Friday, February 26, 2010

Second Sunday in Lent: Luke 13:31-35

Luke 13:31-35
31At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” 32He said to them, “Go and tell that fox for me, ‘Listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work. 33Yet today, tomorrow, and the next day I must be on my way, because it is impossible for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem.’ 34Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! 35See, your house is left to you. And I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.’”

Oremus online text: http://bible.oremus.org/?passage=Luke+13:31-35&vnum=yes&version=nrsv

Textweek general resources for this week: http://www.textweek.com/yearc/lentc2.htm

Textweek resources for Luke’s Gospel this week: http://www.textweek.com/mtlk/lk9a.htm

Chris Haslam’s commentary: http://montreal.anglican.org/comments/archive/cepfll.shtml
A Prayer:
O God of salvation, the people in whom you delight hasten with joy to the wedding feast. Forsaken no more, we bear a new name; desolate no longer, we taste your new wine. Make us your faithful stewards ready to do whatever Jesus tells us and eager to share with others the wine he provides. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
From Prayers for Sunday and Seasons, Year C, Peter J. Scagnelli, LTP, 1992.

A Few Thoughts:
The passage today contains within unique verses and that are found only here in the Gospel of Luke. The pericope or whole passage begins actually in verse 22 and while I don’t think that one should necessarily elongate the Gospel reading in the service, I do think that for the purposes of bible study and for sermon preparation it is important to read the whole section as one unit.

The passage begins with Jesus traveling. He is making his way to Jerusalem. These passages are wonderful bits of narration by our author and show a skilled writer imparting and telling a story. More than simply literary style the passage reminds us tat our great prophet Jesus is making an exodus journey, prophetically teaching along the way, leading God’s people to ultimate deliverance from the bondage of sin. This is part of the mosaic theme I touched on in the pre-reading and background materials.

“How many will be saved?” a companion asks. Interesting is Jesus’ response. He does not give a number but rather turns the question offering discipline instead of answers. Jesus says to them that as followers we are to “act in such a way as to be one who is saved.” (LTJ, Luke, 216)

Notice if you put your finger in your bible and turn to Matthew 7:13, Matthew compares and contrasts a wide and a narrow door. (LTJ, Luke, 216) Luke’s emphasis is on the difficulty of being a disciple; he is focused on the hard work of following Jesus and a life lived in discipleship.

There is no assumption that the door once knocked upon will be opened. No for Jesus, in this moment, we see him saying it is going to be difficult for those who do not follow. There will be many who come and follow. Recalling the Holy Spirit’s work in Acts, we see Jesus here offering us a sense that God’s reign is breaking out into the world and people from all over will come to be a part and because of their work within the reign of God they will be granted entrance.

Luke has a strong sense of grace, but it is tempered always with service and discipleship.
It is as if to say that if you are wealthy and health you must believe, but you may not rest upon the grace of the door simply being opened for you. Once you know the truth, you may not live your life as if you did not hoping in the last hour for grace at the doorstep of the master’s house. In fact your entrance into the reign of God will be because you believed and because you worked with Jesus on behalf of the poor and those in need.

As I write this I am wondering, is it possible that once one believes the second step is to serve others; because as Jesus welcomes the poor through the door you may by the grace of those who remember your service walk with them into the reign of God?

Certainly this is present in the thoughts of St. Chrysostom as he writes the following words:

"If you ever wish to associate with someone make sure that you do not give your attention to those who enjoy health and wealth and fame as the world sees it, but take care of those in affliction, in critical circumstances, who are utterly deserted and enjoy no consolation. Put a high value on associating with these, for from them you shall receive much profit, and you will do all for the glory of God. God himself has said: I am the father of orphans and the protector of widows."

This short quote does the work of N. T. Wright (a contemporary theologian and Bishop of Durham) some injustice but I think it is important to mention here. For a longer argument on this matter of balancing faith and works I encourage you to read Wright’s book entitled: Justification: God’s Plan and Paul’s Vision, 2009. In this text Wright argues that the work of discipleship is essential within the framework of faith. He writes the following as if to echo Jesus’ own essential teaching about the reign of God and the work of discipleship:

"The linguistic point about Romans 5-8 (the absence of pistis [faith]) thus points to an underlying theological point of enormous significance for our whole topic. Loose talk about “salvation by faith” (a phrase Paul never uses; the closest he gets, as we have seen is Ephesians 2:8, “by grace you have been saved through faith”) can seriously mislead people into supposing that you can construct an entire Pauline soteriology out of the sole elements of “faith” and “works” of any sort always being ruled out as damaging or compromising the purity of faith." (p. 239)

All that is to say that one must work hard to get into heaven, and that the primary focus is not simply about following Jesus, but that discipleship means acting like Jesus and helping God to restore the world. It is within this context that we come to the passage for today.

Some Pharisees come up to Jesus. They are consistently throughout Luke recognized and described as opponents of the prophets. So, here they come, and one must wonder if they have Jesus’ best interest at heart. One might even go so far as to think that perhaps what they are saying is to stop this preaching, stop this teaching, get out of here and there won’t be trouble. Jesus is heading to Jerusalem and I do not have the sense they want him to continue on his journey. This is certainly the way most scholars read this warning, not as a warning at all but rather a threat veiled in kindness.

They tell Jesus that Herod wants to kill him. This is very different than the message being told to the reader by the narrator in 9.9 and 23.8. Herod simply wants to see him and it isn’t even Herod in the end that puts him to death. Herod sends him back to Pilate. Again, this seems to amplify the Pharisees desire to have Jesus stop teaching about discipleship and the reign of God.

