Facing Persecution as a Follower of the Way, and Still Strengthening the Disciples

In the foreground, on the left side of the image, Jesus is seen hanging from His cross. To the right, a dirt path through fields continues on for what appears to be quite far off. It goes on up to the horizon.

Being a disciple indicates that they were being taught. As they learned, they were traveling along the Way of Christ, and did not deviate from it. One impressive thing about them was that they were willing to be persecuted by others for their faith. Despite their terrible treatment, many were willing to be bound with chains and sent to far off cities for the name of Christ.

The Two Gates and Ways of Matthew 7:13–14, and the One That Leads to Life

A path through a forest with trees on either side. The photo was taken in autumn, so there are no leaves on the trees.

Jesus begins this portion of His sermon by exhorting His hearers to enter through the narrow gate. For years, I felt like that was a surprising way to start the thought. Especially since He immediately changes His topic to the gate and way that we should not travel. As I reflect on it further, it actually does make sense. The reason is because the consequences of not entering by the narrow gate are horrible.

The Way of the Righteous and the Way of the Wicked in Psalm 1

A black and white photo of two paths in a park or forest. A lot of trees are visible throughout, and a park bench is on the side of the path to the right. It curves to the right, while another path at the left goes straight.

One common aspect of the Bible is its contrasts. Many passages speak of only two positions. A well-known text that presents such a division is the first Psalm. It describes the contrast between the righteous and the wicked. I think it will be beneficial for us to explore these two different types of people so we are encouraged to go in the way of righteousness.

What is the Meaning of Being Circumcised of Heart, or the Circumcision of Christ?

A shining cross is floating over a tranquil body of water. Behind the cross are some distinctive red clouds.

Students of the Bible will be aware of the act of circumcision that was performed in the Old Covenant. It was commanded of Abraham, and also in the Mosaic Law. These are good to remember, but some may be surprised by other circumcisions in the Bible. Those being the circumcision of the heart, and the circumcision of Christ.

The Healing of the Centurion’s Servant and Jesus’ Authority

A line drawing of a Roman Centurion. The upper portion of his armor, with his distinctive helmet, can be seen. He is staring at the camera.

One of the most well known aspects of Jesus' ministry was His miraculous healing ability. The gospel accounts are filled with stories of Him healing lepers, the diseased, and more. These miracles are used for a variety of reasons. Interestingly enough, there is at least one instance where a healing is related to the topic of authority.

An Encouragement to Teach Others With Gentleness

A couple sitting together reading the Bible. They are sitting on an ottoman. Oddly enough, they are sitting on it outside in a field.

When we teach today, we may be tempted to just throw some Bible verses at someone without actually engaging our hearts and speaking with compassion. While God's truth would still be conveyed by using that method, I seriously doubt it would be the best approach! There is a big difference between talking to someone, and talking with someone.

Jesus Ate With Tax Collectors, Prostitutes, and Other Sinners, and We Can Too

A painting showing three Biblical scenes of mercy. The center shows a good shepherd carrying a small sheep on his shoulder. To the right of it is the prodigal son weeping into the lap of his father. The left side shows a man lifting a man up off the ground. It may be the Good Samaritan helping the man who was attacked on the road to Jericho.

In the Gospels, Jesus regularly ate with sinners. This is the case even for those who are often rejected in the New Testament, such as tax collectors and prostitutes. This is kind of surprising, isn't it? Absolutely! However, Jesus did not eat with them simply for the sake of physical nourishment. He was teaching them while they ate together.