John 8:12-59 (AD 29) Today’s passage is a uniquely argument-filled section. Jesus was facing down not just the religious leaders but groups of Jews who were attacking him with bad theology. Remind yourself first that Jesus, whilst God, was also a man capable of feeling hurt and being saddened. Note also the viciousness of the … More Day 66: Arguing with the children of Satan
John 7:2-10 (autumn, AD 29) Jesus’ brothers didn’t get it. Simon, Jude, Joseph and James must have known he was an exceptionally good person, but he also seemed like an attention-seeker with a bad agent. There they were in the under-populated, under-recognised north, with a trip to the big city begging, and Jesus didn’t seem … More Day 62: Did Jesus need an agent?
Matthew 18 (AD 29) We’d like to think that we wouldn’t ask boneheaded self-serving questions like the disciples did. But let’s be honest – we absolutely would. “Who…is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” is a classic of its type: a cross between mindless trivia and self-absorbed ambition. Jesus’ illustration of needing to go … More Day 61: Soft love, tough love
Mark 8:27-9:1 (AD 29) This is arguably the hinge passage in Mark’s gospel, marking the transition between establishing the identity of Jesus (chapters 1-8, covering about 34 years), and charting the consequences of that identity (chapters 8-16, covering less than a year). One can’t read too much into it, but it’s notable that the disciples’ … More Day 58: ‘Get behind me, Satan!’
Matthew 5:17-20 (AD 28) Jesus, in condemning the persecution and murder of prophets from centuries past, condemning the Pharisees, talking about God blessing the Gentiles and causing a ruckus at the temple in Jerusalem, was accruing quite a reputation. It’s why three readings ago in Mark chapter three, we saw his mother and brothers trying … More Day 33: The Unchanging makes changes
Luke 4:16-30 (AD 27) 1. Jesus read a prophecy from the Old Testament and told the congregation in the synagogue that all the blessings God spoke about were being fulfilled in their day. RESULT: “All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips” (v.22). 2. Jesus then … More Day 23: Primum nil nocere?
John 2:13-25 (AD 27) There’s belief, and there’s belief, and they’re not the same thing. We have them here, one after the other, for contrast. Verse twenty-two tells us that whilst the disciples didn’t understand the reference at the time, they “believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken” (v.22) after the resurrection. … More Day 17: When belief is not belief
John 1:35-51 (AD 27) It started so well, didn’t it? The disciples’ walk of faith began with quotes such as: Andrew heard John the Baptist say, “Look, the Lamb of God!” (v.36) Andrew told Peter, “We have found the Messiah” (v.41) Phillip told Nathanael, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, … More Day 15: The Truth was staring them in the face
Luke 2:22-38 (5-4 BC) The Exodus of around 1500BC played a huge role in the religious life of God’s people. It was during the Exodus that God gave Moses all the laws that the Hebrews were to live by. And it was the fact of the Exodus that provided God with some of the most … More Day 9: Consecrating the firstborn