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

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 world it’s […]

Pearls before swine

The most precious of jewels and the filthiest of animals are combined into a single memorable phrase: “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.”  (Matthew 7:6) There are people who, at some point, […]

Hiding your light under a bushel

Jesus used comedy.  A lot.  Jewish comedy.  Naturally. The juxtaposition of contrasting images was central to Jesus’ communication.  He would often show up the absurdity of our lives by placing two incongruous states side by side.  The resulting shock is the stuff of comedy, and of good preaching! Here’s today’s comic imagery: “Ye are the […]

Ye are the light of the world

How can Jesus call us the light of the world? If you ask your average non-Christian how they think of the church, “Light of the world” is unlikely to feature in their response.  Surely Christians are inconsequential, impotent – dim.  Or perhaps they are compromised by hypocrisy – murky.  Or maybe the church is an […]

Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called children of God

To be the child of a great ruler is an incredible privilege.  Others can grab precious minutes with your father if they are very important.  But you, without any of their qualifications, belong at the very heart of power. Others will call him King or President, you will call him Daddy.  And, if it’s a hereditary […]

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.  […]

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 […]

Sackcloth and ashes

Could Jonah be the most successful evangelist in the Bible?  In Hebrew the report of his sermon consists of 5 words.  And yet, in response, the 120 000 residents of Nineveh cover themselves in sackcloth and ashes and turn to the LORD. Sackcloth was the clothing of mourning.  Ashes were also a reminder of mortality.  […]