Friday, April 30, 2010

Easter 5C

John 13:31-35


31When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. 32If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. 33Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ 34I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. 35By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Picture is of Poster entitled, "Beloved of God," and was printed for 73rd General Convention of the Episcopal Church.

A Little Bit for Everyone
Oremus online text: http://bible.oremus.org/?passage=John+13:1-35&vnum=yes&version=nrsv

Textweek general resources: http://www.textweek.com/yearc/easterc5.htm

Textweek resources for John’s Gospel this Sunday: http://www.textweek.com/mkjnacts/jn13.htm

Chris Haslam’s commentary: http://montreal.anglican.org/comments/archive/ceas5l.shtml

Some interesting articles on this passage:
William Loader’s commentary: http://wwwstaff.murdoch.edu.au/~loader/LkEaster5.htm

Brian McGowan (Anglican from Australia): http://www.angelfire.com/journal2/laterallyluke/LLKJN133135EAST5.html

Margaret Guenther: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1058/is_n15_v112/ai_16947310/

Sermon by John Claypool: http://www.csec.org/csec/sermon/claypool_3919.htm

This weeks movie concordance from textweek: http://www.textweek.com/movies/eucharist.htm

Prayer

Loving god, the promise of the new Jerusalem is your home among us. Already in the new commandment of love you have begun to make all things new. As Jesus loved us, so we would love, that in the love we have for one another a new heaven and a new earth may dawn. We ask this through the Lord Jesus, our Passover and our Peace, who lives and reigns with you 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.


Some Thoughts

Today we read from John’s Gospel, 13:31-35. I have included a bible link for the whole passage and resources for the whole text, because as a unit they fit together very well. However, I will only be focusing my attention on our Gospel reading for this Sunday, the 5th Sunday of Easter. This Sunday we have Jesus’ departure including his last words to his disciples before the trial and final hours of his life.

There are a number of very important theological and missional points to be considered in these last instructions to his disciples.

The first of these phrases is, “God has been glorified.” The glory of God is the primary, the ultimate, work of Jesus Christ. He is modeling for all humanity the work we are to undertake as creatures of God, and making it clear that our disobedience to this work dishonors our creator. “Glory”, according to Raymond Brown, “involves a visible manifestation of God’s majesty in acts of power.” (RB, John, Anchor Bible, vol 2, 606) This scriptural and textual view is important theologically. We, the creatures of God, are to work on God’s behalf. We are, through our lives as disciples of the most high God, are to manifest God’s majesty in the living out of our lives and in our relationships with one another.

The Biblical scholar George B. Caird (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G._B._Caird) wrote this about the understanding of this word and its meaning within the New Testament, and its meaning for theology: “Through Jesus God is held in honor by men.” “God is honored by Jesus,” through his obedience to God’s will. “God has won honor for himself in Jesus.” And, “God has revealed his glory in Jesus.” (Brown, 606)

Brown reminds us that Origen moved this concept towards Gnosticism because he associated it with knowing God. But the more ancient continuum throughout scripture upholds the idea that the purpose of all creation and humans especially, is to glorify God in word, action, and deed.

In verse 33 Jesus remarks to them, calling them children – as in his later greeting on the beach, and says that he will not be with them long. Moreover, that the work and the journey he is about to take is not for them, but for him alone.

Jesus gives this commandment 18 times in the last discourse in John. The statement is clear: Love one another.

We are to love one another as Jesus loves us. And the word chosen here is “must.” We must love as Jesus loved. This is our commandment. This is how we are to be known: as the ones who love one another.

Raymond Brown points out that over time Christian Apologists, all, “would call upon the impact made by Christian love as a standard argument for the superiority of Christianity.” (607) Today we make the case primarily on other grounds as this is not typically what comes to mind when one thinks about Christians in our culture or globally.

