What Happened When Jesus Was Baptized?

Luke relates the momentous event of Jesus’ baptism in two sentences. Like a suitcase that is tightly packed for a trip, Luke crammed earthshaking thoughts into his report. — Luke 3.21-22 – Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, And the […]

Promise + Fulfillment + Response

When John the Baptist appeared by the Jordan River, he was the fulfillment of several Old Testament promises. John’s emphasis was not on how he was the fulfillment of promises, but the need for a positive response to his message. Luke notes three categories of people who normally wouldn’t be considered interested in religious issues. […]

Sweep ‘Em In – Sweep ‘Em Out!

Video Note I interview Rudy Ross on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel today. Rudy explains how the Jewish rite of circumcision is complimented by the act of baptism. Rudy’s insights will help you understand the importance of circumcision and baptism, and how they are related. Please take a few minutes to learn from Rudy. Reverend […]

Character References for Jesus

When Jesus was eight days old, his parents brought him to the Temple “to present him to the Lord,” and to make an offering customary among poor people. The Holy Spirit arranged for two outstanding individuals to bless the baby, Jesus. Simeon and the Spirit People knew Simeon to be “righteous and devout, looking forward […]

Shepherds and Angels

Isaiah’s beautiful poetry about child’s birth is greatly exceeded by the reality of his presence. For a child has been born for us,a son given to us;authority rests upon his shoulders;and he is namedWonderful Counselor, Mighty God,Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His authority shall grow continually,and there shall be endless peacefor the throne of David […]

The Emperor and the King

The birth of the King of all kings is recorded by Luke: “In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered” (Luke 2.1). Emperor Augustus was born Gaius Octavian and was the adopted son and heir of Julius Caesar. He became the sole leader of the Roman […]

Zechariah Answers – What will John Become?

The crowd who rejoiced with Elizabeth and Zechariah over the birth of their son asked, “What then will this child become?” (Luke 1.66). Empowered by the Holy Spirit, Zechariah answered the question about his miracle-birth son. There is a pattern that underlies the births of John and Jesus: Promise + Fulfillment + Response. The angel […]

What will this child become?

Luke records that Mary stayed with Elizabeth for three months (Luke 1.56). More than likely, Mary was present to support Elizabeth at the time of John’s birth. Use your imagination and think about what these two godly women did together for those three months. — Did Mary help Elizabeth get the house ready for the […]

Mary’s Song of Praise

Do you remember a time when you were filled with gratitude and praise to God? What event elicited your response? How did you express to God your gratitude and awe of his character? Do you have a habit of giving God praise as a customary part of your prayer life? Mary praised God for his […]

Two Women and Earth-Shaking Events

When Elizabeth and Mary got together, they had earth-shaking business to discuss. The teenage Mary traveled 70 miles to visit Elizabeth. Luke records the account like this, “In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth” […]

A Perfect Response to God’s Direction

Luke wrote to Theophilus, “so that you may know the truth concerning the things about which you have been instructed” (Luke 1.4). Based on Luke’s message, this friend of God would be helped to rely more fully on the Lord. Luke records different responses to God’s intervention in the world. Faith, unbelief, awe, fear, anger, […]

How Will You Respond?

Luke has written a complex and beautiful story of Jesus. Interwoven in his Gospel are Scripture references that connect God’s activity in the Old Testament with that of the New. The Gospel of Luke was written to Theophilus, which means “lover or friend of God.” All lovers of God will deepen their faith by reading […]

Help Wanted: Someone Like John

The text for today’s article contains the story of John the Baptist’s father, Zechariah, and his encounter with an angel. Here’s a summary of the event. — Luke 1.5-6 – John’s parents, Zechariah and Elizabeth, were devoted followers of God. They were unable to have children and were advanced in age to the point where […]

Frightened by God’s Presence

I make it a practice to pray and meditate on Bible passages each day. If you haven’t tried praying like this, I highly recommend it. In this article, I will try to re-create what transpired during today’s time of prayer and Bible reading. Preparation Zechariah had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to offer incense within the Temple. […]

