Paul Echoed Jesus on the Resurrection of the Saints

One of the best stories in the New Testament gospels is about Jesus raising his friend Lazarus from the dead to mortal life again. Lazarus had two sister--Mary and Martha--and they all lived in Bethany, two miles from Jerusalem. They all must have been very close friends of Jesus because during Passion Week, Jesus stayed in Bethany and commuted back and forth between there and the temple in Jerusalem. Although we cannot know for sure, he may have slept each night at Lazarus' house.Jesus and … [Read more...]

Oral Tradition: How We Got the Synoptic Gospels

In the beginning of my Christian life, like most Christians I was taught that the Apostle Matthew (Levi) wrote the Gospel of Matthew, "John, who also was called Mark" (Acts 12.25), wrote the Gospel of Mark, Luke wrote the Gospel of Luke (Colossians 4.14; 2 Timothy 4.11), and the Apostle John wrote the Gospel of John. Yet none of these four gospels reveal the name of their authors. Why? Perhaps it is because, in the case of the first three gospels at least, they were recording what was mostly … [Read more...]

Review of Bart Ehrman’s Book–How Jesus Became God–Part 1 of 3

Author: Bart D. Ehrman, professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at the University of North Carolina, Chapel HillTitle: How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from GalileePublisher and Date: HarperOne, 2014. Page length: 404 pp.All Scripture references are from the NRSV unless otherwise noted. Part 1 Dr. Bart Ehrman is probably the most successful author of theological books in America. He has five New York Times bestsellers including this one, How Jesus … [Read more...]

The Pope Is Right about Freedom of Expression

Roman Catholic Pope Francis sounded off yesterday about the Charlie Hebdo incident--Muslim terrorists assasinating 17 people in France because this French magazine published a cartoon satizing the Prophet Muhammed, which is considered "blasphemy" to Muslims. The pope was flying in an airplane with journalists to the Manila, Philippines. He denounced those killings and said freedom of expression is "a fundamental human right." He added, "There is a limit. Every religion has its dignity ... In … [Read more...]

The Contrast Between Zechariah and Mary

Zechariah was a priest and the father of John the Baptist. The Bible says (NRSV), "Once when he was serving as priest before God" he entered the temple sanctuary at Jerusalem to burn incense as the people were outside praying (Luke 1.8, 10). The angel Gabriel then appeared to him, standing beside the altar, and Zechariah was terrified. Gabriel said, "Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John" (v. 13). Gabriel … [Read more...]

“I Am the Light of the World”—Jesus

When Jesus conducted his itinerary ministry and attended holy days at the temple in Jerusalem, crowds gathered to see and hear him. They especially wondered about his identity. This scenario--people asking about Jesus' identity--occurs repeatedly in the Gospel of John. Jews asked him, “Who are you?” And they later said to him, “If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly” (John 8.25; 10.24 NRSV).The Gospel of John is unique in relating that sometimes Jesus replied to this questioning by uttering … [Read more...]

Did Al-Sissi Say Revise the Qu’ran?

On April 4, 2014, I posted an article on this blog entitled, "Are We Doing Enough About Islamic Suicide Bombers?" In it, I quote several disturbing, hostile verses in the Qu'ran (Koran) that advocate killing and beheading people who don't accept Islam for themselves as their faith, which it often calls "unbelievers." Sometimes, it designates "Jews" and "Christians" as "unbelievers." The Qu'ran often tells Muslims to "fight for the cause of God." Sometimes, this statement is in a clear context of … [Read more...]

Should Jews Pronounce God’s Name?

Judaism forbids the pronunciation of God's name. What is God's name? It is not "Father," as many Christians think. Jesus' favorite identification of God was "Father." That conveys the wonderful concepts of love, nurturing, and protecting. But "father" is a title of God, not his name. The Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) is very clear in saying that God's name is yhwh/YHWH. See especially Exodus 3.13-15 NIV. Moses therein asked the angel of the LORD in the burning bush incident about God, "What is … [Read more...]