Every year around Christmas we see nativity scenes. The details of the scenes differ but all of them show the baby Jesus in a manger with Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, and the Wise Men either standing or kneeling around him. These scenes serve a useful purpose by reminding everyone that Christmas is about Jesus, not Santa Claus. Unfortunately every nativity scene I have ever seen promotes an error. They show the Wise Men being present at the birth of Jesus. In fact they were nowhere near Bethlehem then and didn’t arrive until much later.
Here is Matthew’s description of the birth of Jesus.
When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus. (Matthew 1:24-25)
He doesn’t give any details about the birth except to tell us that Mary was still a virgin.
Luke 2:1-20 gives a more detailed description of Jesus’s birth. Joseph and Mary were forced to go to Bethlehem because of a decree by Caesar and Jesus was born there and placed in a manger. An angel revealed to a group of shepherds that the Messiah had been born and they came to see him. Read the rest of this entry
There is disagreement about how God wants us to live. If God would just speak to everyone in an audible voice that would eliminate all questions about God and enable us to serve him without any doubts or disagreements.
Or perhaps it wouldn’t. The Bible records a time when a crowd of people did hear God speak.
“Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.”
Everyone present heard the sound of the voice but not everyone understood it. Read the rest of this entry
When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose. Then the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.” The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown.
Who were these sons of God? There are three theories as to their identity. Read the rest of this entry
Is there intelligent life on other planets? That is a question people have been asking as long as we have known that there are other planets. When the telescope was invented astronomers discovered that some of the “stars” we see are actually worlds like our own and this led to speculation about whether or not there were people living on them. We now know that there is no other life in our solar system but the possibility remains that planets revolving around other stars might have intelligent inhabitants.
Christians are faced with another question. If humans ever do contact aliens will we have a responsibility to tell them about God and preach the gospel to them?
Peter and the other apostles were imprisoned by order of the high priest and were freed from prison by an angel.
But the high priest rose up, and all who were with him (that is, the party of the Sadducees), and filled with jealousy they arrested the apostles and put them in the public prison. But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, “Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life.” And when they heard this, they entered the temple at daybreak and began to teach.
Peter was imprisoned again when King Herod began persecuting the church.
About that time Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church. He killed James the brother of John with the sword, and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also.