Promise + Fulfillment + Response

The account of the births of John the Baptist and Jesus follow a pattern: promise + fulfillment + response. Some of the issues we will face in the stories of these births are: — Why was God’s promise or intervention so desperately needed? — In what way did God intervene and fulfill his promise to […]

A Message for a Friend of God

Luke wrote his Gospel to a friend of God to help deepen his faith in Jesus Christ. The goal of this blog is to accomplish the same thing as Luke. If you prefer to listen to the blog, please go to the Bob Spradling YouTube channel for a daily discussion of the passages. Rudy Ross […]

Getting the Most Out of Luke

Rudy Ross and I are finishing our study of the Book of Deuteronomy with today’s video on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel. Thank you for watching the videos. Tomorrow will be our first video on the Gospel of Luke. We will be trying a slightly different approach, as we study Luke. There will be three […]

The Dew of Light

Guest Article by Rudy Ross Rudy Ross and I are finishing up a study on the Book of Deuteronomy. Today’s study features a good news story for obedient people. It can be found on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel. Today’s blog article concludes Rudy’s insights about Light. If you take the time to “dig” into […]

A Picture of the Messiah in Isaiah

Guest Article by Rudy Ross. This week Rudy Ross and I are finishing a discussion of Deuteronomy on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel. Today’s message involves behavior that will bring a curse upon people. Rudy and I are preparing a new study in the Gospel of Luke that will also involve a different approach to […]

An Open Mind to Understanding

A Guest Article by Rudy Ross Rudy Ross and I are concluding our study in Deuteronomy on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel. Our study today covers Deuteronomy 27 and why we should remember what God has done for us. Today blog article continues Rudy’s study on the subject of Light. Understanding Jesus’ attributes requires an […]

A Strange Way To Win A War

While the Hebrew nation camped in the plains of Moab, Moses gave them God’s plan to overcome the powerful nations they would encounter. His first order of battle was to not be afraid of their daunting adversaries. Don’t Be Afraid You may not have gone to war, but you have probably had an occasion to […]

Justice and Injustice

Abraham asked the question, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?” (Genesis 18.25). Deuteronomy set forth statutes that declare with a resounding voice, “Yes. The Judge of all the earth does what is just and expects his people to live up to his standard.” — Deuteronomy 16.18-20 – Judges were […]

God’s Provision for Revenge

Paul taught, “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord’” (Romans 12.19). God, who is perfectly holy and just, is perfectly able to right wrongs that have been inflicted on people. Jesus taught that our ability to judge […]

The Role of the Prophet

Paul recognized prophecy as one of the Spirit’s gifts. He wrote, “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. “To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, “To another faith by the same Spirit . […]

Help Wanted: Good Leaders

If you ask Google the question “Why good leaders are important,” you will discover almost 10 billion answers. Here are the first three articles I found that discusses the need for good leadership. “Leadership matters. It matters today more than ever,” says Raj Sisodia, Babson professor of marketing and the F.W. Olin Distinguished Professor of […]

Hunger and Thirst for Justice

Two of the Beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount reflect the sentiment of God’s command concerning justice in Deuteronomy. “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” (Matthew 5.5) has caused a considerable amount of confusion as to its meaning over the years. Dallas Willard explains that the meek are the oppressed […]

Remember God’s Great Gifts

The Festival of Weeks remembered God’s gift of the Ten Commandments. In his sermon about the Ten Commandments, Moses marveled at God’s grace. He said, “For what other great nation has a god so near to it as the Lord our God is whenever we call to him? “And what other great nation has statutes […]

Passover and the Path to Freedom

The Passover celebration remembered a central element in the path to freedom for Hebrew slaves. The Passover was the critical moment when God released his people from slavery to the Pharaoh and began their journey to nationhood. The Passover recalls the night when all Hebrew families slaughtered a lamb and placed blood on the doorposts […]

What About The Poor?

