IVP - Andy Unedited - Through Old Testament Eyes Archives

March 28, 2018

The Lament of Christ (Mark 15:34)

"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
Mark 15:34

I have attended worship services in a variety of traditions throughout my life, but they tended to have one thing in common--they began with praise to God and then moved to confession. This is a good and appropriate model to follow that has a lot of merit. When we see how holy and good God is, we see more clearly by contrast that we are not.

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 10:09 AM | Comments

March 21, 2018

Christ Forsaken (Mark 15:34)

"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
Mark 15:34

On the cross, Jesus quotes from the first verse of Psalm 22, a psalm of lament. Psalm 22 begins with a strongly stated complaint that God is far away (vv. 1-2), which is followed by the statement of confidence in God (vv. 3-5). The psalmist (identified in the title of the psalm as David) then enumerates the specifics of his lament (vv. 6-18), followed by his petition for deliverance (vv. 19-21). He concludes with a vow to proclaim God's goodness to the people (vv. 22-26), which will be known to the ends of the earth in generations to come (vv. 27-31).

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 9:58 AM | Comments

March 14, 2018

Betrayal and Grace (Mark 14:66-72)

While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came by. When she saw Peter warming himself, she looked closely at him. "You also were with that Nazarene, Jesus," she said. But he denied it. "I don't know or understand what you're talking about," he said, and went out into the entryway. When the servant girl saw him there, she said again to those standing around, "This fellow is one of them." Again he denied it. After a little while, those standing near said to Peter, "Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean." He began to call down curses, and he swore to them, "I don't know this man you're talking about." Immediately the rooster crowed the second time. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken to him: "Before the rooster crows twice you will disown me three times." And he broke down and wept.

In Shusaku Endo's novel Silence the Jesuit priest Father Sebastian Rodrigues is sent to Japan in 1638. His assignment is to investigate reports that Father Ferreira, who had previously been sent by the Jesuits as a missionary to Japan, had under torture denied his faith.

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 10:05 AM | Comments

March 7, 2018

Jesus's Prayer (Mark 14:32-38)

32 They went to a place called Gethsemane. . . . 35 Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. 36 "Abba, Father," he said, "everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will." 37 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. "Simon," he said to Peter, "are you asleep? Couldn't you keep watch for one hour? 38 Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."

In Jesus's prayer in Gethsemane, we hear him address God as "Abba, Father" (Mark 14:36), pray that God's will would be done (14:36), and tell the disciples to pray so they "will not fall into temptation" (14:38). Where else in Scripture have we heard a prayer that takes up similar themes?

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 10:48 AM | Comments

February 28, 2018

Why Resurrection Matters (Mark 12:18-27)

Then the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question. . . . Jesus replied . . . "Now about the dead rising--have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the account of the burning bush, how God said to him, 'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. You are badly mistaken!" (Mark 12:18, 24, 26-27)

Many Christians think that the spiritual is more important than the physical--that prayer, evangelism, worship, giving to Christian causes, and encountering God matter more than caring for our physical selves or for the created world. Doing church work, we may think, is more important than our job as an accountant, store clerk, salesperson, or truck driver. Reading the Bible, we might think, is more important than other reading we can do to learn about the world and people that God created.

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 10:03 AM | Comments

February 21, 2018

A House for All Nations (Mark 11:15-17)

On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. And as he taught them, he said, "Is it not written: 'My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations'? But you have made it 'a den of robbers.'" Mark 11:15-17

In AD 165, a terrible plague hit the Roman Empire that lasted for fifteen years. Some historians think it was smallpox, but whatever the cause it was devastating. Perhaps a quarter or more of the population died. A hundred years later another plague hit Rome, with similar results. Bodies were piled up in the streets, some being thrown there before people actually died. Thousands abandoned the cities for the countryside in an attempt to escape the pestilence.

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 10:10 AM | Comments

February 14, 2018

The King Rides a Colt (Mark 11)

Each Wednesday until Easter I am posting a Lenten reflection, excerpted and adapted from Mark Through Old Testament Eyes.