Raymond Brown writes the following:

Yet love is more than a commandment; it is a gift, and like the other gifts of the Christian dispensation it comes from the Father through Jesus to those who believe in him. In xv 9 we hear, “As the Father has love me, so have I loved you”; and both xiii 34 and xv 12 the “as I have love you” emphasizes that Jesus is the source of the Christians’ love for one another. (Only secondarily does it refer to Jesus as the standard of Christian love.) The love that Jesus has for his followers is not only affective but also effective; it brings about their salvation. It is expressed in his laying down his life, an act of love that gives life to men. This is well expressed in Rev I 5: “…the one who loves us and has delivered 9or washed0 us from our sins.” We should also stress that the “love of one another” of which the Johannine Jesus speaks is love between Christians. In our own times a frequent ideal is the love of all men, enunciated in terms of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. Such a maxim has some biblical basis in the creation of all men by God, but the idea is not Johannine. For John, God is a Father only to those who believe in His Son and who are begotten as God’s children by the Spirit in Baptism. The “one another” that the Christian is to love is correctly defined in I John iii 14 as “our brothers,” that is those within the community.

It seems to me that the Christian community who is not able to primarily engage in the commandment to love one another will be unable to be a missionary community into a world looking and searching for vessels of God’s love. The church that cannot be a sacrament of God’s love for those within first, and those without second, ceases to reflect the glory of God as intended by God for God’s pleasure, and for humanities mutual benefit, and for the salvation of creation.


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, April 23, 2010

Easter 4C, Sheep and Shepherds All

John 10:22-30


22At that time the festival of the Dedication took place in Jerusalem. It was winter, 23and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon. 24So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” 25Jesus answered, “I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me; 26but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. 27My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. 28I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. 29What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father’s hand. 30The Father and I are one.”

Oremus online text: http://bible.oremus.org/?passage=John+10:22-30&vnum=yes&version=nrsv

Textweek general resources: http://www.textweek.com/yearc/easterc4.htm

Textweek resources for John’s Gospel this Sunday: http://www.textweek.com/mkjnacts/jn10c.htm

Chris Haslam’s commentary: http://montreal.anglican.org/comments/archive/ceas4l.shtml

Some interesting articles on this passage:

William Loader’s commentary: http://wwwstaff.murdoch.edu.au/~loader/LkEaster4.htm

Peter Gomes: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0MDO/is_4_30/ai_106941566

Margaret Guenther: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1058/is_n14_v112/ai_16883528/

Prayer
Part of the great multitude no one can count, we gather O God, and attend to the voice of the Good Shepherd. Keep us safe in those arms from which no one can snatch us, that we may proclaim your word in peace until at last we stand before the Lamb, whith songs of praise on our lips. We ask this through the Lord Jesus, our Passover and our Peace, 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

We arrive this Sunday at Good Shepherd Sunday, and are given a great theological and ecclesiological metaphor for our relationship with Jesus Christ.

At first glance, I am struck by a few things to help me discern how to preach and teach on Jesus’ words to the people in the Temple portico. Is the festival of the Dedication important in the story? How does this ritual tie into the teaching of Jesus at this moment? The children of Abraham-the Jews-want a straight answer about Jesus’ messiah-ship, what are they seeking to know? Why does Jesus say they are not his sheep? What does it mean to be a sheep of Jesus’? Are we one with God in our connection to the shepherd? Are there ecclesiological challenges posed by this that live themselves out in our liturgy and common life together?

So, let’s turn to the text. Is the festival of the Dedication important in the story? How does this ritual tie into the teaching of Jesus at this moment? This feast in the Jewish calendar is the feast of Hanukkah, which remembers the night in the midst of the Maccabean victories when Judas Maccabeus drove out the Syrians who had desecrated the altar. He then built a new altar and the feast remembers the consecration of that altar. It had come to symbolize a renewal of the people and their dedication. In some way the answer to my proposition may be that we recognize that as the Temple is being renewed, and the worshippers gathered being renewed, Jesus stands before them offering renewal of a different kind. Will they see that this is passing away as the “bride groom” stands in their midst--no need for an intermediary any longer?

