Gospels, Part 4: Satan, Demons, Devils and Exorcisms – Jesus’ Confrontation with Evil

Few elements of the biblical story cause contemporary readers more difficulty than talk of demons and devils.  To our (post-?)modern sensibilities, they seem, at best, misdiagnoses of psychiatric conditions, and, at worst, conjure images of the church at its most misguided (witch trial, anyone?).  And yet, Jesus’ confrontation with demonic powers is a fundamental dimension […]

Gospels, Part 3: Miracles – Salvation Enacted

Much of Jesus’ ministry – and the Gospel descriptions thereof – revolve around his “miracles” (the Gk. word is best translated “works of power”).  But what was their purpose?  Did they simply serve to impress his audience, to demonstrate his might or authority?  Or are they part and parcel of the declaration that “the kingdom […]

Gospels, Part 2: Understanding Jesus’ World – 1st Century Religion, Politics and the Kingdom of God

To read the Gospels is to be drawn in to a world of great complexity.  Immediately we encounter passionate political conflicts, religious sects vying for power, palace intrigues, and the mounting threat of violence in the streets. It is into this world – the world of Israel in exile, grasping for a means of deliverance […]