Faith can work wonders and bring us even the unexpected. The men had brought their friend to Jesus to make his life on earth easier but by forgiving his sins, Jesus made his eternity better. Jesus knows the heart and he knew what was in the paralyzed man’s heart. When someone around us gets blessed, we try to equate their past actions and try to justify their path to their blessing not knowing anything about their relationship with God. People would have written off the paralysed man as a sinner but Jesus forgave his sins as He looks at the heart. Do we realise that Jesus knows the ins and outs of our hearts, or is our spirit paralysed to not even feel the presence of the Creator in our lives?
The people of Corinth had started corrupting the greatest temple of the Lord, their own bodies and Paul sought to make them realize the gravity of their actions.
Although the other Gospel writers, place the arrest of John the Baptist much later, Mark starts his account of Jesus’s ministry after John had been put in prison. On hearing about the arrest of John, Jesus proclaims to His followers that the time has come. The political leaders of Israel were cognizant of the role that the chief priests, Rabbis and even prophets played in keeping the peace. Throughout the Gospel, we read how the Pharisees wanted to prevent an uprising, the very reason they gave to put Jesus on the cross. But the imprisonment of John, a prominent prophet who had a lot of followers from the Judean countryside meant that the government officials were ready to capture and execute the previously protected group of the Jewish leaders. According to them Jesus also fell into that group and coupled with the fact that He was traveling with anarchists within His disciples, made it easier for them to execute Him. This would still happen a couple of years later but Jesus knowing all this told His disciples beforehand.
While the accounts of Luke and Matthew tried to capture the early years of Jesus, Mark jumps starts his version from the start of Jesus’s ministry. Since Mark only knew what he heard in the sermons of Peter, Paul and the other apostles, his account seems like a fast-tracked version of Jesus’s ministry. His Gospel often does not match with the chronology followed by the other writers and focuses only on revealing the identity of Jesus as the Messiah and not so much on the minor details that are included in other accounts. Amidst the impending persecution of the Roman churches, Mark’s theme for the Gospel seems to be that Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah who did not come to overturn the Roman government but to restore the bridge between humanity and God, by humble dying on the cross.
Let us lay our burdens on Him and not carry them with us, as He is our every good thing, much more than we could fathom. He is someone whose love and sacrifice we can’t explain, and He is our alpha and omega who knows us inside out. He wouldn’t want to do anything without our will, but when we go to Him, taste His love, we can understand that our soul has found rest.
The modern world runs on the philosophy which states that we should never settle for anything less than what we deserve. That’s the motto of every tech company as well as what they higlight when launching their ‘new and improved’ version of the same device, hoping to make an impression on their potential consumers. In the corporate world, attaining a level of satisfaction is labelled as complacency.
Jesus has one last meal with His disciples before His arrest, followed by a lightning-fast trial that would lead Him to the cross the very next day. But His work among His disciples was not done, as He continued to enlighten them with His teachings during what is now known as His Last Supper.
Paul started addressing specific incidents that deeply troubled him because of how sexual immorality was running rampant in the church of Corinth. He cites one particular incident of a congregation member who was having sexual relations with his father’s wife, perhaps a callback for us of how Reuben slept with his father’s wife.
Test your Bible knowledge with this quiz on the twelfth Chapter of the Gospel of John
Jesus did not have a large following in Jerusalem but His followers were those who had seen him in their own hometowns and were in the city just for the festivities. It is very easy to get swept by the atmosphere of our surroundings and people started joining in the chants even though many of them would have only known hearsay about Christ and not realized His true purpose.
The festival of Passover was approaching and the hill city of Jerusalem would soon see an influx of pilgrims to the holy land and its neighbouring towns. Jesus also made the trip to Judea one last time, just six days before His crucifixion. On His way to Jerusalem, He visited His followers in the nearby town of Bethany where He had raised Lazarus back to life.
