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

The baptism of Jesus in Mark 1

The lectionary gospel reading for this Sunday, the First Sunday of Epiphany, is Mark’s rather compressed account of Jesus’ baptism by John in Mark 1.4–11. Just over a year ago, when such things were normal (remember that…?) I went with my family to see a film—the final episode of the nine main instalments of the … Continue Reading

The manifestation of Jesus in John 1

One of my favourite films at the moment is Arrival. It begins with a prologue which appears to be quite distinct from the rest of the narrative, but it is only once you have seen the whole film that you understand what the prologue was actually telling you. The phrases, ideas and narrative in the … Continue Reading

Can we preach bad news? Should we?

I have generally observed a striking divide between theological traditions in relation to whether the gospel is in fact ‘good news’ (as the word ‘gospel’ tells us—a ‘good spell’ or word), or whether we need to start with the ‘bad news’ of sin and judgement before we can say anything good. The NT gives a somewhat … Continue Reading