144. Understanding Peter’s Denial (aparneomai) Mark 14:30-31,72; 8:34.

One of the most disturbing incidents in the Synoptic Gospels occurs as Jesus is on his way to Gethsemane. He prophecies regarding Peter that “today, in this night, before a rooster crows twice, three times you will deny (aparnēsēi) me” … Continue reading

135. Shaking off the Dust (ektinazein) (Matthew 10:14)

In the second discourse Jesus presents in Matthew’s Gospel he prepares his disciples for  a mission to Israel. Among the many instructions is one that defines how the Twelve should act if a household or village “does not receive you … Continue reading

127. phragmos (Mt. 21:33; Mk. 12:1; Luke 14:23; Eph. 2:14).

In Ephesians 2:14-22 Paul describes God’s great project for a new people, which required the cross, the resurrection and the ascension. Jesus Messiah’s sacrificial actions served to re-create the family of God, incorporating Jew and non-Jew equally, based upon his … Continue reading

126. Black Eyes(?), Widows and Vindication (Luke 18:5 hupōpiazō)

In Luke’s Gospel the central section, often described as “the journey narrative,” stretches from chapters 9 – 19:27 and contains many parables that are unique to his story of Jesus. Towards the end of this “journey” Jesus addresses a number … Continue reading

125. What was the Tax-Collector Asking God to do? (Luke 18:13 hilaskesthai)

One of Jesus’ most poignant and subversive parables tells about two contrasting  individuals — a Pharisee and a tax-collector who find themselves in the Jerusalem temple praying to Yahweh at the same time! This is one of the few parables … Continue reading

120. God’s Instructions (chrēmatizein) Regarding His Son (Matthew 2:12,26; Luke 2:26)

When God decided to send Jesus as Messiah, he communicated in various ways with different human subjects. Sometimes he employed dreams or at other times heavenly messengers, and occasionally the Holy Spirit directly gets involved. Whatever means God used, his … Continue reading

109. The Stone that Shatters (sunthlaomai) and Pulverizes (likmaō)
(Matthew 21:44 = Luke 20:18)

At the conclusion to the juridicial parable1 of the Vineyard and Tenants, in the Matthean and Lukan narratives, Jesus adds a severe warning. Those who reject the “stone”, i.e. God’s Messiah, will discover this stone to be the cause of … Continue reading

108. Mary’s “Interpretation” (sumballein) of the Shepherds’ News (Luke 2:19)

We do not have a lot of information about Mary, the mother of Jesus in the writings of the New Testament apart from Luke-Acts and Matthew. Twice in the short notices that define her Luke says that she preserved (sunetērei, … Continue reading

85. The “Coming of the Holy Spirit Upon You”
Luke 1:35 and Acts 1:8

It is probable that the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles form one literary work split into two volumes. The overlap between the ending of this Gospel and the beginning of Acts, with focus upon the Ascension … Continue reading

84. Discerning the Presence of God’s Kingdom
(Luke 17:20-21 – meta paratērēseōs)

Jesus’ teaching about the Kingdom of God remains the most complex element of his message. Today, two thousand years after he made his proclamation that “the time stands fulfilled; the Kingdom of God stands near” (Mark 1:15), we struggle to … Continue reading