Posts tagged 'theology'

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Death of Jesus …

    In the Gospels of Matthew and Mark, we are told that about the ninth hour (3 p.m.) Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”1 ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Death of Jesus …

    Each of the four Gospels speaks of the women who were present at Jesus’ crucifixion. The Gospel of Matthew says:

    There were also many women there, looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him, ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Death of Jesus …

    While each of the four Gospels give the same account of Jesus’ death on the cross, they each also include some unique details. The Gospel of Matthew is the account used here, and portions of the other three Gospels ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Death of Jesus …

    After Jesus had been interrogated by Pilate, mocked, treated with contempt by Herod and his men, and scourged, it was time for His death sentence to be carried out. Each of the four Gospels addresses the events of Jesus’ death, ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Death of Jesus …

    All four Gospels give an account of Jesus’ death on the cross.1 While each of these passages covers the same event, the four authors tell the story in their own ways. This article and upcoming articles about Jesus’ crucifixion ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Jesus Before Herod

    In each of the four Gospels1 we read of Jesus’ trial before Pontius Pilate. However, in only one Gospel do we read about Jesus being sent by Pilate to King Herod.

    In the Gospel of Luke, Pontius Pilate, the Roman procurator, stated that Jesus was not guilty. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Trial Before Pilate

    After being arrested, Jesus was taken to the house of Caiaphas, the chief priest. It was there that He faced His trial before the chief priests and the whole Council.1 When the chief priest said, “I adjure you by the living God, ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Gethsemane (Part 3)

    Jesus’ Trial and Peter’s Denial

    Each of the four Gospels1 gives an account of Jesus’ trial, conducted by the Jewish religious leadership. While the Gospels cover the same event, ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Gethsemane (Part 2)

    The Arrest

    Each of the four Gospels gives an account of Jesus’ arrest. The Gospel of Matthew will be the main focus in this post, and segments from the other Gospel accounts will also be included. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Gethsemane (Part 1)

    Jesus’ Prayer

    After finishing His final meal with His disciples,1 Jesus led them out to the Mount of Olives.2 It was there that He told His disciples that they would all fall away because of me this night.3 ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: John 17: Jesus’ Prayer …

    Jesus’ prayer for His disciples, which we started going over in the previous article, continues on to the end of John 17. In verse 12, Jesus’ prayer referred to His disciples—saying that He had kept them, had guarded them, ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: John 17: Jesus’ Prayer …

    Having told His disciples that He was going away to “Him that sent me” (John 16:5), and that the Helper—the Holy Spirit—would come to guide them into all truth (John 16:13), Jesus then began to pray to the Father. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Jesus—His Life and Message: John 16:23–33

    Having told His disciples that they would weep and lament at His departure from this world while the world would rejoice,1 Jesus added that while they would experience sorrow for the present, He would see them again, ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: John 16:13–22

    Earlier in this Gospel, Jesus spoke to His disciples about the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom He would send to them. He said, The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: John 16:1–12

    In John chapter 16, Jesus continues the discourse which began in chapter 15. There, He had spoken of the world hating Him and His disciples and touched on the persecution the disciples would face in the future. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Jesus—His Life and Message: John 15: If the …

    Earlier in John chapter 15, Jesus told His disciples that they were His friends. He reminded them that He had told them everything He had heard from His Father, that He had chosen and appointed them, ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: John 15: Abide in …

    At the end of John chapter 14, Jesus informed His disciples that He was going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe.1...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: John 14: I Go …

    In this last segment of John chapter 14, Jesus is still speaking with His disciples after Judas Iscariot has left the dinner. Having told His disciples that the words He had spoken to them were not His own, ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Jesus—His Life and Message: John 14: The Helper

    John chapter 14, which we started going over in the previous article, continues with Jesus speaking to His disciples just prior to His arrest and trial. Earlier, He had spoken to them about believing in Him. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: John 14: The Way, …

    John chapter 14 continues in the same setting as chapter 13, where Jesus was eating a meal with His disciples. Once Judas, the betrayer, had departed and after Jesus had told the apostle Peter that he was going to deny Him ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Washing the Disciples’ Feet …

    The previous article ended with Jesus stating, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”1 We were also told that His disciples were uncertain of whom He spoke.2 This news took them by surprise. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Washing the Disciples' Feet …

    In the previous article,1 we read how, as Jesus was washing the feet of His disciples, the apostle Peter objected to having Him wash his feet. In response, Jesus said to Peter, You are clean, but not every one of you,2...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Washing the Disciples' Feet …

    In the Gospel of John, Jesus’ public ministry comes to an end in chapter 12. For the most part, the next five chapters focus on His final teaching to His disciples.

    Before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Passover

    As the day of Passover was approaching, Jesus’ disciples asked Him what arrangements should be made for the Passover meal. Meanwhile, in the days preceding the Passover/Feast of Unleavened Bread, ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Moving Toward His Passion …

    The previous article addressed the end of Jesus’ public ministry. At this point in both the synoptic Gospels1 and the Gospel of John, the focus moves on to the events of His passion and death. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The End of His …

    In John chapter 12, Jesus stated,

    “While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” When Jesus had said these things, he departed and hid himself from them.1 ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Greeks

    The Gospel of John tells of an event, just prior to the passion and death of Jesus, which is not included in the synoptic Gospels.1 It describes Jesus’ encounter with some Greeks who desired to see Him. It is significant ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Final Judgment by the …

    The previous two articles in this series, The Coming of the Son of Man (Parts 1 and 2), covered Matthew chapter 24, part of which addressed endtime events and Jesus’ return. The latter part of Matthew 24, verses 45–51, ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Coming of the …

    In the previous article, we read Jesus’ statement that heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.1 He went on to say,

    Concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.2 ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Coming of the …

    The previous article, the last of the series about the Jewish temple, ended with Jesus telling the people of Judea that tribulation would come upon them when the Romans would destroy the temple and the city of Jerusalem. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Prediction About the Temple …

    Like Mark chapter 13, Matthew chapter 24 begins with Jesus predicting the destruction of the Jewish temple.

    Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Prediction About the Temple …

    In the previous article, we saw that Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked Jesus about events which He had predicted, and what sign there would be that these things were about to happen.

    Jesus began by warning them ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Prediction About the Temple …

    Jesus’ prediction of the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem is recounted in the three Synoptic Gospels.1 Along with addressing the destruction of the temple, these passages also include information regarding the last days. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Jesus’ Question and the …

    In chapter 12 of the Gospel of Mark, a number of topics are covered, including the parable of the tenants, the paying of taxes, and the resurrection. At the end of this chapter, two additional topics are covered: ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Seven Brothers

    Each of the Synoptic Gospels describes an incident when the Sadducees asked Jesus a question about the resurrection of the dead.1 The account in the Gospel of Luke will be the focus of this post. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Question of Authority

    Each of the Synoptic Gospels1 speak of a time when the Jewish religious leaders questioned Jesus as to who had given Him authority to do the things He was doing.2 These Gospels also give the account of Jesus’ response ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Barren Fig Tree

    In the Gospels of both Matthew and Mark, we find an account of Jesus being hungry and hoping to pick some figs from a nearby tree.1 The focus here will be on the account in the book of Mark. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Entry into Jerusalem

    In this article, we’ll look at the Gospel account of Jesus’ return to Jerusalem for the last time. All four Gospels give an account of His entry into the capital city.1 The focus in this article will be on the account in the Gospel of Luke, ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Anointing at Bethany

    In John chapter 11, we’re told that Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead.1 As a result of this miracle, the chief priests and the Pharisees agreed that Jesus needed to be put to death, and they ordered that anyone ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Zacchaeus

    The Gospel of Luke tells of Jesus’ surprising interaction with Zacchaeus, a Jewish man who was a chief tax collector for the Roman government.

