It’s not just what you say that matters, but how you say it. People familiar with Gospel traditions note a clear turning point in Jesus’s ministry when you read Matthew, Mark, and Luke (but not John). That turning point, or hinge, is Peter’s “confession” of the identity of Jesus at the Messiah. Mark’s Gospel sets … Continue reading How We Speak: Confession or Accusation?
Reading the Bible can tricky. We may think passages are “straightforward,” but sometimes we end up filling in blanks that we don’t even realize. (The following is not meant as an argument supporting any of the below views; the purpose is an exercise in considering how our presuppositions impact our consideration of different opinions). When … Continue reading A Centurion’s Confession: Which Centurion Are We?
Centurions represented the Roman Empire, and their duty was to keep the peace. They were part of the backbone of leadership in the Roman military, and they oversaw a cohort of soldiers up to 80 troops. They took on a variety of roles including overseeing building projects, functioning as tax collectors, and leading security. While … Continue reading Centurions and Stereotypes
Jesus's so-called "temple cleansing" was a violent protest of the temple by a brown man (Mark 11:15-19). He overthrew tables and probably broke some stuff. But why would he do this? Jesus first quotes Isa 56:7 declaring the temple should be “a house of prayer for the Gentiles (ethnos).” Most English translations obscure the racial … Continue reading The Temple Act: We’re All Robbers
People keep trying to co-opt Jesus, and claim that he's on their side. What if we let Jesus co-opt us, and tried to be on his side? What would happen if we abided by his values rather than using him as a megaphone for our values?Unity doesn't deny ethnic, socioeconomic, political, or gender differences. Paul's … Continue reading Co-opting Jesus
People sometimes make the mistake of thinking that Jesus got into trouble for associating with the "sinners." But that's not true. His actions were controversial because he associates with both the "sinners" and the "saints." He called out the "sinners" and "saints," and he loved the "sinners" and the "saints." And, he spent time with … Continue reading Sinners & Saints