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 25, 2017

The Texts for April 30th, the 3rd Sunday of Easter

First Reading: Acts 2:14a, 36-41

14aPeter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed [the crowd], 36“Therefore 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.

Psalm: Psalm 116:1-4, 12-19

1I love the Lord, who has heard my voice,
  and listened to my supplication,
2for the Lord has given | ear to me
  whenever I called.
3The cords of death entangled me; the anguish of the grave came upon me;
  I came to grief and sorrow.
4Then I called upon the name of the Lord:
  “O Lord, I pray you, save my life.” 
12How shall I repay the Lord
  for all the good things God has done for me?
13I will lift the cup of salvation
  and call on the name of the Lord.
14I will fulfill my vows to the Lord
  in the presence of all God’s people.
15Precious in your sight, O Lord,
  is the death of your servants.
16O Lord, truly I am your servant;
  I am your servant, the child of your handmaid; you have freed me from my bonds.
17I will offer you the sacrifice of thanksgiving
  and call upon the name of the Lord. 
18I will fulfill my vows to the Lord
  in the presence of all God’s people,
19in the courts of the Lord‘s house,
  in the midst of you, O Jerusalem. Hallelujah! 

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 [when Jesus had appeared to Mary Magdalene,] two [disciples] 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 of Luke 24:13-35

Greek Study for Luke 24:13-35

v13  εν 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.
αυτος "[Jesus] himself" –a variant; the pronoun 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.
εγγισας (ενγιζω) aor. part. "drew near – was at hand, within reach" - Attendant circumstance so temporal. Jesus also was coming from Jerusalem and caught 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 that it is their own doubts and fears that have blinded them. The use of this word by Luke is 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" –a cognitive disconnect; 

v17 αντιβαλλετε (αντιβαλλω) pres. "are you discussing" – literally “what words are you tossing around, debating?”
σκυθρωποι adj. "their faces downcast" – an idiom, they were sullen

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

v19 ποια "what things" – αυτοις dat. pro. "he asked
περι "about [the things] Jesus of Ναζαρηνου (ος) "Nazareth" – Luke loves to serve up details, place and people names as a way of inviting others to check the story out for themselves.
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 εξεστησαν (εξιστημι) aor. "disturbed [us]" the word carries a  touch of awe, supposing a pre-faith response but given the debate,  "disturbed" may be better.

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 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" - a vision of angels." Luke now tells us that what the women saw maybe pointing to a non-Lukan source for this tradition (as the Luke accouint has two ‘men’).. The words of the angels are also different.
ζην (ζαω) pres. inf. "[he] was alive" not risen (ανεστασισ) - the  angels say "he lives." 

v24 τινες "some" - 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" read "stupid", some scholars suggest "obtuse" as better.  I leave it to you, would Jesus say “How obtuse” or ‘How stupid of you!”  
βραδεις adj. "slow" τη καρδια (a) dat. "of heart" a Semitism?  For Hebrews the heart that was the seat of the intellect.  For Greeks, the heart was the seat of emotion.  Here Luke seems to the intellectual assertion.  Slow of heart” is an idiom for “not the sharpest knife in the drawer…” you get the picture. 
του πιστευειν (πιστευω) pres. inf. "to have faith" – an epexegetic i.e. it explains the "foolish" and "slow of heart" to whit; "How stupid and slow you are to have faith."

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

v28 προσεποιησατο (προσποιεω) "Jesus acted as if" - sometimes translated “Jesus appeared to be going further", or the more bluntly "he pretended to go further.” 
v29 παρεβιασαντο (παραβιαζομαι) aor. "they urged [him] strongly/pressed him. 
λεγοντες μεινον μεθ aor. imp. "saying stay with us” a plaintive cry.
προς εσπεραν εστιν" it is nearly evening" - it is toward evening (late afternoon).
κεκλικεν ηδη η ημερα "the day is almost over" – idiom; the day has tipped.