Test your Bible knowledge with this quiz on the eleventh Chapter of the Gospel of John
The raising of Lazarus would be a precursor to His own resurrection from the grave on the third day. We have read that He had raised at least two people from the dead but they had not been in the grave for four days. The disciples and the Jews gathered around this tragedy, would soon be the witnesses to Jesus’ big reveal, that He indeed is the Resurrection and the Life.
At the pool of Bethesda, Jesus met an invalid man and asked if he wanted to be healed. A weird question to ask someone who had been patiently waiting for thirty-eight years to receive his healing. But Jesus’ words always have a purpose and putting it in the right context helps us understand its true meaning.
Test your Bible knowledge with this quiz on the tenth Chapter of the Gospel of John
Test your Bible knowledge with this quiz on the ninth Chapter of the Gospel of John
The Philistines had all their soldiers and chariots, “numerous as the sands of the seashore”, and the Israelites were running scared and running out of places to hide. Somehow Saul managed to muster up his troops who were still quaking in fear. He patiently waited seven days for Samuel to arrive and perform his priestly obligations, but after waiting for so long in fear, he finally gave up on waiting for Samuel and performed the offertory ceremony himself. I’ve often asked myself, why was Samuel late and why does Saul after having waited for seven days couldn’t wait a few more hours for Samuel to arrive?
Jesus deemed the pharisees guilty of sin as they were not blind but refused to change their ways. Another argument between Jesus and the pharisees ensued ending up with Jesus revealing another aspect of His identity by comparing himself to a shepherd.
While the Pharisees were focused on their quest to crucify the Messiah, Jesus continued to walk on the path that God had set before Him, touching yet another life on His way to Calvary. As Jesus and His disciples were walking the streets of Jerusalem, they saw a man who had been blind from birth. The disciples could not help but pass judgement and wanted Jesus to weigh in on who is responsible for this man’s condition, his parents or he himself.
Just as the women were hurrying from the tomb filled with mixed emotions of fear and joy, they came face to face with the one they were looking for. Jesus Himself was standing in front of them and they fell at His feet and began to worship Him.
Test your Bible knowledge with this quiz on the eight Chapter of the Gospel of John
In his farewell speech Samuel recounted all the good that God had done for His people and how they had always reciprocated His grace on them with betrayal at every corner. He warned them not to test the anger of the Lord and reminded them of all the destruction that came upon them when they walked away from God and held on to their precious idols.
Jesus saved the adulterous woman from being stoned and did not condemn her. But now the crowds had picked up the stones once again, this time, to kill Jesus.
The chief priest and the elders started making plans to have Jesus executed. They bound Him and handed him over to the Roman governor Pilate, as executions were under Roman jurisdiction.
Israel’s desire to be like other nations led them to reject God and have a mortal human ascend the throne. Samuel was handed the task of finding Israel a new king, one that would lead them to battles. Among the twelve tribes of Israel, the tribe of Benjamin was one of the smallest with a history of seditious revolt against the other eleven tribes. However, God’s ways are unfathomable to us, as no one would have expected the first king of Israel to come from the tribe of Benjamin.
Test your Bible knowledge with this quiz on the seventh Chapter of the Gospel of John
Jesus came alone to Jerusalem and stood out in the crowd, He did not wait for the consensus to be formed about Him before He spoke out against the leaders. By the power of God, He took a stand against the leaders who had diluted the Gospel and made it a religion. Are we waiting for a consensus in our lives or are willing to stand out for God?
We are certainly all-in when we can see Jesus working miracles in our lives. But our faith gets shaken when we cannot see His works and start doubting even the existence of God. If our faith is based on the works of God in our lives then we will not go far with Him but like a drug addict keep coming back to Him only when we run out of money/blessings. Peter was still immature and did not understand what his response should be when Jesus foretold his denial.
The Israelites put away all their gods and gave their loyalty to Yahweh, but a plot to overthrow their eternal king was soon to enter their minds.
