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.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Text for August 3rd, 2014

First Reading: Isaiah 55:1–5

Ho, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and you that have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.
  2Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.
  3Incline your ear, and come to me;
listen, so that you may live.
I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
my steadfast, sure love for David.
  4See, I made him a witness to the peoples,
a leader and commander for the peoples.
  5See, you shall call nations that you do not know,
and nations that do not know you shall run to you,
because of the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel,
for he has glorified you.\

Second Reading: Romans 9:1–5

I am speaking the truth in Christ — I am not lying; my conscience confirms it by the Holy Spirit —  2I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart.  3For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my own people, my kindred according to the flesh.  4They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises;  5to them belong the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, comes the Messiah, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.

Gospel: Matthew 14:13–21

13Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns.  14When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick.  15When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, "This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves."  16Jesus said to them, "They need not go away; you give them something to eat."  17They replied, "We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish."  18And he said, "Bring them here to me."  19Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds.  20And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full.  21And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.

Matthew 13-21 in Greek - Pr. Fourman

Greek: Matthew 14:13-21

v13 ακουσας (ακουω) aor. part. "when [Jesus] heard what had happened" - adverbial, probably temporal, provides the reason for Jesus' move to "a solitary place", namely, away from Herod Antipas. Note that in Mark and Luke the reason is to find rest.
ερημον τοπον "a solitary/desolate place. The sense is "wilderness" and no doubt the word is used to cue us to the Exodus symbolism – not so much "desert" as "deserted".
κατ ιδιαν "privately" – literally by himself. The Greek may mean that Jesus went alone into the wilderness, but then what about the disciples? Possibly further describing the "desolate place", namely, "he went by boat to an uninhabited and secluded district",  but the meaning "privately [with the disciples]" is most likely given that the disciples were obviously present in the boat, Matthew is purposely focusing our attention on Jesus.
ακουσαντες (ακουω) aor. part. "hearing of this" – adverbial.
πεζη adv. "on foot" - traveling by land on foot. 

v14 εξελθων (εξερχομαι) aor. part. "when [Jesus] landed" - having gotten out of the boat".
εσπλαγχνισθη (σπλαγχνιζομαι) aor. pas. "he had compassion" – literally, “his guts were moved” for their spiritual hunger.

v15 οψιας gen. adj. as "evening" - late in the day; not yet dark γενομενης (γινομαι) gen. aor. part. "as [evening] approached".
η ωρα ηδη παρηλθεν "it's already getting late" - the supper hour had passed.
απολυσον (απολυω) aor. imp. "release [the crowds] - although a command, the sense may be more like an enquiry, "shouldn't you send the people away?", The people are not poverty stricken, they have funds to buy their own food.
απελθοντες (απερχομαι) aor. part. "go [to the villages]" - attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the subjunctive verb "may buy".
εαυτοις dat. refl. pro. "themselves [some food]" - Dative of advantage.

v16 αυτοις dat. pro. "replied" - [said] to them. Dative of indirect object.
χρειαν (α) "[they do not] need" - [they have no] need. Moving the phrase into the positive helps to bring out the emphatic nature of the following "you". "You sort out a meal for them."
απελθειν (απερχομαι) aor. inf. "to go away" - to go away, depart. The infinitive expresses the nature of the "need".
δοτε (διδωμι) aor. imp. "you give" - give. Note the similarity with Elisha's words, "give it to the people, and let them eat", cf. 2 Kings 4:38-44. Also note the results of Elisha's feeding where "they ate and had some left."
φαγειν (εσθιω) aor. inf. "something to eat" - The infinitive serves as the direct object of the verb "give". The assumed "something" is probably better "food / meal"; "give some food to eat/a meal to eat to them".