    [Jesus] entered Jericho and was passing through. And there was a man named Zacchaeus. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Living Christianity: The Ten Commandments (Contentment)

    The tenth commandment stands out among the others because it focuses on our inner thoughts and desires rather than outward sinful actions. For example, while the eighth commandment forbids the act of theft, ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Sons of Zebedee

    Each of the Synoptic Gospels1 gives an account of a request that two of the disciples, James and John, who were brothers, made to Jesus.2 We’ll focus on the account in the Gospel of Mark, and points will be brought in from the Gospel of Matthew. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Healing of the Ten …

    The Gospel of Luke tells of an instance when Jesus healed ten people who were afflicted by leprosy, and what occurred afterward.

    On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Pharisees Plot

    The Gospel of John provides a behind-the-scenes look at a meeting of the Jewish leadership as they deliberated what to do about Jesus and planned a course of action. Prior to this meeting, we read of Jesus ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Living Christianity: The Ten Commandments (Truthfulness)

    The ninth commandment states:

    You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.3

    This commandment addresses truthfulness. It is presented in the context of giving witness in a trial, ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Three Incidents

    Within the Gospels, there are a number of verses which describe incidents in Jesus’ life or statements He made that are somewhat “stand-alone” in that they aren’t connected to what precedes or follows them in the text. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Divorce and Remarriage

    All three of the Synoptic Gospels—Matthew, Mark, and Luke—touch on the topics of divorce and remarriage. The Gospel of Luke addresses them with only one verse:

    Everyone who divorces his wife ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Are You the Christ?

    The Gospel of John tells of Jesus attending a religious festival during which His opponents demanded to know if He was the Messiah. His response almost cost Him His life. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Living Christianity: The Ten Commandments (You Shall Not …

    Why Work?

    The previous article in this series addressed the topic of work. It showed how, before sin entered the world, God instructed Adam and Eve to work ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Two Unique Healings

    In the Gospel of Mark, there are accounts of Jesus healing two men who were in need—one who was deaf and had a speech impediment, and another who was blind. In both instances, Jesus performed the healing ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Jesus and the Scribe

    Jesus’ interaction with a particular scribe who was favorably impressed by His teaching is recounted in all three synoptic Gospels.1 The focus here will be on the version found in the Gospel of Mark. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Living Christianity: The Ten Commandments (You Shall Not …

    Work

    The eighth commandment, you shall not steal, addresses the protection of property by commanding that what belongs to one person must not be stolen by another. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Living Christianity: The Ten Commandments (You Shall Not …

    Stewardship

    As explained in the introductory article about the eighth commandment, you shall not steal, God is the ultimate owner of all that exists, ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Jesus and the Children

    Each of the three synoptic Gospels—Matthew, Mark, and Luke—tells of Jesus’ interaction with children who were brought to Him to receive His blessing. The account in the Gospel of Luke will be the focus here, ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Jesus—His Life and Message: A Family Dispute, True …

    Throughout the Gospels there are a number of short, stand-alone accounts of things that Jesus and others said and did. Sometimes these events or sayings are only a few sentences long. In this article, and in some future ones, ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Living Christianity: The Ten Commandments (You Shall Not …

    Introduction

    The eighth commandment states, You shall not steal.4 Like the other commandments, this short statement is like the title of a subdirectory which opens up to a number of topics, ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: A Brother’s Sin

    In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus taught His disciples what to do when one disciple/believer sins against another. In any community of believers, there will be times when one believer wrongs another. It is inevitable, ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Living Christianity: The Ten Commandments (Homosexuality)

    In the course of exploring the seventh commandment, “You shall not commit adultery,”3 the topics which we have covered thus far in this series are marriage, sex, divorce and remarriage, birth control, infertility, adoption, and pornography. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Charge to the …

    All three Synoptic Gospels1 include the account of Jesus sending out His disciples on a mission trip.2 He gave them instructions regarding what to preach, what not to take with them, and where to stay. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Women Supporters and Disciples

    In chapter 7 of the Gospel of Luke we read the account of a sinful woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair, then anointed His feet with costly ointment.1 Directly following this, in the next chapter, ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Living Christianity: The Ten Commandments (Pornography)

    We’re continuing in this post with our sub-section of articles on the Ten Commandments as they relate to human relationships and sexuality. The seventh commandment states that “you shall not commit adultery.”3 ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Healing the Blind Man

    The account of Jesus healing a blind man is found in all three synoptic Gospels.1 The Gospels of Luke and Mark tell of Jesus healing one blind man, and in the Gospel of Matthew, we read of two blind men being healed. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Jesus and the Tax …

    There are several descriptions in the Gospels of Jesus’ interactions with Jewish tax collectors, considered to be some of the most despised amongst the people. All three of the Synoptic Gospels1 contain the story ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Living Christianity: The Ten Commandments (Infertility and Adoption)

    In recent articles we’ve looked at biblical perspectives on marriage, divorce, and birth control. The topics of infertility and adoption, which will be covered in this article, also fall under the category of marriage and sex. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Adulterous Woman

    Within the account of the Feast of Tabernacles, the book of John inserts the story of a woman who was caught in the act of adultery (John 7:53–8:11). I didn’t include these verses in my commentary ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Living Christianity: The Ten Commandments (Birth Control)

    As we continue to explore the seventh commandment—“You shall not commit adultery”—in relation to the Christian ethical view of marriage and sex, we move on to the topic of birth control. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Feast of Tabernacles …

    When we left off in the previous article, Jesus had just made the point that the Jewish listeners who were claiming Abraham as their father were not truly his children. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Living Christianity: The Ten Commandments (Divorce and Remarriage)

    The biblical foundation of marriage is found in the first chapter of Genesis, where we read that God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Living Christianity: The Ten Commandments (Marriage and Sex, …

    As we saw in Marriage and Sex Part One, marriage is a covenant, a sacred bond, which is entered into by a man and a woman, in which they make a pledge to each other before God, asking Him to be a witness ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Living Christianity: The Ten Commandments (Marriage and Sex, …

    The next topic in this series on Christian ethics is the seventh commandment, “You shall not commit adultery.”2 The definition of adultery according to the American Heritage Dictionary is Consensual sexual intercourse ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Father and the …

