Two of the four gospels mention in their account of the Triumphal Entry that Jesus rode upon a colt “on which no one has ever yet sat” (Mark 11:2; see also Luke 19:29). The colt is a fulfilment of prophecy (Zechariah 9:9), but what’s the significance of a new colt? Perhaps it alludes to Jesus’ divine control over nature, similar to the calming of the storm (Mark 4:35-41). More likely, it calls back to the Old Testament, where only those animals who had never known a yoke were fit for divine service (Numbers 19:2; Deuteronomy 21:3). In calling for this kind of animal, Jesus is asserting the divinity of his mission, and possibly hinting at his coming atonement for sins– he too was to be a sacrifice without blemish.
Joshua 5:13-6:27 is full of intertextual echoes. Continue reading “Intertextual Ricochet”
In Genesis 1, the Spirit of God hovered over the waters, preceding the acts of creation. Among those acts were the division of waters (day 2) and the appearance of land (day 3). In the days of Noah, God’s judgment on mankind was a reversal of creation: the waters above and below the earth came together, covering the land. The receding of the waters after the flood, then, was a new creation, marked by a new creation mandate to Noah (Genesis 9:1).
Joshua recounts the conquest of Canaan by the children of Israel. Throughout the conquest narrative, the repeated refrain is that the Israelites struck their enemies “with the edge of the sword” (6:21, 8:24, 11:10). Of course, God tells the children of Israel at the end of the book that “it was not by your sword or your bow” that their enemies were driven out, but by the Lord (24:12)– this is why the man Joshua saw in chapter 5 had a drawn sword. Nevertheless, the Israelites fought and killed their enemies with the sword.
In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus is given two names before his birth: Continue reading “The Nearness of God”
The turning point of Mark’s Gospel is framed in by two stories about blind men. Continue reading “The Blind Shall See”