On Tuesday morning the pastors of Lutheran Saints in Ministry gather in Fairborn Ohio to discuss the texts for Sunday.

These are the contributions that are brought to the table.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Texts fro Sunday May 4th, 2014, the Third Sunday of Easter

First Reading: Acts 2:14a, 36–41

14aBut Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them,  36Therefore let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified."
37Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, "Brothers, what should we do?"  38Peter said to them, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  39For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him."  40And he testified with many other arguments and exhorted them, saying, "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation."  41So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added.

Second Reading: 1 Peter 1:17–23

17If you invoke as Father the one who judges all people impartially according to their deeds, live in reverent fear during the time of your exile.  18You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold,  19but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish.  20He was destined before the foundation of the world, but was revealed at the end of the ages for your sake.  21Through him you have come to trust in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are set on God.
22Now that you have purified your souls by your obedience to the truth so that you have genuine mutual love, love one another deeply from the heart.  23You have been born anew, not of perishable but of imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God.

Gospel: Luke 24:13–35

13Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem,  14and talking with each other about all these things that had happened.  15While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them,  16but their eyes were kept from recognizing him.  17And he said to them, "What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?" They stood still, looking sad.  18Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, "Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?"  19He asked them, "What things?" They replied, "The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people,  20and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him.  21But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place.  22Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning,  23and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive.  24Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him."  25Then he said to them, "Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared!  26Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?"  27Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.

28As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on.  29But they urged him strongly, saying, "Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over." So he went in to stay with them.  30When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them.  31Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight.  32They said to each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?"  33That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together.  34They were saying, "The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!"  35Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

The Greek Text, Luke 24:1-35

Greek Study for Luke 24:13-35

v13 εν + dat."[that same day]" - τη  μια των σαββατων "the first day of the week". Luke is describing the day as the day following the Sabbath, or the eighth day, rather than the first day of the week. It is the day which ushers in a new creation because it is the day during which Jesus rose from the dead. Luke touches on this imagery in 9:28. It was an imagery developed by the Church Fathers
Εμμαους "Emmaus" - This is the only mention of this village by Luke.

v14 ωμιλουν (ομιλεω) imperf. "[they] were talking" the imperfect is typically used for speech since it is an ongoing action (durative).
των συμβεβηκοτων (συμβαινω) perf. part. "[everything] that had happened" – an idiom, read “current events”.  

v15 εν τω ομιλειν (ομιλεω) pres. inf. "as they talked [and discussed]" -"during their talking and" συζητειν (συζητεω) pres. inf. "discussed" – they argued, debated. This indicates the discussion was agitated, although not heated.
αυτος "[Jesus] himself" – this is a variant; the pronoun here is emphatic. Evans notes that this resurrection appearance of Jesus is distinctive: in that Jesus enters the scene as a normal person; and the disciples do not recognize him, even though it is only a matter of days since they were with him.
εγγισας (ενγιζω) aor. part. "drew near – was at hand, within reach" - Attendant circumstance so temporal. Jesus also was coming from Jerusalem and caught5 up to them. 

v16 εκρατουντο (κρατεω) Imperf. pas. "they were kept from" a divine passive i.e. the disciples were restrained by divine power from recognizing Jesus. It is also possible that the language of sight is used to align with faith such that it is their own doubts and fears that have blinded them to the obvious. The use of this word by Luke is probably intentional given that it is necessary to explain why two disciples, who travelled with Jesus in the past were unable to recognize him in the present. 
του μη επιγνωναι (επιγινωσκω) aor. inf. "recognizing" – there is a cognitive disconnect; 

v17 αντιβαλλετε (αντιβαλλω) pres. "are you discussing" – literally “what words are you tossing around, debating. A conflict of opinions is implied in the word, so "debating", now to an altercation is indicated.
σκυθρωποι adj. "their faces downcast" – an idiom, they stood still/stopped, sullen

v18 ονοματι (α ατος) dat. "[one] named, Κλεοπας "Cleopas" – the Semitic name is Clopas, (Mary’s husband?) with the Greek version being Cleopatros (tra would be the female version). Tradition has it that he was Jesus' uncle, i.e. brother of Joseph and that his son Simeon took over the leadership of the Jerusalem church after the death of Jesus' brother James. Eusebius is the source of this tradition, a tradition he draws from the Memoirs of Hegesippus.
παροικεις (παροικεω) pres. "are you [only] a visitor [to Jerusalem] / [the one] visiting [Jerusalem].” The sense of the question rests on the meaning of this word. Most opt for "visitor", so but the question could be sarcastic with the word meaning "stranger", "are you such a stranger that .....?" Modern idiom’ Have you been living under a rock?”