Jesus says to the messengers go back and tell that crafty person, that sly king, that fox that I continue on to my goal which is resurrection (the image here of the third day). Chris Haslam points out that we may not wish to take this literally. He writes, “Jesus did not mean “third” literally; rather, he means a short and limited time. The NRSV translates the Greek literally, but BlkLk translates it as day by day, and one day soon. He says that there is an Aramaic idiom behind the Greek which does not refer to two actual days but to an indefinite short period followed by a still indefinite, but certain, event. This idiom is also at work in Hosea 6:2: “After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him”.
Sometimes we can miss the point if we get stuck here. I believe the subject of Jesus’ words is the determination to go on to Jerusalem and that there he intends to die. So it is that Jesus continues on to Jerusalem and the pharisees depart.

It is then that Jesus teaches about the prophets and how they have suffered under the stoning nature of God’s rulers and people. Jesus’ message is clear; God wants to gather his person like a hen gathers her brood. God wishes to offer care and protection.

Jesus says your “house” is not being left. Some scholars believe this has to do with the sacking and destruction of the Temple. It is more likely that Jesus is referring to God’s people being left, as it were, like sheep without a shepherd, chicks without a mother hen. (LTJ, Luke, 219) Haslam also points out the following, “Verse 35: “your house”: The Old Testament background seems to be Jeremiah 22:1-9 where house means the king’s household of leaders. [NJBC] I like both ideas very much. And we might be wise to remember Jesus in his own family’s synagogue and how he was received.

There are in these thoughts the continuing theme of each Gospel proclamation that Jesus and God are calling people out of their comfortable religion into a discipleship of faith along the way and always proclaiming the reign of God and its bounty.

We conclude this passage with “Blessed is the one who is coming in the name of the Lord.” This looks forward to Jesus’ own triumphal entry into Jerusalem. It also is a prophecy regarding Jesus’ return. The parallels are found in Matthew 21:9, Psalm 117:26. It is important I think to note that the psalm is referring to “the stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.” Christians have always understood this to mean Jesus.

So we end with the understanding, I think, that one of the chief reasons that Jesus is crucified is because of his teachings about the reign of God and discipleship. Jesus also understands clearly that his death in Jerusalem is only part of reaching the third day and resurrection which is a primary goal of his ministry. I believe truly that Jesus understood his death as essential to the working out of salvation history and that he was following a long line of prophetic witnesses. He could not be stopped in his work and his drive to enter Jerusalem, which meant for him certain death on the one hand, but also the salvific event needed to gather God’s people under his wing. Indeed, blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!

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…”

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

First Sunday of Lent, Year C: Jesus in the Desert

Luke 4:1-13

4Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, 2where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished. 3The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.” 4Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone.’” 5Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6And the devil said to him, “To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. 7If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” 8Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’” 9Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, 10for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you, to protect you,’ 11and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’” 12Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 13When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time.

Get the passage electronically at Oremus here: http://bible.oremus.org/?passage=Luke+4:1-13&vnum=yes&version=nrsv

Connect to Textweek resources for this week: http://www.textweek.com/yearc/lentc1.htm

Connect to Textweek resources for Luke’s Gospel this week: http://www.textweek.com/mtlk/lk4a.htm

Link here for Chris Haslam’s resources for this week: http://montreal.anglican.org/comments/archive/clnt1l.shtml

A Prayer: through all their desert wanderings, O Lord our God, you led our ancestors from toil and oppression to a land of milk and honey. Through forty days in the wilderness, the Spirit led your Son from the devil’s testing to victory as your servant. Lead us through these forty days of Lent and make that victory of Christ’s our own, till at the font of living water the elect find new birth, the penitent find pardon, and all rejoice to serve you alone. We ask this in the name of Jesus, the Savior and deliverer whom you raised from the dead, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.

From Prayers for Sunday and Seasons, Year C, Peter J. Scagnelli, LTP, 1992.

A Few Thoughts

The parallels for this passage are found in Matthew 4:1-11 and Mark 1:12-13.

On the first Sunday of Lent we return prior to the Epiphany readings, going back in time to just following the Baptism when Jesus is led by the Holy Spirit into the desert. This pattern of reading the Gospel works well for our liturgical year, and helps to bring the modern Christian journey through lent into perspective alongside the journey of Jesus in the desert.

We want to be mindful that it is the Holy Spirit who is the one who is leading Jesus from the moment of baptism throughout his ministry. Jesus is God’s son specifically and this “’sonship’ is mediated by the Holy Spirit.” (LTJ, Luke, 72)

Jesus is led then as God’s son into the desert, full of the Holy Spirit. He is led there specifically to be tested.

Chris Haslam reminds us of these other parallel uses of the words “full of the Holy Spirit:” A Christian phrase: see also Acts 2:4 (the Day of Pentecost); 6:3, 5 (the election of the first deacons); 7:55 (Stephen); 11:24 (Barnabas). Jesus is the model for Christians under duress.

In the desert we find that it is Job’s tester who comes to Jesus, a little different personality than in the other two Gospels. This devil will offer much in a land without much. The idea is that here the devil is offering a different world to Jesus, a different reign. This reign is one filled with demons and minions. (Haslam tells us that the “wilderness” is the Judean wilderness and it was considered to be the place of demons: see also 8:29 and 11:24.) This is a reign which is not only contrary to but working against the reign of God. The testing begins long after Jesus becomes hungry. He is dwelling within this counter kingdom where scarcity rules.

