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2014

Cross to bear

Click for source Luke 14:25-35 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 […]

Highways and hedges

Luke 14:7-24 Personality tests split the world into introverts and extroverts.  The diagnostic is usually something about energy levels – do you energise on your own or with others?  If you re-charge by yourself you’re an introvert.  If you come alive around people, you’re an extrovert. I’m not sure it’s helpful to label people so […]

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

Luke 12:13-34 In June of last year 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” […]

The crumbs under thy table

Matthew 15:21-28 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 […]

The head of John the Baptist

Mark 6:14-29 TS Eliot said “human kind cannot bear very much reality.”  This story plumbs the violent depths of that truth. John the Baptist was a shining light.  He was the greatest of the Old Testament prophets.  Jesus called him the greatest man born of woman (Matthew 11:11).  As the summation of all the prophets […]

Pearl of great price

Matthew 13:44-52 Recently a friend emailed me with a question.  He’s not yet a Christian but he’s been attending Bible studies for a while.  The previous night they had used Christian-sounding language that he didn’t understand.  He wrote: “They asked me if I had ever ‘given my life to God.’  I was unsure.  What does […]

Fell by the wayside

Matthew 13:1-17 Yesterday we encountered a mystery.  Jesus declares His word publicly – that is, for all.  But also He also proclaims it to a particular audience – not everyone has ears to hear.  You might think that Jesus takes a laissez-faire attitude to this phenomenon.  But no, He pleads “He that hath ears, let […]

He that hath ears to hear, let him hear

Matthew 13:1-17 Having ears is one thing.  Having ears to hear is another. Back in Moses’ day he lamented the spiritual deafness of the people: “And Moses called unto all Israel, and said unto them, Ye have seen all that the LORD did before your eyes in the land of Egypt unto Pharaoh, and unto […]

Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden

Matthew 11:20-30 Jesus has hit something of a brick wall in His evangelism (Matthew 11:20-24).  He brings the living and life-giving word of God.  He answers every question with the wisdom of heaven.  He performs the mighty works of God.  He is like a little oasis of paradise walking around planet earth.  Everything that He […]

Good Samaritan

Luke 10:25-37 It’s one of the most famous stories Jesus ever told.  A beautiful stranger helps a man left for dead when his own people disdain and forsake him. Those who ignore his sufferings are Levites and Priests – the holiest of the holy.  The stranger is a Samaritan – from that race of hated […]