Spoiler Alert: God Wins


Isaiah 25:6-9
Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24
1 Corinthians 15:1-11
John 20:1-18


The prophet Isaiah described the ultimate victory of God over the false god. He anticipated the resurrection of the Son of Man, the Messiah.

The Lord of Hosts will make on this mount

For all the peoples

A banquet of rich viands,

A banquet of choice wines—

Of rich viands seasoned with marrow,

Of choice wines well refinedJSB


Isaiah often uses the mountain image. In 2:2 we read,

In the days to come,

The Mount of the Lord’s House

Shall stand firm above the mountains

And tower above the hills;

And all the nations

Shall gaze on it with joyJSB


Notice the addition of the Temple, the Lord’s House, present on the high mountain. As we continue to read the next couple of chapters, Isaiah pictures the tearing down of the mighty, leaving only God and the Temple lifted up.

Writers should note the use of imagery. A mountain is an easy symbol to use. How about a swamp? Desert? Flatland? Do what Isaiah does and bring in the symbol several times to reinforce the meaning of the symbol in your story.

John Steinbeck in The Grapes of Wrath used several images to symbolize the struggle of the Joad family. The most puzzling is the turtle struggling through the dust. Like the Joads, the turtle seeks water and a new life.

His book reminds us of the importance of truth in storytelling. The book was burned and banned because people thought it was communist inspired. The truth is easily twisted in the minds of our readers, just as the Word of God is twisted today. The Bible says, Judas went out and hanged himself. Go and do likewise. A little research will expose the lie, and yet people choose to believe statements just as absurd. All we can do is write the truth and know that God is pleased.

And He will destroy on this mount the shroud
That is drawn over the faces of all the peoples
And the covering that is spread

Over all the nations: JSB


In 2 Corinthians 4:3-6, Paul describes the veil placed over some people. His meaning is that people refuse to see what is right in front of them. In today’s Gospel reading, John describes what he saw. He was so shocked by the empty tomb that he did not dare to enter.

It should be easy for a writer to place a veil in front of the antagonist—make him unable to see the obvious. But why not the protagonist as well?

He will destroy death forever. JSB

John and Peter looked at the empty tomb but dared not hope. They may have remembered Jesus telling them he would rise again, but still…. They came around, gradually. Within days of rumors and reports, they must have been giddy. Our Master defeated death.

My Lord God will wipe the tears away
From all faces
And will put an end to the reproach of His people
Over all the earth—
For it is the Lord who has spoken.

Lest we doubt, God made it happen. Jesus never claimed he healed the sick and fed the hungry. He always credited God. Any story we write should leave no doubt that God is the source all that is good, even our bumbling efforts at the goodness thing.

There is a reason Jesus called himself the Son of Man. For thirty-three earth years (no idea how that translates to Heaven time-frame) the baby-boy-man named Yeshua lived a human life and died a human death. Like the rest of us, he depended on God. Unlike the rest of us, his connection with God was 100%. Two thousand years later we still debate just how that worked.

In that day they shall say:
This is our God;
We trusted in Him, and He delivered us.
This is the Lord, in whom we trusted;
Let us rejoice and exult in His deliverance!

As Paul put it, By this gospel you are savedNIV


Read my earlier comments on this theme here.


Be righteous and do good.

Mike Lawrence


Photo by Patrick Schneider on Unsplash

Acts 4:5-12
Psalm 23
1 John 3:16-24
John 10:11-18


Psalm 23 is an excellent description of how God takes care of us. It is almost too familiar to realize its full impact, but for now, we want it to remind us that we are not alone, that God cares enough for us that he sent his Son to be our caregiver.

That caregiver, Jesus/Messiah, healed a blind man on the Sabbath and was forced to defend himself from the Pharisees. The account is in chapter 9 and 10 of John. As part of that defense, Jesus says plainly that he is the gate and the shepherd. In 10:7-9 Jesus describes the importance of the gate.

What he described was the common practice in those days of leading the sheep into a pen at night and leading them to pasture in the morning. The pen was enclosed by a rock wall about four feet high with one opening about four feet wide. At night, a shepherd slept in the opening, blocking the sheep from leaving. Generally, there were several herds in the same enclosure and the shepherds took turns sleeping and walking around the perimeter to ensure there were no intruders. In the morning, the shepherds took turns singing or talking so that his sheep knew which man to follow.

Jesus tells us that he is the gate, he is the way to safety. We get to God through him alone. He also tells us he is the shepherd, the good shepherd.  I am the good shepherd, and I know those that are mine and my sheep know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I am giving my life for the sake of the sheep. “And I have other sheep who do not belong to this fold. I must lead these also, and they will hear my voice. So there will be one flock and one shepherdPhillips

I am giving my life for the sake of the sheep, is an indication that Jesus already knew he was going to die, but just as importantly, it tells me what I must expect to do once I choose to be one of his flock.

This is where the image of sheep breaks down. Jesus will care for us, but he wants us to become more than just sheep, mindlessly tagging along. He expects us to become like him, to lay down our own lives to protect those around us who need protection.

It may be a blind man or a man who cannot walk, as happened to Peter and John when Peter gave those stirring words, it was by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene NJB that the man was healed.

In John’s letter, we read, our love is not to be just words or mere talk, but something real and activeNJB That is the secret to becoming a shepherd like Jesus. Sheep eat, drink and rest in safety. Shepherds help them do that, but they also in the human sense help them to become shepherds themselves.

If you are not losing sleep, you are not a shepherd.


Be righteous and do good.

Mike Lawrence