My daily exploration of the Bible, taking it one chapter at a time. If I do it everyday, it'll take 1189 days.



Friday, August 31, 2007

John 21

153

Summary:
The disciples were fishing, but catching nothing. Jesus told them to fish from the other side from the shore, and they caught 153 fish. Peter noticed that it was in fact Jesus and ran up to him, and everyone ate together.

Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved him, and Peter said yes. Jesus told him to look after his people. Jesus called on Peter to follow him.

John was there too.

There's much more to Jesus' story, but it's not written here. There's too much.

Key verse:
24.
This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true.

My thoughts:
So Jesus asked Peter three times to symbolically reinstate him for his three denials.

To me this reeks of eye-witness, as the book claims. The exact number of fish is counted and recorded. The author is firmly identified in the story, and explains his role in the story.

Anyway, we come to the end of the gospels. Now onto the Acts of the Holy Spirit once Jesus is gone. Exciting!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

John 20

Appearances

Summary:
Mary Magdalene went to the tomb, and found it empty, and ran to the disciples saying someone had stolen the body. Peter and John came and found the tomb empty. The disciples left Mary crying. Then Jesus and a couple of angels came and talked to her, but she didn't recognise him, but then he revealed himself to her, and she was like "Woah!", and ran off to tell the disciples.

Jesus then appeared to the disciples where they were hiding, and they all believed and received the Holy Spirit.

Thomas doubted cos he wasn't there. He wanted to see the holes in his body. But then Jesus showed up and he believed.

Jesus did heaps of other stuff too, but John was too lazy to write it.

Key verses:
29. Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.
31. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

My thoughts:
John wrote this gospel for a purpose, which he clearly states here. Notice how John shows how everyone doubted at first, but then realised the truth of it. This is to show that they weren't just stupidly assuming he was raised, and actually thought otherwise.

Jesus' statement in verse 29 is a very cool one about faith. Ya. That's all I have to say about that.

Notice how Thomas calls Jesus his God.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

John 19

A man on a cross

Summary:
Pilate had Jesus beaten and mocked, but they still wanted him dead. Jesus didn't defend himself, which Pilate thought was dumb. The Jews said he must die for being a king against Caesar. Pilate eventually handed him over.

Jesus was crucified with a sign proclaiming him as king. As he died, he made his mother adopt John. Jesus said "It is finished" and died. Everything happening according to the scriptures.

Joseph of Arimathea took the body and buried it in a tomb.

Key verse:
30. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

My thoughts:
Joseph is specifically mentioned in all the gospels, which is significant because Jesus' tomb being empty was the first witness of his resurrection. Therefore, you'd hope he was actually buried in one. Joseph is an unlikely candidate because he was on the Sanhedrin. You wouldn't make that up.

John is also careful to show that this all follows scripture.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

John 18

What is truth?

Summary:
Jesus went to pray, and Judas led his enemies there. They took Jesus away to the Jewish officials. Peter went to chop them, but Jesus told him to stop. This was God's plan.

Jesus told the officials that he had no secrets. Why not ask someone who had listened?

Meanwhile, Peter denied Jesus thrice, and a cock crowed.

They took Jesus to Pilate to have permission to execute. On asking, Jesus said he was the king of another world, and that truth comes from following him. Pilate got all philosophical and wanted to free Jesus, but the Jews were persistent.

Key verse:
37. You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.

My thoughts:
Notice how John is the only gospel who personally mentions who whipped out the sword. All the other gospel writers probably had too much respect for Peter, whereas John, his younger and personal friend, had no problems pointing the finger.

In many ways, John's passion narrative seems more condensed than the others. It's kinda the jist of the charges being laid against him. Pilate has a cool line "What is truth?", which is quite dramatic, but I dunno what he means by it...

Monday, August 27, 2007

John 17

Jesus praying

Summary:
Jesus prayed to be glorified.

