Jesus Christ Is The Eternal God—John 1:1-2



John 1:1 IN the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:2 The same was in the beginning with God. 


To our modern ears, it might be strange to call another person “the Word” (logos). But while it might be strange to us, it wasn’t strange to either the Jews or the Greeks. 


The Jews shied away from using God’s name at all, lest they accidentally use it in vain. They would substitute other titles—like “Heaven”—instead of pronouncing the divine name. Another title they would have used was, “the Word.” Any Jew reading this would have known from the first phrase who John was talking about. 


The Greeks also used this title, “the Word,” but not in the same way as the Jews. They would have used it to refer to the ultimate reason or the purpose of the universe. They would have used it more in an impersonal sense or philosophical sense rather than a personal sense.


Both Jews and Greeks reading the Gospel of John would have been hooked from the very first line. For both Jews and Greeks, John points them to a specific person. Who is the Word? John makes that clear in later verses:


14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. 15 John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. (John 1:14–15)


The Word made flesh? John being His forerunner and witness? This can only be referring to Jesus. For the Jewish reader, their own God was made flesh. For the Greek reader, the impersonal reason behind the universe was, in fact, a person!

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The One Who Gave Thanks—Luke 17:11-19



Gratitude is something that seems to get harder the more things that we have. We have to have a day set aside each year to remind ourselves to give thanks, and even on that day, we can be the most unthankful. The turkey is too dry. The weather is too miserable to drive to Grandpa and Grandma’s house. My football team is losing.


Even if things are going well, we find something to complain about. There’s a story about a mother whose son was swept away by a tornado. Immediately, she cried out the Lord for help, “Bring him back, I beg you!” Just then her son fell from the sky right at her feet! He stood, shaken from his experience, but otherwise completely and miraculously unharmed. The mother took one look at him and glared up at Heaven and said, “Lord, he had a hat!”


The account of the ten lepers is another case of this lack of gratitude even when something amazing happens to a person.

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The Invitation To The Lord’s Banquet—Luke 14:12-24



In the last lesson, we saw that Jesus got invited to dinner at the house of a chief Pharisee. Jesus healed a man sick with dropsy (edema). He also noticed how the guests maneuvered to get the best seat. He challenged them not to be so prideful and to take the lowest seat instead.


But that is not all that happened that day at the dinner. Jesus turned to the host and spoke directly to him:


Luke 14:12 Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee. 


Luke 14:13 But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed [crippled], the lame, the blind: Luke 14:14 And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just. 


The Pharisees were very much concerned about social status and etiquette. Accepting a dinner invitation meant that you owed the host something—some sort of recognition and repayment. A picture in the newspaper of the two of you shaking hands. He would be greatly offended if you just came and ate and then you didn’t give anything in return.


Jesus challenges this social notion by calling them to invite the kind of people who can’t pay them back. He challenges them to instead wait for their repayment at the end, at the resurrection. That causes one of them to blurt out a Jewish blessing about the coming kingdom— 


Luke 14:15 And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God. 


Why does this person say this? Scholars are divided on whether he was being honest or devious. I don’t know. I am going to say that he was apparently expressing his hope in the messianic banquet that would take place when the Messiah came.


The man was seemingly excited, like all Jews should have been, to eat with the Messiah in the kingdom of God. Jesus’s point in the parable will be: are you really that excited for the Lord’s banquet? Here was the Messiah among them and yet they were rejecting Him (John 1:11)!

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Which Seat Do You Take?—Luke 14:1-11



Luke 14:1 And it came to pass, as he went into the house of one of the chief Pharisees to eat bread on the sabbath day, that they watched him. 


Jesus may have been the guest teacher in the local synagogue that sabbath day, and then he was invited over for dinner afterwards. 


But the chief Pharisee’s motive was not all hospitality, as we can tell from that ominous ending of this verse, “they watched him.” 


The word “watched” (paratēreō), has to do with watching very closely (Cf. 6:7, 20:20), like a spy waiting for an opportunity to strike.