v19 ποια "what things" – αυτοις dat. pro. "he asked
περι + gen. "about [the things] Jesus of Ναζαρηνου (ος) "Nazareth" – Luke loves to serve up details, place names, people names, it is a way of him inviting others to check the story out for themxs4lvs by asking/visiting.
προφητης (ης ουτ) "a prophet" - apposition to ανηρ, "a man".  The two disciples understand Jesus was the long promised messianic prophet, like Moses, who would serve as Israel's liberator.  Luke is not critical of their understanding of Jesus as a prophet, the problem lie in failing to understand it was necessary for the messiah to suffer and die and in failing to take Jesus' promise seriously that he would rise on the third day.

v20 παρεδωκαν (παραδιδωμι) aor. "handed [him] over" θανατου (ος) gen. "to death". We have the beginning of a liturgical response to the question “who was this Jesus” – a sort of proto creed.

v21 ημεις ηλπιζομεν (ελπιζω) emphatic imperfect “We had personally hoped"
ο μελλων (μελλω) pres. part. "the one who was going
λυτρουσθαι (λυτροω) pres. inf. "to redeem [Israel]" – more proto creedal language.  
v22 αλλα καιÄ"and also" a strong contrast; 
εξεστησαν (εξιστημι) aor. "disturbed [us]" (amazed?)- "amazed", the word carries a touch of awe, supposing a pre-faith response but given the debate that preceded, "disturbed" may be the better use.

v23 μη ευρουσαι (ευρισκω) aor. part. "they didn't find [his body]" – an adverbial participle forming a temporal clause. This states a fact, "some women of our circle disturbed us when, after they went to the tomb early in the morning, they were unable to find his body."
εωρακεναι (οραω) perf. inf. "that they had seen" - expressing what they "said"; "we also saw a vision of angels." Rather than "two men in dazzling cloths", v4, Luke now tells us that what the women saw "a vision of angels". This is sometimes used to assert a non-Lukan source for this tradition. The words of the angels are also different, although both accounts make the same point.
ζην (ζαω) pres. inf. "[he] was alive" – not risen (ανεστασισ) but alive (ζαω). The angels said, namely "he lives." 

v24 τινες "some" - it is only Peter who goes to the tomb to confirm the account; Luke seems aware of the Johannine tradition of both Peter and John visiting the tomb.

v25 ανοητοι adj. "foolish" A strong word, read "stupid", some scholars suggest "obtuse" is better.  I leave it to you, would Jesus say “How obtuse of you?  Or ‘How stupid of you!”  
βραδεις adj. "slow" – dilatory τη καρδια (a) dat. "of heart" a Semitism?  Remember for the Hebrew, it was the heart that was the seat of the intellect.  For Greeks, the heart was the center of emotion.  Here Luke seems to be using it as an intellectual assertion.  Slow of heart” is an idiom for “slow on the uptake, not the sharpest knife in the drawer…” you get the picture. 
του πιστευειν (πιστευω) pres. inf. "to have faith" – an epexegetici.e. "to believe all that the prophets have spoken" explains the substantives "foolish" and "slow of heart". To whit; "How stupid and slow you are to have faith."

v26 Now Luke gives us a summary of the apostolic gospel. Did I mention that this is proto creedal language?  I think you have here a seminal evangelical document, the kind of message Luke’s church was packaging and selling to the masses. 

v27 αρξομενος (αρχω) aor. part. "beginning" - adverbial, modal, expressing the manner of explanation; "beginning with Moses and proceeding to all the prophets he explained".

