Walking away & walking it back

Another good sermon yesterday from Pastor Douthwaite on the third week the Gospel lesson has been on John 6, that rich text in which Jesus proclaims Himself to be the Bread of Life.  When he went so far as to say that he was not just being metaphorical, that His flesh is “true food” and His blood “true drink,” many of his followers walked away.  The same thing happens today when erstwhile followers encounter “hard sayings” that they won’t accept.  We sometimes walk away from Christ.  But Christ doesn’t walk away from us. [Read more...]

A very early image of Jesus

Archaeologists have discovered in Egypt an image of Jesus dating from the 500s-600s.  See it, along with a news report, after the jump. [Read more...]

“Begone, Satan!”

More from that Lenten sermon on the Temptation of Christ (Matthew 4:1-11).  From Rev. James Douthwaite, St. Athanasius Lutheran Church: Lent 1 Sermon:

This story of Jesus being tempted in the wilderness shows you Jesus fighting for you. And that’s more important because I could stand up here all day and tell you to fight against satan with the Word of God until I’m blue in the face and you know what? You’ll still sin. Satan will still get the better of you. You’ll still fall for and believe his lies and false goods, especially when he attacks you in your weaknesses and at the worst possible times. You know it’s true. Jesus as your example cannot save you.

But Jesus as the one who came to fight satan for you and win can. And does. We sang it earlier: But for us fights the valiant One, whom God Himself elected. Ask ye who is this? Jesus Christ it is! (LSB #656 v. 2) And so right after Jesus stands with sinners in the Jordan and is baptized for us, He is led out into the wilderness to begin the battle – the battle that will culminate at the cross. And there satan’s “if you are the Son of God” will ring in His ears yet again, coming this time from the mockers, taunting Him to come down from the cross and show that He really is who He claimed to be. That would be good . . . To show everyone that He is the Son of God . . . right? [Read more...]

The Incarnation and the whole range of human life

God becoming man involved more than just His assumption of a human body, but his entry into all of the elements of human life.

So observed Dr. Joel Lehenbauer, the Executive Director of the Commission on Theology & Church Relations of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, in a sermon I heard last week in the chapel at the church headquarters in St. Louis.  He was preaching about Jesus at the wedding at Cana.  That God became man meant that He went to weddings, that He had obligations to His mother, that He feasted and drank wine.  That got me thinking. . . [Read more...]

The good wine

Last Sunday was the day of Epiphany that marks Jesus’ first miracle at the wedding in Cana, turning water into wine.  I don’t understand how anyone can make a Biblical case against alcohol, given that Jesus, who knew no sin, made wine.  And this isn’t just wine for medicinal purposes or because the water wasn’t safe, excuses I’ve heard anti-alcohol Christians make.  (Another ancient religion, Islam forbids wine altogether, so it wasn’t a necessity for life.)  This was specifically alcohol for celebratory reasons.

But what I noticed this time is the distinction made here between “poor wine” and “good wine.”  The text affirms that some wine, as with other human artifacts, is better than others, an affirmation of quality, of aesthetic judgment.  And when Jesus makes wine through a miracle, it is specifically “good wine.”

But these observations just skim the surface of this text. [Read more...]

Jesus and other punsters

The BBC has a wonderful article by Sally Davies on puns, basically a review of John Pollack’s book  The Pun Also Rises: How the Humble Pun Revolutionized Language, Changed History, and Made Wordplay More Than Some Antics.  The article offers different theories of puns, most of them ludicrous.  (Why are “power” and “coping with despair” considered valid categories of explanation, while “because they are funny” is apparently not?) Puns have often been condemned, though they are used by by such luminaries as Shakespeare and JESUS (so there can’t be anything wrong with them).  The article includes some world-class puns.  Read it, linked below.  Here is a sample: [Read more...]