One in Christ Jesus

Text: Galatians 3:23-4:7 Reflection and Question: Whenever I get to this section in Galatians, I sense that Paul is in high gear as a preacher. Here we are getting the full force of his message that, while the law separated us into categories — nations, classes, sexes — in Christ we are all one by […]

Jesus Tells What is To Come

Text: Mark 13:1-13 Reflection and Question: As the forces converge against Him, Jesus surveys the scene and comments upon the future. There will be wars and rumors of war and still “this is but the beginning of the birth pangs.” To this day, Christians are persecuted in places across the globe and Jesus’ exhortation about […]

Paul Appeals to the Emperor

Text: Acts 24:24-25:12 Reflection and Question: Paul has remained under arrest in Caesarea for two years because Felix takes an interest in talking with Paul as well as in the bribe he hopes Paul will slip to him. Yet, a bribe does not come. Felix is replaced by Festus who takes no interest at all […]

David Reclaims the Throne

Text:2 Samuel 19:1-23 Reflection and Question: Once again, David has the wisdom to listen to Joab, who warns him about turning a victory into mourning because of the death of David’s son, Absalom. David meets the army and the tribes of Israel as he returns in procession to his throne, and even shows mercy to […]

David Receives Grievous News

Text: 2 Samuel 18:19-33 Reflection and Question: Absalom, David’s son, has set himself up as king and David has sent his army to defeat the rebel. Despite David’s wish that his son’s life be spared, Absalom is killed in the battle. Because David had the messenger who reported Saul and Jonathan’s death killed, suspense builds […]

Jesus’ Authority

Text: Mark 11:27-12:12 Reflection and Question: First, the officials in the Temple ask Jesus flat out, “By what authority are you doing these things?” With immense political skill, Jesus puts them off by requiring an honest answer from them about John’s baptism, which they refuse to give. Second, Jesus tells a story, which clearly spells […]

Good Triumphs: A Wisdom Psalm

Text: Psalm 112 Reflection and Question: The Psalmist here seems to live in a parallel universe somewhat like Lake Woebegone, where the good always triumph and the wicked angrily “gnash their teeth and melt away.” This is a Wisdom Psalm written by those steeped in the faith perspective of Proverbs, Job and Ecclesiastes, the Wisdom […]

The Promise of the Spirit Through Faith

Text: Galatians 3:6-14 Reflection and Question: Paul is really exasperated with the Galatians and it comes out in this exhortation to remember that their faith, not their obedience to rules, is the heart of Christian life. Abraham’s faith is the example that Paul lifts up. And he insists that Christ has redeemed us from the […]

Paul’s Surprise—He is a Roman Citizen

Text: Acts 22:17-29 Reflection and Question: At this climactic moment in Jerusalem, when all the forces are lined up against him, the story takes a dramatic turn: Paul claims for himself all the protections of a Roman citizen, which, as the Roman commander points out, were rare and costly for most people back then. This […]

Jesus Tries to Explain Himself Again

Text: Mark 10:32-45 Reflection and Question: For the third time on the way to trial and death, Jesus tries to explain to the disciples what awaits in Jerusalem. In their response, James and John skip the suffering part, moving straight to the resurrection into heaven, asking to sit at Jesus’ side in glory. While He […]