Just like satan blinded the eyes of those disciples who abandoned Jesus that day, he is doing the same even today for the believers who are satisfied with eating the symbolic bread and wine and will never desire to taste the Bread of Life.
The chief priests and the elders were assembling in the palace of the high priest, Caiaphas, and were trying to figure out the best way to dispose of Jesus. They were looking for a way to secretly kill Jesus without riling up His followers. When they were perplexed and could not find a way to dispose of with the Jesus problem, satan presented them with an opportunity that they quickly grabbed on to.
The Israelites mourned that the Ark had departed from them but the Glory had long been departed from their midst.
Once again Jesus had riled up the Jewish leaders simply by giving a man the ability to pick up his mat and walk as they started questioning His authority.
For many of us have been given lamps but only few are wise enough to carry the extra oil that is needed to keep our flame alive.
Eli was a Levite from the priestly clan of Israel and was used by God to lead Israel for forty years. But along the way something happened in his life that He had started taking the Lord for granted and not payed heed to His warnings.
During one of Jesus’ trips to Jerusalem, He encounters a man sitting by the poolside at Bethesda waiting for healing when the Healer himself came to him.
As the fig tree can let us know if summer is nigh, similarly the signs of the end of days would let us know that Christ’s coming is near.
Quite ironical that the Jews , through whom the salvation was to come rejected the Messiah but the ‘pagan’ Samaritans were the first to proclaim Jesus as the Savior of the world. Jesus revealed His true identity in this Samaritan town, something that He would not do in the Jewish towns.
After stumping the Pharisees with His question, Jesus proceeded to call them out on all their wrongdoings.
For all the accounts of great wars and conquests recorded in the book of Samuel, it still starts with the story of humble beginnings from a lowly town in the hill country of Ephraim.
The living water represents His Spirit in us who gives us the joy that comes from knowing that our sins are forgiven. The joy in our hearts that gives us a new life, a new beginning with the knowledge that the slate has been wiped clean. That is what Jesus has to offer.
Let us learn from the bitter experience of Paul and his fellowship with the Corinthians that we should not depend on human beings for love and compassion but on God for His grace and mercy.
Everyone knows John 3:16 by heart but the next verse is equally important, for Jesus did not come to condemn us but save us. If he wanted to condemn us for our wrongdoings, He would have brought the day of judgment upon us but rather He came with the sole intention to be an atonement for our sins.
Jesus came with the purpose of introducing or reintroducing God to everyone, those who loved Him and even those who hated Him. The questioning session that the Pharisees and the Sadducees had been using to unmask Jesus before His followers, turned into Jesus revealing the identity as the Messiah.
Depending on our fellow believers will only get us so far and might even lead us away from God. The only way to defeat death is to depend on the heavenly man and follow His path.
Jesus did not answer their demands by giving them a sign immediately but foretold about His own death and resurrection that will be the ultimate sign of His authority given to everyone.
The purpose of group worship is to gather together and praise God. If the purpose was for each one to talk to God personally, that could have been done from the comfort of their homes.
Two days after gathering His disciples, Jesus arrived at a wedding in a place called Cana in the region of Galilee. During the festivities, Jesus’s mother brought a matter of concern to Him saying that the wedding party had run out of wine. Of all the requests brought before Jesus, this would have been the most trivial of the lot.
Jesus came down to extend the invitation of His Father’s banquet to everyone as Israel had rejected and rebelled against God by prostituting themselves to the pagan cultures that surrounded them.
With the growing thirst for Spiritual Gifts among the church at Corinth, Paul points out the greatest gift that they all needed in their lives, something greater than any other gift and without which all other gifts are worthless.
The ministry of Jesus spread through people sharing their personal experiences of their encounter with the Messiah. Even today, in a world filled with countless religions and distractions, the work of God continues through the personal testimonies of people who have experienced Christ in their lives.