    At the end of the previous article, we read that Jesus stated, The works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me.1 Earlier in this chapter, ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Father and the …

    At the end of the previous article, we saw Jesus state that those who hear His word and believe in the One who sent Him have eternal life, that they have passed from death to life.1 He then continued, ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Father and the …

    In the fifth chapter of the Gospel of John, Jesus healed a man who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years.1 It was the Sabbath, the day when no work was supposed to be done. Jesus said to the man, ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Living Christianity: The Ten Commandments (Safeguarding Human Life, …

    Aging and Death, 2

    As we saw in Part 1 of Aging and Death, death came into the world because of Adam’s sin, and thus each of us will eventually die; and most of us will pass on after our bodies have weakened due to old age. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Living Christianity: The Ten Commandments (Safeguarding Human Life, …

    Aging and Death, 1

    In this series so far, I’ve addressed topics of defending life (self-defense, war) as well as the taking of life (suicide, euthanasia, and abortion). The focus in this two-part article will be aging and natural death. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Feast of Tabernacles …

    In the middle of the seven-day Feast of Tabernacles, Jesus left Galilee and went to Jerusalem. While there, He went into the temple and began teaching. He faced opposition from the Jewish religious leadership, who wanted to have Him arrested but failed. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Feast of Tabernacles …

    The first four articles about the Feast of Tabernacles covered Jesus’ interaction with others during the festival as described in John chapter 7. At the end of chapter 7, the Pharisees dismissed Nicodemus’ defense of Jesus ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Feast of Tabernacles …

    The Gospel of John speaks about several encounters Jesus had with the Pharisees during His visit to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles. The first encounter took place in the middle of the feast ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Feast of Tabernacles …

    As we saw in the previous two articles, halfway through the Feast of Tabernacles Jesus went from Galilee to Jerusalem to attend the festival. While there, He taught in the temple, and some of those who heard His teaching opposed Him. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Feast of Tabernacles …

    Sometime after Jesus’ brothers went to Jerusalem to attend the Feast of Tabernacles, Jesus also traveled there. We’re told that He went up, not publicly but in private.1 He didn’t travel in a group with His brothers—which would have been normal, ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Feast of Tabernacles …

    The seventh and eighth chapters of the Gospel of John cover Jesus’ teachings while He was in Jerusalem during part of the Feast of Tabernacles, also known as the Feast (or Festival) of Booths. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Temple Tax

    At the end of Matthew chapter 17, we read of an incident which occurred in Capernaum.

    When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax went up to Peter and said, “Does your teacher not pay the tax?”1...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Martha, Martha

    Three times within the Gospels we read about Jesus’ interaction with two sisters and their brother who were His close friends—Martha, Mary, and Lazarus. Jesus was particularly close to this family, ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Elijah, John, and Jesus

    In the previous post, we saw that during Jesus’ transfiguration on the mountain, a bright cloud had come over Jesus and the disciples who accompanied Him, and Jesus’ face shone, His clothes became white, ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Transfiguration

    The transfiguration of Jesus was a unique event within His ministry. The only other comparable moment happened earlier on, when He stood in the Jordan River and was baptized by John the Baptist. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Living Christianity: The Ten Commandments (Safeguarding Human Life, …

    Abortion

    Of all the subtopics in this series regarding safeguarding human life, abortion is the most difficult to write about. It’s a controversial topic, which people on both sides of the issue are passionate about. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Living Christianity: The Ten Commandments (Safeguarding Human Life, …

    Euthanasia

    None of us know when our death will come, and as Christians we believe that the timing of our death is in God’s hands.2 I imagine that most of us hope to live long and happy lives, ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Living Christianity: The Ten Commandments (Safeguarding Human Life, …

    Suicide

    In researching the topic of suicide, I read a thoughtful and prayerful introduction to the subject which I felt expressed the difficulty of writing on this topic. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Living Christianity: The Ten Commandments (Safeguarding Human Life, …

    War

    As we saw in the previous article, the sixth commandment, Thou shalt not kill, allows a person to morally use self-defense to protect their life as well as the lives of others. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Living Christianity: The Ten Commandments (Safeguarding Human Life, …

    Self-Defense

    The Bible teaches that God created human beings in His image.

    God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. … So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”1 ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Living Christianity: The Ten Commandments (Authority, Part 4)

    Employers’ Authority

    So far in this series we’ve looked at parental and governmental authority. In this article, we will look at another aspect of authority in regard to the relationship between employers and employees. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Living Christianity: The Ten Commandments (Authority, Part 3)

    Governmental Authority (Continued)

    While Scripture teaches that civil government is God-ordained and that Christians should be subject to the government,1 it also stresses that government has the responsibility ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Peter’s Rebuke

    In the previous article, we read about how in Matthew chapter 16 Simon Peter profoundly responded to Jesus’ question, “Who do you say that I am?”1 He stated: “You are the Christ [the Messiah], ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Peter’s Profession of Faith

    As Jesus’ disciples lived with Him, learned from Him, and witnessed the miracles He performed, over time they developed an understanding that Jesus was the long-awaited promised Messiah. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Isaiah’s Prophecy

    In Conflict with the Pharisees parts 1–4, we saw how some of the religious leaders of Jesus’ day, known as the Pharisees, were vehemently opposed to Jesus and His message. In Matthew chapter 12, ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Living Christianity: The Ten Commandments (Authority, Part 2)

    Governmental Authority

    As we saw in the previous article,2 believers are commanded to honor their father and mother. Whatever age we are, from child to adult, ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Living Christianity: The Ten Commandments (Authority, Part 1)

    Parental Authority

    In the previous three articles, we looked at the first four of the Ten Commandments, which primarily address people’s relationship with God. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Living Christianity: The Ten Commandments (Part 3)

    The fourth commandment is the last of the commandments that focus on humanity’s duty to God. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Living Christianity: The Ten Commandments (Part 2)

    In the previous article, we went over the first two commandments regarding our duty to God. The focus on humanity’s duty to God continues with the third commandment, which states: You shall not take the name of the LORD ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Living Christianity: The Ten Commandments (Part 1)

    As explained earlier in this series, the framework that will be used for covering Christian ethics will be the Ten Commandments. Generally, authors divide the Ten Commandments into two groups ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Conflict with the Pharisees …

    This is the last in a short series of articles about Jesus’ conflict with the Pharisees, focusing on the things Jesus said in Matthew chapter 23. At the end of the previous article, Jesus drew an analogy involving unclean insects ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Conflict with the Pharisees …

    Part two of Conflict with the Pharisees explored the first twelve verses of Matthew 23, in which Jesus warned the crowds and His disciples that they should not follow the Pharisees’ example, as they didn’t practice what they preached. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Conflict with the Pharisees …

    Throughout all four of the Gospels, we read of the Pharisees’ ongoing opposition to Jesus and His teachings. Another religious group at the time of Jesus was the Sadducees. The Sadducees tended to be wealthy, ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Conflict with the Pharisees …

