Yet Not What I Will

32 They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. 34 “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.” 35 Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. 36 “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible…

The Last Supper

Note: Today’s devotional is a guest post from Kyle Bjerga. 26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” 27 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for…

Is This the Apocalypse?

“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. 34 It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch. 35 “Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner…

Palm Sunday in Pandemic

The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; 23 the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. 24 The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad. 25 Lord, save us! Lord, grant us success! 26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. (Psalm 118:22-26a)   On Palm Sunday, the Christ of Israel enters Jerusalem as his passion draws near. With surprising boldness, he sends his disciples before…

The Trouble I Feel

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. (John 11:33)   Scripture informs us that Jesus, being fully human, shared in all our human experiences (Hebrews 4:15), including feeling the whole range of human emotions. Though Jesus felt all that we feel, the emotion the Gospel writers most frequently ascribe to Jesus is troubled (Matthew 26:37; Mark 14:33; John 11:33; 12:27;…

On Joy in Crisis

At the start of his letter to the tribes scattered throughout the Roman Empire, James writes, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (1:2-4). If we are honest, we would admit that joy is not our default response when trials…

Three Bad Bible-Study Questions

In many ways, the prevailing (and dramatic) shifts in western culture during the past few centuries all center on a single issue: truth—and how we learn it (if we can). To Christians, who worship the One who claimed to be Truth (John 14:6), these cultural shifts prove exceedingly relevant. If we are not mindful of our culture’s changing views of truth, we will imbibe the spirit of the age unwittingly. This is especially evident in…

A Transcendent New Year

As regular and predictable as the rotation of heavenly bodies is astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson’s New Year’s Day tweet. A few words may change, but for the past several years on January 1 he has expressed some sentiment like this year’s offering: “Not that anybody’s asked, but New Years [sic] Day on the Gregorian Calendar is a cosmically arbitrary event, carrying no Astronomical significance at all.”   Equally inevitable is the frustration voiced by many…

Questions in the Wake of Suffering

When tragedy strikes, as it did in Las Vegas this week, people begin to ask questions. It is part of human nature: we reason, consider, speculate, and ultimately seek to find answers that will provide meaning or comfort.   Why did this happen?   Where was God?   Couldn’t we have prevented this?   These are important questions, but they are not necessarily the questions to which Scripture gives answers. That is, if we look to…

Philosophical Kitsch

As a wee lad in high school, I remember being struck by one particular quote from Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five: “Like so many Americans, she was trying to construct a life that made sense from things she found in gift shops.” The she to which Vonnegut refers is Billy Pilgrim’s mother, and the thing that she purchased in the gift shop to give her life meaning was a crucifix, which hung above Billy’s bed as…