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Category: Gospels

Violence, Division, and the Kingdom of God

Violence, Division, and the Kingdom of God

On the last Sunday in June I preached a sermon on Matthew 10:24-39. That passage came to my mind again as I read about the events in Charlottesville last weekend. In part of that passage Jesus says the following: 34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her…

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The Story of Nicodemus

The Story of Nicodemus

Biblical authors did not write in the style of modern novels. As a result, biblical characters can sometimes seem a bit flat to us, their lives lacking the kind of detail we are used to seeing in stories. But despite this lack of detail and characterization, there are certain Bible characters who seem to leap off the page and express their personalities to us across two thousand years or more. For me, Nicodemus is one of these characters. The Gospel…

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Christmas According to Matthew

Christmas According to Matthew

In an online essay, New Testament scholar James Boyce makes the following statement as he reflects on the Christmas story as it is told in the Gospel of Matthew: “If we do not anticipate the Christmas event both with hope and with just a bit of anxious fear, then we are not sufficiently tuned to the implications of God’s presence among us.” This might strike us as a bit odd. “Hope” we are okay with, but why would he say…

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A Thank You Note to a 5th Century Scribe

A Thank You Note to a 5th Century Scribe

If you open a Bible to the beginning of John chapter 8, you will find a story about the scribes and Pharisees bringing a woman to Jesus—a woman whom they said was caught in the act of adultery. However, depending on what version you are reading, you may also see brackets around this story and/or a footnote indicating that most ancient manuscripts of the Gospel of John do not contain this story. [2 Early in the morning he came again…

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The Persistent Widow

The Persistent Widow

A number of years ago I was doing some research online to get ideas for a children’s sermon on the parable of the persistent widow and the unjust judge. Here’s the story from Luke chapter 18 if you’re not familiar with it: 1 Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. 2 He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people….

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