After the Chaos Ends: Jeremiah 33:14-16

By Amy EricksonJeremiah’s promise of a future restoration for Israel and Judah centers on the image of a righteous branch. This image, while somewhat strange to our culture, carries along with it a rich and varied tradition, deeply rooted in the world and literature of the Old Testament. The tree of life in the Garden of Eden links trees with ideas of abundance, fertility, and renewal.The Old Testament also uses arboreal imagery to talk about leaders, especially kings. In the famous p … [Read more...]

Jesus’ Death and the Future of Violence: Mark 9:30-37

By Matthew L. SkinnerIf pondering Jesus’ crucifixion doesn’t make you uncomfortable, you probably aren’t doing it right.I’m not referring to the gore and humiliation, which makes crucifixion repulsive no matter who the victim is.Watch the Video: ON Scripture: Jesus Predicts His DeathMatthew Skinner, assistant professor of New Testament at Luther Seminary, discusses the Biblical text Mark 9:30-37, featured in the ON Scripture The Bible article, "Jesus’ Death and the Fut … [Read more...]

The Downfall of Giving Into Fear: Mark 6:14-29

James M. Childs

By Rev. James M. ChildsJohn the Baptist was convicted, convinced of his ordination to prepare the way of the Messiah with a call to repentance. Herod Antipas was conflicted, assailed by contradictory impulses within himself and vulnerable to pressures outside himself.Watch the Video: ON Scripture: Death of John the BaptistBarbara K. Lundblad, Professor of Preaching at Union Theological Seminary, discusses the Biblical text Mark 6:14-29, featured in the ON Scripture: The … [Read more...]

What Makes a Family? (Mark 3:20-35)

By Matthew L. Skinner“Parents just don’t understand” might be an ever-present theme in popular music, but it’s hardly a modern phenomenon.Jesus’ Family DiscordIf you’re looking for snapshots of well-adjusted and happy parent-child relationships from the ancient world, the Bible probably shouldn’t be on your short list of sources. Consider even Jesus’ family, for example. The New Testament preserves evidence suggesting that Jesus’ relationship with his mother was rather strained. Sim … [Read more...]

The Price of Being Prophetic: Isaiah 6.1–8; John 3.1–17

By Sze-kar WanThe recent escape of the well-known blind Chinese human rights lawyer Chen Guangcheng from house arrest to the American embassy has attracted a lot of attention in the media. The story is rife with possibilities in an election year, and pundits and politicians are quick to spin it to their own advantage, be it to extol their virtues or launch preemptive strikes against their opponents. It would be easy to dismiss the American reaction as cynical and crass. The state-controlled … [Read more...]

Psalm 1: Putting Evil in Its Place

By Dr. Amy EricksonPsalm 1 begins and ends in a way that puts a lot people off, particularly those who are less-than-compelled by fire and brimstone preaching: “Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread” (v 1) and “the Lord watches over the way of the righteous but the way of the wicked will perish” (v 6).It sounds like the psalm advocates - not only name-calling - but also a clean drawing of lines between believers and non-believers o … [Read more...]


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