What is ‘transfigured’ in Mark 9?

This week’s lectionary gospel reading, the last Sunday before Lent, is Mark 9.2–9, this gospel’s account of the Transfiguration. I confess I don’t quite understand the logic of reading about the transfiguration here, just before we look at the temptations of Jesus in the desert as the introduction to Lent, especially when we will revisit it at … Continue Reading

The narrative theology of Mark 6

Mark continues to tell his story about Jesus and his ministry, doing his theology in and through his narrative. As with the previous chapter, we see how Mark offers us a carefully crafted, yet compact, account of the impact of Jesus on those around him, and it is striking how Mark’s narrative theology makes connections … Continue Reading

The narrative artistry of Mark 5

The early chapters of Mark’s gospel took us on a breath-taking, roller-coaster ride through the early stages of Jesus’ ministry. We were offered summary accounts of a typical day in Jesus’ life, showing his dynamic power in preaching and healing, and the impact that he made. This included drawing crowds who longed to hear his … Continue Reading

Does grace despise virtue?

In our mid-size group in our church we are using the Pilgrim Course to study the Lord’s Prayer. This week we were reflecting on ‘Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us’, and we were directed to explore the so-called parable of the Prodigal Son (really, the parable of the Forgiving … Continue Reading

Why you need Bible reading notes

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a Christian in possession of a Bible must be in want of some help in reading it. Bible reading notes were once the staple of any church which believed the Bible to be a vital resource for discipleship and growth, but like many habits, regular Bible reading and … Continue Reading

Mark 10 and the contradictions of grace

I am preaching tomorrow on the lectionary reading, Mark 10.2–16, as many of you will be—and I feel not a little intimidated by the challenge. It feels though there was a time when reading and preaching on this passage was a lot more straightforward than it feels now. (Life as generally a lot less complicated … Continue Reading