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Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10
The Jews have been allowed to leave Persia and rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. During the construction, Ezra reads the law from the Bible. The people agree to follow the law and a feast is then declared. Nehemiah 8:1 bring the book of the law of Moses – While referring to the document as the “book of the law of Moses” might be the work of an editor, it shows the common assumption of the “author” of this work. given to Israel – Likewise this might be the work of a redactor, but it identiﬁes the recipient of the law. Nehemiah 8:2 both men and women and all who could hear with understanding – The reading of the law was not limited to the men. Nehemiah 8:3 He read from it facing the square – The declaration of the Word was in public. ... Nehemiah 8:5 all the people stood up – Perhaps this is out of respect for the Word. Nehemiah 8:6 Then Ezra blessed the L ORD – A prayer is offered in public for all to hear. ... Nehemiah 8:8 with interpretation – During the reading, someone provided a sense of the text. Nehemiah 8:9 do not mourn or weep – The authorities set aside some time to celebrate hearing the Word. For all the people wept when they heard the words of the law – This is one of the functions of the law. Nehemiah 8:10 Go your way, eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions of them to those for whom nothing is prepared, for this day is holy to our L ORD – The day was set aside to be a feast day. Additionally, the people were to remember the poor. 1
The writer of this psalm speaks of God’s glory. The ﬁrst verse of the psalm is familiar to many thanks to Handel’s Messiah and the last verse is also since it is a traditional prayer before sermons. Psalm 19:1 The heavens are telling the glory of God – The work of the L ORD’s hand, which is nearest to Him, joins with all of creation in praising God. Psalm 19:2 Day to day pours forth speech – The passing of the hours brings witnesses to the L ORD. Psalm 19:3 their voice is not heard – These parts of creation are not gods that speak to their believers. Instead, they are just metaphors used by the author to remind everyone that the L ORD is good. Psalm 19:4 yet their voice goes out through all the earth – The world speaks to all who would listen that there is more to existence than many people would believe. Psalm 19:5 In the heavens he has set a tent for the sun – Even the “largest” light in the sky is not a god but a created object that the L ORD helps. Psalm 19:6 its circuit to the end of them – The sun cannot be a god in the mind of the psalmist since its limits are strictly ﬁxed. Psalm 19:7 reviving the soul – Unlike what is taught by some Protestant groups that the law only serves to condemn, to drive people to Jesus, and to provide a way to live, the author asserts a different reality that the law gives life. Psalm 19:8 the precepts of the L ORD are right – The psalmist makes a sweeping statement that all the law is correct. Psalm 19:9 the fear of the L ORD is pure – Humanity should respect the L ORD since this one can cause all of existence to stop. Psalm 19:10 More to be desired are they than gold – There is a richness to the law that has been discounted by the Protestants. The psalmist reminds believers of this fact. Psalm 19:11 Moreover by them is your servant warned – This is one of the traditional uses of the law that Protestants acknowledge. 2
Psalm 19:12 Clear me from hidden faults – Despite the desire to follow the L ORD’s law to the letter, mistakes happen that others cannot see. The prayer here is for the L ORD to erase even these items. This does not mean that the price for mistakes will not have to be paid. Psalm 19:13 Keep back your servant also from the insolent – People will attack the followers of the L ORD. The psalmist asks for protection. Psalm 19:14 O L ORD, my rock and my redeemer – Two different images are presented here. A rock often is a large immovable object and the redeemer is one who pays the price. These different ideas are combined in the L ORD.
1 Corinthians 12:12-31a
Pauls tells the church that the believers are the body of Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:12 so it is with Christ. – This is not an analogy but instead it is to be taken literally since the κκλησία is the σ α of Christ.1 This occurs because Christ is who He says that He is.2 This apparent contradiction must be true because it is God who can decide what can and cannot be.3 The summary of Paul is found in Romans 7:4.4 Romans 7:4 In the same way, my friends, you have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead in order that we may bear fruit for God. (NRSV) 1 Corinthians 12:13 we were all baptized into one body – The sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist are acts of participation in the body of Christ (Romans 6:3; Romans 6:4; 1 Corinthians 1:13; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Galatians 3:27; 1 Corinthians 10:16-17; 1 Corinthians 11:28-29).5
Keith F. Nickle; C. F. D. Moule et al., editors, The Collection: A study in Paul’s Strategy, Volume 48, Studies in Biblical Theology, (Naperville, IL: Alec R. Allenson, Inc, 1966), p. 117. 2 Robert W. Jenson, Systematic Theology: The Works of God, Volume 2, (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1999), p. 214. 3 Ibid., p. 215. 4 John A. T. Robinson, The Body: A Study in Pauline Theology, (Chicago, IL: Henry Regnery Company, 1952), p. 49. 5 Nickle, The Collection, p. 117.