Jesus prayed for his disciples, that they be in the world but protected from Satan's attacks, that they be sent out like Jesus was, that they would know the truth.

Jesus prayed that all believers would be unified.

Key verse:
22. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one

My thoughts:
It appear that we haven't been very good at keeping unified. We even have many denominations of denominations. Oh well. The reality is that structural unity isn't going to happen any time soon, even if the RC church and the Eastern Orthodox somehow combine. What is more important is a unity of heart which is present amongst many evangelical Christians.

Here's the truth. People always have enemies. If there are a lot of non-Christians/other religions around, then Christians will bind together and be unified. If, however, pretty much everyone is Christian, then they will fight amongst themselves. It's like the ancient Greeks. They fought themselves until someone bigger came along, when they fought together.


Notice how Jesus prays from himself outwards.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

John 16

Things will be clearer soon

Summary:
Jesus said this so that they stuck with it all. Jesus has to go, so that the Holy Spirit comes. He will make things sweet.

When the world rejoices, the disciples will mourn, but it will turn into joy. Jesus will stop talking figuratively soon and show it how it is.

Key verse:
21. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.

My thoughts:
What John is expressing here is the fact that no-one really knew what Jesus was on about until after the resurrection.

Here are some things to build your faith.

1
2
three
4 (this one's really long, so scroll down)

Saturday, August 25, 2007

John 15

Hateful world

Summary:
Stay connected to Jesus, the vine, and you will grow and not get chopped. Stay in his love. We are his friends, because we know his business, unlike slaves.

We're not better than Jesus. The world hated him, and it will hate us too. Jesus told his disciples to spread the message once the Holy Spirit comes and he's gone.

Key verse:
13. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

My thoughts:
For changing reasons the world really isn't that keen on Christians. Right now, in our society, people just think we're stupid. Especially on the internet, there is so much news and opinion pieces about how stupid faith is. I have yet to meet one that has truly shaken me, and generally I just read them and can't help but think how ignorant it all is. But so many people just lap it up. Like this recent news about Mother Teresa's lack of faith. People are making it sound like she wasn't a Christian, but just pretended to be. If you read what she actually wrote, then she just sounds like a passionate, soulful, thoughtful, tormented Christian who had a massive burden to carry. She talked about her stresses and doubts and even her depression. She sounded like a normal Christian with a massive cross to bear.

But no, apparently Mother Teresa was an athiest. It annoys me how stupid people are sometimes.

Anyway, this is an another way John is showing how key Jesus is. He is the vine, the source of life. Without him, we are just dead.

Friday, August 24, 2007

John 14

The Way and the Holy Spirit

Summary:
Jesus told them to chillax cos they all have places in heaven.

The disciples stressed cos they didn't know the way to go to heaven, but Jesus said that he was the way. They stressed about not seeing God, but Jesus said he is God.

If you love Jesus you'll do what he says. When he goes he'll send the Holy Spirit to be with us. He'll teach us. If we truly love Jesus, then we'll understand why he has to die.

Key verse:
6. I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

My thoughts:
This is probably the second most famous quote in John. It is the most often quoted phrase which shows that you cannot get to God without Jesus. John emphasises this massively, whereas other gospel writers don't seem to make this as clear

In many ways John seems the most Christian of all the Gospel writers. He has a very high, Godlike view of Jesus. He has a developed understanding of the Holy Spirit, and he knows that Jesus is the only way to God. Is this a more developed view than that of the couple years just after Jesus? Yes. Christians' understanding of Jesus and faith didn't come immediately, but what it developed into is simply a continuation of what Jesus began rather than a creative enterprise.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

John 13

Upper Room party

Summary:
Jesus went to show his love by washing the feet of his disciples. Peter objected, but when Jesus said that it was key, he wanted it and more. He told them to wash each others feet too.

Jesus knew that Judas had planned to betray him and told the disciples thus.

