Adult Faith Formation

Examine the most difficult teachings of Jesus with Dr. Amy-Jill Levine.

March 19 through April 30, 2023


Jesus provided his disciples teachings for how to follow Torah, God’s word; he told them parables to help them discern questions of ethics and of human nature; he offered them beatitudes for comfort and encouragement. But sometimes Jesus spoke words that followers then and now have found difficult. He instructs disciples to hate members of their own families (Luke 14:26), to act as if they were slaves (Matthew 20:27), and to sell their belongings and give to the poor (Luke 18:22). He restricts his mission (Matthew 10:6); he speaks of damnation (Matthew 8:12); he calls Jews the devil’s children (John 8:44).

In The Difficult Words of Jesus, Amy-Jill Levine shows how these difficult teachings would have sounded to the people who first heard them, how have they been understood over time, and how we might interpret them in the context of the Gospel of love and reconciliation.

Please join us for any or all of the following sessions:

March 19 – Luke 18:22 “Sell everything you have and give to the poor…”

March 26 – Luke 14:26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother…”

April 2 – Matthew 20:27 “and whoever wants to be first must be your slave …”

April 9 – Easter no class

April 16 – Matthew 10:5-6 “Do not go among the Gentiles … go rather to the lost sheep of Israel.”

April 23 – Matthew 8:12 “The subjects of the kingdom will be thrown into the darkness …”

April 30 – John 8:44 “You belong to your father, the devil …”

Amy-Jill Levine is University Professor of the New Testament and Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt Divinity School and College of Arts and Sciences. Professor Levine has done more than 500 programs for churches, clergy groups, and seminaries.