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Behold the Lamb of God

John 1:29-51 John the Baptist was a wild and holy prophet whose mission in life was to prepare the way for the LORD Jesus.  John was foretold in the Old Testament as one who would cry out in the wilderness and introduce Jesus to the world.  (Isaiah 40:3ff; Malachi 3:1)  So, when his big moment […]

Shining light

John 1:19-28 Surely the adjective “shining” is redundant when attached to the word “light”?  After all, what else does a light do  What can it do except shine? Surely there’s no such thing as a light that doesn’t shine.  Well Jesus, as we’ll soon see, speaks of people who “put their light under a bushel” (Matthew […]

The Word was made flesh

John 1:1-18 Tom Torrance was an army chaplain in World War Two.  He claimed that the number one question soldiers asked him was this, “Is God really like Jesus Christ?” With bullets flying and lives on the line, this is what they needed to know.  Why? Because if God is like Jesus then, ultimately, it’s going […]

In the beginning was the Word

John 1:1-18 One of the most common questions about prayer is this: “Should I really pray to God about such and such?”  Sometimes we feel that “bothering God” with the minutiae of our lives is beneath the majesty of the Most High.  Surely God is too lofty to consider me? What He wants are grand acts […]

Prisoners of hope

Zechariah 1-2; 9:9-17 We’ve all met people who are prisoners of despair.  Perhaps we feel this way ourselves. Depression could be described in these terms: as a helpless and hopeless condition, with no prospect of release.  We don’t want to collapse in despair, but feel impelled to do so.   But Zechariah (a contemporary of Haggai) speaks of […]

The desire of all nations

Haggai 2 There is a limit and a longing to us all.  And that interaction between the limit and the longing defines our human condition.  We are finite creatures, and yet this finite world does not satisfy. The prophet Haggai wrote to the Israelites in the 6th century BC: a strange kind of in-between time.  […]

From of old, from everlasting

Micah 5 How did Israel understand its Messiah? That’s a question Jesus himself asks in Mark chapter 12.  Jesus directs his hearers to Psalm 110 and asks the question: 35 How say the scribes that Christ is the son of David?  36For David himself said by the Holy Ghost, “The LORD said to my Lord, […]

Sackcloth and ashes

Jonah 3-4 Is Jonah the Bible’s most successful evangelist?  In Hebrew his sermon consists of just 5 words.  And yet, in response, the 120 000 residents of Nineveh cover themselves ‘in sackcloth and ashes’ and turn to the LORD. Sackcloth was the clothing of mourning.  Ashes were also a reminder of mortality.  To cover oneself in […]

Jonah and the whale

Jonah 1-2 “Arise, go to Nineveh” says the LORD.  Jonah arises and runs in the opposite direction.  There is much that is comic about the book of Jonah.  Its protagonist is something of an anti-hero.  Jonah does everything in his power to thwart God’s evangelistic mission to Nineveh.  First he runs in the opposite direction.  […]

Reap the whirlwind

Hosea 7-8 “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”  Paul’s saying from Galatians 6:7 is a common biblical theme.  The judgement which befalls the wicked is not an alien imposition.  It is the way they’ve been heading all along.  It’s simply the fruit of their lives. Hosea looks on the northern kingdom, about […]