Yohanan the Immerser’s Exhortations

& LOY Commentary 8 Comments

In Yohanan the Immerser’s Exhortations John the Baptist instructs his audience how they are to behave in order to bear the fruits of repentance.

A Voice Crying

& LOY Commentary 15 Comments

An examination of the Jewish setting of John the Baptist’s proclamation of an immersion of repentance for the release of Israel’s sin indebtedness.

Lost Sheep and Lost Coin Similes

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With the Lost Sheep and Lost Coin similes Jesus explained to his critics that he ate and drank with “sinners” because God rejoices when a person repents. God wants his friends—including Jesus and Jesus’ critics—to join him in the celebration.

Call of Levi

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In the Call of Levi story we learn about Jesus’ attitude toward sinful persons and about his relationship with the Pharisees.

Tower Builder and King Going to War Similes

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The Tower Builder and King Going to War similes explain why Jesus thought full-time discipleship was not suitable for everyone.

Demands of Discipleship

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“Anyone who wants to join me but puts family ties or love of self ahead of me cannot possibly be my full-time disciple. Anyone who is not prepared to die cannot possibly be my full-time disciple. Anyone who does not renounce his possessions cannot possibly be my full-time disciple.”

Rich Man Declines the Kingdom of Heaven

Articles 14 Comments

In order to join Jesus band of full-time disciples the rich man would have to adopt a radically different lifestyle than the one to which he was accustomed.

Hidden Treasure and Priceless Pearl Parables

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Supposing that these twin parables once belonged to the same narrative-sayings complex as the Rich Man Declines the Kingdom of Heaven incident enables us to understand their message. Jesus’ demand that the rich man sell everything wasn’t an onerous or unreasonable request; to the contrary, Jesus had offered the rich man an extraordinary bargain.

“Treasure in Heaven”: Examining an Ancient Idiom for Charity

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The growing value placed on charity in the first century C.E. cannot be overstated. As a new sensitivity developed within Judaism that challenged the compensatory “blessings and curses” paradigm of the Hebrew Bible (cf. Deut. 28) as a basis to serve God, so there was a shifting emphasis towards altruistic love embodied in the Levitical commandment, “…and you shall love your neighbor as yourself (וְאָהַבְתָּ לְרֵעֲךָ כָּמוֹךָ אֲנִי יי; Lev. 19:18).”

Lord’s Prayer

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David Bivin and Joshua Tilton envision how the Lord’s Prayer might have been formulated in its original language and explore the ancient Jewish context to which the Lord’s Prayer belongs.

Treasures in Heaven

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What is the relationship between the preaching of Jonah and putting a lamp on a lampstand? The prophet Jonah in classical Jewish thought calls to mind repentance. In Rabbinic literature we read that many prophets were sent to Jerusalem and the people did not listen, but to Nineveh one prophet was sent, and the people repented.

If Your Eye Be Single

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Couched within Jesus’ teaching is an idiom which is difficult to translate, “If your eye is single, your whole body is full of light” (Matt. 6:22). The Hebraic expression, “good eye” to denote generosity is well known in the Bible (Deut. 15:9; Prov. 22:9; 23:6; 28:22; Eccl. 14:10) and the writings of Israel’s Sages (m. Avot 5:15). Nevertheless, in Matthew 6, where you would expect to find the idiom, “good eye,” the adjective used in our saying is not καλός (kalos, good, pleasant) but ἁπλοῦς (haplous, single, simple).

Emulating the Ways of Sodom

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The Gospel writer Luke recorded a story that Jesus told about an anonymous rich man and a poor man named Lazarus. Living in splendor, the rich man enjoyed his wealth, whereas Lazarus pined away outside the rich man’s gated home. The story gives the reader the impression that the rich man did little to alleviate Lazarus’ pain. He probably reasoned that what was his was his, and what was Lazarus’ was Lazarus’.

The Best Long-term Investment—Making Loans to God

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In our day, the 20th-century disciple of Jesus feels the challenge of his call to lay up treasure in heaven more than ever. In the face of an emerging global society drunken with consumerism and materialism, Jesus’ words shatter the silence: “You cannot serve God and mammon!”