He dwells there for forty days which is a holy number. Here are some passages Haslam reminds us about in his exegesis: In Exodus 34:38, Moses was on Mount Sinai for forty days; In 1 Kings 19:8, Elijah spent forty days on the journey to Mount Horeb. According to the northern tradition (in Deuteronomy 9) , Moses received the Law there, rather than on Mount Sinai, the location in the southern tradition. In Deuteronomy 9:9, Moses says “I remained on the mountain forty days and forty nights; I neither ate bread nor drank water”. “Forty days” appears many times in the Old Testament meaning a significant period of time. Recall also that Jonah predicted that Nineveh would be destroyed after “forty days” if the citizens did not repent.

This is an interesting tie-in for the discipleship journey. We, as disciples, live in a world tempted daily by the demons and minions of this counter-kingdom. When we live in the world we are hungry and find little sustenance. When we leave the life lived within the reign of God we will be tempted and it will be like a desert with living water ever more scarce and our own thirst and hunger increasing.

Jesus is first tempted to turn stones to bread. I am reminded first of all of John the Baptist’s words that God can raise up sons and daughters of Abraham from these stones, stones may be living, stones may gush forth with water. But Jesus is tempted here with the opportunity to use his “sonship” powers to try and sustain life in the “counter-kingdom.” (LTJ, Luke, 74)

Jesus responds by reminding the devil and us who are traveling along this desert journey with him that we do not live on bread alone. (Deuteronomy 8:3.) The message Jesus offers in not unique and yet it is always timely. We enter into this time of year to help us intentionally remember that we depend upon the bounty and grace of God for all that we have. This was the lesson taught to Abraham, to Joseph, to Moses, to all the prophets, kings, and holy people of God. As humans it is so very easy to believe that if we just have this or if we simply could have that our lives would be so much better off than they are today. We so easily forget in our hunger brought about in a world of scarcity that God’s love and providence is already there to be consumed.

The devil then shows Jesus all of the kingdoms throughout the empire and says that he can have them if he will but prostrate himself. In Luke’s Gospel this is more than bowing before the devil, acknowledging his power and reign over the counter-kingdom. It is worship he desires.

As I reflect on this passage it reminds me of all the false hopes of prosperity that are offered on late night infomercials. The promise looks good and it is inviting. The promise of the counter-kingdom is subtle and you and I buy into it pretty easily. “If I just had this or that,” we might say to ourselves. Just recently I read an article talking about the unfulfilled hope promised by technology. Jesus’ response is to reorient the conversation towards God. Jesus reminds the devil of the words of the Sh’ma: there is only one God of Israel and him we shall worship.

The first two temptations not having worked, the devil takes Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem. The devil offers a few quotes and invites Jesus to test his father. Surely the angels would save Jesus from stubbing his toe. Jesus of course “exhausts” the devil with his focus on the reign of God and his unbending mission to bring it to fruition. At the end of the day it is the tester of Job and Jesus who looses faith and withdraws.

Luke includes this phrase, “withdrew from him for a time.” The tempter will play an important role towards the end of Jesus’ mission. While the ruler of the counter-kingdom is quiet for most of the Lukan gospel, his minions are not. Luke Timothy Johnson tells us we should not pretend that the clash of the reign of God and the counter-kingdom of the world is over by any stretch of the imagination.

As we come to the end of this passage and I reflect on possible messages for the first Sunday in Lent, there are the obvious themes of desert and testing. There also emerges a theme on the faithfulness of Jesus to bring in the reign of God. Perhaps in our beginning of Lent we might not simply see our journey with Jesus in a desert or wilderness as a time to grow close to God, but rather a time to test our faith in God by stepping boldly forward into ministry and mission. Can we be driven into Lent by the Holy Spirit for the sake of the reign of God and see what it is that we discover along our own journey to Jerusalem? Can we fast, and pray, and be reconciled to the lordship of Christ in our lives?
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…”

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Sunday of the Transfiguration, The Last Sunday after the Epiphany/Ordinary Time

Luke 9:28-43

28Now about eight days after these sayings Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. 29And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. 30Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him. 31They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. 32Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. 33Just as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah” —not knowing what he said. 34While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud. 35Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” 36When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen.

37On the next day, when they had come down from the mountain, a great crowd met him. 38Just then a man from the crowd shouted, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son; he is my only child. 39Suddenly a spirit seizes him, and all at once he shrieks. It convulses him until he foams at the mouth; it mauls him and will scarcely leave him. 40I begged your disciples to cast it out, but they could not.” 41Jesus answered, “You faithless and perverse generation, how much longer must I be with you and bear with you? Bring your son here.” 42While he was coming, the demon dashed him to the ground in convulsions. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, healed the boy, and gave him back to his father.

43And all were astounded at the greatness of God. While everyone was amazed at all that he was doing, he said to his disciples,



Find resources for all the lessons this week here: http://www.textweek.com/yearc/transfigc.htm

Find resources for the Luke passage here: http://www.textweek.com/mtlk/lk9a.htm

Find the electronic version of this passage here: http://bible.oremus.org/?passage=Luke+9:28-43&vnum=yes&version=nrsv

Find Chris Haslam’s exegesis for all the lessons here: http://montreal.anglican.org/comments/archive/cepfll.shtml


Prayer

O god, whose Son, your Beloved, was transfigured in dazzling light, with reverent awe we enter your holy presence. Your presence cannot be contained in tents our hands have made but must be sought in your creatures and all that your hands have fashioned. Lead us from the high mountain to seek you in the lowly of the earth, serving them, after Christ’s example, in peace and sacrificial love. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever.
From Prayers for Sunday and Seasons, Year C, Peter J. Scagnelli, LTP, 1992.

