# Series

Herodias—Acting to type!

(Mt.14:1-11; Mk.6:17-28; Lk.3:19-20) Royals have a long history of marrying within the family. Thus, it was no surprise to anyone when Herod Antipas ran off with his brother Philip’s wife, Herodias. It was however of consequence to John the Baptiser. If the Herodian family were going to present themselves as Jewish royalty, then it was expected that they have a degree of respect for God’s marriage Laws (Lev.18:16). John’s rebuke of Herod Antipas for stealing his brother’s wife landed him…

The Queen of Sheba

(1Kgs.10:1-10; Mt.12:42; Lk.11:31) No idle chitchat took her to Jerusalem. She was an intelligent woman seeking answers from a famed source of advanced knowledge. This dignitary of the highest stature was willing to go the distance and pay the price for what she wanted. She had hard, unanswered questions.She was not disappointed. In fact, she became overwhelmed. Beyond the question and answer sessions she observed Solomon’s superior architecture, his streamlined administration, and his generous temple offerings.She praised his loving God…

The Ephesus 12—John’s work completed.

(Acts 19:1-7) If these men were anything like Apollos, they were exceptionally talented and highly motivated believers. Paul met the ‘Ephesus 12’ on his arrival in Ephesus. They were disciples of John the Baptist. Paul’s way of finding out how much they knew about the church was to ask them if the had received the Holy Spirit when they first believed. When they said that they didn’t know about the Holy Spirit, Paul asked them about their baptism. They said…

Someone’s knocking at the door!

I have heard of more than one preacher who has preached from within the baptistry. The man of God, waist deep in water, preaching the gospel in the spirit of John the Baptizer. I have heard the old story of the preacher preaching with umbrella in hand. Exhorting the church: “Brethren, we come to assembly and pray the Lord sends us rain. But we come dressed and prepared for a sunny Sunday afternoon.”I heard the story of two preachers who…

The Zebedee Boys—Put my sons in charge!

James and John had fire in their bones. Somewhat misguided fire, but being backward in coming forward with it, they were not! Their desire to call down fire from heaven upon the Samaritans earned them the nickname, “Son’s of Thunder,” from Jesus (Lk.9:53-55; Mk.3:17).These brothers came from a fishing family. Zebedee was of sufficient means to carry on the business when his sons went with Jesus to catch men (Mk.1:19-20; Lk.5:10).Who could miss the leadership potential in their business partner,…

Thomas—All Doubts Aside.

(Mt.10:3; Mk.3:18; Lk.6:15, Acts 1:13; Jn.11:16; 14:5; 20:24-29; 21:2) Doubts come out of nowhere. To say you have never had a doubt is to kid yourself. Rock solid conviction on every fact presented, every belief taught, and every experience had, is a tall order for a human being—we with feet of clay. Thomas expressed his doubts about the risen Christ in these famous words:“Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were,…

Nicodemus—Unmoved by the crowd!

(John 3; 7:45-52; 19:38-42) Justin Bieber came to Auckland years ago. There I stood amidst a crowd of teenage girls ‘just dying to catch a glimpse of him—them, not me. As if one, with each slight movement at the arrival Gate, the crowd surged forward and screamed at fever pitch. That was the night I understood the power of a crowd. Nicodemus was faced with an emotionally charged crowd of Pharisees and Chief Priests. When spewing hate for Jesus he…

Shipwrecked—The Maltese

(Acts 28:1-10) Fourteen days in stormy seas and shipwrecked on a strange island is likely to make any act of helpfulness appear out of the ordinary. Luke describes the reception that he, Paul, the other prisoners, and the ship’s crew received after being washed up on the shores of Malta, as ‘extraordinary kind.’But their levels of kindness appeared to be rivalled by their degrees of superstition.The next three days or so must have been a theological roller-coaster for these locals.…

Philip—Getting the Job done!

(Acts 6; 8; 21:8-11) The Lord’s church has an abiding relationship with the Seven Servant-leaders of Acts Six. Elders and Deacons in our churches are selected by the members in like manner as they were. The evangelists Philip and Stephen were chosen with the other five brothers.Tragically, Stephen’s life was cut short in martyrdom in Acts seven. Philip, after ‘serving the tables’ of the neglected Grecian widows (Acts 6), went down to Samaria to preach (Acts 8). It was Christian…

Ananias—The Reluctant Preacher

(Acts 9:10-19; 22:12-16) Ananias of Damascus is inextricably connected to the conversion of Saul of Tarsus.When God told Ananias in a vision that Saul was in town, he was unsurprisingly concerned. A visit to that man was considered dangerous for one’s health. His reputation for harming Christians naturally preceded him.But visit him he must. Saul had been blind and praying for the last three days. God told him in a vision to expect Ananias, “a devote observer of the Law…