Paul has the authority of an apostle. This means that Paul can give a command and it is as if Christ gives the command. Paul makes a big deal not to appeal to his apostolic authority when he exhorts Philemon. Why does Paul use so many words rather than simply write, “I command you to forgive your brother who ran away!” Why does Paul try so hard not to constrain Philemon through forceful words?
Paul is thankful for this man who creates more stress for Paul while Paul has enough to think about while being in Prison. Why is Paul thankful for this additional work? What can Paul celebrate in the midst of his circumstances? What does this teach us about a true grace-centered and Gospel-centered joy?
Christ uses very strong language regarding our Christian life. He tells us that we are to actually hate our families. Is this a contradiction of the 5th commandment? I thought that we were to honor our parents? I thought that we were to love our Lord as first priority and love our neighbor as ourselves? How can Christ command us to hate our families?
The parable of the Good Samaritan is a parable that certainly teaches us to be concerned for our neighbor, it teaches us to care for the physical needs as well as the spiritual, but is there a deeper meaning to this parable? In other words what other information can this parable be teaching us about the kingdom?
We conclude Christ’s sermon on the mount. Christ is laying out an ethic that we are called to follow as a people set apart unto the Lord. Do we just say that these laws are difficult so we can ignore them? Do we more purposefully set out to obey these laws in our strength? What are we to do with this challenging sermon that is set before us?
The potential temptation we can have as Christians is to think that this kingdom is only spiritual and that there is nothing physical that our Lord provides. However, Christ makes this strange promise that as we pursue the kingdom of God there is the assurance that the Lord will provide for us. How does this work? Why not worry about the physical things when the the Kingdom is Spiritual?
This life can overwhelm us at times. If we are honest, many of the things which overwhelm us are self inflicted. We want the perfect job, house, marriage, or whatever it might be for us. The reality is that we can quickly become a dog chasing its own tail while believing our own tale. So, where do we find peace right now? Where do we find a happy place where we can retreat? How can we have a true peace right now even in a fallen world?
When we face the trials of life we want a strong leader to tell us what to do. If we are honest we really want the leader to tell us that it is all going to be okay. You cannot find a better or stronger leader than God God as He is the one who made us and knows us. So, you would think that Christ would tell His disciples that it is all going to be okay when they enter Jerusalem. Well, this is not what Christ does at all. Why does Christ give such a strange pep talk prior to their entrance into Jerusalem?