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June 2016

Fishers of men

Matthew 4:12-22 What images spring to mind when you picture an evangelist? Sometimes we think of an adrenaline junkie, who could sell ice to the eskimos.  Yet when we consider the people who helped us to faith – we are reminded of very different character traits! Simon Peter can be thought of as an arch […]

It is written

Matthew 4:1-11 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 tempts Him to doubt God’s word and eat.  And like Adam the fate of humanity rests on His shoulders. Like Israel, He […]

The heavens opened

Matthew 3:13-17 For us it’s a description of rain (cf Genesis 7:11).  For Ezekiel it enabled 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 opened […]

Baptism of fire

Matthew 3:1-12 When the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps were decimated at Gallipoli, it was said to be a baptism of fire.  Much 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 through […]

Turning water into wine

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

Behold the Lamb of God

John 1:29-51 John the Baptist was a wild and holy prophet whose mission in life was to prepare the way for the LORD Jesus.  John was foretold 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)  So, when his big moment […]

Shining light

John 1:19-28 Surely the adjective “shining” is redundant when attached to the word “light”?  After all, what else does a light do  What can it do except shine? Surely there’s no such thing as a light that doesn’t shine.  Well Jesus, as we’ll soon see, speaks of people who “put their light under a bushel” (Matthew […]

The Word was made flesh

John 1:1-18 Tom Torrance was an army chaplain in World War Two.  He claimed that the number one question soldiers asked him was this, “Is God really like Jesus Christ?” With bullets flying and lives on the line, this is what they needed to know.  Why? Because if God is like Jesus then, ultimately, it’s going […]

In the beginning was the Word

John 1:1-18 One of the most common questions about prayer is this: “Should I really pray to God about such and such?”  Sometimes we feel that “bothering God” with the minutiae of our lives is beneath the majesty of the Most High.  Surely God is too lofty to consider me? What He wants are grand acts […]

Prisoners of hope

Zechariah 1-2; 9:9-17 We’ve all met people who are prisoners of despair.  Perhaps we feel this way ourselves. Depression could be described in these terms: as a helpless and hopeless condition, with no prospect of release.  We don’t want to collapse in despair, but feel impelled to do so.   But Zechariah (a contemporary of Haggai) speaks of […]