There must be, I think, some connection between the parable of the sower in Luke 8 and the harvest Jesus talks about at the beginning of Luke 10. Jesus has been sowing the seed of the word of God, and some has begun to grow up. The harvest is ripe, and it’s time to send laborers out to harvest. The harvest is connected (in Luke 10) with a judgment, in which the grain will be gathered up and the chaff… Read more

A student of mine, Luke Jankovic, tracing the motif of “donkeys” in Genesis, came up with a couple of interesting angles. First, he noted that Abram first acquires donkeys in Egypt in Genesis 12, a proto-plundering of Egypt. And in this context the donkeys are involved in a dowry paid to Abram by Pharaoh. Later, Abram himself gives donkeys to Rebekah’s father. From a receiver of donkeys, Abram becomes a giver of donkeys. And when he gives donkeys he proves… Read more

There are numerous indications of parallels between the history of the Omride dynasty and the history of the kingdom of Judah (and of the Northern Kingdom). One is that a king in both the Omride and Davidic dynasty dies at Megiddo. Ahaziah is shot by Jehu during Jehu’s rebellion, flees to Megiddo, and dies there (2 Ki 9:27). Though Ahaziah is a king of Judah, he has been incorporated into the Omride dynasty through marriage. Later in Kings, Josiah is… Read more

Exhortation for October 5: Luke’s account of the Transfiguration is one of the densest passages in the entire New Testament. In context, it is a preview of the glory the Son of Man will display when He comes in His kingdom. It is a sign of Jesus’ messianic glory, a foretaste of the glory of Jesus’ resurrection, of His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and of the glory He displays in the destruction of apostate Jerusalem in… Read more

Eucharistic meditation for October 5: We have seen Jesus at meals on several occasions in Luke’s gospel, and each time the meal has been an occasion for instruction about the kingdom of God. When Jesus went to Levi’s house, He was demonstrating by His meal practice that He is the Great Physician come to heal the sick. At Simon’s house, He held up a sinful woman as an example of true devotion and discipleship. Here, for the first time, Jesus… Read more

Some very good material in Kenneth Bailey’s discussion of the end of Luke 9 (in Through Peasant Eyes ). Bailey is especially illuminating on the first of Jesus’ encounters with the reluctant disciples. This man volunteers to follow Jesus, but Jesus alerts him that the cost will be great. Jesus is leaving for Jerusalem, and though He has received some hospitality in Galilee and offered hospitality on a massive scale, He will be (in David Moessner’s words) the journeying guest… Read more

Luke 9 is largely about the final stages of the training of the Twelve before Jesus moves from Galilee to Jerusalem. Part of their training comes in the story of the feeding of the five thousand. Eugene LaVerdiere’s treatment of this incident in Dining in the Kingdom of God highlights a number of features of this incident in Luke. First, this incident occurs shortly after the disciples have returned from their missionary journey. They have relied on the hospitality of… Read more

Well, there’s a problem with speaking well of a book before reading far enough in it. I’m still learning a lot from Stephen Schwartz’s Two Faces of Islam , but fairly early in the book he makes it clear that he’s working with the view that at least all “Abrahamic faiths” can work together for the betterment of mankind. His hope is that “Islam may . . . fulfill its destiny as a positive force for all humanity.” So, my… Read more

Scott Hahn’s First Comes Love is, overall, a very fine book. It is a Trinitarian treatment of biblical theology that focuses on sacrificial self-giving as the mode of divine life that is to be replicated in the life of the church and to transform family life. “Family” is the dominant idea, encompassing the divine Trinitarian family, nuclear and extended human families, and the church. Within this overall theme, Hahn makes a number of intriguing specific points: 1) He sets things… Read more

I have been reading Stephen Schwartz’s wonderful pieces on Islam in the Weekly Standard for several years. Schwartz has done as much as any journalist to highlight the responsibility and role of Saudi Arabia for the rise of radical Islam, and particularly the central importance of the Wahhabi sect in modern Islam. I have been eager to dig into his recent The Two Faces of Islam: The House of Sa’ud from Tradition to Terror . It is even better than… Read more

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