Who was the first Immanuel?

Richard Goode writes: The name Immanuel can be found in Matthew’s account of Jesus’ birth (Matt 1:23). Joseph has just learnt that, although they were still unmarried and before “they lived together” (sunelthein – lit. ‘come together’), Mary has been found to be pregnant (1:18). Matthew’s readers would have known that a circumstance like this placed … Continue Reading

Did Luke get his nativity history wrong?

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 … Continue Reading

Reading the Benedictus with the Magnificat

For those following the Revised Common Lectionary, this year will allow us to focus on Luke’s gospel. It is often claimed that Luke emphasises the gospel for the poor, or that he focusses on women and their roles, in particular the contribution of the wealthy women in Luke 8.1 who contribute to the financial underwriting … Continue Reading

Once more: 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 … Continue Reading