The fallout from the temple clearing incident perhaps did not sit well with the chief priests and the elders as surely that would have opened the eyes of the people to the corruption that had infiltrated the walls of the temple.
Being a relatively new church, the Corinthians had lot of queries regarding their order of worship. One of the main concerns was the mystery that surrounded the spiritual gifts given to the members by the Spirit. They saw these gifts as a means to create a hierarchical order between themselves rather than using it for the purpose that God intended.
The conversation between the other John and the Jewish leaders where he denied comparisons to three of the most famous Old Testament figures.
Kings would usually come back from wars to triumphant welcome by their countrymen. These lavish parades would have the valuables plundered in their latest victory along with the procession of the prisoners of the war who were going to be humiliated and tortured by the locals. The kings would always choose a warhorse or a prized camel, to make their grand entrance back to their palace rather than riding on a colt and that too of a donkey.
This is probably one of the few chapters from the Bible that we know by heart. But do we actually know what it means or is it just part of our Sunday school memories? I am not sure that even King David understood it completely as he was simply writing about his life experiences. But unbeknownst to him, God was using David to give us the greatest assurance that we would ever need that He is our Shepherd.
Christ came to save us from our own sins but did not come to start a religion to help us save ourselves. The world around us has done its best to try and subvert the true meaning of Christmas from us.
Test your Bible knowledge with this quiz from the book of Ezra.
Our Remembrance of Jesus’s sacrifice should not be only on Sundays when we are standing in the communion line but throughout the week and should be reflected in everything we do.
The Gospel of John does not share any similarities with the other Synoptic Gospels, but this unique account of the life of Christ has a completely different purpose. Written by most probably John, the disciple, during the latter half of the first century to a predominantly Gentile audience of the Greco-Roman city of Ephesus, its…
In this chapter we see three separate instances of people’s selfishness as they tried to prevent others from receiving what they already had.
Test your Bible knowledge with this quiz on the Final Vision from the Book of Daniel
As the church in Corinth continues to struggle with the rampant sexual immorality, Paul tries to rein in the congregation by taking them back to the very purpose of creation. After dealing with cases of unfaithfulness among the men and women in the church, Paul tries to take a step back and addresses the need for discipline in hopes of bringing back order to the worship in the church.
Like Daniel, we also do not need to know the times of these events describe in this book. What we must understand is that there is a spiritual warfare going on behind the scenes of our problems but realise that God has allowed for it and only He can put a stop to it at the appointed time. Till then we need to stay on the path that God has chosen for us, fully submitting to His will, and when the Day of the Lord arrives, we too will receive our allotted inheritance.
Test your Bible knowledge with this quiz on the sixth chapter of the Book of Daniel
In his letters to the believers in Corinth, Paul not only addresses the failures of the church but also addresses the allegations levelled against him. When immorality is allowed to take the driver seat in a church, it will try its best to bring down the workers of God. If Paul’s ego would have been…
We all can see our state of mind during the trials in our lives and can evaluate how actually close we are to God. Are we like Darius? Sleepless, panicking and not sure what will happen next or are we like Daniel? Who in spite of not knowing the result of standing alone, left the worrying to God and slept peacefully that night.
Some might question the purpose of the story of Ruth in the Bible, but her response to tragedy in her life is something we can learn a lot from. There were two women who were dealt the same hand in Naomi and Ruth. Both responded to it in different ways and Ruth left her comfort zone and moved to Bethlehem to be a comfort for her mother-in-law.
Test your Bible knowledge with this quiz on the ninth chapter of the Book of Daniel
Corinth being a melting pot of cultural diversity, made it hard for the new believers to separate themselves from the pagan traditions that surrounded them. One such issue that Paul tries to address is eating of meat that was sacrificed to the pagan gods. Since only part of the animal was used for sacrificial purposes,…
Like Daniel, we too start questioning God and start listing down all the good we have supposedly done for Him. We want to prove to God that we are worthy of His Grace and Blessings on us and are is some sense ‘demanding to see the manger’ when things are not working out for us. We must realise that if we try to play that game with our Creator, we will never win, as what He has done for us is immeasurable, while our so-called good deeds, more often than not, are driven by self-preservation.
