THE TWENTY-SEVENTH DAY OF SEPTEMBER IN THE YEAR OF GRACE TWO THOUSAND AND FIFTEEN. Once when Jesus and his disciples were in the region of Caesarea Philippi, Jesus asked them who public opinion considered him to be (Matt. 16:13-20). The report was mixed. One of the prophets in general, some were saying; others, a specific, particular prophet such as John the Baptist or Elijah. And what do … [Read more...]


THE TWENTIETH DAY OF SEPTEMBER IN THE YEAR OF GRACE TWO THOUSAND AND FIFTEEN. A gracEmail subscriber understands that the word "Christ" in the phrase "Jesus Christ" is a title and not Jesus' last name. She knows that "Christ" is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word Messiah, which means "anointed." Now she wonders whether first-century Jews in Palestine expected one specific Messiah at … [Read more...]


THE SIXTH DAY OF SEPTEMBER IN THE YEAR OF GRACE TWO THOUSAND AND FIFTEEN. A gracEmail subscriber has read that Jesus played down the fact that he was the Messiah, particularly in the beginning of his ministry, and especially in the Gospel of Mark. Can I make any helpful comment about that? * * * A close reading of the first three Gospels justifies the generalizations referred to in this … [Read more...]


THE TWELFTH DAY OF JULY IN THE YEAR OF GRACE TWO THOUSAND AND FIFTEEN.   A gracEmail subscriber heard someone explain Jesus' humanity as follows and requests my critique based on the Bible: (1) To rescue us from sin and death, a Savior had to be both human and divine. (2) Before he was born, Jesus was part of God in heaven. (3) In becoming Jesus, God put on humanity as if … [Read more...]

GracEmail special

THE ASSIGNMENT The first rays of morning gradually illumined the volcanic mountains before me, and the cobblestone streets of Antigua glowed softly beneath my feet. It was August 2007, and I was in this picturesque Guatemalan village on professional retreat with my employer, the Lanier Law Firm of Houston, Texas. During this early morning walk, I was asking God for a new assignment -- something … [Read more...]

A man like no other

The Greek word used of Jesus and translated "only-begotten" in the King James Version of John 3:16 is monogenes. This means that as son of God, Jesus is unique or one of a kind. He is also unique as a man. And how? Not in his physical appearance, we will see in this gracEmail, nor because he died, or even because he died by crucifixion. On a few subsequent Sundays we will explore some ways that … [Read more...]


Mama Cass Elliott sang the song and her words echoed the good news Jesus himself had preached. "There's a New World Coming / And it's just around the bend / There's a new world coming / This one's coming to an end" (Lyrics © EMI Music Publishing). Jesus called it "the kingdom of heaven," the new dimension of reality in which God will restore everything, redeem our bodies and liberate creation … [Read more...]


A gracEmail subscriber asks the meaning of the words "Messiah" and "Christ," and why the Jews rejected Jesus when their prophets had foretold his coming. Part 1 The English word "Messiah" is spelled from the Hebrew word Meshiach which means "an anointed one." The English word "Christ" is spelled from the Greek word Christos, which means the same thing. In the Old Testament, prophets, priests … [Read more...]


A gracEmail reader in England asks, "If Jesus calls himself the 'way' to the Father, then Jesus is the route and God his Father is the destination. Yet most Christian churches seem to focus on Jesus rather than on God. Is that really biblical?" * * * Christians believe the claims made by Jesus of Nazareth that the one and only living God was his Father in a unique sense which is true of no other … [Read more...]


A gracEmail subscriber asks: "Did Jesus Christ have a body before he became a man?" * * * Next door to me live Jesus, his wife and their son Jesus. Grandpa Jesus lives across the street. Although "Jesus" is a common Latino name it is rarely used among Anglos like myself. (Interestingly, both practices express the same intent, namely to show respect for Jesus Christ.) We therefore need to be … [Read more...]