Mark 14:1-11 — Preparation for Passion

June 27, 2012

On Sunday, Jesus had entered Jerusalem triumphantly only to walk into the temple, see everything, and then go back to Bethany apparently frustrated. On Monday Jesus returned to the temple and  angrily cleansed it. On Tuesday, as Jesus taught in the temple courts, the authorities confronted him about his actions, his relation to Rome and […]


Lipscomb on the Urban Poor I

May 25, 2012

In the April 24 1873 issue of the Gospel Advocate, Lipscomb reprinted a piece from the Apostolic Times under the title “Preaching to the Poor” (p. 390). Here is the article as reproduced by Lipscomb: In these days of mails, and printing, the newspapers, which go forth from the great cities with their well laden columns of local […]


Zechariah 13:7-9 – Strike the Shepherd!

May 2, 2012

This poem climaxes the message of Zechariah 12:2-13:6. The voice of God announces judgment and mercy; Yahweh speaks into the situation. The shepherd and people of Israel, Yahweh says, will experience judgment but a remnant will emerge from the refining fire. Zechariah 9-14 has already used shepherd imagery. Israel’s shepherds (leaders) have led their people […]


Mark 9:2-13 — The Son of Man Glorified

February 13, 2012

The Son of Man, Jesus announced (Mark 8:31), must suffer, die on a cross and then be raised from the dead. The Son of Man must lose his life before it can be saved. The path of suffering (losing his life) leads to glory (saving his life). The Son of Man will appear in the […]


Worship in Spirit and in Truth (John 4:24)

February 8, 2012

“God is Spirit, and those who worship God must worship in Spirit and Truth” (John 4:24). You might not immediately notice but one of the differences between my translation and the traditional one is that I capitalize “Spirit” and “Truth.” I think this is important. The traditional use of this text is to locate the prepositional […]


Mark 8:27-9:1 — Confession, Cross and Crown

February 6, 2012

This text is the hinge on which Mark’s Gospel swings. Previous to this text Mark narrates the kingdom ministry of Jesus as Jesus heralds its coming and enacts its reality through healing, compassion and feedings. Subsequent to this text Mark narrates the passion of Jesus and the events that lead up to his death. In the first half of […]


A Child is Born (Isaiah 9:1-7)

November 28, 2011

That was no place for a child. In the darkest days of Jerusalem’s despair, God told Jeremiah to neither marry nor have children (Jeremiah 16:2). That world—the world of Jerusalem’s destruction—is no place for children. All that would await them was pain, horror, gloom, dislocation, and destruction. Even now it may sometimes seem that the […]


Mark 4:35-41 – “Who is this?”

November 8, 2011

Mark’s action-oriented story paused for a few kingdom parables. Those parables painted a dramatic picture of the kingdom of God. They offer some perspective on the ministry of Jesus. The kingdom ministry of Jesus is sowing seed of the kingdom for an assured future harvest. As Mark returns to the dramatic acts of Jesus and […]


Job 9-10: Dissing Bildad, Confronting God

September 17, 2011

Who can contend with God?  No one, Job answers (9:3). But the problem is that God is contending with (prosecuting) Job (10:2). His response to Bildad is not direct. As I read him, he basically replies to Bildad’s first question.  It is enough to set Job on fire–”How long will you say such things? Your words […]


Hungering for Power (Lenten Reflections)

March 17, 2010

Text: Philippians 3:4-14 That can’t be a commendable hunger, can it? To hunger for power. It depends on what kind of power we are talking about. To hunger for Caesar’s power (or wealth or status) is ungodly, but to hunger for the power to become like Jesus is something different. This is not a hunger […]