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, June 6, 2018

The readings for June 10, 2018, the 3rd Sunday after Pentecost Lectionary 10 B

First Reading: Genesis 3:8-15
 8[Adam and Eve] heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.9But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” 10He said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” 11He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate.” 13Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent tricked me, and I ate.” 14The Lord God said to the serpent, 
“Because you have done this,
  cursed are you among all animals
  and among all wild creatures;
upon your belly you shall go,
  and dust you shall eat
  all the days of your life.
15I will put enmity between you and the woman,
  and between your offspring and hers;
he will strike your head,
  and you will strike his heel.”

Psalm: Psalm 130

Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 4:13--5:1
 13Just as we have the same spirit of faith that is in accordance with scripture—”I believed, and so I spoke”—we also believe, and so we speak, 14because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and will bring us with you into his presence. 15Yes, everything is for your sake, so that grace, as it extends to more and more people, may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.

16So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. 17For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, 18because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.
5:1For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

Gospel: Mark 3:20-35
 [Jesus went home;] 20and the crowd came together again, so that [Jesus and the disciples] could not even eat. 21When his family heard it, they went out to restrain him, for people were saying, “He has gone out of his mind.” 22And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, “He has Beelzebul, and by the ruler of the demons he casts out demons.” 23And he called them to him, and spoke to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? 24If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but his end has come. 27But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his property without first tying up the strong man; then indeed the house can be plundered.
28“Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for their sins and whatever blasphemies they utter; 29but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”—30for they had said, “He has an unclean spirit.”

31Then his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him. 32A crowd was sitting around him; and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you.” 33And he replied, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” 34And looking at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”

Some thoughts on Mark 3:20-35

The Gospel of Mark is at this point only 3 chapters into the story but already there are forces trying to destroy Jesus. Harrodians and Pharisees have decided to destroy him. Maybe not by killing him though that option is open. No, they have decided to discredit and marginalize him. “By the prince of demons he drives out demons,” is meant as an announcement to everyone else that he is to be shunned. 
Modern day politics does much the same thing these days. It is not as important to have a good platform of ones own as it is to have a good way to make the electorate think that there is something fundamentally wrong with the other candidate that makes voting for the opponent an act of insanity and a vote for oneself the only sane response to save a nation under assault from the self evident evil of the opponent. 
Jesus is not alone anymore by this time in the story. He has a faction of 12 followers but what use will they be against a system of Pharisees and courtiers of a brutal king? His family is showing up as well to collect him. They know that they themselves have to continue to function in this society. It is safer for them to tell everyone that he is crazy and take him home where he will be considered the town fool until his death. (Pilch) On the other hand, both family and Jesus would be protected from harsher consequences like having neighbors refuse to cooperate with them or killing Jesus outright. 
It is no wonder that Jesus must now make a defense of himself against just about everyone. Pitch outlines his defense strategy: Jesus points out that if he is reclaiming souls from the evil one then he must be the enemy of the evil one. The poor ones healed are benefitted by Jesus ministry and Satan is diminished — he is being “bound,” and can do nothing about Jesus robbing him of those his minion are possessing. Therefore Jesus must be one who is or is serving the one more powerful than Satan. Is God more powerful than the fallen angel of light or not? To say that God is not more powerful insults God. To say that is to separate oneself from God. Not only that, saying that the good done by Jesus is not done by God but by the evil one deepens the blasphemy committed because it calls good evil. So Jesus is really explaining how the authorities are the  ones guilty of blasphemy. 
They have already charged that he is blaspheming in 2:7 when Jesus forgave the paralytic’s sin.  But, so goes the reasoning, if Jesus is doing the will of the Father by plundering the house of the evil one then he is speaking for God and the absolution is valid. To deny that he speaks for God is to deny ones own absolution and separate oneself from God permanently. 

