Do the words of Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and always” refer to the constancy of the second person of the Trinity or to His constancy in our lives? In this article from the December 2020 issue of Concordia Seminary Magazine, Dr. Jeffrey Oschwald compares two interpretations and comes to a surprising conclusion
Jeffrey A. Oschwald As if the themes of this Gospel weren’t challenge enough, two significant exegetical/translational questions must also be addressed. Luke 12:49b is “a passage of well-known difficulty, the translation of which remains doubtful.”1 Just presents the case for the translation “How I wish that it were already kindled,” but the parallels are not ..
By Jeffrey A. Oschwald Luke 7:18?35 presents the preacher with a challenge: although unified by references to John, the three subsections are diverse in topic and style. As Fitzmyer notes, the passage deals with (1) John’s question and Jesus’s answer, (2) Jesus’s testimony concerning John, and (3) Jesus’s judgment of his generation’s assessment of himself ..
By Jeffrey A. Oschwald This pericope has all the dangers of a familiar text: we recall parts of it perfectly but may not remember how those parts all fit together. The themes of this passage are, no doubt, regular themes within our preaching. This day, however, can provide us with an opportunity to present this passage as something ..
By Jeffrey A. Oschwald Dear preacher, please restore this text to the Easter season! For many hearers this text will seem a “stealing of Pentecost’s thunder” rather than a proclamation of Easter’s good news. There is no better way to correct this skewing of the context of our reading than by preaching on it during Eastertide. It is ..
By Jeffrey A. Oschwald Paul’s “putting out of mind the course already covered and straining toward the goal that lies ahead” (Phil 3:13), warns today’s preacher not to forget that the race is not over. Philippians 3:4b–14 offers its own beautiful way to convey that warning, with an emphasis on the present straining toward the ..
By Jeffrey A. Oschwald I began this assignment thinking, “Zechariah 9:9–12 is such a beautiful passage, but who would ever preach on it?” Palm/Passion Sunday already presents the preacher with more Gospels than one Sunday can hold; including the Processional Gospel, there are four choices for this Sunday. Moreover, my σπασμωδική αντίδραση (that’s a Greek ..
By Jeffrey A. Oschwald Trinity Sunday is “the celebration of the richness of the being of God . . . the occasion of a thankful review of the now completed mystery of salvation, which is the work of the Father through the Son in the Holy Spirit.”1 But when we sit down to write a Trinity ..
By Jeffrey A. Oschwald The Lectionary for Year C provides little help for preacher or hearer in terms of placing this reading from Jeremiah 26 in a historical or narrative context. Three of the Sundays in the Epiphany season offer readings from Jeremiah, but they are neither consecutive nor sequential—and the “early” beginning of the ..
By Jeffrey A. Oschwald Year ? is far and away the most evangelically diverse Adventtide of the three-year series. Years A and C are devoted entirely to their respective Gospels, Matthew and Luke. In Year B, on the other hand, we have readings from every Gospel except Matthew (whose Gospel does provide the reading for ..
By Jeffrey A. Oschwald The Gospel for Advent 3 from John seems to overlap extensively with the previous Sunday’s Gospel from Mark. Both provide an introduction to John the Baptist, and both describe details of his ministry. Our goal this week, then, will be to discover the ways in which this text builds upon the ..
By Jeffrey A. Oschwald Advent 2 presents us with the New Testament doorkeeper par excellence: John. This should make it very easy for the preacher to connect this week’s message with the previous week’s and so build on the theme. Instead of using the same format for these “Helps,” however, I would like to focus ..
By Jeffrey A. Oschwald One of my greatest Advent frustrations over the years has been an ongoing encounter with a fundamental misunderstanding of the season’s purpose. Whether introducing the season to people unfamiliar with it, searching for materials to use in the classroom, or planning our own family Advent celebrations, I have for years seen, and ..