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Preaching on the Transfiguration

The lectionary gospel reading tomorrow, the last Sunday before Lent, is Matt 17.1–9, Matthew’s account of the Transfiguration. There some important things to note in relation to this passage as we think about preaching on it.

All three Synoptic accounts place this immediately after Peter’s confession of Jesus at Caesarea Philippi, where Jesus then starts to talk about his betrayal and death. They seem to want us to hold these two truths together: that the Son of Man is one who is humble and obedient even to death, and yet he is also the one spoken of in Daniel 7 where he comes to the Ancient of Days and receives a kingdom that will never end. Both of these are true about Jesus, and both must be held together. This is made clear by the final saying of Jesus in the previous pericope (section):

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Is Liberalism anti-Semitic?

The Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, is the longest-serving Primate in the Anglican Communion. Yesterday, on the Sunday before his retirement, he was the preacher on the Radio 4 Sunday Morning worship, in which he talked about Jesus’ sacrifice for us which is illuminated, but can never be exhausted, by examples of human sacrifice. He […]

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Was Luke mistaken about the date of Jesus’ birth?

A couple of years ago I watched the film Gravity. The effects were spectacular, the photography breathtaking, the characterisations engaging, and the story held one’s attention throughout. It even raised some profound (religious?) questions about life, death and purpose. And yet, when I left the cinema, I could not decide whether I had enjoyed the film or […]

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Jesus was not born in a stable

I am sorry to spoil your preparations for Christmas before the Christmas lights have even gone up—though perhaps it is better to do this now than the week before Christmas, when everything has been carefully prepared. But Jesus wasn’t born in a stable, and, curiously, the New Testament hardly even hints that this might have […]

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Interpreting the sheep and the goats in Matt 25

Jesus’ ‘parable’ of the sheep and the goats in Matt 25.31–46 is very well known and widely misinterpreted. It forms one part of the extended teaching about ‘the end’ distinctive to Matthew (compared with Mark and Luke). It is most commonly interpreted as an injunction to help the poor; most Christians (in the West at least) read […]

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What is the most important thing in preaching?

What would you say is the single most important thing in preaching—either as the person preaching or as someone who listens? I guess many people would suggest clarity of delivery, or humour, or connecting with the congregation, or being based in Scripture. All of these are of great importance, though of course all are open […]

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What is the role of women in the OT?

It is a truism that much of the narrative of the Old Testament focuses on men, and that many of the key moments and actions revolve around the decisions and activity of the male characters. This reflects two factors, one related to the historical context and one related to the nature of the narrative itself. […]

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What does ‘abundant life’ look like?

I’ve recently noticed how often people quote John 10.10 ‘I have come that they might have life, and life in abundance’, often in the context of ethical debate. (I am not sure whether it is happening more, or just whether I am more alert to it.) When one person is arguing for a more restrictive ethical […]

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