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Monday, August 17, 2009

+ Pentecost XII et XIII + Year B, 2009 +

Lexegete™ | Year B | St. Mark

Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost

August 23, 2009 (Lectionary 21)

Complementary Series

Joshua 24:1-2a, 14-18
Psalm 34:15-22 (15)
Ephesians 6:10-20
John 6:56-69

Semicontinuous Series

1 Kings 8:[1, 6, 10-11] 22-30, 41-43
Psalm 84 (1)
Ephesians 6:10-20
John 6:56-69

Prayer of the Day
Holy God, your word feeds your people with life that is eternal. Direct our choices and preserve us in your truth, that, renouncing what is false and evil, we may live in you, through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

Gospel Acclamation
Alleluia. Lord, to whom | shall we go?
You have the words of e- | ternal life. Alleluia. (John 6:68)

1a. Context: John 6:56-69 [Translation composite]

John 6:60-69 - Since the time of the Reformation, there has been a

dispute as to the content of this passage. With this passage's depreciation of the

flesh and concurrent lifting up of the Spirit, there have been scholars who, from

Zwingli on down to the current time, have argued that this passage speaks

against the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Others have argued that it is

impossible to hold this view in light of the very verses which precede it (John


As Raymond Brown has pointed out, most scholars today agree that the

"mention of flesh in vs. 63 does not concern the eucharistic flesh of [verses] 51-

58" (Brown, p. 299). Rather, most scholars find verses 60-71 linked to verses 35-

50, with verses 51-58 being treated as parenthetical.

What then is offensive, "hard to listen to," in what Jesus is saying to his

disciples? What causes them to turn away from him? If verses 51-58 are

parenthetical to the main argument (placed editorially in this place by John), then

they are not the words to which the crowd of disciples "cannot listen." Rather, the

words which the crowd of disciples cannot bear to listen to is the claim of Jesus

that he, the Son of Man has come down from heaven (v.38; cf. Pentecost/Proper

15) for a discussion of the "Son of Man" title). But, Jesus states, if this saying is

offensive, how will they deal with his ascension (vs. 62)? Indeed, many are

offended by Jesus' claim to have come down from heaven as well as his

statement that he will return there and no longer follow him (vs. 66).

It is the Twelve who are not offended with these hard sayings of Jesus.

Indeed, as Peter confesses, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of

eternal life." These words of eternal life come from "the Holy One of God," the

one who is the "Word made flesh," whose flesh gives us true life.

1b. Text: John 6: 56-69


56 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread [1] the fathers ate and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59 Jesus [2] said these things in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum.

The Words of Eternal Life

60 When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” 61 But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? 62 Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) 65 And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”

66 After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. 67 So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, 69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”


[1] 6:58 Greek lacks the bread

[2] 6:59 Greek He

© 2001 The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.


