Showing posts from March, 2023

Reassurance for Troubled Hearts, part 1 (preaching resource for 5/7/23, Easter 5)

This post exegetes John 14:1-15, the RCL Gospel reading for 5/7/23. This exegesis draws on various sources, including "The Bible Expository Commentary" (Warren Wiersbe), "The New Bible Commentary," "The Parable of Joy" (Michael Card), and "The Gospel of John" (F.F. Bruce).  "Last Supper" by Bouveret (public domain via Wikimedia Commons) Introduction We begin with the last verse of John chapter 13: 13:36 Simon Peter asked him, "Lord, where are you going?" Jesus replied, "Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later." 37 Peter asked, "Lord, why can't I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you."   38 Then Jesus answered, "Will you really lay down your life for me? I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times! 14:1 "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. John chapter 14 continues Jesus’ Maundy Thursday even

The Church's Life (preaching resource for 4/30/23, Easter 4)

This post exegetes Acts 2:42-47, one of the RCL readings for 4/30/23. This exegesis draws on various sources, including commentary on this passage from John Stott.  "Pentecost" (public domain via Wikimedia Commons) Introduction The second chapter of the book of Acts focuses on the Holy Spirit's work in forming the church both on and immediately following the day of Pentecost. The chapter has three sections, each one addressing the activity of the Holy Spirit in the life of the early church.  Chapter 2 begins with Luke's description of Pentecost (1-13), continues with the explanation of the events of that day which Peter gives in his sermon (14-41), and ends with the effects of Pentecost in the life of the Jerusalem church (42-47). This sermon addresses the third section, wherein Luke describes the effects of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost by giving us a beautiful synopsis of the Spirit-filled church. What evidence did the church give of the presence an

The Christian Doctrine of God (part 6)

This post is the sixth in a series written 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 , 5 . Chapter 9: THE UNCHANGEABLENESS OF GOD The unchangeableness of God is one of the major themes of the Old Testament. ‘I am who I am: I shall be who I shall be’: the self-existing, self-living, self-affirming God. This incomparable God  is not to be understood on the analogy of our finite creaturely human being with whom word, act and person are different from one another. He meets us, speaks to us, acts towards us as One whose Word and Act and Person are inseparable from one another. He is in Person identical with his Word, and his Word is itself his Act. Hence, God’s Being is neither mute nor inactive, bur inherently eloquent and active. His being is his Being in his Act and his Act is his Act in his being: his Word is his Word in his bein

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