Though, according to the Gospels, Jesus’ childhood was in Nazareth, his home as an adult was in Capernaum, located on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee. Continue reading
Please watch this video, all of it. It is the story of followers of Jesus who have seen the evil of DAESH (ISIS) directly. Hear their stories and listen to their response. Continue reading
“Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”—Jesus
We often talk about possessing the “faith of a child” (although Jesus never actually mentions this). We rarely talk about what Jesus actually does mention: possessing the humility and the lowness of status of a child.
Beloved, it is okay to be afraid to love in the face of threat and violence. It is okay to want something else, anything other than a love that serves even those who are our enemies, and to pray, “Please take this cup from me.”
We are not up to the challenge to love so deeply.
I am not up to it.
So, we rely on the strength of Christ, who also prayed “take this cup” but then surrendered: “Your will be done, not mine.” Then he took up his cross in order to reveal a love that cannot be deterred or overcome by fear, violence, or even death.
This is the only kind of love that matters.
From the Gospel of Luke:
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the upper room.
From the Gospel of Matthew:
Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
From the Apocalypse of John:
Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail.
And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth.
The Gospel of Luke records a revelatory and visionary event that happened in the life of a young Jewish girl name Miriam (Mary), who lived in the northern hill country of Judea, called “the Galil” (Galilee). The Jewish people have been conquered, occupied, and oppressed by the Romans for about 40 years when this event takes place:
The word of YHWH to Isaiah the Prophet:
The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shone.
Two scholars, Bart Ehrman and Craig Evans, are having a debate over Ehrman’s positioni in his recently released How Jesus Became God that Jesus’ body would not have been buried. Evans makes the case otherwise.
While I agree with Evan’s position that Jesus was, in fact, buried, Ehrman is a good scholar, and this post on his blog describing crucifixion is well written. Here is an important snippet:
As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus.Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him.Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away.Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb.
(Matthew 27.57–61 NIV)
And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.
And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised,and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”
(Matthew 27.50–54 ESV)