56ὁ τρώγων μου τὴν σάρκα καὶ πίνων μου τὸ αἷμα ἐν ἐμοὶ μένει κἀγὼ ἐν αὐτῷ.
57καθὼς ἀπέστειλέν με ὁ ζῶν πατὴρ κἀγὼ ζῶ διὰ τὸν πατέρα, καὶ ὁ τρώγων με κἀκεῖνος ζήσει δι∍ ἐμέ.
58οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ ἄρτος ὁ ἐξ οὐρανοῦ καταβάς, οὐ καθὼς ἔφαγον οἱ πατέρες καὶ ἀπέθανον: ὁ τρώγων τοῦτον τὸν ἄρτον ζήσει εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα.
59Ταῦτα εἶπεν ἐν συναγωγῇ διδάσκων ἐν Καφαρναούμ.
60Πολλοὶ οὖν ἀκούσαντες ἐκ τῶν μαθητῶν αὐτοῦ εἶπαν, Σκληρός ἐστιν ὁ λόγος οὗτος: τίς δύναται αὐτοῦ ἀκούειν;
61εἰδὼς δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἐν ἑαυτῷ ὅτι γογγύζουσιν περὶ τούτου οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς, Τοῦτο ὑμᾶς σκανδαλίζει;
62ἐὰν οὖν θεωρῆτε τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἀναβαίνοντα ὅπου ἦν τὸ πρότερον;
63τὸ πνεῦμά ἐστιν τὸ ζῳοποιοῦν, ἡ σὰρξ οὐκ ὠφελεῖ οὐδέν: τὰ ῥήματα ἃ ἐγὼ λελάληκα ὑμῖν πνεῦμά ἐστιν καὶ ζωή ἐστιν.
64ἀλλ∍ εἰσὶν ἐξ ὑμῶν τινες οἳ οὐ πιστεύουσιν. ᾔδει γὰρ ἐξ ἀρχῆς ὁ Ἰησοῦς τίνες εἰσὶν οἱ μὴ πιστεύοντες καὶ τίς ἐστιν ὁ παραδώσων αὐτόν.
65καὶ ἔλεγεν, Διὰ τοῦτο εἴρηκα ὑμῖν ὅτι οὐδεὶς δύναται ἐλθεῖν πρός με ἐὰν μὴ ᾖ δεδομένον αὐτῷ ἐκ τοῦ πατρός.
66Ἐκ τούτου πολλοὶ [ἐκ] τῶν μαθητῶν αὐτοῦ ἀπῆλθον εἰς τὰ ὀπίσω καὶ οὐκέτι μετ∍ αὐτοῦ περιεπάτουν.
67εἶπεν οὖν ὁ Ἰησοῦς τοῖς δώδεκα, Μὴ καὶ ὑμεῖς θέλετε ὑπάγειν;
68ἀπεκρίθη αὐτῷ Σίμων Πέτρος, Κύριε, πρὸς τίνα ἀπελευσόμεθα; ῥήματα ζωῆς αἰωνίου ἔχεις, 69καὶ ἡμεῖς πεπιστεύκαμεν καὶ ἐγνώκαμεν ὅτι σὺ εἶ ὁ ἅγιος τοῦ θεοῦ.

Novum Testamentum Graece, Nestle-Aland 26th edition
© 1979, Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart;

The Greek New Testament, 3rd edition
© 1975, United Bible Societies, London

2. Analysis: John 6: 56-69

vs. 61 - "hard to take" - In both Greek and English, this phrase has the

dual image of "being unbelievable" and "being offensive" to one's ears. Jesus'

claims do both for the crowd of disciples, but not the Twelve (cf., vs. 67).

vs. 63 - "The Spirit gives life" - As idiosyncratic as John's Gospel can be,

this passage shows distinctive Pauline parallels where this idea is found seven

times. Cf., 2 Cor. 3:6, 1 Cor. 15:45, among others.

vs. 64 - "Jesus knew from the beginning [who would not believe and who

would betray him]." Brown suggests that this is an editorial attempt to prevent

any misconception that Jesus had made a mistake in his selection of disciples,

even of the Twelve. The "beginning" suggested here is the beginning of his

ministry, not the beginning of time (i.e., this passage cannot be used to support

predestination). Jesus knows that many will fall away and that one will betray

him. This still fits within Jesus' plan, a plan which includes his own death,

for it is only through death and resurrection that he will return to his Father in


vss. 67,70 - "The Twelve" - Although "the twelve" disciples and their call

are of extreme importance in the Synoptic Gospels--so much, in fact that Mark

only uses the term "disciples" when talking about the twelve (cf. Epiphany 3 for

more details)--the "twelve" are not of the same importance in John's Gospel.

Their call is not important enough to be mentioned in this Gospel. Thus, this is

the first place in John's Gospel where the "twelve" are singled out.

vs. 68 - "You have the words of eternal life" - It is clear from the entire

Gospel of John (but especially the sixth chapter) that people do not gain life on

their own, but rather that life comes through the "Word made flesh."

vs. 69 - "[you are the ] Holy One of God" - In the O.T., this phrase was one

used for those who were consecrated to God (e.g., Judges 8:7).