A rich man came to Jesus and asked “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life ?” Jesus tells the man to keep the commandments to which he promptly replies saying that he has been doing that for a long time and asks Jesus what he still lacked.,,,
Test your Bible knowledge with this quiz on the fifth chapter of the Book of Daniel
From its very inception, the institution of Marriage was supposed to unite two individuals to serve God as one body. Over the years mankind, especially the forefathers and other leaders have had a hand in corrupting this sacred union. Marriage became a means to bear offspring and not a way for its members to unite in their sole purpose to connect with God. However, Paul’s instructions to the Corinthians on the subject of marriage may seem like a concession rather than the norm.
Daniel was still unknown to the new king of the land Belshazzar, who was the joint ruler of Babylon from 553-539 BC. The events in this chapter are the accounts of his last day in office as he was assassinated seemingly out of the blue, but the writing was always on the wall.
Test your Bible knowledge with this quiz on the Eight chapter of the Book of Daniel
These days all our photos and documents are stored in the cloud. Imagine if that connection was disrupted what a nightmarish scenario that would be. Anytime we are not allowed to commune with God, it would be hell on earth for us. Our soul cannot find rest till the connection to our maker is restored. Imagine our evenings and mornings when we are not able to commune with God, that should be our nightmarish scenario. Let us rejoice that God sent His Son to restore that broken connection and put an end to our nightmare.
Forgiveness is important but what is more important is to forgive from our hearts. We often miss out the second part and dwell on it. We also tend to forget the huge debt that God forgave us by sending His Son. We are forgiven an unimaginable amount by God, yet we do not show even a part of that to our fellow beings.
Test your Bible knowledge with this quiz on the Seventh chapter of the Book of Daniel
When our plans for the future are not aligned with that of God’s, we too will face disappointments, heartaches and even grief. If someone like Daniel can misinterpret God’s plan, what chance do we have? But remember that Daniel did not have the Spirit residing in him, guiding all his steps.
Test your Bible knowledge with this quiz on the Fourth chapter of the Book of Daniel
It is strange to see a passage in the Bible not authored by one of the Jewish writers but Daniel’s inclusion of this letter that Nebuchadnezzar had seemingly written to the entire world, shows us how God can work in anyone’s life. We must understand that, while our pride and arrogance might give us confidence in our own abilities, our God can instantly humble our pride.
Nehemiah led with his heart rather than listening to the voice of God and always expected God to reward him for the sacrifice he was making in trying to rebuild Jerusalem, both physically and spiritually.
Even the wisest man in the world was fooled by satan and lured away from God. Is there any hope for us?
The first recorded Martyr to die for the Jesus movement.
Test your Bible knowledge with this quiz on the Third chapter of the Book of Daniel
Our God is a God who will even come down to our fiery pit and save us. But even if He did not save us, will we give Him the glory He deserves?
For Christ to increase, we need to decrease, but leaders sometimes are worried about their followers and disciples perceiving them as imperfect people. They put on a show in front of their congregations, lest someone should think of them as sinners like the rest of us.
Test your Bible knowledge with this quiz on the Second chapter of the Book of Daniel
As Nebuchadnezzar found out God is the ultimate revealer of mysteries, but are we content in deriving blessings from Him rather than sit with Him and ask Him to reveal His plans. Let us not chase after the things of this world and realise that His Rock is mightier than any statue that this world has to offer.
We have been given the Spirit of God to judge for ourselves what is right and wrong. The Spirit of God within us will make known the plans that God has for us. Let us not get swayed by human leaders and apostles and forget what Jesus wants in our lives.
