DOUBTS ABOUT JESUS (7:18-19)
John the Baptist was in jail. He had the guts to speak out against King Herod’s marriage to his sister-in-law. That didn’t sit too well with King Herod and the now Queen Herodias (you have to admit that, based on their names alone, they made a great married couple).
Josephus (Ant. 13.5.2 §119), an ancient historian, tells us that John was imprisoned in Machaerus (mack-cure-us), an impressive fortress that overlooked the Dead Sea. The name Machaerus is the Greek word for “sword.”
From what I understand, the dungeon at Machaerus had all the gruesome stuff you would imagine being in a dungeon—iron hooks, chains, the works.
It was here that John was beheaded and had his head taken to Herodias on a platter.
John’s disciples did not abandon him in prison. Indeed, survival in prison in those days depended on whether or not you had friends or family to bring food to you.
Another way that friends helped friends who were imprisoned was simple communication with the outside world. That’s what we find John’s disciples doing:
Luke 7:18 And the disciples of John shewed him of all these things.
They told him what was happening with Jesus. The phrase “all these things” has mainly to do with what has been reported in chapter 7—the healing of the Centurion’s servant and the raising from the dead of the widow’s son. What is John’s reaction?
THE PILGRIM’S JOURNEY TO THE NEW WORLD
Most Americans know the story of Thanksgiving—it has to do with the Pilgrims, the Mayflower, and funny hats with belt buckles on them. They landed near Plymouth Rock in 1620. They had one awful winter with many of them dying. But the next summer, the Indians in the area helped them learn how to grow crops in the New World and that harvest time the Pilgrims and the Indians had a big feast in thanksgiving for a good harvest.
That roughly is the story of Thanksgiving, more or less. But why did the Pilgrims come over on the Mayflower? Let me tell you the part of the story you may not know.
20171112FBCAM [Fall Harvest Sunday]
Today is Fall Harvest Sunday—the main focus of this day is the special offering we take. It is, what some might call, a Stewardship Sunday.
Stewardship is a theme that has a lot of air time in the Bible. Jesus, for example, talked more about money, possessions and materialism than he did Heaven or Hell. According to one who counted,
Sixteen of the thirty-eight parables were concerned with how to handle money and possessions. In the Gospels, an amazing one out of ten verses (288 in all [out of 3,779]) deal directly with the subject of money. The Bible offers 500 verses on prayer, less than 500 verses on faith, but more than 2,000 verses on money and possessions. 1
To put it in another perspective, to keep up with Jesus, I would have to preach one or two Sunday morning sermons on money every month!
When is the last time you thought about the ascension of Jesus Christ into Heaven? Probably not lately, I would guess. We think fairly often of the death of Jesus, and even of his resurrection. But the ascension of Jesus just isn’t on our radar. That’s too bad, because Jesus’s ascension is dealt with in great detail in the New Testament and can have a great benefit to our Christian lives.