Jeremiah Week 9

Restoration and a New Covenant

Without question, the book of Jeremiah is unrelenting in its account of the LORD’s judgment of Judah. There is much more in this text about plucking up, pulling down, destroying, and overthrowing than there is about building and planting (Jeremiah 1:10). This week’s chapters, however, focus on restoration and renewal using a variety of styles and images. Full reading and audio »

Selections From the Prophets Week 9

Ezekiel: A Heart of Stone for a Heart of Flesh: Ezekiel 36:22–28

We live in a culture where people have a difficult time believing in anything that goes beyond the rational and scientific. As we heard in our reflections from the prophet Habakkuk, to have faith is so essential to life that it will change everything. Full reading and audio »

Hebrews Week 9

The Death of God: Hebrews 9:11–10:39

Biblical faith boldly declares Jesus as Lord over every nook and cranny of human existence, including the public square. As such, Christian discipleship practiced in real world terms, according to Jesus’s life and teaching, is cruciformed existence (i.e., shaped by the Cross). Full reading and audio »

Mark Week 9

“And They Crucified Him:” Darkness Descends: Mark 15:1–47

I clearly remember the first time I stood on my head as a child. I was fascinated by the way the world looked when I was upside down. The carpet or grass seemed much more intricate and detailed. People’s shoes took on interest, particularly if they came too close to my head. And, until I lost my balance, the upside-down world was a fun, if odd, place to be. Full reading and audio »

1 & 2 Samuel Week 9

Covenant With God: 2 Samuel 7

2 Samuel 7 is a lens through which much of the rest of Bible should be viewed. In fact, the reason why this single chapter is the focus of an entire Lectio is that it is so important for understanding what will come later in the biblical narrative. Full reading and audio »

Selections From Israel's Story Week 9

Meat to Eat: Numbers 11

There is a cycle of events that happens throughout the book of Numbers, introduced in Numbers 11:1–2: (1) the people complain; (2) God gets angry and punishes them; (3) the people cry out to Moses; (4) Moses intercedes, and (5) the punishment stops. That this cycle happens over and over again is crucial for understanding why God gets so angry. Full reading and audio »

Romans Week 9

Relating to the State: Romans 13

Christianity has had a mixed relationship with the state from its beginning. This ambiguity begins with Jesus: Although he was handed over by the crowds, Jesus ultimately was crucified as a threat to the well-being of the state. He was publicly tried, charged, and crucified. Full reading and audio »

Matthew Week 9

The Beginning of the End: Matthew 24:1–25:46

The end is near. Jesus’ authoritative denunciation of the Jewish leadership may have silenced their voices, but their secret plotting of his destruction continues unabated. After leaving the temple with his disciples, Jesus launches into the fifth and final sermon in Matthew, the sermon on the future. Full reading and audio »

Genesis/Exodus Week 9

“Lurking Providence”: Genesis 39:1–50:26

Once Joseph is under his Egyptian master Potiphar, we learn that God is with him (Genesis 39:2, 3, 21, 23). The phrase is curious in that, so far, one is hard put to see divine favor on him. So far his brothers have plotted to kill him (37:18), tossed him into a pit (37:24), and then sold him into slavery (37:28). Does this seem blessed? Full reading and audio »

Selections on New Creation Week 9

Racial Reconciliation in the New Creation: 1 Kings 17

As a child I lived in impoverished Southern California communities with a young African-American mother who worked tirelessly to provide food, clothing, and shelter. Because we continually found ourselves on the margins during times of recession, I find myself drawn to the widow of Zarephath in 1 Kings 17. Full reading and audio »

Revelation Week 9

God’s Demolition Project (Revelation 15:5–19:10)

Revelation’s bad press, especially now, often discusses its vivid images of divine judgment. God seems ticked off all the time and the results are typically catastrophic for all people and every place. Full reading and audio »

John Week 9

Betrayal, Denial, and Death: The End? (John 18:1–19:42)

John 18 begins the very familiar story of Judas’ betrayal of Jesus, and of Jesus’ arrest, trial, crucifixion, and burial. In many ways these chapters of the Gospel of John most closely resemble the parallel chapters in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Full reading and audio »

Psalms Week 9

The Lord Reigns: Psalms 47, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99

These eight psalms all deal with the idea of God’s kingship. As we consider this collection, it is instructive to recall the importance of the kingdom of God, or kingdom of heaven (as it is referred to in Matthew’s Gospel), in the New Testament. Full reading and audio »

Week 9 Wisdom Literature

Against Internationalism: The Remembrance of Israel’s Glory (Wisdom of Solomon 10:1–19:22)

In Week 6 of this series, we saw that the early sages of Israel were “internationalists.” By this we meant two things. 
First, they were clearly familiar with the writings of the sages of neighboring nations … Full reading and audio »

Acts Week 9

Hugs and Kisses — and Heartache, Too: Acts 18:23–21:17

The year is 1969. Men land on the moon. My mother wakes me up in my little blue bedroom so that I can watch, in eerie black and white, as my heroes step onto the cratered landscape. But I am 13 — on the cusp of healthy adolescence. Full reading and audio »

Luke Week 9

“To Jerusalem and Opposition”: Luke 18:31–21:37

In a compelling mystery novel, tension builds. Conflict between characters intensifies. A sense of foreboding increases. There may be a dark foreshadowing of what is to come, and we brace for the climax toward which we are being drawn. Full reading and audio »

Isaiah Week 9

The Return of the King: Isaiah 40:1–48:22

“If Jesus showed up today, would you recognize him?” It is certainly a fascinating question. Yet Jesus’ second coming will look very different from his first. So perhaps the more appropriate question is, “If you were living in first-century Palestine, would you have recognized Jesus as the Messiah?” Full reading and audio »

1 Corinthians Week 9

Called to … Do Our Part: 1 Corinthians 12.1–14.38

The Corinthians are back at it again — turning differences in the church into divisions and status symbols of importance. In the letter’s opening section, some claimed, “We are better because we belong to Apollos … or Paul … or Cephas.” (1:10–17). In 8:1–10:31, some claimed, “We are better because we know that idols are not real … that food doesn’t bring us close to God … that all things are lawful.” Full reading and audio »

Joshua/Judges Week 9

Deborah — Judge, Prophet, and “Mother in Israel”: Judges 3:7–5:31

Last week, I made mention of a “cycle” in the book of Judges where Israel sins (idolatry, unfaithfulness to God, civil rivalry, etc.), God gives them over into the hands of their enemies in the land, they subsequently cry out for help, and God “raises up” a judge to act as a savior and deliverer for them.
Full reading and audio »