10 Gospel Variants. *Click on title to open.
Why did Jesus try to conceal his identity?
by Zenon Sommers—
The gospel of Mark tells of a man named Jesus who spends a year preaching love, sacrifice, and repentance to others and to God. The focus of Jesus’ message is the coming of the kingdom of God, a time on earth where God would reign over all and the oppression of the Jews would end. What Jesus does not tell the world is that he is the Messiah, God’s anointed one, sent to bring God’s kingdom to earth. Whenever someone realizes Jesus is the Messiah, Jesus immediately moves to silence them. In Mark’s gospel, Jesus concealed his identity as the Messiah because his mission and message ran counter to everything the Jewish people expected from a Messiah.
*Zenon is a sophomore psychology student at UM Dearborn.
Was Jesus an illiterate peasant? (part 1)
by Ben Witherington in Patheos.com—
There is an awful lot of loose talk and pontificating on the basis of loose talk when it comes to the issue of Jesus’ social level, and his ability to read or write, or whether he could have been multi-lingual. Sometimes the discussion is even based on irrelevant data— for example the fact that Galilee was not inhabited by scads of Gentiles (see Mark Chancey’s fine monograph on how Gentile was Galilee). The ethnic makeup of Galilee is frankly irrelevant to the issue of whether Greek was used in the first century in Galilee or not for the very good reason that all of the Holy Land had long since been Hellenized for centuries.
Click here to read this article in full.
A Concise Review of Avengers, Star Movies, and Super Heroes
by Jen Foster—
I haven’t seen Game of Thrones and don’t intend to. I have seen most of the recent comic book spin-offs (thanks to Scottie) and find them… tepid and dry. Star Wars is distractingly eastern religion for dummies and Star Trek nauseates with its holier-than-thou scientism, environmentalism and multiculturalism. So, I muse on the obsession with fantasy from afar.
It seems that our current inclination toward larger than life characters, epic battles and superhuman elements may stem from western culture’s luxurious self-indulgent, self-protective effeminacy. We have so well insulated ourselves from pain, hardship, challenges and meaningful struggle that we have also insulated ourselves from adrenaline-producing excitement, sweaty palms clasped before God, and faith-filled risk taking.
It’s a shame, really. Our petty busyness is all too often about making my life, and my family’s life, more satisfying, more peaceful, more safe, more comfortable, more healthy, more more more more. How about trying this for a change?...See if we can’t intentionally pursue the eternal instead. Keep an eye towards new life after death, structure the day’s activities around worshiping and enjoying the Almighty. Find time to talk with the Divine. Plan short-term and long-term goals for serving the King of kings. Sing and dance like David before the Lord God. Find those soul-mates who turn our eyes to Jesus and off our selves.
I speak from experience. When Heaven and Christ and the majesty of God becomes dull and far away and unrelated to our lives now, then we seek after lesser stimuli. We binge watch TV, we become experience junkies, we fire our endorphins with glam and glitter. Of course, it’s all temporary. Sooner, rather than later, we need another boost, another hit, another tickle. But, when we are enthralled with the Ultimate Reality, then fictional fantasies become a modest, mildly amusing break from the strain and pressures of the fight of faith. Believe me, the True Story – the One Story – the Biggest Story is the most exciting, energizing and rewarding story. And we don’t watch this story, we live it.
(Yep, that's all of it this time.)
Is it Israel or the Messiah?
Congratulations on your graduation from UM-Dearborn! I'm proud of you but I also will miss you. Thanks for engaging me in so many deep and intelligent discussions over your 4 years here, most of which were about the Bible or the Qur'an. As you already know, this is part 2 of my exposition of the Servant in Isaiah 52 and 53. In part 1 I did a word-search overview of "Servant" in the entire book of Isaiah excluding chapter 52:13 - 53:12 to save it for later. So now, since I skipped that section before, I will focus only on the identity of the Servant in Isaiah 52:13 - 53:12. For convenience I have pasted the whole passage with my embedded comments below.