This text is used for the Lectionary Year C on January 24, 2016.
Most of us live in the world of ordinary miracles. Seasons come and go, children are born and grow up, and planets keep moving along their predestined paths. Rarely does the ground tremble when we pray or lightning flash when we worship. Most days are just normal… and normal is miraculous enough if we are wise enough to see it.
Nehemiah lived in a time of ordinary miracles. In the story of Nehemiah, there are no sea-splitting acts of God like there are in Exodus. The walls of Jericho don’t crumble and fall. Just because fire doesn’t fall from heaven doesn’t mean miracles didn’t happen in Nehemiah.
This text is used for the Lectionary Year A on December 29, 2013.
Matthew could be called the gospel of fulfillment. Matthew quotes more Old Testament prophecies than any other gospel writer. For instance, in the passage Matthew 2:13-23, the author quotes three Old Testament passages that are fulfilled in the birth and early childhood of Jesus. There are three brief scenes in these ten verses. Each scene ends with an announcement that what has preceded in the narrative was a fulfillment of the Old Testament prophets. For this reason these narratives are sometimes called pronouncement stories.
Matthew’s gospel is also filled with divine intervention through dreams. God appears to Joseph in a dream to tell him that Mary’s pregnancy is a miraculous fulfillment of God’s will. God appears to the Magi to warn them about Herod’s evil intentions. God appears to Joseph to warn him about Herod’s murderous plans, and to give him the escape plan via Egypt. And God appears to Joseph a third time to let him know that Herod was dead and the danger had passed. The themes of God’s presence and sovereignty, along with the fulfillment of God’s plans are peppered throughout the narrative.