Sermons on Textual Studies

Jesus and Legion

Mark is a notoriously pithy writer who gets straight to the point and doesn’t mince words. And yet he devotes twenty verses to this interesting encounter between Jesus and a violent, demon-possessed man that ends up with pigs diving into the sea. That makes us think that Mark thinks there’s something important for us to see here. And there is. It’s a story about demon possession, of course, but it’s more than that. It serves as an illustration of how evil…

A Low Whisper

After Elijah’s (God’s) great victory at Mt Carmel–where God sent fire from heaven–I think Elijah thought everything would change. All of Israel would return to the Lord after seeing such an incredible miracle. But they didn’t. After hearing that Jezebel had signed his death warrant, he ran and ran and ran, eventually finding his way to the same mountain where Moses had once sought and found God’s presence. God sent wind, an earthquake, and fire, but his presence wasn’t there.…

A Resurrection Meal

Our text describes the last meal that Jesus ate with his disciples as far as Luke’s gospel is concerned. And it’s a really important one. Luke seems intent on making sure we think about Jesus’ resurrected body (he passes through walls, yet has flesh and bones and eats real food). It’s interesting that Luke specifies that Jesus ate the fish “before” the disciples . . . and not just “with” them. Jesus clearly wants to make a point out of the fact…

Come to the Banquet

Meals play a central role in Scripture. The crucial holiday in Israel’s calendar was a meal that commemorated their deliverance from captivity, and the central commemoration of Christians is a weekly meal that reflects on God’s ultimate deliverance from bondage. Our presence in the new heavens and earth is sometimes described as a huge feast where we take our places at a banquet table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the central part of our favorite Psalm is about God’s…

The Beast That Crouches at the Door

What happens when we try to redefine good and evil on our own . . . when we live our lives “east of Eden”? After observing the Fall of humanity in Genesis 3, we don’t have to wait long to see the effects on the human race. Cain–motivated by anger, jealousy, and fear–murders his brother Abel, and a disheartening trajectory is established. When you read the story carefully, you’ll notice quite a few parallels with the Fall narrative (God’s questioning,…