v17 What the disciples have is a plowman's lunch, a meal for the working class, cf. Jn.6:9. ουκ εχομεν ωδε "we have here" - we do not have here. The negation is emphatic expressing the disciples' negative reaction. αρτους (ος) "loaves of bread" - be barley flat breads/pita bread. εχθυας (υς υος) "fish" - pickled/salted fish. Due to only light salting (a cost issue) this fish was not something modern taste-buds would easily get around. It was more fermented than pickled and had a slightly rotten taste.
v19 κελευσας (κελευω) aor. part. "he directed". As with "having taken" and "having looked up", attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the main verb.
ανακλιθηναι (ανακλινω) aor. pas. inf. "to sit down" - to recline at the table to eat, to lie down = sit down. The infinitive forms an object clause, "he ordered that the people should sit down."
λαβων (λαμβανω) aor. part. "taking" possibly with a temporal sense; "and then he took the five loaves ...." He received the food from the disciples for the purpose of blessing. "He held the food in his hands."
αναβλεψας (αβαβλεπω) aor. part. "looking up [to heaven]" "receiving sight" is the meaning elsewhere in Matthew, the word obviously has the sense here of looking upward to the sky above.
ευλογησεν (ευλογεω) aor. "he blessed, gave thanks, praised”. The object is unstated, so either "the food", or "God". The fact that he "looked up to heaven indicates that the blessing is an act of praise to God the provider rather than a consecration of the food.
κλασας (κλαω) aor. part. "broke" - expressing action accompanying the verb "he gave", although again possibly best expressed temporally; "then he broke the bread and gave to the disciples." In the NT this word is always used of the  symbolic action indicating the commencement of a meal by the head of the table. Jesus possibly shared out the fish this way as well, but it is not stated..
τοις οχλοις (ος) dat. "[and the disciples gave them] to the people".

v20 εχορτασθησαν (χορταζω) aor. pas. "were satisfied" - filled. The word is used of fattening animals, "fatten", therefore of a satisfying meal. Here, completely satisfied, "they had eaten more than enough."
η ραν (αιρω) aor. "[the disciples] picked up". Δωδεκα adj. "twelve [basketfuls]" - Twelve full wicker baskets stands in apposition to "the fragmented leftovers." "The number twelve is probably symbolic: food for all Israel".
των κλασματων (α ατος) gen. "of broken pieces" - fragments, , crumbs. The genitive is adjectival, attributive, limiting "leftovers"; here, it probably does not mean crusts and half eaten food left over, but rather untouched bread and fish, so "the broken portions that remained over rather than "the scraps."
το περισσευον (περισσευω) pres. part. "that were left over" - the thing left over, excess, the leftovers- a substantive. There was more than enough food such that there was excess food left over.
v21 οι εσθιοντες (εσθιω) pres. part. "the number of those who ate" were 5000

ανδρες (ηρ δρος) "men" - only the men were counted.

To be led out - Pr. Kruse

His power was not the measure of his miracle, but the people’s hunger. Had his miracle been measured by his power it would have been a victory beyond all measure. Measured by the hunger of thousands, there was a surplus of twelve baskets full. — Ephrem the Syrian.

Why is Jesus in a deserted place? Could it be that he went there to mourn John whom Herod had just killed? Was he himself withdrawing from Herod’s reach? 
Jesus had been rejected by his own in Nazareth. He now withdraws beyond the lake though it seems that the crowd, some presumably from Nazareth since that is where last was, knows exactly how to find him. Could it be that, like Herod, the Nazarenes were actually fascinated with Jesus but could not and would not let it show lest they loose faith with one another by permitting Jesus, one of their own number, to be Messiah? This is what killed John the Baptist. Herod could not let his heart that loved to listen to John in amazement win over the conventions of his day and the demands of honor and custom. He killed John out of obedience to custom and the will to power and acclaim. 
Jesus in Nazareth did no great signs, though it was obviously in his grasp, because the people’s hearts were buried in custom and convention as well as in a deep sea of self interest. “if you are from here, Jesus,” they said and thought, “do your work for your own, those who raised you, those to whom you are indebted, and for those who deserve your first and best because of who they are.”
Nazareth and Herod have a lot in common. Luke goes as far as to report that Nazareth did attempt to kill Jesus but failed. (Lk 4:29) Herod was just lucky to be dealing with a prophet who was not going to just walk out of his palace while his guards stood by powerlessly. 
What is more ironic is that no one would have blinked an eye at what Herod and Nazareth did. This is how one behaved. One kept one’s oaths. Just ask Jephthah’s daughter. (Jd 11:34) One cared for one’s own first because that is all one actually had as security. Naomi sends Ruth back to Boaz’s village for that very reason.
Yet, we also recognize that the ulterior motive of power and greed were no less present. Herod had power. Maybe not what the tempter had put before Jesus: “all the kingdoms of the world” but he had power no less. Nazareth had supplies for itself. It might not have been rich but it was probably not starving either so as to need the rocks in the street to be turned into bread. The miracles they ask Jesus to perform among them echo the tempter’s taunts: Be useful, be powerful, be amazing in our midst — so we might be amazing too because your are one of us. 
No wonder Jesus withdrew. In Nazareth and in the palace the temptations of his desert days are alive and well, and worshipped and glorified. 
In the no man’s land of the deserted places the hearts of the travelers are worried about different things. Who are the fellow travelers I am with? Can I trust them? Am I prepared? Who is this Jesus and will he help me? Here they are all powerless beggars to some extent. (Luther) Jesus has compassion upon them and heals their diseases — whatever those may have been. More than that, here in the place beyond the village bounds he created a new community. He even commands his disciples to do likewise by telling them: “They do not need to go away, give them to eat.” 
Yes, they can go to the villages that surround them. The disciples plan on how to deal with the multitude that had gathered was not irrational. The villages were there to be accessed and the travelers, if they had the means, could have talked someone into selling them food or by virtue of state extend hospitality to them. It might have worked. But what was gathered here before Jesus was a multitude led away from those places and away for the allegiances and entanglements that they represented. They did not need to go away. The church could be their community, their family right there, though claimed from many places and families and status. (Rev 7:9)

