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, August 16, 2017

The Readings for August 20th, 2017

First Reading: Isaiah 56:1, 6-8

1Thus says the Lord:
  Maintain justice, and do what is right,
for soon my salvation will come,
  and my deliverance be revealed.

6And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord,
  to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord,
  and to be his servants,
all who keep the sabbath, and do not profane it,
  and hold fast my covenant—
7these I will bring to my holy mountain,
  and make them joyful in my house of prayer;
their burnt offerings and their sacrifices
  will be accepted on my altar;
for my house shall be called a house of prayer
  for all peoples.
8Thus says the Lord God,
  who gathers the outcasts of Israel,
I will gather others to them
  besides those already gathered.

Psalm: Psalm 67

1 May God be merciful to us and bless us, 
    show us the light of his countenance and come to us.

2 Let your ways be known upon earth, 
    your saving health among all nations.

3 Let the peoples praise you, O God; 
    let all the peoples praise you.

4 Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, 
    for you judge the peoples with equity
    and guide all the nations upon earth.

5 Let the peoples praise you, O God; 
    let all the peoples praise you.

The earth has brought forth her increase; 
    may God, our own God, give us his blessing.

7 May God give us his blessing, 
    and may all the ends of the earth stand in awe of him.

Second Reading: Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32

[Paul writes:] 1I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. 2aGod has not rejected his people whom he foreknew.

29For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30Just as you were once disobedient to God but have now received mercy because of their disobedience, 31so they have now been disobedient in order that, by the mercy shown to you, they too may now receive mercy. 32For God has imprisoned all in disobedience so that he may be merciful to all.

Gospel: Matthew 15:[10-20] 21-28

[10[Jesus] called the crowd to him and said to them, “Listen and understand:11it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles.” 12Then the disciples approached and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees took offense when they heard what you said?” 13He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. 14Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if one blind person guides another, both will fall into a pit.” 15But Peter said to him, “Explain this parable to us.” 16Then he said, “Are you also still without understanding? 17Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth enters the stomach, and goes out into the sewer? 18But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles. 19For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. 20These are what defile a person, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile.”] 

21Jesus left that place and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon. 22Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.” 23But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, “Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.” 24He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 25But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” 26He answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” 27She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” 28Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed instantly.

Greek Study Matthew 15:10-28

Greek Study Matthew 15:10-28

v10 προσκαλεσαμενος (προσκαλεω) aor. mid. part. "Jesus called" i.e. he summoned the crowd. 
ακουετε και συνιετε pres. imp. "listen and understand" phrase is used to introduce an important statement, here a revolutionary understanding of the law.

v11 το εισερχομενον (εισερχομαι) pres. mid. part. "what goes into" – (this is an usual form) but it is 
εκπορευομενον εκ, "the thing going out from"
κοινοι (κοινοω) pres. Which "defiles" the word means "to make common".

v12 προσελθοντες (προσερχομαι) aor. part. "[the disciples] came" and 
εσκανδαλισθησαν (σκανδαλιζω) aor. pas. "were offended" - [the Pharisees] have taken offense. The base sense means "to trip up" so "to cause someone to sin." It is suggested that the sense here is Jesus' words prompted Pharisees to reject him, and thus sin. If the Pharisees understood that Jesus is dispensing with the purity regulations of the Old Testament they would certainly react negatively. Jesus didn’t set aside OT purity regulations, rather he emphasized substance over form.
ακουσαντες (ακουω) aor. part. "when they heard [this]".

v14 αφετε (αφιημι) aor. imp. "leave [them]" – forgive, abandon, leave alone, let it go, let it go. The "them" is presumably the teachings of the Pharisees, although some commentators argue that the reference is to the Pharisees themselves.
τυφλων gen. adj. οδηγοι (ος) blind guides –  an idiom; blind leading the blind. 

v17 το εισπορευομενον (εισπορευομαι) pres. part. "whatever enters" – basic biology, if vulgar, that everything entering the mouth, passes through the stomach and ends up in the crapper!

