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What makes for a happy ending? Let me suggest four factors:  The good guys win.  The bad guys get their just deserts.  There’s a wedding.  And you finish on a song. There’s something immensely uplifting about a story that wraps up with this kind of victory.  But the bible claims that history is headed towards […]

The sheep and the goats

The gospel according to Jesus is a little different to the gospel according to me. The gospel according to me tells of a God who is, generally, far off but when he does involve himself it mainly concerns me, my loved ones and the success of Australian sports teams.  Therefore when Christ announces His news […]

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 […]

Dives and Lazarus

This story is often studied to discover the “what” of judgement.  Yet it seems most in keeping with the context and content to read it as a parable.  And, though we will learn much about the nature of judgement, undoubtedly it was the “who” of judgement that would have shocked Jesus’ hearers: “19 There was […]

My name is Legion for we are many

Can people really change? Perhaps we think that, superficially, there can be a make-over.  But what about an abiding shift for good in the core of a person?  Mark chapter 5 gives us such a picture.  In the beginning we meet a man described like this: “A man with an unclean spirit,  3 Who had […]

They that are whole need not a physician but they that are sick

Last week David Cameron called “pockets of our society… not just broken but, frankly, sick.”  He was referring not, of course, to politicians but to the riotous youth of Britain. Jesus says, there is a problem with moral and spiritual sickness – a deadly one.  Yet the far greater problem is people who deny their […]

Weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth

Sometimes the KJV translates it as “weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 8:12; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30; Luke 13:28) Sometimes it says “wailing and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 13:42, 50) Both are translations of the same Greek phrase.  (The King James is not as consistent as some like to make out).  Yet the popular reception of […]

Outer darkness

The Jews were insiders – the chosen race, the people of God.  Israel was a light to the nations, a shining advertisement for the LORD’s grace and glory.  And yet, as Jesus would often say, “the first shall be last and the last shall be first.” (e.g. Matthew 19:30)  Judgement involves dramatic reversals.  Those on […]

Hell fire

Hell is one of the most liberating doctrines in the Bible.  To understand it brings health to your soul.  But you might need some convincing about that… We’ve already said that modern people seem far more fearful of “fire and brimstone” preaching than of “fire and brimstone” itself.  But the fires of which the Bible […]

No rest for the wicked

It’s the sort of phrase your cheery postman might say on his rounds.  “Must push on I’m afraid, no rest for the wicked eh?”  We all titter politely and on with our day.  Yet such levity is incongruous. This saying is the biblical equivalent of verses such as “these shall go away into everlasting punishment” […]