Two lessons from the life of Daniel

Toy figure of Daniel in the lion's denThis was a Sunday sermon at Glenwood Church on 25 August 2013. An audio recording is available on the Glenwood website.

Daniel lived most of his life a long way from his home in Southern Israel, because when he was a teenager the Southern Kingdom called Judah where he lived was obliterated by the Babylonian Empire. He is also the central character in the Old Testament book called Daniel.

I believe that we can learn lessons from Daniel’s life and that his experiences can make sense for us today and help us as we strive to follow Jesus and live in a way that glorifies the God we follow, so I will be drawing out two lessons for us – one from Daniel’s witness as a young man, and one from his faithfulness when he is much older.

Read: Daniel chapter 1

It’s not a promising start, is it? Like many other people he knew, Daniel was forced to march several hundred miles away from his homeland to Babylon. In Jewish history this is known as the Exile, with a capital E.


Two lessons from the life of Moses

Moses action figureThis was a Sunday sermon at Glenwood Church on 11 August 2013. An audio recording is available on the Glenwood website.

Moses is a very important person in the Old Testament. He is the person to whom God reveals God’s name – ‘I am’. He is sent to Egypt to liberate the Hebrews who are enslaves there and after several plagues are visited upon Egypt, Pharoah agrees to let the Hebrews go.

Before they can leave Egypt they are chased down by the Egyptian army, but God opens up a passage through the Red Sea for them and the Egyptian army is destroyed when they try to follow. And you know all this, because you’ve heard the stories many times and maybe seen the cartoon ‘The Prince of Egypt’.

Moses is also important because he is the person who receives the divine Law from God on Mount Sinai. This is the foundation of the Jewish religion, the core of the Torah, the Jewish law, and so he is central to the development of Judaism, and by extension to Christianity, because Jesus, our Christ, was a Jew who observed the Torah, the Law. (more…)

The blind men who followed Jesus (Matthew chapter 9)

Question 190, from Ben

Matthew 9:27 says that blind men followed Jesus – I find that a little confusing, how on earth did they follow him if they were blind? I believe the event true, just curious about some information on how blind people got around in that era.

‘Blindness’ covers a variety of sight disorders in the New Testament, in the same way ‘leprosy’ refers to a number of different skin conditions as well as leprosy. It may be the men in question were partially sighted, extremely-short-sighted, or suffered from cataracts. In those instances they may have had enough peripheral vision to see and follow Jesus.

Even if they had been completely blind, Jesus was travelling in a large party that was drawing significant attention from other people. The two blind men would presumably have been used to finding their way around despite their blindness, and could have very easily been directed by members of the crowd. There is no indication that they had to follow Jesus a great distance before they reached him and were able to ask for healing. (more…)