v18 τα .. εκπορευομενα (εκπορευομαι) pres. mid. part. "the things that come out" – do you need me to draw you a picture?

v19 διαλογισμοι πονηροι "evil thoughts" - interesting how Matthew heads six concrete evils with what amounts to "wicked impulses." 
βλασφημιαι (α) "slander" - taken in the general sense this word is used to describe speaking against someone else, reviling or insulting them, but a few translators opt for "blasphemy", of course, in Western societies, blasphemy has been decriminalized, but replaced by laws against racism, homophobia and sexism. All the same crap.

v20 τα κοινουντα (κοινοω) pres. part. "what defile" – as above (18).
το ..... φαγειν (εσθιω) aor. inf. "eating" – In my more aggressive youth I wore a T-shirt that had E S and D on it (which meant “eat shit and die”. How I sometimes wish I had that shirt still today! Here it refers to eating with unwashed hands (which, according to Jesus, does not defile one)" 
χερσιν (ειρ ειρος) dat. adj. "with [unwashed] hands"
τον ανθρωπον (ος[does not defile] a person." These closing words specify the issue at hand. This is not a discussion over whether Old Testament purity laws should or should not be followed but whether the tradition of the elders have a moral binding force. (BTW, the clear answer here is “maybe, depends….I dunno!)

v21 εξελθων (εξερχομαι) aor. part. "leaving [that place]
ανεχωρησεν (αναχωρεω) aor. "[Jesus] withdrew" Possibly carrying the sense of "take refuge." Jesus could have left either the growing danger, or the crush of the crowds or possibly just "left Galilee”
τα μερη (ος) "the region" - making the point that Jesus has crossed the border.

v22 εξελθουσα (εξερχομαι) aor. part. "came [to him]" – this widow she lived in the boarder region and came out of her home to meet Jesus.
εκραζεν (κραζω) imperf. "crying out" idiom, "shouting at the top of her voice".
υιος Δαυιδ "son of David" – either a messianic title used to convey his office, or equally likely meaning "hey Jew!" And while this latter would imply a racist tone, hardly unsurprising from a citizen of Tyre and Sidon, her next comment indicates she understands the relationship between her and Jesus regardless of social convention…
ελεησον (ελεεω) aor. imp. "have mercy" -take pity, be kind, help me".
κακως adv. "suffering terribly" - badly, severely - the word conveys the evil of her situation; she is "wickedly possessed.”

v23 προσελθοντες (προσερχομαι) aor. part. "came" - why is the disciples' action a result of Jesus ignoring the woman?
ηρωτουν (ερωταω) imperf. "urged" or better, "pleaded with him".
απολυσον (απολυω) aor. imp. "send (her) away" – a strong emotion being represented here, the word lilterally means “destroy her” but there is he possibility that wanting Jesus to get rid of her they are saying "give her what she wants, she's driving us nuts!"

v24 αποκριθεις (αποκρινομαι) aor. pas. part. "he answered" a common Semitic construction.
τα απολωλοτα (απολλυμι) perf. part. "the lost [sheep]" - the ones facing destruction. The meaning "destroy" takes the sense " perishing" when used in a religious context.
οικου (ος) gen. "[of the house [of Israel]. The genitive is either possessive, "the lost sheep which belong to the house of Israel", or partitive, "the lost sheep among the house of Israel". It is an important distinction; e.g. was Jesus sent only to a particular group of Jews who had gone astray like lost sheep or to . the lost sheep is the house of Israel. The second option is preferred and such the clear implication is that this Gentile woman did not have the right to enjoy the benefits of the covenant to the Jews.

v25 ελθουσα (ερχομαι) aor. part. "[she] came" and προσεκυνει (προσκυνεω) imperf. "knelt before" – i.e. was worshiping, doing obeisance, adoring him. The word carries the sense of adoration, therefore possibly "knelt".  I wonder what this actually connotes? Was it a recognition of Jesus Messiahship, or her paganism coming to the fore? The Greek and the context is unclear.
βοηθει (βοηθεω) pres. imp. "help" - come to the aid of, come to the rescue of, come to the help of. Here an excited request for help.

