Choosing leaders (Luke 6:12–16)

Luke, like Matthew and Mark, tells of Jesus’s selecting twelve of his disciples for a special roles in service-leadership. John doesn’t bother with the appointment of this dozen. (See Matthew 10:1–4; Mark 3:13–19.) Luke tells it a little differently than Matthew and Mark. Like Mark, he tells us that Jesus went up a mountain toContinue reading “Choosing leaders (Luke 6:12–16)”

Jesus and the Make Israel Holy Again movement

We keep rereading scripture (and other classic texts, but I’m especially interested in scripture) because they strike us differently as our own circumstances change. This morning Luke 6:6–11, which in some seasons has just been for me a Standard Bible Story, smacked me. There was a startling, then painful, recognition, not as in “Oh, IContinue reading “Jesus and the Make Israel Holy Again movement”

The lord of all sabbaths is a fearsome surgeon

In recent days, my mind is continually recalled to Hebrews 4:12 by things that I read elsewhere in Scripture. In Hebrew 4, the writer ponders the Israelites regarding whom the Lord swore, “They will not enter into my (sabbath) rest!” Why not? because when they heard his voice, they were embittered and rejected it, hardeningContinue reading “The lord of all sabbaths is a fearsome surgeon”

Seeing unexpected things (Luke 5:17–26)

In Luke 5:17–26, we have the story of a paralytic who was brought to Jesus for healing. There was such a crowd around Jesus in the house where he was teaching that the friends who brought the paralytic resorted to letting the man down through the roof to get him into Jesus’s presence. They reallyContinue reading “Seeing unexpected things (Luke 5:17–26)”

“The old is nice”: Jesus meets the reflexive conservatives

I have not really reckoned seriously with the parable of the wineskins (Matt 9:14–17; Mark 2:18–22; Luke 5:33–39), and I probably need to. Anyone who is bemused as I am with the various ways in which the labels “conservative” and “progressive” are adopted as self-identifiers and hurled as other-blamers in American politics and religion probablyContinue reading ““The old is nice”: Jesus meets the reflexive conservatives”

Fearing and laughing: Psalm 52 and the demise of Trump

The more usual, expected phrase is “fear and trembling.” But there comes a time for fear and laughing. Psalm 52 contemplates the fate of the powerful person who is evil and boastful, contrasting it with the faithfulness of God toward the righteous, meaning the people who live in covenant relationship with God.

When Jesus went on his way, where did he go? (Luke 4:31–37)

Jesus will never be our homey who assures us that we are OK until we first hear him as the stranger who tells us that we are not OK, until we accept his exotic words as authoritative, as so authoritative and powerful that they cast out the demons that indwell us (verses 33–37), until we have been unmade and remade by his word.

All and every, for ever and ever (Psalm 145)

Have you ever noticed how many times Psalm 145 uses the words ALL and EVERY? (They translate the same Hebrew word, KOL.) I am lowercasing LORD below to let all the KOLs stand out. We could also note three occurrences of L’OLAM VA-ED, FOR EVER AND EVER; these I have italicized. I will extol thee,Continue reading “All and every, for ever and ever (Psalm 145)”