Jesus said he would go away soon, and his last command was that they loved each other. Peter said he would follow him anywhere, but Jesus predicted his denial.

Key verse:
35. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

My thoughts:
So here we start John's Upper Room narrative. It is much longer than any of the other gospels, but doesn't include the Last Supper, which is a bit odd especially seeing that it is clearly in John's theology (see John 6). There are some elements of it though, in predicting Judas' betrayal.

The Upper Room dialogues of Jesus and his disciples in John are some of my favourite parts of this gospel. They take up a good few chapters, which is massive compared to how much John write of Jesus' miracles.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

John 12

Chillin' in Jerusalem

Summary:
Mary wasted a lot of money anointing Jesus when he returned to Bethany. It was better than spending it on the poor cos the poor are always around. The baddies wanted to kill Lazarus too because many had come to faith because of him.

He went from Bethany to Jerusalem on a donkey, and people praised him on the way. The disciples didn't realise it at the time, but he was fulfilling Biblical prophecy.

Jesus said that, like a seed, we have to die to produce. Jesus would have to do this. God would be glorified. God audibly agreed, though it was ambiguous as to whether others could hear the voice. Everyone was a bit confused, and Jesus buggered off.

As the Bible predicted, many people didn't believe. Even though who did kept quiet out of fear. Jesus proclaimed that to accept him was to accept God. Jesus doesn't judge, he just saves. God is the judge. Jesus just does what God says.

Key verse:
47. As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it.

My thoughts:
Unfortunately for this sweet verse, the next verse makes it very clear that God will judge you!

These passages create an interesting feeling about Jesus. He appears to be a man of which everyone is curious, and though he seems to do great miracles there is enough ambiguity that you can still choose not to believe in him if you try. Even in the presence of God himself in Jesus, we are given scope of choice as what we believe. The same is true now. That's why we need faith.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

John 11

Lazarus

Summary:
Jesus heard that his friend Lazarus was dying, and even dead back in Judea, so he went back, though they wanted to kill him there. Mary and Martha lived in Bethany where Lazarus was. When Jesus arrived, he had been dead for 4 days. Martha put her faith in Jesus and Jesus went to the tomb. He cried and cried there for Lazarus, and the Jews saw that he loved Lazarus. They didn't know why he could heal the blind but not save Lazarus.

Later Jesus went and called Lazarus from the tomb. He was alive.

Scared by his growing popularity, the Pharisees planned to kill Jesus as a sacrifice for the nation.

Key verse:
35. Jesus wept.

My thoughts:
This is the shortest verse in the Bible and it actually says a lot about Jesus. It says a lot about his humanity and compassion. The story of Lazarus is a very private one of Jesus and his close companions. There were Jesus' friends, and that is why he is so deeply moved by it.

Notice Martha has faith in the final resurrection, but in this case Jesus is somewhat impatient and wants his friend back now.

The prophecy of the Jews is quite a cool one in John's gospel. It is a prophecy of the bad guys, yet it comes true, but just not in a way they could ever imagine. It shows the power and word of God moving through even the baddies. The prophecy states that one man (Jesus) would die for the nation.

Monday, August 20, 2007

John 10

God and gods

Summary:
Anyone who sneaks into a pen is bad. If you're good you use the gate. Jesus is the gate, and any other ways to God are illegitimate. Jesus is a good shepherd and is willing to die for his sheep, his people.

They wanted Jesus to openly say he was the Messiah, but Jesus said that it was clear from his miracles. He said he was one with God. They went to stone him on account of this claim. Jesus shows that if some great biblical heroes are called gods, then surely he can be!

Key verses:
35-36. f he called them 'gods,' to whom the word of God came—and the Scripture cannot be broken— what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, 'I am God's Son'?

My thoughts:
I struggle with this part of the Bible. The Jehovah's Witness use it to say that Jesus is a god, but not the same as 'Jehovah'. They say that other greats in the Bible are called God, and that appears to be the case in Psalm 82, though it certainly is not common. I get the feeling that Jesus is covering his back here so he doesn't get stoned. Jesus' special identity with God is clear when he says that he and his Father are one.

