In the early 1980s I went to Israel on a study trip. I was there at the time (June 7, 1981) when Israel bombed the nuclear reactor in Iraq of which I was blissfully unaware although my wife and family members were worried about me. I remember going up to the Wailing Wall and trying to imagine the glory of the Temple. Josephus: “The exterior of the building lacked nothing that could astonish either the soul or the eyes. For, being covered on every side with massive plates of gold, the sun had no sooner risen than it radiated so fiery a flash that those straining to look at it were forced to avert their eyes as from the solar rays. To approaching strangers it appeared from a distance like a snow-clad mountain, the reason that whatever was not overlaid with gold was purest white” (Jewish War V:222). Read more »
The following is to be preached at an outreach to the poor and homeless in West Philadelphia on October 15, 2010.
In Mark chapter 6, we find Jesus sending out the apostles. He sends them out to preach to the multitudes about repentance from sin. This they do, and in v. 30 we find them returning to Jesus and reporting to him everything that they had said and done.
6:31 – And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate [ἔρημος: desert, wilderness] place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.
Jesus and the disciples get into a boat and leave for the wilderness place by themselves.
6:33-34 – Now many saw [Jesus and the disciples] going and recognized them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. When [Jesus] went ashore he saw a great crowd….
At this point, what would we expect of a human leader? In normal circumstances, what would we expect? What would we expect of one who was so busy with something that he didn’t even have time to stop for a meal break? Read more »
The Jesus Way to Greatness
Dr. John P. Davis
In the sermon this past Sunday, we looked a text that redefined what it means to be great. Jesus overturns the self-focused value system of a fallen world and shows that the others-focused values of His kingdom are the true fruit of the gospel.
Instead of achieving greatness by power-over, superiority, advantage, predominance, domination, and control, citizens of Jesus’ kingdom become servants and slaves to everyone.
By the world’s measurement, greatness is achieved through superior acts that distinguish you above others. How you get there isn’t necessarily important. The end, not the means, measures greatness in the world. Greatness focuses simply on that result – you are on top. Regardless of how one got there what matters is that you somehow have the ability to “look down.” You are on top! Read more »