A Signal for All Nations: The Politics of Advent

Second Sunday in Advent Is. 11:1-10, Rom. 15:4-13, Mt. 3:1-12 Introduction The gospel of Advent, which is to say the gospel of Jesus, is irreducibly political: it aims at nothing less than the greatest common good and harmony of all men. The question is not whether people will have a Lord, the question is only…

Getting Ready for the King

Advent means “coming” or “arrival,” and it is the beginning of the Christian calendar. Historically, Advent begins by celebrating the fact that Jesus will one day come to judge the living and the dead. This is why we sing O Come O Come Emmanuel. We are not in the first instance reenacting what it was…

Beautiful Kingdom

Luke XLV: Lk. 12:13-34 Introduction Sin is not merely immoral. Sin is always a choice to embrace futility. But Jesus has come to interrupt this futility, and restore true, full, beautiful life in His Kingdom. Beware of Covetousness A man asks Jesus to decide a dispute over an inheritance, but He asks, “who made me…

Facing the Future like a Christian

1 Sam. 2:1-10, Heb. 11:32-12:2, Jn. 14:1-17 Introduction Fall is a busy time of new beginnings: new school years, new seasons of life, new living situations. Add to this the regular (but significant) transitions of new marriages, welcoming new children into your home, sending children off to college, or various goodbyes, and then of course…

Apocalyptic Eyes

Minor Prophets XVI: Zechariah 1-6 Introduction Zechariah is one of the most difficult books of the Bible to understand because it is full of apocalyptic imagery. Even though “apocalypse” means “revelation,” we often finish reading these portions of the Bible feeling like we know less than when we started. But these parts of the Bible challenge…

Shaking the World

Minor Prophets XV: Haggai Outline The Longest Introduction Ever Around 600 B.C. the first Jews began going into captivity in Babylon. Jeremiah had announced that God was with Babylon now, and any who surrendered would be spared (Jer. 27). Jehoiachin King of Judah surrendered under one siege and went into captivity, and Daniel and Ezekiel…

All Things New

In Revelation 21, Jesus says “Behold, I make all things new.” And this comes on the tail end of John seeing a new heavens and a new earth and a new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven. It looks like Jesus is making all things new, and then He confirms our suspicions. This is a…

Unshakeable Hope

Minor Prophets XI Micah 4-7 Introduction Micah’s name means “Who is like Yahweh?” And this seems to be the main thrust of Micah’s call to repentance. It is not the threat of punishment that primarily drives him, though that is mentioned. The primary thought driving Micah is the astounding mercy of Yahweh. The Text: Chapter…

The Last Enemy

Let me just make a quick plug for the upcoming conference we are hosting at Trinity: The Last Enemy, a Christian view of death with Steve Jeffery. First, you should know that Steve is the Minister of Emmanuel Evangelical Church, in Southgate, North London. He co-authored Pierced for Our Transgressions (IVP, 2007), a defense of the doctrine of penal…

Ascension Sunday: 1 Cor. 15:12-28

In the days of the prophet Elisha, the King of Syria was at war with the northern tribes of Israel. But Elisha frequently knew ahead of time the movements of the armies of Syria, and he would warn the king of Israel. This happened a number of times before the king of Syria became convinced…