Tag: jesus

Summary: When Jesus tells a parable about a widow who engages in a tireless campaign to get the justice she deserves, he offers an illustration of Christian faith. In the parable, the woman continually beseeches an unjust judge who finally grants her requests because he grows tired of her endless appeals. The parable associates Christian faith with an unflagging commitment to see justice become a reality. Christian faith complains about injustice and advocates for those who need justice. Faith does so because it takes God’s promises seriously, believing that God is indeed a God of justice. This depiction of faithful advocacy is especially important to consider during election season. Christians can advocate for candidates who will create just laws and policies, but Christians also equip themselves to persist in advocacy after elections are complete.

Read the full article, which is part of the ON Scripture–The Bible project, on ON Scripture.

Bible commentary: general audience ON Scripture--The Bible

Summary: When Jesus heals a woman’s debilitating and oppressive spinal condition on the sabbath, his action draws a rebuke. His sharp retort to his critics implies that his action was totally appropriate, since honoring the sabbath entails reiterating God’s commitment to freedom from oppression. The theological logic that drives this passage and justifies Jesus’ urgent concern for the anonymous woman’s well-being resonates with what Martin Luther King Jr. argues in his famous book Why We Can’t Wait. Well-meaning religious people seem to have a habit of impeding God’s commitment to justice and liberation. Our problem goes beyond ignorance or a lack of compassion. Sometimes our theology, security, and idealism are to blame. We need to rediscover the priorities to which God is committed, such as delivering people from suffering.

Read the full article, which is part of the ON Scripture–The Bible project, on ON Scripture.

Bible commentary: general audience ON Scripture--The Bible

Summary: Lent provides opportunities to reflect on our experience of encountering God and God’s salvation in embodied ways — in our bodies’ abilities to perceive familiar realities and to interpret new ones. I prepared a five-part series that invites us to think about Jesus’ ability to make God known in tangible, sensory ways. The series explores selected biblical passages that permit us to reflect on who we are and how we bear witness to the gospel — not so Lent causes us to denigrate this life, but so we learn to encounter God among us and to know Christ through our bodies.

I wrote this series to spark the creativity of those who are preparing to preach or teach during Lent, although individuals might also use it for devotional purposes. Read it at Working Preacher.

Bible commentary: general audience Bible commentary: preachers & teachers workingpreacher.org commentary

When I think about the church and all its flaws, I’m often prone to be cynical. The book of Acts urges me to take a second look, though. Acts depicts Jesus in relationship to the church in ways that challenge me and sometimes inspire me. That’s one of the reasons why I wrote the book Intrusive God, Disruptive Gospel: Encountering the Divine in the Book of Acts. Follow this link to read a short excerpt from the book, in which I talk a little about Jesus and his church.

Books and films

Summary: The Gospel according to Luke begins unlike any other Gospel. Describing the miraculous conceptions and births of John the Baptizer and Jesus, the opening chapters bring promises and yearnings from the Old Testament into conversation with the new things God is doing. They direct us to read the Gospel in light of how the people of God have come to understand who God is, drawing on old traditions and language. They characterize Jesus’ coming as the advent of God’s promised and hoped-for future.

Read the full article, and listen to an accompanying podcast, in the “Everything You Wanted to Know about the Bible but Were Afraid to Ask” section of EnterTheBible.

Bible commentary: general audience

Summary: According to this biblical passage, Jesus’ public ministry begins with a test, one that gives us hints to suggest God is in the process of reorienting the whole created order. Everything is changing. The time is right for inaugurating the kingdom of God, but it remains a time in which risk hangs in the air.

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: According to this biblical passage, Jesus’ Transfiguration draws us to him, even as the event makes statements about God and what God will accomplish through Jesus, God’s beloved child. This Transfiguration makes promises about unseen things becoming visible, about God’s love, and about the possibility of our sharing intimacy with God.

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: In this biblical passage, Jesus demonstrates his power over illness when he heals Simon’s mother-in-law from a fever. At the same time, Mark’s Gospel prompts us to consider what true service looks like, who gets to perform it, and how.

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: In this biblical passage, Mark’s first extended glimpse into Jesus’ public ministry, Jesus teaches in a synagogue and is confronted by a man possessed with an unclean spirit. Right away, we learn that this story will concern itself with themes of contested authority and Jesus’ power over the things that resist the inbreaking of God’s kingdom.

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 the Gospel according to Luke describes Jesus saying, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs,” what does he mean? To answer this question, we need to know how people in Jesus’ culture regarded children. When we see that Jesus is celebrating and empowering children as some of the most invisible, inconsequential, and vulnerable people of his society, then we should go on to ask: How should we treat and assist vulnerable children in our society? Caring for children — especially endangered and exploited children — is indeed an important part of any church’s work, in any setting.

This article is part of a Bible study exploring the church’s response to youth homelessness and was produced by Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota. The entire five-part Bible study was written by five different professors from Luther Seminary and is available here.

 

Bible commentary: general audience The Bible and Christian practices