I am reminded of Abram who journeys out from the land of Ur of the Chaldeans and along his way erects altars to God renewing his commitment to the God who had called him forth. In some way I wonder how Jesus, as the high priest who stands at his table Sunday after Sunday, offers an image and the very real opportunity for rededication to God, which an altar far away in a foreign land does not. The unique nature of Christian communities at worship is the presence, not of a priest, but of Christ. I will come back to this in a minute.

The children of Abraham, the Jews, want a straight answer about Jesus’ messiah-ship, what are they seeking to know? When they say they are in suspense, they literally mean “taking away our life” (R. Brown, John, vol. 1, 403). Raymond Brown suggests in his text that John is himself implying that in laying down Jesus’ life, he is taking something away from these people (403). There is a definite conflict building at this point in the Gospel narrative between Jesus and those who choose not to follow. I can imagine the anxiety building and the desire to be certain before choosing which path to follow that is before these good people who are trying to decide just what they are supposed to do as good religious people.

Why does Jesus say they are not his sheep? What does it mean to be a sheep of Jesus?

It is clear throughout the Gospel of John that those who do not bear witness to Christ are not followers of Christ; perhaps Jesus is saying no more or less than this? In the midst of this celebration of rededication one can imagine the juxtaposition of Jesus and his ministry as the Way and the renewal of a former way of worshiping and practicing one’s faith through life falling away.

Are we one with God in our connection to the shepherd? Jesus is clear that he is one with the Father, his ministry is given to him by the Father, and the sheep are his only through the Father.

Raymond Brown summarizes this passage well with these words:

To hear the voice of Jesus one must be “of God”, and “of the truth.” While this dualistic separation of Jesus’ audience into two groups is clearer in John than in the Synoptics, we should not that in Matthew 16:16-17 what enables Peter to recognize Jesus as Messiah and Son of God is the revelation Peter has from the Father. In Johannine terminology Peter and the other members of the Twelve are sheep given to Jesus by the Father, and so they hear his voice and know who he is. Those in John wo do not hear are like those in the Synoptics who hear the parables but do not understand…Jeremias [Joachim Jeremias, German Lutheran New Testament scholar and theologian] seems to do more justice to the whole – the community of his followers which after his death developed into the primitive Christian community (Acts 20:28-29; I Peter 5:3; I Clement 44:3, 56:2).

Are there ecclesiological challenges posed by this that live themselves out in our liturgy and common life together? We often get so focused on who is “in” and who is “out” in this passage we miss an important part of Jesus’ teaching, and an important part of theological history and ecclesiological life. It’s clear that those who follow Jesus follow him because-to use a modern term-his voice calling them by name resonates in their hearts. Out of the recognition that Jesus Christ is the risen Lord, followers proclaim he is such, and shape their lives in keeping with Jesus’ ministry.

As we step into our worshiping communities on Sunday with Jesus’ words in our minds, we are conscience of the fact that we are all sheep under the one Shepherd. This is true. It is also true that, as Christians, we emulate and attempt to practice the faith of Christ and so we engage in the work of shepherding too.

If we take a liturgical example from the writings of the Orthodox theologian John Zizioulas, we see that Christ is the great high priest and is the celebrant of the Eucharistic feast in all places. The bishop is the primary symbol for the church of Christ’s presence at the altar. The priest is the regular symbol of the bishop and then of Christ at the altar. (I admit this is a far simpler and less aesthetically pleasing rehearsal of Zizioulas’ thoughts.)

I believe a similar symbology might be applied to the work of shepherding. Christ is the great Shepherd of the sheep. Christ models shepherding for us. The bishop is the chief symbol of Christ’s work as the head of the local community and shepherd of the sheep of a diocese. The priests in turn are the on the ground shepherds in the congregations. But I would add that the people are also shepherds, the baptized community who proclaims Jesus Christ is the symbol of the shepherd in the world.

