Taking up the cross in Matthew 16

The lectionary gospel reading for Trinity 12 in Year A is Matthew 16.21–28, in which Jesus declares he is heading for Jerusalem to die, Peter rebukes him, and Jesus counter-rebukes Peter. It follows on from the strong commendation of Peter by Jesus after his confession at Caesarea Philippi, and offers a contrast with it at … Continue Reading

Why does Jesus say so many hard things?

I was asked by the London Institute of Contemporary Christianity (LICC) to write a short series of five reflections on the ‘Hard sayings of Jesus’ for their weekly email Word for the Week which is sent out on Monday mornings. It has proved to be an interesting experience which I am still reflecting on. When … Continue Reading

Disciples as the presence of Jesus in Matt 10

The gospel read for Trinity 3 in Year A of Matt 10.40–42 is perhaps the strangest choice in the whole lectionary—at only three verses! And yet this short passage has some really significant features that offer enormous potential for reflection: a. They are very clearly structured as a unit, with an opening and matching conclusion, … Continue Reading

Do the resurrection accounts contradict each other?

If the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth from the dead is the most important and foundational truth of the Christian faith, how come the New Testament accounts of the resurrection and Jesus’ appearances are so contradictory? That is a relatively widespread response in atheist/apologetic circles, and I think amongst Muslim critics of the Christian faith. … Continue Reading

How to choose your own personal Jesus

Over the new year, I had an interesting, though at times bizarre, interaction with a well-known church leader in Australia (such are the wonders of the internet). This person had posted a graphic/meme similar to the one here as a light-hearted New Year’s resolution, and I added the comment: —Tell people they are sinners who … Continue Reading

What do interlocking ‘coincidences’ say about the reliability of the NT?

When we read the gospels and Paul’s letters carefully, it becomes apparent that there are lots of details which serve no obvious purpose, but which connect them into a plausible fabric giving a reliable account of events. These have been explored most fully by Lydia McGrew in her books Hidden in Plain View and The Mirror or … Continue Reading

What does John 17 say about unity?

If I was given sixpence every time I heard someone quoted John 17.21 ‘…that they might be one…’ then I’d have a lot of change that I wouldn’t know what to do with. It is commonly suggested that, in this, Jesus’ ‘high priestly prayer’, we see his last desire expressed to his heavenly Father, and … Continue Reading