Mary had a front-row seat for an unbelievable life full of amazing stories: the angel Gabriel showing up out of the blue to tell her that she, a virgin, was pregnant (Luke 1:26-38)-and not just expecting, but expecting the Son of God; the baby’s birth in an animal shed far from home (Luke 2:1-7); the odd parade of well-wishers saying beautiful and occasionally frightening things (Matt 2:1-12; Luke 2:8-38); the mad dash to Egypt to escape Herod’s wrath (Matt 2:13-14).Continue reading WOMEN OF THE BIBLE (MARY “THE MOTHER AND FIRST DISCIPLE OF JESUS”)
If we tear our clothing, it is generally by accident unless we are tearing up an old garment for rags. This was not true in the culture of Bible times where the tearing of one’s garment was an external sign of one’s internal pain. The average person of the era did not have multiple changes of clothing like we do in our closets and dressers; consequently, they took great care to prevent accident tearing of their clothing (Exod 28:32; Matt 9:16; Mark 2:21). But there was “a time to tear and a time to mend” (Eccles 3:7); the time to intentionally tear was a time of intense grief that might have included repentance.Continue reading EVERYDAY LIFE IN BIBLE TIMES (TEAR A GARMENT PT 1 OF 2)
According to Matthew 4:18-20, “As [Jesus] was walking along the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon, who was called Peter, and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the sea, since they were fishermen. ‘Follow Me,’ He told them, “and I will make you fish for people!’ Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.”Continue reading MEN OF THE BIBLE (SIMON PETER “ORDINARY GUY, EXTRAORDINARY OPPORTUNITY”)
The Bible also contains examples of flogging that are figurative or symbolic. In several places in Proverbs we read of a spirit that has been flogged (NIV “crushed”) Heartache can be unbearable; it can beat down one’s spirit like a whip on the bare back, robbing us of joy and leaving up physically exhausted (Prov 15:13; 17:22; 18:14). Sometimes that heartache is caused by those who speak maliciously about us. That is why the tongue itself is likened to the whip that delivers a flogging (Job 5:21).Continue reading EVERYDAY LIFE IN BIBLE TIMES (FLOG, WHIP, SCOURGE)
Personal name meaning “lady [of the house]” or “mistress.” Sister of Mary and Lazarus of Bethany and one of Jesus’ best-loved disciples. True to her name, Martha is portrayed as a person in charge: she welcomed Jesus as a guest in her home (Luke 10:38); she was concerned with meeting the obligations of a hostess, whether preparing food (Luke 10:40; John 12:2) orContinue reading DEFINITION OF THE DAY (MARTHA)
Solomon’s list of times and “seasons” must be viewed within the larger context of life an history. He is not necessarily saying, “Hey, it’s twelve o’clock, time to kill-so go out and bump someone off.” Rather, Solomon insists that human life takes place within a larger framework of events that repeat down through history: laughter, tears, killing, healing, destruction, building, death, birth.Continue reading AGAINST SO MANY BIBLICAL COMMANDS, HOW CAN SOLOMON ADVISE THAT THERE IS A TIME TO KILL, TO TEAR DOWN, AND TO HATE?
People also fasted in advance of special experiences or in connection with prayerful inquiry. Moses fasted prior to receiving the tablets of stone containing the Ten Commandments on the two separate occasions they were given (Exod 34:28; Deut 9:9). Immediately after his baptism, Jesus retreated into the wilderness where he too fasted as he initiated his public ministry (Matt 4:1-2). Fasting also accompanied special inquiry of the Lord, whether interceding on behalf of aContinue reading EVERDAY LIFE IN BIBLE TIMES (FAST 2 OF 3)
John 8:58-59: Jesus said unto them Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them and so passed by.
This name that Jesus called Himself is the equivalent of the name with which God identified Himself to Moses at the burning bush.Continue reading NAMES OF GOD (I AM)
The New Testament is full of “Marys.” With six or seven different women sharing that same name, it’s easy to get confused. The Mary we’re looking at here was a resident of Bethany, near Jerusalem. She was the sister of Martha and Lazarus. We meet her in three separate stories in the New Testament.Continue reading WOMEN OF THE DAY (MARY “THE SISTER OF MARTHA”)
Whether in connection with climate or siege, famine was clearly one of the worst experiences in the ancient world (1 Kings 8:37). The purchase of food would first consume all a person’s precious metal, then livestock, and finally even the land they relied on the produce food, putting its former owners into virtual servitude (Gen 47:13-22). Jeremiah vividly describes the circumstances in which hunger pangs could no longer be endured in silence but were givenContinue reading EVERYDAY LIFE IN BIBLE TIMES (FAMINE PT2)