3. Strategy: John 6: 56-69

Someone once said that all intellectual debates are circular, the only

question being "how large is your circle?" - Is it large enough and encompassing

enough to take in all arguments? This is not only true in our day and age, but in

the time of John as well. His arguments tend to circle around one another, like an

eagle circling high above its prey.

It is not, therefore, hard for us to understand why the eagle is the symbol

of John, for John spirals through themes, metaphors, sayings and aphorisms,

constantly returning to key issues. In this passage (part of the extended

discourse in chapter six) we see key themes of the new bread of life coming from

the Word of God, Word incarnate, whose life was sacrificed so that we may have

life. The Word comes down from heaven, takes on flesh and lives among us.

That same Word is crucified and is resurrected and returns to the Father. We see

the theme of this Word of life being given to us in the flesh, so that we may

receive new life. It is only through Jesus that we have the words of eternal life.

Without him "was not anything made that was made." We, like Peter, must

confess, "Lord to whom shall we go?," for it is clear that only Jesus our Lord,

"has the words of eternal life."

4. Reference: John 6: 56-69

Brown, Raymond. The Gospel According to John. Garden City, NY:
Doubleday, 1977.

5. Music Suggestions: John 6: 56-69

"Hope of the world" (HB 472; LBW 493)

"You are the way" (HB 457; LBW 464)

"Let me be yours forever" (LBW 490)

"O Jesus, I have promised" (HB 655; LBW 503)

Exegete: George Koch, St. Paul Lutheran Church, Middletown, CT

Rev. Dr. George John Koch, Jr currently is an Interim Pastor in the Metropolitan Chicago Synod, ELCA. Previously he served as a parish pastor in Middletown, CT, campus minister at Syracuse University’s Hendricks Chapel,, director of the ELCA’s effort to educate pastors about the Science/Theology exchange. He is on Facebook, where he fosters an ongoing “Tischrede” or table talk on theology and other topics. He received his doctorate from Andover Newton Theological School, Newton Centre, MA, after completing a dissertation on Theology and Artifical Intelligence.

George’s E-mail:



Bartholomew, Apostle
August 24, 2009
Exodus 19:1-6
Psalm 12 (6)
1 Corinthians 12:27-31a
John 1:43-51

Prayer of the Day

Almighty and everlasting God, you gave to your apostle Bartholomew grace truly to believe and courageously to preach your word. Grant that your church may proclaim the good news to the ends of the earth, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Gospel Acclamation

Alleluia. How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace, who brings good news, who announc- | es salvation. Alleluia. (Isa. 52:7)



Lexegete™ | Year B | St. Mark

Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost

August 30, 2009 (Lectionary 22)

Complementary Series

Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-9
Psalm 15 (1)
James 1:17-27
Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

Semicontinuous Series

Song of Solomon 2:8-13
Psalm 45:1-2, 6-9
James 1:17-27
Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

Prayer of the Day

O God our strength, without you we are weak and wayward creatures. Protect us from all dangers that attack us from the outside, and cleanse us from all evil that arises from within ourselves, that we may be preserved through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

Gospel Acclamation

Alleluia. God gave us birth by the | word of truth
so that we would become a kind of first fruits | of creation. Alleluia. (James 1:18)

1a. CONTEXT - Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

By this time in the church year the questions of Marcan origin, authorship,
and audience will have been beaten to death, if they have been tackled at
all. From my study of the text and reading of the commentaries, let it
suffice to offer the following points:

1. There is a consensus that the account has its origin in Jesus' life
and ministry with editorial additions along the way, from the final
author and/or during the period of oral transmission of the story.

2. The explanation of Jewish law and customs here indicate the author
was writing to a non-Jewish or mixed Jew and Gentile audience.

3. The fact that this section was included indicates that the place of
Jewish ritual traditions was a continuing subject for discussion in the
early church.