v28 Luke continues to relate the events surrounding the journey to Emmaus. Jesus intends to go further, but the disciples beg him to stay with them for the night, presumably at the home of one of them, v28-29.
προσεποιησατο (προσποιεω) "Jesus acted as if" - sometimes translated “Jesus appeared to be going further", or the more blunt "he pretended to go further.” The aversion to "pretend" stems from implied deception. Some suggest it is simply "a literary foil" on the part of Luke to increase "suspense.  I think this is most likely, Luke is being a tale teller here. 

v29 παρεβιασαντο (παραβιαζομαι) aor. "they urged [him] strongly/pressed him. 
λεγοντες (λεγω) pres. part. "-" - saying.  μεινον (μενω) aor. imp. "abide/remain”. A plaintive cry, μεθ (μετα) + gen. "with [us προς εσπεραν εστινÄ"it is nearly evening" - it is toward evening. A common phrase for late afternoon.
κεκλικεν ηδη η ημερα "the day is almost over" - the day has tipped.
του μειναι (μενω) aor. inf. "to stay [with them]" – read "he entered [the home] in order to say with them."

v30 Luke now records "how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread" (v35), v30-32. The head of a home would normally say the grace over the meal, but here Jesus takes the lead. This may imply that they are staying at an inn, but not necessarily. In acting as the host, breaking the bread, and saying the words, Jesus is recognized by the disciples. Luke would have us see this recognition as miraculous, a divine initiative, supported by a miraculous disappearance. It has been argued that the oral tradition here has at least been influenced by Eucharistic practice in the early church, (Jeremias  Eucharistic Words). It is widely accepted  Luke wants to make the point that the Christians of his day were able to have the living Lord made know to them in the Eucharist in a manner that was at least analogous to the Emmaus experience. It is certainly possibly Luke is describing this event in a liturgical way and given the proto creedal language, also fits.  Some, however, assert that the breaking of bread' refers to the feeding of the 5000. And refers to the common fellowship meal / agape feast of the early Christian community rather than the Lord's Supper. These two activities were separated early within the history of the New Testament is evidenced in Acts (also by Luke). If Luke is crafting a spiritual paradigm here it is surely that Christ is realized in our midst.  
και εγενετο "-" - and it happened. Serving to introduce a narrative.
εν τω/ κατακλιθηναι (κατακλινω) aor. inf. "when [he] was at the table
λαβων (λαμβανω) aor. part. "he took [the bread]" – 
κλασας (κλαω) aor. part. "he broke [it]" - having broken. 
All of this action seems a bit to formulaic for me to be referring to an “agape feast”, it is just too close to the actions Paul describes in Corinthians.  

v31 διηνοιχθησαν (διανοιγω) aor. pas. "[their eyes] were opened" – another theological passive, i.e. God does the opening. 
αφαντος adj. "[he] disappeared]" - There are a number of post resurrection appearances, but this is the only time Jesus disappears without a word. In fact, given that Jesus is now entering into his glory, his visible presence is no longer possible; "this is Luke's contribution to the problem of the resurrection", Danker.

v32 καιομενη η∴ν "were [not our hearts] burning" - "Heart" obviously means "mind", unless the Semitic understanding of "heart" is not present. A "burning mind" is awkward so it may be an idiom, “weren't we excited as he talked to us ..."

v33 ανασταντες (ανιστημι) aor. part. "they got up" – Jesus ‘αναστασισ” prompts their own “getting up” to return", αυτη τη ωρα dat. "that very hour" So it may have been too late for Jesus to travel, but it doesn’t stop them from returning to Jerusalem.
ηθροισμενους (αθροιζω) perf. pas. part. "assembled together" - an object complement to "the eleven", the object of the verb "they found"; "they found the eleven [who were] gathered there with their companions".

v34 οντως "it is true!" – indeed ηγερθη (εγαιρω) aor. pas. "He has risen
Here it is expressed in the terms of a recounted gospel tradition (the kerygma) rather than a more grammatically correct expression of the words used at the time of speaking. Luke's language is similar to first Corinthians 15:3-5a. (again)
Σιμωνι (ων) dat. "[and has appeared] to Simon" – a dative of direct object. Why "Simon" rather than "Peter"?  Only here among the synoptic gospels is an appearance to Peter mentioned. Clearly Paul is aware of such a tradition, as recorded (again) in first Corinthians 15 Are we dealing, once again, of those things that are “passed on as of first importance”?

