Matthew 5-7: The Greatest (and most hated) Sermon

In Matthew

The Sermon on the Mount was Jesus’ first major sermon in which he outlined the nature of his kingdom. This sermon was, in some ways, like a major presidential speech with a large crowd that came to hear about “the Kingdom” that Jesus was talking about. The word “radical” is probably overused, but in this case it understates …

Luke 4: Wilderness Temptations

In Luke

What’s wrong with the Creator of the Universe turning a stone into a loaf of bread? This first temptation of Satan was subtle but yet struck at the very core of God’s Kingdom. In this lecture we discussed the parallels between the wilderness temptations of Jesus (Luke 4), the temptations of …

Romans 3:3 – God’s Faithfulness

In Romans

The primary subject of Romans is God’s faithfulness and trustworthiness. As Richard B. Hays, Dean and Professor of New Testament at Duke Divinity School beautifully summarized, “Many people have misread the book of Romans as a book that explains how we can legally get to heaven. This interpretation, however, misses the central question …

What is “the hour” in John’s Gospel?

In John

The Gospel of John has an intentional focus on “the hour” of Jesus. Before his first miracle, Jesus said that “My hour has not yet come” (2:4). During his early life and ministry, we are twice told that “his hour had not yet come” (7:30 and 8:20). Toward the end …

John as an Eyewitness Account

In John

The Gospels are considered by many to have been written long after the fact. Bart Ehrman compares their reliability to “the telephone game” – a game which is designed to produce distortion in the original message as it is whispered from one person to another. Many recent publications, however have …

Malachi: “I loved Jacob…I hated Esau”

In Ester, Malachi

Although it is often said that “God loves the sinner, but hates the sin,” the words that open the book of Malachi could suggest otherwise. According to Arthur Pink in The Sovereignty of God, “It has been customary to say God loves the sinner, though He hates His sin. But …

Esther and “The Tank Man”

In Ester, Malachi

The courage of Esther to risk her life for the good of others is a remarkable story that is a reflection of agape love: “There is no greater love (agape) than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). We also considered the brave action of an unknown …

Nehemiah: Building Contractor for God

In Ezra, Nehemiah

You don’t need to be a pastor to be involved in a “sacred” profession. The story of Nehemiah is a great example of this. Initially a government worker and then later a building contractor, Nehemiah joined forces with the pastor and scribe Ezra as they attempted to lead the people …

Ezra: Kohlberg’s States of Moral Development

In Ezra, Nehemiah

Ezra and Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem to encourage the people to rebuild the city, to stimulate reformation, and to help them return to God’s ways. What they found was that the people were intermarrying with foreign nations, breaking the Sabbath, and doing all kinds of things that were contrary to …