Also, read Psalm 82. It's certainly not clear that those 'god's' are heroes. They may be false gods. The quotation marks certainly make it look that look. God Bless the NIV!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

John 9

Blindness of all types

Summary:
They asked Jesus whether a blind guy was blind cos of his sin or his parents sin. Jesus said neither, but that God's glory might be shown, and healed him,

The Pharisees checked him out and his blindness. They questioned him, but when he had nothing but praise for Jesus they kicked him out.

Jesus found him and told him to watch out for the spiritually blind - the Pharisees.

Key verse:
25. He replied, "Whether he is a sinner or not, I don't know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!"

My thoughts:
This is an honest testimony of a man. He doesn't pretend to understand or know anything beyond what he has experienced. So often we try to overthink God. We should be able to simply recognise what we have experienced and live based on that.

Even today too many Christians try to blame misfortune on sin. It is clear here that you can never say that for sure.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

John 8

Stoning and I am

Summary:
They brought a sinful woman before Jesus, and asked if she should be stoned according to the law. Jesus said that only perfect people could do that. No-one was perfect, so she was saved.

Jesus claimed himself as the world's light, and was his own witness. He said the leaders didn't know his Father, because they don't know Jesus. Jesus is not from the world. Those of the world will die covered in sin unless they accept Jesus.

They claimed that they were always free as Abraham's descendants. Jesus said that every sinner was a slave to sin. They didn't like hearing that.

Those who disagree with Jesus have Satan as their father. Jesus said he could give eternal life, and people didn't like the fact that he was claiming to be better than Abraham, but he said that God himself glorifies him. He was around even before Abraham.

They tried to kill him but he proved more slippery than a vasoline-coated ninja.

Key verse:
58. "I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!"

Summary:
The first story about the woman caught in sin was not originally in John. It has been found in Luke in some early manuscripts. It appears to have been a very early story of something Jesus did that wasn't officially in any of the gospels, but was put there because it was told by all (most) early Christians. Jesus' compassion is clear here. In no way does he say that the sin is okay, yet he still shows grace. I haven't watched the videos, but this article tells of an absolutely brutal honour stoning in Kurdistan of a woman who eloped with the Muslim man she loved. She had converted to his religion. They say that the world doesn't need Jesus.

The other main thing going on in this chapter is Jesus' bold statement about himself in regard to God and Abraham. He uses the big "I am". Some people don't believe that Jesus is referring to the Tetragrammaton here, but he is using the exact same language of the Septuagint in Exodus 3. It otherwise doesn't make heaps of sense in the Greek. Given that this statement makes people try to stone him shows that he is, perhaps in a subtle way, referring to his Yahwist divinity.

Friday, August 17, 2007

John 7

Sneaking into the Feast

Summary:
Jesus hid from Jerusalem, because they wanted to kill him, and it wasn't his time yet. His brothers told him to go down for the festival, but Jesus said he wasn't going but went secretly later. The Jews couldn't find him.

Halfway through Jesus got up to teach, and said that his words came from God, and told them to chill out about the whole healing on the Sabbath thing.

They were surprised that no-one was killing Jesus standing there openly. Jesus made some big calls, so they tried to kill him, but failed. It wasn't his time. Jesus said he was going somewhere unfindable. That confused people, and then Jesus explained how he was going to give the Spirit.

The guards sent to catch Jesus didn't cos they began to like Jesus. The Pharisees, except one who had met up with Jesus, didn't like Jesus.

Key verse:
33. I am with you for only a short time, and then I go to the one who sent me.

My thoughts:
Firstly, the Pharisees are wrong in saying that no prophets come from Galilee. Jonah came from Galilee.

