Religious leaders held themselves in high regard. As Jesus and the Disciples made their way to Jerusalem, the Lord said that He would rise, but only after suffering the anguish and pain of crucifixion. In a parable, Jesus described the fate of murderous tenant farmers who refused to turn over a landowner’s share of the produce. Another story depicted a prodigal son who wasted what the father had given him but undeservedly received a favored son’s welcome home. While living in hope of eternal life, do we regard holiness as the highest standaRead More
After 40 days in the desert, Jesus preached about fulfillment, the Kingdom of heaven, and the need to repent and believe. He taught that anyone who turns away from the poor, ignores the sick, dehumanizes prisoners, or excludes newcomers likewise rejects the Lord. Even if it takes a while, people can change. Like everyone, Peter had his faults as he faced Jesus’ challenge to become perfect, like the heavenly Father. When we say, “I’m only human,” does it sound like making excuses or the making of a perfectly humble disciple?
Rejecting the challenge of religious leaders to give them a sign, Jesus left by boat for another shore. The Lord warned the Disciples about “the leaven of the Pharisees and Herod”—people focused on raising their own esteem. Jesus tried to prepare the Disciples for the impending suffering and death that He would willingly endure for sinners. Ash Wednesday begins a time of focus on repentance—the desire to change for the better. In the Old Testament, Isaiah broadly described fasting as removing burdens, sharing food and shelter with the hRead More
In the Old Testament, one kind of suffering after another befell Job, who did not hold back his distress when he prayed! (Job lived to see abundant blessings again.) Although not part of God’s “chosen people,” a Gentile woman wanted Jesus to cure her daughter. The Lord compared obliging her to giving food meant for children to the dogs. She asked again, begging for a “table scrap” of His help. (Jesus worked the miracle.) Some scribes and Pharisees asked Jesus why disciples of His skipped ritual handwashing before meals. Jesus broughtRead More
In accordance with Mosaic law, Mary and Joseph presented Jesus in the synagogue, where a man named Simeon recognized Him as the awaited Christ. As an adult, back in his hometown of Nazareth, Jesus’ wisdom and works astonished people who knew Him as the son of the carpenter and Mary. A synagogue official did not give up hope after receiving word that his daughter had died. A woman touched Jesus’ cloak and had her hope of healing fulfilled. The Lord welcomes trust in Him, even if we approach Him in prayer as a last resort. Jesus sent the TwelRead More
Four fishermen (Peter, Andrew, James, and John) abandoned their boats and nets to see what Jesus wanted. One day, Jesus got into a boat with the Disciples “just as He was,” tired enough to sleep through a gale and crashing waves. The Disciples woke Him, afraid of perishing at sea and—worse yet—afraid that the Lord didn’t care. After His Ascension, Jesus has not stopped calling people to follow Him. On the road to Damascus, it took a blinding light and the voice of Jesus for a merciless Pharisee to change his ways and eventually becomeRead More
Jesus got so crazy-busy that relatives wanted to rescue Him from the crowds pressing for His help. At times, He and the Disciples could not even manage a quick meal. Nevertheless, Scripture describes Pharisees objecting when the Lord allowed the Disciples to pick and eat heads of grain as they walked along on a Sabbath day. Jesus cured a man’s withered hand right in the synagogue, after Pharisees declined to say whether keeping the Sabbath prevented doing something good. Like new cloth that would pull at a tear if used to patch old fabric, orRead More