    All four of the Gospels speak of Jesus’ strained relationship with the Pharisees. The Pharisees were a body of Jewish religious leaders who meticulously adhered to both the written laws found in the Torah, ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Six Sayings (Luke 12:1–10)

    In the beginning of Luke chapter 12, we read that thousands of people were gathered together to hear Jesus. In their presence, He gave instruction to His disciples in the form of six sayings. While others could hear ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Living Christianity: Consequences of Sin

    In the previous article, we looked at the blessings of obeying God’s commands.1 It is also wise and helpful to consider the consequences of sin in our lives.2 Theologian Wayne Grudem gives this definition of sin: ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Living Christianity: The Blessings of Obedience to God

    Each of us is regularly faced with making both moral and nonmoral decisions. Choosing what food to order at a restaurant, what color to paint your bedroom, whether or not to buy a new pair of gloves, ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Living Christianity: The Old and New Covenants

    In the introduction to this series I mentioned that I would be using the Ten Commandments as the framework to explore Christian moral ethics. Some might wonder why using the Old Testament Laws of Moses, ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Living Christianity: Introduction

    As Christians, we understand that Scripture teaches that we are to live in alignment with God’s Word. We’re called to be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Light

    After Jesus rebuked those of His generation who were seeking a sign and told them they would receive no sign,1 He proceeded to speak about light in three short sayings. He started with a reference to physical light, ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Jonah and the Queen

    Throughout the Gospels, the scribes and Pharisees are portrayed as being in conflict with Jesus—questioning, criticizing, accusing, and eventually causing His execution. In Matthew chapter 12 we read of the Pharisees ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Persecution

    In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus spoke to His disciples about the opposition and persecution they would receive as they went out to preach the gospel. In chapter 10, Jesus sent out His disciples with instructions ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Mission of the …

    In the previous article, we saw how Jesus spoke about the judgment that the towns which didn’t receive His seventy-two messengers would face, which would be greater than that of the Old Testament city of Sodom, ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Mission of the …

    As mentioned in the previous article (Fire from Heaven), the Gospel of Luke contains descriptions of Jesus’ life not included in the other Gospels, including a section that commentators refer to as the “travel narrative,” ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Fire from Heaven (Luke …

    The Gospel of Luke describes several events in Jesus’ life which aren’t recorded in the other Gospels, some of which will be covered in this and the next few articles. The first of these is found toward the end of Luke chapter 9, ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Jesus on Love (Part …

    In part one, we saw that Jesus taught His disciples the principle of loving one’s enemies. He gave examples of behavior which would put this principle into action:

    Do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Jesus on Love (Part …

    In each of the synoptic Gospels,1 Jesus quotes two commandments from the Old Testament. The first is from the book of Deuteronomy:

    You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.2 ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • The Deity of Jesus (Part 4)

    The focus of much of the New Testament is the life, sacrificial death, and resurrection of Jesus, and the impact He had on humanity as its Savior. His Incarnation and sacrifice are how we are able to enter into an eternal relationship with God. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • The Deity of Jesus (Part 3)

    In the preceding two articles, we saw that the glory, honor, worship, and prayer directed to God the Father are shared by Jesus as God the Son. He also shares the attributes of omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence with God. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • The Deity of Jesus (Part 2)

    The first part of this series focused on how the glory and honor given in the New Testament to Jesus is the same as that given to God the Father. We worship, pray to, love, and obey Jesus in the same way we do so in our devotion to God. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • The Deity of Jesus (Part 1)

    Christians believe that God is a Trinity—God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit—and that He is also One.1 We believe that God the Son became incarnate, that He was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The “I Am” Sayings

    The Vine

    Jesus’ final “I Am” saying, like His statement I am the way, and the truth, and the life, was spoken on the night before He died. Judas, who betrayed Him, had left the gathering, ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The “I Am” Sayings

    The Way, the Truth, and the Life

    The next “I Am” statement from Jesus that we will look at was made during His last supper with His disciples. This is recorded in John chapter 14, ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The “I Am” Sayings

    The Good Shepherd

    In the first part of John chapter 10, Jesus stated:

    Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers …

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The “I Am” Sayings

    The Door

    In John chapter 10, Jesus made two “I Am” statements: Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep1 and I am the good shepherd.2 ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The “I Am” Sayings

    The Resurrection and the Life

    Just before Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead,1 He spoke to Lazarus’ sister Martha and said:

    “I am the resurrection and the life. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Covenant—Part 3

    As we saw in part two of this series, the Israelites broke the covenant through their idolatry. Then God forgave them due to Moses’ supplication, and the covenant was renewed. Later Moses, under God’s direction, ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Covenant—Part 2

    In part one of this series, we read about how all of the Jewish people who followed Moses out of Egypt came to the base of Mount Sinai to hear God give them the Ten Commandments. They agreed to keep these, ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Covenant—Part 1

    Last year, during my morning devotions, I read the book of Leviticus. It’s never been high on my “favorite books of the Bible” list, but I decided to wade through it. Generally my attitude about the books of Leviticus, ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The “I Am” Sayings

    The Light of the World

    The second of Jesus’ “I Am” sayings is found in John chapter 8.

    Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The “I Am” Sayings

    The Bread of Life (Part 2)

    In Part One, we read how Jesus declared that He is the bread of life,1 the bread of God who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world,2 ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The “I Am” Sayings

    The Bread of Life (Part 1)

    Within the Gospel of John, we see how Jesus uses various metaphors to describe Himself: “I am the bread of life,”1 “I am the light of the world,”2 ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Healing from a Distance …

    In the Gospel of John we read of Jesus’ third and last healing from a distance. We’re told that Jesus was in Jerusalem for the Passover Feast, and that many people believed in Him because of the miracles He was performing.[1] ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Healing from a Distance …

    When Jesus healed the centurion’s servant,1 He not only performed a miracle from a distance, He also healed a foreigner—a rare thing in His ministry, which was for the most part confined to the Jewish people within Israel. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Healing from a Distance …

    Within the Gospels, there are three times when Jesus heals a person who is not in His physical presence. Two of those times, the person who receives healing is a non-Jewish foreigner, and the third time ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Jesus Is God

    In a recent article I gave some examples from Scripture of how the Holy Spirit, as Jesus’ successor after His Ascension, worked on the disciples’ behalf in much the same way as Jesus had.1 Jesus, as God, sent the Holy Spirit, ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Discipleship (Part 6)

    As we’ve seen in the five previous articles regarding discipleship, Jesus taught that believing in and following Him call for a reorientation of our priorities so that God has our primary allegiance. Our family, loved ones, desires, possessions, ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Discipleship (Part 5)

    In the four previous articles about discipleship, we looked at how following Jesus calls for reorienting our lives to give Him priority in our loyalties, personal relationships, possessions, and desires. Now we will look at how Jesus ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Discipleship (Part 4)

    In looking at what Jesus said about believing and living His teachings as a disciple, it becomes evident that true belief in Him calls for modifying our priorities. As seen in earlier articles on this topic, Jesus said that believers are called to be loyal ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Discipleship (Part 3)