Anyway, Jesus actually lies at the beginning of this chapter. He says that he won't go to the Feast, but secretly planned to go. Later versions changed his words so that it doesn't look like he lies. Is Jesus a sinner? I would be quicker to say that this shows that you shouldn't push the measurement of sin to a trivial sense.

Anyway, John seems to have a clearer narrative flow than the other gospels. The narrative is quite different than other gospels, but makes a lot of sense internally. It's quite cool to read as a thought-provoking novel, perhaps more so that other gospels. It has a clear purpose who weaves throughout the whole narrative, and rather than try to state everything that Jesus did, it illuminates a few key events that speak to John's point.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

John 6

Bread

Summary:
Jesus fed five thousand with minimal food. The disciples then went off on a boat, and Jesus followed later walking on the water. That confused people trying to figure out where Jesus had gone.

They found him, and he explained that they came because he multiplied food, but they need to seek God's food. Jesus himself is God's food, and God's plan is for you to believe in him. In Jesus, all can be saved. You have to eat his flesh and drink his blood.

Many people couldn't believe this and left Jesus, but he didn't care. The twelve stayed with him, even though Judas would betray him.

Key verse:
35. Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.

My thoughts:
John's point comes over and over again. Jesus is the only thing that is important. Everything else is secondary. All of God's will can be summed up in one word; Jesus.

Besides the resurrection, the feeding of the 5,000 is the only miracles in all four gospels. The walking on water isn't in Luke, I think, but it is recorded in both synoptic and johannine traditions. Only John had the dialogue following the feeding of the 5,000.

It appears that John is referring to communion in this passage, which is interesting, because John doesn't relate the last supper, but has the washing of the disciples feet in its place.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

John 5

Lord of the Sabath

Summary:
Jesus healed a man at a pool on the Sabbath. He didn't know it was Jesus but later found out.

Jesus had to explain that God himself works everyday. Jesus only does what he sees his father doing. His father has entrusted lots to him, and you can only reach God through him. He is the way to escape condemnation.

John, God, and the scriptures have testified about Jesus. Jesus isn't that interested in the support of mere people.

Key verse:
19. I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.

My thoughts:
John definitely has the most glorified view of Jesus out of all the gospel authors. John in this passage explicitly says that Jesus was making himself equal to God. Jesus rejects human testimony of himself.

Anyway, John 5:4 was an explanatory note which wasn't part of the original text and has been removed. I have the feeling that the pool at Bethesda has been found.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

John 4

Foreign worship

Summary:
Jesus asked a foreign woman for water, and she was surprised a Jew even spoke to her. Jesus offered her eternal water, which she was keen on. He knew that she had been sleeping around, and told her exactly how many men she'd been with and she was amazed. Seeing that he was a prophet, she changed topic and asked a theological question about where people could worship, because she disagreed with the Jews. Jesus said people could worship anywhere, and that he was the Messiah. She ran off to tell her friends.

The disciples were surprised that Jesus spoke with her. Jesus said his food was God's will, and that his harvest was ready. Many of those foreigners believed.

Jesus healed an official's son from a distance.

Key verse:
23. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.

My thoughts:
So the Jews worshipped at Jerusalem, and the Samaritan and Samaria, and this was strictly kept, and was a major cause of bitterness between these two people groups. The Samaritans were half-Jewish. Jesus here makes it explicit that worship can happen anywhere, and it's not a worship of rites and rituals, it's in spirit and truth. Pretty revolutionary for his time. The fact that Samaritans are included is revolutionary.

Notice how Jesus isn't afraid to challenge the woman on her lifestyle. He doesn't avoid the topic as we are so often want to do.

Monday, August 13, 2007

John 3

3:16

Summary:
Jesus talked to a Jewish leader and explained that we must be spiritually born again. He explained that God has come out of love to save the world. God's light is here, but some choose to reject it cos it's too bright.

After some complaints of Jesus baptising, John explained that he was given that authority from God. John himself wasn't the Messiah. You have to accept Jesus to accept God.