Very likely the chief Pharisee who had invited Jesus had heard of the incident in recounted in Luke 13:10-17. Jesus had healed a woman in the synagogue on the sabbath, angering the ruler of the synagogue.


Now, he laid a trap for Jesus, just as the Pharisees had been trying to do for some time. Luke records that they were…


54 Laying wait for him, and seeking to catch something out of his mouth, that they might accuse him. (Luke 11:54)


What was the trap? We see it next—

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Best Friends Forever

Series: Improving Companionship In Your Marriage #4




What does it mean to be a friend?


I remember the very first time I started to think hard about what it meant to be a friend. It was in Greek class in seminary. Dr. M (as I’ll call him) was one of those stuffy, but likeable professors. 


As students, we felt a bit of distance and stand-offishness from him, but nothing to be greatly concerned about. Of more concern was the Greek quizzes that he would give! 


One day, he started talking about what it meant to be friend. Dr. M complained that most people use the word “friend” too loosely. Some people would declare a person a friend after just meeting them. 


Facebook wasn’t around then, but I imagine he would have a fit about “friending” people on Facebook. He’d say, “Those aren’t friends!”


Dr. M said that he made a very clear distinction between who was a friend and who was an acquaintance. 


While he knew a lot of people, and was acquainted with many, he had very few actual friends. He said that a friend was someone that…well, I don’t remember what he said!


But that’s what we’re going to explore in this lesson. What does it mean to be a friend? And how does that help us improve our companionship in our marriages? 

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The Good Fight

Series: Improving Companionship In Your Marriage #3




Lee and Annie Gleason had a disagreement about how much money she had spent on buying sugar. The year was 1931, and the Great Depression had just begun.


In an angry fit because of the disagreement, Annie saddled the old mule and rode into the town Anahuac, Texas. She bought—in the days of the Great Depression, remember—a fifty pound bag of sugar. It could have used up all the money they had!


When she got back, she rode straight to the barn where her husband Lee and his brother were shoeing a quarter horse. She took a jackknife out of her apron pocket and jammed it into the bag of sugar, which flowed out onto the barn floor.


Lee looked at Annie and said three final words—“You silly…” and one more I won’t repeat. That was it. They stopped talking to each other that day. They still lived in the same house. They still slept in the same bed. They still ate at the same table. They just stopped talking to each other—period.


This went on for ten years. If they had to communicate something—a grocery list, for instance—they left a note. Later, they sort of start to anticipate each other. If Annie needed lard for the kitchen, Lee had already somehow bought a jar for her at the store.


One Sunday—Annie had gone to church for some sort of all-day event—a nephew showed up on the farm. Lee immediately recruited him for a project on the house, on which they worked all day. In the late afternoon, Annie came driving up in their old Jeep just in time to see them pulling her half of the house away with the tractor. 


They had sawed right through the house—roof to floor—and split it, clean as a whistle, down the middle. Then they nailed rough-cut planks over the open sides and that’s how they lived (with some pine trees in-between them) for the next thirty years until Lee died. (Mary Carr, The Liar’s Club [New York: Penguin, 1995], 35ff.)


We’ve been looking at how to improve the companionship aspect of our marriages. Lee and Annie Gleason missed out on the companionship they could have had. Why? Because of a conflict that arose. If we want to have good companionship in our marriages, we’ll have to know how to deal with conflicts when they arise.

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Mr. and Mrs. Talks-A-Lot

Series: Improving Companionship In Your Marriage #2




As we look at improving our companionship in our marriages, we’ll come across several topics. We’ve looked at understanding one another’s needs. In the next lesson, we’ll look at conflict. 


Another important topic—perhaps one of the most important—for companionship is the topic of communication. Couples must communicate in order to be companions. The better the communication, the better the companionship. Let’s look and see what the Bible can teach us about communication.


22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation [behaviors] the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. 


When a person is saved, they become a new creature in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). But that doesn’t mean that all our behaviors change instantly. We need to spend our lives constantly renewing our minds so that the old habits are replaced by the new ones.


Paul goes on to list areas where this should happen—notice how many of them have to do with our tongue—our communication.

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