v26 αποκριθεις (αποκρινομαι) aor. pas. part. "he replied" - answered - redundant.
καλον adj. "it is right" - good. here in the sense of ethically good, therefore "fair".
λαβειν (λαμβανω) aor. inf. "to take" epexegetic, explaining what is not right, or a dependent statement of perception expressing that which is perceived to be "not right" -  here in the sense of "deprive".
των τεκνων (ον) gen. "the children's [bread]" – so the while phrase would be translated, “the bread that rightly belongs to the children”.
βαλειν (βαλλω) aor. inf. [and] "toss it" - to “throw/fling"
τοις κυναριοις (ον) dat. "to the dogs" - Dative of destination - probably house dogs or even "puppies". There is a strong possibility that the imagery here is "children" = Jews, and "dogs" = Gentiles but note how Mark's tradition produces a softer image, although the message is different, spec. children are fed first! It is more than likely this image frames the ordinary and establishes the principle that at this point in salvation-history the standing of Jews and Gentiles is different. It is though true that Jews viewed Gentiles as "dogs" it seems uncharacteristic for Jesus to adopt such imagery (although he is not adverse to testing the strength of a person's faith with a harsh hurdle). If this is the case here, then maybe te translation should not be “puppies” but is "scavenging dogs".

v27 ναι "yes" - In direct speech this particle is used to express strong agreement. In this case, what Jesus has just said is a negative statement and therefore the particle is being used to contradict Jesus' ουκ, "it is not right". Jesus has said it is not right to give and she replies (in effect) "oh yes it is!"
γαρ "but [even]" – an emphatic, underlining the και, "but even", although if ναι is contradictive then γαρ introduces a causal clause explaining why what Jesus has just said is "not right". The woman disagrees with what Jesus said, making the point that the dogs ("puppies") do eat from the master's table, if only scraps. "It is not right to take the children's bread..." "Yes it is", she says, "puppies get… 
των ψιχιων (ον) "the crumbs" - the smallest of pieces. The woman is making a good point. She is not asking that any of the messianic blessings be taken away from the people of Israel and given to her, rather that her daughter's healing be part of the overflowing blessings that inevitably will follow the dawning of the kingdom; "even puppies eat the leftovers”.
των πιπτοντων (πιπτω) pres. part. "that fall" "the crumbs that accidentally fall."

v28 αποκριθεις (αποκρινομαι) aor. pas. part. "[Jesus] said" - redundant.
μεγαλη (μεγας) adj. "great" – an emphatic, serving to underline the quality not the quantity of her faith.

γενηθητω (γινομαι) aor. pas. imp. "let it be done [as you desire] – very Semitic and oriental despot

A Surprise is good

Each day holds a surprise. But only if we expect it can we see, hear, or feel it when it comes to us. Let's not be afraid to receive each day's surprise, whether it comes to us as sorrow or as joy it will open a new place in our hearts, a place where we can welcome new friends and celebrate more fully our shared humanity. — Henry Nouwen 