Key verse:
16. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

My thoughts:
This is a key chapter for the basics of what it means to be a Christian. This verse 16 is probably the most famous one in the Bible, and I do believe that it really does sum up the point of God's Word.

John makes no apology for his clear statements that God can be found only through Jesus and that is why Jesus was sent. So that we may find God. That's what it all comes down to.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

John 2

Water into wine

Summary:
Jesus' mother told him to sort out the lack of wine at a party, so Jesus turned some water into wine. This was kinda before his ministry but everyone was amazed.

Jesus went to the temple in Jerusalem and went nuts at all the traders. He said he would tear down and rebuild the temple in three days but he was really talking about his own body.

Key verse:
25. He did not need man's testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man.

My thoughts:
John's gospel is full of massive statements like this. Jesus is quite the all-knowing super person in John's gospel. Notice how Mary knows of Jesus' powers and tells him to use them.

Also notice that Jesus clearing the temple happens early in his ministry before he spends his final week in Jerusalem. This emphasises to me that some details of Jesus life are a little confused in the Bible, but the points are not.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

John 1

Words of Light

Summary:
The Word was God and created the Universe. He's the light for all people. John came first and talked about the light, but the light was mostly rejected, but those didn't reject the light became God's kids. We can only know God through the one he chose.

John openly said he wasn't the Christ. Jesus came and got baptised and filled with the Holy Spirit. John declared him as God's sacrificial lamb.

Jesus called Andrew and Simon (who he names Peter), and Philip and Nathanael who didn't like Nazareth.

Key verse:
1. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
18. No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known.

My thoughts:
Ah John! I love his gospel! It's so Christian... Heh heh... That says a lot doesn't it...

Anyway, John is passionately in love with Jesus. Jesus is God, and the only way to reach God. So often Christians don't realise this and try to explain God through other things. It always must come through Jesus. Not nature or science or anything, just Jesus. We shouldn't be surprised when people look into the world and don't find God. They haven't looked into Jesus.

The secondary point after the prologue in this chapter is basically that John wasn't the Christ and never claimed to be. There must have been some views around that Jesus played off the hype of John Messiahship, and John the author is dispelling this.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Luke 24

Superjesus

Summary:
The women couldn't find Jesus' body in the tomb a couple of days later, and they met two shiny men proclaiming that Jesus had risen.

Jesus, meanwhile, talked to a couple of men who, not recognising him, explained about Jesus and how they were disappointed that he had died and they had heard that the tomb was empty, which they indeed checked, but they hadn't seen Jesus. Jesus explained himself through the scriptures, but they didn't recognise him until he came over for tea at which point he promptly disappeared. They told the eleven, but Simon Peter had already seen.

Jesus then turned up, and they were amazed and touched him and he ate. He wasn't a ghost. He kept explaining that this had to happen. Later Jesus ascended outside Bethany, and they all praised God.

Key verse:
44. Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.

My thoughts:
Jesus' key mantra post-resurrection is clarifying that all this had to happen and should've been expected. Notice how he has a threefold understanding of the scriptures, like the Tanakh (Torah, Nevi'im, Khetuvim).

Luke contains by far the most complete narrative of Jesus' appearances out of the synoptic gospels. They are there to clarify the real physical bodily resurrection of Jesus. Notice how the emptiness of the tomb is the most basic attestation of the resurrection.

Luke's sequel is Acts, but first we'll go though a very different gospel - John.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Luke 23

Instantaneous resurrection

Summary:
Pilate didn't want to charge him. He was Herod's problem. Herod wanted to see a miracle, but just mocked Jesus and sent him back to his new chum, Pilate. Pilate eventually let Jesus be crucified because the people were so keen.

A Simon carried the cross. Jesus told people not to mourn for him, but for themselves. Things would suck soon. Jesus was hung with criminals, and was mocked. One criminal mocked him, and another felt sorry for him because he was innocent. He got to go to heaven.

