John 13: “When Judas took the bread…Satan entered into him.”

In John

Judas betrayed Jesus for the same primary reason that Peter betrayed Jesus. It’s true that Judas was a thief, but his actions were not mainly driven by greed. Judas desperately wanted Jesus to conform to his idea of a militant nationalistic kingdom of force and power, rather than a Kingdom …

John 21: “Simon…do you agape me?”

In John

The story of Peter is an important “case study” of God’s persistent love to heal and transform an individual. Of all the disciples, Peter was the most vocal in his desire that Jesus become a “prize fighter” Messiah. When Jesus warned of his coming suffering and crucifixion, it was Peter …

Matthew 12:18-20: “He will lead justice to victory”

In Matthew

God’s justice is usually defined in legal terms in the sense of an appropriate punishment that fits the crime. We associate God’s justice with words like wrath, hell, and judgment. How does this description fit with Matthew 12, which describes Jesus as the very embodiment of God’s justice? “Here is my servant whom …

Mark 15: “My God, my God, why did you abandon me?”

In Mark

We are in the middle of a series on the subject of hell-fire, God’s wrath and next week God’s justice. The subject of hell and God’s wrath are related. For example, the 3rd angels message in Revelation 14 describes those who worship the beast as drinking “the wine of God’s wrath” …

Matthew 3: “The fire that never goes out”

In Matthew

How we understand hell is one of the most important subjects of all in terms of our picture of God. Is hell a place of literal burning fire? For those suffering in hell, how long does it last? Any human subjected to a lake of fire would be instantly consumed. Does this mean …

Luke 15-16: The Rich Man and Lazarus

In Luke

One of the most surprising teachings about hell among “spiritual giants” of the last 2,000 years is the idea that those in heaven will delight in the sufferings of those who are writhing in the flames. Tertullian, Thomas Aquinas, Isaac Watts, Jonathan Edwards and many others have promoted this view. J.I. Packer doesn’t …

John 18: “My kingdom is not of this world”

In John

From Gethsemane to the Cross, Jesus was tempted to use his power to silence his doubters and to reveal who he was. He had to restrain Peter from using force and reminded him that he could call “more than twelve legions of angels” (Matthew 26:53). In this context, Jesus’s words to Pilate are significant, …

The Lord’s Prayer: More than meets the eye

In Matthew

The Lord’s Prayer has been said and repeated so many times that the significance is easily lost. This short prayer has a depth of meaning that explains both the primary purpose and the complexity of prayer. Many times the Bible says that prayer makes a difference. Jesus said that “if you ask for anything in my name, I will …

Matthew 5-7: The Greatest (and most hated) Sermon

In Matthew

The Sermon on the Mount was Jesus’ first major sermon in which he outlined the nature of his kingdom. This sermon was, in some ways, like a major presidential speech with a large crowd that came to hear about “the Kingdom” that Jesus was talking about. The word “radical” is probably overused, but in this case it understates …