Today’s lesson involves an anonymous man who asked Jesus about gaining eternal life. ” ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ ” (Mark 10:17). The question is fair enough, although Jesus seemed to have a problem with the way the man addressed him. “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone” (Mark 10:18). Jesus’ odd response about God only being good seems to question Jesus’ divinity. How we feel about Jesus’ nature doesn’t undermine the central thesis, which focuses on gaining life in the spirit. The term “good” doesn’t seem particularly strong to us, but it mustRead More →

A small portion of today’s lectionary becomes our central message. Mark 10: 13-16 presents a response from Jesus that’s all about children. “Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it” (Mark 10:15). Jesus wasn’t saying that only children can obtain salvation. Also, we don’t know the age of the children that Jesus encountered in Mark’s passage. Whatever their ages, the issue is that there is something about being like a child that Jesus elevated. We don’t know precisely what Jesus was thinking, but we know that childhood can be described in two major ways.Read More →

Each person of faith has a mandate to spread love and truth and do wonderful things in the name of the Lord. Whether you call it mission, outreach, or even traditional evangelism, the point is that we are representing God’s love and truth to the world. Mark 9: 38-40 reveals how Jesus’ closest followers (the apostles) complained about outsiders exorcising demons in Jesus’ name. This problem demonstrates how doing things in God’s name can be complicated. We needn’t allow our views about demonic possession to distract. Jesus’ closest followers felt special and the resulting smugness made them feel as though they were God’s exclusive agents.Read More →

The book of James is like an unexpected spray of cold water because it shocks our sensibilities (in a helpful way). A truth hard to accept begins today’s discourse: “For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind” (James 3:16). Note above the word selfish, used as an adjective to modify the noun ambition. This means that selfishness is more of the problem than ambition. Indeed, without ambition there would be little to motivate us toward achievement. Ambition becomes a problem when it consumes a person and drives an insatiable appetite to consume everything and everyoneRead More →

Jesus spoke marvelous truth in Mark 8. Jesus began by stating the importance of saving lives. He said that “those who want to save their life with lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it” (Mark 8:35). This is a remarkable play on words that demands attention. Most people want to save their lives, but far fewer may know what this means in a spiritual sense. There is only so much you can do to prolong your earthly life. A healthful diet, regular fitness, positive attitude, and good genes can extend theRead More →