All posts by Peter Ditzel

Lazarus, Come Forth!

by Peter Ditzel

Most of you are familiar with the account in John 11 of Jesus raising His friend Lazarus to life. It was an inspiring demonstration of Jesus’ power over life and death, proving that He worked His miracles by the power and authority of God. But if we focus only on the physical circumstances of Lazarus’ resurrection itself—seeing it as an isolated miracle—without also understanding what it pictures and without considering the events that led up to it, we are missing some important lessons. Lazarus comes from the Hebrew name Eleazar and means “whom God helps.” As we will see, Lazarus is typical of those whom God helps, the elect whom He loves. In this article, I want to cover twelve lessons we can learn from the account of Lazarus from the time of his illness to the time after his resurrection.

Read more… →

The Parables of Jesus> The Kingdom Parables> Introduction to the Kingdom Parables

by Peter Ditzel

Many books have been written about the parables of Jesus. Some of these books are more helpful than others. Unfortunately, most suffer from one particular problem: They do not truly allow the Bible to interpret itself. Certainly, it can sometimes be interesting and even helpful to discuss the geography and the flora and fauna of the Levant and the social customs of the Jews in Jesus’ day. These things can have their place when talking about the parables. But, as is true whenever we study the Bible, unless we rigorously hold ourselves to biblical exposition, letting the Bible interpret itself, we will miss the intended meaning. It is my prayer that in this series of articles, God will keep me holding firm to Sola Scriptura, the Bible alone.

Read more… →

Q. Where did Cain get his wife?

A. This question arises because most people assume that Adam and Eve had only three children: Cain, Abel, and Seth. Therefore, some people think that Cain must have found his wife from among some other family of humans. But the Bible says that all people come from Adam and Eve (see Genesis 3:20). Although the Bible specifically names Cain, Abel, and Seth as Adam and Eve’s children, it says that they had other children. In Genesis 5:4, we read, “And the days of Adam after he had begotten Seth were eight hundred years: and he begat sons and daughters.” Some have assumed that this verse means that Adam had the other sons and daughters after Seth, but there is nothing in the wording of this verse that implies this. In other words, Adam and Eve had many other children throughout their long married life, both before and after the birth of Seth (Adam lived 930 years and God had commanded Adam and Eve to “be fruitful and multiply”—Genesis 1:28). For the sake of not competing for grazing, hunting, and tillable land, they would have spread over a large area. It is to these members of his family that Cain went and found a wife. Of course, this also applied to Seth.

Read more… →

The Legal Principle of Prior Claim–Jesus, Taxes, and God’s Claim on Our Lives

by Peter Ditzel

You may be familiar with Jesus' statement, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." You may also realize, perhaps grudgingly and wondering whether there are any exceptions, that this means you are to pay your taxes. But when we look at this statement more closely and in context, we see that Jesus was addressing far more than taxes. In fact, that was not even the primary point of His response. Jesus was actually answering the Jews with a legal principle they hadn't thought of. It is a principle that applies to every one of us, and it will help us put the focus in our lives right where it belongs.

To put it mildly, the Jewish religious leaders were getting upset and desperate. Jesus had ridden into Jerusalem on two donkeys as the people shouted, “Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord: Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest” (Mark 11:9b-10). There could be no mistaking these praises; the people were claiming Jesus as the Messiah. And, just as the Jewish leaders had voiced after Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead, they were afraid that this ruckus would cause the Romans to come and “take away both our place and nation” (John 11:48). Unfortunately for them, they were looking in the wrong direction. They feared men instead of God who is over all nations, and who, forty years later, would use the Romans to do exactly what they were afraid of (when the Roman army destroyed Jerusalem and the temple in A.D. 70).

Read more… →