I remember the days of 8-bit games when having only three lives in a game was the norm. There were no cloud syncs and no chance for any do-overs. We had to play a game from start to finish in one sitting. Nowadays we can restart our campaign from the exact point where we left-off…
Paul wrote letters to the church in Corinth in response to various allegations and accusations he heard among the church members.
The events of that Famous Easter day and the confusion and disbelief that followed.
We need to keep our trust on God and not succumb to the pressures of this world and its pagan ways. Otherwise, just like the Israelites, we too will keep returning to our Babel.
Test your Bible knowledge with this quiz on the first chapter of the Book of Daniel
Real change can only be brought upon by the transformation of the heart and as we saw throughout the accounts of the post-exile writings, the Israelites only ever changed their words but never their ways. Like Nehemiah, let us not waste time in forcefully correcting the actions of our fellow beings but rather connect them to God who is the only one who can intervene and make real change in their lives.
Unlike the returning exiles, we must renew our faith in Christ everyday and not wait for such moments to make us realise the need for God in our lives.
After rebuilding the wall, the exiles realized that they needed structural changes in their lives also.
Like the fictional agency “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”, satan also has his agents placed all over this world and in every part of our lives and he will activate them when he sees us coming closer to God.
The pattern repeats itself again later in the final chapters of the book, where Nehemiah thinks he has won over the enemy only to find the enemy had already infiltrated their camps.
Our lives are not perfect and oftentimes we too mess up like these people, but if we allow God to work in our lives he will transform our mess into something beautiful. And that’s the story of Genesis!
We have a habit of not leaving anything to chance. We feel the need to plan for our future and have a five year plan for our personal and work lives but seldom for our spiritual lives.
The final chapters of the book of Genesis don’t really give us any insights into the lives of Jacob and his sons in Egypt but if we read carefully they do give us a glimmer of hope for a promise to come.
Nehemiah got off to a rocky start and as he will learn the lesson the hard way, that his efforts of securing the city had no effect on the hearts of the people, as they had already fortified their hearts to keep God out.
We were put on this earth to Praise God but we are preoccupied by our own lives, in living them to the fullest, that we have forgotten our very purpose of existence.
Ezra, who was sent to teach the scriptures to the exiles, spent his first stint in Jerusalem, separating families to purify the people rather than letting God deal with His people.
While Egyptians were selling of their lands to ward off starvation, Joseph’s family was making real estate investments in Egypt. For us it may be a flip of the page but for Jacob’s family it took many years for them to realise the dream that God had shown the patriarchs. Most of us give up on God when we are passing through our famines. We forget all his past blessings and promises for our future. .
When God guides our paths, all the arrangements are made for us. Ezra did not have to worry about the finances for his trip or the funds for the temple sacrifices and ornaments or even to gather his troops, everything was prepared by God.
The basic principle behind Machine learning is to use past mistakes to figure out the right path. That’s how our mind also works when it comes to the people who have hurt us. We pretend that we are over it, but deep down our minds are still storing their mistakes and our future actions will be based on this data, all this to avoid getting hurt by them in the future.
Fifteen years after the work on the temple had been halted due to numerous oppositions that the exiles faced, God sent his word to the people of Israel. First through the prophet Haggai (Haggai 1) and then two months later through the prophet Zechariah (Zechariah 1), God spoke to the people commanding them to restart the work on the temple.
While the returning exiles continued work on the temple, the natives took notice of their new neighbors’ plans and offered help to Zerubbabel and Co.
From selling Joseph out of jealousy to trading prison sentence with Joseph’s younger brother out of loyalty, we see a huge shift in the attitude of Judah.
…something was missing as in the midst of the shouts of joy, there was mixed, the sound of weeping also. No one could distinguish between who were shouting with joy or who were crying, overcome by their sorrow. God’s presence was missing which could only be felt by the older generation, the ones who had witnessed the glory of the previous temple before their land was conquered.
