Celebrating Michael and his angels in Revelation 12

Tomorrow is the feast of Michael and All Angels, which some will be celebrating at the weekend, and the key lectionary reading for the feast is Rev 12.7–12. Although the festival focusses on Michael, everything about this passages actually focusses away from Michael and points us to the victory of God and the lamb—even Michael’s name! … Continue Reading

The risen Jesus with the Eleven in Luke 24

The gospel lectionary reading for the Third Sunday of Easter in Year B is Luke 24.36b–48, the episode where Jesus meets the disciples after the encounter on the Emmaus Road and before the Ascension. (The lectionary readings for the Third Sunday in Easter ignore the particular gospel for the year, and instead cycle round Luke … Continue Reading

Are the accounts of the resurrection contradictory?

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

What sort of fool is this Jesus?

It is always a happy accident when April 1st, traditionally celebrated as April Fool’s day, falls in Holy Week. It is a reminder that a certain kind of divine foolishness marked every stage of Jesus’ life and ministry. He was a fool to be born in a marginal northern province, well away from the spheres … Continue Reading

Jesus meets Nathanael in John 1

The gospel lectionary reading for the Second Sunday in Epiphany is the next stage in Jesus’ initial encounter with the first disciples in John 1.43–51, in which Philip introduces Nathanael to Jesus. Like other passages in this early part of the Fourth Gospel, it is quite a sparse narrative, but laden with significance, including anticipations … Continue Reading

The testimony of John the Baptist in John 1

The lectionary gospel reading for Advent 3 is John 1.6–8 and 19–28, which picks out parts of John the Baptist’s testimony from the first chapter of the Fourth Gospel. Despite being highly selective from this remarkable opening chapter, it nevertheless contains key words and ideas that are carried through the whole gospel. Perhaps the most … Continue Reading

What will a Jewish reading of Genesis teach us?

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks has just completed a five-volume series on the Torah under the heading Covenant and Conversation. The blurb from the first volume, on Genesis, comments: In this first volume of a five-volume collection of parashat hashavua commentaries, Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks explores these intersections as they relate to universal concerns of freedom, love, responsibility, … 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

The healing of the man born blind in John 9

The lectionary used by the Church of England has done something slightly unusual in the last few weeks. Although we are supposed to be reading from Matthew’s gospel, and the RCL used ecumenically has continued to do so, the lectionary in Common Worship offers us a sequence of four encounters between Jesus and individuals from … Continue Reading