I know what you are saying: But this is about a miracle of feeding! Well, yes, but that miracle does prefigure the feeding of the multitudes that will gather to be fed with the healing power of the one heavenly food: The Body and Blood of the Lord. That moment, the Eucharist, is when “ . . . there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands.” (Rev 7:9) 
The feeding in the wilderness is more than a miracle. If it was just that, it would merely be charming. No, the feeding of the multitudes is a hint that people will be led out to Jesus and are not to be discouraged to gather as a new family. All that go out, “ . . . who [have] left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and will inherit eternal life.” (Matt 19:29)

This new community is not a convenient new patch one sows unto an old garment. That community will not fit neatly into the palace of Herod or into Nazareth. It is a new allegiance to the very heart of God and it will care for its own beyond their capacity to  need. (14:20)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Lessons for Sunday July 20th, 2014

First Reading: Isaiah 44:6–8

6Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel,
and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts:
I am the first and I am the last;
besides me there is no god.
  7Who is like me? Let them proclaim it,
let them declare and set it forth before me.
Who has announced from of old the things to come? 
Let them tell us what is yet to be.
  8Do not fear, or be afraid;
have I not told you from of old and declared it?
You are my witnesses!
Is there any god besides me?
There is no other rock; I know not one.\

Second Reading: Romans 8:12–25

12So then, brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh —  13for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.  14For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.  15For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, "Abba! Father!"  16it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God,  17and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ — if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.
18I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us.  19For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God;  20for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope  21that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.  22We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now;  23and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.  24For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen?  25But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Gospel: Matthew 13:24–30, 36–43

24He put before them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field;  25but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away.  26So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well.  27And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, 'Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?'  28He answered, 'An enemy has done this.' The slaves said to him, 'Then do you want us to go and gather them?'  29But he replied, 'No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them.  30Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.'"
36Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples approached him, saying, "Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field."  37He answered, "The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man;  38the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one,  39and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels.  40Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age.  41The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers,  42and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  43Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!

Matt 13:24-30, 36-43 in Greek - Pr. Fourman

Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

The parable of the weeds is unique to Matthew.  Thiselton says the kingdom parables are "designed to capture the listener and make him a participant, overturning his world-view and leading him to call in question his most basic values." The opposite is more likely the case. Kingdom Parables are quite different from teaching parables. They derive in form from extended metaphors (although the parable of the weeds in the field is more like an allegory). They defy being allegories. Dodd says they are gospel statements proclaiming the "present-ness" of the kingdom and so take the form of a mysterious, obscure, profound proverb - an extended riddle  like a Hebrew masal.  So the kingdom parable function as an instrument of divine judgment on those who have heard the gospel but have not responded. 