The city skylines in many old European cities is often dominated by a singular, enormous cathedral. The small medieval town of Rothenburg are no exception. It have a cathedral that occupies several city blocks just in its building.
The building holds a surprise for those who would visit. Behind the organ in the balcony of St. Jacob at Rothenburg, a Lutheran parish, stands an altar dedicated to the last supper. In its extensive carved reardence is a cross with a glass ball at the center of the arms. In it is a relic: A bloody piece of the cross of Jesus. Yes, a reliquary is being quietly maintained by a Lutheran Church. The same Cathedral also houses two elaborate altars on the main floor. Both are dedicated to St. Mary and show carvings of paintings of the life of Mary. The only hint that this congregation is Lutheran is a small plaque at the entrance proclaiming it such. The building suggests that it be Roman Catholic 
At the rear of the nave between two pillars is a canoe shaped sculpture, a gift from the congregation’s sister church in Africa. It is a Christmas boat. The baby Jesus lies asleep in the bow being delivered to the world. It is beautifully carved from a whole log of ebony and measures about fifteen feet. 
When Jesus send the disciples to preach, heal, and teach in chapter 10, he intentionally instructs them: “Go nowhere among the Gentiles, go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matt 10:5-6) Now, he himself is in Gentile territory. 
She calls him “Lord.” and “Son of David.” She appeals to the obligation of mercy that is common in her culture — mercy is a debt one owes to God to whom one is oneself indebted — but is only extended to ones own kind where it is an obligation. 
She pleas with him: “Lord, help me!” She is willing to take the least of the places at table: The place of the dog waiting for scraps. Nothing will stand in the way of her plea for help. Out of her mouth proceeds the anguish of a mother’s heart. (15:18) 
All these are surprises. Her address of Jesus. Her acknowledgement of David’s line. Her humility in pleading. Her faith, if you will, which is true, she trusts that he can “help” her and her plea is faithful. The depth of the heart has spoken and revealed itself as caring for others honestly. She seeks no sign. She seeks salvation for her child. 
The church learned to be surprised early in her life. The Gentiles were indeed flocking in to see her and somehow were not going to be discouraged or turned away. They wanted this faith, this Lord, this cross, this resurrection, this God. 

We may learn something from wandering through the houses of faith today. Most of the ones known to us in America speak fairly clearly of exactly what they do and what the congregation gathered is about. All that distracts is likely to have been removed. I marvel at the little surprises found in medieval cathedrals in German. Why maintain a piety in the heart of the congregation that the theological movement you are part of once disavowed? Maybe because the damage done to faith by destruction of these symbols from other places outweighed the need to be “right.” Maybe being hospitable to a piece of African art that clearly does not “fit” is more important than to maintain the architectural and artistic continuity of the building. Maybe Faith just rejoices with Faith when the meeting occurs in a meeting of humility and mercy just as Jesus and this Gentile woman.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Texts for Sunday, August 13th, 2017: The 10 Sunday After Pentecost

First Reading: 1 Kings 19:9-18

9At [Horeb, the mount of God,][Elijah] came to a cave, and spent the night there. 
Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 10He answered, “I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the Israelites have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are seeking my life, to take it away.”
11He said, “Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; 12and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence. 13When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then there came a voice to him that said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 14He answered, “I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the Israelites have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are seeking my life, to take it away.” 15Then the Lord said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus; when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael as king over Aram. 16Also you shall anoint Jehu son of Nimshi as king over Israel; and you shall anoint Elisha son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah as prophet in your place. 17Whoever escapes from the sword of Hazael, Jehu shall kill; and whoever escapes from the sword of Jehu, Elisha shall kill. 18Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”

Psalm: Psalm 85:8-13

 8 I will listen to what the LORD God is saying, 
    for he is speaking peace to his faithful people
    and to those who turn their hearts to him.

9 Truly, his salvation is very near to those who fear him, 
    that his glory may dwell in our land.

10 Mercy and truth have met together; 
    righteousness and peace have kissed each other.

11 Truth shall spring up from the earth, 
    and righteousness shall look down from heaven.

12 The LORD will indeed grant prosperity, 
    and our land will yield its increase.

13 Righteousness shall go before him, 
    and peace shall be a pathway for his feet.

Second Reading: Romans 10:5-15

5Moses writes concerning the righteousness that comes from the law, that “the person who does these things will live by them.” 6But the righteousness that comes from faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) 7“or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8But what does it say? 
“The word is near you,
  on your lips and in your heart”
(that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); 9because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved. 11The scripture says, “No one who believes in him will be put to shame.” 12For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him. 13For, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
14But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? 15And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

Gospel: Matthew 14:22-33

22[Jesus] made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side [of the Sea of Galilee], while he dismissed the crowds.23And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them. 25And early in the morning he came walking toward them on the sea. 26But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. 27But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.”

28Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. 30But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

That Sinking Feeling

The secret of the missionary is...I am His, and He is carrying out His work through me. — Oswald Chambers
It is right after the story of the feeding of the 5,000 that Jesus sends his Apostles — sent ones — across the lake while he goes to pray. Let us review again how that feeding of the 5,000 went: The disciples had been with Jesus long enough to know that he could heal and that he had power over evil. He had shown that he had power over the forces of nature. (Matt 8) They had a lot of hints that he was no ordinary man. He had taught them that he had power to give to them to send them out on mission. (10) Yet, had they actually grasped who he was? The day had been one of teaching, healing and exorcizing. Now it became evening. Did they believe that he could feed the crowd? Did they believe that they had the power to do so? (14:16) Is their answer one of despair: “ We only have 2 fish and 5 barley loaves?” Are they truly convinced that this is the Messiah and that his power would be enough? They want to send the crowds away. He has to turn the situation around as much for the disciples as for the crowd. 
Who is he, this Jesus? Is he real? Is the entire experience they are sharing real? Are they imagining it? Did he really heal people? Was he real and was he from heaven or was he a spirit, maybe even an evil one like other are suggesting? 
In a way they are struggling in faith and seamanship alike. The wind is against them. Their own spirits might be against them as well. The ill wind still blows when Peter walks the waves. But, first, Jesus approaches them and they do not recognize him but take him to be a ghost. Again, he has to calm them. Peter asks for a sign to show him that this figure is Jesus. In a way he has learned. He has realized that nothing is beyond Jesus. But he also is seeking a “sign.” The real sign is the sign of Jonah, as Jesus tells the pharisees. (12:39, 16:4) Maybe his failure, his fear of the waves, his doubt are a roadmap not to follow: Signs do not do it. He did walk on water, but does that make Jesus real?
Is Jesus real and is Jesus the Son of the Most High God? Can faith have an “if” in it? Apostles, disciples, ancient and modern, really need to have this basic step down. If Jesus is the Christ, the only Son of God then all things are indeed possible for those whom he commissions and sends. Yes, the wind calms down and the waves subside when he gets into the boat. But is he ever really “out of the boat?” If, as Luther insisted in the Large Catechism, Jesus lived, died and rose a long time ago but the Holy Spirit delivers his saving death and his resurrection to us today, if indeed the sacrament deliver the risen Jesus, if indeed the church is the tabernacle of Spirt and therefore Father and Son, is the boat ever really abandoned to the waves?
“You of little faith, why did you doubt?” (14:31b) The world is full of us who seek signs. We want to hear and see stories of 4th stage cancer victims suddenly completely cancer free. We want to be that healed person. We want to see and be part of the totally rocking — every Sunday 30% visitors — miracles at every altar call — most inclusive religious community in America — our pastor is never here any more because every evangelical convention wants to hear the story of our congregation — church. Let’s be frank, no one wants to be ordinary. We want to be Peter and be able to say: “I walked on water once.” To his credit, Peter, if he actually wrote I and II Peter, never makes mention of it. For that matter he only mentions that the Voice from the Cloud said: “You are my son,” but never says: “I was there to see the Lord Transfigured.” 
They call it Faith. Somehow, every once and again, when we loose sight of ourselves — however many times in our lives that might actually happen — we do seem to be able to work as if the Lord was in the boat with us because he actually is. When that happens the next things we do is the work of God until the moment we realize that we are doing it. Then . . . we tend to sink.

