Absent and Present

In the interview below New Testament scholar Peter Orr discusses what it means for Jesus to be absent, why it matters and why it is actually beneficial for us. He also talks about how he is present. Continue reading “Absent and Present”

The Politics of Passover

On Feast of Passover, Jews remember when God rescued Israel from slavery in Egypt. Passover was essentially the Jewish Independence Day. Now in the time of Jesus, Israel was under the Roman Empire so they were not free. When Passover came around, it would invariably stir hope in them that God would liberate them from foreign rule just like he did in the past and as he had promised that he would do again through Israel’s prophets. There was a lot of religious and nationalistic fervour on Passover day for a new exodus, just as it was prophesied in Israel’s sacred scriptures. [1]Therefore, the Romans were very vigilant to ensure rioting did not break out and if it did, it was emphatically quashed. They beefed up their military presence in the capital due to the event where Jews from all over the empire came to celebrate their festival of liberation.

It is quite possible the Roman authorities already had their eye on Jesus due to how he entered Jerusalem. As I explain in The Political Entry, Jesus was actually enacting a coronation procession with the crowds hailing him as the Davidic Messiah. The Messiah was the king God had promised that he would send to deliver his people from foreign domination. The timing of this act of political theatre, where he publicly presents himself in the capital as the divinely sent royal deliverer, less than a week before the festival of national liberation was no coincidence. Continue reading “The Politics of Passover”

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”