“Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:16–20 NRSV)
The Great Commission
This text is known to many who grew up in the church as the “Great Commission.” So let’s think for a moment about what a commission is in this context?
an instruction, command, or duty given to a person or group of people
a group of people officially charged with a particular function
Maybe that’s what Jesus is up to here, give a command and laying out the duty of every single person who wishes to be his disciple.
But unlike Matthew 22:34-40, where Jesus argues that Love of God and Neighbor are the most important and essential commandments, he doesn’t use the word “commission” anywhere in this passage. Continue reading →
Each week as I study, I take a lot of notes. Some of those notes I type into Evernote on my computer, and some of them I sketch out. The stuff that really stands out to me, the important quotes, and image-heavy ideas go down on paper. I love using sketchnotes as a way to organize ideas. It helps me stay concrete because I’m forced to think of how I can draw this idea and it’s easy to remember later as I begin putting an outline together. After I take all my notes, I make an outline and start writing.
“The vocation of the intellectual is to turn easy answers into critical questions and to put those critical questions to people with power.”
“The quest for truth, the quest for the good, the quest for the beautiful, all require us to let suffering speak, let victims be visible, and demand that social misery be put on the agenda of those with power. So to me, pursuing the life of the mind is inextricably linked with he struggle of those on the margins of society who have been dehumanized.” -Dr. Cornel West in Hope on a Tightrope
“So when Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took some water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.” Then the people as a whole answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!” So he released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified.” (Matthew 27:24–26)
The Story is not rigged
One of the ways we have heard these last events taught is that it all had to happen this way, but I want to raise the possibility that the game wasn’t rigged for Jesus. That these final events weren’t “destiny” as we often suppose, but rather the outworking of certain mechanism within human society that Jesus sought to unmask.** Continue reading →
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.”
(Matthew 6:25–29 NRSV)
We have a tendency when we hear Jesus’ teachings to do one of two things:
We Over-Spiritualize what he says and take it extremely literally.
So if I am in this camp and I read this text then quite honestly it becomes an excuse to be irresponsible, “Hey, I know we don’t have enough to take care of the bills, but we always squeak through some way. I know we don’t really have the money for it but doesn’t it say that God takes care of us, let’s just do it and trust that God will helps us out.” Continue reading →
“No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” (Matthew 6:23–24)
The Splitting Apart
This past week news broke that the Joel Osteen’s mega-church called “Lakewood Church” in Houston Texas was robbed of $600,000 in offerings. These were the offerings they collected from their services on Saturday and Sunday. Each weekend there is about 40,000 people who attend Osteen’s church. If you’re not familiar with Osteen, he is considered to be one of today’s most popular “Health and Wealth” televangelists. His bestseller “Your Best Life Now” has sold more than $4 copies. He reportedly takes no salary from the church but makes about $55 million a year from book sales and lives in a mansion valued at almost $11 million. Continue reading →
Remixing Tradition in Today's World by C. Wess Daniels