Studies in Ephesians — 2:11-22

Jesus is considered by scholars such as Weber ...

Jesus is considered by scholars such as Weber to be an example of a charismatic religious leader. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Studies in Ephesians – Ephesians 2: 11-22


B – U – I – L – D


See also: Gal. 3:27, 28; I Cor. 3:11; I Peter 2:6; Rms. 12. 1, 2; I Cor. 12:14-15; Is. 28:16; Ps. 118: 22


Blood that bonds  – v. 13 – Ever watch an old western?  You might have seen the ceremony of two men becoming blood brothers.  When we were immersed into Christ we became brothers and sisters by a bond of blood.


Unity – v. 14, 18 — There is a strength in unity, and there is a unity in the body of Christ.  We are united with Christians across the world, and we are united with Christians through the ages.  The voices of Christian leaders echo over the ages.  They thrill us with their love of God.  They shame us with their absolute devotion.


Intertwining – v. 19 – In Christ we are a body knit together.  The aches and pains of one are those of the body.


Leadership – v. 20 – The church is built on one cornerstone, Christ.  Its support is the apostles and prophets.  As I rest my hand on the Bible with its New Testament I have the apostles with me.  They are no farther than arm’s reach.  These apostles – Matthew, Mark, John, James, Peter, Paul – and these prophets – Luke and the writer of Hebrews – still offer that leadership and order that the church needs.

Dwelling – v. 22 – When Jesus left, he gave a promise that he would send the Comforter.  That Holy Spirit abides in the church, since we are intended to be the dwelling place of God.  When the sick, poor, and lonely turn to the church for refuge, the church must respond in the loving spirit of Christ.


Exemplary story:  No doubt you have heard of how Sam pieced together the map of the world.  For her geography lesson one teacher distributed to her pupils copies of a world map from an activity book.  The teacher cut each sheet of paper into a dozen or so pieces.  She asked her class to reassemble the map. The challenge seemed formidable.

Sam completed his puzzle first. The teacher praised for his accomplishment.  Then she asked how he had finished his work so quickly.

He replied, “I just put Jesus together and then the world fell in place.”  Sam saw something the teacher had  overlooked. On the reverse side of the map was a picture of Jesus.

Signs and Works in John’s Gospel — John 20:19-29

English: Jesus Christ - detail from Deesis mos...

English: Jesus Christ – detail from Deesis mosaic, Hagia Sophia, Istanbul (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Signs and Works in John’s GospelJohn 20:19-29


W – O – U – N – D


See also: Mk. 9:24; 8:20, 21; John 14:5; Heb. 11:6; Luke 24:39; Zech. 13:6; Is. 53:5


Witnesses – v. 19 — Ten disciples were prepared to say they had seen the risen Lord.


Objection – v. 25 — Thomas just could not take their word for it. Thomas was not there, he did not see.


Uncertainty of unbelief – v. 25 — It wasn’t the case that Thomas would not believe.  He would if only his conditions were met.  If we were to rely on him as a witness, then we can be grateful that he was cautious.


Nail prints – vs. 26-28 — When Jesus returns he shows the nail prints and invites Thomas to touch them.  These were the wounds that Jesus received on the cross.  In the history of the church they are called the stigmata.  Perhaps Thomas knew in some sense that these were wounds he should have received.  Scripture teaches that he was wounded for us.  These were the wounds that should have been ours.


Declaration of Divinity – v. 28 – 29  Thomas may have been cautious, but he was no doubter.  He declares Jesus to be Lord.  Have you ever made that decision to declare Jesus to be Lord?  Why not follow Thomas’ example?

In response to Thomas’ belief Jesus offers us a beatitude: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”


Exemplary story:  In the news this past week one of the first persons to receive a full face transplant was married to a woman who was a burn victim.  The man without a face married the woman whose body was covered with burn marks.  What a story of love.  A still greater story of love is the story that we can be embraced by a risen Savior whose hands bear the wounds he received on the cross.

Signs and Works in John’s Gospel — John 12:12-24

English: Jesus entering Jerusalem on a donkey

English: Jesus entering Jerusalem on a donkey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Signs and Works in John’s Gospel – John 12:12-24

C – O – L – T

See also: Zech. 9:9; Ps. 118:26; Matt. 21:9; Phil 3:9; Col. 3:17

Crowd – v. 12, 17 – In the crowd were witnesses to Lazarus’s resurrection. Now they were prepared to receive the Messiah. How short lived that would be.

Outcry – v. 13 – Hosanna. Take a moment and imagine the scene. People crowd the path that leads into the city and to the temple. They cast down their coats, put palm branches in the street, and cry out to God. Can you hear them cry out to God? They are praising God in the highest.

