Being “poor in spirit”, as Jesus talks about in Matthew 5:3, is about realizing that we are bankrupt without God. When we deny the illusion that we are the masters of our own fates and confess our brokenness to God, the good news is that God is near to the brokenhearted, and where God is, there is the kingdom of heaven.
Karl Barth’s sermon from August 2, 1914, encourages his listeners to have confidence in God and God alone in the face of the coming war. The 19th century liberal idea of human progress had been proven to be a faulty foundation for hope. Instead, one’s hope must come via a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
Karl Barth’s sermon from July 26, 1914 (just days after Austria-Hungary’s ultimatum to Serbia and just days before World War I finally erupted), is a reflection on the seeming incongruence of Ephesians 2:4-7 – and especially the idea that God has set us in the heavenly realm with Jesus – with the fearful turbulence of the times.
God’s unconditional love does not imply that what we do doesn’t matter. Nor does believing that what we do matters imply that God’s love is conditional. The biblical truth is that God loves us unconditionally, and that is precisely why what we do matters.
In John 20:24-28, the resurrected Jesus shows the scars of his crucifixion to his disciple Thomas, meaning the resurrected body of Jesus has scars. What does this tell us about scars, about what it means to follow Jesus, about the identity of Jesus, and about the nature of God?
In Amos 5:10-13, we see a corrupt society where the wealthy elite maintain their wealth and power by dishonestly fixing the system in their favor. A just judge is despised. God’s punishment is appropriate: whatever you use your wealth to build will be taken from you before you can enjoy it.
The question Amos 5:1-7 poses to us today is this: where are we seeking our security? Are we, like Israel, confusing human institutions for the activity of God in the world? Are we conflating the Kingdom of God and the kingdoms of the earth?
Luke 2:14 has well known variant readings (is “good will” nominative or genitive?), and despite scholarship preferring one over the other, the choice between these readings is not clear. How do variant readings and translations affect our understanding of the inspiration of the Bible? What if ambiguities weren’t something God intended to work around but something he intended to work within.
Christmas is, or at least it should be, a season of joy. But what is the joy of Christmas? Joy is the natural human response to the good news of Jesus. This joy is the inheritance of every Christian.
Even someone as awesome as William Tyndale can make a mistake. And even as revered a translation as the King James Version can unthinkingly perpetuate it.