So Jesus died and was buried in a tomb.

Key verse:
43. Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."

My thoughts:
Luke adds a bunch of stuff Jesus says on the way up the mountain. It's basically judgment on Jerusalem, but I don't remember is anywhere else.

Jesus says that his fellow crucifee will be in heaven shortly after he dies. Some people believe that when you die you go to a halfway house, or hades, until the resurrection of the dead at the end of the age. I don't know what's right, but this verse is used in support of instantaneous resurrection.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Luke 22

Jesus and swords

Summary:
Judas agreed to betray Jesus. They all went for the passover meal in an upper room. Jesus fed his disciples, so that they remembered the covenant he made before he was to suffer. They argued about who was best, but Jesus told them that they must all be servants. Jesus prayed that Peter would stay strong. Jesus predicted Peter's denial, and told people to get swords.

Jesus was arrested. There was a brief scuffle, and someone's ear got cut off, which Jesus healed, but Jesus told them to stop.

Peter denied Jesus, then realised his sin, the guards mocked him, and Jesus declared his glory to the Jewish authorities, who took it as blasphemy.

Key verse:
38. The disciples said, "See, Lord, here are two swords."
"That is enough," he replied.

My thoughts:
Once again this passage is very similar to other accounts, with some little differences. Why does Jesus seem to ask for swords but they tells people to stop when they use them? It seems strange to me. Perhaps Jesus wasn't talking about real swords, the disciples misunderstood, and Jesus' response was one of frustration of their ignorance more than anything else. I dunno.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Luke 21

God is the best shampoo ever

Summary:
The amount you give isn't important, it's the amount of sacrifice you have to make to do it that counts.

The temple will fall, false Messiahs and prophecies will come. Christians will be persecuted, but stand strong and you'll be sweet. Jerusalem will fall to the Gentiles. Then Jesus will come back. Read the signs. Always be ready.

Key verses:
17-19. All men will hate you because of me. But not a hair of your head will perish. By standing firm you will gain life.

My thoughts:
Let's not forget that God has our back. We may be hated at times, but God has our back.

Anyway, much of this prophecy seems to directly relate to the fall of Jerusalem in 70AD, though it also looks to when Jesus will return. It seems that Eschaton events didn't happen as quickly as they expected.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Luke 20

Intense questioning

Summary:
They questioned Jesus' authority, but they just asked him whether they liked John, and they were to political to answer, so neither did Jesus.

The world is God's, but we destroy anyone God sends to take his harvest, including his Son. So we will lose our housesitting of this world.

Jesus says to pay taxes, cos Caesar mints the coins anyway.

There is no marriage in heaven. It all gets cancelled. There is a resurrection, because God is God of the living.

After all the questioning, Jesus asked a question no-one could answer, and warned against pride.

Key verse:
35. But those who are considered worthy of taking part in that age and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage

My thoughts:
This seems to imply that those destined for heaven won't get married. This inclination is in no other gospel. It isn't, of course, what Jesus is saying, or else none of the teachers of the law (who were married) would be impressed with him.

Entering Jerusalem, Jesus has entered the centre of religious thought for Jews. It is not surprising that the first thing they want to do is questions him strongly.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Luke 19

Midgets, donkeys, and disliked princes.

Summary:
A sinful little man climbed a tree to see Jesus, and Jesus ate with him, despite his sin, because of his faith. The sinner made right all his wrongs in response.

Imagine a someone goes away who no-one likes. He entrusts his money to different people. Who will he be happier with? The one who makes the most percentage profit. So make the most of what you've got.

Jesus went into Jerusalem on a donkey and got lots of praise.

Jesus went nuts when he saw the marketplace the temple had become.

Key verse:
40. "I tell you," he replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out."