Some thoughts on Luke 9:28-36, (37-43a)

Epiphany begins with the visitation of the wise men, contains the prophesy of Simeon at the presentation, moves to the baptism of Jesus by John, then moved through several lessons in Luke’s Gospel which outline the mission of Jesus and what kind of Messiah he is to be for the people of Israel and for the Gentiles. We conclude Epiphany with the transfiguration. As Luke Timothy Johnson calls the passage “Recognizing Jesus,” we are then not surprised that this season of revelation and light ends on the mountain top.
One of the things I want to draw our attention to as we begin to survey this Gospel reading is that the lectionary has divided it in an odd place. I very much like the division of the passage as 9:18-36. Here we have a complicated disagreement between the New Testament scholar and the Liturgist. Overlooking that, we see plainly as we open up our Bibles that Luke intends to begin the account by transitioning from the miracle of loaves and fishes to a private time of prayer between teacher and disciples.

In the previous passage the miracle of multiplication and abundance concludes as we see the ochlos (mentioned above) transformed in the new nation of God’s people – the laos. The revelation of the reign of God’s breaking into the world is then immediately followed by a time of prayer. Jesus asks them in this time away from the others, who am I? From Peter we receive the revelation “Messiah of God,” or as almost all scholars recognize: “God’s Anointed.” While Jesus tells them to keep this quiet he also charges them to follow, deny themselves, and to die daily to self – living for Christ and for others along the journey of discipleship.

As before we see the revelation, and then a response of discipleship offered. So we come to verse 28 and the test. Just how are our disciples doing? We might remember Simon’s response last week of humble repentance. What happens this Sunday? Are we there yet?

We begin with these words, “as he was praying.” Many scholars focus in on the changes that Luke makes to the end time predictions of Mark and the imagery of Christ’s second coming and the number of days from the revelation of Jesus as Messiah (Mark’s 6 to Luke’s 8).

What strikes me and seems so very profound is that the transfiguration occurs in the midst of prayer. Specifically, while Jesus is praying the transfiguration takes place. We have not ventured too far from Jesus’ baptism so we can remember that the moment of recognition of Jesus as God’s beloved came during prayer as well. Again here we see the reality that the Holy Spirit comes in prayer; it comes when we present ourselves to God. It comes in words and it comes in silence.

Jesus is praying. As he prays his appearance is altered and his clothes become dazzlingly white. Two men were seen speaking to him: Moses and Elijah. They too are witnessed to be in glory. And they were talking about the death and resurrection and events about to take place in Jerusalem. This account is one filled with images and words that would have resonated with the first Christians. They are images to be repeated by the Godly work of resurrection and in Luke’s account of the events that followed.

I believe the importance of this moment is highlighted by the very particular words used by Luke to describe the transfiguration. The word for departure is a direct translation of exodus. Jesus is God’s glory; he is the Messiah to lead the new nation out of bondage. Jesus is like Moses and Elijah, he is a great prophet. But he is also God’s Glory, the revelation of the Godhead. Jesus is also the one through whom all nations shall become inheritors of Abraham’s covenant.

The disciples are asleep and miss most of the action. Perhaps in their confusion, perhaps in that same way they did not want to go into the deep water, here they offer to build tents. This of course is a tie to the feast of Booths. However, we are told that Peter doesn’t really know what he is saying. We have the answer to the question in Stephen’s witness (Acts 7:48-50), “The Most High does not dwell in houses made with hands.” So, quite frankly, this is a silly idea.

Furthermore, Peter is wrong. By offering three tents he misses the point. He has placed Jesus merely on a parallel prophetic course as Moses and Elijah. Clearly more is desired by God. (Luke, Luke Timothy Johnson, 156).

So often our excuses and our ideas about why the reign of God must follow our desires are just silly. They are foolish. I imagine like Peter, it is hard to see. I know for me it is difficult to see just how foolish they really are until I have some distance and can look back and see exactly what Jesus was doing.

God then proclaims that this is indeed his Glory, the one who has been selected, the one who is his beloved, and God instructs those who witness this event to do as Jesus asks.

Imagine in this moment the fear of witnessing such an event. Certainly the disciples are afraid as they are engulfed in this cloud and bear witness to a truly divine interaction. Their response is silence, silent contemplation.

Luke gives us a very clear sense of the essential ingredient in ministry and how so very much hinges upon prayer: prayer before the action of following Jesus; prayer before the coming of the Holy Spirit; prayer in which God will speak; prayer that is revelatory; prayer that knocks you to your knees; prayer that gives you ministry; prayer is where you will hear the voice of God speaking and calling to you.

This makes me wonder. When people come to our churches do they experience the transfiguration? We have certainly built booths. And, we work hard to keep God imprisoned there. We try not to live into Jesus’ teaching much more than those of Moses or Elijah’s. We aren’t that different from Peter. What would it be like if when people left our worship services they felt as though they had been apart of witnessing the transfiguration? What would it be like, Sunday after Sunday, if they left worship forever changed? They left in quiet contemplation waiting to hear where Jesus was calling them to serve. They left the mountain top to experience Jesus in the world?

I am not advocating a worship that is either charismatic, renewal oriented, modern, post-modern, or traditional. To believe there is only one style of worship that is missional or where God can be experienced is to participate in booth building. But when we celebrate do we believe what we are saying? Are we in the moment praying or simply saying the words? How do we prepare ourselves to lead this kind of worship? How do we prepare our laity to be leaders in this same way? How do we get out of the way and truly become vessels of the Most High God so that those who seek him find him, and don’t discover a tired worn out congregation?

