In today’s gospel the chief priest and elders confront Jesus with a question concerning the authority by which Jesus is teaching in the Temple precincts, the content of his teaching, and more. This is a different moment than during the Galilean ministry when people, already amazing and curious, wondered about the source of Jesus’ teaching, miracles, and the authority by which he did all these things. It is different from the moments when Jesus encounters the queries from the scribes and pharisees. Now, in the midst of what we refer to as “Holy Week,” Jesus faces the leaders who already have plans to end Jesus’ life – they are just looking for immediate cause and opportunity. Continue reading


This coming Sunday is the 4th Sunday in Advent in cycle C of the lectionary. On this last Sunday of Advent, we come to another familiar prophetic passage, familiar at least in part because it plays a prominent role in Matthew’s story of the birth of Jesus. When the magi from the East come to Jerusalem expecting to find the king of the Jews, King Herod’s scribes quote this passage from Micah as evidence that the Messiah is to be born in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:5-6): “You, Bethlehem-Ephrathah too small to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel; whose origin is from of old, from ancient times” (Micah 5:2). Continue reading