Displaying posts tagged with

“grace”

God forbid

It’s a far from literal translation, but it traces all the way back to Tyndale and even to Wycliffe before him. “May it never be” would be a stricter rendering of the Greek, but “God forbid” has endured as a statement of indignant resolve. It occurs 26 times in the Bible, the majority of the […]

It is more blessed to give than to receive

Jesus’ version of it is probably the most famous – but everyone says “it’s better to give than receive.”  All the religions say it.  Even the atheists say it. Last week, UCLA life scientists released a study showing the health benefits of providing support to others.  There are many such studies around.  They generally find […]

Cut to the heart

When we’re “cut to the heart” it’s usually because we’ve been insulted or betrayed or broken up with. But three times in the book of Acts, the Israelites are ‘cut’ or ‘pricked’ to the heart (Acts 2:37; 5:33; 7:54).  Yet with them it’s different.  Here’s what pricks their hearts: the preaching of the Apostles.  As […]

Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do

On Saturday I spoke with an atheist who made a repeated claim: “Jesus was a hypocrite.”  No matter how many times I asked him for evidence, he couldn’t point to any.  Plenty in me.  Plenty in himself.  Innumerable instances in Christian history.  But none in Christ Himself. That’s quite astonishing really.  Hypocrisy is almost the […]

My kingdom is not of this world

The myth of violence powerfully shapes our view of the world.  We imagine that force must be met with greater force if anything will be achieved.  And of course we tell ourselves that the greater force is justified if it’s done in the name of some greater good.  Most Hollywood blockbusters follows this storyline. Take, […]

The Spirit is willing, the flesh is weak

My teenage years were haunted by Gethsemane.  For a serious-minded 14 year old, this was the ultimate display of godly devotion.  Here was Christ leading the way in the school of prayer – showing us how to “give it all up for God.”  In desperation He prostrates Himself before the Father, He pours out His […]

This is my body

The mission of Christ’s life was His death.  It was His ‘glory’, or His ‘hour’ as He kept calling it.  And on the night before He died He instituted a meal to commemorate this central act of His coming. Incredibly, Jesus did not mainly set Himself forth as the Host of this meal (although He […]

I would have gathered thy children as a hen gathereth her chickens

Jesus calls the Pharisees a lot of names in Matthew chapter 23. They are hypocrites – not practising what they preach. They are blind guides. They are absurdly imbalanced moralists – straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel. They are whited sepulchres, they are serpents, vipers and murderers, the very apex of evil in […]

Whited sepulchre

Last time we considered the absurd lack of proportion demonstrated by the Pharisees.  They strained at gnats and swallowed camels.  In other words they obsessed over minutiae and ignored the whole point of the Scriptures. But how did it come to this?  How did they end up having such a diabolical problem with perspective? Well […]

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 […]