Jesus offered more wisdom than Solomon and more universal preaching than Jonah. Pharisees hid behind man-made rules, such as ritual washing before meals. As scholars of the law, scribes managed to snatch away the key to knowledge of truths that Jesus came to teach. Nothing remains hidden from God—a fearsome thought, except that Jesus said to fear not. Everyone sins, but God still values people, good works, and faith. A problem arises when sinners blaspheme against the Holy Spirit by refusing to accept forgiveness, mercy, and salvation. Longin

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When God accepted the repentance of the people of Nineveh, Jonah felt angry about all that he had gone through to relay the warning of God’s earlier intention to destroy the city. Knowing that the second part of the “Greatest Commandment” teaches love of neighbors, a scholar of Mosaic law asked Jesus to define “neighbor.” In the Lord’s parable of the good Samaritan, the scholar would have preferred a hero from his side of the ideological fence. Martha got nowhere by asking Jesus to tell her sister to help with serving, instead of si

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Apostles chosen by Jesus objected to an outsider healing in His name, but the Lord welcomed anyone taking His side. James and John offered to call down fire from heaven on a Samaritan village that turned away messengers announcing Jesus’ planned visit. Jesus said to just move on. Seeing the Disciples’ growing interest in greatness in heaven and on Earth, Jesus said to humble themselves like children. When the Lord appointed 72 new laborers in His mission, He gave them power to heal wherever they found welcome. Among people ready or not to a

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Unlike a lamp on a lampstand, not everyone who came into Jesus’ presence saw Him as the Light of the world. During a party at Matthew’s house, Pharisees tried to cast doubt by asking why Jesus ate with sinners. The Lord, always eager to enlighten people, compared His ministry among sinners to a doctor working among the sick. Rumors spread as people speculated that John the Baptist, Elijah, or one of the other prophets had come back to life as Jesus. Herod had ordered John the Baptist beheaded and wanted to see Jesus for himself. We can pict

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A Pharisee named Simon invited the Lord to his home but denied Him even the common courtesy of a basin of water to rinse road dust from His feet. Then a sinful woman approached Jesus, let her tears fall upon His feet, dried them with her hair, and anointed them with ointment. She had received His forgiveness for her many sins and, naturally, wanted to show her great love for Him. Jesus worked a miracle when a centurion, admittedly unworthy to have Jesus under the same roof with him, asked the Lord by messenger to cure his slave from a distance.

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Before healing a man’s withered hand, Jesus asked the scribes and Pharisees in the synagogue if they thought it lawful to do something good on the Sabbath. The Lord answered His own question by working the miracle. They responded by angrily discussing what to do about Him. After spending a night in prayer, Jesus chose the Twelve to become Apostles. Using the measure God desires, love and forgiveness outweigh human notions of owing and fairness. We can choose to act with compassion, kindness, and gentleness. The way we want others to treat us

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Despite plenty of poor widows and lepers among the “chosen people,” God had helped Gentiles by sending the prophet Elijah to a poor widow in Sidon and directing a Syrian leper to Elisha for healing. When Jesus mentioned that bit of history, infuriated people in His hometown synagogue wanted to throw the carpenter’s son off a cliff! On the other hand, believers pressed toward Jesus on the shore of Lake Gennesaret (the Sea of Galilee) until He got into Peter’s boat to teach the crowd. Afterward, when the Lord suggested going fishing, Pete

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