Nov 21

The Kingdom Commission

In Luke’s gospel, the two of the last sentences uttered by Jesus from the cross are undeserved words of mercy. For the soldiers who have nailed him to the tree and the leaders who have conspired against him and mocked him, Jesus prays for forgiveness: “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And for the criminal—villain, really, is what the Greek word means—Jesus promises, “Today you will be with me in Paradise.” His whole life Jesus has preached good news to the poor, release to the captives, and love for neighbor and enemy alike; here, on the cross, in excruciating agony, Christ remains faithful to his preaching, to the life he has dedicated to the kingdom of God. Mercy is Christ’s final word before death. Mercy is Christ’s word to us this morning. Continue reading

Aug 01

The Gospel for Money

Let’s start with this, shall we: there’s a difference between moralism and the gospel. Moralism says, “Do this. Don’t do that.” The gospel says, “In Jesus Christ, you are free from this. In Christ, you are free for that.” Too often, money, if it is discussed at all, is discussed in terms of moralism: do this with the money you have; don’t do that with the money you have. But today we have a parable from Jesus about money, and today we need to hear the gospel, not another moralizing lecture on money. Continue reading

May 30

Galatians: Gospel of Peace

Every letter by Paul in the New Testament opens with a common greeting: “grace and peace.” We heard it this morning in Galatians 1:3: “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” But check the opening verses of Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon, and you will find the same words repeated again and again. Grace and peace. Continue reading