v24 αυτοις dat. pro. "[Jesus set before] them A Dative of direct object 
λεγων (λεγω) pres. part. "-" - saying
των ουρανων (ος) gen. "[the kingdom] of heaven" - the kingdom is clearly a heavenly one over which God reigns and is now impacting the present age through Christ. Matthew may be showing deference to God by not mentioning his name (Mark and Luke use "kingdom of God") i.e. the kingdom belongs to God, the rule of God is in mind, but possession is the intent not the action.
ωμοιωθη (ομοιοω) aor. pas. "is like
σπειραντι (σπειρω) dat. aor. part. "[a man] who sowed" that pesky farmer returns.  This is a Dative in agreement with ανθρωπω, "man", so "may be likened to a farmer."
καλον adj. "good [seed]" i.e. carefully selected 

v25 εν ... τω/ καθευδειν (καθευδω) pres. inf. "while [everyone] was sleeping" – i.e. in the middle of the night, 
επεσπειρεν (επισπειρω) aor. "sowed" – another farmer is at work.
ζιζανια (ον) "weeds" - Bearded Darnel - a poisonous weed which, in the early stages of growth, looks like wheat.

v26 ο χορτος (ος) "wheat" –, actually means "an enclosed place for feeding", but in the NT takes the sense of "fodder" 0- the puirpsoe of this grass was to feed cattle, not people..

v27 του οικοδεσποτου (ης ου) gen. "the owner's [servants]" not the farmer?  The who is the farmer?  And who is the householder?
προσελθοντες (προσερχομαι) aor. part. "came" - approached.
κυριε voc. "Sir" - vocative.
ουχι .... εσπειρας "didn't you sow ... ?"  a rhetorical question.

v28 εχθρος ανθρωπος "a hostile man – this is not the result of some supernatural interference, it is clearly sabotage and intentional.
απελθοντες (απερχομαι) aor. part. "[do you want] us to go" – another rhetorical question. 
συλλεξωμεν (συλλεγω) aor. subj. "pull them up"
v29 μηποτε + subj. "because" conveying a negated purpose; "in order that you may not ...."
συλλεγοντες (συλλεγω) pres. part. "while you are pulling [the weeds]" - gathering, collecting – another statement regarding intentions.  Good intentions do not always serve the purposes of the Kingdom.
εκριζωσητε (εκριζω) aor. subj. "may root up" - may pull up by the roots. "The danger is that you may tear up the wheat by the roots at the same time", Barclay.

v30 αφετε (αφιημι) aor. imp. "let" – actually forgive..
συναυξανεσθαι (συναξανω) pres. pas. inf. "grow together".
του θερισμου (ος) gen. of the harvest.
τοις θερισταις (ης ου) dat. "[I will tell] the harvesters
δησατε (δεω) imp. " bind together”.
προς το κατακαυσαι (κατακαιω) aor. inf. "to be burned" - clause expressing purpose; 
συναγαγετε (συναγω) aor. imp. "gather together

v36 αφεις (αφιημι) aor. part. "he left/abandoned [the crowd]. Adverbial/temporal; "then he left the crowds".
λεγοντες (λεγω) pres. part. "and said" – (asked) 
διασαφησον (διασαφεω) aor. imp. "to make clear through an explanation”. 
ημιν dat. pro. "to us

v37 ο σπειρων (σπειρω) part. "the one who sowed" - present tense may indicate ongoing sowing.
του ανθρωπου (ος) gen. "[the Son] of Man" so Jesus is the farmer. 

v38 ο κοσμος "the world" – an unusual phrase for Matthew, the inhabited earth, not the church.
της βασιλειας (α)  gen. "[the ones] of the kingdom" - seed usually represents the gospel, but not here. The adjective "good seed" designates the ‘sh’er sh’uv” the returned remnant of Israel – children of the kingdom which now includes Gentiles who bear fruit (cf. 21:43).
του πονηρου adj. "[the ones] of the evil [one]" – and the other farmer is identified.

v39 ο σπειρας (σπειρω) aor. part. "who having sown”. 
ο διαβολος "the devil" - the principal supernatural being..
συντελεια αιωνος "the consummation of the age" TEOTWAWKI The end of the world as we know it!, Barclay; "the end time", note that both nouns in v40 take a definite article.  Matthew and Jesus have particular persons in mind.
αγγελοι (ος) "angels" – messengers; angels are often associated with the judgment in the last day (Rev.14:15-19),.

