer as a consequence of the sins of the unrighteous.… Read the rest