How Old Was Jesus at His Baptism, Start of His Ministry & Death?

You’ve probably seen the popular inspirational quote that goes something like this, “Jesus didn’t start his ministry until he was 30 years old, and yet he changed the world.”

I guess this is supposed to encourage people in their teens and twenties that haven’t accomplished much in their life.  (As if comparing their potential future to the accomplishments of the supposed “son of God” is supposed to make them feel better!  Ha!)

It also illustrates a common assumption (or perhaps misconception), that ...

Continue Reading →
108

How a Non-Historical Account Can Be Meaningful: The Death of Jesus in Mark

I am now at a point where I can explain how I read the Bible when I was a committed Christian who was not, however, a conservative evangelical convinced that the Bible was a completely inerrant revelation from God without any discrepancies or differences in it.  As I have already indicated, my new way of reading of the Bible did not denigrate the Bible at all, as often happens when people realize there are mistakes in it and come away ...

Continue Reading →
71

Jesus and the Messianic Prophecies – Did the Old Testament Point to Jesus?

In my previous post I started to explain why, based on the testimony of Paul, it appears that most Jews (the vast majority) rejected the Christian claim that Jesus was the messiah.

I have to say, that among my Christian students today (most of them from the South, most of them from conservative Christian backgrounds), this continues to be a real puzzle.

“But there were prophecies of Jesus being the messiah,” they argue. “Hundreds of Old Testament passages, such as Isaiah 53, ...

Continue Reading →
109

Luke’s Understanding of Jesus’ Death

I have been dealing with the question of Jesus’ death in the Gospel of Luke and have been arguing that Luke does not appear to have understood Jesus’ death to be an atonement for sins.   He has eliminated the several indications from his source, the Gospel of Mark, that Jesus’ death was an atonement, and he never indicates in either his Gospel or the book of Acts that Jesus died “for” you or “for” others or “for” anyone.   Then why ...

Continue Reading →
41

Jesus’ Death as a Prophet in Luke

In my previous post I argued that the author of the Gospel of Luke had changed the view that he found in his source, the Gospel of Mark, so that Jesus death, in Luke, is no longer an atoning sacrifice for sins.  I’ve always found this to be extraordinarily interesting.  Both the source for Luke’s Gospel, and the hero of his book of Acts – the apostle Paul – portrayed Jesus’ death as an atonement.  But Luke does not.

I’ve had ...

Continue Reading →
38

Luke’s View of Jesus’ Death

In my previous post I tried to argue that the longer version of the account of Jesus’ Last Supper in Luke could have been created by a scribe who wanted to make the passage sound more like what is familiar from Matthew, Mark, and John, and to stress the point made in those other accounts as well, that Jesus’ broken body and shed blood are what bring redemption.   The passage as you recall reads like this:

17 And he ...

Continue Reading →
44

My Memory Book, Chapter 4 Again: The Death of Jesus

I am in the midst of a thread summarizing my current book project, Jesus Before the Gospels, which I am writing now, even as we speak.   The book will have six major chapters and a short conclusion.   Yesterday I finished drafting chapter 5, and hope to polish off the final two chapters next week, before revising it and sending it out to readers for comments.

In my previous posts I said some things about chapter 4, “False Memories and ...

Continue Reading →
33