This text is used for the Lectionary Year A on April 9, 2017.
My youngest daughter has me on a very high pedestal. Her trust in me is limitless. When something breaks, her response is, “Daddy can fix it.” When a comparison is drawn among her little friends, I am always the victor. When in fear she thinks, “Daddy will save me.”
The “servant of Yahweh” plays a central role in second Isaiah. It’s exegetically correct to note that nothing significant distinguishes who this servant is. However, Christians typically hold that this is a foretelling of Jesus. Jewish tradition holds that the servant is actually the community of Israel. In either case, the fact holds that the servant is faithful to Yahweh, in the midst of mistreatment.
This is one section of a more complete picture that second Isaiah is trying to paint of a singular “servant of Israel.” The entire narrative captured in Isaiah 49:1-50:11. The breakdown of the passage is as following:
The servant introduced 49:1-7
Reaffirmation of return and restoration 49:8-13
Israel’s statements of reluctance 49:14,24
Yahweh’s answers to their reluctance 49:15-23,25-26
Yahweh’s statements about exile 50:1-3
The obedient servant 50:4-9
Reprobation if they follow their own light 50:10-11
This text is used for the Lectionary Year A on March 19, 2017.
This text contains an array of topics: peace with God, grace, hope, suffering, God’s love, and reconciliation. It consists of a 223-word passage that begins and ends asserting two facts: (1) justification by faith (5:1b) and (2) reconciliation with God (5:11b). It appears to be connected to a larger pericope (8:18-39) that ends with the avowal of victory and firm hope due to the assurance of “the love of God” (8:39).
Hitherto, Paul has addressed the topic of justification by faith, particularly, the need for it (1:18-3:20), and the ground of it in God’s work in Christ (3:21-4:25). Chapter 4 ends with the phrase “our justification” whereas chapter 5 begins with “Therefore, since we are justified.” It conveys that justification is an attained fact. In 5:1-11, Paul proceeds to examine its effects expressed in a new life of peace and hope, based on God’s love.
Paul asserts that the direct effect is “peace with God” (v.1b). What would “peace with God” mean to the countless voices worldwide suffering persecution and desperately crying out for peace? Does it mean the cessation of hostility and anguish? Is he alluding to Old Testament prophecies of God’s ultimate peace to be granted in the latter days as we read in Isaiah 52:7; 54:10; Ezekiel 34:25, 37:26? To be sure, the “peace” Paul speaks about cannot be threatened by suffering (5:3), not even the deadly persecution many Christians were experiencing under Nero’s reign. Paul seems to be focusing on the New Testament perspective of peace fulfilled “through our Lord Jesus Christ” (v.1b).
This text is used for the Lectionary Year C on October 16th, 2016.
This sermon series began two weeks ago in Lamentations 1:1-6 and ends next week in Joel 2:23-32. This series allows the pastor to trace the arc of redemption as told through Israel’s story with God. This is the foundation of Christ’s coming, through which this story finds its fruition and fulfillment. Such a series permits a congregation to re-engage the movement of their own life with God through this story, starting in Lamentations with disorientation over their own sin and its consequences. This confrontation with sin is necessary if a church is to engage in the faithful application of hope toward Joel’s vision of life and land indwelled with the presence of the Spirit.
Last week in Jeremiah 29, the text focused on living in the tension of brokenness and hope. Today’s passage moves from the midst of this tension into the promise that is to come. Here the prophet promises renewed relationship and renewed covenant. This is hope on the move; hope that propels a people into the practice of a future freedom right now in the present. This hope is on the move because God brings renewal. This God-moving renewal establishes relational wholeness. This relational wholeness is expressed in human life together and covenant life with God.
This text is used for the Lectionary Year C on October 9nd, 2016.
“Seeing is believing.” This phrase sounds rather contrary to the whole idea of Christian faith, doesn’t it? Actually, earlier on in Luke, Jesus talks about the generation seeking a sign and categorizes them as “wicked.” But this passage seems to have its center based upon this action of “seeing,” maybe even alluding to the idea that this is the most important action taking place in this story.
At the beginning of this passage, we encounter Jesus on the way to Jerusalem when he encounters a group of lepers calling out his name. From the start, Jesus establishes himself as a curious character to a 21st-century reader because I cannot think of many road trips I have been on where I was willing to stop and attend care to someone calling out and asking me to help fix something of theirs. If it was a single person and seemed to be stranded, I might be a little more sympathetic; but, seeing as there are 10 of them I can at least feel better about myself because they have each other for company.