v35 εξηγουντο (εξηγεομαι) imperf. "[the two] told

Living in Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35) - Pr. Kruse

After the Jewish War against Rome in 66-70 C.E., Vespasian assigned eight hundred discharged veterans to live in a place called “Emmaus,” located about thirty stadia, or four miles, from Jerusalem. - John Pilch

There are no less than 6 sites identified with Emmaus. Its Hebrew equivalent “Hammat” means warm spring. In a way I understand that people somehow want to “find” Emmaus. But to be honest, does it matter? Well, if scholars are right and Luke writes after the Jewish war then the trip these two are taking is peculiar indeed as it is a journey into a village now overrun with retired Roman legionnaires who spent four years utterly demolishing the political redemption of Israel. (24:21)
One of them is Clopas. Also curious. Eusebius writes concerning him:

After the martyrdom of James and the conquest of Jerusalem which immediately followed, it is said that those of the apostles and disciples of the Lord that were still living came together from all directions with those that were related to the Lord according to the flesh (for the majority of them also were still alive) to take counsel as to who was worthy to succeed James. They all with one consent pronounced Symeon, the son of Clopas, of whom the Gospel also makes mention; to be worthy of the episcopal throne of that parish. He was a cousin, as they say, of the Savior. For Hegesippus records that Clopas was a brother of Joseph.

Arguments abound when James is martyred. 63AD or 70AD but 70AD, at the end of the war, seems to be the preferred date. But it also seems that Clopas is the father of the 2nd Bishop of Jerusalem and an uncle of Jesus. Symeon seems to have been preferred by the elders in Jerusalem over Thebutis who had led a part of the Christian community out of Jerusalem during the war and into Pella, one of the cities of the Decapolis and thought to be the site of the earliest Christian church. Symeon was bishop of Jerusalem from 70 -107AD, when he too met martyrdom. History rocks.
One of the people who are going to Emmaus is a relative of Jesus. He is a relative, one excepted by the culture and code of the day to stick with him and give testimony to support him, because that is what family does, yet here he is stomping away, despondent, disappointed, and defeated.
Clopas angrily — the language suggests a heated conversation — walking to Emmaus is a difficult picture. If they are mad at themselves for putting their faith in Jesus, then it is  a double betrayal in Clopas’ case. Family is to contend with the world at the gate on that family’s behalf. This is betrayal at a very fundamental level. Clopas, being related to Jesus, also gives us a hint at the living Jesus. Jesus’ own uncle did not recognize him. Whatever keeps these two disciples’ eyes from recognizing Jesus, it is profound and powerful. It is not said what exactly it is. Is it intentional and by the Lord’s will or is it the way the world treats the eyes of us all? Either way, the Gospel shows that the Lord has the power to conquer this grasp on human eyes.
And whereto are they stomping? To a place that is at the time of the writing of this history — yes, Luke insists that he is writing a history (1:14) — is the settlement of those who would have destroyed Jerusalem and the temple therein. 
So, at the beginning of the Gospel of Luke we are in the temple with Zechariah, at the end we are leaving Jerusalem because, frankly, there is no reason to be there any longer. There is no temple. The settlers of Emmaus have seen to that. How will the children of Israel now turn to their Lord? (1:16) Where shall they find God now? How will they touch him? Where will they plea to the Lord for mercy? Where will they burn incense and intercede for the people? (1:9) 
The settlers in Emmaus also were the same ones whose companies had carried out the deed a few days earlier when Jesus was crucified. This Jesus, was he not to redeem Israel? That did not happen, but then it was not all about Israel anyway and redemption is squishy term at best. But they had hoped for the redemption of Israel and had centered that hope in Jesus.

