The Political Entry

Palm Sunday was the first and arguably the most overtly political act of Jesus of Nazareth’s short career. (Mark 11:1-10, Matthew 21:1-9, Luke 19:29-40, John 12:12-16.) Before then he was recognised as an itinerant Galilean preacher, even a prophet like John the Baptist, announcing the imminent arrival of God’s kingdom (Matthew 21:10-11.) Him riding into the Jewish capital on a donkey, a week before Passover, was actually the opening act of the political theatre that he was staging in the final week of his life. The drama was “Who is the Messiah?” that is the true king of Israel, and Jesus had come to lay that question to rest. Continue reading “The Political Entry”

Jesus and the Early Church’s Mission

If Jesus was a prophet of Jewish restoration eschatology (see Ben Meyers; Ed Sanders; N.T. Wright; Richard Horsley), then it is important to note the impact that Jesus’s restoration eschatology had upon the early church who, in the transformed post-Easter context, carried forward Jesus’s appropriation of Israel’s sacred traditions about the restoration of Israel and the inclusion of the nations in God’s saving purposes.

It is in Luke–Acts that we observe how this story of Jesus as the agent of Israel’s restoration was taken up into the preaching and praxes of the first Christians…

Continue reading “Jesus and the Early Church’s Mission”

The Politics of the Passion

The crucifixion of Christ is mostly understood to have moral, spiritual and religious meanings. The cross is not usually associated with politics. While it is certainly true that in the New Testament the cross does have religious and moral significance, crucifixion was clearly understood and presented as a political act in the gospels. Continue reading “The Politics of the Passion”

The Jewish Nativity

When you look at all the nativity stories in the gospels it is clear that the significance of Jesus’ birth concerns the destiny of Israel. If the New Testament writers are clear that Jesus’ birth was for Israel then for the subsequent generations of believers who created a tradition of marking the day of his birth should also recognise that. However, this intensely Jewish focus is often missing among contemporary believers celebrating Christ’s birth. Continue reading “The Jewish Nativity”

Jesus Politics

“Christ’s biggest issue is not found on the platforms of modern political parties. Instead, Jesus calls the entire world to give allegiance to him above country, company, or any other community.” Continue reading “Jesus Politics”

The Son of Man and the Temple

Leading New Testament scholar N.T. Wright discusses the significance of the Temple and and Daniel 7’s “Son of Man” to Jesus’ self-understanding and divine mission. Continue reading “The Son of Man and the Temple”

Shoring up the Shortcomings of the Apostles’ Creed

Last year I posted an article by Eric Chabot titled Why the Apostles’ Creed Falls Short. In it the author highlights the great shortcoming of the Apostles’ Creed, which is there is no explicit reference to Jewishness and why that is a terrible omission. New Testament scholar Matthew Bates in his excellent book Salvation by Allegiance Alone constructs an analytical summary of the Gospel according to the New Testament. The structure of his creedal summary was partly inspired by the Apostles’ Creed. The crucial difference is Bates’ distillation of the New Testament’s proclamation does contain explicit references to Jewishness. His creedal formulation is as follows: Continue reading “Shoring up the Shortcomings of the Apostles’ Creed”