A Parable Directed to Leaders

Reading Time: 7 Minutes The parable of the Wicked Tenants was directed at the religious leaders who controlled the Temple in Jerusalem. For a full understanding of the events surrounding the parable, it will be helpful to read the entire chapter of Matthew 21. The message of this parable is full of important warnings and […]

Don’t Talk About It, Be About It

Reading Time: 6 Minutes Imagine the scene. Matthew 21 describes Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem with great fanfare, joy and disturbance. His first act was to go to the Temple complex and enact a prophetic act by cleansing the Temple of what was offensive to God. Day two in Jerusalem and Jesus is back at the […]

A Parable for the USA

Reading Time: 5 Minutes On occasion, Jesus was confronted with social and political issues. The Roman official, Pilate, was a tyrant who caused pain and suffering on Israel on a regular basis. On one occasion he killed several people from the region of Galilee. A crowd asked Jesus if these people had done something wrong […]

The Hidden Treasure and the Pearl

Reading Time: 6 Minutes Roy Whetstine, who was a rock collector, found a rock in a Tupperware container at a flea market. In front of the stall which was full of rocks the sign read, “Any stone $15.” The stones were of varied colors, shapes and sizes. Roy picked up a stone that looked like […]

Parables About Small Beginnings

Reading Time: 6 Minutes If you examine the life of Jesus, most of it was spent in relative obscurity. The Israel of his day was nothing more than irritating province in the Roman Empire. To be a Roman governor of the region was almost like a punishment. Jerusalem was only important because of the fortress-like […]

A Parable About Expectations

Reading Time: 7 Minutes It is almost impossible to keep our own ideas about God from coloring our understanding of God. Our expectations about who God is and what he is doing in the world greatly influence how we respond to him. Even when people personally encountered Jesus, their expectations and cherished beliefs were difficult […]

Mark 4 – Why Jesus Used Parables

Reading Time: 6 Minutes Blaise Pascal, the French philosopher, mathematician, and theologian of the 17th century, penned words that are a profound explanation of why Jesus spoke in parables. He wrote, “Openly appearing to those who look for him with all their heart, while hiding from those who run from him with all their heart, […]

The Parable of the Sower

Reading Time: 5 Minutes The parable of the Sower is found in three of the four Gospels. Matthew 13.3-9, Mark 4.2-9 and Luke 8.4-8 contain accounts of the parable. In addition, each of the gospel writers include an explanation by Jesus concerning the meaning of the parable. Today’s article will feature the parable from Mark’s […]

The Parable of the Second Lost Son

Reading Time: 8 Minutes Both John the Baptist and Jesus announced the dawning of God’s kingdom. Jesus summarized their message and said, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news” (Mark 1.15). Scholars describe the effect of Jesus’ message as being “already but not […]

The Parable of the Prodigal Son

Reading Time: 8 Minutes The parable of the Prodigal Son is the most beloved of all of Jesus’ parables. It has been the source of music, literature and art. Multiple millions of people can identify with the son who left home, returned and was graciously received by his father. I hope to deepen your appreciation […]

The Parable of Lost Sheep (Part 2)

Reading Time: 5 Minutes The parable of the Lost Sheep appears in Luke’s Gospel (Luke 15.4-7) and in the Gospel of Matthew (Matthew 18.12-14). When we take the settings of these parables together, they provide a very balanced way for people to respond to the work of God through Jesus Christ. The Setting of the […]

The Parable of the Lost Sheep (Part 1)

Reading Time: 7 Minutes The parable of the Lost Sheep can be found in Luke 15.4-7 and Matthew 18.10-14. Jesus probably used this parable on many different occasions, as Luke and Matthew demonstrate. The setting for the parable in the Gospel of Luke is a discussion with Pharisees. Luke records the argument like this: “Now […]

The Parable of Two Debtors (Part 2)

Reading Time: 5 Minutes The parable of Two Debtors reveals the character of people who are confronted with its message. The parable is a short but powerful story that asks listeners to be the judge of what sort of behavior is best. Jesus told the parable to a group of religious people at a dinner […]

The Parable of Two Debtors (Part 1)

Reading Time: 7 Minutes If we want to learn how to live the best life possible, we have to pay attention to what the person who lived the very best life said and did. Jesus gave the world several outstanding “life lessons” in a single dinner party. By paying attention to his behavior and his […]

Matthew 18.23-35 – The Unforgiving Servant (Part 2)

Reading Time: 6 Minutes Why did Jesus tell this parable? The background behind the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant involves a conversation that Jesus had with his followers. Jesus gave the church specific instructions that involve the correction of a member. Jesus taught that there is no discipleship without accountability. However, he wanted people to […]

Psalms 146-150 – Hallelujah!

