Scandalous Mercy

Bryant Mathews

READ : Matthew 18:21-35 Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing. (Luke 23:34) If you could take one snapshot of Jesus’ life to most vividly depict what he was all about, what would it be? I would choose this moment on the cross, when the humiliated King of the Jews asked his Father to forgive his cruel murderers. That’s enough to shake up anyone’s worldview. It was enough to make a Roman centurion praise God …

Letting Go of Privileges

Bryant Mathews

READ : Philippians 2:1-11 Christ Jesus . . . did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. (vv. 5-7) Never again will I take ketchup for granted. While teaching in China last year, I ate an occasional dinner at McDonald’s. I quickly discovered, to my chagrin, that I was allowed only one ketchup packet for my fries! If I wanted more, I had …

The Freedom to Reconcile

Bryant Mathews

READ : Revelation 7:9-17 He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son . . . (Col. 1:13) Why does ethnic strife remain so pervasive in our twenty-first-century world, including our own neighborhoods? You’d think we might have gotten past that by now. But there are powerful forces at work that take on a life of their own and propel us into conflict: historical and economic forces outside us; sinful …

Worship that Satisfies

Bryant Mathews

READ : Colossians 1:1-20 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee . . . When they saw [Jesus], they worshiped him. (Matt. 28:16-17a) We humans worship other people all the time. The typical objects of our adoration include famous movie stars, skillful athletes, powerful politicians, or even that girl or guy we have a crush on. We want to be like them, we want to know about them, we wish we were close to them. (I have a recurring dream …

Good News to the Poor?

Bryant Mathews

READ : Matthew 25:31-46 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. (Luke 4:18) Anyone who listened to Jesus for very long must have well understood that his heart beat for the poor. Shortly before his death, Jesus made the point quite clear, holding up our treatment of the least of these as a key indicator of whether or not we belong to his kingdom! (See Matt. 25:31-46.) …

The Thank-You Meal

Bryant Mathews

READ : John 6:25-40 As you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. (1 Cor. 11:26) Even on Thanksgiving Day, some may find it hard to be thankful. The brokenness is too overwhelming-in the newspapers, in our relationships, and especially in our hearts. Where is God when little children are being blown up by suicide bombers? Where is God when my marriage is falling apart? Where is God when I feel lonely …