Paul’s Judgment of Sexual Immorality

Text: 1 Corinthians 5:1-8 Reflection and Question: Paul’s judgment of a man living with his father’s wife is unequivocal: this is sin. This is universally condemned says Paul, including among the pagans. In the face of this, Paul commends to the Corinthians, and to us, the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. And that positive […]

Healing and Humility

Text: 2 Kings 5:1-19 Reflection and Question: Again and again in this lovely story of Elisha healing the leprosy of Naaman, a powerful Aramean military leader, we are reminded to be humble before God. The king of Israel shows humility in his distress that another king would send someone to him to be healed, lest […]

The Teachings of John the Baptist

Text: Luke 3:7-18 Reflection and Question: This passage shares exactly what John required of those he baptized. And what the people are to do is simple, but not easy: if you have two coats, share one with one who has none; be satisfied with your wages. How good are you at following John’s teachings of […]

Elijah’s Mantle Passes to Elisha

Text: 2 Kings 2:1-18 Reflection and Question: We have encountered Elijah before. He is the powerful prophet who confronts Ahab and Jezebel with their sins, raises a child from the dead, wins against the prophets of Baal and recognizes God’s presence in the still small voice. Elisha knows the best thing to do in order […]

Salt of the Earth; Light of the World

Text: Matthew 5:11-16 Reflection and Question: After a bracing promise that His listeners will be blessed when reviled and persecuted, Jesus uses two images for His followers that are as meaningful now as they were back then. Salt is still central to enlivening our taste buds and captures the way the church is to enliven […]

The Beatitudes Begin The Sermon on the Mount

Text: Matthew 5:1-11 Reflection and Question: Jesus begins several chapters of teaching in Matthew, known as The Sermon on the Mount, with the section listing those who are blessed, called The Beatitudes. Different kinds of people are featured and the reason each group is blessed is clarified. Some of these are the kind of people […]

O, God of My Right

Text: Psalm 4 Reflection and Question: Psalm 4 begins with a curious prayer to “God of my right,” highlighting the way English has multiple meanings for the word “right.” On the one hand, the right or good thing to do; and on the other hand, one of two sides — in the political or social […]

God’s Foolishness

Text: 1 Corinthians 1:20-3 Reflection and Question: Jesus’ repeated lesson that the last shall be first and the first last is echoed by Paul in his fervent words to the Christians in Corinth. Christ on the cross appeared foolish to the learned among both the Jews and the Greeks. But Paul reminds them that “God’s […]

Ahab, Jezebel and Naboth

1 Kings 21:1-16 Reflection and Question: Here we have the first half of the story in which Ahab, king of Israel, covets the vineyard of his neighbor Naboth. Ahab offers to swap or pay, but Naboth will have none of it. He says no. While Ahab sulks, Jezebel, the queen, takes ruthless action and her […]

Better for One to Die

Text: John 11:45-57 Reflection and Question: Jesus has just done this absolutely most amazing thing of raising Lazarus from the dead and, of course, many who had seen this miracle believed in Him. And the religious leaders panicked. Strangely, their solution parallels the theological center of historical Christianity: that one shall die in order to […]