August 19, 2003

David S. Cunningham’s book Faithful Persuasion is a defense of doing theology in a rhetorical mode. Among other things, he offers a devastating deconstruction of an argument for the historical critical method of exegesis. First, he quotes Benjamin Jowett: It may be laid down that Scripture has one meaning — the meaning which it had to the mind of the prophet or evangelist who first uttered or wrote, to the hearers who first received it. Another view may be easier… Read more

August 19, 2003

There’s a nice twist in Luke 8:39 that indicates how Luke understands Jesus’ relationship to God. Jesus tells the Gadarene demoniac to “return to your house and describe what great things God has done for you.” The healed demoniac “went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done for him.” Did he disobey? No: Proclaiming what Jesus has done is describing what God has done. Read more

August 19, 2003

In Luke 5 and 8, two stories are told that may shed some interesting light on the question of justification. In 5:17-26, men lower a man on a bed through the roof of a house so that Jesus can heal him. Verse 20 says “seeing their faith, Jesus said, ‘Man, your sins are forgiven you.’” Here, forgiveness is Jesus’ response to the faith that He discerns in the man. Jesus says something similar of the woman with the vial of… Read more

August 18, 2003

Another thought from Luke, this time chapter 3. The genealogy of Jesus in Luke 3 contains 77 names. Several commentators suggest that the names are arranged in 11 groups of 7, and that there is a pattern of 7s (groups of 2 and 3 7s) that provides an overview of history from Adam to Jesus. If this is the case, then Jesus is the first in the 12th group of 7, beginning the completion of Israel (a 12). Another numerological… Read more

August 18, 2003

In Simeon’s song in Luke 2, he says that Jesus will cause the “fall and rising” of many in Israel. “Rising” translates ” anastasis ,” the word for resurrection. That may help to explain the sequence (fall—rise, rather than rise—fall). Simeon is perhaps not talking only about people being cast down and others taking their places (as Mary says in Luke 1), but about the fall and subsequent resurrection of many in Israel. Jesus will not only be responsible for… Read more

August 18, 2003

In Simeon’s song in Luke 2, he says that Jesus will cause the “fall and rising” of many in Israel. “Rising” translates ” anastasis ,” the word for resurrection. That may help to explain the sequence (fall—rise, rather than rise—fall). Simeon is perhaps not talking only about people being cast down and others taking their places (as Mary says in Luke 1), but about the fall and subsequent resurrection of many in Israel. Jesus will not only be responsible for… Read more

August 17, 2003

The exhortation from August 17, 2003: Ancient heretics tried to deny it, and modern heretics do the same, but Luke could hardly make it clearer that Jesus is the human God. Throughout the first chapter of Luke’s gospel, Luke uses the word “Lord” to describe the God of Israel. Gabriel is an “angel of the Lord,” and he tells Zacharias that John will “turn back many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God.” Gabriel tells Mary that… Read more

August 17, 2003

Researching for a commentary on Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar , I came across the intriguing theory that Shakespeare’s Roman plays are as concerned about 16th-century Rome as ancient Rome. In Shakespeare’s day, of course, Rome was the center of Roman Catholicism, which was seen by Elizabethan Englishmen as the great global threat to their way of life. Julius Caesar gestures toward Papal Rome by talking about relics, but making Caesar’s death Christlike in several respects (or Antichristlike), by setting up Caesar’s… Read more

August 16, 2003

Sermon notes for August 17, 2003: Savior and Lord, Emperor and King, Luke 2:1-52 INTRODUCTION Luke dates the story of John by reference to the reign of Herod the Great, king of Judea (1:5). But he dates the birth of Jesus by reference to the reign of Caesar Augustus, who has the authority to take a census of the “inhabited earth” (2:1). John’s ministry is confined to Judaism; but with Jesus, Luke’s story enters the world of the Roman empire…. Read more

August 15, 2003

There is a fascinating article in the current Atlantic Monthly about terrorism, business, and piracy on the high seas. William Langewiesche, who did a series of articles for the Atlantic on the aftermath of 9/11, tells some harrowing stories about the chaotic world that occupies a sizable portion of our planet. Read more

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