We do a similar thing with the Body of Christ theology when we say we are the body of Christ in the world. What I am struggling to get to is the idea that all of us often get so caught up in being sheep we don’t realize that we are the everyday, hour by hour, shepherds sent into the world to gather in the others. We are the ones seeking the 1 in 99. We are to be the ones who share in the work of holding the sheep tight and safely when danger comes. We are the shepherds who cannot flee when the going gets rough. We are the gates most people find when they enter community.

Everyone who goes to church has the opportunity the rest of the week to take what is learned from the great shepherd of the sheep, Jesus Christ, and to engage in the practice of shepherding Christ’s flock in the world.

Who are the shepherds and who are the sheep in this video of mission, ministry, and stewardship?  Sheep and shepherds all?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMsD4ohwGMs


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, April 15, 2010

Easter 3, Year C, John's Gospel 21:1-9

John 21:1-19


21After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and he showed himself in this way. 2Gathered there together were Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples. 3Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. 4Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5Jesus said to them, “Children, you have no fish, have you?” They answered him, “No.” 6He said to them, “Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish. 7That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the sea. 8But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, only about a hundred yards off. 9When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread. 10Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” 11So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred fifty-three of them; and though there were so many, the net was not torn. 12Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they knew it was the Lord. 13Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

15When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.” 19(He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, “Follow me.”

The image above is a photo of Vincent van Gogh's "The Stevedores in the Arles" or "Men Unloading a Boat at Arles" (1888). The painting lives at the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid, Spain.

Oremus online text: http://bible.oremus.org/?passage=John+21:1-19&vnum=yes&version=nrsv

Textweek general resources: http://www.textweek.com/yearc/easterc3.htm

Textweek resources for John’s Gospel this Sunday: http://www.textweek.com/mkjnacts/jn21.htm

Chris Haslam’s commentary: http://montreal.anglican.org/comments/archive/ceas3l.shtml

William Loader’s commentary: http://wwwstaff.murdoch.edu.au/~loader/LkEaster3.htm and http://wwwstaff.murdoch.edu.au/~loader/OnShore.htm

Prayer

With a canticle of praise, O God enthroned in glory, we join every creature in worshiping the Lamb, Jesus who is alive among us and who invites us to this meal. Grant that we may stretch out our hands to fulfill in lives of service the love our lips profess. We ask this through the Lord Jesus, our Passover and our Peace, who lies 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

We continue through our Easter season readings of John’s Gospel. The passage opens up a week later, or a little later than the previous resurrection accounts. Jesus reveals himself again. The image in Greek is one that moves from obscurity to reality, as in the other resurrection accounts. (R. Brown, John, vol II, 1067) Jesus is not only present but more certainly and powerfully so. The disciples have returned to the sea of Tiberias. They are there in the same location as the miracle of the loaves and fishes, a miracle of multiplication. We are given then a list of the shore party: Simon Peter, Thomas, Nathanael, Sons of Zebedee and a couple of others.

Simon Peter goes fishing and the rest join in. Some scholars spend a lot of time wondering why Nathanael might go with them to fish as he was a man from the hill country. I did not grow up on water, but love to fish. Perhaps these scholars just aren’t fishermen. Besides, who knows…perhaps Nathanael was a fly fisherman and wanted to see what this was all about?

They fish at night and they catch nothing. Those who know about fishing the Sea of Galilee (I once had a Texas A&M professor come and speak about ancient fishing on the sea of Galilee) note that night fishing was practiced and even the best the time to fish.

As the sun is rising Jesus appears on the shore. His appearance, his revelation to them, is mysterious; so very much so that they do not recognize him. Scholars use this portion of the text to elevate the criticism that this is a redactor of John’s Gospel, because they would have recognized him after the several appearances. They link this to the grammar and Greek vocabulary that does not match John’s.