What and where is Emmaus and why are you heading there? The forces, things, and people that have and will destroy that which we hold sacred all settle somewhere in our world. They move in next door and have loud parties and the sheriff won’t come to help because outside of the city boundaries quiet hours are a matter of courtesy and not of law. In Emmaus they do not know the sacred and they are loyal to things you detest to the point that you will question your own loyalties. Will you retaliate? Will you join the wash of an ever cruder culture that surrounds you? Will you retain a sense of longing for what seems lost? In Emmaus, how do you see God? How do you plead for mercy and grace, how do you intercede for the people and how do you know anyone is listening? Where do Zechariah and you burn your incense?
And your eyes? In Emmaus they see but they do not recognize. (Augustine) There are two cries of desolation in the last two chapters of Luke: “We had hoped he would be the one to redeem Israel,” and “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” The latter points the former to what happens next: The breaking of the bread where seeing becomes recognizing. The thief calls to the saints to recognize and believe. (Augustine) 

Here in Emmaus bread is broken and a story is remembered in that action, Jesus, who is seen but not recognized, becomes recognized. The plea of the thief becomes the plea of those who stumble around in Emmaus. He was broken for us. The bread is broken for us. Jerusalem is gone. Zechariah goes to the temple no more. He does not have to. “So, if you are a believer, if you don’t come to church pointlessly, if you listen to the word in fear and hope, you may take comfort in the breaking of the bread. The Lord’s absence is not absence. Have faith, and the one you cannot see is with you.” (Augustine)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Text for Sunday, April 27th,2014, the 2nd Sunday of Easter

First Reading: Acts 2:14a, 22–32

14aBut Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them,  22You that are Israelites, listen to what I have to say: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with deeds of power, wonders, and signs that God did through him among you, as you yourselves know —  23this man, handed over to you according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of those outside the law.  24But God raised him up, having freed him from death, because it was impossible for him to be held in its power.  25For David says concerning him,
'I saw the Lord always before me,
for he is at my right hand so that I will not be shaken;
  26therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced;
moreover my flesh will live in hope.
  27For you will not abandon my soul to Hades,
or let your Holy One experience corruption.
  28You have made known to me the ways of life;
you will make me full of gladness with your presence.'
  29Fellow Israelites, I may say to you confidently of our ancestor David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.  30Since he was a prophet, he knew that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would put one of his descendants on his throne.  31Foreseeing this, David spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, saying,
'He was not abandoned to Hades,
nor did his flesh experience corruption.'
  32This Jesus God raised up, and of that all of us are witnesses.

Second Reading: 1 Peter 1:3–9

3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,  4and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,  5who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.  6In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials,  7so that the genuineness of your faith — being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire — may be found to result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.  8Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy,  9for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Gospel: 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.

The Greek Text for John 20:19-31 - Pr. Fourman

John 20:19-31

v19 τη  μια σαββατων "on the first day [of the week]" – literally “on the evening of that same Sunday".
κεκλεισμενων (κλαιω) gen. perf. pas. part. "locked
εστη εις το μεσον[Jesus came and] stood into the middle”.
υμιν dat. pro."[peace to] you" – a dative of interest or advantage; an idiom "I pray that it may be well for you".

v20 εχαρησαν (χαιρω) aor. pas. "they were thrilled with joy".
ιδοντες (ειδον) aor. part. "having seen” at this point it was the mere seeing that caused joy. 
αποσταλκεν (αποστελλω) perf. "has sent" indicating the action is completed with ongoing ramifications.
καγω  πεμπω pres. "so also I am sending" present 

v22 ειπων (λεγω) aor. part. "[and] with saying that" .
ενεφυσησεν (εμφυσαω) aor. "he breathed" – a hapax legomenon, possibly reflecting the divine breath in the creation of life, Gen.2:7. This is a clash with Luke's chronology regarding Pentecost.  Although would assume that this is the appropriate moment for the empowering of the disciples for their ministry of forgiveness though the proclamation of the gospel.
λαβετε (λαμβανω) aor. imp. "receive" possibly "welcome" makes more sense.

v23 αν  "if" - a conditional clause, 3rd class, where the condition stated in the "if" clause (protasis) has the probability of becoming a reality. In English the use of "if" conveys doubt, not so in the Greek. so "whenever you forgive anyone ..."
αφητε (αφιημι) aor. subj. "you forgive/release” an emphatic The authority is given to the apostles to release people from the consequences of their sin.  
τινων gen. pro. "anyone's" sins αφεωνται (αφιημι) perf. pas. "are forgiven” a proleptic perfect tense, 
κρατητε (κρατεω) pres. subj. "do not forgive/retain”.

