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The unsearchable riches of Christ

What is the message of Christianity for the world?  If you could boil it down, what is the proclamation of the church?  Paul has a wonderful summary in Ephesians 3:8. John Wycliffe translated it: “the vnserchable richessis of Crist”. William Tyndale put it as: “the unsearchable ryches of Christ.” And, in that tradition, the King […]

Thirty pieces of silver

What would motivate Judas to betray the Son of God?  Theories abound.  Many reconstruct a supposed political radicalism.  Perhaps he was disenchanted by Christ’s non-violence.  Judas, we imagine, had been hoping for an uprising and was so disappointed by Christ’s way of peace that he sold Him out. That’s a fascinating supposition.  But it’s both […]

Betrayed with a kiss

If ever there was a man who could call himself the elect of the elect, it was Judas. He was not only Jewish, he was, in all probability, from the tribe of Judah.  Certainly his name means “Judah” – which refers not simply to the southern kingdom of Israel but also to the royal tribe […]

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 […]


Flourishing economies are hard to come by in world history.  Every now and again resources are found, technologies discovered, enemies plundered and wealth increases.  But usually it doesn’t last very long.  This is because, historically, people have only ever known two responses to wealth: we either horde it or we display it. We either squirrel […]

Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's

In chess terms they call it a “fork”.  Your opponent puts you in a position where, whatever you do, you will lose a piece.  The Pharisees and Herodians (not a natural alliance) gang up on Jesus “to catch Him in His words.”  (Mark 12:13) “They say unto him, Master, we know that thou art true, […]


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 […]

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 […]

A man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions

In June it was reported that a 17 year old Chinese youth sold his kidney to buy an iPad2. We recognize the folly of that kind of covetousness instantly.  But what about greed that is closer to home? Recently I read an excellent discussion of the much-used phrase “material blessings” in our church prayers.  We […]