Showing posts from April, 2014

Like Mother, Like Son (Mary and Jesus)

Late last year I was at an ordination. The text for the sermon was Luke 1:38 in which Mary responds to the angel Gabriel, “Behold, the slave of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (my translation).

As I listened and pondered the text and Mary’s song in Luke 1:46-55 I realized something fresh. The language used to describe Mary’s response and song includes specific language used of her son Jesus in the great Christ-hymn of Phil 2:6-11. I connected Mary with Jesus in a new way realizing that when God chose Mary, the one who would bear his Son to save the world, he chose someone who embodied the heart of God seen in the self-emptying Christ.

The word translated “servant” is doulÄ“, the feminine of doulos, “slave.” Mary declares herself “slave of the Lord.” In Phil 2:7 it is Jesus who, being in the form of God, took the form of a slave (doulos). Mary in her obedience, served the Great Servant who will save the world.

In Mary’s hymn in Luke 1:48, she then sings, “because he h…

Extravagant Forgiveness

I recently read Jesus’ Parable of the Unforgiving Servant again (Matt 18:21–35). I was hit afresh by its power.

Peter comes to Jesus and asks him how many times he should forgive his brother who has sinned against him, seven times? Jesus responds by saying something like, “not enough Peter, seventy–seven times.” This recalls Gen 4:24 where Lamech swears to avenge himself seventy–seven times. It effectively means, “an unlimited number of times” (Hagner, Matt, 2.537).

Jesus then told a story to reinforce his point. It involved a king who wished to settle his accounts. One guy owed him 10,000 talents. Now the talent of silver varied in value but was worth something like 6,000 denarii. Now a denarius was the standard pay for a day’s labour. So this guy owed something like 60 million denarii (BDAG, 988). That is a ridiculous amount of money. In NZ terms, assuming an average wage of $14.25/hour (which is rubbish) or $114/8 hour day, this would amount to a debt of $6.84b NZD (it would be mo…

Was Jesus a Bum? A Hobo?

On the front page of the Sunday Star Times this week (6/4/2014) is featured an article concerning a thesis by Dr Robert Myles in which he argues that Jesus was a bum or hobo ( For this thesis, Dr Myles won the Auckland University Vice-Chancellor’s Award. Now, I haven’t had a chance to read this thesis, and in a way that should stop me commenting at all. But, I thought a few comments were appropriate.
First, even though I get annoyed that it is really only the more controversial stuff that gets in the mainstream media, it is excellent to see Jesus and biblical studies featured on the front page of a major NZ paper. This is great; people will be talking about Jesus. Secondly, having written a doctoral thesis, I have to congratulate Dr Robert for not only completing a thesis which is difficult in itself, but winning this award. That is no mean feat. It must be a very good thesis indeed! It is great that a biblic…