The crowd had gathered, and they wanted someone released. In Jesus’ day, it was customary during Passover for a prisoner to be set free in commemoration of the Jews’ deliverance from bondage in Egypt.
A widower and a widow I know are both aged, shut-in, quite alone, and on the prayer list at their church. And they both have a true friend. The widower, who loves classical music, looks forward to alternate Tuesdays because a young man comes with a couple of tapes and spends the evening visiting, and they enjoy the music together.
The apostle Paul sat alone in a Roman prison facing his final weeks on earth. The wet cold of the dungeon must have pierced his bones as he penned a letter to his young friend Timothy, urging him to come before winter (4:21). He asked Timothy to bring a cloak with him, which would shield him from the gnawing chill, and to bring the scrolls, and especially the parchments.
Miriam Booth, daughter of the founder of the Salvation Army, was a brilliant and cultured woman who began her Christian work with great promise and unusual success. Very soon, however, disease brought her to the point of death. A friend told her it seemed a pity that a woman of her capabilities should be hindered by sickness from doing the Lord’s work. With deep insight and gentle grace, Miriam replied, “It’s wonderful to do the Lord’s work, but it’s greater still to do the Lord’s will!”
On that first Palm Sunday, one might have expected Jesus the King to enter Jerusalem on a mighty steed. But He chose instead a lowly donkey. Before He could come as a King to reign, He had to come as a Savior to die. Throughout His life on earth, Jesus was a man of striking contrasts—reflecting both His genuine humanity and His full deity.
I’m sure you’ve had it happen to you. You call the appliance store and ask for the service department. “Can you hold?” a cheerful voice asks, and before you know it you’re hearing music. Every so often a taped message assures you that your call will be answered. You wait and wait. You think, I could have driven over there and back by now! You feel forgotten and that nobody cares.
Imagine yourself in Daniel’s predicament. The king has told you, a Jewish teenager, what you’re going to eat and drink. But there’s a problem: God has said that the food on the king’s menu is prohibited. Could you stand up to that kind of pressure?
Derek was a drug abuser who came to Bill and Joanie Yoder for help. After they had spent hours answering his questions from the Bible, Derek said, “It seems to me that it would be pretty cheap to come to God after all I’ve done and say to Him, ‘Well, God, how about forgiving me?’ It would be different if I could say that I hadn’t known any better when I did the things I did. But I knew that the things I did were wrong, not just after I did them, but as I was doing them.”
John Hauberg and his wife live in a stunning home in Seattle. It is built mostly of glass inside and out. Hundreds of glass artifacts decorate the light-flooded rooms, and even the sinks, shelves, and mantelpieces are made of glass.