Was Jesus tempted in every way?

In our affluent modern Western context, Christians and non-Christians alike appeal to the example of Jesus in the process of making various moral decisions. Our ethical questions regarding quagmires ranging from finances, to sexuality, to national policy are often met with the refrain "what would Jesus do?" The assumptions underlying this question are twofold: First, … Continue reading Was Jesus tempted in every way?

Jesus the baptizer: why John and Jesus baptized

The kerygma and praxis of John Kerygma The Christian gospel begins with one man's prophetic vision. This man, known to us as John the Baptist, believed Israel's God was about to judge his adulterous people in apocalyptic fashion by burning away the chaff and purifying the gold. The righteous Israelites who endured this national catastrophe … Continue reading Jesus the baptizer: why John and Jesus baptized

Did the disciples see the son of man coming in his kingdom in AD 70?

Certain preterist eschatological models are becoming more and more popular in Christian circles because they address an urgent problem: If we are going to read Jesus' statements about the date of the eschaton ("Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place," etc.) in a straightforward way, … Continue reading Did the disciples see the son of man coming in his kingdom in AD 70?

Jesus the prayer healer

Healing prayer among Jews By the second temple period intercessory prayer was well established by Biblical precedence as a critical tool in the healer's toolbox. Abraham and Moses had acquired cures through prayer (Genesis 20:17, Numbers 12:13). Elijah and Elisha had raised the dead by calling out to the Lord (1 Kings 17:21, 2 Kings … Continue reading Jesus the prayer healer

When did Jesus and his followers receive the spirit?

At two particular points in the New Testament narrative the Holy Spirit breaks through the heavenly seal and escapes into the earthly realm. In the first case, the spirit descends upon Jesus at his baptism in the Jordan. In the second case, the spirit is poured out upon believers as they celebrate the feast of … Continue reading When did Jesus and his followers receive the spirit?

“He could do no mighty work”

And [Jesus] could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. And he was amazed at their unbelief. (Mark 6:5-6) And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief. (Matthew 13:58) Matthew's subtle redaction of Mark here and elsewhere has … Continue reading “He could do no mighty work”

Who is the king of kings?

The Biblical authors occasionally attribute to God and Christ the designation "king of kings." Paul names God the Father "king of kings" in 2 Timothy 6:15 and YHWH is praised as "lord of lords" across the Hebrew scriptures (Deuteronomy 10:17, Psalms 136:3). Likewise, Christ rides out to conquer the kings of the nations as "king … Continue reading Who is the king of kings?

The kingdom as divine judgement

The Kingdom and the kingdoms The precise definition of the kingdom of God continues to allude interpreters. Is it the church? Is it a state of mind? A spirit-led mode of living? Is it an earthly kingdom that comes at the end of history? All of the above? Support for each theory can be readily … Continue reading The kingdom as divine judgement

Son of David: healer extraordinaire?

Among those Jews in the Greek and Roman periods who expected a Messiah, most expected him to be a son of David. This Davidic Messiah would be a new and better David; he would obey God, judge among the people of Israel, and take control of the surrounding nations. Israel would finally be safe, prosperous, … Continue reading Son of David: healer extraordinaire?

He eats with lawyers and Pharisees!

In a previous post I argued that Jesus' initial prophetic aim was to gather together the inhabitants of Jerusalem—its Torah-observant Pharisees, scribes, and priests—into an eschatological remnant community. This community would stand firm on the day of judgement and then inherit the kingdom of God when it came in power. History did not play out … Continue reading He eats with lawyers and Pharisees!