Showing posts from March, 2023

Jesus Is Alive—And That Changes Everything! (preaching resource for 4/23/23, Easter 3)

This post, which exegetes Luke chapter 24, provides context for the 4/23/23 RCL Gospel reading, drawing on commentary from Warren Wiersbe ("Bible Expository Commentary"), Howard Marshall ("New Bible Commentary") and Robert Farrar Capon ("Kingdom, Grace, Judgment").  "The Pilgrims of Emmaus on the Road" by Tissot (public domain via Wikimedia Commons) Introduction Luke chapter 23 tells of the disciples’ sorrow, fear and hopelessness in seeing Jesus die on Good Friday, and lie entombed on Holy Saturday. But now in chapter 24 we come to Easter Sunday. Notice what Luke tells us in 24:1-3: 1 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb 3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. Joseph of Arimathea had placed Jesus’ body in an empty tomb as the sun was setting Friday evening. Rushed by the onset of th

The Power of Jesus’ Resurrection (preaching resource for 4/16/23, Easter 2)

This post exegetes John 20:19-31, the RCL Gospel reading for 4/16/23 (second Sunday of Eastertide). It draws on the work of various authors including Warren Wiersbe ("The Bible Expository Commentary"), Donald Guthrie ("The New Bible Commentary"), Michael Card ("The Parable of Joy"), and F.F. Bruce ("The Gospel of John"). "The Incredulity of Saint Thomas" by Caravaggio (public domain via Wikimedia Commons) Introduction The news that Jesus had risen from the dead spread rapidly among his followers—at first with skepticism, then hesitation, but finally with enthusiasm and joy. At first, even his disciples did not believe the reports, and Thomas demanded proof. But wherever people were confronted with the reality of Jesus’ resurrection, lives were transformed.  In the latter part of John chapter 20 we find the unfolding of this transformation in three steps: 1) from fear to courage, 2) from unbelief to confidence, and 3) from death to life.

The Radical Advance of a Radical Gospel (preaching resource for 4/9/23, Easter Sunday)

This post exegetes Acts 9:32-11:18 to provide context for the RCL reading in Acts 10:34-43 on 4/9/23 (Easter Sunday). This exegesis draws on commentary from commentaries on Acts from  John Stott and F.F. Bruce. "St. Peter and Cornelius the Centurian" by Cavallino (public domain via Wikimedia Commons) Introduction In this section of the book of Acts, Luke tells the story of the radical advance of a radical gospel—one that includes all people, including Gentiles. To the Jewish Christians led by Peter, this was a radical concept indeed. And Luke chooses to tell the story from Peter’s perspective—for indeed, the Holy Spirit used Peter to open the door of the gospel to the Gentile world—and that opening came through Cornelius and his family. In examining this passage, we remember that Jesus had given Peter 'the keys of the kingdom' (Mt.16:19). Peter had already been used by the Holy Spirit to open the kingdom to Jews on the Day of Pentecost and then to Samaritans soon afte

The Christian Doctrine of God (part 5)

This is part 5 in a series by Torrance scholar Thomas Noble ,  summarizing Thomas F. Torrance's book  The Christian Doctrine of God: One Being Three Persons .   For other posts in this series, click a number:  1 ,  2 ,  3 , 4 . Chapter 8: THE SOVEREIGN CREATOR It is very easy when using technical terms like perichōrēsis to think concepts rather than the realities denoted by them. In the last resort they are no more than empty abstract propositions apart from their real content. In this chapter we shall be concerned to pursue an essentially dynamic approach to the coactivity of the three divine Persons denoted in the theological shorthand.  In the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, belief in God as the Sovereign Creator is presented within a trinitarian structure: one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth and all things visible and invisible; one Lord Jesus Christ through whom all things are made, and the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life. This signifies that the d

Sharing Jesus' Selflessness (preaching resource for 4/2/23, Palm/Passion Sunday)

This post exegetes Philippians 2:1-11, providing context for the RCL Epistle reading for 4/2/23 (Palm/Passion Sunday). This exegesis draws on commentary from Warren Wiersbe ("Bible Expository Commentary") and Francis Foulkes ("New Bible Commentary").  "Flagellation of Christ" by Rubens (public domain via Wikimedia Commons) Introduction  When Epaphroditus brought to Paul a generous gift from the church at Philippi, he also brought disturbing news of a double threat to that congregation’s unity: false teachers from without (Phil 3:1–3) and disagreeing members from within (Phil 4:1–3). Paul is greatly concerned, and so in his epistle sent to the Philippians he pleads with them to recover a true and lasting unity.  They will do so as they, through the Holy Spirit, actively share in the self-sacrificing, compassionate mind and heart of Jesus. Note Philippians 2:1-2: 1 If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if