Tagged: crucifixion

Philippians 2:5-11

This text is used for the Lectionary Year A on April 9, 2017.

Philippians 2:5-11 is one of the most familiar and discussed texts of Scripture. These seven verses entertain theological issues such as the hypostatic union of Jesus, the kenotic formula, and the ontological and functional realities of the Trinity. Though these issues have their place, these are not really the matters Paul is addressing. The milieu of this passage is one of believers learning to live their life as a community. It is a text ethical in nature in which Paul stimulates the practice of humility and unity among the believers exhibiting Jesus as the supreme example. The preacher needs to be careful not to get entangled in doctrinal issues that could detract from the greater message.

Following his greeting to the community of Philippi (1:1–2), Paul prays for them to reach unity (1:3–11). Next, he presents his own life as an example (1:12–26; 4:9) and exhorts the church to live lives of humility and unity without (1:27–30) and within the congregation (2:1–4). To illustrate, Paul draws from what is most likely an early Christian hymn-poem that praises Christ’s story of incarnation, crucifixion, and exaltation (2:5–11), and urges the Philippians to pattern Christ’s life story to address their particular situation (2:12-18).

Paul exhorts them to have “the mind of Christ” (2:5). In their mutual relations, they should adopt the same attitude of love and humility that marked the Lord (2:5). But, isn’t it true that one thing is to be called to have “the mind of Christ,” and another to nurture such habit of mind individually and collectively? So, how can the Philippians be a people characterized by unity and humility? Paul intimates that the first step is to know well Christ’s story. This is the Gospel story of Christ leaving the glories of his preexistent, eternal state to undertake humanity through cross death.

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Luke 22:14-23:56

This text is used for the Lectionary Year C on March 20, 2016.

Hermano Leon
Hermano Leon

In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus used tables to announce the Kingdom of God.  Table fellowship, which was an important act of hospitality for all people in the Mediterranean world, was absolutely essential for Jesus’ ministry and an indicator of how he understood the nature of God’s Kingdom.  Jesus spends a great deal of time in this gospel teaching his disciples of table manners in the Kingdom.  Don’t take the seats of honor.  Don’t invite only those who can reciprocate.  Over and over again, the table of Jesus is illustrative of the ways of the Kingdom.  This Passover table in 22.14-23 – along with the one in Emmaus – should remind the reader of all the tables that have frequented the entire gospel.

It was at the table that Jesus announces Judas’ betrayal.  One of Jesus’ own disciples betrayed him.  One might expect betrayal from someone on the periphery, but for the betrayer to arise from Jesus’ inner circle intensifies the scandal.  The betrayal occurred amidst a larger debate amongst his followers as to who was the greatest.  In a gospel saturated with reversal stories, this argument over who is the greatest portrays the disciples as extremely dense.  On the other hand, Judas’ betrayal and the disciples’ ignorance are not limited to that particular table or to the first century.  To the degree that Jesus’ followers continue to have this argument, we continue to follow in Judas’ footsteps.

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