    In the previous article about discipleship, we looked at how Jesus made some strong statements about following Him. Jesus wanted to make clear that being His disciple came with a price, and the requirements weren’t easy. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Discipleship (Part 2)

    Earlier in this series, Jesus’ call to His first disciples was covered. Throughout the Gospels, there are references to some disciples by name: the brothers Peter and Andrew, and James and John; ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Discipleship (Part 1)

    The Gospels tell us the story of Jesus’ life, ministry, death, and resurrection, and they also address what He taught those who followed Him as disciples. Throughout the four Gospels we read about Jesus’ interactions with His followers, ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Miracles (Part 18)

    Raising the Dead (Part 4)

    In this article we’ll continue the story of Lazarus that we started in the previous one. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Miracles (Part 17)

    Raising the Dead (Part 3)

    The third and last description of Jesus raising someone from the dead is found only in the Gospel of John. This account contains much more detail ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Miracles (Part 16)

    Raising the Dead (Part 2)

    An account of Jesus raising a young girl from the dead is documented in all three synoptic Gospels, unlike the account of His raising a widow’s son ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Miracles (Part 15)

    Raising the Dead (Part 1)

    Having looked at Jesus’ miracles of healing of various diseases as well as His power to cast out demons, our focus in this series ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Miracles (Part 14)

    Casting Out Demons (Part 4)

    In this last article about Jesus’ exorcisms and His authority to cast out demons, the focus will be on His response to the religious leaders’ claim ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Miracles (Part 13)

    Casting Out Demons (Part 3)

    The second of two accounts of Jesus casting out demons which will be covered in this series occurred on the southeast side of the Sea of Galilee. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Miracles (Part 12)

    Casting Out Demons (Part 2)

    Throughout the synoptic Gospels1 we read of instances when Jesus cast out demons. Exorcism was an important part of His ministry of proclaiming liberty to the captives ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Miracles (Part 11)

    Casting Out Demons (Part 1)

    Throughout the Gospels, we read about the miracles Jesus performed, which attest to His power and authority. One aspect of His miracle-working power, ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Miracles (Part 10)

    Nature Miracles (Part 4)

    One miracle that Jesus performed appears immediately after the feeding of the five thousand in the Gospels of Matthew,1 Mark,2 and John.3 ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Miracles (Part 9)

    Nature Miracles (Part 3)

    The three synoptic Gospels1 tell the story of Jesus calming a storm that threatened the lives of those in a boat He was on, and presumably of those on other boats ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Miracles (Part 8)

    Nature Miracles (Part 2)

    The miracle of feeding the five thousand is the only miracle performed by Jesus that is recorded in all four Gospels.1 While the placement within each Gospel differs, ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Miracles (Part 7)

    Nature Miracles (Part 1)

    The Gospels record many of Jesus’ miracles, including numerous healings, the casting out of demons, and even raising the dead. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Miracles (Part 6)

    Sabbath Miracles (Part 3)

    In this article, we’ll look at the healing of the man at the pool of Bethesda. This will be the last Sabbath healing covered in this part of the series, ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • The Easter Effect

    Easter week is just ahead—the week in which we read about and meditate on the events of the last days of Jesus’ earthly life: telling the disciples that He would be crucified; the chief priests and elders gathering ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Miracles (Part 5)

    Sabbath Miracles (Part 2)

    Besides the healing of the man with the withered hand on the Sabbath (covered in Miracles part four), there are other accounts of healings on the Sabbath ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Miracles (Part 4)

    Sabbath Miracles (Part 1)

    Throughout the Gospels, we read of Jesus healing people on the Sabbath and of the opposition He encountered when He did. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Son of Man

    Throughout the four Gospels, the term “Son of Man” is used numerous times by Jesus. Since it is frequently used, it’s helpful to understand its background and meaning, which is the purpose of this article. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Miracles (Part 3)

    Healing and Forgiveness

    The story of Jesus healing a paralyzed man is told in each of the synoptic Gospels (Mark 2:1–12; Matthew 9:1–8; Luke 5:17–26). While it is a healing story, it is also a story of controversy, ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Miracles (Part 2)

    Healing of the Leper

    As readers of the Gospels, we don’t know exactly how many miracles Jesus performed. We read phrases which tell us that all who had diseases pressed around Him to touch Him, ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Miracles (Part 1)

    One of the key aspects of Jesus’ ministry was the miracles He performed. The Gospels tell us of no less than 34 specific miracles. Fifteen other distinct times they refer to Jesus’ miraculous activity in more general ways, ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Sermon on the …

    Conclusion

    At the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew chapter 7 says:

    When Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Sermon on the …

    Four Sketches (Part 2)

    In Matthew chapter 7, toward the end of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus presented four sketches that express how believers should act in accordance with His teaching in the Sermon. We’ve read about the two gates ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Sermon on the …

    Four Sketches (Part 1)

    Jesus’ teaching about the Golden Rule concludes His discourse on discipleship within the Sermon on the Mount. The wrap-up to the Sermon in the second half of chapter 7 consists of four short sketches; ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Sermon on the …

    Do Unto Others

    As we near the end of the Sermon on the Mount, we come to a key saying which is often referred to as the “Golden Rule”:

    Whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Sermon on the …

    Ask, Seek, Knock

    Matthew chapter 7, the last chapter of the Sermon on the Mount, contains a number of succinct statements which don’t necessarily flow from one to the next, but which make important points for those who have entered the kingdom of God. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Sermon on the …

    Judge Not

    As we move on to Matthew chapter 7, the last chapter of the Sermon on the Mount, we read of Jesus telling His disciples not to be judgmental of others. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Sermon on the …

    Anxiety

    Having spoken about storing treasure in heaven rather than on earth, being generous, and serving God rather than mammon, Jesus then addressed anxiety:

    Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Sermon on the …

    Treasure--Here or There?

    The first half of Matthew chapter 6 covered having the right motivation in giving to the needy, praying, and fasting. It also included a lesson on how to pray, with the prayer Jesus taught His disciples. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Sermon on the …

    How to Pray (Part 6)

    This is the last in a series of articles about the portion of the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus taught His disciples how to pray.

    In the last post we covered two of the three “our/us” petitions, those which focus on our needs and the needs of our Christian brothers and sisters. We now move on to the last petition: ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Sermon on the …

    How to Pray (Part 5)

    This is the fifth in a series of articles about the portion of the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus taught His disciples how to pray. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Sermon on the …

    How to Pray (Part 4)

    This is the fourth in a series of articles about the portion of the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus taught His disciples how to pray (and how not to pray). ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Sermon on the …

    How to Pray (Part 3)

    This is the third in a series of articles about the portion of the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus taught His disciples how to pray (and how not to pray). 

