The Gospel According to Isaiah: Isaiah 64:1-9

The poetry in Isaiah is striking.  The turns of phrase and imagery amplify and repeat.  The people are like grass, soon turning into flowers wilting in the intense, Middle-Eastern sun.  Next, valleys are twisting upward, reaching for the sky, while mountains flatten as they become molten.  Such power resonates in those well-crafted words.  A Hebrew […]

The Parables of Jesus, Lesson 8: Matthew 25:1-13: The Parable of the Ten Virgins

With burning lamps, ten virgins await their Groom’s arrival.  The waiting virgins are all dressed in white—but everything is not as the picture portrays.  Some are wise; some, foolish.  So, how can we tell which is which?  For they are all wearing the proper garments.  Each one uses the same hymnal and liturgy.  Every maiden […]

Matthew 22:1-10, Galatians 3:27, Isaiah 61:10-11: Thanksgiving in Robes of Righteousness

The Lord Jesus tells a tale of a wedding feast, to which a king invites others to attend.  Earlier, those asked to take part agreed, confirming their attendance according to the custom of the day.  First, the invitation goes out.  Those who plan to be present respond, and when the feast is later ready, a […]

Philippians 3:17-21: Your Citizenship is in Heaven

The pastor is ready as he plans to proclaim Christ to the people.  Born in 675 AD in Devon, England, Winfred, whose Latin name is “Boniface,” travels to Germany at age 44.  Most of the Germanic tribes are still pagan, and he brings the Gospel with him.  Through forests and valleys, he goes, starting several […]

Reformation 5: Romans 3:19-28: By Faith in Christ or by the Faithfulness of Christ

Oh, how ambiguous ambiguity can be!  “In my opinion, you will be fortunate if this person will work for you.”  Tell me, what can this statement mean?  The person is a hard worker.  No, whoever can motivate him enough to work is lucky, for he is lazy!  “Never did I eat such a cake!”  The […]

Reformation 4: Sirach 38:1-4, 6-9, 12: Vocation

Sirach 38:1-4, 6-9, 12 Honor the doctor for his services, according to your need of him.  For the Lord established him, and healing comes from God, the Highest, which is why the king rewards him.  The doctor’s knowledge will lift him up, and those in authority will hold him in high regard. The Lord makes […]

Reformation 3: Jeremiah 29:4-7, Romans 13:1-7, Matthew 22:15-22: The Two Kingdoms, Church and State

Human history is full of people not wanting to fund its government or services.  Without both, a nation cannot endure.  So, taxes are the costs a country incurs for its civilization.  Still, most of us want the advantages of taxation but not the expenses. The first Israelite king recognized people’s distaste for taxes.  A Philistine […]

Reformation 2: 2 Kings 5:1-3, 9-14; Romans 6:1-4; John 3:1-6, 16: Baptism

A Syrian commander, a well-respected military leader, who won the respect of his King.  Still, something can come along in your life and undo much of what you built up over the years.  Such is Naaman.  For a fearsome affliction—leprosy—now overshadows his imposing warfighting skills and combat prowess. To protect others from the infectious contagion, […]

Reformation 1: Isaiah 55:10-13, 1 Peter 1:22-25, John 1:1-5, 14: The Word

“Now, if I told you once, I told you a thousand times.”  A dressing-down entwines itself in those words.  Often, we scold children through this warning, with an explanation trailing behind.  “Don’t play in the street.”  “Do your homework before turning on the TV.”  The overstatement of “1,000” clatters out the parent’s frustration. From afar, […]

Matthew 6:24-34: Seek First …

The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob rescued His people from Egypt, protected them through the sea, and led them through the wilderness.  On manna formed from the dew and quail, which flew in, the people feasted.  Still, they griped, and their appetites remained unquenched.  Released from slavery and fed on God’s miracle bread, they […]