Legation – v. 21 – The Greeks came to Philip. He took them to Andrew. Andrew did what we should do. He led them to Jesus. This marked a turning point. There were men who wanted to see Jesus. In our generation there are men and women who want to do likewise. They need someone to serve as Andrew.

Threat – v. 19, 10-11 – To the leaders this was a threat. They were jealous. They were fearful. Their power was in danger if the crowd followed Jesus. So, they did something diabolical. They set in motion a plan to have Jesus killed.

Exemplary Story: It’s been many years since I worked at university with a community chapel on the campus. It was appropriately named All Saint’s Chapel. The chapel was a grand edifice with stone walls, high arches, beautiful stained glass, and ornate hardwood pews and furniture. The polished flagstone flooring was kept in perfect order. I was most interested to inquire from a student how things went during worship on Palm Sunday. My equestrian friend had arranged to bring a donkey to All Saint’s Chapel and lead her down the center aisle to the altar during the children’s presentation. Later I was pleased to hear the report, “It’ll never be the same again.”

Signs and Works in John’s Gospel — John 5:1-9, 13-15

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

Stained glass at St John the Baptist’s Anglican Church, Ashfield, New South Wales. Illustrates Jesus’ description of himself “I am the Good Shepherd” (from the Gospel of John, chapter 10, verse 11). This version of the image shows the detail of his face. The memorial window is also captioned: “To the Glory of God and in Loving Memory of William Wright. Died 6th November, 1932. Aged 70 Yrs.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Signs and Works in John’s Gospel – John 5:1-9, 13-15

A – H – E – A – D

See also: Jn. 5:21; Luke 13:15; Matt. 9:6; Jn. 7:11; I John 5:15-16; Psalm 86:5

Anxiety of Affliction – v. 5 – For 38 years the man lay ill. That is a long time to keep an illness.

Hearsay hope – vs. 4, 7 – The man’s hope was a wish and a superstition. He hoped an angle would solve the problem. It was something to cling to. Do you cling to hopes that are hearsay?

Encounter – vs. 6-8 — Jesus met the man and offered him a blessing if he would have it. During a course in pastoral counseling students were warned that they must always ask the patient’s permission to pray, etc. Jesus wanted to know if the man wanted his help.

Admonition – vs. 8, 14 – Before they could conclude their conversation Jesus and the man parted. Later Jesus has a word of advice: “Go and sin no more.” Have you ever noticed how Jesus was not focused on the seedy past of people. Surely that is a lesson. He is about preparing people for heaven.

Divine divulgence – vs. 15, 17 – There was now no doubt about who did this. The man proclaims that it was Jesus.

Exemplary story: A dear friend who claims to be an Aunt by marriage has a favorite saying. “The past is history. The future is a mystery. The present is a gift. So, enjoy it.”
Jesus allowed the man to put sin and sickness behind him. He gave the man a gift for the present, and he gave the man a hope to cast off the uncertainties of the future.

Signs and Works in John’s Gospel — John 4:46-54

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

Stained glass at St John the Baptist’s Anglican Church, Ashfield, New South Wales. Illustrates Jesus’ description of himself “I am the Good Shepherd” (from the Gospel of John, chapter 10, verse 11). This version of the image shows the detail of his face. The memorial window is also captioned: “To the Glory of God and in Loving Memory of William Wright. Died 6th November, 1932. Aged 70 Yrs.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Signs and works in John’s Gospel – John 4:46-54

L – U – N – C – H

See also: Rms. 1.17; Mk. 9:24; Jn. 3:18; Matt. 13:57; Is. 43:10

Legacy – v. 46-47 — Jesus’ reputation preceded him. When he entered Cana or Capernaum crowds flocked to him

Urgency – v. 47 — The boy is about to die. The father wonders if it is too late. Of course, it is only too late for the father if he does not reach Jesus.

Nobleman – v. 46 – The man who approaches Jesus is royalty. What good does his title do him now? Sometimes our privileges and ranks cannot avail when we are in dire need.

Chiding – v. 48 – Jesus is willing to heal. He has healed many. Why must they see to believe. It should be the opposite with them and us. If we would believe, then we would see.

Hour – v. 52-53. — The man makes his way back home. He meets one of his servants coming to him. The news is the best news. The boy is well. When? It happened on the lunch hour, 1 PM. It happened just when Jesus said it would. His word is law.

Exemplary story: Within the last decade businesses have begun to use a just-in-time inventory system with great success. The order is place and then the inventory is stocked and shipped. For centuries God has had in place a just-in-time system for answering prayer. Prayer is gets exciting when we come to appreciate that we receive answers at the very hour that the Master hears our prayers.

