How do I want to be judged?

Jesus says that we will be judged by the same standard by which we judge others. This should slow us down before pronouncing a verdict on others. Judging is not just about coming to a conclusion about what has happened, it is also about handing out the penalty too.  When Jesus in Matthew 18 andContinue reading “How do I want to be judged?”

On judging

Matthew 7:1-6 warns against the rush to judgement. Given that Jesus himself does make judgements, gives the keys of the kingdom to the disciples and encourages church discipline, it seems unlikely that this is a blanket ban on exercising justice or discernment. However, what we have seen throughout the Sermon on the Mount is thatContinue reading “On judging”

Lead us not into temptation

A lot of people struggle with this one and so have sought to amend it. Why on earth would God lead us into temptation? This implies doesn’t it that he might, but surely that would mean he was encouraging us into evil.  Perhaps this is a strong way of emphasising the next part of theContinue reading “Lead us not into temptation”

Forgive us our debts

When we get to this point in the Lord’s Prayer, we are reminded of two stories Jesus told. I have mentioned the first one a few times. It is the story of the unforgiving servant.  The other one is about a young man, who demands his inheritance and heads off to a far country whereContinue reading “Forgive us our debts”

Give us this day our daily bread

The next part of the Lord’s prayer is a request that God will provide for us. It is a reminder that all good things come from God alone and that he is the one who provides for us and protects us. At a practical level, this is a prayer that God will oversee conditions aroundContinue reading “Give us this day our daily bread”

Thy kingdom come

When Jesus started preaching, he announced the nearness of God’s kingdom. This kingdom is not about a specific geographical area, rather it is about God’s sovereign rule and reign over his creation. We link “Your kingdom come” to “your will be done” because the two go closely together.  A prayer for God’s kingdom to comeContinue reading “Thy kingdom come”

Our Father in Heaven

One of the fascinating things that strikes me as I read Matthew 6 is these words: “Your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!”[1] It is often suggested that if God already knows everything and even predestines everything then there is no point in praying at all.  God already knows andContinue reading “Our Father in Heaven”

Masks and actors, Fathers and Sons (Matthew 6:1-24)

When I was younger, there was one person’s seal of approval that mattered. I suspect I am not alone in this and to some extent I suspect it remains true today.  Whether it was the school reports, my first and only successful attempt at woodwork, my exam grades, my choice of girlfriend (and eventually wife),Continue reading “Masks and actors, Fathers and Sons (Matthew 6:1-24)”

Skin Deep? Love your enemies

A man comes to Jesus and asks him “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus asks him what the law says. He responds with the two greatest commandments “Love God” and “Love your neighbour.”  Jesus confirms that he has answered correctly. The man however isn’t satisfied. “Who is my neighbour?” He asks. ThenContinue reading “Skin Deep? Love your enemies”