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Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things

First Corinthians 13 is dynamite.  It explodes every myth humanity has ever bought about spirituality. As we saw last time, Paul holds out three models of super-spirituality: the ecstatic worshipper, the profound prophet and the stoic do-gooder.  And he then detonates a bomb under each of them.  None of these super-saints are anything if they […]

A faith that can move mountains

Together with the 23rd Psalm, and perhaps John chapter 1, First Corinthians 13 is among the most popular chapters in the Bible.  It is read at weddings and at funerals, at state ceremonies, hospital bedsides, school assemblies.  It is the go-to Scripture for any and every occasion.  It is often simply known as St Paul’s […]

Vengeance is mine

Belief in a God of vengeance will create vengeful people, right? On the other hand, if we want to pursue peace ourselves, we must dispense with the view of God as some Settler of scores, right? Actually the Apostle Paul argues precisely the opposite.  He begins by enjoining an incredible level of pacifism on the […]

Greater love hath no man than this…

War memorials the world over record these words from Jesus: Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13) In the context of a war memorial we might picture a brave soldier taking a bullet for another.  Or perhaps throwing himself on a grenade, or […]

I am the Vine, ye are the branches

Last time we saw the incomparable enormity of Jesus.  He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.  If we want to see God we must look no further but only at Jesus.  For, as He says, “The Father is in me and I am in the Father.” (John 14:10) While we are still reeling […]

Foot washing

How are you known by those around you?  What would their adjective be as they describe you? Busy?  Easy-going?  “Nice”?  Withdrawn?  Driven?  Glum? What about your church?  How is it known in your area? The night before Jesus died He spoke of one mark by which His followers are to be identified in the world.  One […]

I would have gathered thy children as a hen gathereth her chickens

Jesus calls the Pharisees a lot of names in Matthew chapter 23. They are hypocrites – not practising what they preach. They are blind guides. They are absurdly imbalanced moralists – straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel. They are whited sepulchres, they are serpents, vipers and murderers, the very apex of evil in […]

What therefore God hath joined together let not man put asunder

Two friends of mine were getting married.  They had just made their vows and the minister held their hands aloft to present them, united, to the congregation.  He was about to read these words from Matthew 19 as the prayer book stipulates: “What therefore God hath joined together let not man put asunder.”  (Matthew 19:6) […]

Good Samaritan

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 half-breeds to […]

The friend of sinners

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 in “Behold […]