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…”

Friday, February 5, 2010

Going into Deep Water: The 5th Sunday after the Epiphany, Ordinary Time

Luke 5:1-11

5Once while Jesus was standing beside the lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, 2he saw two boats there at the shore of the lake; the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. 3He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. 4When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” 5Simon answered, “Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.” 6When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break. 7So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they began to sink. 8But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” 9For he and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken; 10and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.” 11When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.

Find resources for all the lessons this week here: http://www.textweek.com/yearc/epiphc5.htm

Find resources for this passage here: http://www.textweek.com/mtlk/lk5.htm

Find the electronic version of the passage here: http://bible.oremus.org/?passage=Luke+5:1-11&vnum=yes&version=nrsv

Find Chris Haslam’s exegesis work on the passages for this Sunday here: http://montreal.anglican.org/comments/archive/cpr05l.shtml

Prayer

Lord God, all-holy One, you came among us in Jesus, who sat teaching among the fishermen. He would not depart from us sinners but invited us to follow him and become his disciples, his friends. Place on our lips the good news of salvation and in our hearts a welcome from which no one is excluded, a love that delights in befriending all. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever.

From Prayers for Sunday and Seasons, Year C, Peter J. Scagnelli, LTP, 1992.

Some thoughts on Luke 5:1-11

This week we move through the Gospel of Luke, skipping the passage at the end of chapter 4 where Jesus heals a man with an unclean spirit and Simon’s mother-in-law. These passages are important to the Lukan narrative because they highlight earlier parts of chapter 4’s focus on the type of Messiah Jesus is to be. At the end of the chapter we see Jesus in action as the one Isaiah prophesied.

So we begin in verse 1 of chapter 5 with the crowd pressing in on Jesus to hear the word of God. Interesting here Luke uses the word ochlos as the type of crowd. The ochlos was a group of people, merchants, cooks, and beggars who followed the military of the time. Here Luke uses the name to describe the motley and mixed group of people pressing Jesus for his teaching. Later in Luke, when the crowd responds positively to Jesus’ message Luke uses the word laos meaning people. While we cannot know Luke’s meaning in the use of the two different terms it is interesting to make a parallel between the people who respond positively to Jesus and the concept of the new people of God living within the new and ever expanding reign of God.

The word of God would have been a phrase heard by the earliest Christians to mean the particular message of redemption, grace, and mission of Jesus Christ.

Jesus comes upon the men, having finished their night’s work of fishing, and he sits down and begins teaching. I love this image of our ministry. We often feel and act as though we are people on the go, yet the image of evangelism here is one of sitting with the people. It would have been the customary form of teaching in Jesus’ time, but perhaps it offers us a glimpse too of an alternative to our lifestyle. It also is a posture for listening and for conversation. Our pedagogical models are of ministers standing and preaching – perhaps based upon a university model, what would it be like to engage in teaching conversations, taking time to sit and engage people wherever they are? In the church, coffee shop, in their work places, over lunch?

So Jesus is teaching from the boat, and when he is done he tells Simon to literally, “push off.” At first I imagine they hover close to shore, then Jesus tells them to go out even further – to the deep water. Here is the moment of discipleship. How often does Jesus ask us to push off into the deep, and we turn and are content to stay in the shallows?

The model for discipleship in Luke is not without the struggle of a follower to question why. Simon certainly does this by telling Jesus, reverently, there are no fish to be had. We have labored all night. How often do we hear this. Good good people of faith will look another straight in the eye and say we can’t we tried that. They will say we can’t there is no one there. Oh we want to believe this. We are so very much like Simon, at least our wounded hearts are. We want to believe that Jesus’ call to go deep will not be transformation. We want to believe going deeper will produce very little. We very much, in our heart of hearts want faith to be so much easier.

“Push off,” says Jesus. And, cast that net out. Of course they pull in a net bursting at the seams. The net in Luke’s Gospel is breaking! The master was right, the teacher was wise.

So great is the catch that Simon calls for help to his partners in the co-op. come and help he calls. Not just one boat is filled but two boats are filled. This is a fact I often forget. As a church we are so often scared that mission is the work of scarcity. There can’t possibly be enough Jesus to go around. Our second excuse is shown to be wrong as there are enough fish to fill both, if not all the boats. These boats were at the point of sinking! Can we dream of a church filled with people to the point of sinking?

Simon falls to his knees before the Messiah. In this miraculous moment we see the image of the great gathering, the cloud of witnesses as Peter recognizes perhaps the message of the word of God which has come to all nations. Perhaps in this very moment Simon recognizes the meaning of Isaiah’s and Simeon’s prophesies to us – all nations will be gathered below the wings of the reign of God through Jesus’ ministry.

In this moment Peter does what we might all do and that is fall to our knees in penitential reverence before the Lord and say, “my lord and my God.” Father Benson, the founding father of the Society of St. John the Evangelist in Boston, once wrote that humility is not a practiced discipline. In fact if practiced it often times has the opposite result. Here we see the natural submission and response to the overwhelming recognition of the Lord and the power of his grace.

The first readers of Luke’s Gospel immediately would have picked upon the fact that Peter uses the term for the resurrected Lord. It would not be lost on them that this Lord in the boat in the Lake of Gennesaret proclaiming the reign of God for all nations and offering a symbol of profound change for the people Israel is the one and same resurrected Christ. Simon’s actions would have been natural and fitting.

Jesus’ response is to give Simon and James and John ministry. When the revelation of Christ is known, and the response of humble praise and repentance is undertaken, God gives us ministry. Here we see the age old pattern that runs throughout holy scripture captured in this moment. Jesus says fear not you will go with me and be a net for people.