    Jesus taught His disciples the Lord’s Prayer: ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Sermon on the …

    How to Pray (Part 2)

    After teaching His disciples that the proper motivation for prayer is communicating with God and entering into fellowship with Him, as well as advising them to avoid meaningless prayers full of vain repetitions, Jesus shared a prayer with His disciples (and us) which we can use in our time of communion with God. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Sermon on the …

    How to Pray (Part 1)

    In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus spoke about having the right attitude concerning prayer. He said that we should not pray for the purpose of being noticed by others, and for those who do so, that in itself will be their reward and they will receive no other. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Sermon on the …

    Right Motivation, Part 2

    In the previous article, we looked at the first of three examples Jesus gave in Matthew 6 regarding having the right motivation when engaging in religious activities—giving to those in need. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Sermon on the …

    Right Motivation, Part 1

    Having come to the end of Matthew chapter 5, which gave details as to how a believer’s “righteousness” was to be greater than that of the Pharisees, we now move on to chapter 6. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Women of Faith: In the Church Today

    (This is the last in a series of four articles that explore the role of women within the New Testament, in order to shed light on the significant part they played in the beginnings of Christianity, as well as the importance of their role in the church today.) ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Women of Faith: In Acts and the Epistles

    (This is part of a series of four articles that explore the role of women within the New Testament, in order to shed light on the significant part they played in the beginnings of Christianity, as well as the importance of their role in the church today.) ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Women of Faith: In the Gospels (Part 2)

    (This is part of a series of four articles that explore the role of women within the New Testament, in order to shed light on the significant part they played in the beginnings of Christianity, as well as the importance of their role in the church today.) ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Women of Faith: In the Gospels (Part 1)

    (This is part of a series of four articles that explore the role of women within the New Testament, in order to shed light on the significant part they played in the beginnings of Christianity, as well as the importance of their role in the church today.) ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Sermon on the …

    Love Your Enemies

    We’re going to take a look now at the last of the six examples in the Sermon where Jesus gave a fuller understanding of the Law of Moses. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Sermon on the …

    Non-Retaliation

    Jesus started the Sermon on the Mount with the Beatitudes, which spoke of blessings for the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, and those who are persecuted. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Which Bible Translation?

    From time to time people have written me asking which English Bible translation I feel is the best to use. Others have written about their personal belief that the King James translation of the Bible is the only translation that should be used (known as the “King James Only” position). ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Sermon on the …

    Vows and Oaths

    Following the same pattern as when He spoke about anger, lust, and divorce, Jesus went on to teach another aspect of how those in His kingdom should live. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Sermon on the …

    The Law and the Prophets (Part 4)

    Before delving in to this article, I want to acknowledge that the topic of divorce is very complex and personal and can be deeply emotional. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Sermon on the …

    The Law and the Prophets (Part Three)

    In part two of “The Law and the Prophets,” we covered the first of six examples Jesus gave within the Sermon on the Mount to illustrate godly righteousness which goes beyond what the scribes and Pharisees taught. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • More Like Jesus: Introduction and Background (Part 2)

    The first part of this introduction to the More Like Jesus series touched on the concept of being godly and Christlike, as expressed in the Old Testament and the Gospels. In this part, the focus will be on Christlikeness as expressed in the Epistles.1 ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • More Like Jesus: Introduction and Background (Part 1)

    One of my all-time favorite songs is “I Want to Be More Like Jesus.” Whenever I hear or sing it, I’m reminded of a key aspect of living my faith. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Immanuel

    Christmas represents one of the most significant events in human history—when God physically came into our world in the form of His Son, Jesus. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • The Stories Jesus Told: The Wheat and the …

    The parable of the wheat and the weeds, which only appears in the Gospel of Matthew, shares some similarities with the parable of the seed growing1 in Mark chapter 4 in terms of vocabulary used and ideas expressed, but it is also significantly different. ...(Video and audio included.)

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Sermon on the …

    The Law and the Prophets (Part 2)

    In part one, we read how Jesus stated that the righteousness of those who dwell in the kingdom of God must surpass that of the scribes and Pharisees.

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Sermon on the …

    The Law and the Prophets (Part 1)

    In the course of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus devoted a significant portion of the sermon to addressing the Law and the Prophets, meaning the Hebrew Scriptures—what Christians refer to as the Old Testament. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Sermon on the …

    Salt and Light

    Jesus opened the Sermon on the Mount with the Beatitudes, which provide an overview of how those who follow Him should live ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Sermon on the …

    The Beatitudes (Part 2)

    Having covered the first three Beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount, we now move on to the remaining five. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Sermon on the …

    The Beatitudes (Part 1)

    Matthew chapter five tells us:

    Seeing the crowds, he [Jesus] went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Sermon on the …

    The Sermon on the Mount is one of the best known of Jesus’ teachings. While it doesn’t cover the full spectrum of His message, it provides guidance on how to live as Christians within God’s kingdom. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • The Stories Jesus Told: The Treasure and the …

    The Gospel of Matthew contains two short kingdom parables, “The Treasure in the Field” and “The Pearl of Great Price,” which are absent from the other Gospels. These are twin parables which teach about the value ... (Video and audio included.)

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Kingdom of God …

    As discussed in the first two articles on this subject, the kingdom of God is a present reality which will reach its fullness at the end of time. Entrance to the kingdom requires coming into a relationship with God through His Son, ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Kingdom of God …

    As noted in part one, Jesus’ miracles were an indicator that the kingdom of God had come and was present, at least in part, during His ministry. Jesus also conveyed the meaning of the kingdom of God ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Kingdom of God …

    The central theme of Jesus’ teaching throughout the Synoptic Gospels was the “kingdom of God.” Within these three Gospels, there are 76 distinct kingdom sayings and another 27 which are shared among the three. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Authority

    As believers, we are well aware that Jesus is the Son of God who died for our sins so that we could be in relationship with God. When we read the events of Jesus’ life, we know the whole story from beginning to end. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Hometown Visit

    The three Synoptic Gospels tell the story of Jesus’ visit to His hometown of Nazareth and the rejection He met while there. Luke presents Jesus’ return to Nazareth earlier in his Gospel than Matthew and Mark,1 ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Synagogues and Sabbath

    Throughout the Gospels we read of Jesus’ teaching and healing activities in synagogues. Jesus’ custom was to go to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, as was normal for practicing Jews in His day ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Coming on the Scene

    The Gospel of John ends with the words: Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Disciples (Part 2)

    During His ministry, Jesus chose and commissioned twelve of His disciples to be apostles. The Gospel of Luke tells it this way:

    In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Disciples (Part 1)

    After John’s arrest, Jesus returned to Galilee and at some point moved from His hometown of Nazareth to take up residence in Capernaum.