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 Jesus takes the lead which  may imply they are staying at an inn. In acting as host, Jesus is recognized. Luke would have us see this recognition as divine initiative, supported by a miraculous disappearance. It seems Luke wants to make the point that the Christians of his day were able to have the living Lord made know to them in a manner analogous to the Emmaus experience at the eucharist. 
 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]" - all of this action seems a bit to formulaic to be referring to an “agape feast”, it is 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

v32 καιομενη η∴ν "were [not our hearts] burning" – a "burning mind" is awkward so it may be an idiom, “weren't we excited..."

v33 ανασταντες (ανιστημι) aor. part. "they got up" αυτη τη ωρα dat. "that very hour" It may have been too late for Jesus to travel, but mot for them to return to Jerusalem!
ηθροισμενους (αθροιζω) perf. pas. part. "assembled together" - object of the verb "they found” the eleven “[who were] gathered there with their companions".

v34 οντως "it is true!" ηγερθη (εγαιρω) aor. pas. "He has risen
Here it is expressed in the terms of a recounted 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" Why "Simon" rather than "Peter"?  Only here among the synoptics is an appearance to Peter mentioned. Paul was aware of this tradition, as recorded (again) in first Corinthians 15 Are we dealing, once again, of those things that are “passed on as of first importance”?

Stay with us!

If one might be permitted: Let us for a moment give Luke the right to have been writing in a bit of a mystical way. 
Eventually, the church must walk away. Away from Jerusalem, away from the familiar workings and machinations of the faith out of which it was born. The Temple recedes in the history that Luke writes. Less and less of the story has anything to do with the Temple and, eventually, they get kicked out of Jerusalem all together. (Acts 8) The Gospel of Luke begins in the Temple with Zechariah and ends there as well with the Apostles giving praise to God. Acts is the story of the apostles moving out of the Temple and into the world.
The road to Emmaus is maybe a prefiguring of that movement. We are walking away from Jerusalem and away from Temple and place of memory. The tomb is empty. It will be a few years before it becomes a site for pilgrimage and even in the face of the possibility to do so, most Christians today have never and will never go to Jerusalem. The tomb was meant to stay empty, the cross was meant to remain bare, the lower rooms in the house in Bethlehem was meant to return to be the habitat  of the critters for for that it was built. 
If so, if indeed we are to be a Faith on the road and on the move, “Where then,” it has to be asked, “where is this Lord? Can we go on without knowing? Can we go on without hearing? Can we go on without touching the Holy?” 
True human life is not lived in compartments. Today I will live in my soul, starting Monday, I will live mainly by my intellect and Tuesday night I will go to the gym and be all physical. We are “one” in soul, mind, and body and the Lord will address all of us, not just a bit of us. The Temple and its ritual and meaning was not a bad idea, it was merely not God’s last idea. The New Jerusalem has no Temple. (Rv 21:22)
We find ourselves on the road and we hear the story that moves within us as it is told. We take shelter from the dark and in the breaking of the bread there is revelation of the Holiest of Holy: The Lord. “Where not our hearts burning?” Where not their eyes opened. The two have met: the story and the lifting of the bread and in it, the Lord has somehow come. 
The mystic reads: “Stay with us Lord,” with a heart that longs deeply and achingly. “Stay with me, Lord, Stay with me in this darkness, on this long road, through ship wreck and flights to the third circle of heaven.” It is a prayer: “stay with me, Lord.” Maybe John Paul II was right it was part of a liturgy once. A liturgy made not for Temple dwellers or seekers of holy places but for the common places and the impromptu moments when the Lord is heard and comes to seek his temples: his own, his disciples. (I Co 6:19)

This is that shift, that change, that Luke might be wanting for us to see. Once Zechariah and the apostles came to seek the Lord in Holy of Holies of the Temple. Now the Holy comes to them. Once the Lord bade them come now they bid him “stay.”

The Road to Emmaus

There is a reflection on the emmaus story we published three years ago. You can find it here.