The beginning of the gospel in Mark 1

The gospel lectionary reading for the Second Sunday in Advent in this Year B is Mark 1.1–8. This is a slightly odd choice, since in a few weeks’ time, for Epiphany Sunday, we will be reading Mark 1.4–11, which goes on to include the brief account of Jesus’ baptism. Four years ago, before all the … Continue Reading

The OT background to the baptism of Jesus in Matthew 3

If you hear filmgoers talking about ‘Easter eggs’, they are referring neither to chocolate nor the Christian festival. In films, Easter eggs are images, ideas or information that are ‘hidden in plain sight‘ and make reference back to earlier films. They can just be a form of entertaining in-joke for series fans—but they can often … Continue Reading

The preaching of John the Baptist in Luke 3

The Sunday gospel lectionary reading for Advent 3 in Year C is Luke 3.7–17, and it follows closely on from last week’s reading; verse begins ‘He therefore said to the crowds…’ which some English translations omit. The content of his teaching raises some fascinating issues about repentance, judgement, and discipleship, and the way in which the … Continue Reading