There has always been research, commentary, etc. on what Jesus looked like. From the inheritance of Christian art in the West, we often see/imagine a man with long hair parted in the middle and a long beard – often with fair skin, light brown hair and blue eyes. It is historically far more likely that he looked like a typical Galilean of his time. But that is another topic. How about what did Jesus wear? Were we subject to the same “branding and imagery” on long robes and the like? One link to another which led me to a website with which I was not familiar: The Conversation. It is described as a network of not-for-profit media outlets that publish news stories on the Internet that are written by academics and researchers. Its funded comes from its university members, government and other grant awarding bodies, corporate partners, and reader donations. I can’t tell you a lot more than that, but I did run across and interesting article: What Did Jesus Wear? I found it interesting, so enjoy. Continue reading
10,000 hours – Katy Ledecky, Yo Yo Ma, Simone Biles, and many others understand. There is a threshold of practice that raises one’s level of performance to expert. And then a dedicated persistence and perseverance in that practice is needed to maintain that level of expertise. Last century, when I was in college I had reached 10,000 hours and more. I competed at a national level, in the deep end so to speak, where lots of people competed in races that were resolved in tenths or hundredths of seconds.
After entering a boat, Jesus made the crossing, and came into his own town. And there people brought to him a paralytic lying on a stretcher. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Courage, child, your sins are forgiven.” At that, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” Jesus knew what they were thinking, and said, “Why do you harbor evil thoughts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”– he then said to the paralytic, “Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.” He rose and went home. When the crowds saw this they were struck with awe and glorified God who had given such authority to men. (Matthew 9:1-8)
The gospel for this Monday in the 10th week of Ordinary Time is the familiar Sermon on the Mount from the Gospel of Matthew. If you would like to read a commentary on the Sermon, you can find it here. But in this post I would like to place these passages in a larger flow of the Matthean narrative. If you could only choose one word to describe the Sacred Writer’s “project” the word “fulfillment” would be a good choice.
The Pharisees are having a rough time in the daily gospels this week. Jesus makes no bones about who he is: “I AM”
Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
before Abraham came to be, I AM.”
So they picked up stones to throw at him (John 8:58)
The Pharisees got the message. They made a choice. A friend of mine describes the basic encounter of faith this way: Continue reading
Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan river and then “Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil” (Matthew 4:1). Both the Gospels of Mark and Luke have a similar narrative, placing Jesus at the Jordan River immediately before his temptation in the wilderness. While Christian tradition often describes Jesus’ temptation as occurring in a “desert,” the Greek word eremos primarily means a location that is isolated, uninhabited and unfit for pasture. Continue reading
In Luke’ narrative there is no account of the Resurrection; there in only the empty tomb – which is not the source of faith for people in Luke’s rendering of the gospel. Rather, in Luke’s gospel it is the empty tomb and the encounter with the person of the Risen Jesus. The empty tomb is what Jesus had said would happen “on the third day.” The event of its discovery points back to Jesus’ word. A word mostly fully realized later in the ‘breaking of the bread.”
Luke 24:13 Now that very day two of them were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus,14 and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred.15 And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them,16 but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.17 He asked them, “What are you discussing as you walk along?” They stopped, looking downcast.18 One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know of the things that have taken place there in these days?”19 And he replied to them, “What sort of things?” They said to him, “The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people,20 how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over to a sentence of death and crucified him.21 But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel; and besides all this, it is now the third day since this took place. Continue reading
The centurion who witnessed what had happened glorified God and said, “This man was innocent beyond doubt.” 48 When all the people who had gathered for this spectacle saw what had happened, they returned home beating their breasts; 49 but all his acquaintances stood at a distance, including the women who had followed him from Galilee and saw these events. 50 Now there was a virtuous and righteous man named Joseph who, though he was a member of the council, 51 had not consented to their plan of action. He came from the Jewish town of Arimathea and was awaiting the kingdom of God. 52 He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 53 After he had taken the body down, he wrapped it in a linen cloth and laid him in a rock-hewn tomb in which no one had yet been buried. 54 It was the day of preparation, and the sabbath was about to begin. 55 The women who had come from Galilee with him followed behind, and when they had seen the tomb and the way in which his body was laid in it, 56 they returned and prepared spices and perfumed oils. Then they rested on the sabbath according to the commandment. (Luke 23:47-56) Continue reading
It is a sometimes very difficult pastoral situation, when a person has been truly wronged by the events that have unfolded with in a marriage, and I know that ultimately – in one form or another – I will let the person know that there are no innocent parties. Indeed some are infinitely more innocent, but in the end there is rarely complete innocence.
Indeed we stand rightly condemned. But this gospel reveals that in the simple act of trust, there is salvation, beyond merit or worth, beyond categories of innocence or guilt. There are no scales. There is only the promise that our Savior remembers those who trust. We stand before complete innocence. Continue reading
Alan Culpepper commented that reading the arrest and trials of Jesus is, for him, like watching film footage of John Kennedy’s motorcade winding through Dallas in 1963 or the 1986 launch of the Challenger space shuttle. We know what is coming, we know we have no power to undo them, but are compelled to watch because we honor the loss of great people doing what was theirs to do.
At a more intimate level we know that the encounter of Jesus and Pilate is a scene wherein both face the test of their convictions. Pilate knows and announces the verdict – innocence, but in the face of an unruly crowd does not have the conviction to persevere. Neither Herod nor Barabbas provide an avenue to resolved the crisis when the leaders of Jewish Jerusalem are ever at work to animate the crowd to bend Pilate’s to their will. Continue reading