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September 2011

Many are called but few are chosen

…So the handsome prince married his beautiful bride and they all lived happily ever after.  Do you believe in fairytales?  I say “fairytales” – it’s a bit deeper than that.  It runs in our cultural bloodstream. It courses through our literature, our music, our films, our deepest values in life.  We have this belief that […]

The last shall be first and the first last

Have you ever discovered a co-worker’s salary?  How did it affect you?  It can be deeply destabilizing. There are good reasons that offices issue their payslips in sealed envelopes.  Knowing the wages of fellow labourers can inspire volatile jealousy and tear a workplace apart.  But why should it? Well, human beings are incurable rankers.  We […]

A millstone around your neck

A heavy burden weighing you down.  Inescapable.  And probably self-inflicted.  That’s how we think of a millstone around our necks.  A job, a relationship, an ongoing commitment – these things can often be called “millstones around our neck.” But when Jesus said it, He wasn’t referring to a wearisome inconvenience.  He was speaking of a […]

Jesus wept

How do you handle death? Broadly speaking, people either deny it or they befriend it. Denial is the majority option.  “Life is for the living” we say and we put death out of our minds.  As best we can.  But it will come out in other ways.  Hebrews 2 says we are “subject to bondage” […]


The new birth is absolutely critical.  That was Jesus’ teaching in John 3 – “Ye must be born again!” But often, when we think of the new birth, we imagine that it is only individuals who need regeneration.  But in Matthew 19, Jesus had something much bigger in mind: 27 Then answered Peter and said […]

Camel through the eye of a needle

Jesus was always using comic imagery to make His points. If you know the Lord and don’t speak of Him, it’s like using a bucket as a lampshade. If you’re a hypocrite, you’re like a tutting eye doctor blinded by a plank of four by two. If you’re trying to be good but not born […]

Suffer the little children and forbid them not to come unto me

What does a true disciple of Jesus look like? Perhaps we imagine soldiers assembled before their commanding officer. Or students in the school of their Rabbi. Or labourers in gospel service. Or worshippers at the feet of their Lord. In Matthew chapter 19, Jesus gives us a hands-on portrait of the kingdom: 13 Then were […]

What therefore God hath joined together let not man put asunder

Two friends of mine were getting married.  They had just made their vows and the minister held their hands aloft to present them, united, to the congregation.  He was about to read these words from Matthew 19 as the prayer book stipulates: “What therefore God hath joined together let not man put asunder.”  (Matthew 19:6) […]

I am the good shepherd, the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep

When you meet someone at a party what are the first two questions you ask?  Usually it’s: Who are you?  And what do you do? In John 10:11 Jesus answers both questions. Who are you?  I am the Good Shepherd. To the Jews who were listening, this was a very significant title.  The Old Testament […]

Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

We are inveterate liars and helpless slaves. In John chapter 8, that is Jesus’ verdict on the human condition.  It’s a stark assessment.  But who can deny that the shoe fits? Let’s think about our slavery.  Jesus says in John 8:32: “Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.” Are there any who do not […]