    Leaving Nazareth he went and lived in ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Wedding and Wine

    Having told us about Jesus’ first followers, the Gospel of John goes on to describe how Jesus attended a wedding in Cana of Galilee. Cana, a town about fourteen kilometers north of Nazareth,1 was the hometown of  ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: First Contact

    After His temptation in the wilderness, Jesus returned to Galilee and began His ministry of preaching, teaching, and doing miracles. Matthew and Mark both place the beginning of Jesus’ ministry after John the Baptist had been ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Teaching Methods

    Jesus was a tremendous teacher who knew how to captivate His audience and powerfully deliver His message. There was something about the way He taught that attracted people to listen—so much so that crowds of ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Gospel Differences

    All of the events covered thus far in this series—Jesus’ birth, younger years, baptism, and temptation in the wilderness—predated the beginning of His ministry. Before delving into what the Gospels tell us about Jesus’ life, ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: The Test

    When Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, God’s voice proclaimed that Jesus was His Son. At that time, Jesus was empowered by the Holy Spirit for His ministry of preaching the kingdom of God and fulfilling ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • Jesus—His Life and Message: John and Jesus (Part …

    Early in Luke’s Gospel we have been told of the events surrounding John the Baptist’s birth, including the proclamation of the Angel Gabriel and the prophecy of John’s father Zechariah. The only thing we know of John’s youth ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • The Stories Jesus Told: The Father and the …

    This third parable in Luke chapter 15 is a continuation of Jesus’response to the scribes and Pharisees’ criticism of His keeping company with sinners. He began by telling the twin parables of the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin, ... (Video and audio included.)

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Jesus—His Life and Message: Jesus’ Birth (Part 5)

    The birth narratives in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke tell us the story of Jesus’ birth. These accounts also portray deep truths about what God was doing in His plan of salvation. To get the bigger picture concerning the event of God’s Son ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • The Name of Jesus

    Throughout the Bible, in both the Old and New Testaments, there are numerous references to the “name of the Lord.” People prayed, praised, swore oaths, fought battles, gave blessings, sang in, trusted in, prophesied in, ... (Audio included.)

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • The Heart of It All: The Holy Spirit

    The Gender of the Holy Spirit

    In the late 1970s and early ’80s our founder, David Berg, presented the concept of the Holy Spirit representing the womanly or motherly aspect of the Trinity. Scriptural support for this concept ...

    (Audio included.)

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • The Heart of It All: The Holy Spirit

    The Gifts of the Spirit, Part 2

    This article is a continuation of the brief explanations of the various gifts of the Spirit which began in Part 1.

    Distinguishing Between Spirits

    Distinguishing between ...

    (Audio included.)

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • The Heart of It All: The Holy Spirit

    The Gifts of the Spirit, Part 1

    Throughout the Gospels we read about Jesus’ life and ministry being empowered by the Holy Spirit. It was after His baptism in the Jordan River by John, when the heavens opened and the Spirit ...

    (Audio included.)

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • The Heart of It All: The Holy Spirit

    The Holy Spirit Working in Our Lives

    The Holy Spirit, manifested in the first disciples on the day of Pentecost and given to believers ever since, is a fulfillment of the prophecy from the book of Joel, ...

    (Audio included.)

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • The Heart of It All: The Holy Spirit

    The Holy Spirit and History

    In the previous article, we read various accounts from the book of Acts describing how the Holy Spirit came upon believers. In some instances, the Spirit was given at the same time that the person first believed. ...

    (Audio included.)

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • The Heart of It All: The Holy Spirit

    The Holy Spirit and the Primitive Church

    In the first two articles in this series, we looked at how the Holy Spirit came upon certain individuals for specific purposes within the Old Testament ...

    (Audio included.)

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • The Stories Jesus Told: The Good Samaritan, Luke …

    Many of us are familiar with the parable of the good Samaritan. However, because we live in cultures very different from that of ... (Video and audio included.)

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • The Stories Jesus Told: Introduction

    Jesus was an incredible teacher. His words, backed up by His actions, changed countless lives during His ministry on earth and have continued to do so for two millennia. ... (Video and audio included.)

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • The Heart of It All: The Holy Spirit

    The Holy Spirit and the Messiah

    In the previous article, we saw how the Spirit of the Lord was manifested in the Old Testament. God’s Spirit moved in the lives of specific individuals, ...

    (Audio included.)

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • The Heart of It All: The Holy Spirit

    The Holy Spirit in the Old Testament

    As discussed in an earlier article, the Holy Spirit is one of the Persons of the Trinity, and this Person is equally God along with the Father and the Son, Jesus. ...

    (Audio included.)

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • Easter—Yesterday, Today, and Forever!

    As Easter approaches, I have been reflecting on Jesus’ resurrection and its significance. What did it mean to His original disciples—all of those who believed in Him during His lifetime on earth? And what does it ...

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • The Heart of It All: Salvation

    Predestination?

    In the previous article, I wrote about the different views within Protestantism regarding the assurance of salvation or the possibility of losing one’s salvation. There is another notable ...

    (Audio included.)

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • The Heart of It All: Salvation

    Results—Justification, Adoption, and Regeneration

    In the previous articles about salvation, we have looked at four concepts that illustrate how God’s plan of redemption works—how it reconciles us with God ...

    (Audio included.)

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • The Heart of It All: Salvation

    Substitutionary Sacrifice and Reconciliation

    In the last article we covered propitiation and redemption (ransom), two of the four scriptural concepts that help us to understand how Jesus’ death saves ...

    (Audio included.)

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • The Heart of It All: Salvation

    Propitiation and Redemption

    In the previous article we saw that God’s plan for the redemption of humans was set in place before the creation of humanity, and that it was rooted in His love, mercy, and grace, ...

    (Audio included.)

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • The Heart of It All: Salvation

    God’s Plan

    The core teaching of the New Testament can be found in one of the most beautiful verses of Scripture:

    For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him ...

    (Audio included.)

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • The Heart of It All: Sin

    Are There Degrees of Sin?

    We have seen that through both “original sin” as well as the actual sins we commit, our “legal” standing with God is affected. Every sin we commit is an offense against His holiness; no matter how minor ...

    (Audio included.)

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • The Heart of It All: Sin

    Effects of Sin

    As human beings with sinful natures who universally sin, we all suffer the effects of sin. Sin affects our “legal” standing with God, in that we stand “guilty” before Him. It also affects our relationship with Him, ...

    (Audio included.)

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • The Heart of It All: Sin

    Humanity’s Sinful Nature

    We’ve discussed earlier that Scripture teaches that all humans sin and that sin is universal. The Bible speaks of humans being sinful from birth, which would indicate that humans are born ...

    (Audio included.)

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • The Heart of It All: Sin

    The Origin of Sin in the World

    The previous article on the topic of sin affirmed that sin first entered creation in the angelic or spiritual world, when the fallen angels sinned. The Bible explains the entrance of sin into the physical world ...

    (Audio included.)

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • The Heart of It All: Sin

    What Is Sin?

    This set of articles is going to address the topic of sin. It will cover the definitions of sin, the origins of sin and its effects on humanity and the world, and will touch on God’s plan for redemption from sin. ...

    (Audio included.)

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • The Fear of God

    I recently came across a topic that piqued my interest—the fear of God. The Bible speaks a fair bit about fearing God, and one can come away with the impression that we’re supposed to be afraid of God in the sense of being terrified ...

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • The Heart of It All: Humanity

    Why Humans?

