By Travis J. Scholl This is the second time in this liturgical year we have encountered Mark’s account of Jesus’ baptism by John. The first was on the Baptism of our Lord, January 11. There, the baptism ends the pericope, preceded by John the baptizer’s ministry in the wilderness. Here, it prefaces Jesus’ own journey ..
By Paul Philp Transfiguration Sunday has some similarities to Christmas and Easter in the sense that the assigned Gospel reading is one of those very familiar texts that can be difficult to preach in a fresh and new way. The details of the account are familiar to us. The decision is whether or not to ..
By Wally Becker Mark gets right into the story. Immediately in chapter one, John the Baptizer is introduced and Jesus is baptized. He is tempted for forty days in the desert and then begins gathering his disciples. He drives out an evil spirit from a man on the Sabbath in the synagogue. Then, he goes ..
By William W. Schumacher The season of Epiphany is about the self-revelation of God in Jesus Christ, and the texts of the season relate in various ways how Jesus Christ shows himself to us and to the world. And so, in this Epiphany season, one question we always bring to texts is, “What does Jesus ..
By Gerhard Bode The Epiphany season highlights the revelation of Jesus as Savior to the world. The Gospel reading for this Sunday continues the identification of Jesus as God’s own Son and the promised Messiah, with a focus on Jesus as one who speaks and acts with divine authority. At the same time Jesus’ authority ..
By Francis C. Rossow Sermon notes 1. Like our text, the Epistle for this Sunday (1 Cor 7:29-31) has something to say about time. Paul’s comment that “the time is short” echoes the urgency of our Lord’s announcement, “The time has come” (v. 15)—the only difference being that Paul is speaking of the quantity of ..
By Robert Kolb Context Jesus has begun to gather his disciples. John the Baptist’s advertising of this “Lamb of God” has attracted the curious (1:15-37). Simon and Andrew have come to Jesus, and Simon has already begun to experience what it means when Jesus takes over a person’s life. Jesus changed his name, gave him a ..
By William W. Schumacher Jesus Christ, the Son of God—that is who Mark identifies in the opening tide verse of his gospel (1:1). As such, of course, Jesus was in no personal need of the “repentance and the forgiveness of sins” attached to John’s baptism (1:4). Yet, there he is, going down into the water ..
By Gerhard Bode Liturgical Setting The Gospel reading for the Second Sunday after Christmas again locates Jesus, Mary, and Joseph in the Jerusalem temple—twelve years after Jesus’ presentation there as an infant. The boy—Jesus’ return to his “Father’s house” re-identifies him as the promised Messiah in the person of God’s own Son, and anticipates the ..
By Gerhard Bode Liturgical Setting The Gospel reading for the First Sunday after Christmas observes the Presentation of our Lord in the Temple. Textual Comments 2:22-23 After Mary’s forty-day purification is completed, she goes to the temple with Joseph and the infant Jesus. The couple offers sacrifices in keeping with the law, but the centerpiece ..
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 ..
By Travis J. Scholl Is there any better way to preach on the last Sunday of the church year than to preach Christ “raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep” (v. 20)? This pericope falls in the middle of Paul’s great resurrection chapter. What precedes it is his theological ..
By Travis J. Scholl “Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers and sisters, you do not need to have anything written to you” (v. 1). Indeed, we do not need to be told that our world is in crisis. Global and local events cascade into a rapid succession of actions and reactions. Some of ..