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2014

My name is Legion: for we are many

Mark 5:1-20 Can people really change? Perhaps we think that, superficially, there can be a make-over.  But what about an abiding shift for good in the core of a person?  Mark chapter 5 gives us such a picture.  In the beginning we meet a man described like this: “A man with an unclean spirit, Who […]

The friend of sinners

Luke 7:18-35 The world is always judging Jesus.  At His birth much was made of His name (Matthew 1:18-25).  At His death the key issue was His identity (Matthew 26:63-65).  And the central question of the Gospels is “What think ye of Christ?”  (Matthew 22:42). Sometimes the labels He attracted were true and well-meant, as […]

Shout it from the rooftops

Matthew 10:26-33 I was recently talking about open-air preaching.  Someone responded: “Do you have to bother people with this stuff? Can’t you just stick inside the churches.” This man (not a Christian) perfectly expresses the spirit of the age.  We are happy with privatised beliefs.  We are content that folks practice their personal piety behind […]

The very hairs of your head are all numbered

Matthew 10:26-33 “She knows my name,” says Ted, amazed.  “Some of my best friends don’t know my name.” (There’s Something About Mary.) To be known is an incredible thing.  Many a marriage is destroyed when one of the spouses feels unappreciated.  As they take up with someone else they will often say, “It’s just that […]

He that findeth his life shall lose it…

Matthew 10:26-42 “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” (Matthew 10:39) We can think of many examples of it… –  The musician lost in her music yet, at the same time, most fully herself. –  The athlete pushed beyond his “limits” but […]

Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves

Matthew 10:16-25 In Matthew 7 Jesus calls false prophets “wolves in sheep’s clothing.”  Now in Matthew 10,  He sends out some true prophets – the 12 disciples – and they will be “sheep in the midst of wolves.”  (Matthew 10:16) When worldly prophets infiltrate the church it’s deadly.  And when the church’s prophets infiltrate the […]

Wise as serpents, harmless as doves

Matthew 10:1-15 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 […]

They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick

Matthew 9:9-13 Last year David Cameron called “pockets of our society… not just broken but, frankly, sick.”  He was referring not, of course, to politicians but to the riotous youth of Britain. Jesus says, there is a problem with moral and spiritual sickness – a deadly one.  Yet the far greater problem is people who […]

Be of good cheer

Matthew 9:1-12 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 […]

O ye of little faith

Matthew 8:23-27; Matthew 14:22-33 At heart, God is Giver.  We, therefore, are meant to receive – that is, believe.  And yet, listen to how Jesus commonly speaks of His followers: “O ye of little faith.” (Matthew 6:30; 8:26; 14:31; 16:8; Luke 12:28) There are two exceptions – the Roman Centurion and the Canaanite woman (Matthew 15:28).  They have […]