The With Us God

Joseph returned home from a busy day at the shop. He smelled like cedar with a hint of balsam. Sons of David deserved a table fit for kings. Mary would love it. He could hardly wait to enjoy their first meal around it as a family. Then the unthinkable happened. Joseph hadn’t seen Mary in three months. She had gone to visit her older cousin Elizabeth who was pregnant with […]

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 […]

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; […]

The Women of Easter 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 […]

God Declared Forgiveness Before He Declared War

Zacharias was an old man (Lk 1.7).  A really old man (Lk 1.18).  His wife was also, shall he say, “advanced in years.”  (That’s a good lesson for godly husbands.  We may get old but our wives only “advance in years.”) Having a child at their age was biologically impossible.  We could excuse Zacharias for being skeptical.  But, God didn’t.  Gabriel muted him for nine-plus months (Lk 1.20). Zacharias had […]

Grace for the Greedy

With rock star status Jesus was flanked by thousands (literally, “the myriads”) as he meandered through the Palestinian countryside (Lk 12.1).  Folks stumbled over each other for a glimpse, nugget or even piece of Jesus.  It never got to his head. Not one to waste an audience, Jesus introduced his disciples to Greed 101.  Luke just told us Jesus was Public Enemy #1 to the self-righteous religious snots (11.53-54).  It […]

Did Jesus Disobey His Parents?

Luke records the only adolescent account we have about Jesus between his birth and public ministry (Lk 2.41-51). Joseph and Mary were faithful Jews (cf. Lk 2.21-24, 39) who loved Torah and “went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover” (Lk 2.41). The year Jesus turned twelve was no different, at least for Joseph and Mary. Jewish tradition dictated a boy became personally responsible to Torah when […]

Lunch With a Pharisee

“Woe to you!  For you build the tombs of the prophets, and it was your fathers who killed them” (Lk 11.48). Jesus had lunch with a Pharisee one day (Lk 11.37).  Not only did Jesus not wash his hands before the meal, he proceeded to take his host to the cosmic woodshed.  Between bites of legumes Jesus exposed the wrank hypocrisy of the Pharisees. A Mosaic lawyer took issue with […]

God’s Kingdom is Christ

What exactly is the “kingdom of God”?  It was the substance of Jesus’ earthly ministry (Lk 4.43).  It was a staple of Messianic expectations.  What Jesus taught about God’s kingdom, however, was much different than what most thought to be true of that kingdom. When we think of “kingdom” we think king with a capitol, army, law, borders, flags, subjects and authority.  When Jesus preached about God’s kingdom, he did […]