My thoughts:
Luke has this habit of telling stories where the analogue for good things (eg. God/how we should be) is evil. It's kinda disconcerting. Here, no-one likes the prince who entrusts the money. This is a detail which I believe only Luke adds.

Luke doesn't mention the phrase 'Hosanna' in his triumphant entry narrative, but he does have this cool mention of nature itself worshiping Jesus if people don't.

Notice how Jesus accepts Zacchaeus before he repents.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Luke 18

Persistent touching

Summary:
Even bad people will do good if pestered enough. So persevere with God who is good!

Be humble before God. Clear sinners are generally better at this.

We have to become like children to get into heaven.

A rich righteous man was disappointed when Jesus expected him to give everything away and follow him. It's impossible for the rich to enter heaven. Luckily God is good at impossible.

Jesus predicted his death and resurrection, and healed a blind man.

Key verse:
15. People were also bringing babies to Jesus to have him touch them

My thoughts:
Ewh...

This whole humility thing is interesting. How grateful are we really when we come to God? Do we feel like sinners who God gracefully chose to love, or do we feel like we kinda deserve it?

Few people are truly keen to be persistent in prayer, but then fall into doubt when nothing happens. Have faith. Keep going.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Luke 17

Thy Kingdom Come

Summary:
Sin will be caused, but just don't be the causer. Always forgive. You only need a little amount of faith for God to use you. We are but servants in God's eyes.

Jesus healed ten lepers, but only the foreigner was thankful. He got healed permanently.

The Kingdom of God is inside us all. No-one will expect when Jesus is coming back. People will just be taken.

Key verse:
21. nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is,' because the kingdom of God is within you.

My thoughts:
Some of this chapter has been interestingly used to develop the theology of the rapture.

The concept of the Kingdom within is a continuation of Jesus changing people's expectations of a earthly rule of current powers to a Spiritual dominion. The Kingdom breaks into the world through people spiritually. It won't be anything taking over politically.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Luke 16

Money

Summary:
Imagine a manager of an estate who was about to be fired for fraud. He knows this, so whilst he has his job he cancels the debt of a lot of people who owe to the estate. That way he has friends when he has no job! Money is only good if it builds relationships with others that can lead into eternity. You can't serve God and money!

People are pushing to get into heaven!

A rich man knew a poor man. They died. The poor one went to heaven, the rich one to hell. The rich one wanted some relief from Lazarus, but he got denied because you cannot cross between heaven and hell. He then wanted to send someone back to warn his family, but the truth is, if they don't listen to the prophets, they won't listen even if someone comes back from the dead.

Key verses:
9. I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.
31. If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.

My thoughts:
The first parable is one I don't know too well. It's quite interesting, and seems to be somewhat immoral, but it's point seems pretty similar to what we say in church. Money is useless until we do something eternal with it, which is often to give it away, or perhaps, to build friendships! Sweet! I wanna be rich!

Except rich people go to hell... as is evidenced in the next parable. It's a cool wee story. I like the inclusion of the unfortunate reality of some people's stubborn lack of faith. It seems very true to me. Some people will do anything not to believe, though many people haven't been given a real chance at the same time.

For ages people thought hell was in the earth and heaven in the sky. But this passage certain'y implies that this isn't the case.

54 days til Halo 3

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Luke 15

Get lost. Get found.

Summary:
Jesus is more interested in the lost, then those who are sweet. He'll ditch the safe and secure sometimes to go after the lost.

It's like some kid who ditched his family, but his brother stay home like a good boy. When the kid came back broke, the Dad was keen as beans to take him back and give him everything back. The older brother thought that it wasn't fair, but it was like the kid had come back to life!

Key verse:
7. I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

My thoughts:
This is an awesome chapter about the compassion of God for the lost. We can never run too far away from him.

What is our heart? Are we willing to ditch the many to look after the one who needs it? I think I would be shamefully more interested in getting the glory of looking after 99 people than seeking the one loser who no-one likes.

55 days til Halo 3!