Nicodemus (John 3:1-15)

One never knows the effect of a discussion with Jesus. Nicodemus could not have anticipated that the conversation he had arranged with Jesus would result in the introduction into language of the concept of being born again. Nor could he have imagined that the conversation with Jesus would lead to a life that would be very different for him and that he would find himself engaging in activities that would not have crossed his mind before. And he would not have anticipated that this meeting with Jesus would be a crossroads from where he took the road to heaven, which is where he is now.     Nicodemus is known for coming to see Jesus by night and it is often suggested that he came by night because he was too frightened to come during the day. Maybe he was, but evening would be a normal time in Jerusalem for people to meet if they wanted to talk. In any case, it is not obvious that either Nicodemus or Jesus was alone because they both use the pronoun ‘we’, which suggests that others were wi

Three Great Fatherly Actions (Colossians 1:12-14)

These verses are connected to Paul’s prayer for the Colossians. He is giving thanks to the Father for what he has done for his people. In particular, Paul says that the Father has done three things for them: he has qualified them, he has delivered them, and he has transferred them. Of course, these are not the only blessings that the Father has provided. But the three that Paul mentions are remarkable displays of the Father’s amazing grace.   We are qualified One question that arises from this statement is to ask if Paul is describing something future or present when he mentions the inheritance of the saints in light. It is not a way that we are accustomed to speak, so we can break it down a bit in order to help us understand what he means by this description.   First, what does it mean to be ‘in the light’? Obviously, it is the opposite of being in darkness. The state of spiritual darkness is the condition of every unconverted person. Therefore someone who is in the light is a convert

Jesus and the Fear of God (Isaiah 11:3)

Isaiah 11 contains a wonderful description of the Messiah and the amazing roles that he would perform under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. One of the details mentioned about him is that he would ‘delight in the fear of the Lord’ (v. 3). That description, as well as the other details in the prophecy, was given so that people would recognise the Messiah when he came. Since we know that the Messiah is Jesus, it means that the description given in the prophecy becomes guidance for how we should understand him. So we can consider examples that point to the particular feature of the fear of the Lord that was revealed in his life on earth, and how it may be seen in the world to come.   Jesus when he was twelve (Luke 2) Luke is the only Gospel writer that mentions the visit paid by Jesus and his family to an annual feast in Jerusalem.  We are familiar with the content of the story, how Joseph and Mary did not realise at first that Jesus was not in the group making their way back home to Naza

Jesus is the Answer (Micah 5:2-5)

The previous section in Micah describes a time of trouble for Israel, culminating in an experience of humiliation for their king when a conqueror would show his contempt for the king by smiting him on his face with a rod. Such an action showed the utter weakness, the complete powerlessness and inability of the king of Israel. One obvious feature is that he would be unable to deliver his people.    If that was all that Micah had to say, then there would not be any hope for Israel. The collapse of the monarchy in this way would lead to the demise of the nation. There would be no national future. Instead they would be numbered in the list of conquered peoples that can be found in history books.  Yet Micah did not stop with his message of judgement and humiliation. Instead, he went on to describe a very bright future for God’s kingdom. But he cautioned it would have this recovery and prosperity at a time when another king would come, and there would be unusual features about him.   The com

The King Has Come (Isaiah 9:6-7)

The book of Isaiah contains numerous prophecies about Jesus, both about his birth and his death, but also about many other details connected to his life and work. I have never seen a book that classified them all, although someone is bound to have done so. It is a very profitable task to go through the book of the evangelical prophet and take note of the many amazing things he says about Jesus. And among them is the set of verses from Isaiah 9 describing great blessings that would come to Gentiles after he was born.   His arrival Isaiah says three things in this section of the verse. Two of them are about Jesus and one is about the recipients, the ones called ‘us’. What is said about Jesus? Isaiah says that he is a child born  for  us and he is a son given  to  us. We can see that he is born to be a king, and as a king he is the son given to us. How can he be both  for  us and given  to  us? Obviously, the Father is the one who has given his Son to us. His Son is a divine present to us