v40 ωσπερ ..... ουτως "as ...... so [it will be]" - in this way. 
πυρι (πυρ ος) dat. "[burned] in the fire" –or "by fire."
του αιωνος (ων ωνος) gen. "[the end] of the age" - [the consummation] of the age. This phrase is used by Matthew in the Great Commission (28:16-20).
v41 αποστελει (αποστελλω) fut. "he will send" - expressing Jesus' authority over the angels τους αγγελους (ος).
τα σκανδαλα (ον) "[everything] that is a stumbling block- probably referring to persons rather than things that lead believers astray. 
τους ποιουντας (ποιεω) pres. part. "all who do [evil]" - the ones working, doing a substantive, forming the substantival phrase "the ones doing lawlessness" = "law-breakers".

v42 βαλουσιν "they will throw" - a vigorous action; "pitch them in the trash and be done"..
του πυρος (υρ υρος) gen. "[the] fiery [furnace]" – (Dan.3:6)- picture language, describing the horror of judgment, not a literal burning alive of the unrepentant. 
οδοντων (δους) gen. "[weeping and gnashing] of teeth" - genitive is objective but can just as easily be taken as adjectival- a physical expression of anger or frustration serving to illustrate a terrible end. Matthew likes this phrase..

v43 οι δικαιοι adj. "the righteous ones" – counter to "the lawless ones".
εκλαμψσουσιν (εκλαμπω) fut. "shine" – a Hapax legomenon, possibly influenced by Dan.12:3 describing the radiance of the age to come, i.e. Jesus' disciples will share his glory.

ο εξων (εχω) pres. part. "he who has [ears]" a fancy way of saying, PAY ATTENTION – the constant refrain of Christ.

Plant up and grow - Pr. Kruse

For it is needful that evil should some day be wholly and absolutely removed out of the circle of being. — Gregory of Nyssa

Wherefore also he drove him out of paradise and removed him far from the tree of life, not because He envied him the tree of life, as some dare assert, but because He pitied him and desired that he should not be immortal and the evil interminable and irremediable. — Iraneaus of Lyons

As with the parable on the Sower and its explanation, the parable under consideration here comes from Matthew  chapter 13, which I suggested last week, is bookended by two stories of rejection, one by Jesus’ family the other by his home village. At issue then is the same situation: The world will react to what the church is teaching and how she lives. Some of those reactions will not be kind or pleasant. The parables of the sower answered the question: “Is it worth it,” by saying: “it will pay off big time.”
Today, we approach the James and John question, asked on the outskirts of villages that would not offer hospitality to Jesus and his the disciples on the way: “Do you want us to ask for fire from heaven to destroy them?” (Lk 9:54) 
But who would plant weeds in another man’s field? Jesus lived in a place where one inherited enemies the same way one inherited land or the shape of one’s nose: one was born into a family that had a feud with another. (Pilch) So, the 8 year old son of Bar-Hatfield walked past the field of Bar-McCoy with a hand full of mustard seeds and casually let them fly into the wind toward the field. Why? Because the mustard plant happened to have been there, and the field was there, and all his life the lad has been told and taught to despise any and all things Bar-McCoy. It was the way of life. Enemies came your way by virtue of your name.
In practical farming terms, there is in living memory of farmers a habit known as roguing.  A crew, usually the family, would walk the field and uproot everything that did not belong. It is probably still done in small operations with limited funds. Most crops in our world are tended with chemicals these days, so the practice is going into disuse. Since all crops in the West are planted in orderly rows, roguing is fairly simple. The middle eastern practice of cast seed first, plow second probably made this a much harder as plants would be clustered, good and bad, in clumps. 
When the landowner in Jesus’s parable takes the approach to wait for the reaper to do the sorting out at harvest time he is taking a gamble. He is saying: I trust that my grain is strong enough to survive in spite of the presence of the seed of the enemy. 
Yes, as Jesus explains the parable, there is a strong hint of judgement in the air. The evil seed will burn. In the parable, the weeds are readily identified. It is not secret knowledge what is good and what is bad. The reapers and the angels will have no problem doing the separating. Neither will the disciples as everyone is known by their fruit. (Matt 12:33) But is judgement really the heart of the parable or of the explanation?
It would seem to me that the trust of the landowner is perhaps the central piece that one is to take home from this. The disciples, like Jesus, will discover resistance and outright contrariness to their ministry. No, God will not “make them go away.” Instead God trusts that the good planted in the disciples will bear fruit and they will be strong enough to live with it. In other words, even the seed that fell on good ground will deal with troubles. (This is not seed that fell among the thorns which would be the bushes at the edge of a field — Matt 13:7)
There are a few popular sayings out there along the lines of: “God never gives us more than we can handle,” or, “when one door closes God opens another.” More than simple platitudes, these might actually be true. Well, at least the first one, but here it is not that God “gives” us tribulation — though that is biblical as well — no here it is that God trust that believers will, in following Jesus, prevail against the weeds next door. 