One should note that Luke does not use the “fishers of men” imagery that parallels Mark and Matthew; it also parallels the Old Testament prophetic voice of change for the people of Israel. This is not Luke’s intent here. Here Jesus calls for them to, as Luke Timothy Johnson puts it, snare and catch living people. (Luke, 88).

Here we get what will be the hallmark of Luke’s Gospel: they dropped everything and followed. For Luke the image of discipleship to this Messiah is clear: acknowledgement and realization of Christ’s Lordship, a response of humility and repentance – a desire to truly change life by turning away from it to Jesus, the giving of ministry by the Holy Spirit and the immediacy of following.

Will we be so brave to hear the radical words of Jesus to follow him into the deep water? Or, will we stay inside the safety of the shore? Will be we willing when asked to go deep and reach out to people, will we do so? Will we be willing to go to those to whom Jesus sends us? Will we be willing to respond to Christ’s Lordship? Are we able to truly repent and name the things that possess us? Will we be willing to turn from them and follow Jesus? To hesitate, to dawdle, is to miss our mission opportunity.

Quite literally the crowd pressed Jesus until he bumped into Simon, and in that moment the world was changed.

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…”

Mapping Contents and Themes of Luke's Gospel

Introduction
What follows is a brief introduction to the contents and themes of the Gosopel of Luke. You can download a PDF of this teaching here.

One volume or two?
Like many scholars it is my belief that the Gospel of Luke is the first volume of a two volume work. Luke's Gospel and Acts take up more than 1/3 of the New Testament, so this particular Gospel plays a large part of our understanding of who Jesus is and how the earliest gentile followers understood his mission.

The prologue to Acts is a summary of Luke’s Gospel, and a great place to begin if you are interested in the cliff notes.

Luke Timothy Johnson writes, “The volumes are joined by an intricate skein of stylistic, structural and thematic elements which demonstrate convincingly that the same literary imagination was at work in both.” (LTJ, Luke, I)

Who wrote this Gospel?
Luke, follower of Jesus and partner with Paul, is the person identified in the work of patristic writers, (earliest Christian theologians) and in the letters of Philemon (24), Colossians (4.14) and 2 Timothy (4.11).

Early collections of Christian writings, like the Muratorian Canon, also mention that Luke traveled with Paul. For instance:

“The third gospel according to Luke. After the ascention of Christ, Luke, whom Paul had taken with him as an expert in the way (teaching), wrote under his own name and according to his own understanding. He had not, of course, seen the Lord in the flesh, and therefore he begins to tell the story from the birth of John on, insofar as it was accessible to him” (Muratorian Canon lines 3-9)

The “we” passages in Acts, are written from a first person perspective. This leads many to believe they are written from the vantage point of an eye witness, leading credence to the idea that the author traveled with Paul. These passages are: Acts 16:10-17, 20:5-15, 21:1-18, 27:1-28:16. (LTJ, Luke, 2)

Some say that would make the author too old. There is nothing to preclude a person from having traveled with Paul at age 20 in the year 50, to writing the Gospel in the year 80. Most mainstream scholars place the date of the Gospel of Luke around 70-80.

Some scholars question why Luke doesn’t include the letters of Paul or mention their existence in Acts. Still others aren’t so sure that there are not remnants of the Gospel of Luke in the Pauline letters.

Where do we get the tradition that Luke was a doctor? Eusebius thought he was a doctor from Antioch. And, Col 4, 14, Phlm 24, II Tim 4:11 testify that he was the beloved physician.

To Whom is Luke writing?
Both Luke and Acts are written for the same reader, Theophilus. Scholars believe that Theophilus might have been a new Gentile Christian or the benefactor of the two literary masterpieces. In my mind what is clear is Luke's intent on instructing those who follow Jesus. I have always believed that this reason is why Luke makes a wonderful first Gospel to read as it can help anyone come into contact with Jesus and provide direction and instruction on living a life that follows Jesus.

Luke is well educated, as his arguments and structure within the text demonstrate. He is most certainly a Greek – speaking author, and writing for a Greek – speaking reader. Leading us to believe his community was most likely very similar.

His first readers were Christians. As it says in 1.4, Luke is writing to confirm teachings already held by his readers.

Most of all Luke was a story teller. His intent is story telling, to tell the story of Jesus. He weaves a wonderful tapestry of conversations, events, and miracles along the way to Jerusalem. Luke is certainly an apologetic writer on behalf of the Gentiles. His view of the Empire is also without malice. This gives the tale quite a different reading than Mark’s Gospel for instance for instance.

Some recent scholarship invites speculation that perhaps Luke was writing not only an apology for Christians in general but an apology for Paul’s ministry specifically.


Prophetic Theme
Luke has a prophetic message for the Christian church today. Luke’s Gospel shows a Jesus lifting up the eyes of the people (mostly Gentiles) to see the coming kingdom and to prepare and work for its coming. In the midst of our own worries and church struggles we too need to have our eyes lifted up to the work of God in the restoration of creation.

The prologue leads into the first major section of the Gospel 1:5-4:13. This section moves through the historical antecedents: announcements of the birth of John to the baptism of Jesus, Jesus’ ancestry and his temptation. This section sets the stage that Jesus is himself the one prophesied, the Son of Man, to come and bring the Kingdom of God.

The second section of the Gospel is from 4:14-9:50, it is Jesus' ministry and mission to Galilee. These healings and this action move the reader from the first recognition of the disciples to the confession of Peter the second passion prediction. It also holds major teaching moments on topics such as the Sabbath, the sermon on the plain, and the parable of the sower. This is a very rich section.

