The Crucifixion

After an earthquake, scientists work to find both the epicenter and the hypocenter.  We know what the epicenter is: It is the point on the earth’s surface vertically above the initial quake.  It is not the origin of the quake but the spot directly above it on the surface. The actual quake begins deep below the epicenter in what is called the hypocenter. It is the point in the crust of the ea ...[Read More]

The Last Supper

For years, I had it in my mind this was a meal for thirteen that was relaxed and while full of symbolism was much like any other meal Jesus might have had with his disciples. They were, as was the custom, all reclined supporting themselves on cushions and not like most of the paintings portray them now sitting upright at a table. Everything had been set up ahead of time by two of his disciples out ...[Read More]

The Anointing of Jesus: Mark 14

The Anointing of Jesus: Mark 14

In the four Gospels, some stories are only told once – like the lost sheep and lost coin – while others are repeated in more than one – like the feeding of the five thousand, the widow’s mite, or the birth of Jesus. The story we are looking at this morning must have been important in the early church because it is found with some variation in all four of them.  Not even the Resur ...[Read More]

The Widow’s Offering

The Widow’s Offering  Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.  Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all th ...[Read More]

Two Thrones in Mark 10

For years, I thought the introduction to their request for Jesus was strange and totally out of place. But then I started looking at the context and now realize it may be simply their inability to process two different messages at the same time.  They had heard one thing Jesus said and missed the rest of it.  It’s all about context.  Jesus confused them more than once, didn’t he?  Even with the cl ...[Read More]

The Death of John The Baptist

The Death of John The Baptist Herod, the son of Herod the Great, hears about the miracles done by Jesus and his disciples.  While he is the son of a great and greatly bad man, he is only a shadow of his father. The Scottish preacher Andrew MacLaren described him this way: “This Herod was a son of the grim old tiger who slew the infants of Bethlehem. He was a true cub of a bad litter, with his fath ...[Read More]

Mark 3

The starting place for understanding the growing conflict between Jesus and the often well-intentioned conservatives (those holding on to the value of established traditions) is Mark 2:21-22. Until now, Jesus has offended them by healing the paralytic and claiming the authority to forgive sins which has already set them against him. They can handle the preaching of John because it is about repenta ...[Read More]

Healing of the Paralytic

  Healing Of The Paralytic You’ve heard me say before that for a couple of reasons I have questions about the phrase, “What Would Jesus Do?” First, he had abilities to do things we do not.  He could walk on water, heal the sick, give sight to the blind, raise the dead and, as in this passage, heal the paralyzed.  Those are things we cannot do.  As well, it is sometimes difficult to predict wh ...[Read More]