A Tale of Two Betrayers

Matthew wove a subtle thread through his crucifixion account.  All the Gospel writers detailed Judas’ betrayal of Jesus, but only Matthew recorded what happened to Judas afterward (Mt 27.3-5; cf. Acts 1.18f.).  He did so in such a way to compare and contrast Judas with Peter: two deniers of Jesus.  Matthew magnified the sovereignty and grace of Jesus to secure his own despite their failings. Satan tried every tactic to […]

With Ev’ry Grace Endued

There is only one kind of Christian life. Every Christian shares the same calling as every other Christian because we all share one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all (Eph 4.1-6). God calls each of us into a particular sort of life — the Trinitarian life of humility, gentleness, patience, forbearance, unity, and peace. In a word, the Trinitarian […]

Filthy Fast Balls and Forgiveness

Dirty. That’s how I felt the next morning after our son’s baseball game. The night before we played a team obviously above our caliber. It’s obvious to everyone in the league they’re using us as practice squads. They were baseball kids. Our team is kids who play baseball. There’s a huge difference. They practice hours a day. We practice an hour per week. Their starting pitcher might as well have […]

Hang In There Because Jesus Hung There

“[Job] was blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil”(Job 1.1) . . . “the LORD gave and the LORD has taken away.  Blessed be the name of the LORD” (1.21) . . . “Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?” (2.10) Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God (1.22). “I am not at ease, nor am I quiet, and I am […]

Wingless Bones, Not Boneless Wings

“For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven” (Mk 12.25). The Sadducees were the 1st-century version of the 21st-century liberals.  They denied all things supernatural, especially any notion of bodily resurrection from the dead (cf. Mt 3.7; 16.1, 11-12; 22.23, 34; Lk 20.27; Acts 4.1-2; 5.17; 23.6-8).  Sola Torah (Torah alone) was their creed.  They didn’t believe anything […]

The Crimeless Victim

“We live in a culture that has replaced soul with self.  This reduction turns people into either problems or consumers.  Insofar as we acquiesce in that replacement, we gradually but surely regress in our identity, for we end up thinking of ourselves and dealing with others in marketplace terms: everyone we meet is either a potential recruit to join our enterprise or a potential consumer for what we are selling; […]

Confessions of a Smooth Talker

You recognize smooth talk when you hear it.  Sometimes it’s too late, though, after you’ve set your heart on what you’ve heard.  By then you’ve likely given away something you never thought you would. Smooth talk is a grifter.  Thievery’s chiseled but sinister cousin.  Always cutting the corner as he pickpockets his way out of town.  He was good. Too good.  He said just enough but never quite enough.  He […]

Juneteenth in Graceland

Today is Juneteenth (a.k.a. June 19th). Texas introduced me to Juneteenth during a pastoral stretch in the Republic.  I am thankful to reflect on its significance today especially living in one of the more racist regions of the country.  A region that has done its fair share of infecting my own heart as well. Abraham Lincoln declared the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862.  He ordered the freedom of all […]

In Him Was Life (Why We’re Not Martians)

“In him was life” (Jn 1.4). “No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative”  (Jn 10.18). “It is finished” (Jn 19.30). In Jesus was life. We might say something similar, ironically, at a funeral.  Our friend lived vibrantly, spontaneously, infectiously.  Our relative had such “life” about them.  They lived life to its fullest. But not really. They did not live necessarily. […]

The Women of Easter Sabbath

Sabbath

“It was the preparation day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.  Now the women who had come with Him out of Galilee followed, and saw the tomb and how His body was laid.  Then they returned and prepared spices and perfumes.  And on the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment” (Lk 23.54-56). Luke loved the underdog, especially if the underdog was a woman.  Between Luke-Acts, he used γυνή 60 times […]