1 Corinthians 12:14 the body does not consist of one member – The body of Christ determines everything in 1 Corinthians and thus the congregation at Corinth needs to be concerned with the entire community not just selected individuals.6 The body of Christ that the Corinthians fail to notice is the congregation in Corinth.7 John of Damascus notes that we commune not only with Christ but with each other and in doing so we become one with both Christ and each other.8 (See The Orthodox Faith de ﬁde orthadoxa, sussomoi tou christou 4.13) 1 Corinthians 12:15 that would not make it any less a part of the body – An allegation by others in the body of Christ does not create reality. 1 Corinthians 12:16 that would not make it any less a part of the body – The reiteration reminds the audience that their words do not make things happen in the body of Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:17 If the whole body were an eye – A practical aspect of being a body is that the body has different functions and each part of the body has a perspective that is unique to its location in the body. 1 Corinthians 12:18 as he chose – The place that God gives the followers is determined by God. In other words, the believer is given a speciﬁc task to execute and the others are expecting that this work be completed. 1 Corinthians 12:19 where would the body be – Diversity is a gift. The monoculture of most churches is actually dangerous to itself and others. 1 Corinthians 12:20 there are many members, yet one body – In today’s world were there are many different people doing their own thing, it would be good to remember that the body should not be divided into groups. 1 Corinthians 12:21 I have no need of you – The body of Christ needs everyone. This does not mean that the body of Christ be content that some members are persecuted, are poor, or are otherwise discriminated against.
Dieter Georgi, Remembering The Poor: The History of Paul’s Collection for Jerusalem, (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1992), p. 51. 7 Jenson, Systematic Theology Volume 2, p. 211. 8 Ibid., p. 212.
1 Corinthians 12:22 the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable – The ethic of taking care of the widow, the sojourner, the child, and the unseen members of society can be seen in this command. 1 Corinthians 12:23 less respectable members are treated with greater respect – When a follower of Christ sees any person who the rest of the world despises, it is their duty to treat the outcast like royalty. 1 Corinthians 12:24 more respectable members do not need this – On the other hand, a Christian does not need to heap praise or actions to those people already rich in the eyes of this world. 1 Corinthians 12:25 may have the same care for one another – The exact same conditions for the rich need to be given to the poor. The opposite holds too. The lifestyle of the oppressed should be adopted by those in power. 1 Corinthians 12:26 If one member suffers, all suffer – The body is vulnerable and it can be abused.9 This is what happened at Corinth.10 1 Corinthians 12:27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. – We are the body of Christ. To correctly understand Paul we must hold onto two ideas simultaneously that the Eucharistic elements of bread and wine are Christ’s body and those called out are the body of Christ.11 This will make sense only when we read Paul’s accounts of the body of Christ in speciﬁc and bodies in general because when this is done, we will see that Paul deﬁnes a body through the availability to others and that the body can be used.12 Christ’s body is located in the Eucharistic and the community that surrounds the meal.13
Robert W. Jenson, Unbaptized God: The Basic Flaw in Ecumenical Theology, (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Fortress, 1992), p. 32-33. 10 Ibid., p. 33. 11 Idem, Systematic Theology: The Triune God, Volume 1, (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1997), p. 205. 12 Ibid. 13 Ibid.