Matthew 14:22-31 Greek Study

Greek Study Matthew 14:22-33

v22 ηναγκασεν (αναγκαζω) aor. "[immediately] Jesus made" - urged strongly. The strength of these words suggest that Matthew may be aware of the attempt to make Jesus a king, as recorded in John 6:15.
εμβηναι (εμβαινω) aor. inf. "to get [into the boat]" - infinitive, as with προαγειν, "to go before", forms an object clause expressing what Jesus made the disciples do.
εις το περαν "to the other side" - Possibly "to redeem” the eastern shore of the lake", or even "cross the lake", but if the above note is correct then "to get them out of the way" may be the sense.
εως ου + subj. "while [he dismissed]" - until [he might send away]. A contraction of ες του χρονου w|, with the dative relative pronoun w|/, "in which", attracted to its genitive antecedent "of the time", σο ου, cf. Zerwick. This construction forms a temporal clause, although usually with the sense "until", but here Matthew may have used the construction for an Aramaic "while". Elsewhere he uses the regular "until", which may be the sense here. Jesus gets the disciples out of the way until he had dismissed the crowd.
τους οχλους (ος) "the crowds" - the plural is used but translated in English as a collective singular, as NIV.
v23 απολυσας (απολυω) aor. part. "after he had dismissed [them]".
ανεβη (αναβαινω) aor. "he went up" - Possible Exodus imagery; Jesus goes up a mountain to meet with God as Moses went up. The use of the definite article with mountain, "the mountain", not just any mountain, adds to the imagery, as does his going κατ ιδεαν, "by himself", "alone". High in a mountain was always regarded as a "place of special closeness to God", Luz. None-the-less, nothing more may be intended than to note that Jesus headed off into the "hill country" away from the shore.
κατ ιδιαν "by himself" - according to one's own. "Privately".
προσευξασθαι (προσευχομαι) inf. "to pray" infinitive here is adverbial, forming a purpose clause, "in order to pray."
γενομενης (γινομαι) aor. part. "when [evening] came".

v24 απειχεν (απεχω) imperf. "was [already considerable distance from land]" - One stadia = 192 meters, and they were πολλους, "many" stadia from land.
βασανιζομενον (βασανιζω) pas. pat. "buffeted" - being tossed, tormented, harassed. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "was distant." The word is often used of torture.
εναντιος adj. "against it" - contrary, over against, opposed. The disciples were well into the journey, but now they were sailing into the wind and unlike modern sailing boats, this meant that they were going nowhere; "the wind was dead against them", Barclay.

v25 τεταρτη dat. adj. "in the fourth [watch]/ before dawn" between three and six am 
της νυκτος (ος) gen. "of the night"
ηλθεν (ερχομαι) aor. "Jesus went out" - came to them although "went to" carries the movement better.
περιπατων (περιπατεω) part. "walking about” in the sense that Jesus was walking επι, "upon" the surface of the water it may be read "to/at" – raising the possibility that Jesus was walking on the shore (Jeremias) but that would make this something less than a miracle, right? 

v26 ιδοντες (οραω) aor. part. "when [the disciples] saw".
περιπατουντα (περιπατεω) pres. part. "the walking about
εταραχθησαν (ταρασσω) aor. pas. literally "they were troubled” but in the passive it means "terrified". 
φαντασμα (α) "ghost" - apparition. Not necessarily the spirit of a dead person, but the word can take this meaning.
λεγοντες (λεγω) pres. part. "they said
εκραξαν (κραζω) aor. "they cried out" - screamed with fear.- so like a 12 year old girl who has seen a spider…

v27 ο Ιησους "Jesus" - Not found in all manuscripts, likely from Matthew's hand. Not found in Mark's account Matthew is placing the focus on Jesus rather than the disciples.
θαρσειτε (φαρσεω) imp. "take courage/be of good cheer”- idiomatically; "relax, everything will be all right!"
εγω ειμι "it is I" – more like "It's just me boys" does justice to the Greek, but it is possible that the words serve as a divine self revelation, the great "I AM"; but then that would not allay but likely instill even more fear. 
μη φοβεισθε (φοβεομαι) imp. "don't be afraid"; there is nothing to be worried about.