Jesus calls out to them, “Lads” or “Children.” You haven’t caught any fish have you? We have here a tender moment, a fatherly moment. Jesus is calling to friends and disciples, students and followers with whom he has traveled, lived, and shepherded. (Note in a similar account in Luke he simply asks for something to eat.) Here Jesus invites them to cast their net. Is this going to be another multiplication account? Jesus tells them to cast on the right side of the boat and they will find something. Raymond Brown reminds us that Cyril of Alexandria and others insert, “But they said, ‘Master, we worked all night and took nothing; but in your name word we shall cast.’” Borrowing from Luke I imagine, Cyril’s words capture the frustration these weary fishermen might have felt…remember they don’t know it is Jesus.

Some scholars have tried to dismiss the miracle by suggesting that from Jesus’ vantage point perhaps he could see a school of fish feeding or rising. I think this is tampering with the story.

Of course they haul in a tremendous number of fish. In the multiplication of fish Jesus is recognized and Peter jumps in the water. (Some scholars believe that the redactor using the words “the disciple whom Jesus loved” as a modifier for Peter, reveals our writer to be one of Peter’s disciples.

Peter throws on some clothes and jumps in the water. Seems odd to get your clothes and jump in. However, fishing at night and the particular kind of diving need to fish in the manner in which they were working required the men to be unclothed – according to my Aggie Nautical Archeologist friend. So, as Peter is going ashore he gets his clothes and goes.

The word that stands out though is the action word for jumped in the sea. Peter throws himself in the sea and swims to the shore. This heightens the sense of excitement at the appearance and revelation of the Lord.

The rest arrive by boat, towing the nets and landing the boat themselves.

There is a charcoal fire and fish and bread. Jesus invites them to eat and breaks the bread and shares the fish. He feeds the disciples. They appear unsure, he is different, changed.

There are two powerful symbols to be played with here. The first is the apostolic mission and the multiplication miracle. It is clear that the risen Christ gives the mission and directs the work. Alone a disciple can do little, but with the risen Christ a disciple may discover not only fields in need of tending but plentiful waters for fishing. The second image present is that of the risen Christ as giver. The Lord is the giver of the Eucharistic feast which feeds the body and the spirit for the journey. The charcoal fire and the breaking of bread cement this image in today’s Gospel lesson. We recognize the risen Christ in the Eucharistic meal – one that takes place out in the world an not behind the locked doors of the upper room.

Both of these revelatory pieces of the same resurrection account say to us something of the ecclesial nature of the first community of followers that was forming post Easter and it says something about he ecclesiological nature of our own communion today. Peter’s throwing himself in to the baptismal waters and the communion meal are central to the life of the missionary disciple. Furthermore, they remain central in our life today. We are brought through the waters of baptism to the heavenly shore to partake in a heavenly banquet.

Tertullian gives us a wonderful quote, “But we little fish, who are so named in the image of our ichthys, Jesus Christ, are born in water and only by staying in the water are we saved.”

This unique addition to John’s Gospel is filled with imagery about sin and death, baptism, Eucharistic theology, and discipleship. I encourage you to read more about it and to share your comments and thoughts.

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, April 9, 2010

Sunday after Easter, Year C, John 20:19-31

John 20:19-31


19When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 20After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 22When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” 24But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

26A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” 28Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” 30Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

Image is: "Make it a little louder" by Andrew Liepzig. You can purchase a copy here:  www.fineartamerica.com/featured/make-it-a-little-...


Oremus online text: http://bible.oremus.org/?passage=John+20:19-31&vnum=yes&version=nrsv

Textweek general resources: http://www.textweek.com/yearc/easterc2.htm

Textweek resources for John’s Gospel this Sunday: http://www.textweek.com/mkjnacts/jn20b.htm

Chris Haslam’s commentary: http://montreal.anglican.org/comments/archive/aeas2l.shtml

William Loader’s commentary: http://wwwstaff.murdoch.edu.au/~loader/LkEaster2.htm

Prayer

On this Lord’s Day, we come together, O God, to proclaim the Living One, the First and the Last, who was dead, but now is forever alive. Open our hearts to the Spirit Jesus breathes on us. Help us, who have not seen, to believe; send us, as you have sent Jesus, to greet the world with the Easter word of peace and to share with all the Spirit’s new life of forgiveness. We ask through the Lord Jesus, our Passover and our Peace, who lives and reigns with you 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.


