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Written by

Phil Rigdon

Pastor Phil Rigdon and his wife, Jamelyn, live in Kendallville, Indiana, with their pet chinchilla, Sunshine. When Phil is not giving raisins to Sunshine, he serves as pastor at St. John Lutheran Church and School in Kendallville. He enjoys running, writing, and trying to impress people with his guitar playing.

Recent Posts by Phil Rigdon

Digging Deeper into Scripture: Mark 10

In Mark 10, Jesus demonstrates how He is the perfect sacrifice for all by humbly obeying God the Father through His death and resurrection.

Digging Deeper into Scripture: James 1

James, the brother of Jesus, is the author of this book. It is important to remember that James is related to Jesus by Mary, their mother, as Jesus is the Son of God, conceived by the Holy Spirit. Given that James wrote his book around the year AD 50, we know that Jesus has risen and ascended. Pentecost has taken place and the first Christians, equipped with the Holy Spirit and the ability to speak local tongues, are moving out to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. James is writing to Jewish Christians living in the diaspora, that is, the dispersion of Jews into Gentile nations. His goal is to teach wisdom to these men and women who are amid unbelievers, and perhaps more important, those who belong to pagan religions.

Digging Deeper into Scripture: Mark 1

In this weekend’s Gospel reading, we find Jesus calling Peter, Andrew, and James and John, the sons of Zebedee, to be His disciples. Mark moves quickly through John the Baptist’s call in the wilderness, his Baptism of Jesus, and Jesus’ temptation. When John baptizes Jesus, Jesus’ Father in heaven endorses His Son with the words, “with You I am well pleased.” (Mark 1:11) After this, Jesus endures Satan’s temptation in the wilderness, proving Himself to also be the Son of Man: He resists the lure of sin, unlike Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, and unlike the Israelites who wandered in the wilderness for forty years (an important parallel to the forty days Jesus spent in the wilderness). Jesus calls out that the kingdom of God—His kingdom—is at hand. In this context, Jesus initiates His earthly ministry by calling the disciples with whom He will share it.

Digging Deeper into Scripture: John 1

Today, as we read John 1:6–8 and 19–28, we can connect the message of John the Baptist to God’s presence among the Israelites wandering in the wilderness prior to entering the Promised Land. John, Christ’s herald, is not himself the light, but he will eventually baptize the light, Jesus. This begins Jesus’ ministry, at the end of which, He will die and rise again to open the gates of heaven.

Digging Deeper into Scripture: The Final Judgment

In Matthew 25, context plays a vital role to interpreting Jesus’ explanation of the final judgment. Jesus has made his triumphal entrance into the city of His crucifixion. Our Lord has taught many things: the parable of the two sons, in which the son who first refused to work in the vineyard changes his mind; what the signs will be of His return and how humanity will remain ignorant of the date; the parable of the ten virgins. These all stress a central theme—Christ’s return and the necessity of salvation in Christ alone.

Digging Deeper into Scripture: Matthew 22:1–14

Jesus teaches the parable of the wedding feast as the third in a series regarding the rejection of the message of salvation by many Jews, the identity of Jesus Christ as the divine Son of God, and outreach to the Gentiles. It is noteworthy that He teaches these three parables after His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, where He will eventually endure torture and suffer death on the cross. This circumstance raises the tension to a fever pitch as the chief priests and elders seek to arrest Jesus and bring an end to His ministry.

Digging Deeper into Scripture: Romans 13:1–10

Have you ever been wronged by someone? Have you ever disagreed with the laws or decrees of your local community or the state in which you live? Almost everyone has likely experienced at least one of these scenarios at some point. In Romans 13, Paul reminds the Christians in Rome how to conduct themselves, forgive others, and find ultimate peace through Jesus Christ. 

Digging Deeper into Scripture: Matthew 15:21–28

The Gospel reading of Matthew 15:21–28 shares how God's salvation plan is unlimited. Although the Gospel is primarily for the Jews, it is also for the Gentiles. Through the confession of sins and belief in the saving work of God’s son, Jesus Christ, both Jews and Gentiles receive His gift of salvation. 

Digging Deeper into Scripture: Matthew 13:24–30; 36–43

This weekend’s passage from Romans amplifies Jesus’ parable of the weeds. In the same way that the servants in the field desire to pull weeds, Christians on earth wish either for unbelievers to be subdued or for Christ’s return to take the faithful to heaven. Paul sympathizes with our “sufferings of this present time” (Romans 8:18) that Christians have “eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God,” and says that we are “groaning together.”

Digging Deeper into Scripture: Romans 5:6-15

The Lord Almighty is a gracious, loving Father. This is exemplified throughout the Bible, both in His compassion for the Israelites and in His Son, Jesus Christ. Just as God daily shows grace to each and every one of His children, we too must also strive to share this grace with others.