Gospels

So why was Jesus baptised?

Tue, 25/09/2007 - 17:05 -- James Oakley

I don’t know.

But it must be something to do with this:

Mark 1:2-8 leaves us with two expectations of what God is about to do. From Mark 1:2-3 (quoting Isaiah 40), God is about to bring his people back through the wilderness to the promised land; he is about to remake his people. From Mark 1:7, he is “the stronger one than John” who will operate on his people’s hearts by his Spirit to bring about true repentance. There is no clear indication from Mark 1:2-8 that either “the Lord” or “the stronger one” is anyone other than God himself. We’re not looking for a human being (yet).

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Luke 21

Fri, 07/09/2007 - 17:01 -- James Oakley

I’m preaching a series of 3 sermons on Luke chapter 21 in November. They make a series, but numbers 1 and 3 are 30-minute sermons to adults, whilst number 2 needs to stand alone as it is a 10 minute talk on Remembrance Day with all-ages still in church.

I could give sermon number 2 a title: “The war to end all wars”.

But that’s about as far as I’ve got with any of it.

What I’m really looking for at this point is some help. What should / could I read that would help me get the broad direction right. And the details. And the contemporary applications. Books. Papers. Articles. Blog posts. ... all those are welcome.

Suggestions please!

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The word for "children" in Luke 18:16

Sat, 18/08/2007 - 15:16 -- James Oakley

Jesus said: “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.”

I noticed the other day that Luke uses a different word for “children” here than either Matthew or Mark. Luke uses bre,foj==. Both Matthew and Mark use paidi,on==. (Again, you’d have to have the BW font to see that correctly – the words are brefos and paidion, for those without the fonts.)

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Stones

Tue, 10/07/2007 - 13:04 -- James Oakley

I’m studying Luke 20:1-18 at the moment.

Peter Leithart (introduction of House for my Name) gives head-crushing as an example of a theme-symbol in the OT. The serpent will have its head crushed in Genesis 3, which makes it significant that the enemies of God frequently have their heads crushed – Goliath, Abimelech etc.

James Jordan (chapter on rocks in Through New Eyes) points out the theme of stones as objects of judgement. The proscribed OT death penalty was for stoning, Daniel 2, Isaiah 8 etc.

We can put these together. Both Abimelech and Goliath are not only killed by having their heads crushed. Their heads are crushed with stones. So when Jesus says that the tenants will have the stone fall on them and crush them, all those allusions – including Genesis 3 – are evoked. The startling thing, of course, in Luke 20 is who the tenants are. Suddenly the people of Jerusalem, primarily but not exclusively their leaders, are being alluded to the serpent, Abimelech, Goliath, Nebuchadnezzar side of the equation. Ouch!

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Mark 7: God changes his mind?

Mon, 12/02/2007 - 20:27 -- James Oakley

I’ve got so tired of hearing people, who find irresistible appeal in Open Theism, citing Mark 7:24-30 that it’s time to say something. The appeal is made without consideration to: (i) the Chalcedonian need not to confuse Christ’s two natures, and (ii) the dynamics of human relationships that are playing out. The claim is: Here is an example of God changing his mind.

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"Wise men from the east"

Sun, 24/12/2006 - 22:49 -- James Oakley

Bear in mind that Matthew loves OT allusions.
Bear in mind that the magi are Gentile worshippers of Jesus.

He deliberately reports (2:1) that they came from the east.

From the land East of Eden. From Sodom and Gomorrah. From the way into the tabernacle and temple. They came from the east to Jerusalem.

Are we supposed to learn that the birth of this child is access back into the presence of God. Not just for Jewish exiles (1:17), but for Gentiles too?

There’s some good news. Happy Christmas everyone!

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Good news of great postmillenial joy I bring, to you and all mankind

Fri, 22/12/2006 - 15:27 -- James Oakley

OK, it doesn’t fit the tune, but it does fit the sentiment.

Joel Green, NICNT Luke, page 137:

In the light of the cosmic scope of the Isaianic Messianic hope Luke keeps alluding to in chapter 2, and in the light of the references to Gentiles we’ve already had this far in Luke:

This means that the expression ‘those whom he favors’ cannot be limited in application to Israel only. Rather, shalom for Israel is tied up with shalom for the cosmos. Hence, although ‘whom he favors’ is an affirmation of gracious election on God’s part, that graciousness extends to humanity. It should not be read in an exclusive sense – that is, not peace only to a select group whom he favors – but in an inclusive way: In the birth of this child, God’s mercy has fallen on the world.

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