Wednesday, April 24, 2013


How big do you think the Sanhedrin was? Somehow I pictured the Sanhedrin as a small group of leaders that put Jesus on trial. But from reading A Visual Guide to Bible Events (VGBE) and The Bible Knowledge Commentary (BKC) I found out that there were 71 men that made up the Sanhedrin. That's not the small group I was thinking it was.

They met in the Temple complex and were known as the Great Sanhedrin. "Great" probably because it was actually composed of three courts made up of 23 members. Each member, like any court system today, had to know the law very well. They also had to have a good reputation, be over thirty and married. (Thompson Chain Reference Bible)

According to VGBE, in order to have a trial leading to the death penalty there had to be 23 members of the great Sanhedrin present to hold court. Interesting.

According to the BKC, Jewish law requires that a trial be done during the day. Also interesting. So in writing about the cock crowing three times we not only get the story of Peter's denials but we also see the start of a new day and the start of the official trial against Jesus. (Matthew 26; Mark 15)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A Yearly Promise

Spring. The time of year when the promise of beauty enters into our boring yet chaotic life. While I've heard of places that never see grass go dormant, here in Texas we look forward to the season when we can once again have fields of green grasses. But before we see green, we have color.

You see, just when the brown has become too much to bear there pops up out of the ground the most colorful view. Each spring Texas has some of the most beautiful landscape due in part to weeds. Only in Texas, a place known for its wild and tough nature can the beauty of a wild flower be anticipated.

By nature wild flowers are just that - wild - popping up in small groupings, even singly. Here in Texas you have to think big. Our wild flowers can be thought of as hallway runners, throw rugs or even carpeting to the ground they cover.

The prominent color being the blue to purple hues of the bluebonnet. Add in some reds, whites and yellows and the design of the new ground cover becomes even more breath-taking. Coloring the roadsides like no where else I've been.

The carpeting affect throughout the hill country of Texas brings the promise that there is life brewing beneath the dull brown. The splashes of color speaking statements of a promise that things will get better and life will go on. 

I hope when the brown days of life seem to be overtaking my thinking and zest for life that I will remember that there is coming a promise that life does go on and the beauty of color will enter in at some point. I just have to hang tough.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Just How Bad Does It Get?

"Youth today. Going to ruin in a hand basket." It's a line from the movie Thoroughly Modern Millie. While it's meant to be funny in the movie, it came to mind recently. I have to wonder if today I would be the old lady saying it. Perhaps it's just my current study of the book of Revelations that has influenced this thinking.

But the other night I had the opportunity to watch The 700 Club for only a few minutes and my stomach was sickened at the news of the widespread problem of child prostitution in Brazil. I don't watch the news often enough to know if it's happening in other countries. I do know I haven't heard of any story like this being presented in mainstream news. You have to ask, how many other dreadful things are happening? 

The fact is most of what I see is news focused on wars and rumors of wars. You know, the building of nuclear weapons in Iran and North Korea, the threats to Israel and the U.S., the awful drug-related shootings along the border with Mexico. (So many innocent lives are being lost there. It's just craziness.)

So, when I think other things could be happening one question comes to mind, are we the only country that has people losing their minds enough to go into buildings and shoot at the innocent for the strangest of reasons, or are there other countries dealing with this? It makes me think of the second seal in Revelations 6. (Again my current focus may be playing into this.)

And while there is so much talk about the rapture occurring at the start of the tribulation I beg to suggest, what if we are already there? One might ask, isn't God suppose to spare his children of the earthquakes and plagues? But then I remember all the plagues the Hebrews had to endure before they were released from slavery in Egypt. It didn't harm them but they still had to endure it. Nuts. I guess this means we may have to endure the seals after all.

But on the other hand, if we haven't entered the tribulation times yet I have to wonder. . .just how bad will it get if this isn't the start of the tribulation? If it's not bad enough yet, how bad is it going to get?

In any case, the best thing we can do is to keep our eye out for the bridegroom. Keep our hearts praising him and seeking his guidance every day. I love reading Psalm 91. It offers so much promise of protection from plagues and illnesses that attack the crowds. It brings me comfort.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Last Chance Supper

I'm sorry for the delay in writing about the last supper, but jet-lag and allergies got the best of me the last two weeks. Sunday I was blessed with a wonderful reminder of just how much God the Father loves me. Well, all of us really. The death of his only son, so that I can be with him in eternity, is so much more than I can fathom. But I accept it. And it doesn't stop there, it gets even better. Death couldn't hold on to him. He's still alive. His love just never gives up or dies.

And before he showed his love for all of us, he did an incredible thing at the last supper. Jesus made a huge unspoken display of love for the one who would betray him. First, let me give you some background.

In reviewing a page in A Visual Guide to Bible Events and then remembering a lesson my brother taught me, I was reminded how many times we allow what we know today to influence what we know of God and the experiences of Jesus. How many depictions of the last supper have you seen with Jesus sitting in the middle of the table and the disciples evenly split to his left and right?

Well the truth is more than likely they weren't sitting. They were reclining. And, Jesus wasn't in the middle. He was in the second position in the seat of the host. The two highest places of honor were to either side of the host. The guests would sit in descending order of honor around three sides of the table.

I always figured Peter was close by, but he had to be across the table in order to gesture to John to get the rest of the details of Jesus' words. (John 13) The last position? How confusing is that? But if you read Luke 22 it talks about how the leader needs to be like a servant. So, Peter seeing himself as a leader of the group would naturally have volunteered to sit at the end of the table.

So, with John in one place of honor then who was in the other place of honor on the other side of Jesus? The book suggests Judas. That was a startling thought. But, he was close enough that Jesus handed him a piece of dipped bread. Of all things, Jesus giving his accuser a close place of honor, and with it a chance to learn what he was really about, a chance to feel the love of the Son of God one last time, a chance to say no to the pharisees before the unfortunate deed.

How much love is that? To love your enemy. (Matthew 5) He said it; he meant it. And he still means it. Awesome news for us.