The intentions of the returning exiles were noble, leaving everything behind to rebuild the city of Jerusalem but as we will see in the following chapters, they did little to rebuild their broken relationship with God.
In trying to hide his identity, Joseph kept delaying God’s plan in the lives of his family members.
The outward show that we put on may prevent us hurt from the people around us but it also prevents us from admitting our weaknesses and coming to God for a solution.
So many of us carry that guilt around, the guilt of our past mistakes. It is not God who burdens us but the deceiver who keeps reminding us of our past shortcomings so that we drown ourselves in sorrow and guilt and forget about our connection with God.
This earth will only be able to give us robes (Honor) made by human hands but God wants to give us a New Robe. He wants to replace our worn out prison clothes with His heavenly robe and His seal of approval.
When we reconcile with our brethren, we receive a temporary peace, our peace of mind. But what Jesus offers us is much more. It is the ultimate peace in our hearts, knowing that our broken relationship with The Father has been fixed by His death on the cross.
Often times we want humans to remember us. We seek the favor of our fellowmen and women and long for their affection, especially during our present state. But the one who is within us, who is constantly seeking us, who always remembers us and has carved us in the palm of his hands, we treat indifferently or maybe take Him for granted.
Jesus uses the temple tax as an example, just like he used the fig tree and little children, to teach his disciples important lessons.
Just as the kings of the earth do not tax their own children but only their subjects, Jesus’ followers should not have to pay a religious tax to their heavenly King and Father.
Once again Joseph’s cloak became an integral part of someone’s lie and Potiphar was fooled by his wife. Joseph was sent to prison but the Lord’s hand was still with him as the change in scenery did not stop Joseph from rising among the ranks even when he was in the prison.
People question why did Jesus have to come in a manger? Why did God do this to His Son? This passage will be absolute shocker to them that Jesus chose this family to be born in.
A combination of Jacob’s love for Joseph and Joseph’s innate nature of telling on his brothers caused friction in the house of Israel. Jacob did not help matters when he made an ornate robe for his favourite son Joseph causing further drift among the siblings.
In this quick update about Esau and his family we discuss how Issac’s firstborn did everything he thought was right and perhaps led a good and honorable life. But as we find out living a good life is just not good enough.
Like Jacob, it’s time for all of us to return to our Bethel, the place where we first met God.
The swift Trial, Crucifixion and Burial of Jesus.
A very dark but real chapter in which we learn about Dinah, the daughter of Leah, who on her casual outing to visit her friends was raped by the ruler of the land, Shechem.
Whenever we are in a difficult situation financially, the first place we look to cut back is our offerings. And when we are in a difficult situation emotionally, the first place we look to cut back is our fellowship with God.
Having overcome Laban, Jacob prepares for his next obstacle on his way back home, his scorned brother Esau. On his way, the angels of the Lord met him and for some reason, Jacob saw it fit to rename that place Mahanaim, meaning two camps, one for him and one for God and his angels.
Jacob finally had enough of his uncle Laban’s attitude and after a message from God, finally got the nerve to return to his hometown and face his brother. He met with his wives privately in the fields to plan his exit strategy. He put forward his case in front of Laban’s daughters, pointing out how badly their father had treated him and let them in on his dream, that he thought was from God, asking him to go back to his homeland.
The revival in Ephesus did not sit well with the silversmiths in the region. Demetrius gathered his fellow craftsmen started a riot in Ephesus. The ‘Way’ had created a huge crater in their business. Playing with the people’s sentiments towards traditions and rituals, the idol makers of Ephesus created an uproar among the people.
Jacob finally arrived in the land of the eastern People and met few shepherds who were waiting to water their sheep near a well. This could have very well been the same well where Eliezer, Abraham’s servant met Rebecca almost a century ago….
