The Acts of the Apostles

Throughout the Easter Season, our first reading if from The Acts of the Apostles. This is the second volume of Luke’s two-volume work, continues Luke’s presentation of biblical history, describing how the salvation promised to Israel in the Old Testament and accomplished by Jesus has now under the guidance of the holy Spirit been extended to the Gentiles. This was accomplished through the divinely chosen representatives whom Jesus prepared during his historical ministry and commissioned after his resurrection as witnesses to all that he taught. Luke’s preoccupation with the Christian community as the Spirit-guided bearer of the word of salvation rules out of his book detailed histories of the activity of most of the preachers.

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Royals Priests

Adam is created as God’s first-born son. He’s also conceived as a priest. In previous posts, we saw how the world was fashioned as a Temple and the Garden of Eden was depicted as the sanctuary of the Temple – the holy place where God dwells. If you have a temple, you need a priest to guard it and keep it and to offer sacrifices. And that’s the task that God gives to Adam. It’s a “priestly” task. But you need to know a little Hebrew to understand it.

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Can’t live with ’em

Sennacherib

In my experience when you ask folks about the Kings of Israel and Judah, you are likely to get an “Oh, yeah… like King David and King Solomon.” Some might know more of the names of kings, such as Saul or Hezekiah, but no one will be able to name them all (nor can I). But stop a moment and think about the whole ideas of Kings. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, and Joshua -all great names in the history of the people of Israel – but none of them were kings. There were prophets and judges, heroes and heroines, but from where came the kings?

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Ancient Law in Scripture

Many folks I know have committed to read the entire Bible – an ambitious plan, but one I highly commend and recommend. For some, their plan was to begin at the beginning with Genesis and read straight through to Revelation. That would never be my recommendation. The Bible is not a novel that moves seamlessly from book to book. Rather it is a collection of books. The Genesis-to-Revelation plan has been written about in posts about beginning and sometimes how tough that approach can be – especially when hits the book of Leviticus.

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The Tree of Life

In today’s first reading, we continue the narrative from the Book of Genesis, Chapter 3 – the infamous encounter of Adam and Eve with the serpent in the Garden of Eden. We know the shape of the exchange that concludes: “But the serpent said to the woman: ‘You certainly will not die! No, God knows well that the moment you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods who know what is good and what is evil.’” (Gen 3:4-5) And so, Adam and Eve partake of the fruit of the tree of good and evil – and they did not die… not immediately anyway. But evicted from the Garden, in the end they surely died.

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Trusting

One of the descriptions of God that is oft repeated in the Bible is that God is “gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in love and fidelity, continuing his love for a thousand generations” (Ex 34:6-7). Our good friends at The Bible Project have produced an series of videos that explores and explains this simple verse. Today’s installment  is “Faithful.” At the bottom of the page who will be able to see the entire series if you would like a refresher or to catch up. Enjoy!

As I always note, the Bible Project is an amazing not-for-profit group that I think worthy of our support for their great work of evangelization.

The Kingdom of God

This week’s video and Scripture readings focus on the Gospel of the Kingdom. Sunday, April 5, is Palm Sunday, when we commemorate Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem that kick-starts the series of events leading to his death and resurrection. The sham trial of Jesus and his unjust execution seemed like a tragedy to his friends and family. Yet for Jesus, his death was an expression of the love of God as he entered into our suffering so that he could overcome it. In the story of Jesus, we are invited to see that even the most unwelcome and tragic events cannot thwart God’s plan to restore our world. It seemed a particularly good study for the days of “safer-at-home.” Continue reading