What is discipleship? – John 1:35-42, Part 1

Discipleship.  What is it, really?  Over the years we’ve talked a lot about discipleship, and there has been some confusion.  Some have equated evangelism with discipleship.  Evangelism is when we proclaim the story of Jesus in both word and deed.  Though related, discipleship is different.  When we are attempting to define discipleship, we are attemptingContinue reading “What is discipleship? – John 1:35-42, Part 1”

John the Baptist’s mystery friend, and why we need prophets in our lives – John 1:19-34, Part 5

In John 1:19-34, John the Baptist makes a surprising statement that there was someone alive right there, nearby, perhaps even in the crowd that day as John was baptizing people by the Jordan River, someone of whom John is not worthy even to untie his sandals.  Untie sandals…what’s that matter?  In John’s culture, that wasContinue reading “John the Baptist’s mystery friend, and why we need prophets in our lives – John 1:19-34, Part 5”

John the Baptist’s testy interaction with the religious establishment – John 1:19-34, Part 4

Because John the Baptist said the darndest things, you can imagine it did not sit well with the religious leaders, especially when he called them snakes.  And that brings us back to the passage we are studying this week: John 1:19-34. We learn in John 1:19 that the religious elite back at their HQ inContinue reading “John the Baptist’s testy interaction with the religious establishment – John 1:19-34, Part 4”

Was John the Baptist a wild man? – John 1:19-34, Part 3

Did John really go wild? In the previous post, I mentioned that much artwork depicting John the Baptist has him looking like a caveman.  Why?  Because in Matthew 3:4 we read this about John, “John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts andContinue reading “Was John the Baptist a wild man? – John 1:19-34, Part 3”

The backstory of John the Baptist – John 1:19-34, Part 2

Who was John the Baptist? In this post we begin to learn the backstory of John the Baptist. While our current blog series is studying the Gospel of John, and while this week we are learning about John 1:19-34, to get the backstory of John the Baptist, we need to turn elsewhere. The full accountContinue reading “The backstory of John the Baptist – John 1:19-34, Part 2”

Prophets who don’t know how to be prophets – John 1:19-34, Preview

Are there still prophets in the world today?  No doubt there are people who claim to be prophets.  Do you remember Harold Camping of the Family Radio Network?  He predicted Jesus was returning in 1994.  When Jesus did not return that year, Camping went on to predict Jesus would return in May 2011.  In fact,Continue reading “Prophets who don’t know how to be prophets – John 1:19-34, Preview”

The amazing news that God wants to adopt you – John 1:1-18, Part 3

So far, John hasn’t told us the identity of the Word.  He continues now in verses 6-9 by giving us some history.  Verses 1-5 have been very theological, kind of vague, maybe hard to understand.  John knows he needs to start getting more specific.  So he introduces us to a man named John.  He isContinue reading “The amazing news that God wants to adopt you – John 1:1-18, Part 3”

The backstory of John the Apostle – Gospel of John Preview, Part 2

When did John write this Gospel?  To answer that question, we need to learn more about John’s life story.  He was born into a fisherman’s family in the northern part of Israel, a region around the Sea of Galilee.  He and his brother continued the family business.  One day John and his brother James heardContinue reading “The backstory of John the Apostle – Gospel of John Preview, Part 2”

Are there prophets among us? – Ezekiel 2:1-3:15, Part 1

What comes to mind when you think of a prophet?  I think of guys like Elijah and John the Baptist, and they are wearing clothing made out of animal skins, holding staffs of wood, and their hair is out of control.  They have a personality to match.  Bold. Courageous.  They make loud and authoritative proclamations. Continue reading “Are there prophets among us? – Ezekiel 2:1-3:15, Part 1”

How to bring righteousness to the world [Second Sunday of Advent, part 5]

In this series on the Lectionary readings for the Second Sunday of Advent, we have been following the life and ministry of John the Baptist and the message God was proclaiming through John: a huge roadwork project.  What is that project?  God wants us to repent, so that he might bring righteousness on the world. Continue reading “How to bring righteousness to the world [Second Sunday of Advent, part 5]”