Pilate asked Jesus if he was king of the Jews, because Jesus had given his friends and enemies to understand that he was the Messiah. It was a question freighted with political significance. As things stood, Pilate was Israel's king. Potentially, he had much to lose at the hand of someone else with pretensions of kingship. Strange that, in this instance, it was not Pilate, but the Jews--whose hopes for the future were fixed on the Messiah--who thought they had most to lose b
This is part of a passage which begins with a mother putting in a good word for her two sons in hope of their political advancement in Christ's kingdom. She might have been the mother of any one of the disciples; or the mother of any one of us. we all want to be the head and not the tail. We would rather be a hammer than a nail. Such is the received wisdom of the human species. It runs counter to the nature of God's rule. In God's eyes, greatness lies not in being overbearing
This is Nehemiah’s interpretation of events that unfolded in the court of the Persian king. Events which led to his return to rebuild the ruined city of Jerusalem. It is a statement of faith. That is to say the events were open to another interpretation. They might have been seen as the outcome of the powerful whims of Artaxerxes, or of fate. Are we pawns in a game of chance? Or is there a gracious intention playing upon the world and upon human hearts? Those who dare the
What's worthwhile? Is there a pattern of preferred choosing which does not end in emptiness and disappointment? Is it possible to discern and attach oneself to values which offer exhilaration in their pursuit and, at life's end, contentment and peace in a life well lived? Questions like these are not idle. They clearly sit close to us all. Many don't even make it to middle age without acquiring a pronounced distaste for everything they have put their hand to. Today's verse l
There is no friend to compare with the friend who identifies him/herself so closely with my needs, my concerns, my feelings, my distress, my hopes and fears--than the friend who FEELS them with me. Fellow-feeling is no idle virtue. No one can negotiate the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune successfully without the help that such friendship supplies. Whenever we are served by it, God, its author and chief example is near.
“The Lord did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all people. But it was because the Lord loved you . . .” (Deuteronomy 7:7,8) ‘Why do you love me?’ Requiring repeated assurances, a girl prompts her sweetheart. She never tires of hearing him list her many attractions. In this she is not unique. In relationships, both sexes assume that personal qualities of their own have won the interest
It is a rare individual, these days, who does not for some of the time, feel daunted by the myriad threats and challenges life throws up at him/her. The continual increase of anxiety and depressive disorders—and suicide—especially among the young is sad evidence of this. Even folk not diagnosed with any of the foregoing are frequently so apprehensive about life that they find it hard to get out of bed each morning. Courage! Never was a character asset so needed, so vital. H
The truth of this proverb is well known but little heeded. In developed society we are bombarded with a thousand messages a day, that our life would be so much better if we had a better house, a more modern car, if we owned a motor home, if we had designer clothes, if didn't have to buy food at the bargain grocer. The capacity of the human spirit for unrest knows no bounds. To be content with enough, is a greater blessing than having and wanting more.
"As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you" (Isaiah 62:5). The message of the whole Bible could be distilled to this one phrase: 'God is love.' But how much the better for us that it contains story, poetry, metaphor, parable, symbol and allegory. Few instances of human experience are as broadly resonant as that of the bridegroom whose ardor, earnestness and persistence is about to erupt into unmitigated delight in the claiming of his
In Eden, Mankind was specified in terms of his relation to the Creator. Since the world environment is now compromised through sin, humanity can still experience its creator God, but only within a relationship of salvation. Men and women must need access the infinite creative resources of God, as beings in need of deliverance. It can be well for us only as we approach God deeply conscious of his concern for our plight, and as we never forget what he has done to set us free