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June 2011

Fishers of men

What images spring to mind when you think of an evangelist? Often we think of a bold adrenaline junky who could sell ice to eskimos.  Yet when we think of the people who helped us to faith we usually think of very different character traits! Simon Peter can be thought of as an arch evangelist.  […]

It is written

After His baptism, Christ is driven by the Spirit into the desert. (Matthew 4:1-11) In His battle with Satan, Christ is like Adam, like Israel and like David. Like Adam, the devil confronts Him with audible temptations to doubt God’s word and eat.  And like Adam the fate of humanity rests on His shoulders. Like […]

The heavens opened

For us it’s a description of rain (cf Genesis 7:11).  For Ezekiel it allowed him to see “visions of God” (Ezekiel 1:1).  In the Gospels, the heavens open for Jesus in order that He sees the Spirit descend: “Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were […]

Baptism of fire

When the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps went ashore at Gallipoli, it was said to be a baptism of fire for these nations.  Less tragically, a baptism of fire might refer to a stormy first year of marriage or a difficult first match for a football manager.  It is the birthing of something new […]

Shining light

What adjective could be more redundant than “shining” when attached to the word “light”?  What else does a light do?  What else can it do except shine? Surely there’s no such thing as a light that doesn’t shine.  Well you’d think so, wouldn’t you.  But Jesus, as we’ll soon see, speaks of people who “put […]

Turning water into wine

Here is a phrase, like “David and Goliath” or “the writing is on the wall“, that doesn’t strictly occur in the Bible.  Instead it arises as a short-hand to describe a famous story. This story is from John 2:1-11.  It’s the first of Jesus’ miracles as John records them.  And according to verse 11, by […]

Behold the Lamb of God

John the Baptist was a wild and holy prophet whose whole mission in life was to prepare the way for the LORD Jesus.  John was prophesied in the Old Testament as one who would cry out in the wilderness and introduce Jesus to the world.  (Isaiah 40:3ff; Malachi 3:1)  And when his big moment came […]

The Word was made flesh

Tom Torrance was an army chaplain in World War Two.  He reckoned that the number one question soldiers asked him was this, “Is God really like Jesus Christ?” With the bullets flying and lives on the line, that’s what they needed to know.  Because if God is like Jesus then, ultimately, it’s going to be […]

In the beginning was the Word

When it comes to prayer I think the most common question I’m ever asked runs something like this: “Should I really pray to God about such and such?”  So many Christians seem to feel that “bothering God” with the minutiae of their lives is beneath the majesty of the Most High. God seems to have […]

Prisoners of hope

We have all met people who are prisoners of despair.  What we call depression could well be described in those terms: it is a helpless and hopeless condition with no prospect of release.  They don’t want to collapse in despair but they feel bound to do so.  Perhaps we have been in that waterless pit […]