Welcome—and thanks for visiting!

My most recent publication is the Tyndale New Testament Commentary on the Book of Revelation. You can order it from Amazon and other online retailers (make sure you order mine, and not the previous edition by Leon Morris!), or directly from the publisher on the IVP website.

My recent publications include:


Living in the silence of Holy Saturday

Today is a day when we do nothing. For those whose tradition takes them through a detailed re-enactment of the events of Passion Week, the seven days set out in the gospels (especially Mark), this day is striking in its stillness. In Catholic tradition, nothing can be celebrated, the only exception being in the case of the ministry at the moment of death. In the mostly Catholic Philippines, you are traditionally not allowed to go swimming (though a concession has been made for Saturday afternoon) and even television broadcasters limit their output. 

All this is in response to the stark silence of the gospel accounts for this day. Mark’s gospel mentions it only in retrospect (‘When the Sabbath was over…’ Mark 16.1). In Matthew, it is the day when the temple guard is despatched to the tomb, but nothing else happens (Matt 27.62–66). Luke explains for the sake of any non-Jewish readers the obligation to rest on the Sabbath, thus accounting for the silent day (Luke 23.56). John also includes a work (‘Jewish’) of explanation, but doesn’t actually tell us what he is explaining (not mentioning the Sabbath; John 19.42). 

 

Why does Notre Dame matter?

Isabelle Hamley writes: Growing up in France, I never really thought of Notre-Dame de Paris as the best French cathedral. Or the best example of early gothic architecture. Or even a place of deep spiritual meaning for me. It was – well, that’s it, it just, was. And so I wasn’t really prepared for the tidal wave of emotion I felt as I watched it burn against the backdrop of the city.

Within an hour or so of the news hitting the headlines, I read a grumpy Facebook post complaining that this seems to be such big news, compared to the many parts of the world devastated by suffering that we so often ignore. And more this morning – blogs and posts sharing their righteous outrage that so much money would be used to rebuild, when it could be used for the poor. For good causes. For much more valuable human lives. Let the ruins stand, and turn the ground into a park. And of course, at one level, this is absolutely right. There is so much need in the world, so much misery, that we should do everything we can to combat it. The question is, are these things mutually exclusive?

There’s something (humble?) about Mary

This week we celebrated the Annunciation, the announcement by Gabriel to Mary that she will become pregnant and give birth to Jesus recorded in Luke 1—and it reminds us that Christmas is coming! I know Christmas circular letters are not everyone’s cup of tea, but we enjoy writing ours as a review of the year, and catching up with what has been going on in the lives of others. For those who don’t like them, their distaste is summed up in that archetypal circular where everything is going wonderfully well—the demands of new jobs following promotions, the stresses of getting ready for exotic foreign holidays, and the difficulty of keeping up with so many achievements by the children. (Should you receive any like this, Lynne Truss offers a variety of ways of responding..)