v28 αποκριθεις (αποκρινομαι) aor. pas. part. answering. i.e. Peter answered him and said.
κελευσον (κελευω) imp. "tell" "Call me to come to you" – think about it…
ελθειν (ερχομαι) aor. inf. "to come" epexegetic statement of indirect speech expressing what Jesus "commands".

v29 ελθε (ερχομαι) aor. imp. "come" - an ingressive aorist, "start to come."
καταβας (καταβαινω) aor. part. "got down" i.e. Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water." The aorist indicates that Peter did the getting out of the boat unhindered, as well as a bit of walking; these are inceptive aorists, so "began to walk".
τα υδατα (υδωρ ατος) "the water" – actually "waters"; likely a Hebraism where water is always plural. Possibly Old Testament imagery in this story.

v30 βλεπων (βλεπω) pres. part. "when he saw" - participle is usually translated as temporal, while the present tense serves to bring out the change in Peter's focus; from his obeying Jesus to his "seeing" the force of the storm.
τον ανεμον (ος) "the wind" one doesn’t actually see wind, but the results of it. 
εφοβηθη (φοβεω) aor. "he was afraid" - "he panicked"
αρξαμενος (αρχω) aor. mid. part. "beginning" "as he was beginning to 
καταποντιζεσθαι (καταποντιζω) inf. "to sink" idiom; to drown.
κυριε, σωσον "Lord, save [me]" - same phrase as in 8:25, although this does not mean Matthew has assimilated two sea rescue stories, but this phrase is used nowhere else in the NT. "Save can refer to deliverance in a variety of ways; here certainly it means save from drowning".

v31 ευθεως "immediately" - used to express vivid movement, with a touch of urgency!
εκτεινας (εκεινω) aor. part. "reached out [his hand]" "stretched out and."
επελαβετε (επιλαμβανομαι) aor. "caught" – i.e. grabbed him.
ολιγοπιστε adj. "little faith" - a deficiency in ones faith, a weak faith. The deficiency in Peter's is not overly clear. It is often stated that Peter doubted, but a weak faith as opposed to a strong faith, is surely not the issue. Doubts are part of faith (for Matthew doubt is central to his resurrection appearance in Galilee in chapter 28. Maybe Peter questions Jesus' ability to carry through his command, or maybe the consequences of taking one’s eyes off Jesus is the meaning. Either way, other than Peter, believers can't walk on water because there is no promise or command to that end. Faith is not reliance on our expectations but reliance on God's revealed will.
εις τι "why" – preposition εις expresses purpose, and together with the interrogative pronoun τι forms the interrogative clause "to what purpose?"
εδιστασας (δισταζω) aor. "did you doubt" - Here "being of two minds", remember for Matthew "doubt" is part of faith, not an essential characteristic but present none-the-less. 

v32 αναβαντων (αναβαινω) gen. aor. part. "when they climbed" - genitive absolute participle forms a temporal clause. The participle, attendant on the main verb "died down", implies a sequence of events where the storm was still raging when Peter climbed back into the boat. It was only after he climbed back in the boat that 
εκοπασεν (κοπαζω) aor. "[the wind] died down" – literally grew weary. Matthew doesn't tell us Jesus stilled the storm, it is implied. Whether the storm was directly stilled or ran out of steam (grew weary), the powers of darkness, resident in the deep, recognized someone greater and so their rage was stilled.

v33 προσεκυνησαν (προσκυνεω) aor. "worshiped" - went down on the knees to. The disciples adoration of Christ is certainly conveyed in their statement of faith, but may also have included their kneeling before him; "fell down and worshipped him."
λεγοντες (λεγω) pres. part. "saying
αληθως adv. "truly

θεου υιος "the Son of God" - fusage in Matthew. The word "son", is preceded by the definite article; (not "a” son) and so best understood as a messianic title. This affirmation of Jesus as messiah rests on the disciples' observation of Jesus doing things that only God can do.