The disciples had not understood what Jesus meant when he said he would suffer, die, and be raised on the third day (Matt. 16:21–23; 17:22–23; 20:17–19). The Pharisees and religious leaders didn’t understand either, but they were concerned enough with Jesus’ predictions that they posted guards at his tomb (Matt. 27:62–66). Indeed, how could Jesus be expected to be raised from the dead? He had died a criminal’s death. More than that, he had died like a traitor or blasphemer, as one cursed by God according to the Scriptures (Deut. 21:22–23). It would be natural to think that the... Read More
For good reason the Gospels devote a great deal of space to the events leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion on Thursday and Friday of Passover week, as well as Jesus’ glorious resurrection on Sunday, the “Lord’s Day.” Yet little space is given in the Gospels to the day between “Good Friday” and Easter Sunday, sometimes known as “Holy Saturday.” None of the Gospels records any of the activities of the disciples on the Sabbath after his burial and prior to his resurrection, except for Luke, who simply writes, “On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment” (Luke... Read More
Remarkably, this year the dates of Easter week coincide exactly with those of the final week of Jesus, according to most likely estimates, as follows. Justin Taylor and I include a rationale for the original dates in our book The Final Days of Jesus: The Most Important Week of the Most Important Person Who Ever Lived (Crossway, 2014). Here is a brief synopsis of these events.
Sunday, March 29: Jesus triumphantly enters the city of Jerusalem, mounted humbly on a donkey in keeping with prophetic messianic prediction. He later predicts his impending death and teaches at the Temple.
Monday,... Read More
I am grateful for the publication of several volumes in 2014 that will equip serious exegetes and preachers to study and proclaim God’s word with greater accuracy and authority. This pertains particularly to the study of Acts, Galatians, 1-2 Thessalonians, and 1 Peter. Other important books pertain to the divinity of Jesus, church leadership, and heaven. In the interest of full disclosure, while no books I authored are included, there are several books to which I contributed an essay (6, 7) or which I edited (2, 4).
1. New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis. 5... Read More
My years as a Ph.D. student at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School were certainly a very mind-stretching experience. I took classes with D. A. Carson on the use of the OT in the NT, with Doug Moo on the Second Temple period and on the Septuagint, with Grant Osborne on apocalyptic literature, and many more. In these classes, I came to realize that many issues in NT studies are considerably more complex than the average person realizes. In fact, becoming aware of some of these issues can be confusing, even disorienting, and can leave people bewildered, unless they have the necessary scholarly... Read More
In my Answers Magazine article and in my book (co-written with Justin Taylor) The Final Days of Jesus, I have implicitly assumed that Jesus was crucified on Friday (though our main argument was that Jesus died most likely in AD 33 rather than in AD 30). I’m hardly the only one who believes that Jesus died on a Friday (“Good” Friday), but some have taken issue with the fact that such a belief stands in apparent conflict with Jesus’ statement in the Gospel of Matthew that “just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three... Read More
Here’s what Easter may look like for many dedicated Christian families. Spring is always a very busy time of year, with spring cleaning, tax returns, school, and a million other things. You’d go to church and serve there in a variety of ways. But more often than not, Easter sneaks up on you. Palm Sunday? Oh, yes, it’s Palm Sunday! Perhaps the pastor preaches a sermon on Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, where an excited crowd waves palm branches, and everyone in the congregation is upbeat. Problem is, the excitement soon wanes, and Jesus ends up crucified. Good Friday... Read More
With the forthcoming publication of Bart Ehrman’s book How Jesus Became God and the response How God Became Jesus by a team of scholars, Jesus will be in the news again. That’s a very good thing. It’s also terrific that scholars are rising to the challenge of responding to the skeptical questions raised by the likes of Ehrman.
But at a deeper level, what is needed is to equip high school students and young college students, as well as their parents and youth leaders, to know what the issues are and to respond intelligently and biblically to questions such as, Why does God allow human... Read More
Today’s New York Times includes an article by Laurie Goodstein, “A Faded Piece of Papyrus Refers to Jesus’ Wife.” According to the article, Karen L. King of Harvard Divinity School announced at the International Congress of Coptic Studies in Rome yesterday that a 4th-century Coptic papyrus fragment includes the line, “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife,'” at which the manuscript tantalizingly breaks off.
The manuscript came into Dr. King’s possession through an anonymous collector who in turn in 1997 bought it from a German collector. The fragment... Read More
Engaging and accessible, The Lion and the Lamb is an ideal resource for college students and others interested in knowing the essentials of each New Testament book. A concise summary of The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown — the acclaimed New Testament introduction by the same authors — this volume sets a new standard for high-level, up-to-date research presented in a core knowledge format that is practical, relevant, and easy to follow. Part One features chapters on the nature of Scripture and the religious and political background of the New Testament. Part Two covers the... Read More
In an earlier blog post, I wrote about the question of whether or not Jesus was born on December 25. To continue the conversation, here is what I continue to be the best article on the subject, by Paul Maier, Russell H. Seibert Professor of Ancient History at the University of Michigan. The piece appeared originally in Chronos, Karis, Christos: Nativity and Chronological Studies presented to Jack Fingan (ed. J. Vardaman; Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1989), and appears here with permission of the author. Read More
Christians celebrate Christmas and Easter every year, but few know when Jesus was actually born and when he died. Not that any great doctrine rests on the calculations below, but it sure is nice that we can have reasonable confidence that the dates of Jesus’ birth and death are secure and can be gleaned from a combination of biblical and extrabiblical historical data. I may not be willing to stake my life on the accuracy of the data below, but I am confident enough of these calculations that the license plate of my van reads as follows: 5BC–AD33. Read More
As the angels told the women at the empty tomb, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee?” (Luke 24:5–6). The four New Testament Gospels record at least eleven resurrection appearances to Jesus to hundreds of individuals over a period of several weeks. None of the Gospels have all the appearances, which requires that we reconstruct the probable sequence of these appearances. The following chart appeared in The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown: An Introduction to the New Testament (B... Read More
As Mike Huckabee said a while back, “Jesus was way too smart to run for political office.” Isn’t that the truth. One certainly sympathizes with the candidates having to reinvent themselves about once every few days to appeal to different constituencies of voters. Indeed, Jesus didn’t run for political office. In fact, he said that his kingdom was not of this world. This doesn’t mean he was so otherworldly that he was of no earthly good. To the contrary, he was well aware of people’s anxieties and preoccupation with existential necessities. He was critical of those who hoarded... Read More
Very likely the best book written in New Testament studies in 2006 is Jesus and the Eyewitnesses by Richard Bauckham. In this magnum opus Bauckham argues persuasively that the Gospels reflect (named) eyewitness testimony. According to Bauckham, the ideal source in ancient Greco-Roman literature was not the dispassionate observer, but the eyewitness. The written Gospels, so Bauckham, contain oral history related to the personal transmission of eyewitness testimony, not merely oral tradition which is the result of the collective and anonymous transmission of material. On page 93 of his book,... Read More