Some Thoughts

As we arrive at the text for this week I am mindful of the prayer of St. Chrysostom which may be prayed as part of our daily office:

Almighty God, you have given us grace at this time with one accord to make our common supplication to you; and you have promised through your well-beloved Son that when two or three are gathered together in his Name you will be in the midst of them: Fulfill now, O Lord, our desires and petitions as may be best for us; granting us in this world knowledge of your truth, and in the age to come life everlasting. Amen.

So it is that I cannot begin to think and ponder on John’s Gospel and the appearance of Jesus in the midst of the disciples without also thinking of the risen Christ in the midst of our gatherings and how he is present and what he encourages us, as faithful followers, to undertaken on his behalf.

Also I am mindful that the reality that this appearance and the appearance to Thomas a week later occur on the “first day of the week” suggests the presence of Christ on our day of worship and in the midst of the community gathered for both prayer and a meal, the Eucharist in our current practice. Raymond Brown and other scholars are quick to remind us of Isaiah 3.6: “My people shall know my name; on that day they shall know it is I who speak.”

Brown’s notes follow from page 1019 of vol. 2 of his reflections about John’s Gospel for the Anchor Bible Dictionary. Here he suggests traces of ancient Johannine communal liturgy.

The disciples assemble on the Lord’s Day. The blessing is given: “Peace to you.” The Holy Spirit descends upon the worshippers and the word of absolution is pronounced. Christ himself is present (this may suggest the Eucharist and the spoken Word of God) bearing the marks of his passion; he is confessed as Lord and God. Indeed, this passage in John as been cited as the first evidence that the Christian observance of Sunday arose from an association of that day with the resurrection – an idea that shortly later Ignatius gave voice to: “No longer living for the Sabbath, but for the Lord’s Day on which life dawned for us through in and his death.” (Magnesians, ix 1). (R. Brown, John, vol 2, p 1019).

In the end Brown believes this is a secondary development, nevertheless one of interst.

So it is and with these thoughts that I turn and think more closely upon the Gospel for this Sunday.

We begin with the disciples behind closed doors because of their fear. Perhaps afraid of the authorities or for those who might accuse them of stealing their messiah’s body they are hiding. The doors are locked. Jesus comes and stands in their midst, right in front of them.

Jesus says to them, “Peace be with you.” Shalom. Shalom Alekem. Yes this is a greeting. It is also an ancient form of saying or cueing the listener or hearer of these words that there is about to be a revelation. They are about to see, hear, or receive a revelation of God. The revelation (as with Gideon in Judges 6.23) is that the Lord is present, the Lord brings peace, and you will not die.

Jesus then shows his disciples his wounds. He shows them the very place of them. While there is some argument between scholars about the different wound sites shown and the different terms and placement between the Gospel of Luke and John’s visitation we nevertheless see that it was a powerful recognition of the Christ crucified. I am mindful that the disciples and those who experience the resurrection had not only a real experience but an understanding that Jesus was himself more fully present that before. The reality of these wounds and the powerful vision they must have created for those whose eyes fell upon them quiets me.

Here then the author and narrator uses the resurrection title, “the Lord.” While I have been using it, we notice in the narrative its first use here. Jesus is recognized but recognized as the risen one, the first fruits of those who have died.

Jesus provides a vision of resurrection. He is present. He gives them a mission. Just as God sent me I am sending you. We may reflect upon the previous chapters, his priestly prayer, and his ministry. Jesus was sent by the father to glorify God. Jesus now sends his followers to do the same.

