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Lectionary Reflection—04 December 2016

Matthew 3:1-12 (adapted): In those days John the Baptist appeared in the desert of Judea announcing, “Change your hearts and lives! Here comes the kingdom of heaven!” He was the one of whom Isaiah the prophet spoke when he said:
The voice of one shouting in the wilderness, “Prepare the way for the Lord; make his paths straight.”
John wore clothes made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He ate locusts and wild honey.
People from Jerusalem, throughout Judea, and all around the Jordan River came to him. As they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River. Many Pharisees and Sadducees came to be baptized by John. He said to them, “You children of snakes! Who warned you to escape from the angry judgment that’s coming soon? Produce fruit that shows you have changed your hearts and lives. And don’t even think about saying to yourselves, ‘Abraham’s our father.’ I tell you that God’s able to raise up Abraham’s children from these stones. The ax is already at the ro…

Lectionary Reflection—20 November 2016

Colossians 1.11 (NLT; adapted): We also pray that you’ll be strengthened with all his glorious power so you’ll have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father. He’s enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light. For he’s rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.
Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see— such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together. Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body. He’s the beginning, supreme over all who rise from t…

A Question…(Part 4)

I was recently asked about my view of seeing all people as God’s children. As my response became quite long, I opted to create a mini-series about it. This is Part 4. Part 1 can be found here.
God’s Promise of Rescue There are several passages in the Bible that speak of God’s promise to save “all” and restore creation. Here are but a few:
1 Tim. 2.3-6: God our savior…wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. There’s one God and one mediator between God and humanity, the human Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a payment to set all people free. (The Greek word translated here as “wants” is θέλω (thelō) and it means to exercise the will.)
1 John 2.2: He’s God’s way of dealing with our sins, not only ours but the sins of the whole world (cf. John 1.29).
1 Tim. 4.10: We work and struggle for this: “Our hope is set on the living God, who is the savior of all people, especially those who believe.”
John 12.47: “I didn’t come to judge the world but to save it.” (Jesus is …

A Question…(Part 3)

I was recently asked about my view of seeing all people as God’s children. As my response became quite long, I opted to create a mini-series about it. This is Part 3. Part 1 can be found here.
Limitation The “limitation” of belief in Christ in the New Testament, then, is tied directly to God’s coming wrath against Israel. Think of the “shadow” of the passover in Exodus—when the angel of death (or God) swept through Egypt, killing all the firstborn, he would “passover” the home that had blood on the door frame (Exodus 12). Likewise, when God’s “rod of anger” (the Romans) was used against Israel, it “passed over” those who believed in Christ. Eusebius stated that not a single follower of Jesus was killed in the war (Eusebius, Book III, 5.4).
Or think about the “shadow” of the wilderness wanderings of the Exodus. Those who moaned and complained died in the wilderness while those who remained faithful entered the promised land (Exodus 17; cf., Heb. 4). Likewise, Paul saw the time between the…

A Question…(Part 2)

I was recently asked about my view of seeing all people as God’s children. As my response became quite long, I opted to create a mini-series about it. This is Part 2. Part 1 can be found here.
Eschatology A third element to all of this, of course, is eschatology. As you know, soteriology (the study of salvation) is tied to eschatology (the study of last things) and it plays a heavy role in my understanding of the New Testament. This is a three stage process: proclamation; inauguration; establishment. Think about it like a presidential campaign: The candidate makes promises about her presidency (proclamation); she wins the election and becomes the president-elect (inauguration, though this isn’t the best word for this example; but this is the time when there are two administrations—the current one of the existing president and the soon coming one of the new president); and then, after some time, she actually becomes president (establishment). God’s Kingdom worked the same way. Starting w…