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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 […]

Vengeance is mine

Belief in a God of vengeance will create vengeful people, right? On the other hand, if we want to pursue peace ourselves, we must dispense with the view of God as some Settler of scores, right? Actually the Apostle Paul argues precisely the opposite.  He begins by enjoining an incredible level of pacifism on the […]

In Him we live and move and have our being

How do we proclaim the gospel to a world that thinks so differently? “Contextualisation” is a buzz word in some Christian circles to describe the way our message needs to be fitted to our surroundings.  Today’s phrase is often used as a prime example of how Paul drew on the truths already present in the […]

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 […]

Pilate washed his hands

The trial of Jesus has everything backwards.  The Judge of the world is in the dock.  The Truth is cross-examined.   The Righteous One is pronounced guilty. As we saw last time, the people act as judge and jury, while at times Pilate seems more like a public defender.  Now in this verse, the Governor […]

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 […]

Well done, good and faithful servant

We’ve seen the danger and the opportunity of “talents“.  Whether it’s the monetary unit or the God-given ability, we’re tempted to abuse our talents in one of two ways – self-indulgence or cowardly retreat.  We either show off our talents in self-promoting ostentation or we bury our talents and keep them from the world.  Neither […]

Wars and rumors of wars

Whatever dominates the skyline of a city tells you what they worship.  In that ancient city of Babel, they sought a name for themselves so they tried to build a tower to heaven.  In a sense they worshipped themselves.  The ancient cities that Paul visited would have been dominated by massive shrines and temples, set […]

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 […]

Den of thieves

Perhaps this question seems to belong to another age, but it’s very worth asking: Where can sinners take shelter from the wrath of God? It might sound old fashioned and out of touch with today’s world. But if so, perhaps it’s we who are out of touch with reality. The word of God rouses us […]