    In these articles about humanity, we have seen that God created unique beings on this earth—beings that were made in His image and likeness. We’ve seen that human beings have many ...

    (Audio included.)

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • The Heart of It All: Humanity

    Material and Immaterial

    The Bible teaches that human beings consist of a material element and an immaterial element that together form the unity of a human being. The material element (the body) and the immaterial element ...

    (Audio included.)

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • The Heart of It All: Humanity

    Made in the Image and Likeness of God (Part 2)

    The previous article described the change that came about when sin entered humanity, the degradation of the image and likeness of God in humanity. Nevertheless, ...

    (Audio included.)

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • The Heart of It All: Humanity

    Made in the Image and Likeness of God (Part 1)

    God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” … So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him. As the verses quoted above state, ...

    (Audio included.)

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • The Heart of It All: Humanity

    The Creation of Man as Male and Female

    In the account of creation in Genesis chapter 1, human beings were the last things created. The universe and everything in it—the sun, moon, stars, planets, oceans, ...

    (Audio included.)

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • The Heart of It All: The Nature and …

    Conclusion

    When looking at God’s nature and character, we can see that God has many attributes, and these attributes are who He is. It’s not as if God is partly righteous ...

    (Audio included.)

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • The Heart of It All: The Nature and …

    God’s Omnipotence

    God, who created all things out of nothing, known as creation ex nihilo, is all-powerful. The traditional word for God’s infinite power is omnipotence, which comes from ...

    (Audio included.)

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • The Heart of It All: The Nature and …

    God’s Omnipresence

    When God created the universe and the world within it, He created matter, energy, time, and space. The world we live in is a three-dimensional material world, and we are limited ...

    (Audio included.)

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • The Heart of It All: The Nature and …

    God’s Omniscience (Part 2)

    In the previous article, God’s omniscience—including His self-knowledge; His knowledge of everything past, present, and future; and His hypothetical or middle knowledge ...

    (Audio included.)

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • The Heart of It All: The Nature and …

    God’s Omniscience (Part 1)

    Because God is the infinite and supreme Being, His knowledge is unlimited. He knows absolutely everything. The common theological terminology ...

    (Audio included.)

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • The Heart of It All: The Nature and …

    God’s Immutability

    The immutability of Godor His unchangeableness or constancy, as some theologians call itis part of His divine nature. It means that God doesn’t change in His Being, ...

    (Audio included.)

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • The Heart of It All: The Nature and …

    God’s Eternality

    God’s eternality is another aspect of His essential nature. God is eternal; He existed before the creation of the universe, and thus before time was created. ...

    (Audio included.)

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • The Heart of It All: The Nature and …

    God’s Self-Existence—His Aseity

    The first verse of the Bible, along with others, teaches that before the creation of the heavens and the earth, God existed. ...

    (Audio included.)

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • The Heart of It All: The Nature and …

    God’s Love

    In earlier articles I’ve written about different attributes of God, including holiness, righteousness, justice, wrath, mercy, patience, and grace. Now we move on ...

    (Audio included.)

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • The Heart of It All: The Nature and …

    God’s Wrath

    We have seen in earlier articles in this series that God’s nature and character includes His perfect holiness, righteousness, and justice. God’s wrath, or anger, ...

    (Audio included.)

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • The Heart of It All: The Nature and …

    Patience, Mercy, and Grace (Part 2)

    God’s mercy can be understood as God’s love and goodness toward those in misery and distress, those in need—even if they don’t deserve it. ...

    (Audio included.)

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • The Heart of It All: The Nature and …

    Patience, Mercy, and Grace (Part 1)

    Besides being holy, righteous, and just, God is also by nature and character patient, merciful, and gracious. In the Old Testament ...

    (Audio included.)

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • The Heart of It All: The Nature and …

    God’s Righteousness and Justice

    An attribute of God which is closely connected to His holiness is His righteousness—which means uprightness, goodness, virtue, ...

    (Audio included.)

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • The Heart of It All: The Nature and …

    God’s Holiness

    God possesses a different mode of being than all other beings. Only He is uncreated and infinite; everything else is created and finite, so He is different from ...

    (Audio included.)

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • The Heart of It All: The Nature and …

    God Is Spirit

    In John chapter 4, when Jesus was speaking to the Samaritan woman at the well, He told her: God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. ...

    (Audio included.)

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • The Heart of It All: The Nature and …

    The Living and Personal God

    In this series of articles, we are looking at a number of aspects of God’s nature, being, and character. We’ll start with looking at how God is alive and God is personal, ...

    (Audio included.)

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • The Heart of It All: The Nature and …

    Overview

    In the “Trinity” section of this series, we explored the three Persons of the triune God—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We reviewed the nature of the Trinity ...

    (Audio included.)

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • The Heart of It All: The Incarnation (Part …

    In the previous article we looked at how the church fathers in the first seven centuries worked through the doctrine of the Incarnation. We saw various teachings which attempted to explain the “mechanics” of how ...

    (Audio included.)

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • The Heart of It All: The Incarnation (Part …

    The quest to theologically define the person of Jesus and His human and divine natures mainly occurred in two time periods: firstly, in the fourth and fifth centuries, and then secondly in the nineteenth and twentieth. ...

    (Audio included.)

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • The Heart of It All: The Incarnation (Part …

    In the articles titled “The God-Man” and “The Trinity” we explored the biblical truth of Jesus’ deity—that He is truly God. In “The Incarnation” articles we will delve into the biblical explanation of Jesus’ humanity ...

    (Audio included.)

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • The Heart of It All: The Trinity (Part …

    As we’ve seen in part 1 and part 2 of the doctrine of the Trinity, it is not a simple doctrine to understand; some parts of it are incomprehensible to our natural reasoning, and as such, it is a mystery. ...

    (Audio included.)

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • The Heart of It All: The Trinity (Part …

    In part 1 of The Heart of It All: The Trinity, we saw that God is a tri-personal Being, consisting of three distinct persons—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—that each is fully God and that each ...

    (Audio included.)

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • The Heart of It All: The Trinity (Part …

    In the first two articles of The Heart of It All series we saw that the New Testament reveals the deity of Jesus, that Jesus is God. In reading the verses quoted in those sections, it’s clear that besides Jesus ...

    (Audio included.)

    by Peter Amsterdam


  • The Heart of It All: The God-Man (Part …

    In the first part of The God-Man, we covered some of the things that Jesus said and did that affirmed His deity. His disciples, those who lived and worked with Him for the years of His public ministry ...

    (Audio included.)

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • The Heart of It All: The God-Man (Part …

    The heart of our faith as Christians rests on the answer to one simple but extremely crucial question: Who is Jesus? In order to understand our faith, to understand the story of Jesus and what His life was about ...

    (Audio included.)

    by Peter Amsterdam

  • The Heart of It All: Introduction

    Something that I find particularly wonderful about Jesus is that His life-transforming gift of salvation is freely given to anyone who simply asks for it with a sincere and believing heart. One’s level of understanding ...

    (Audio included.)

    by Peter Amsterdam