v24 ο λεγομενος (λεγω) pres. pas. part. "called/known as” Διδψμυσ - the twin” an intimate nickname.

v25 ελεγον (λεγω) imperf. "[the other disciples] told" - the imperfect may express ongoing action, "they persistently said"- note the play in this story between the words “see” and “say”
εωρακαμεν (οραω) perf. "we have seen" - They, as with Mary, have seen the Lord – interesting at they feel their word should be sufficient for Thomas who has NOT seen the Lord. 
εαν ημ + subj. "unless" - a negated conditional clause, 3rd class, where the condition has the possibility of becoming true.
των ηλων (ος) gen. "[the] nail [marks]" - [the marks, image, pattern] of the nails..
βαλω (βαλλω) aor. subj. "put/throw/cast [my hand]" – a strong word, so "thrust my hand into his side."
ου μη + subj. "[I will] not [believe it]" – a double negative with the subjunctive produces a subjunctive of emphatic negation, "I will never believe".

v26 μεθ ημερας "a week later" – literally, after eight days – which means the following Sunday.
κεκλεισμενων (λκειω) gen. perf. part. "though [the doors] were locked" – a temporal clause; "When the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them", Barclay.
εις μεσον "among them" - into [the middle].
υμιν dat. pro. "[peace] be with you".
The repetition in the Greek of this verse and verse 19 is reflective of a liturgical story; one designed for use in worship and also designed to convey the story orally from one generation to the next

v27 τω Θωμα (α ας) "[he said] to Thomas" - Dative of indirect object; whereas the first message is to everyone, this one is for Thomas alone; .
μη γινου απιστος  "stop doubting/do not be unfaithful”.  a present imperative. 

v28 ο κυριος (ος) "My Lord" – a nominative taken as a vocative; "you are the one who rules over me, and you are the God whom I worship", as Thomas had been “outside” of faith (relationship) these words reestablish both the relationship and the context of it, Jesus is once again “rabbi” – his Lord, but also God.

v29 μακαριοι adj. "blessed" – but here I woul argue for the more prosaic happy – as it refers to a state of joy in response to benefiting from God's favor; "happy are those who find faith οι μη ιδοντες (ειδον) aor. part. "having not seen [me]".

v30 σημεια (ον) "miraculous signs" ενωπιον + gen. "in the presence of” that is within their sight!

v31 γεγραπται (γραφω) perf. pas. "written" indicating completion of the writing. – this declares John's purpose for writing the book; what follows are several ‘ινα clauses:.
ινα + οτι  subj. "so that [you may believe]" a purpose clause.
ινα + οτι  subj. "so that a purpose clause, 
πιστευοντες (πιστευω) pres. part. "in/through faith" - modal, expressing manner.

εν τω ονοματι αυτου "in his name" – a sense of incorporative union, i.e. that God's gift of eternal life is found in relationship (faith) with his Son ("name" = person) "The name" carries the sense "the authority of", so " through the authority of Jesus"; or “under his authority”.  This reflects John’s theology of the universal power of Christ to save, “no one comes to the Father except through me” (14:6).

It's not all about doubt - Pr. Kruse

We can have faith in the Risen One only if we encounter Him. We can only encounter Him by following Him. Only if both things are true can we bear witness to Him and carry His light into the world. - Joseph Ratzinger

Easter Sunday was a banner day on FaceBook. It seemed that everyone had to post one of those annoying eCards about the famous, and really dumb, Billy Sunday quote: “Going to church does no more make you a Christian than standing around in a garage would make you a car,” or some such nonsense. I finally posted response to just about all instance of it saying: “But if you hung around a garage for any length of time and paid attention, tinkered a bit with the things parked there and perchance asked a few questions, standing around a garage might actually make a mechanic out of you. And if you hang around a church for any length of time  and paid attention, tinkered a bit with the things parked there and perchance asked a few questions, standing around a church might actually make a Christian out of you.” Or at least it should. 
We, the church, should pray that the Holy Spirit indeed might let the lost ones come into the realm of our influence so we might just show them how to follow and that in following they might come one day face to face with Jesus Christ. The early church, and I mean really early, in her first week of existence, seems to have done exactly that in the case of Thomas. They kept meeting, praying, perhaps doing other things they had seen Jesus do and even greater things (Jn 14:12) all the while confidant that Jesus would show up again and lay Thomas’ doubts to rest. Their patience was rewarded.
A quick rewind:
14:5 Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” 6 Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. 7 If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.”

