Pentecost 24 B: Surprisingly Good News

Mark 12:38-44 Dear Partner in Preaching, Sometimes our interpretation of a biblical passage turns on the questions we ask of it. In this case, I want to begin with one central question, not simply for the text, but also for you: How do you hear Jesus’ description of the poor widow’s offering – is it praise or lament? To put it another way: Is Jesus holding up the widow and her offering as an example of great faith and profound stewardship, or is he expressing his remorse that she has given – perhaps feels compelled – to give away the little she has left? I’ll be honest, for most of my life, I’ve assumed it was the former. But...

Easter B: Only the Beginning

Dear Partner in Preaching, I’ll be completely honest and just admit that I totally sympathize with the monks. The monks, that is, who just couldn’t believe that Mark really ended at verse 16:8a in such an awkward, unsatisfying, and distressingly incomplete way. Here’s what we know about this ending: Although there are numerous later manuscripts of Mark’s Gospel that have alternative and longer endings, all the earliest manuscripts end right here. Which means that this is most likely where Mark wanted his story to end, with a final sentence that is grammatically awkward, ending rather abruptly and with a preposition – an unusual...

John 1:17

The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. At first glance, it may seem that John doesn’t think too much of Moses and the law. After all, it feels like he’s setting up a comparison that Moses will definitely not win. But I don’t think that’s...

Matthew 1:1

An account of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Why in the world does Matthew start his story this way? With a genealogy of all things? I mean, talk about an archaic literary device! If you’ve ever heard this passage read from the King James Version,...

The Passion According to St. Luke Feb12

The Passion According to St. Luke

As I mentioned in a post late last week, I was torn between continuing my devotional reading of Luke and jumping to the Passion for Lent and then coming back to where we left off. I asked for help…and you gave it. The overwhelming preference was to move to the Passion now. So we will! With that in mind, just a few things to orient us to Luke in general and, in particular, Luke’s story of our Lord’s Passion. Of the four evangelists, Luke is the one who most clearly thinks of himself as a historian. Not a 21st century historian, mind you, but a 1st century historian who tells a story in order to teach the truth…which is of course...