Posts from April 2019

Posts from April 2019

Mark 3: The Unforgivable Sin

I cannot begin to recall all the times over the last 25 years when I was asked about what is called “the unforgiveable sin.” Tragically, some contacted me in near-paralyzing fear that they had committed the sin that would hopelessly and forever damn their souls. I’ve heard respected men preach that the unpardonable sin is to die outside of Christ or make similar cases. I have read several commentaries and other helps and disturbingly few let the Bible answer for…

Mark 2: When Jesus Saw Their Faith

Today’s text opens with a moving story of four men seeking Jesus to help their paralytic friend, only to find themselves unable to reach the Lord for the crowd. Desperate and undeterred, they removed the roof from the house where Jesus was teaching and let down the bed in His presence. Verse 5 begins with, “When Jesus saw their faith.” Just last weekend, I saw an article titled, “Faith is never alone.” I didn’t read it nor did I notice…

Mark 1: The Beginning of the Gospel

I love the gospel of Mark. It is succinct, victorious, and celebratory. As I think about the book, its construction, and content, I find fewer than a handful of the polemic problems that were manifest in Jesus’ public ministry. It stands in stark contrast to Matthew’s account, written primarily to the Jews and about the Jews. Whereas Matthew points to Jesus as the son of David and the son of Abraham, Mark cuts right to the chase in his opening…

Matthew 28: The Great Commission

Matthew 28 is the first of three accounts of what is commonly called “The Great Commission.” The Great Commission contains some of the last words ever spoken by Jesus on earth. Not to put a premium on anything Jesus said over another, but as humans, we understand that last words are vitally important in the minds of those who speak them. Given one last chance to impart information, all peripheral matters are ignored and the mundane vanishes. It is called…

Matthew 27: They Got What They Wanted

Reading and re-reading this text made for a difficult topic choice. We could consider the situation with Judas Iscariot and his unrepentant regret. We could think about all the fulfillments of Old Testament texts (there are several even beside those enumerated texts, e.g., v 28, 57-60, cf Is 53:9). We could consider Pilate’s hand washing. But I settled on the Jews’ response to Pilate’s declaration of his belief in Jesus’ innocence. Releasing Jesus to the Jews to satisfy their bloodlust,…

Matthew 26: There will always be poor people

The United States is by far the wealthiest and most self-sufficient nation on earth, yet poverty remains a problem. Since January 1964, our nation has spent nearly TWENTY-FIVE TRILLION DOLLARS in Lyndon Johnson’s “War on Poverty.” It might surprise you to know that the poverty rate in America today is not only unchanged but that fewer people are capable of self-sufficiency than when the war began. In today’s text, Jesus rebuffs His disciples for criticizing the woman who broke her…

Matthew 25: They Never Had Any Oil to Start With

“They never had any oil to begin with.” This is the only logical conclusion concerning the five foolish virgins among those who believe in the doctrine of “once saved, always saved.” Any time a professed believer falls away, such is always explained, “He never was saved to begin with.” The only verse where they believe they can drive a stake on this error is 1 John 2:19, which in fact, not only does not support their error, it refutes it!…

Matthew 24: Two Keys to Understanding

“Matthew 24 is knocking at the door.” This expression was made popular by Billy Graham during the 1950s and 60s. So well received was this saying that Johnny Cash released a song by that same title in 1973. Matthew 24 is one of the most wrongly interpreted chapters in the Bible. The signs of Matthew 24 point to the destruction of Jerusalem and not to the second coming of Jesus and the end of the world. In fact, the entirety…

Matthew 23: Don’t Be That Guy

Matthew 23 is a divine excoriation of the religious and political power brokers of Jesus’ day. One of the things I find particularly interesting is Jesus’ opening statement in verse 3, “There whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works, for they say, and do not do.” Jesus then goes on to detail many of the scribes and Pharisees grievous hypocrisies. These serve as a warning for us today. In…

Matthew 22: No shoes, no shirt, no service

“No shoes, no shirt, no service.” Signs with these words were commonplace in the days of my youth (I am a child of the 70s and 80s). The message was clear, certain clothes were required if customers expected to be served. Our reading today contains the parable of the wedding feast. In this story, a king has made great preparations for his son’s wedding, inviting many, only to be rebuffed by the original invitees. Undeterred, the king sends his servants…