I was leaning against my car looking up. I had pulled off highway 2 somewhere between Williston and Minot. It was June. No one was on highway 2 right about then as is often the case west of Minot where not too many have reason to roam, even in June. The sky was not entirely dark yet, even though it was well after 10PM. It is North Dakota where such is the norm. I was leaning against the car gazing into the sky. Why? A Long story: 
June is the month for the northern lights to appear in the northern skies. Aurora Borealis is God’s reward for those who are crazy enough to live in Nodak. Yes, God rewards the geographically insane. From October until well into May the winter coats hardly ever come off North Dakotans’ backs unless you find yourself on a rare day in late December or early January and it is 40 degrees outside. Yes, that happens and those 40 degree moments signal only one thing: A blizzard will be here in a few hours and the temperature will plummet 60 degrees in 4 hours and the wind will drive the snow hard and pack it in drifts as hard as concrete. Enjoy the warmth, shovel the parts of the driveway you have neglected because it was too cold to finish the job right last week, and then go inside and stay there. 
Yes, the Northern Lights are God’s reward for norse nutcases for living in insane climates like that. June, July, and August are the greatest months on earth in North Dakota but they have little competition from the other months. September will bring the first hard frost and snow, sometimes as early as Labor Day. September is strange dance between warmth, harvest and life and frost and a cold reminiscent of the grave, as if to say: “I am a parable of life. I give and I take. Rejoice, the Mosquitoes are dead. I did that for you. You are welcome.“ 
Anyway, I was leaning against my little white car. Yes, I was living in snowbound, snow blown North Dakota with a snow white car. Sometimes I question if I did not make many decisions in life under the influence of a low-grade fever. 
I was leaning against the side of the car and gazing up at heaven where the Aurora Borealis was filling the sky in subtle movements that seemed to be a ballet set to the subtle music of a quiet organ played in a secluded chapel. 
The Northern Lights are somewhat hypnotic. North Dakotans will spend June nights in the yard on good watching days, lying on their backs in the grass — covered in bug repellent — and staring at the sky. Sounds nuts but then nuts is what it takes to live there.  
I was staring up at the lights looking for peace. I had not pulled over for the lights. I had pulled over because I needed to think and not drive and the northern lights had just been there and captured my attention. 
I was looking for peace that night. Jesus had died, had been buried, had laid in the cold tomb for three days, but was raised by the grace of the Father to meet his own and to ascend so as to intercede for his own and to grant them all the gifts needed, any gift needed, to do everything merciful and life giving here on earth that they could imagine. Jesus had suffered all that and made that promise and all he got in return was us. Yes, I had been on my way home from a synod assembly. I had spent two days talking church with the rest of the synod and I was truly wondering if Jesus was crazy. 
The sky lit up as if the unheard song had intensified and the dancer, the light, was responding with grander movements. A graceful green curtain magically crossed the sky west to east in meandering waves. 
Was Jesus nuts? He left us here to get things done? Have you met us? 
The story goes that rescuers arrived at a deserted island on which was a single marooned man. They led him to their boat. On the way to the shore, he made them stop at the church he had built for himself to give thanks for his rescue. As they were casting off one of the rescuers noticed that there was a second little church building that seemed to be peeking through the jungle down the shore. “What is that” he asked. The marooned man replied: “Oh, that is the church I USED to go to.”
Is Jesus insane? We are his plan to reconcile the world to the Father? Have you met us? 
The Aurora Borealis was bending in on itself in large flowing swoops. Bows filled the sky. The natives say that if you whistle a random tune, the lights will follow your song. A crazy thought but  as soon as someone tells you that story, you will try it the next time you see the lights. But then somehow, though it is in the eye of the beholder, it works. Maybe it is a matter of watching the lights dance and subconsciously catching the groove, and the two become one.
Here it is, the church. Was Jesus wrong to give us the mission of reconciliation? The task of mending the bent parts of a creation gone off rail? One of us, I realized for sure gazing up at the North Dakotan sky in June, was insane: Jesus or us. 

I began to pray that it be us and not Him. “I am not the one who is whistling at the Northern Lights thinking they’ll dance to your tune,” was God’s answer. 

Greek Study Mark 3:20-35

Greek Study Mark 3:20-35

v20 ερχεται (ερχομαι) pres. "then [(Jesus)] entered" -  Historic present.
παλιν adv. "again" indicating continued enthusiasm of the crowd in response to Jesus' ministry, cf.3:7 in the same locality (Capernaum?) the same house (Peter’s?).
ωστε + inf. "so that" - a consecutive clause expressing result; "with the result that."
αυτους pro. "he and his disciples" - they. Accusative subject of the infinitive.
μη ..... μηδε "not ever" – a double negative, an idiom, "it was impossible for them to eat a meal".
φαγειν (φαγω) aor. inf. "to eat" - to eat [bread]. The infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the verb "they were [not] able"; the "they" is obviously "Jesus and his disciples" - "to eat bread" is an Aramaic expression taking food of any sort, 

v21 ακουσαντες (ακουω) aor. part. "when [his family] heard about this".
οι παρ αυτου "his family" - those from beside him. Classical οι παρα + dat. = "those of someone's household". In Koine Gk. it is, as here, a genitive and is translated "the ones from beside him" i.e. his family. This phrase may just refer to Jesus' family friends, or relatives, or even immediate family; " mother and brothers." We know Jesus' kin did not at first believe in his messiahship. It seems likely Mark is being deliberately vague so they might even be fair-weather disciples.
κρατησαι (κρατεω) aor. inf. "to take charge [of him]" - the infinitive is adverbial introducing a purpose clause; "they came out [from their home to the house Jesus was staying at] in order to lay hold of/restrain him." Possibly "to calm him down".
ελεγον (λεγω) imperf. "they were saying” an impersonal plural where this was said of Jesus and which rumor family members had heard about; "rumor had it…"
εξεστη (εξιστημι) aor. "he was crazy" – literlaly stood outside = was confused, had lost his senses. The aorist is treated as dramatic, expressing a present state. "He must be in the grip of some kind of emotional frenzy",  or possibly with the more sinister connotation, "he has a demon and is insane", cf. John 10:20. This would better fit with the comment of the religious authorities, v22.

