Tag Archives: Word of God

A New Authority

Reading
Mark 1.21–28

…the unclean spirit recognises Jesus, yet the crowd’s reaction focusses instead on Jesus’ authority, not his demonically disclosed identity! Through this ‘secret’ readers are brought in on an insight that characters in the story fail to notice. The upshot is that neither the miraculous exorcism, nor even authoritative teaching, is sufficient for faith. This also underlines the fragility of the gospel promise that Jesus embodies. – David Schnasa Jacobsen, Mark (Fortress Biblical Preaching Commentaries), (Kindle Locations 973-975), Fortress Press, Kindle Edition.

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Capernaum, on the shores of Lake Galilee, was where Jesus had made his home. It is in the synagogue of Capernaum that today’s story is set. My wife and I were standing there in the ruined synagogue almost five years ago, on a journey to Israel. From memory, the current structure dates from somewhere around the third century. However, you can see at its base a darker stone which dates from the first century. Jesus would have seen this same stone.

This is the very site at which

the people who heard [Jesus] were amazed at the way he taught, for he wasn’t like the teachers of the Law; instead, he taught with authority.

The people in Capernaum were amazed. Gobsmacked. At the way Jesus taught, and at his authority over the demonic spirit.

But amazement was not enough. It wasn’t what Jesus was looking for.

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Jesus, the Word (Second Sunday of Christmas, Year B, 4 January 2015)

Readings
John 1.1–18

Last year—all the way back in 2014!—Karen and I went on a driving holiday around Tasmania. It’s a lovely place—beautiful rivers, lovely villages, great seafood, old buildings (older than Queensland anyway), great seafood, wonderful people, very good wine—oh, and did I mention great seafood?

While there, we went to MONA, the Museum of Old and New Art. It’s a terrific place to go to and wander around. You could easily spend a day or more there. There are paintings, sculptures, installations of various kinds, some high-tech stuff. It’s safe to say I intend to go back one day.

There was a room that held me in its grip. It was a room lined with bookcases and filled with books. Two tables in the middle of the room had books strewn on them.

I admit I love reading (though now I usually read on kindle rather than books), but you may ask why I was so spellbound.

This is the reason:

MONA 1

MONA 1

 

 

MONA 2

MONA 2

MONA 3

MONA 3

 

All the books are blank. Every book on every shelf. I’d guess there are hundreds of books in that room. Not one contains a word.

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Second Sunday in Advent (Year A, 5 December 2010)

Confronted, converted, consoled

Readings
Isaiah 11.1-10
Matthew 3.1-12

The spiritual writer Richard Rohr says this in his series Preparing for Christmas:

‘The Word of God confronts, converts, and consoles us—in that order.’

I’d like us to think about our preparation for the coming of Jesus into our lives and into our world with those words in mind:

The Word of God confronts, converts, and consoles us—in that order.

The Word of God confronts us:

I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t like to have John the Baptist as a neighbour. I reckon he’d be an argumentative old… thing. If you invited him for a barbecue, he’d insist on bringing his own locusts to chuck on the barbie rather than have snags and kangaroo steaks. And he’d want to talk about the state of my soul all the time.

He’d be a confronting neighbour. He’d always be telling me to repent of this and that and the other thing.

I’d get annoyed at his continual going on and on. After all, I’m a minister of the Word. I’ve got a PhD in theology. I work full-time for God! Surely I’m ok?

And John, for the last time, I don’t want a piece of barbecued locust! I don’t care if it does have your special wild honey marinade! I just don’t want to eat locust!

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