Lenten Reflection: Luke 4:3-4

February 26, 2013

God tests Jesus in the wilderness and Satan tempts him to satisfy his desires by inappropriate means. One need is hunger. It would seem that satisfying hunger should not be characterized as inappropriate. Food is a created good to be enjoyed. The Slanderer (Diabolos) suggests that Jesus should create his own food. If he really […]


Lenten Reflection: Luke 3:21-22

February 21, 2013

In obedience to the Father, Jesus went down into the water to pray. Jesus followed sinners into the water as they repented and confessed their sins. Jesus identified with sinners by sharing this water ritual with them. He underwent a ritual designed for sinners! In response the Father anointed the Messiah with the Holy Spirit, […]


Luke 13:10-17 — Who are we most like in this story?

January 28, 2013

At least two theological themes emerge from this pericope. On the one hand, the kingdom of God breaks into the life of a woman who had been bound by her disability for eighteen years. She is healed and experiences redemption. On the other hand, opposition to the kingdom of God arises in response to her […]


Mark 15:21-32 – The First Three Hours of the Cross

August 1, 2012

The movement of Jesus from Praetorium to the cross is known as the Via Dolorosa among the pious. But for the Romans, and in Mark’s story, it is something quite different. It is not only the depths of Christ’s sorrow and humiliation, but it is also imperial triumphalism and an imperial assertion of power. Crucifixion […]


Mark 11:27-33 — The Question!

April 23, 2012

On Monday of Passion Week, Jesus entered the temple’s courts and prevented the normal merchandising that turned God’s “house of prayer for all nations” into a “den of robbers.” In other words, Jesus cleansed the temple just as earlier prophets had acted out symbols to embody their message. Jesus judged the temple authorities and their […]


Handel’s Messiah: A Missional Reading I

December 19, 2011

Handel’s Messiah is a musical proclamation of the gospel, the good news of the kingdom of God. My wife and I, along with my sister-in-law Melanie Crotty, attended the Nashville Symphony’s performance of the Messiah last Friday evening. We used this to celebrate Melanie’s graduation from Lipscomb’s Hazelip School of Theology. We were all enthralled with the presentation. George […]


Who is My Enemy? New Book from Lee C. Camp

November 11, 2011

My dear friend, as well as colleague, Lee C. Camp has recently released a new book entitled:  Who Is My Enemy? Questions American Christians Must Face About Islam–and Themselves. Lee is Professor of Theology and Ethics at Lipscomb University in Nashville (TN) where I also teach.   Lee uses a line from a prayer of St. […]


Mark 1:14-15 — From Wilderness to Ministry

September 3, 2011

Jesus went into the water (Jordan), then he was thrown into the wilderness, and finally he went into Galilee. Mark structurally highlights this movement with the use of the preposition into (εíς). Each of these events has multiple layers of significance and meaning. At one level, they are rehearsals of the life of Israel. Jesus, as the […]


Mark 1:12-13 — Jesus in the Wilderness

August 30, 2011

Sink or swim? Sound familiar? Some learned to swim by a parent throwing them into the pool. Perhaps that is not a good idea, but it appears analogous to what God did with Jesus…or maybe not. Rising from the waters of baptism, Jesus is anointed with the Holy Spirit. The Father affirms him, loves him, […]


Hungering for God (Lent Reflections)

February 17, 2010

Text: Luke 4:1-13 Lent is forty days of letting go of some of our normal habits in order to pursue God with a special focus. The pursuit of God during these forty days comes in various forms: repentance, meditation, Scripture reading, prayer, immersion in sacred music, communal worship, almsgiving, etc. Lent was originally named “Forty […]