There are three additional issues I want to mention in regard to the
context of this passage:

1. It would be well to refresh one's understanding of the question of
holiness/cleanliness versus uncleanness/defilement in Judaism, as well
as the place of the law in establishing or maintaining holiness. The Old
Testament Lesson from Deuteronomy 4 would be one entry point into such a
review. Even more to the point might be the command in Leviticus 19:2:
"Say to all the congregation of the people of Israel, You shall be holy;
for I the LORD your God am holy."

2. One often wonders why portions are omitted from a given pericope. In
this case the omitted portions are not essential to the passage, the
first one giving an additional example of the Pharisees' misordered
priorities and the second mainly repeating what Jesus has already said.
One could make the valid claim that omitting vss 17-20 lets the
disciples off the hook for their lack of understanding, but there are
other opportunities to deal with that matter, including the Johannine
text for 14 Pentecost and the Marcan texts for the 5th, 17th, 18th, and
22nd Sundays after Pentecost.

3. Finally, it would be well to keep the whole Gospel in mind when
working with this, or any, passage from Mark. One of Mark's major points
is that the place of Jesus cannot be understood until the end of the
story: the resurrection (Mark 9:9). Each passage, it seems to me, tends
to show both how Jesus was misunderstood before the resurrection and
what we need to learn or understand in the light of the resurrection.

1b. TEXT - Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23


Traditions and Commandments

7:1 Now when the Pharisees gathered to him, with some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem, 2 they saw that some of his disciples ate with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed. 3 (For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash [1] their hands, holding to the tradition of the elders, 4 and when they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. [2] And there are many other traditions that they observe, such as the washing of cups and pots and copper vessels and dining couches. [3]) 5 And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” 6 And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written,

“‘This people honors me with their lips,
but their heart is far from me;
7 in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’

8 You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.” ….

What Defiles a Person

14 And he called the people to him again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand: 15 There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.” [4] ….

21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”


[1] 7:3 Greek unless they wash with a fist,
probably indicating a kind of ceremonial washing

[2] 7:4 Greek unless they baptize; some manuscripts unless they purify themselves

[3] 7:4 Some manuscripts omit and dining couches

[4] 7:15 Some manuscripts add verse 16: If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear

© 2001 The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.



1Καὶ συνάγονται πρὸς αὐτὸν οἱ Φαρισαῖοι καί τινες τῶν γραμματέων ἐλθόντες ἀπὸ Ἱεροσολύμων 2καὶ ἰδόντες τινὰς τῶν μαθητῶν αὐτοῦ ὅτι κοιναῖς χερσίν, τοῦτ∍ ἔστιν ἀνίπτοις, ἐσθίουσιν τοὺς ἄρτους 3οἱ γὰρ Φαρισαῖοι καὶ πάντες οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι ἐὰν μὴ πυγμῇ νίψωνται τὰς χεῖρας οὐκ ἐσθίουσιν, κρατοῦντες τὴν παράδοσιν τῶν πρεσβυτέρων, 4καὶ ἀπ∍ ἀγορᾶς ἐὰν μὴ βαπτίσωνται οὐκ ἐσθίουσιν, καὶ ἄλλα πολλά ἐστιν ἃ παρέλαβον κρατεῖν, βαπτισμοὺς ποτηρίων καὶ ξεστῶν καὶ χαλκίων [καὶ κλινῶν] 5καὶ ἐπερωτῶσιν αὐτὸν οἱ Φαρισαῖοι καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς, Διὰ τί οὐ περιπατοῦσιν οἱ μαθηταί σου κατὰ τὴν παράδοσιν τῶν πρεσβυτέρων, ἀλλὰ κοιναῖς χερσὶν ἐσθίουσιν τὸν ἄρτον; 6ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς, Καλῶς ἐπροφήτευσεν Ἠσαΐας περὶ ὑμῶν τῶν ὑποκριτῶν, ὡς γέγραπται [ὅτι] Οὗτος ὁ λαὸς τοῖς χείλεσίν με τιμᾷ, ἡ δὲ καρδία αὐτῶν πόρρω ἀπέχει ἀπ∍ ἐμοῦ: 7μάτην δὲ σέβονταί με, διδάσκοντες διδασκαλίας ἐντάλματα ἀνθρώπων. 8ἀφέντες τὴν ἐντολὴν τοῦ θεοῦ κρατεῖτε τὴν παράδοσιν τῶν ἀνθρώπων.

