Displaying posts tagged with

“weakness”

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 […]

Suffer the little children and forbid them not to come unto me

What does a true disciple of Jesus look like? Perhaps we imagine soldiers assembled before their commanding officer. Or students in the school of their Rabbi. Or labourers in gospel service. Or worshippers at the feet of their Lord. In Matthew chapter 19, Jesus gives us a hands-on portrait of the kingdom: 13 Then were […]

Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief

Are you a believer or an unbeliever? The Christian answers: “Yes!” Mark 9:24 is the confession of all weak and failing Christians – which means all of us! They are the words of a father seeking deliverance for his son who is oppressed by a spirit.  He tells Jesus, “And ofttimes it hath cast him […]

I am the Bread of Life

Yesterday we saw Jesus in amongst a clamouring, needy mob.  Though He was grieving, though He was hungry, though He wanted space to rest with His friends, yet He serves.  When He sees the crowd – like sheep without a shepherd – He has compassion on them (Mark 6:34). The disciples want to send them […]

Feeding the five thousand

Are you ever overwhelmed by grief?  By crowds?  By needs? Jesus and the disciples were facing all three in Mark chapter 6. They have just learnt of John the Baptist’s beheading (cf Matthew 14:13).  In response, Jesus says to them: “Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were […]

Lost sheep

Kevin’s mother might complain to her friend: “I’m afraid since his girlfriend left him, Kevin’s been completely direction-less.  A bit of a lost sheep really.” But it’s not just Kevin.  The Bible puts that label on a much broader constituency.  Often the people of God are called “sheep without a shepherd” (e.g. Numbers 27:17; 1 […]

Cross to bear

A stammer.  An irritating workmate.  An infirm parent.  A complaining parishioner.  An unpleasant duty.  A chronic illness.  We might be tempted to call these things “my cross to bear.”  But we shouldn’t.  Jesus means something very different by the phrase. But it’s not just the world-weary grumblers who get it wrong.  The zealous do-gooders can […]

The crumbs under thy Table

It is, perhaps, Thomas Cranmer’s most famous prayer.  Known as The Prayer of Humble Access, it is said prior to receiving the Lord’s Supper: “We do not presume to come to this thy Table, O merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in thy manifold and great mercies. We are not worthy so much […]

Wise as serpents, harmless as doves

Matthew 10:16 is a veritable menagerie of biblical imagery: “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” Not since the ark have so many animals been crammed into so short a Scriptural space.  Yet Jesus thinks we will be well prepared […]

Be of good cheer

It sounds like the sort of saying we should use at Christmas.  It has that ye olde yuletide ring to it: “Be of good cheer!”  But when Jesus used this phrase there was nothing cheery about the circumstances.  There was no earthly reason to ‘cheer up.’  Yet that didn’t stop Jesus from saying it. One […]