Signs and Works in John’s Gospel — John 3:1-5, 14-15 — The Sign of the Snake

English: Jesus and Nicodemus

English: Jesus and Nicodemus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Signs and Works in John’s Gospel – John 3:1-5 & 14-15

S – N – A – K – E

See also: Num. 21:8-9; John 7:50; 9:16; Matt 12:39-40; Rms. 6:4

Sign – v. 2 – Nicodemus like the rest of the generation could not help but notice the works of Christ. Have you taken the time to see them today?

Night – v. 2 – Nicodemus was a high ranking official. He could not afford to be seen with Jesus just now. Nor could he afford to not consult Jesus about his ministry.

Again – v. 3 – To Nicodemus Jesus said, “You must be born again.” Today as then we must be born of the water and we must be born of the spirit.

Kingdom – vs. 5, 10, 12 – The man who came to Jesus was an earthly lawyer. What Jesus had to teach was about a spiritual kingdom. So often we get caught up in the order of the day that we forget what Jesus was about . He was about teaching that that there is a spiritual life.

Eternal life – v. 15 – Something that could never be found in the law was now promised. Jesus was promising that he would bring eternal life. The rescue by Moses in the wilderness was just a shadow of what was offered now.

Exemplary story: On the farm we would often have a patch of sweet corn planted in one of the outlying fields. On particular season when I was very small the field corn patch was planted in the east acre patch. I remember hearing that the crop was in danger of being lost to marauding crows. My dad managed to shoot a crow. He nailed the crow to the longest pole he could find, and he nailed that pole to a fencepost in the sweet corn patch. The uplifted crow saved the remaining harvest. For us today the uplifted Christ is God’s promise to save us from our sins if we believe and obey.

Thanksgiving 2012 — Psalm 150:6

Bird - Seagull enjoying the sunset

Bird – Seagull enjoying the sunset (Photo credit: blmiers2)

Psalm 150:6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.  Praise the Lord.

As we approach Thanksgiving we have a choice.  We humans who have life have breath.  No doubt you have “everything” going on just about now.  Don’t we all?  We may be feeling the weight of life, and some days are weightier than others.

Birds know how to do it.  Cows know how to do it.  The black cat that was purring on Sunday afternoon knew how to do it.

Do what?  What’s the choice? As we breathe in and as we breath out let a word of thanksgiving be upon our breath.

Studies in Daniel – Chapter 12

The prophet Daniel

The prophet Daniel (Photo credit: Lawrence OP)

Chapter 12

Daniel 12:1-4

See also: Rev. 20: 12-13; Exodus 32:33; I Thess. 4:15-16; I Cor. 15:52


Animosity will end v. 1 The time of distress and conflict will end.

Waiting will end v. 2 Deliverance will come.  The prophesies will be fulfilled.

Anxiety will end v. v. 1 If your name is written in the book, you will have no more worries. As Freshmen in a Christian college we signed a book called the “Book of Life”  We were enacting a drama that will come to pass at the end of the age.

Killing will end v. 2. They dead will awake to life.  The little children who were killed while they were going to church will live again.  Thanks be to God.  Here is an Old Testament reference to the coming resurrection.

Eternity will just begin v. 3. The wise and the righteous will shine for ever and ever.  The hymn writer asked, “Will there be any stars in your crown?”  For the faithful the answer is a resounding Yes.

Exemplary story:  JoAnn was not expecting an answer when she ended her phone call. She had just situated her two-year-old daughter in her car seat when the phone rang.  JoAnn’s husband had called to say that a worker had been injured on the job, and he was asked to stay late tonight to finish the daily quota, and he would be working through the weekend.  Their wedding anniversary plans would have to be postponed.  The baby sitter would not be needed for the evening. With tears in her eyes the mother spoke aloud without thinking and said, “When will it ever end?’ To her surprise the mother heard her two-year-old repeat a phrase she had picked up somewhere, “God only knows.”   JoAnn looked in the rearview mirror to see the two-year-old smiling contentedly.  This time JoAnn was thinking when she spoke aloud and said to her daughter, “Jen, you are so right.  God only knows.”  God knows the outcome of life, and from that we can take great comfort.

Jesus, on the cross, is mocked in Calvary as t...

Jesus, on the cross, is mocked in Calvary as the King of the Jews, Luke 23:36-37 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Luke 23:26-33

R – O – A – D

Romans — Jesus was delivered into the hands of the Romans

Offense — Jesus was led down the road to Calvary with two men on death row.  He was to hang on a tree, a form of execution cursed in law.

Appointment — Simon was appointed to be his cross bearer to speed him along.

Dirge — the paid mourners, the daughters of Jerusalem sang for Jesus a funeral dirge as he took the road to his execution.