[9Καὶ ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς, Καλῶς ἀθετεῖτε τὴν ἐντολὴν τοῦ θεοῦ, ἵνα τὴν παράδοσιν ὑμῶν στήσητε. 10Μωϋσῆς γὰρ εἶπεν, Τίμα τὸν πατέρα σου καὶ τὴν μητέρα σου, καί, Ὁ κακολογῶν πατέρα ἢ μητέρα θανάτῳ τελευτάτω: 11ὑμεῖς δὲ λέγετε, Ἐὰν εἴπῃ ἄνθρωπος τῷ πατρὶ ἢ τῇ μητρί, Κορβᾶν, ὅ ἐστιν, Δῶρον, ὃ ἐὰν ἐξ ἐμοῦ ὠφεληθῇς, 12οὐκέτι ἀφίετε αὐτὸν οὐδὲν ποιῆσαι τῷ πατρὶ ἢ τῇ μητρί, 13ἀκυροῦντες τὸν λόγον τοῦ θεοῦ τῇ παραδόσει ὑμῶν ἧ παρεδώκατε: καὶ παρόμοια τοιαῦτα πολλὰ ποιεῖτε.]

14Καὶ προσκαλεσάμενος πάλιν τὸν ὄχλον ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς, Ἀκούσατέ μου πάντες καὶ σύνετε. 15οὐδέν ἐστιν ἔξωθεν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου εἰσπορευόμενον εἰς αὐτὸν ὃ δύναται κοινῶσαι αὐτόν: ἀλλὰ τὰ ἐκ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐκπορευόμενά ἐστιν τὰ κοινοῦντα τὸν ἄνθρωπον.

[16Καὶ 17ὅτε εἰσῆλθεν εἰς οἶκον ἀπὸ τοῦ ὄχλου, ἐπηρώτων αὐτὸν οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ τὴν παραβολήν. 18καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς, Οὕτως καὶ ὑμεῖς ἀσύνετοί ἐστε; οὐ νοεῖτε ὅτι πᾶν τὸ ἔξωθεν εἰσπορευόμενον εἰς τὸν ἄνθρωπον οὐ δύναται αὐτὸν κοινῶσαι, 19ὅτι οὐκ εἰσπορεύεται αὐτοῦ εἰς τὴν καρδίαν ἀλλ∍ εἰς τὴν κοιλίαν, καὶ εἰς τὸν ἀφεδρῶνα ἐκπορεύεται; καθαρίζων πάντα τὰ βρώματα. 20ἔλεγεν δὲ ὅτι Τὸ ἐκ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐκπορευόμενον ἐκεῖνο κοινοῖ τὸν ἄνθρωπον: ]

21ἔσωθεν γὰρ ἐκ τῆς καρδίας τῶν ἀνθρώπων οἱ διαλογισμοὶ οἱ κακοὶ ἐκπορεύονται, πορνεῖαι, κλοπαί, φόνοι, 22μοιχεῖαι, πλεονεξίαι, πονηρίαι, δόλος, ἀσέλγεια, ὀφθαλμὸς πονηρός, βλασφημία, ὑπερηφανία, ἀφροσύνη: 23πάντα ταῦτα τὰ πονηρὰ ἔσωθεν ἐκπορεύεται καὶ κοινοῖ τὸν ἄνθρωπον.