The third section is from 9:51-13:30, and it is marked by Jesus beginning his journey to Jerusalem. We have the sharing of mission with the disciples in this section and sending out of the 70. This section holds a number of teachings on the nature of discipleship. Guidance on preparation for the judgment are given by Jesus to both disciples and people alike.

The fourth main section is 13:31-19:27, begins after the teaching to disciples and people and we see a marked and steady march to Jerusalem. This section has the most Lukan material. And, it is in this section that we see Luke’s particular vision of Jesus and how he lays the stage for the story of Acts. It is a major teaching section on discipleship with material dealing with: Jesus need to go to Jerusalem, sitting at table, parables of tower-builder and warrior, parables of lost sheep and lost coin, and the two sons, instructions on attitudes towards earthly goods, the parable of the unjust householder, how to deal with offense, reconciliation, faith, obligation and the blessing children. This section concludes with Zacchaeus almost as an exclamation point to the whole section on discipleship.

The fifth section is 19:28-24:53 where we arrive at Jerusalem and we see the actions unfold as prophesied. We have the last supper and arrest on the Mount of Olives, to the account of the crucifixion and the Easter message of the empty tomb. This last section sets the foundation for Acts. (1.1-1.14)

The Prophets
The Gospel of Luke is a book about the Holy Spirit. It is about the prophetic voice of Jerusalem foretelling through the power of the Holy Spirit the coming of the Messiah, the Son of Man. It is the story of how the Holy Spirit brings about the history of Jesus, who himself will be a great prophet of the Kingdom of God, and who will provide the Holy Spirit that those who follow him may work for the realization of the Kingdom of God in this world.

The apostles are seen as prophetic, these first followers of Jesus are men of the Holy Spirit, filled and empowered to be bold in their proclamation of the Good news and the Word of God. They are witnesses. They work signs and wonders themselves. They preach and perform these wonders among the people.

Jesus is a prophet like Moses. Luke makes major changes in the Joel quote from Peter in Acts (Acts 2:17-21). The changes he makes to Joel 2:28-32 in Peter’s speech. These changes are: after these things in Joel to in these last days. This appears to define the Pentecost moment as an eschatological event in and of itself. He adds the words, “and they shall prophesy” in verse 18, accentuating the prophetic character of the Spirit. And, he adds the words “sings on the earth below” in verse 19, tapping in to the signs and wonder imagery of Luke and in keeping with the idea that with Jesus’ birth a major event occurs that begins the revelation and realization of the kingdom of God in this world.

Luke hangs a great deal of this idea that Jesus himself was a great prophet upon the a passage from Deut 34:10-12. For Luke he believes that this particular passage reveals to the faithful that the the Holy Spirit is speaking specifically of Jesus. There has not arisen a prophet since, or in Israel, like Moses, whom the lord knew face to face, none like him for all the signs and wonders which the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt…and for all the mighty power and all the great and terrible deeds which Moses wrought in the sight of all the people.

The people of Luke's time were people in expectation. They believed that God was going to “raise up a great prophet.” Luke recognizes Jesus as the great prophet and his resurrection takes on even greater meaning in this light. We see Peter in Acts 2:22-24 referring to Jesus in just this way:

“Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs which God did through him in your midst….this Jesus you crucified…but God raised him up.” (LTJ, Luke, 18)

If we hold on to this idea that Jesus is like Moses in the eyes of Luke and we turn again to Acts 7:35-37 we see perhaps a view of the parallel of lives lived.

“This Moses, whom they refused, saying “who made you ruler and judge?” God sent as both ruler and deliverer by the hand of the angel that appeared to him in the bush. He led them out, having performed wonders and signs in Egypt and at the Red Sea an in the wilderness for forty years. This is the Moses who said to the Israelites, “God will raise up for you a prophet from your brethren as he raised me up.” (LTJ, Luke, 18ff)

We cannot know if Luke’s idea of who Jesus was informed his idea of Moses, or the other way around. What is clear is the powerful imagery being used in the telling of this Gospel story for the purpose and empowerment by the Holy Spirit of God’s church.

What is important is the reality that in the Gospel of Luke we have a pattern of authority rooted in the Holy Spirit that follows the succession pattern of Moses. Jesus is a prophet like Moses. Jesus was not simply raised up because he was chosen; Jesus for Luke is the Lord of the Resurrection. Moses received and gave the living words to the people, but Jesus receives the Holy Spirit from God and pours it out on his followers. (LTJ, Luke, 20).

Other Themes
The Prophetic theme is not the only theme in the Gospel. Luke has a positive understanding of the world and history, the lost, the word of God, and conversion.

Affirmation of the World
To affirm the world and culture is not to mean that everything goes. The prophetic imagery leads to very clear religious expectation on social values. We see this especially in the section on discipleship and teaching about how to live life as a prophet of Jesus. (Third and fourth section described above.) Luke pays attention to women, outsiders of all kinds, the poor, and those in need.

The Lost
The prophetic 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? To find the lost, comes the answer.

Word of God leads to 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 o table-service, so is leadership in the messianic community to be on of service spelled out in the simple gestures of practical aid.

The Road Map to the Gospel of Luke

When preparing to read through a Gospel it is good to see the landscape of the text. Here is a great road map to see the journey of Jesus and his followers through the Gospel of Luke.

The sections are according to Luke Timothy Johnson (Luke, Sacra Pagina, 1991.)
Descriptions by Werner George K├╝mmel (Introduction to New Testament, trans. Kee, 1973.)