The believers in turn ought not be upset overly much about the weeds either. They just are. The angels will sort it all out in due time. Pay attention to Jesus and the Gospel and live gracefully. The harvest is God’s who will send the reaper soon enough.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Readings for Sunday, July 13th, 2014

First Reading: Isaiah 55:10–13

10For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and do not return there until they have watered the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
  11so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
  12For you shall go out in joy,
and be led back in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
shall burst into song,
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
  13Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;
instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;
and it shall be to the LORD for a memorial,
for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.\

Second Reading: Romans 8:1–11

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.  3For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh,  4so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.  5For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.  6To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.  7For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God's law — indeed it cannot,  8and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
9But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.  10But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.  11If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.

Gospel: Matthew 13:1–9, 18–23

That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea.  2Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach.  3And he told them many things in parables, saying: "Listen! A sower went out to sow.  4And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up.  5Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil.  6But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away.  7Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them.  8Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.  9Let anyone with ears listen!"

18Hear then the parable of the sower.  19When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path.  20As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy;  21yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away.  22As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing.  23But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty." 

The Text in Greek - Pr. Fourman

Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23 - parable of the [sower] or [the four soils] or [the miraculous harvest]?

v1 εν τη ημερα (α) that same day - at that time.
εξελθων (εξερχομαι) aor. part. "went out" - attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb " sat"; 
της οικιας (a) gen. "of the house" - The genitive is ablative, source / origin; "from the house." παρα + acc. "by" - την θαλασσαν (α) "the sea" i.e. Galilee, hence "at about the same time Jesus left the house and sat on the beach".

v2 οχλοι πολλοι "large crowds" -  συνηχθησαν (συναγω) aor. pas. "gathered"
ωστε + inf. "so that [he got into a boat and sat]
ειστηκει (ιστημι) pluperf. "stood" - The cultural teaching stance of the time is adopted; the teacher sits and the students stand.

v3 παραβολαις  dat. "parables" - a story which points to another meaning beyond its face value. The word can be used of illustrations (teaching parables) but also of gospel riddles (kingdom parables). The synoptics have Jesus preaching the news of the coming kingdom openly in much the same form as John, but as rejection and opposition sets in, Jesus begins to present the news of the coming kingdom in the form of riddles.  This unclear revelation of the kingdom serves to enact the judgment of God on a stiff-necked people, so "let anyone with ears listen!"
ο σπειρων (σπειρω) pres. part. "a farmer" – actually one who sows
του σπειρειν (σπειρω) "to sow his seed" .

v4 εν τω + inf. "as [he was scattering the seed]" - α pl. pro. "some" μεν .... δε ... an adversative comparative construction. The contrasting δε is picked up in v5, 7 and 8; "some seeds [fell] but others"
παρα + gen. "along" beside [the road]- the compacted ground beside a path.
ελθοντα (ερχομαι) aor. "came" - the birds came and ate.

v5 τα πετρωδη (ης ου) "rocky places" – a shelf of rock covered by a thin layer of soil.
εξανετειλεν (εξανατελλω) αορευθεως adv. "it sprang up immediately”
δια "because - on account of a causal clause. Shallow ground causes an earlier germination because, with rock so close to the surface, it warms up in Spring much more quickly than deeper ground which has been mulched/fertilized. As Yoda would say “Not just a carpenter he is!”

v6 ανατειλαντος (ανατελλω) gen. aor. part. "when [the sun] came up" – i.e. the heat of the day.
εκαυματισθη (καυματιζω) aor. pas. "the plants were scorched" - burnt up, dried out.

