Matching speech with action in Matthew 21

As we continue to read through Matthew’s gospel in ordinary time in the lectionary, for Trinity 16 in Year A we vault over the entry into Jerusalem and land in the middle of Jesus’ controversies with the leaders in the city in Matt 21.23–32. Some of the events here, in particular the ‘triumphal’ entry itself, … Continue Reading

How many times did Jesus visit Jerusalem?

One of the obvious differences in chronology between John’s gospel and the ‘Synoptics’ (Matthew, Mark and Luke) is that John gives an account of Jesus in Jerusalem on five different occasions, two during a Passover (John 2.13, 12.12), one during an unnamed festival (John 5.1), once for Succoth (Booths) from John 7 to John 10, … Continue Reading

Palm Sunday in Matthew 21

It is always a relief when we celebrate Palm Sunday from Matthew (as we do in this Year A in the lectionary) or Mark’s account (next year). Luke 19.36 in his account talks only about the garments, and does not mention palm branches, so in those years we have to call it Garment Sunday (which … Continue Reading

Is ‘Babylon’ Rome or Jerusalem?

In my commentary on the Book of Revelation, I assume without much discussion that references to ‘Babylon’ are in the first instance (for John and his readers) allusions to the power of Rome and the imperial system. Someone commented to me that I don’t give much space to debating this, or considering the other main … Continue Reading

Is Jerusalem important?

Donald Trump made the headlines last week by announcing that he was ordering the US Embassy in Israel to relocate from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Anything involving an announcement by Trump is bound to be incoherent, and the situation in the near east is immensely complex, so you can guarantee that there was going to … Continue Reading

What is Matthew 24 all about?

Matthew 24 is the reading set for the fourth Sunday before Advent (i.e. in the countdown to Advent at the ordinary season comes to a close) and its parallel Mark 13 is the reading for the first Sunday of Advent. There is much confusion about both these passages (and the parallel in Luke 21), and … Continue Reading

How many times did Jesus visit Jerusalem?

One of the obvious differences in chronology between John’s gospel and the ‘Synoptics’ (Matthew, Mark and Luke) is that John gives an account of Jesus in Jerusalem on four different occasions, two during a Passover (John 2.13, 12.12), one during an unnamed festival (John 5.1) and one at Hannukah (John 10.22). (The third Passover is … Continue Reading