Jesus returns to Galilee after His forty days in the wilderness. Those in the synagogue see His wisdom. In Nazareth they hear Him proclaim that He has already fulled the Isaiah’s prophecy, which proclaimed a Savior who brings God’s Word, freedom, and sight. Luke 4:14 ﬁlled with the power of the Spirit – The Spirit of God found in Jesus could be experienced by everyone. Luke 4:15 was praised – The imperfect verbs give the sense that Jesus is working out the kinks in the presentation before going before the hometown crowd.14 Luke 4:16 where he had been brought up The Greek verb τρέφω has a sense of being nurtured as a child.15 as was his custom – Jesus was an observant Jew like His parents.16 Luke 4:17 the prophet Isaiah – According to some authors this text shows us that the author of Luke and Acts uses Isaiah to inform his view on salvation.17 Stoffregen using Edward Markquart’s Witnesses for Christ that talks about how the Gospel must be Good News for a particular situation. The gospel is God’s truth, God’s message, God’s action, God’s word to a particular person, to a particular need, to a particular historical situation. You don’t throw a drowning person sandwich. However good the sandwich may be, it just doesn’t meet that person’s need. You throw a drowning person a life jacket or a lifeline, or you dive in for the rescue. So it is with the gospel. The gospel is God’s truth, God’s action, aimed at a particular human need. (Page 69) Luke 4:18 The Spirit of the Lord . . . – This is a mixture of Isaiah 61:1, 58:6, and 61:2.18
Luke Timothy Johnson; Daniel J. Harrington, S.J., editor, The Gospel of Luke, Volume 3, Sacra Pagina, (The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1991), p. 78. 15 Ibid. 16 Ibid. 17 Brian P. Stoffregen, Luke 4.14-21 3rd Sunday after the Epiphany - Year C, http://www. crossmarks.com/brian/luke4x14.htm. 18 Johnson, Luke, p. 79.
anointed – The Greek verb to anoint (χρίω) is what we use for as a basis for the name Christ. to the poor – The poor include those without ﬁnancial resources and those people who are not in the inner circle (Luke 6:20, 7:22; 14:13, 21; 16:20, 22; 18:22; 19:8; 21:3).19 release to the captives – The word for release is the Greek noun φεσις, which is used for forgiveness of sins and debts.20 This quote from Isaiah tells us that for Luke, Jesus is a “prophetic Messiah.”21 It also tells us what Jesus will do.22 He will grant freedom and sight. The radical nature of Luke is that Jesus gives these gifts to the outcast.23 recovery of sight to the blind – Except for Luke 6:39, all the other uses of blind in Luke are literal (Luke 7:21, 22; 14:13, 21; 18:35).24 This could be viewed as Christ’s mission statement. Luke 4:19 Luke 4:20 the attendant – The Greek term is τ attendant or minister. πηρέτ that is translated as
Luke 4:21 Today this scripture has been fulﬁlled in your hearing. – σή ερον πεπλήρωται γραφ α τη ν το ς σ ν ν – Today this the scripture has been fulﬁlled (3rd Person Perfect Passive Indicative Singular - The subject has been acted on and has been completed) in the ear of you. By moving this from Mark 6:1:6a and Matthew 13:53-58 to this location, Luke makes this story of conﬂict be a byword for the entire story.25
Georgi, Dieter, Remembering The Poor: The History of Paul’s Collection for Jerusalem, (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1992), This book is a translation of Geschichte def Kollet des Pauls f¨ r Jerusalem. ISBN 0-687-36117-6. u
Johnson, Luke, p. 79. Ibid. 21 Ibid., p. 81. 22 Ibid. 23 Ibid. 24 Stoffregen, ‘Luke 4.14-21’. 25 Johnson, Luke, p. 81.
Jenson, Robert W., Unbaptized God: The Basic Flaw in Ecumenical Theology, (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Fortress, 1992), ISBN 0-8006-2607-9. Jenson, Robert W., Systematic Theology: The Triune God, Volume 1, (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1997), ISBN 0-19-514598-4. Jenson, Robert W., Systematic Theology: The Works of God, Volume 2, (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1999), ISBN 0-19-514599-2. Johnson, Luke Timothy; Harrington, S.J., Daniel J., editor, The Gospel of Luke, Volume 3, Sacra Pagina, (The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1991). Nickle, Keith F.; Moule, C. F. D. et al., editors, The Collection: A study in Paul’s Strategy, Volume 48, Studies in Biblical Theology, (Naperville, IL: Alec R. Allenson, Inc, 1966). Robinson, John A. T., The Body: A Study in Pauline Theology, (Chicago, IL: Henry Regnery Company, 1952). Stoffregen, Brian P., Luke 4.14-21 3rd Sunday after the Epiphany - Year C, http://www.crossmarks.com/brian/luke4x14.htm, Last checked on January 22, 2010.
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