173. Who are the “Elect” (eklektoi) in Mark 13:20?

Despite the notoriety of the idea of ‘the elect’ within systematic and historical theology, the corresponding Greek term eklektos only occurs twenty-three times in the New Testament, ten of which occur in the Gospels. Twice it defines the Messiah as “God’s … Continue reading

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

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

114. Punishment (kolasis, kolazein) – Eternal or Otherwise (Matthew 25:46; Acts 4:21; 2 Peter 2:9; 1 John 4:18)

Rob Bell in his recent book Love Wins refers to the use of the noun kolasis in Matthew 25:46. He argues that the cognate verb kolazo “is a term from horticulture. It refers to the pruning and trimming of the … Continue reading

113. The Spirit is Willing (promuthos, Mark 14:38/Matthew 26:41)

One of the last things that Jesus says to some of his disciples prior to the cross is found in Mark 14:38/Matthew 26:41. The text is identical in both Gospels. Jesus has just finished the Passover meal with his disciples, … 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

91. Transformation – The Sense of metamorphoomai (Mark 9:12; Matthew 17:2)

The most astounding event in Jesus’ ministry, apart from his resurrection, has to be his so-called “Transfiguration.” Both Mark and Matthew describe what happened to Jesus by using the verb metamorphoomai. As the NIV translates, Jesus “was transfigured (metemorphthē) before … Continue reading

90. “Moonstruck” in Matthew 4:24;17:15 (selēniazomai)

Matthew is the only New Testament writer to use the verb selēniazomai. Twice he used it to describe the situation of a person under the influence of demons. Literally it means “to be moonstruck” or “affected by the moon in … Continue reading

81. The “innocent as doves” – A Disciple’s Response to Jesus’ Commission in Matthew 10:16 (akeraios)

In his second discourse in Matthew’s Gospel Jesus prepares his followers for the rigours of Kingdom life, particularly the response of non-believers to their Kingdom message. He is about to send his apostles two-by-two throughout Israel. Jesus acknowledges that he … Continue reading