Imagine this scene. Joseph leading a donkey-drawn carriage towards Bethlehem. Inside that carriage sits his pregnant wife, Mary. She was found to be pregnant before they had consummated their marriage! This would be the scandal of the town. Imagine the gossip and stares. Surely she was a promiscuous woman. And both of them are guilty of premarital sex!
When Peter brought the gospel to the Gentiles, he told Cornelius the story of Jesus. He explained how the Savior traveled throughout Judea healing people and casting out demons, died on the cross and rose again, and then appeared to His disciples and commanded them to tell everyone He was Israel’s Messiah. And right in the middle Peter added, “We were those who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead” (Acts 10:41).
The lighthouse keepers had survived harsh and lonely conditions on a meager salary, endured the incessant roar of the foghorn, and rowed their lifeboat onto stormy seas to rescue sailors. But the keepers had also resisted efforts to install a new lens that would have doubled the amount of light their station could have cast. Why? The keepers had made a financial arrangement with the maker of the old lens, and they didn’t want to lose the cash—even if it would have saved lives.
In 2013, the Catholic Church in Venezuela reported that it was running out of wine to celebrate Mass because of a nationwide shortage. This reminds me of another shortage of wine that took place in the village of Cana where Jesus was attending a wedding.
If a friend asked you, “Where can I experience the power and wisdom of God?” would you bring him or her to a college? The following saying would cause us to question this choice: The university has lots of knowledge. The first years came in with some. The final years left with none. That is how knowledge accumulates.
Q: In the Scripture versions I read, Mary had several children with Joseph AFTER the virgin birth of Jesus. A friend believes Mary was a virgin throughout her live and had but one child—Jesus. Moreover, the term "brother or sister" was often used when referring to relatives, such as cousin, nephew, etc. Can you enlighten me regarding this issue? —Edward
Scene 1: Elijah is on Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18:16-39). The prophet has declared a test. He and the prophets of Baal will each erect an altar and call to their respective gods. The one who sets the altar on fire will be revealed as the one true God (1 Kings 18:24).
Last week I took my adopted son and his buddy (whom my friends adopted from Ethiopia) to the beach where I grew up in Florida. Watching the boys as they splashed in the gulf, played in the sand, and curiously poked at a dead jellyfish that had washed up on the shore, I marveled at God’s work in their lives.
Q: Did the Gentiles become Jews? —Cassandra
A: Israel is the name God gave Jacob on the night he wrestled with the angel (Genesis 32:28). His sons, along with the 12 tribes that descended from them, inherited the name. Although Israel always accepted proselytes, it was at first largely made up of people physically descended from Abraham through Isaac and Jacob.…
Ordinary people from tiny towns aren’t usually highly celebrated. Few are remembered long after they’re gone. The prophet Elijah, however, is an exception. The New Testament authors mentioned him more than any other Old Testament prophet.
I didn’t think it would be that difficult. But as the technician placed the X-ray shield over my knee, handed me the headphones, and left the room, a sense of uncertainty surrounded me like the MRI machine I was lying in. Even though my head and shoulders remained outside the tunnel, I felt trapped. My mind raced, as I discovered flight responses never before encountered. Watching the countdown clock on the upper part of the machine, I wondered if my heart and mind would quiet down or if the next few minutes would include me jumping out of the machine in a mad fit of panic.
Q: What’s the significance of the number 153, the number of fish that the disciples caught? —Safy
A: John 21 tells us that the resurrected Christ appeared to several of his disciples beside the Sea of Galilee—showing them that he was alive and then restoring Peter to ministry. The disciples had gone back to their fishing trade, but throughout the night,…
Jesus was dead—witnessed by His executioners (Mark 15:37-39), confirmed by Pilate (Mark 15:44-45), and attested by two high-court judges who prepared His lifeless body for burial (Mark 15:43; John 3:1,19:38-39). Jesus was laid in a new tomb that had been carved out of rock. The entrance was sealed by an extremely large, round stone (Mark 15:46). It would take many strong men to move the 1- to 2-ton door. This troubled the women who had gone to anoint Jesus’ body: “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” (Mark 16:3). They had worried unnecessarily, however. For the large stone “had already been rolled aside” (Mark 16:4), the work of an angel (Matthew 28:2).
In the “Lord’s prayer,” Jesus encouraged His followers to pray for God’s kingdom to come and His will to be done “on earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). Not surprisingly, the four Gospels are loaded with stories of heaven and earth coming together in and around Jesus.