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Showing posts from February, 2024

John 2.13-22: Spiritual spring cleaning - Getting the centre, the mind and the passion right

John 2.13-22 It is getting a bit warmer – we hope – and maybe a bit dryer. And it is time to begin to do some spring cleaning But not just of our houses or places where we work, or even our churches. This is a time to do some spiritual spring cleaning Lorenzo Ghiberti (Italian, 1378-1455). Chasing the Merchants from the Temple, 1403-1424. Bronze panel, North door, Florence Baptistery, Italy. Getting the heart right Jesus clears the rubbish out of the temple. The temple was the gift of God to his people. It was the place where God had said that his presence would dwell. It was place where men and women came together to meet with God. Jesus describes the temple as ‘my Father’s house’.  That is not just a claim to unique authority. It is. John writes in John 1, ‘we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son’. But it is also a relational term: the temple is not just a building where people worshiped. It was a home, where people came to meet the Father of the Lord Jesus and w

Mark 1:9-15 When wild beasts surround us

Mark 1.9-15 ‘Many bulls encircle me, strong bulls of Bashan surround me; they open wide their mouths at me, like a ravening and roaring lion’ (Ps 22.13)   1. Jesus humbles himself so that he is in a position in which he can receive from God Jesus chooses to come to John the Baptist to be baptised, to receive the gift of God. He did not need to be baptised. He had no sin for which he needed to be forgiven. But he chooses to be baptised, to identify himself with John the Baptist, with his message of repentance, and with God’s amazing offer of forgiveness. And he chooses to identify himself with those who recognised their need for God’s washing, God’s forgiveness; with people who recognised that they needed God. And so Jesus allows John to baptise him. He goes ‘down’ into the water and receives baptism. And Mark tells us that it is ‘as Jesus was coming up out of the water’ that he sees the heavens being torn open, the Spirit descending on him in physical form like a dove (park in Kis

Mark 9.1-8 The glory that shapes the suffering.

Mark 9.1-8 Last week looking at 'cosmic' Christ. Jesus the creator and lord of all, the source of everything - even life and being. Today we see the glory of Christ, Jesus transfigured, shining with a brilliance that one of the gospel writers describes as like the sun.  There are echoes in this story of Moses who met with God on the Mount Sinai, and Elijah who met with God on Mount Horeb. Mount Horeb and Mount Sinai are different names for the same mountain. And there are echoes also of Isaiah's vision of God (Isaiah 6), when he hears the angels proclaim, 'Holy Holy Holy'. In verse 1, Jesus says “Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.” (Mark 9:1) And in verse 2 we are told 'six days later'. That 'dating' is unusual in Mark. We are meant to understand the transfiguration as the fulfilment of that promise. The 'some' are Peter, James and John who see