|by Hans Memling, Christ the King|
Lose holds The Marbury E. Anderson Chair in Biblical Preaching at Luther Seminary, where he also serves as the Director of the Center for Biblical Preaching. He is the author of Making Sense of the Christian Faith (2010), Making Sense of Scripture (2009), and Confessing Jesus Christ: Preaching in a Postmodern World (2003). He speaks widely in the United States and abroad on preaching, Christian faith in a postmodern world, and biblical interpretation.
35He said to them, “When I sent you out without a purse, bag, or sandals, did you lack anything?” They said, “No, not a thing.” 36He said to them, “But now, the one who has a purse must take it, and likewise a bag. And the one who has no sword must sell his cloak and buy one. 37For I tell you, this scripture must be fulfilled in me, ‘And he was counted among the lawless’; and indeed what is written about me is being fulfilled.” 38They said, “Lord, look, here are two swords.” He replied, “It is enough.”
39He came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples followed him. 40When he reached the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not come into the time of trial.” 41Then he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and prayed, 42“Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done.” 43Then an angel from heaven appeared to him and gave him strength.
A Little Bit for Everyone
Oremus online text: http://bible.oremus.org/?passage=Luke+22:14+-+23:56&vnum=yes&version=nrsv
Textweek general resources: http://www.textweek.com/yearc/christc.htm
Textweek resources for Luke’s Gospel this Sunday: http://www.textweek.com/mtlk/lk22_23.htm
Some interesting articles on this passage:
William Loader’s thoughts: http://wwwstaff.murdoch.edu.au/~loader/LkChristKg.htm
Working preacher: http://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?lect_date=11/21/2010
Great treasures website: http://greattreasures.org/gnt/main.do
Let this King’s cross become the shape of our lives; let this Lord’s compassion form our hearts; let this Shepherd’s embrace welcome us to Paradise. From Prayers for Sunday and Seasons, Year C, Peter J. Scagnelli, LTP, 1992.
And so we come to the end of the season of ordinary time which follows Pentecost Sunday. We come to the end of readings, which have focused our attention on the Gospel of Luke exclusively.
Throughout these readings several powerful themes have been presented for us to consider.
The major theme has been that Jesus had a missionary vision of the reign of God wherein all are gathered. His march to Jerusalem has been an act of prophetic witness, healing and beckoning of those who see and hear to follow. The time is now and the reign of God is breaking into this world.
We have also seen a theme that illustrates not only that Jesus stood in the line of great prophets, but that we as followers, apostles and disciples, now too inherit the gift of prophetic voice for the world around us.
We have also heard a clarion call to affirm the good that is in the world. Luke’s Gospel is incarnational and there is an understanding that we can change the culture in which we live, raising up the best as well as freeing us from the evil which binds us. We are to pay special attention to the good which is displayed in those who are outsiders: women, the lame, those who represent the outlying religious groups, the poor and those in need.
The lost play a special role in the theme of the Gospel and the work of the kingdom and its partners in ministry, their lives and discipleship living in Luke is not given for the destruction of the wicked – but for the saving of the lost. Luke amplifies more than any other gospel the sense that this is Good News. Jesus is philosopher and king, he is savior too, bringing salvation, through signs and saving acts. This theme of salvation, the saving of the lost, is the theme of parables after the teachings on discipleship and daily living. Why do we do these things? The answer is to find the lost.
Lastly, Luke’s Gospel has given us the theme of conversion.
The Word of God is powerful in Luke’s Gospel. It is alive in the people and in their prophetic actions, and in the prophetic actions of Jesus.
Conversion and the disciples’ response are the last two major themes. “God’s restored people answer the challenge of his visitation with fruits worthy of repentance (Luke 3:8, Acts 26:20. People who hear the word are converted, by their turning around, their metanoia, literally their facing a different direction (away from worldly values to kingdom values). The followers of Jesus respond with faith, which for Luke is defined by hearing the word and patient endurance. It is not a momentary decision but a journey, it is a response daily. This is nurtured by faith in Luke’s Gospel. And, this work changes the way we live our lives. Following Jesus means that we change our social behavior to imitate God.
Luke Timothy Johnson writes: “The opening of home and heart to the stranger is explicitly connected to the theme of accepting or rejecting the prophet. Luke provides concrete examples of the proper response of hospitality in Luke 10:38 and Acts 16. In the same way, as the Messiah showed leadership as a kind of table-service, so is leadership in the messianic community to be one of service spelled out in the simple gestures of practical aid.
As we look back, we also look forward. The Gospel of Luke is clear, it is provided so that we might believe and follow. Today’s Gospel lesson captures a vision of our future and our work should be to pick up our cross and follow Jesus.
We are to continue in the prophetic ministry which has been Jesus’ own. We are sent out to exercise the authority that has been given to us.
We are to do this in practical ways. We are not to dominate or be seen as lords. Rather, we are to be like Jesus: teaching, listening, healing and freeing. We are to imitate the work of our master--as good disciples.
We are to be imitators through and through of Jesus.
This challenge is difficult. You and I know it is, we know and experience Jesus’ work and call to us but struggle to do the work ourselves. It is for this reason that we also continue the reading beyond the supper into the prayer of Jesus. Rather than glossing over the ever so human struggle to undertake the will of God, and to allow Jesus to float in some spiritual manner through the suffering that is before him, Luke captures for us a very real human moment of Jesus. Wrestling with God, like Jacob with the Angel, Jesus is seen here struggling with the work that is before him.
It is in this moment that Luke clearly offers his last theme, the one that undergirds the whole text, prayer.
It is through prayer that Jesus is strengthened for the work that is before him. Likewise, in order for the disciple to pick up their own cross, to bear the prophetic witness to the world, to transform and change the lives of people and to help usher in the reign of God, the disciple must pray.
On this Christ the King Sunday we are forced to see, not the resplendent Jesus enthroned in heaven, but securely rooted upon the earth in order that we might, rooted in the ministry on earth, gain the resplendent gifts of the kingdom of our God.
The Lambeth Bible Study Method
This Bible study method was introduced by the African Delegation to the Lambeth Conference of the Anglican Church. It is known by both names: "Lambeth" and "African." This method is derived from the practice of Lectio Divina. The entire process should take about 30 minutes.
Question #5: "Briefly identify where this passage touches their life today," can change based upon the lesson. Find lesson oriented questions at this website: http://www.dcdiocese.org/word-working-second-question
Opening Prayer: O Blessed Lord, who caused all Holy Scripture to be written for our learning. Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them that we may embrace and hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
1. One person reads passage. This person then invites a member of the group to begin the process.
2. Each person briefly identifies the word or phrase that catches their attention then invites another person to share.
3. Each shares the word or phrase until all have shared or passed using the same invitation method.
4. The passage is read a second time, preferably from a different translation. The reader then invites a person in the group to begin the process.
5. Each person briefly identifies where this passage touches their life today, and then invites someone who has not shared yet.
6. The passage is read a third time, also from another translation, and the reader invites a person to start the process.
7. Each person responds to the questions, "What does God want me to do, to be or to change?"
8. The group stands up in a circle and holds hands. One person initiates the prayer “I thank God today for …” and “I ask God today for…” The prayer goes around the circle by squeezing the hand to your right.
9. When the circle is fulfilled, the person who initiated the prayer starts the Lord’s Prayer, “Our father…”