Reading Time: 6 Minutes The Psalm writer had it right, when he said, Praise the Lord!Praise the Lord, O my soul!I will praise the Lord as long as I live;I will sing praises to my God all my life long. (Psalm 146.1-2) As we conclude this study in the Psalms, we will use the words […]

Psalm 135 – Faithfulness and Faith

Reading Time: 6 Minutes Think about the amount of trust that is required to drive a car on the highway. We are enclosed inside a few tons of steel and traveling at a high rate of speed, counting on the faithfulness of other drivers to stay in their lane of traffic. The words “defensive driving” […]

Psalm 130 – When Drowning, Pray

Reading Time: 7 Minutes Psalm 130 is one of the brief songs that pilgrims sang on their way to celebrate three festivals in Jerusalem. It is worth noting that Martin Luther counted this Psalm as his favorite. Also, the most influential Puritan theologian of the 17th century, John Owen, wrote over 300 pages of commentary […]

Songs of Travelers to Jerusalem

Reading Time: 5 Minutes There is a collection of Psalms from 120 to 134 that were sung by pilgrims who were traveling to Jerusalem to celebrate three feasts in the presence of the Lord. I can imagine bands of travelers singing these songs as they made their way to Jerusalem. It kept their hearts and […]

Psalm 121 – Where Can I Find Help?

Reading Time: 7 Minutes Psalms 120-134 were sung by pilgrims who traveled to Jerusalem for three annual festivals. As the people spent their days walking many miles to Jerusalem, they sang about faith in and dependence on God. Help from the Lord A trip on foot to Jerusalem was both joyous and scary. Pilgrims journeyed […]

Psalm 119 – God’s Word in Our Hearts

Reading Time: 8 Minutes My friend, Shane Kampe, has numerous tattoos. I have teased Shane on many occasions and said that he ought to have his friend, Whispering Danny, tattoo the entire 119th Psalm in Hebrew on his ribs. So far, his answer has been “No!” In case you’re wondering, there are 176 verses in […]

Psalm 106 – A Bad Response to God’s Love

Reading Time: 8 Minutes Clint Eastwood fans may remember the movie, “The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly.” Psalm 105 rejoices in the “good” God has done for his people. Unfortunately, Psalm 106 presents the “bad” and “ugly” history of Israel’s disobedience, sin and rebellion toward God. Praise and Behavior God’s character is once again […]

Psalm 103 (Part 2) – The Love We Need

Reading Time: 7 Minutes The focal point of this wonderful Psalm is a single Hebrew word, “hesed.” When I first studied Hebrew ages ago, I discovered the word was first known as “covenant keeping ability.” How did a word that meant “covenant keeping ability,” get translated “steadfast love” or “constant love”? God called the Israelite […]

Psalm 91 – Prayer and the Pandemic

Reading Time: 7 Minutes Psalm 91 has been frequently posted on Facebook with reference to the corona virus pandemic. It is quoted as a Psalm of protection, with the words “plague” mentioned in verses 3 and 6. The life and teaching of Jesus is always the best interpretation of the Bible. It is especially true […]

Psalm 90 – Making Every Day Count

Reading Time: 7 Minutes If you follow my blog, you will notice that I have skipped to Psalms 57 to 89. I have done this because there is quite a bit of material in these Psalms that I have already highlighted in other articles. That should not take away anything from these Psalms, but simply […]

Psalm 56 – Fear and Trust

Reading Time: 7 Minutes One of my good friends who is active in the program of Alcoholic’s Anonymous reminds me that fear is a major driving force in the life of an alcoholic or an addict. He has also helped me see the role of fear in the thinking that underlies some of my own […]

Psalm 52 – A Prayer When Wronged

Reading Time: 7 Minutes The phrase “pecking order” originated with the behavior of chickens on the farm. The strongest chicken is always first to the feed and the weakest will always be the last. In between the strongest and the weakest the remainder of the chickens fall in line with the relative order of strongest […]

Psalm 50 – In God’s Courtroom

Reading Time: 7 Minutes The early church seemed to be obsessed with sin and God’s judgment. If you were to read some of their writings, they would seem to picture God as very stern and harsh. If you listen to sermons today, Jesus is often presented as our “pal” who is ready to excuse our […]

Psalm 48 – Praise for God’s Presence

Reading Time: 6 Minutes Today’s Psalm praises God for Jerusalem and the Temple. Some background knowledge may help us understand this Psalm better. The Temple complex amounted to one-fourth of the entire area of Jerusalem. It was beautiful, but it also presented quite an obstacle to any army that wanted to come against the city. […]

Psalm 47 – Celebrating the King

Reading Time: 6 Minutes This Psalm celebrates God as the King of all kings. The theme is the kingdom of God, and the joy of God’s people that he is the King. The first two verses summarize the theme of the entire Psalm. Clap your hands for joy, all peoples!Praise God with loud songs!The Lord, […]

Psalm 46 – Our Refuge Amid Chaos

Reading Time: 6 Minutes A very good practice of interpreting the Bible is to first understand what a particular passage of Scripture meant in the time in which it was written. Then, the next step is to apply the message to the time in which we live. What was the meaning of the Psalm to […]