As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, saying to them, "Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here." . . . When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. (Mark 11:1-2, 7-8)

Why does Jesus specify a colt, and one that no one has ridden before? Animals without defect, or which had never been worked before, were considered holy--necessary for worship and sacrifices (Lev 22:19-25; Num 19:2-3; Deut 21:1-9). Animals which had never worked before were specified to pull one of Israel's holiest objects, the ark of the covenant, after it had been taken by the Philistines (1 Sam 6:1-9).

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 10:02 AM | Comments

December 12, 2017

Why Doesn't Mark Tell the Christmas Story? (Part 2)

Isn't Mark a bit of a Scrooge for not including the story of Jesus' birth in his gospel? Really! No star in the east. No angels touching their harps of gold. No little town of Bethlehem. What a grump! And what's up with beginning with John the Baptist preaching repentance? Does that sound like Christmas? I submit that it does not!

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 10:18 AM | Comments

December 5, 2017

Why Doesn't Mark Tell the Christmas Story? (Part 1)

The gospel of Luke has a wonderful birth story of Jesus. Every year we even get to hear it read by Linus in A Charlie Brown Christmas special. Matthew adds in the Wise Men but starts even further back, beginning his gospel with Abraham. Not to be outdone, John's gospel goes back even behind Genesis, before creation, to when the Word was with God.*

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 10:04 AM | Comments

November 8, 2017

The Past Is Always Present

What can you find in Mark Through Old Testament Eyes? Glad you asked. Here's what some have had to say.

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 2:06 PM | Comments

October 10, 2017

Why I Wrote Mark Through Old Testament Eyes

For years now I have taught the gospel of Mark to InterVarsity college students. Often they would raise questions about confusing or troubling passages:

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 1:32 AM | Comments

January 17, 2017

Widows and Orphans

I have lived with the New Testament letter of James for many decades. And I frequently puzzled over one aspect of a particular verse: "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." (Jas 1:27) Why widows and orphans? Why not people who are hungry or ill or grieving? Is there something special about orphans and widows that should take our attention?

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 9:53 AM | Comments

December 13, 2016

Through Old Testament Eyes 4: Who Are the Chosen Ones?

Election is controversial. Of course, I'm talking about the Christian doctrine, not any recent political events.

For five hundred years Protestants have gone back and forth on the topic of predestination and all its implications. The effect for sensitive souls, however, can be to worry and wonder, "Am I one of the elect? Am I one of the chosen, or will I somehow fall outside the bounds of grace?"

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 10:10 AM | Comments

December 6, 2016

Through Old Testament Eyes 3: Getting the Whole Story

When I first saw Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings I was struck by Howard Shore's musical score, especially his Shire theme. Immediately I noticed that as it begins we can sing right along the opening words of "This Is My Father's World" before it takes off with Shore's own melody. At first I wondered, "Doesn't he know that's a famous hymn tune?" But then it hit me. Of course he does, and he's using it on purpose.

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 10:11 AM | Comments (1)

November 1, 2016

Through Old Testament Eyes 2: Misreading Jesus' Trial

Reading the New Testament apart from the Old Testament is like having just one good eye. We can function, certainly. But we will lack depth perception and may misinterpret what we see. Objects may be closer or further away than we think. As a result, we may bump into something we shouldn't have--or miss something we were trying to hit.

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 10:10 AM | Comments

October 25, 2016

Through Old Testament Eyes 1: Echoes of Scripture in the Gospels

Many Christians function with half a Bible. When we feel troubled we may go to the Psalms, or when we need an exciting story to keep children entertained we may go to Daniel or Jonah. But that may be about it. We say the whole Bible is authoritative and inspired by God, but sadly the Old Testament remains largely a closed book.

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 10:16 AM | Comments

May 12, 2016

Was Eliot Nuts?

I remember first coming upon T. S. Eliot's "Tradition and the Individual Talent" and thinking it was completely nuts. I was in high school at the time. So it is a tautology to say I was quite sure of my opinions.

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 10:07 AM

December 2, 2014

Reading Backwards

Consistently when I have taught the Gospel of Mark to college students over the last ten years, the "Aha" reaction comes when I ask them to look up Old Testament passages related to a puzzling verse.

Why does Mark describe what John the Baptist eats and wears but not anyone else? Not Peter. Not Pilate. Not even Jesus.

When Jesus is walking on the water, why does Mark say Jesus intends to pass by the disciples struggling to row against the wind? Doesn't he see them? Doesn't he care?

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 9:56 AM

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