And, Jesus gives them the Holy Spirit. As if from Genesis we have Jesus breathing over the new creation, new breath to the new Adams and the new Eves.

Then the Lord charges them to forgive. Forgive the sins and know that those which you hold will be bound by them. If you release them, you open your hand and they fall away. If you hold them you hold your hand closed and they cannot go. It seems important to reflect on this a minute. Jesus words here are very different than the legal words used by him in Matthew’s Gospel. Here we have kerygmatic words. Brown writes, “Thus the forgiveness and holding of sins should be interpreted in the light of Jesus’ own action toward sin…The Gospel is more concerned with the application of forgiveness on earth, and is accomplished in and through the Spirit that Jesus has sent…more general Johannine ideas about the Spirit, relate the forgiveness of sins to the eschatological outpouring of the Spirit that cleanses men and begets them to new life… the power to isolate, repel, and negate evil and sin, a power given to Jesus in his mission by the Father an given in turn by Jesus through the Spirit to those whom he commission.” (1040-1044) This is the recreation in action.

The disciples are given power by the Holy Spirit to be about the work of freeing people to and into the new created order.

Thomas, our dear brother Thomas, missed this historic moment. And, as we arrive at this time every year we know he will not believe it no matter what is said. So emphatic is he that he will not believe it unless he “throws” his fingers into the wounds themselves. This is a dramatic call for proof if there ever was one.

The disciples continue their stay in Jerusalem and find themselves with Thomas again in the upper room one week later.

Again, Jesus appears and he calls to Thomas. The Lord invites him to see and feel his wounds to reach out and touch them. Some scholars have spent time wondering how this could be so if the Christ was wearing clothes. Was it a loose fitting garment? These suggestions give rise to one of my favorite Brown quotes which I must admit almost caused me to fall out of my chair when I read it. Raymond Brown writes, “The evangelist scarcely intended to supply information on the haberdashery appropriate for a risen body.” (1026)

Jesus also tells him to stop or quit persisting in his unbelief by these actions. While Thomas was a follower of Jesus was a believer in the risen Christ? He is challenged here to change.

What has always struck me, but few preachers have ever remarked on, is the fact that Thomas doesn’t touch the Christ. I have pondered this a great deal. What is it then that changes him. Thomas’ faith is adequate without the proof. That is the point of the story.

We often get so focused on what it takes to convince ourselves in God and then project it upon Thomas that we miss the narrative’s truth. Thomas believes without the proof.

Brown writes of all four episodes in chapter 20 of John’s Gospel:

“Whether or not he intended to do so, the evangelist has given us in the four episodes of ch xx four slightly different examples of faith in the risen Jesus. The Beloved Disciple comes to faith after having seen the burial wrappings but without having seen Jesus himself. Magdalene sees Jesus but does not recognize him until he calls her by name. The disciples see him and believe. Thomas also sees him and believes, but only after having been over insistent on the marvelous aspect of the appearance. All four are examples of those who saw and believed; the evangelist will close the Gospel in 29b by turning his attention to those who have believed without seeing.” (1046)

Thomas’ words “My God and my Lord,” are the last words spoken by a disciple in the 4th Gospel. And they are the culminating Gospel proclamation for the faithful follower of Jesus. This statement brings him fully into the covenant relationship with the new creation.

Now that the witness of the disciples is concluded Jesus words are for us. The last and final Beatitude is given for those who would come after. Blessed are those who do not see but have believed. Here is Jesus, with us to the end, offering the last words in the original Gospel. We have the opportunity to join the new covenant community, to be new Adams and new Eves, to participate in the stewardship of creation recreated and to take our place in the midst of the discipleship community. We do so through baptism. We do so also by embracing the kerygmatic Word and living a resurrected life. We live by making our confession: My God and my Lord. We live life on the one hand bearing witness to the ever present past of crucifixion and the ever present future of the resurrection life.

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).