When a woman poured very expensive oil on Jesus’ head, a dispute arose among his followers. They reasoned that the ointment should have been sold and the money given to the poor. Jesus responded with words about the poor that have been discussed for centuries: “For you always have the poor with you” (Matthew 26.11). […]

The Tithe – Trust and Love

Above all, God desires humans to live in a love with him and other people. Trust is a central component of a loving relationship. Without trust, there can be no genuine love. God commanded the nation he founded to show their trust in him through the tithe, which is the giving of ten percent of […]

What to do with False Prophets

Jesus warned us about false teachers when he said, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7.15). Petting zoos often feature cuddly and cute sheep. I have never seen wolves, even baby wolves, featured in this fun children’s […]

Tearing Down Idols

The story of God’s interaction with humans is one of abundant love and acceptance for all people. At the same time, God is utterly intolerant of idols. God does not tolerate other so-called “gods.” He knows that these substitutes for the “Genuine Article” are destructive to all of life. As the Hebrew nation was about […]

Learning to Depend on God

Paul wrote, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4.13). He learned that everything was possible to him, as long as he was living united to Jesus Christ. Jesus spoke about what happens when people live separately from him. He said, “Apart from me you can do nothing. “Whoever does not […]

God’s Love for the Oppressed

I briefly touched on three verses in yesterday’s article. They are worthy of more consideration and more detailed treatment. Let’s meditate on God’s love for the vulnerable and oppressed and the response he expects from us. God’s Love for the Vulnerable I have been reading a book by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson, who have […]

The One Who Is Our Praise!

The five verses of our study in Deuteronomy today are one of the reasons why I wanted to study this book. I have divided the verses into five sections and provided meditations on the verses. I encourage you to spend time in prayer and meditation on these verses, too. May God bless our understanding of […]

Levi’s – More than Blue Jeans!

When you hear the word, “Levi,” you are probably like me and think of a brand of blue jeans. In addition to good jeans, Levi is one of the twelve tribes of Israel. Their role will add to our appreciation of worship. Levi’s Job Description While Moses was on the mountain with God, he received […]

How to Pray for Others

If you were to make a list of spiritual giants, Moses would be near the top of the list. God fashioned him to be an exceptional leader and spiritual guide. People have followed his example of humility, obedience, and prayer for centuries. Moses’ example in today’s Deuteronomy passage models for us how to pray for […]

Grace for Stubborn People

Imagine that you work in human relations and are responsible for hiring prospective job applicants. One reference question states: “Check all that apply. The applicant is . . .” — Bullheaded — Unreasonable — Willful — Rigid — Self-willed — Insubordinate — Rebellious Before you is a reference for a prospective employee and every one […]

The Victory is the Lord’s

God’s victories for the Hebrew nation are a good picture of how he works throughout history. We study this slice of history to build our faith in God’s love and power. Obstacles to the Promised Land As the Israelites were about to enter the promised land, they knew there would be significant challenges. — Deuteronomy […]

Don’t Forget!

You can find almost anything on the Internet, such as “101 Funny Jokes About Forgetting.” Here’s one. Three brothers age 92, 94 and 96 live in a house together. One night the 96 year old draws a bath, puts his foot in and pauses. He yells down the stairs, “Was I getting in or out […]

Why God Lets Us Wander in the Wilderness

A well-known fact of Hebrew history is the wilderness wanderings of the people. Instead of acting in faith and obedience, the people relied on their perception of events. The result was forty years of desert wandering. While the people wandered in the wilderness, God worked on their character. In case the people had forgotten the […]

The Path to a Blessed Life

The Ten Commandments (Deuteronomy 5) and the Great Commandment to love God with our entire being (Deuteronomy 6.5) are the pathways to a blessed life. It is painful to think about all of the wrongs that are happening in the world today. Think about how much of the world’s sorrow is caused by people who […]

Good News for the Overlooked

When I was in high school, I was among the “nobodies” and “losers” of our class. I am conscious today of including other people because I still remember the feeling of being excluded. Many people have had experiences like mine, or even much worse. They know being excluded, picked last, body shamed, or racially profiled. […]