Theodrama: Act I, Scene 1: God Builds a House

October 19, 2015

Thus says Yahweh: The heavens are my throne, and the earth is my footstool; where is the house you will build for me, and where is my resting place? My hand made all these things, and all these things belong to me, declares Yahweh. Isaiah 66:1-2a (my translation) Yahweh, the God of Israel, announces some […]

1 Peter 2:4-10 — Identified with Israel

June 21, 2015

This section is soaked in quotations, allusions, and echoes of the Hebrew Scriptures. Peter depends heavily on Isaiah 28:16, Psalm 118:22, Isaiah 8:14, Isaiah 43:20-21, Exodus 19:5-6, Isaiah 42:12, and Hosea 2:23. Out of the 126 Greek words that lie behind the English text, almost half of them are directly from the Hebrew Bible (quoted […]

The First Advent (Exodus 40:34-38)

June 19, 2015

Mount Sinai must have been an impressive, even startling, sight. Enveloped in darkness with flashes of lightning, Israel heard the thunder and even, on one occasion, the voice of God. They felt the rumblings of God’s presence in tremors that rippled through the earth’s crust. This was Yahweh’s holy mountain. Yahweh descended upon it, and […]

Joel 3:18-21 — The Lord Dwells in Zion

May 24, 2014

Joel begins with lament over the famine and drought as Yahweh’s army threatens Jerusalem with desolation, but it ends with abundance and water-filled ravines as Egypt and Edom become a wilderness. This reversal happens because “Yahweh dwells in Zion.” “In that day,” Joel announces, the fortunes of Israel are reversed. “That day” links Joel 3:18 […]

Joel 3:1-17 — The Nations Held Accountable

May 16, 2014

In the first half, Joel called Israel to lament and repentance, to fasting and assembly (Joel 1:1-2:17). In the second half, Joel assures Israel that their gracious and compassionate God will “restore their fortunes.” Yahweh promised a new creation where even the soil and animals as well as the people will rejoice (Joel 2:18-27). Yahweh […]

Revelation 3:7-13 — Prophetic Oracle for Philadelphia

June 28, 2013

Though often called the “letters to the seven churches” (with somewhat good reasons), the address to each church functions as a prophetic oracle. John has called his work a “prophecy” (Revelation 1:3) and in these “letters” the prophet calls the churches to respond in faithfulness much like Israel’s prophets in the Hebrew Scriptures. Philadelphia was […]

Mark 15:33-38: The Last Three Hours of the Execution of Jesus

August 14, 2012

During the first three hours of his execution, Jesus was beaten and then despoiled by Roman soldiers as they cast lots for his clothes, mocked by Jewish bystanders and the Temple authorities for his apparent inability to destroy the Temple or save himself, and scorned by those crucified with him as a naive pretender to […]

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 […]

Haggai 2:10-19 — You Better Think About This!

June 28, 2012

Haggai’s third oracle, like the previous two, is precisely dated. The first oracle was delivered on a new moon festival and the second was delivered during the Feast of Tabernacles. This third oracle, however, has no clear canonical link to a Jewish festival. Nevertheless, the day is significant. The oracle is delivered on December 20, […]

Haggai 2:1-9 — Be Strong and Do Not Fear

June 12, 2012

Haggai’s second oracle comes to Judah on the seventh day of the Feast of Tabernacles, the next to the last day, on October 17, 520 B.C.E. The seventh month is a particularly busy one in Israel’s calendar. Besides the New Moon festival which began every month, the seventh month included both the Day of Atonement […]