What is Truth?

What is Truth?

Jesus Christ was standing trial before Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor. The charge was that Jesus was claiming to be a king, which was tantamount to treason against the Roman Emperor. Pilate therefore said to him, “Are you a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, “I find no fault in him at all” (John 18:37–38). Was Pilate really interested in the answer to his question? Did he care about the truth? Not enough to let it stop him handing over for execution a man whom he knew

When You Know the Reason it Makes Sense

When You Know the Reason it Makes Sense

IF YOU HAD VISITED the English town of Beverley in the 1960s, you may well have travelled on a bus like the one on the front cover. Why the peculiar shaped roof? Was it an attempt at streamlining—or did they think that was stylish in the ’60s? If so, it didn’t catch on! Actually it was a perfectly sensible design —it was to enable the bus to fit through Beverley’s medieval gateway, the North Bar. When you know the reason, it makes sense. Many things in life are like that. And it’s a good principle to bear in mind when you read the Bible. The Bible is a wonderful book, when you read it you realise it’s like no other book that was ever written—which isn’t surprising because it’s God’s book. But it does say things which initially seem odd. So we need to take the trouble to understand the

Your E-Mails

Your E-Mails

JG – Why did Jesus have to die? TM – JESUS DIED BECAUSE he was killed by people who thought that he was a risk to their livelihood, status, and power. The Roman governor (Pontius Pilate) understood that Jesus’ accusers were jealous of him (Mark 15:10). Jesus had spent his life doing good, teaching, and healing people; showing them how to live in a way that pleases God. It is said of him, and of him alone, that he “committed no sin, nor was deceit found in his mouth” (1 Peter 2:22). Yet he was crucified. So, the death of Jesus shows us what sin is like at its starkest and darkest. As the apostle Peter said accusingly: “Him … you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death” (Acts 2:23). Yet here is the remarkable thing. The full quotation reads: “Him, being delivered by the determined

This Man I Knew

This Man I Knew

THERE WAS A MAN I once knew. He was born towards the end of the 19th Century to a poor family in Manchester. He and his fellow urchins wandered the streets barefoot, and they were always hungry. They lived in back-to-back terraces not far from the main route into the city markets, so they would lurk on the off chance that something edible might fall off the wagons as they jolted around corners. Well, actually they became very good at knocking off the occasional turnip or cabbage and skipping away to where they could be eaten in safety. I think they must have invented the phrase “it fell off the back of a wagon”. Life was hard and he could have given up, but he made the most of the small amount of education he had, and managed to get an apprenticeship in a local garage. There he worked alongside

The Good Shepherd

The Good Shepherd

The Gospel of John records a number of sayings of Jesus which begin “I am…” In this series we think about some of the profound things he said about himself. IN JOHN chapter 10 Jesus presents a detailed parable in which he is represented by a shepherd, and his disciples are his sheep. Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger,

Rahab

Rahab

The Gospels of Matthew and Luke give lists of the ancestors of Jesus Christ. Only five women are mentioned. These were all very special individuals. In this series we’re looking at them in turn—this month we consider Rahab. THE ACCOUNT of Rahab is a really lovely story of faith and works. This is, she not only had faith in God, she put that faith into action. The story is recorded in Joshua chapters 2 and 6. Into Jericho The Israelites were poised to enter the Promised Land, after their escape from Egypt and their journey through the wilderness. Joshua their leader sent two men over the River Jordan to spy out Jericho, which would be their first city to conquer. The spies entered Rahab’s house, built on the city walls, as it probably had an entrance close to the city gate. Many cities in Bible days had very wide walls,

Jonah

Jonah

ISRAEL’S ENEMY at this time was the great Assyrian power in the north-east, whose capital was Nineveh. Jonah’s Mission When God told the prophet Jonah to go and warn the Ninevites of coming judgement, he tried to escape by boarding a ship to flee to the far west (1:3). However, a storm at sea prevented his escape. Thrown into the deep, Jonah was swallowed by a great fish which God had prepared. After three days the fish cast him out on to the shore (2:10). Jonah was again instructed to go and warn the people of Nineveh (3:2). The people of that great city repented when they heard the message from the ‘risen’ prophet. So God too ‘repented’ (that is, He altered His intention to punish Nineveh—3:10). The prophet’s human reaction was to be displeased: he was angry that the people of Nineveh (Israel’s enemy) were to be spared (4:11).

Contentment

Contentment

FROM HIS pauper’s birth in a stable in Bethlehem, to his criminal’s death on the cross outside Jerusalem, Jesus lived his life in poverty. He once said, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head” (Matthew 8:20). His was a voluntary poverty. It’s very clear that someone with his gifts could have made themselves very comfortable, but instead he chose the life of a wandering teacher. In the Gospel records we get hints of how he and his band of disciples lived in the three years of their ministry: they travelled systematically through the land of Judea (Luke 4:43), accepting offers of hospitality when they were made (Luke 19:5), and there was a network of women who made it their business to see they were looked after (Luke 8:3). Jesus and his followers had a communal purse

Fear and Boldness

Fear and Boldness

THERE ARE MANY profound and practical lessons we can learn from meditating upon the first pages of the Bible —the beginning of the book of Genesis. The origin of temptation, the shame and fear which follows sin, and how to deal with these problems are themes from the lives of Adam and Eve which are all brought out in the New Testament in the first letter of John. By increasing our understanding of these themes, we can learn much about what it means to be a disciple of the Lord Jesus. The First Temptation Adam and Eve were the first people. Their creation is described in Genesis 1 and 2. They were created ‘very good’ (Genesis 1:31), but they were both capable (like all of us) of experiencing lust and temptation. They were given a test: the serpent challenged Eve to disobey God and eat the forbidden fruit. “So when