The prologue
1:5-4:13
Chs. 1-2: names and places of origin of Jesus; genealogy of Jesus (1:1¬17); birth and naming of Jesus (1:18-25); homage of the Magi in Bethlehem (2: 1-12); flight to Egypt (2: 13-15); slaughter of the children in Bethlehem (2: 16-18 ); return from Egypt and residence in Nazareth (2: 19-23). 3: 1-4: 16: preparation for the activity of Jesus: John the Baptist (3 :1-12); baptism of Jesus (3:13-17); temptation of Jesus and residence in Capernaurn (4:1¬3) .

The second section
4:14-9:50
4:17-16:20. After the account of the call of Jesus' first disciples (4: 18-22) and his first teaching and healing activity (4:23-25), portrayal of his action through word (5-7: sermon on the mount) and act (8-9): ten miracles, interrupted by conversations (8: 18¬22; 9:9-17): healing of the leper (8:1-4); healing of the servant of the official from Capernaum (8: 5-13), of Peter's mother-in-law and of many sick (8: 14-17); dismissal of unsuitable followers; stilling the storm (8 :23-27); healing the Gadarene demoniac (8:28-34), of a lame man (9:9-13); question of fasting (9:14-17); healing of Jairus' daughter and of the hemorrhaging woman (9:18-26), of two blind men (9:27-31), and of a mute demoniac (9:32-34).


The third section
9:51-13:30
Conversations follow in Chs. 11 and 12, framed by the discourses of Chs. 10 and 13 and introduced by a new description of the teaching and healing work of Jesus (9:35-38). Sending out of the twelve and address to the disciples: instructions for the mission; words concerning the fate of the disciples; warning about fearless confession and suffering (10: 1-11:1); Jesus and the Baptist (11: 2-19); pronouncement of woe on the cities of Galilee (11:20-24); shout of joy and summons of the Savior (11:25-30); conflict conversations with the Pharisees (Sabbath conflict; defama¬tion of Jesus as being in league with Beelzebub, demand for signs) 12:1-45; the true relatives of Jesus 12:46-50; seven parables of the kingdom of God (Sower, with explanation; mustard seed, leaven; treasure; pearl; fishnet) 13 :1-30.

The fourth section
13:31-19:27
Jesus’ rejection in Nazareth is found in (13:31-58). Then follows a series of reports which show Jesus as itinerant, beginning and ending with the question who Jesus is (14: 1-16 :20) : Herod's opinion about Jesus (14: 1-2); arrest of the Baptist (14:3-12); feeding of the five thousand (14:13-21); Jesus' walking on the lake and Peter's sinking (14:22-23); healings in Gennesaret (14: 34-36); discourse on clean and unclean (15: 1¬20) ; Jesus and the Canaanite woman (1 5:21-28); healings of the sick (15:29-31); feeding of the four thousand (15:32-39); de¬mand for signs (16:1-4); warning about the leaven of the Phari¬sees (16: 5-12); Peter's confession at Caesarea Philippi (16: 13 -20) . 16:21-25:46. First prediction of the passion (16:21-23) ; sayings about the sufferings of the disciples and the coming of the Son of man (16:24-28); transfiguration and conversation about the return of Elijah (17:1-13); healing of the epileptic boy (17:14-21); second passion prediction (17:22-23); question about the temple tax (17:24-27); discourse on discipleship (sayings about behavior toward the "little ones," about offenses, about behavior within the community, parable of the roguish servant, 18:1-35); conversations about marriage and divorce (19: 1-12); blessing of children (19:13-15); the rich young man (19:16-26);

The fifth section
19:28-24
We begin this last section with a teaching on the reward for following Jesus (19:27-30); parable of the workers in the vineyard (20:1-16); third passion prediction (20:17-19); Jesus and the sons of Zebedee (20:20-28); healing of the two blind men near Jericho (20:29-34); procession toward Jerusalem (21:1¬11); cleansing the temple (21:12 f); homage of the children in the temple (21:14-17); cursing of the fig tree (21:18-22); ques¬tion of authority (21:23-27); parable of the dissimilar sons (21:28¬32), of the evil vineyard-workers (21:33-46), and of the royal marriage (22:1-14); question of the Pharisees about the tribute money (22:15-22) ; question of the Sadducees concerning the resurrection (22:23-33); question of the Pharisees about David's son as Messiah (22 :41-46); discourse against the Pharisees and scribes, including seven woes (23:1-36); lament over Jerusalem
(23:37-39). Eschatological chapters: 24-25; destruction of the temple (24:1f); warning signs of the End (24:3-14); the great tribulation (24:15-28); the parousia of the Son of man (24:29¬31); determining the End (24:32-36); parables of the flood, of the watchful master of the household, of the faithful and slothful servants, of the ten maidens, of the entrusted talents (24:37-25: 30); prediction of the judgment of the world by the Son of man (25:31-46).

Conclusion: Passion Narrative and Resurrection Report 26:1¬
28:20. Passion narrative (26:1-27:56): decree of death (26:1-5); anointing in Bethany (26:6-13); Judas' betrayal (26:14-16); preparation of the Passover (26:17-19); identification of the be¬trayer and institution of the Lord's Supper (26:20-30); prediction of the denial, Gethsemane, capture of Jesus, hearing before the high council, denial of Peter (26: 31-75); handing over Jesus to Pilate, death of Judas, proceedings before Pilate, condemnation, mocking, way to Golgotha, crucifixion and death of Jesus (27:1¬56); burial (27:57-61); guard at the tomb (27:62-66). Resur¬rection report (28: 1-20): message of the resurrection at the empty tomb (28:1-8); appearance of the risen Lord to the women (28:9 f); the Jewish lie about the theft of the body of Jesus (28 :11-1 5); final word of the risen Lord to his disciples on a mountain in Galilee: command to evangelize and to baptize (28: 16¬-20).