v22 οι γραμματεις (ευς εως) "the teachers of the law" - the scribes. The word was originally used of those who simply copied the scriptures, but by this time they were regarded as authorized interpreters, teaches of the scriptures, so "experts in the law". That they came from Jerusalem gives them even greater authority.
οι .... καταβαντες (καταβαινω) aor. part. "who came down" - participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "scribes", "the scribes who had come down {from Jerusalem)} one comes down or goes up to J. 
ελεγον (λεγω) imperf. "said
Βεελζεβουλ "Beelzebub" - Aramaic: "lord of the temple/lord of the flies " from the Syrian original "Lord Ekron", 2King.1:2. It would seem that "Beelzebub" and "the prince of demons", both refer to "Satan" although possibly "the prince of demons" refers to a superior evil spirit. This may imply that Beelzebub also is a title for a superior demon- prince, particularly as there is no reference to Satan being called Beelzebub (so Gundry).
των δαιμονιων (ον) gen. "[the prince] of demons" - genitive is adjectival of subordination; "by the ruler over the demons."
v23 προσκαλεσαμενος (προσκαλεω) aor. part. "so [Jesus] called [them]" - summoned. 
ελεγεν (λεγω) imperf. "he began to speak" - but Mark may intend a durative action, "he was speaking to them in…
παραβολαις (η) dat. "parables" - The word here means “allegories”, eg. the parable of the sower; riddle (marsal), eg. "the kingdom of heaven is like unto ..." or illustrations, eg. The parable of the tenants.
εκβαλλειν (εκβαλλω) pres. inf. "drive out" infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the verb "is able"; "how is Satan able to eject Satan?"
σατανας "Satan" - "the Adversary."

v24 βασιλεια (α) "a kingdom" – i.e. a political entity.
εφ (επι) + acc. "against" - over, ‘upon itself’, here with the sense "against itself.
σταθηναι (ιστημι) aor. pas. inf. "[cannot] stand".

v25 οικια (α) - "a house" - used in the sense of "family" or "household".
v26 εφ (επι) + acc. "opposes" - [Satan stood up] against [himself]. Spacial.
εμερισθη (μεριζω) aor. pas. "is divided" – literally “split against himself".
στηναι (ιστημι) aor. inf. "[he cannot] stand" – as above.
τελος εχει "his end has come" – an idiom, "He is done for" or better, "he has come to the end of his influence and power.”
v27 There is, of course, another way of reading Jesus' miraculous healings and exorcisms. "If God is to rule, the 'strong man' must be bound. Jesus is not only the herald of the dawning kingdom, but in some sense its agent, the 'stronger one'.
αλλα "BUT in fact", here introducing a counter argument; "on the contrary".
ου .... ουδεις ..... μη "no one ...... unless" - no one ...... [is] not [able] (cannot) ..... unless another double negative; the piling up of negations stresses the point that it is impossible to set Satan's captives free without first disabling the eon who has bound them.
εισελθων (εισερχομαι) aor. part. "[can] enter" - [is not able] having entered. The participle may be adverbial, temporal, possibly attendant circumstance, expressing action accompanying the complementary infinitive "to plunder", "no one is able to enter into the house of a strong man and to plunder his property unless ...."
του ισχυρου gen. adj. "the strong man's [house]"
εαν μη + subj. "unless/without [first]" - Introducing an exceptive clause expressing a contrast by designation an exception.
δηση  (δεω) aor. subj. "[he] bind up" - The binding of Satan is an interesting sub-issue. As far as the NT is concerned Satan is "bound/defeated" while at the same time strolling around like a roaring lion – the now/not yet reality of the kingdom.
τον ισχυρον gen. adj. "the strong man" – another Aramaic form, although Mark does have Satan in mind he may be referring to an earthly ruler, (Nero/Anitpas?)
διαρπασει (διαρπαζω) fut. "[then] he can rob [the house]" - note the stress on actuality

v28 υμιν "[I tell] you [the truth]" – a dative of indirect object. Serving to introduce a statement that is firm and binding; "I give you solemn assurance of this".
παντα adj. "all" - all [the sins, even the blasphemies whatever they may blaspheme, will be forgiven the sons of men]. Luke has πας ος, "everyone who". Proba
αι βλασφημιαι (α) "blasphemies / [every] slander they utter" - often in reference to God; but it is possible a more general sense is intended, so "slander" as such. 
τοις υιοις των ανθρωπων "of men " a Semitic phrase like this, which denotes humanity in general, reminds us how easily Jesus' self designation "the Son of Man" was missed as a messianic title.
αφεθησεται (αφιημι) fut. "will be forgiven " - The subject is what is forgiven, although "all he sins ..... and all the blasphemies ..... are pardonable". 
οσα εαν + subj. as if = whatever, an indefinite clause. 

