Tag: discipleship

Summary: Jesus speaks of his commission to bring fire to the earth and division to human society. He criticizes his listeners for failing to be able to discern the true character of the present age. His words are sharp, his imagery frightening. At the heart of the passage, however, is Jesus’ expression of his own ardent desire to see justice flourish in the world. The time is now to commit oneself to that, for this season of repentance means that Jesus is urgently calling his hearers to align themselves with God’s priorities. Here, at the thresholds of our own looming mortality and the promised arrival of God’s kingdom in all its fullness, we have an opportunity to share in God’s commitment to remake the whole landscape of human well-being.

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: Jesus promises “the kingdom” to his followers. He urges them to sell possessions and give to those who need money. He tells a parable about slaves waiting diligently for their master to return and then being surprised to have their master serve them dinner when at last he arrives. Finally he likens the return of the Son of Man to the experience of having a thief break into one’s house. A variety of themes work their way through this passage. It has the capacity to reassure Jesus’ followers of their security while also making them wonder about that security. The passage is especially helpful for getting a sense of how wealth and generosity—very prominent themes in the Gospel of Luke—figure in securing “treasure in heaven.” Jesus expects his disciples to do more than give money away; he calls them to enter into solidarity with those who lack resources.

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 teaches his disciples how to pray, he does much more than describe they way we should pray or the things for which we should pray. He reveals his theology by describing a God who hears, provides, forgives, and protects. His prayer offers an invitation to experience intimacy with God. There is no special experience required to commune with God. The door is always open.

I wrote this article for those preparing to preach or hear sermons on Luke 11:1-13. 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: 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: In this biblical passage, when Jesus and his disciples talk about who people think he really is, Jesus begins to describe what it means to follow him. The instructions he gives, to deny oneself and take up a cross, are not easy.

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: This article is more academic than most of the other things I’ve written that are accessible on the Web. It explores Jesus’ words in Mark 8:34: “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” The self-denial Jesus calls for isn’t about self-improvement. It’s to embrace a new identity that makes a public declaration of our commitment to the enactment of God’s reign.

Read the full article from the journal Word & World. It was originally published in the Summer 2003 issue.

Journal articles