Mark 14:27-52 — From Table to Trial

July 16, 2012

Leaving the upper room of the Last Supper, Jesus leads his disciples across the Kidron Valley onto the Mount of Olives to a place called Gethsemane. Here Jesus will pray and then suffer betrayal and arrest. That is an answer to prayer none would relish. Several trajectories are at play in this narrative that take […]


“Miraculous Movements”: Muslims Coming to Jesus

May 9, 2012

My longtime good friend, John King, is engaged in training people around the world in Discovery Bible Studies as part of the CityTeam Ministries’ Disciple Making Movement or the Church Planting Movement (specifically the work of David Watson). I love what he is doing with the support of his wife Debra. John recommended that I read Miraculous Movements: How […]


Tolbert Fanning–Advocate for Peace in 1861 (Part VII)

March 27, 2012

With Tennessee now a Confederate state and at war with the Union, Fanning published an article entitled “Taking up the Cross,” in the August issue of the Gospel Advocate 7.8 (1861), 244-245. What did it mean to “take up the cross” in August 1861 for Tennesseans, Confederates or Unionists? On the one hand, it meant abandoning […]


Mark 10:17-31 – Can the “Rich” Become “Last”?

March 19, 2012

Mark’s travelogue describes the journey of Jesus from Galilee (9:33) to Perea (10:1) to Jericho (10:46) to Bethany (11:1) and finally to Jerusalem (11:11). But this movement is more than geographical. The theme that runs through this journey to death is servanthood (9:35; 10:44-45) and the call to assume the role of the “last” rather than […]


Mark 9:33-50 — Wanna Be Great? Don’t Scandalize My “Little Ones”

March 5, 2012

While many have treated this section of Mark as a series of isolated sayings that follow a passion prediction, the thread that runs through it carries a powerful punch if we hear it as one continuous exchange between Jesus and his disciples. This thread directly connects with the prediction. Just as Jesus would serve others by suffering, […]


Passion Predictions in the Gospel of Mark

February 16, 2012

The Gospel of Mark identifies three separate occasions when Jesus foretold his passion, death and resurrection to his disciples. Each prediction was limited to the twelve. His future was part of the Messianic secret. They were told to tell no one. The first occasion was Mark 8:31-32. This immediately followed Peter’s confession that Jesus is […]


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 […]


Favorite Quotes: James A. Harding

February 1, 2012

James A. Harding (1848-1922), Kentucky evangelist and co-founder of the Nashville Bible School (now Lipscomb University), is a fascinating character. Passionate, opinionated, and faith-filled, he offers a vibrant vision for the mission of the church for both his time and ours. Below are two of my favorite (among many) quotes. Both illustrate the importance of discipleship for Harding […]


Mark 1:16-20 — The First Disciples

September 10, 2011

The good news about Jesus Christ is that the kingdom of God has drawn near. That is how Mark introduces his gospel (Mark 1:1-15). The first half  (Mark 1:16-8:30) narrates the in-breaking of the kingdom of God in the activity of Jesus. The second half (Mark 8:30-16:8) identifies Jesus as the suffering servant who gives his […]


The Baptism of Jesus: Our Apprentice in Discipleship

September 4, 2009

The baptism of Jesus is the first Christian baptism. Jesus identifies with sinners as he undergoes a ritual designed for sinners. He publicly declares his faith in God and joins the story of God’s people in the anticipation of restoration. He anticipates and foreshadows his own death and resurrection in a ritual through which future believers […]