Category: workingpreacher.org commentary

Summary:Jesus calms a raging storm while he and his disciples are trying to cross the Sea of Galilee. The event offers a stunning display of his power, yet it also exposes the faithlessness of his followers. It is a prime example of the Gospel of Mark’s tendency to depict Jesus as one who creates new, life-giving possibilities in the midst of circumstances that are full of danger or at the far edges of what might be considered predictable or secure locations.

I wrote this biblical commentary for those preparing to preach or teach on the passage. Read the commentary at Working Preacher.

Bible commentary: preachers & teachers workingpreacher.org commentary

Summary: With two short parables about seeds that grow and flourish, Jesus describes the reign (kingdom) of God as something that will indeed blossom. It may take time for that to occur, and the outcome may not look magnificent according to conventional standards of power and greatness. The emergence of that new state of affairs is nevertheless definitely going to occur, possibly not what we were expecting, and certain to provide benefits.

I wrote this biblical commentary for those preparing to preach or teach on the passage. Read the commentary at Working Preacher.

Bible commentary: preachers & teachers workingpreacher.org commentary

Summary: Neither Jesus’ own kin nor the premier theological interpreters of his day could discern the truth about him and his authority to inaugurate the reign of God. Their confusion and skepticism cause them to fall back on labels—“demonic” and “insane”—that betray a lack of imagination and openness. Jesus responds by describing his work as overcoming humanity’s captivity to evil and as forging new familial relationships and identity. He thus declares his intention to bring about wholesale change.

I wrote this biblical commentary for those preparing to preach or teach on the passage. Read the commentary at Working Preacher.

Bible commentary: preachers & teachers workingpreacher.org commentary

Summary: When Jesus’ actions and words concerning the sabbath upset a group of Pharisees, Mark’s Gospel begins to draw attention to why some of Jesus’ contemporaries found him so controversial. The two scenes in this passage illustrate the liberative character of God’s reign (kingdom) and show some religious leaders to be resistant to that liberation. Their resistance results in the narrative’s first indications of the opposition that will finally overwhelm Jesus.

I wrote this biblical commentary for those preparing to preach or teach on the passage. Read the commentary at Working Preacher.

Bible commentary: preachers & teachers workingpreacher.org commentary

Summary: Paying attention to at least five aspects of the Gospel according to Mark will allow preachers to show congregations this Gospel’s perspective on the world and the impact of Jesus’ life and ministry. Mark describes good news of incursion, deliverance, and mercy. Jesus brings God’s reign (kingdom) into being as he breaches and redefines presumed boundaries. He eludes easy definition. Mark nevertheless directs attention to outsiders who possess keen insights into Jesus. The Messiah’s rejection and death provide the model of discipleship.

Read the full article, the second of two, at Working Preacher.

Bible commentary: preachers & teachers workingpreacher.org commentary

Summary: The Gospel according to Mark depicts Jesus’ arrival, teaching, and actions as an incursion, as God’s effort to enter the world and defeat hostile foes for the sake of inaugurating God’s reign (kingdom). Mark depicts a Jesus who eludes ordinary means of perception; the Messiah defies conventional expectations. Those who preach from Mark do well to imitate the Gospel’s apocalyptic tenor by seeing their task as making visible the inscrutable activity of God.

Read the full article, the first of two, at Working Preacher.

Bible commentary: preachers & teachers workingpreacher.org commentary

Summary: When Peter sees Jesus walking on the water and tries to do the same himself, it is fear that makes him begin to sink. Yes, Jesus saves him, but before rushing to the story’s happy conclusion it is worthwhile to dwell on fear. Fear can be paralyzing; insecurity makes people shun risks. The life of faith is never a worry-free existence. Getting out of the boat means getting to the places where Jesus is. And, unlike Peter, we rarely find ourselves doing that alone.

I wrote this article for those preparing to preach or hear sermons on Matthew 14:22-33. It was originally a guest contribution to the “Dear Working Preacher” series. Read the full article at Working Preacher.

Bible commentary: preachers & teachers workingpreacher.org commentary

Summary: When Jesus feeds 5000-plus hungry people in the wilderness, he feeds them until they are full. He gives them more than a taste and more than just promises. The scene offers a reminder that the good news cannot be reduced to meager foretastes of a feast to come. The abundance of food and the efforts of Jesus’ disciples indicate that preachers and indeed all Christians are summoned to feed the hungry and reaffirm the dignity of all—not later but now.

I wrote this article for those preparing to preach or hear sermons on Matthew 14:13-21. It was originally a guest contribution to the “Dear Working Preacher” series. Read the full article at Working Preacher.

Bible commentary: preachers & teachers workingpreacher.org commentary

Summary: Even the briefest parables tell tales of massive upheaval. Jesus’ parables of the hidden leaven and the mustard seeds describe small acts of infiltration that have tremendous consequences. His parables of the treasure in a field and the pearl of great price are about the overturning of value systems and entirely reordered lives. The kingdom of heaven, it appears, involves more than most of us might have expected. It will get into everything.

I wrote this article for those preparing to preach or hear sermons on Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52. It was originally a guest contribution to the “Dear Working Preacher” series. Read the full article at Working Preacher.

Bible commentary: preachers & teachers workingpreacher.org commentary

Summary: Jesus’ parable of the weeds and wheat resounds with a number of concerns that the Gospel according to Matthew voices. It expresses worry about the damage that imposters might cause, but there is more worry here about what harm will come to “the children of the kingdom” if one actively tries to weed out those imposters. The challenge is to remain engaged in ministry that serves the wider world and opposes injustice while also leaving judgment up to God.

I wrote this article for those preparing to preach or hear sermons on Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23. It was originally a guest contribution to the “Dear Working Preacher” series. Read the full article at Working Preacher.

Bible commentary: preachers & teachers workingpreacher.org commentary