v7 επνιξαν (πνιγω) aor. "choked".

v8 την γην την καλην "good soil".
εδιδου (διδωμι) imperf. "it produced" – lit. they were giving i.e. the plants kept on producing.
ο μεν ...... ο δε .....ο δε ......”the one ..... the other ..... the other” .... an adversative comparative; "some on the one hand .... some on the other..... and still some other .....". In Mark the reference to three harvests probably serves to balance the three wasted sowings. It is sometimes argued that there is significance in the size of the harvest, particularly by those who view the parable as climactic, ie. the excessive bounty has eschatological meaning. But it has been shown that seed in Syria could easily yield a hundredfold (Davies & Allison)and since the story is simple yet needs explanation: good seed going into good ground bearing a good crop seems hardly an outcome worthy of parabolic reflection!

v9 ο εχων (εχω) pres. part. "he who has [hears]" ακουετω (ακουω) pres. imp. "hear!"
An imperative, so "pay attention"!

v18 υμεις you. The emphatic use of the pronoun - either the crowd or the disciples.

v19 ακουοντος (ακουω) gen. pres. part. "when [anyone] hears".
της βασιλειας (a) "[the message] of the kingdom" - genitive i.e. anyone hearing the preaching about the kingdom".
μη συνιεντος (συνιημι) gen. pres. part. "does not understand it"  in the sense of failing to address the spiritual truths contained in the gospel, rather than not being able to comprehend those truths, ie. the problem revealed by the Greek here is the unreceptive attitude of the hearers rather than the inadequacy in the communicating of the message". Some people hear the message about the kingdom; but like hardened paths, they do not let the truth penetrate.
αρπαζει (αρπαζω) pres. "snatches away" that the evil one snatches away "the living results of or the spiritual truth of the message. Having been rejected, the ideas are subsumed into the business of everyday life.
ουτος εστιν ο παρα την οδον σπαρεις " the seed sown along the path" – who is the identity of ουτος, "this/this one"- the pronoun is usually taken to represent the one who hears the word of the kingdom, yet, in what sense is this person being sown along the path? It is the seed that is sown. i.e. the situation where a person hears the gospel but fails to respond to it and then forgets what he has heard. 

v20 σπαρεις (σπειρω) aor. pas. part. "the one who receives the seed" - the one having been sown
ο .... ακουων (ακουω) pres. part. "the one who hears"
λαμβανων (λαμβανω) pres. part. "receives [it]" attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying "hearing"; so "hears the word and accepts it with joy".

v21 προσκαιρος adj. "lasts only a short time" – temporary
γενομενης (γινομαι) gen. aor. part. "when [trouble or persecution] comes".
δια + acc. "because of [the word]".
σκανδαλιζεται (σκανδαλιζω) pres. pas. "he [quickly] falls away" - is offended/falls into a trap, is tempted/stumbles.

v22 του αιωνος (ων ωνος) gen. "[the anxieties] of this life" - [ [the worries] which preoccupy men in the world", or objective, "[the worries] for things of the world."
του πλουτου (ος) gen. "[deceitfulness] of riches"
συμπνιγει (συμπνιγω  pres. "choke [it]" – idiom, smothers the truth.
γινεται (γινομαι) pres. "making it [barren]. The subject is usually regarded as τον λογον, "the word", so the word is choked and does not produce a renewed spiritual life in the person.

v23 την καλην adj. "good soil" attributive limiting an assumed "soil".
ο .... συνιεις (υνιημι) pres. part. "[hears the word and] understands" - the one [hearing and] understanding. As for ακουων, "hearing", the participle serves as a substantive. The sense of "understands" as in v19, i.e. the illustration in the parable where seed is sown on good ground and grows to produce fruit represents the situation where a person hears the gospel, "grasps the message" and is converted by it.
καρποφορει (καρποφορεω) pres. "produces a crop" - the various levels of fruitfulness has tended to promote an interpretation where the hearing and understanding the gospel involves putting it into practice and thus bearing the fruits of the spirit but the image is of the fruit of salvation; i.e. those who take in the message of the kingdom they are converted.

ο μεν .... ο δε .... ο δε ..... " on the one hand ....., but then on the other hand, ..... but also on the other hand ...... adversative comparative construction.