“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” What would happen if you stood around a church in the 21st century? A way, a truth, and a life, would somehow be evident. The question is: “Would they constitute the heart of Jesus?” I think that was the intent behind Billy Sunday’s horrible logic. Maybe he hated churches, I don’t know. Sometimes I do hate them myself. But, what if you hung around a church for any length of time and paid attention, tinkered a bit with the things parked there and perchance asked a few questions, standing around a church might actually make a mechanic out of you? Or worse?
Thomas can be a good lesson for us, not because he doubted and in our desperation to be useful we want to save him by our own power and strength. This is not so much about Thomas as it is about the body of Christ and the people of God, as community and as individuals. To be Christ to others we must actually “be Christ,” first. How is that project going? 

“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” If he is the way, then I have to follow whatever that may entail even if that means in the words of Thomas: “Let us go die with him.” (Jn 11:16) If he is the truth then what he has taught me must be what I speak and I do well to not speculate overly much about other truthesees that offer themselves not because I am incurious but because I have been called to this truth and no other. If he is the life, then a peculiar way of living is laid out for me and I have no authority or reason to live another. 

This story of Thomas is not so only about his doubts. He is a challenge to our faith. These things written for us are there so that we may continue to have faith. (I am favoring the textual variant in 20:31 that makes the sentence read: “These things are written so that you will continue to have faith.”) They are written that I might know the way, that I may know the truth, and that with these I might have and continue to have life. The Thomases of the world await. They would see Jesus. (Jn12:21)

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Readings for Easter Sunday 2014

First Reading: Acts 10:34–43

34Then Peter began to speak to them: "I truly understand that God shows no partiality,  35but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.  36You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ — he is Lord of all.  37That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced:  38how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.  39We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree;  40but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear,  41not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.  42He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead.  43All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name."

Second Reading: Colossians 3:1–4

So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  2Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth,  3for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  4When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.

Gospel: Matthew 28:1–10

After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb.  2And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it.  3His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow.  4For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men.  5But the angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified.  6He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.  7Then go quickly and tell his disciples, 'He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.' This is my message for you."  8So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples.  9Suddenly Jesus met them and said, "Greetings!" And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him.  10Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me."

he Greek Text of Matthew 28 - Pr. Fourman

Matthew 28:1-10

Almost every verb in this account is aorist.  For those who disremember, the aorist tense is the standard tense used for telling a story in Koine’ Greek. The ordinary distinction between this tense and the active is between actions considered single undivided events and actions that portray a continuous events, i.e. events with continued or ongoing impact and significance..

v 1 Ὀψὲ δὲ σαββάτων gen. plural“late on [the evening of] the Sabbath”  a genitive of time, our understanding of the Hebrew clock is skewed; this would have been at the last possible moment of the Sabbath day (Sundown Friday to sundown Saturday) so we are talking midnight Saturday night.  τῇ ἐπιφωσκούσῃ εἰς μίαν σαββάτωνit being close to dawn of the Sabbath”
ἦλθεν Μαριὰμ   Μαγδαληνὴ καὶ ἄλλη Μαρία θεωρῆσαι τὸν τάφον aorist infinitive active , “Mary of Magdala and the other Mary saw the tomb”  literally “they came in order to look at the tomb” an aorist implies past action with  present and future implications.  That is, they were not aware in the moment of the importance of seeing the tomb as it was.