The Pharisees and the Jewish leaders knew the scriptures by heart but could not fathom that the Messiah could come from a humble lineage and that Jesus came to serve rather than rule. Their worlds were turned upside down and they just could not accept that a man who spent his time with sinners was the one sent by God to save the world.
Jacob did not know God or the plans He had for him. Maybe that is why he was afraid of the dream he saw. The only way to know the heart of God is to have regular fellowship with Him. That was missing in Jacob’s life and truth be told, in most of our lives today.
The the chosen family became the fractured family where none of the four (Isaac, Rebecca, Esau & Jacob) trusted God to carry out his will but rather tried to intervene in every possible way to ensure their own will be accomplished. That might as we be the summary of our own walk with Jesus.
True fellowship is a friendship based on a mutual bond between two believers and that mutual bond must always be God.
Thomas was with Jesus for more than three years, he had seen all the miracles that Jesus had performed, how He raised the dead and would have been present for his countless teachings but still Thomas was unable to grasp the supernatural aspect of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.
The age old saying that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree holds true as we see Isaac introducing Rebekah as his sister to Abimelek.
According to the above prophecy in psalms what Judas did was perhaps inevitable. However, when we read about Judas, we often jump to the conclusion that he was predestined to betray Jesus.
The two brothers who could not be more different from each other. One was a ladies’ man while the other was a lady like man. Esau was a hairy individual who loved the outdoors while Jacob was content managing the household chores. But Jacob was chosen by God to continue the lineage leading to Jesus while Esau had to be content with his bowl of soup.
Rebecca replaces Sarah as the leading lady of this story and we see God leading this family even while they are making seemingly arbitrary choices, regarding a burial site and perhaps a not so arbitrary choice in finding a life partner for Isaac.
Abraham saw a ram caught in a thicket and that ram replaced his son as the burnt offering. Just like that ram replaced Isaac on the alter, Jesus replaced all of us when he died for our transgressions. Perhaps this was the symbolic gesture that God was giving us through this example of a father sacrificing his son.
We saw in the last chapter that God had enabled everyone in Abimelek’s household to conceive again but Sarah was still kept barren. Abraham had laughed at the very thought of Isaac being born to Sarah, Sarah now has joyous laughter that God came through for her despite her disbelief and then there is Ishmael who is mocking his new younger brother. The Hebrew texts quite aptly say that Ishmael was laughing at Isaac. That captures the sentiment of everyone involved in this saga.
After experiencing close communion with God (Chapter 18) and seeing the destruction of the twin cities (Chapter 19), one would assume that Abraham would definitely be closer to God than ever before. But he was in fact back to his old ways. Moving to a land without God’s leading, we don’t see him building any altars or even praying to God, giving Sarah to be married to the ruler of that land by letting everyone believe they are siblings again and in the end profiting off of the ruler’s guilt, again!
It’s D day for Lot as the two angels reached the entrance of the twin cites. They are met by Abraham’s nephew lot at the city gate who much like his uncle, insists that they stay with him. But unlike with Abraham the Angels refused to stay with lot and would rather spend the night in the town square. Reluctantly they went with Lot but were greeted by the town welcoming committee in the most horrific manner.
God lets Abraham in on his plan to destroy the twin cities of Sodom and Gomorrah resulting in Abraham blatantly pleading for his nephew Lot. The pleading turns into negotiations with God agreeing to all of Abraham’s changes to the clauses but Abraham himself knew that his negotiations will not be able to save his nephew.
Test your Bible knowledge with this quiz on the sixth Chapter of the Gospel of John
So we can finally start calling Abram as Abraham, as in this chapter, God renames Abram (exalted father) to Abraham (father of many). Seems like a cruel joke to rename a guy who is about to turn 100 and whose wife is on the verge of turning 90. But when God renames someone, it is far from a joke, but rather an assurance of the fulfillment of the promise he had made to Abram almost a quarter of a century ago.
Test your Bible knowledge with this quiz on the fifth Chapter of the Gospel of John