As I was reflecting on these Scripture lessons during this past week, I was reminded of a book that I had read quite a long time ago that had left a great impact on me. It's called Jesus Before Christianity. In other words, before there was a structured, organized, institutional church, in the very beginning -- Jesus before all that organization took place. It's written by a Dominican theologian priest, Fr. Albert Nolan.
Life of Jesus in the New Testament
In our first lesson today, we have an incident that shows how the first disciples of Jesus were beginning to carry out the work of Jesus. If you think about it, you can really imagine how distressed those officials in that courtroom must have been, how upset. They thought they had killed Jesus. What's this? Now people are going out now and in his name -- that is, with his power -- acting as he did. They're continuing to do the same thing he did.
Obviously, once more as we listen to these Scripture lessons this morning, we become aware and perhaps begin to feel again somewhat of the excitement and the joy that those first disciples felt when Jesus went through death to new life. They found it very difficult to believe this, and I think sometimes we fail to experience the fullness of joy of this Easter feast because we almost take it too much for granted. "Yes, Jesus rose from the dead; let's move on." No. It's so much more important to stop and really try to experience what those first disciples experienced.
The Peace Pulpit: "We are the presence of Jesus in the midst of the world ... That calls us to change our lives, to follow the way of Jesus."
"A.D. The Bible Continues" features a decidedly more multicultural cast, the result of honest conversations between black church leaders and the filmmakers.
The readings have been long, but of course since this is the beginning of the most sacred and holy week of the year, it's important for us to spend just a few moments at least in reflecting on the deep message that God is proclaiming to us through these readings, through the events that are described. And perhaps we can catch the deepest meaning of all of this if we listen very carefully again to the words of St. Paul addressed to the Christian community at Philippi.
Review: While the story includes most of the key narrative elements from the Gospels, the writers have imagined additional dialogue and intrigue.
Simply Spirit: Jesus' female disciples are all but invisible to most Christians, often no more painfully so than during Holy Week.
"Bless you for playing Jesus, peace be upon him."
This was the reaction of Lebanese-born actor Haaz Sleiman's mother after she learned that her son had been cast as Jesus in National Geographic Channel's "Killing Jesus." The three Abrahamic religions will collide on Palm Sunday, when the television special premieres with a 24-year-old Muslim actor playing Jesus.
The virgin birth is one of the central tenets of faith for the world's 2 billion Christians. Yet many say the virgin birth gets short shrift at Christmas.