Day 17: The Fall and Rising of Many

“Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed…so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” (Luke 2:34-35) Put yourself in Mary and Joseph’s shoes. At Jesus’ dedication in the temple, a sweet old man says, “Your Son will light up the dark world and show people what God is like and why they need him and he will be their Savior. And yet, some people will oppose him. So much so that this is going to be like a sword thrust through your gut, Mary. And, … Continue reading Day 17: The Fall and Rising of Many

Day 16: Peace for Me?

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:13-14) The Christmas season often seems to bring anything but peace. We rush to stores, to parties, to pageants, to worship services. During the time of year when we raise our glasses and toast to, “Peace on earth and good will to men!” we often find ourselves asking, “Can there really be peace for me?” Could it be that our busyness during the Christmas season is a search for peace? Could it be that we believe, somewhere deep within us, that in … Continue reading Day 16: Peace for Me?

Day 14: The End of Fear

“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people… to grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear.” (Luke 1:66, 74) There is a popular Christmas song that unwittingly instills fear in the hearts of little ones. You know it well. It goes like this: “You better watch out. You better not cry. You better not pout. I’m telling you why…He’s making a list, he’s checking it twice, gonna find out who’s naughty or nice…He sees you when you’re sleeping. He knows if you’re awake. … Continue reading Day 14: The End of Fear

Divine Irony on the Way to Emmaus

In Luke 24:13-35, Jesus takes a seven mile walk with a few disciples. The passage drips with irony. Irony, as a literary technique, occurs when the full significance of a character’s words or actions are clear to the audience or reader although unknown to the character. In Luke 24, we readers get to eavesdrop on Jesus talking with a couple clueless disciples. Luke—and ultimately the Holy Spirit—wants to turn our attention to the blindness of the two disciples and the truth that spiritual sight only comes when we see the all the Scriptures as a testimony to Jesus. Irony 1. Verse 18: Then … Continue reading Divine Irony on the Way to Emmaus

Review: The Third Day

Alex Webb-Peploe and André Parker. The Third Day: The Gospel of Luke Chapters 22-24. Surrey, UK: The Good Book Company, 2014. $6.29 (Amazon). 44 pp. Teenagers and young adults read. Physics, chemistry, history, The Grapes of Wrath, economics. You name it. They are told to read it. And, for the most part, they do read (if they want to graduate high school or college!).  Academic reading is a pathway to adulthood. You just have to do it. So if you have ever ministered to students, then you know it is a challenge to get them to read the Bible, much less enjoy it. I can’t tell you how many … Continue reading Review: The Third Day

The Offense of Christmas

How often do you hear about people toasting to “world peace” or “peace and goodwill to men” during this time of year? Maybe not often in real life, but certainly in movies! This desire isn’t wrong, after all, for in Luke’s account of Jesus’ birth, it is clear that Jesus came to bring peace to the world (2:14). What kind of peace? Our most basic need is peace with God, not peace between nations or families. Because of our rebellion against God, we are at odds with him. We are his enemies. We need to be reconciled to him. The … Continue reading The Offense of Christmas