v29 Scribal tradition states that "The Holy One, blessed be he, pardons everything else, but on profanation of the Name he takes vengeance immediately." Much soul-searching surrounds this passage, but the context defines clearly what "blasphemy against the Holy Spirit" is, namely, a blind determination to deny the Holy Spirit's revelation in the person and work of Christ, a setting oneself against Christ. The scribes slander God by calling Christ an agent of Beelzebub. Yet, the issue is not that Jesus was slandered as such, but rather that the slander evidences a rejection of Christ as messiah. To reject the kingdom of God in the person of Jesus, to reject his words and signs, is to reject God's free offer of salvation. Such rejection brings condemnation and eternal loss. Of course, this rejection is in the terms of a fixed attitude of mind, so Calvin. Jesus' family thought he had a demon and for some time they did not accept that he was Israel's messiah, yet they came to belief and so were not "guilty of an eternal sin." So, the "unpardonable sin" is the "culpable rejection of, or refusal to recognize, God's redemptive activity", Guelich, a rejection of God's comprehensive offer of amnesty and forgiveness, so Grundmann, cf. Ex.23:30-31.
ος ... αν + subj. "whoever" - Introducing a relative conditional clause, 3rd. class, where the condition has the possibility of coming true; "whoever, as the case may be, slanders the Holy Spirit, then they will never be forgiven."
εις τον αιωνα "[will never be forgiven]" – literally into the age - idiomatic Semitic phrase, "forever"
αμαρτηματος (α) gen. "of [an eternal] sin" - genitive is adjectival, denoting the crime of which the person is ενοχος,  answerable/guilty.
Αιωνιου gen. adj. "eternal" - variants exist with "eternal judgment", given that "eternal sin" is a rather strange concept.. Possibly "he is absolutely certain to hear himself condemned to Hell when he stands before God, in judgment, at the end of his life" so "sin with an eternal consequence"s.

v30 πνευμα ακαρθαρτον "an evil/unclean spirit"a slightly more specific negative assessment of Jesus' ministry.

v31 Mark now refocuses on Jesus' family, this time their desire to "take charge of him", v31- 35. Mark has compared the disciples with both the scribes and Jesus' relatives. Those who consider that Jesus is an agent of the Devil face the prospect of becoming the eternally unforgiven; the disciples, on the other hand, who do God's will, face the joyous prospect of membership in Jesus family, the family of God.
ερχεται (ερχομαι) pres. "arrived" - [his mother and brothers]  a historic/narrative p resent tense; often the present tense is used to commence a new narrative discourse.
στηκοντες (ιστημι) pres. part. "standing" - Best classified as an attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb απεστειλαν, "they sent"; so "they stood outside and sent someone 
εξω adv. "outside" - adverb of place. Jesus is inside a home, although it is not stated.
καλουντες (καλεω) pres. part. "to call [him]" participle is probably adverbial, final, expressing purpose; "they sent someone to him in order to call him." "They sent a message to him (in order) to ask him to come out and see them".

v32 λεγουσιν (λεγω) pres. "they told" - in the sense that the message is passed until it reaches Jesus.
και αι αδελφαο σου "and your sisters" - The shorter reading without this variant is to be preferred. 

v33 αποκριθεις (αποκρινομαι) aor. pas. part. "[he asked]" – a Semitic idiom, redundant, but technically classified as attendant circumstance. The passive is middle-passive, where the passive voice expresses a Gk. middle sense involving intercommunication.

v34 αμενος (περιβλεπω) aor. part. "Then he looked at" - having looked about. The participle is adverbial,best taken as temporal, as NIV.
τους .... καθημενους (καθημαι) pres. part. "those seated" i.e. students…
κυκλω adv. "in a circle"

v35 "While Mark does not prescribe or legally define what 'doing the will of God' means, the macro-narrative makes it clear that it must be related to repentance in response to Jesus' proclamation of the kingdom". 
του θεου (ος) gen. "God's [will]

ουτος  - this one [is my brother/sister/mother] in dropping the definite articles, Mark "adds emphasis to the new relationships by stressing their quality."