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Colliding Worlds and Grace

Colliding Worlds and Grace

Gospel_MatthewLong (Matthew, Westminster Bible Companion) writes concerning the rich man story, which also applies to our text: “… we must realize that, when the young man encounters Jesus, two very different worlds collide: this world, with all its prevailing customs and values, and the radical new way of life called for in the kingdom of heaven.” [p. 220]

This radical life comes at a price. Peter understands…

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Assumptions about blessings

Gospel_MatthewMatthew 20:1–16  “The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard. 2 After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard….

Context. In the Matthean narrative we are firmly ensconced in the midst of Jesus’ instructions, not of the crowds, but of the disciples, preparing them for not only his death and resurrection,…

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A Posture in Life

A Posture in Life

Nicodemus and JesusWho among us wants to be known as a condescending person? I suspect that the likely answer is “no one among us.” In modern American English usage it has an almost exclusively negative connotation. Merriam-Webster definition of condescending is “showing or characterized by a patronizing or superior attitude toward others; showing that you believe you are more intelligent or better than other…

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The Triumph of the Cross

The Triumph of the Cross

Christ on CrossIn the earliest days of Christianity, believers did not display the cross as a sign of their faith. The cross was the Roman implement for executing its worst criminals. The earliest Christians were well aware that the cross was a symbol in tension: humiliation of the manner of Jesus’ death and the triumph over sin which Jesus’ dying accomplished. In addition there was, what seemed to…

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Born again? Born from above?

Born again? Born from above?

Nicodemus and JesusJohn 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him[Nicodemus], “Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born anōthen”.

Born anōthen. The expression gennēthē anōthen can be translated as “born again” or “born from above.” Some bibles opt for the “again” (TLW), some opt for “again” with a footnote to explain there is an alternative (RSV, NIV, TEV, NASB, ESV, KJV). Others opt…

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Lifted up to Eternal Life

Lifted up to Eternal Life

Nicodemus and JesusPicking up the dialogue between Nicodemus and Jesus in John 3, we hear

11 Amen, amen, I say to you, we speak of what we know and we testify to what we have seen, but you people do not accept our testimony. 12 If I tell you about earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? 13 No one has gone up to heaven except the one who has come down from…

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Sep 9

A different context in which to hear

A different context in which to hear

Bronze-SerpentOur gospel is given a different context in which to hear it proclaimed. The context is provided in using The Book of Numbers 21:4-9:

With their patience worn out by the journey, the people complained against God and Moses, “Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in this desert, where there is no food or water? We are disgusted with this wretched food!” In punishment the LORD sent among the…

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Sep 8

Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Christ on CrossSeptember 14th is the date established for a feast that recognizes the Cross as the instrument upon which our salvation was won by Jesus Christ. This feast is called in Greek Ὕψωσις τοῦ Τιμίου καὶ Ζωοποιοῦ Σταυροῦ (“Raising Aloft of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross”) and in Latin Exaltatio Sanctae Crucis. In English, the 3rd Edition of the Roman Missal restored the traditional name, the…

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Sep 7

Communities of Grace

Easter Vigil at Sacred HeartIt must be some 30 years ago I saw a film entitled “The Gods Must Be Crazy.” It was a clever comedy about a tribe that lived in the Kalahari Desert of southwest Africa. The Kalahari is a tough place in which only a community survives through its cooperation, assistance, and support of each other. The web of individual and communal relationships are a key element by which life is sustained. The…

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Sep 6

How will we win them?

How will we win them?

If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother. If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that ‘every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church.” (Matthew 18:15-17)

AgnusDay0907 (more…)

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