ἐξ οὐρανοῦ  active aorist participle “and they saw a great earthquake and an angel of the Lord [coming] from heaven”
The stone was “rolled away” (another aorist) and the angel was sitting on it, i.e. the stone, so their attention was not on the empty tomb, but on the stone to its side.

v 3 ἀστραπὴ “a flash of lightning/a sudden brightness” in the Old Testament blinding light accompanies a theophany; e.g. the burning bush or the pillar of fire of the Exodus.
ἔνδυμα αὐτοῦ λευκὸν ὡς χιών.and his clothing was snow white” - grammatically the phrase modifies the brightness, a clear reference back to the transfiguration – one of those Greek phrases that lead some scholars to conclude the transfiguration was itself a misplace resurrection story.

v 4 ἐσείσθησαν καὶ ἐγενήθησαν aorist passive; the guards “trembled and became” like dead men.  Again, to prostrate oneself in fear and trembling is an appropriate human response to a theophany.  One wonders why the two Marys were immune?  Perhaps wonder or grief overcame fear?
Μὴ φοβεῖσθε ὑμεῖς· an imperative “fear not” while this serves the same as an assurance, it is more like a king demanding one of his servants to stand up!  The fear of the unknown is replaced by the fear of authority (and in this case the trust that is implied).

v 5 οἶδα γὰρ ὅτι Ἰησοῦν τὸν ἐσταυρωμένον ζητεῖτε· present tense “for I know that you seek Jesus, the one that they crucified”  We often do not realize that the first case against the resurrection was one of mistaken identity.  They arrested/killed/buried the wrong man.  And Jesus was a fairly common name for that time.  So this is not just any Jesus, it is the one that they seek and the one that they crucified.  So this is not just formulaic, it lays to rest the first of their primal fears, that they are in the wrong place or that someone has taken the body away.

v 6 οὐκ ἔστιν ὧδε·ἠγέρθη γὰρ aorist indicative “he is not here, he is risen” 
καθὼς εἶπεν·aorst active indicative expressing intent “just as he told you
δεῦτε ἴδετε τὸν τόπον ὅπου ἔκειτο. An idiom “behold the place where they laid him” i.e. come and see for yourselves.  Seeing is believing.

v 7 καὶ ταχὺ πορευθεῖσαι participle “go quickly [and] having gone
εἴπατε τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ ὅτι Ἠγέρθη ἀπὸ τῶν νεκρῶν, “And say to his disciples that “He is risen from the dead…”  thus begins the first part of the earliest Christian witness.
And this is the second; καὶ ἰδοὺ προάγει ὑμᾶς εἰς τὴν Γαλιλαίαν
ἐκεῖ αὐτὸν ὄψεσθε.ἰδοὺ εἶπον ὑμῖν.” “Behold he is going before you into Galilee, and you will see him there.” – another idiom,. “You will ‘really, really’ see him there!

v 8 μνημείου - a ταθον (v 1) is a generic burial place, like our cemeteries.  But a μνεμειον is an actual mausoleum, a specific site.  So the first verse moves from a general area to a specific identifiable location with a ‘grave stone’.  Come and see, stay and visit; Matthew is inviting his readers to go to the place, it is still around.
ἀπελθοῦσαι  “having gone out” i.e. after they had left, and ταχὺquickly” μετὰ φόβου καὶ χαρᾶς μεγάληςwith fear and great joy” which curiously echoes Luke’s account of the shepherd’s visit to the manger.
ἔδραμον  “They ran”
ἀπαγγεῖλαι τοῖς μαθηταῖς  “they announced to the disciples” now becoming themselves the “messengers” or angels of God’s good news

v 9 Ὡς δὲ ἐπορεύοντο ἀπαγγεῖλαι  aorist imperfect, “as they were going to announce” i.e. while they were on the way but before they had the chance…
λέγων Χαίρετε.and said to them “grace”
ἐκράτησαν αὐτοῦ τοὺς πόδας καὶ προσεκύνησαν αὐτῷ.they fell at his feet and worshipped him” – another response to a theophany, this is echoed later in 28 when, on the mountain in Galilee, the disciples do the same.  But this is not so much a statement of faith as a practice of the time.  Remember there is ‘fear and trembling” here but ‘doubt’ later.

V 10 Μὴ φοβεῖσθε· “fear not” – Jesus repeats the command of the angel and also repeats the command to go to Galilee.  The difference is now in the address as it moves from the generic μαθετεσdisciple” to the specific and more intimate τοῖς ἀδελφοῖς μουmy brothers”.  Jesus may be beyond death but he is  not beyond expressing affection and care.