Maundy Thursday and the search for the real Jesus

Anthony Sacramone discusses all of the magazine cover stories about “the search for the real Jesus” that get published during Lent, generally concluding that we can’t really know much about Him, the assumption being that the Gospels aren’t reliable.  Well, Mr. Sacramone gives a very Lutheran answer to those in search of a tangible Jesus, proposing a billboard campaign, as you can see after the jump. [Read more...]

The hidden God and the revealed God

More from Oswald Bayer:

Luther never downplays or treats as harmless the situation of temptation and testing when God withdraws and conceals himself.  He confronts it in all its depth and sharpness.  He does not ignore experiences of suffering.  Yet he still refuses to accept their finality.  He flees from the hidden God to the revealed and incarnate God.

Living by Faith , Chapter 6

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“He comes down to the very depths”

For my Lenten reading, I have taken up Living by Faith by Oswald Bayer, a book that I have found to be extremely illuminating.    At the beginning of Lent, I posted about what I was learning from Bayer about how we have a primal need for justification, how we are always trying to justify ourselves, and the difference it can make to realize that Christ justifies us (see this and this and this and this).  I thought for the end of Lent, I would quote some passages from Bayer that I found both provocative and helpful.

Today, as Holy Week begins, I offer his reflections upon the necessity of knowing God not just through His glory but through His Cross. [Read more...]

Drinking His cup, being baptized with His baptism

Our sermon for the beginning of Passiontide was Mark 10:32-45, the passage about James and John asking Jesus if they could sit on His right hand and His left when He comes into His kingdom.  I had studied this text extensively for what it teaches about authority and vocation (how authority is not to be used to “lord it over” others, but to serve those whom you have authority over).  But somehow I never noticed that the passage is also about baptism and Holy Communion.  Read the connection after the jump.  And see whom God prepared to be on His right hand and on His left.

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“We loathe this worthless food”

Last Sunday one of our Scripture readings was about the children of Israel complaining in the wilderness, whereupon they were attacked by fiery serpents until Moses healed them by lifting up a bronze serpent on a pole, which Jesus would later apply to Himself (Numbers 21:4-9; John 3:14-21).

I was struck by one of the Israelite’s whines:  “We loathe this worthless food” (Numbers 21:5).  They were talking about Manna!  The miraculous food that God supplied them day by day without their effort!  It was delicious!  “It was like coriander seed, white, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey” (Exodus 16: 31).  And yet, even though this was an astounding miracle from a loving God, the people got tired of it.  They thought it was boring.  It became something to complain about.  “We loathe this worthless food.”

How often we–or, I should say, I–take our blessings for granted, to the point of thinking them worthless.  The only remedy, I suppose, is for fiery serpents to awake us to our need.  And for the Bronze Serpent to show us how that very sinfulness has been crucified and for the one who bore that sin in His body to heal us. [Read more...]

The worst book ever written about Jesus?

Gonzo archaeologist Simcha Jacobovici has published a new book:   The Lost Gospel: Decoding the Ancient Text that Reveals Jesus’ Marriage to Mary the Magdalene.  The reviewer in The Los Angeles Times, no less (not some conservative Christian), calls it “perhaps the worst book ever written about Jesus.”  From Anthony Le Donne:

Here are some of the claims that Simcha Jacobovici and Barrie Wilson make: (1) a 6th century text that never once refers to Jesus or Mary Magdalene is secretly about Jesus, Mary, and their children; (2) the character “Joseph” named in this text represents Jesus, Apollo, Helios, Mithras, and a Roman emperor simultaneously; (3) Mary Magdalene was not Jewish and was, moreover, a priestess of Artemis; (4) when Jesus refers to the Queen of Sheba (Matt 12:42), he is speaking of Mary in code; (5) Jesus — not a peasant, but a powerful figure in the world of Roman politics — was the victim of not one but two assassination attempts, both of which he survived; (6) the Roman general Germanicus was the second threat to Jesus, but a Roman prefect named Sejanus saved him, Mary, and their children; and (7) the wine of the Last Supper symbolized Mary’s menstrual blood. As you will see below, this is only a small sampling of this book’s originality.

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