Today’s lectionary passage from Luke 21:25-36 highlights the end of history. Jesus is wrapping-up his earthly ministry by warning his friends to be ready. The discussion begins with bleak reminders but it will end with light and life. First the bad. Jesus’ description creates a horrifying mental image. “People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken” Luke 21:26. Calamities and disasters are not pleasant. Think of hurricane Katrina that broke New Orleans in 2005. And that’s just one among many such earthquakes, fires, tsunamis, and natural disasters always occurring somewhere.Read More →

Today’s message text arises from John 13: 33-37. In this passage, Jesus stands before Pilate, the Roman Governor of Judea. Jesus had already been arrested and accused by the Jews. Now Pilate must decide if Jesus is worthy of death. In Roman times, anyone who declared themselves king against the authority of Caesar could be put to death as a traitor. This is why Pilate asked Jesus if he was a king, King of the Jews. Jesus responded in a roundabout way, using clever rhetoric, and thus engaging Pilate in further conversation. Finally Jesus said that “[m]y kingdom is not of this world . .Read More →

What do you know about the book of Hebrews?  Uncertainty surrounds who wrote it, but the message is still valuable. The verses for today’s lesson point to the nature of the new covenant that God established through Jesus. What on earth are we talking about? First of all, it’s not about earth, but it is about God’s message written in the hearts and minds of faithful people. It’s worth understanding how Hebrews emphasizes a new covenant. The Old Testament had the Law, the seemingly endless list of commands and commentary on commands. This is most dramatized by the stone tablets that God gave Moses onRead More →

What makes a spirit rich? The scripture selection from Mark 12:38-44 reveals interesting insights. Before we get too deep into who is and is not spiritually rich, we need to introduce religious bureaucrats, a group Jesus singled-out for criticism. Jesus said “[b]eware of the scribes . . . ” (Mark 12:38). A scribe in Jesus’ day was like the combination of a theologian and religious jurist. Scribes interpreted the Jewish Old Testament, especially the requirements of the hundreds of commands in the Law. The scribes seemed to be preoccupied with their own authority, and they are portrayed as craving respect and honor. Jesus spoke hisRead More →