Novum Testamentum Graece, Nestle-Aland 26th edition
© 1979, Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart;

The Greek New Testament, 3rd edition
© 1975, United Bible Societies, London

2. ANALYSIS: Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

This passage pictures the growing opposition to the ministry of Jesus which
is a recurring theme in this central section of Mark and which culminates
in the crucifixion. It presents a Jesus who will not allow fencesitters. He
teaches in direct opposition to the Scribes and Pharisees, equating what he
teaches with the commandments of God and calling that of the Pharisees
merely human fabrication.

The opening verse seems to indicate the local Pharisees found it necessary
to call in the "big guns from headquarters" to deal with the controversy
Jesus was stirring up. To our modern way of thinking it may seem they chose
a minor thing to pick on, but the oral religious tradition was no minor
matter. The original concern for ritual cleanliness had to do with contact
with things specifically labeled unclean such as dead animals or humans,
blood, bodily excretions, and the like. Touching such things meant being
excluded from the worshiping community. The oral law expanded the list to
reassure the faithful they were indeed clean by building "a hedge around
the law". The result was any contact with the outside made "hands defiled"-
or common hands-{koinais chersin}

Jesus quotes Isaiah (based on the Septuagint version of Isaiah 29:13 though
not identical) in Mark 7:6-7, then twice sharpens the charge of Isaiah by
saying that their acceptance of tradition is a rejection of God (vss 8 and 9).

The two verbs in verse 8, leave (or let go of)-{aphesin} and hold fast-
{krateite}, bring to mind the illustration told with many variations of an
African method of catching monkeys: cutting a small hole in a gourd and
filling it with nuts. The monkey holds fast the nuts and cannot escape
because it is unwilling to let go of the nuts in order to remove its hand.
After omitting the example Jesus gives in verses 9-13, the lection picks up
the narrative with Jesus calling the people (crowd-{oxlos}) to himself. The
situation seems to be that the Scribes and Pharisees have had a private
consultation with Jesus and were sent packing. Jesus remains alone to teach
the crowds the correct understanding of ritual law.

His teaching of what truly defiles us includes a list containing six plural
nouns referring to sinful acts and six singular nouns representing the
major vices.

3. STRATEGY: Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

There are many ways to approach this text, either by itself or in combination with the other lessons for the day.


When Jesus lifts up the importance of obeying the
commandment of God, my mind jumps quickly to the voice from heaven at the
Transfiguration: "This is my beloved Son; listen to him." (Mark 9:7b) This
jump is really only possible after the resurrection and perhaps helps us to
understand the opposition to Jesus during his earthly ministry. Yet, it
sharpens the question for ourselves: Are we holding fast human traditions
and letting go of the commands of God?


Then, there is the question of opposition to
Jesus raised in this pericope. This speaks to all Christians living in the
ambiguity of the time between the story Mark tells and the consummation of
that story in the return of Jesus Christ. The Gospel of Mark presents us
with a picture of One with such power and authority it would be crazy to
reject him, a tragedy to fail to follow him. The fact that so many do calls
our own desire to follow into question and erodes our willingness to
proclaim his name. How will we respond to the challenge of opposition? What
will sustain us when questions and doubts come our way?


Isaiah talks about honoring God with our lips, not with our
heart. How might we honor God with both lips and heart? (cf Romans 10:9)


What place do traditions have in our lives and in our congregations? The late tyrant Saddam Hussein of Iraq charged both the U. S. and Saudi Arabia with betraying their own traditions (Christian and Islamic) by threatening him with war. Without trying to suggest who is misusing tradition (and knowing that the Persian Gulf Crisis is old news by the time we preach on these lessons!) we would do well to recognize that the misuse of traditions is a danger in any age. How can we avoid being/becoming like the scribes and Pharisees?


A direct connection between this lesson and our own
(and congregation's) understanding of the place of law and gospel in our
Christian life might be helpful.

Any of the above suggestions might benefit from connections made with the
other lessons, which include themes relating to the law, God's holiness,
proclaiming/confessing the gospel, withstanding evil, opposition to the
gospel, and so on.

4. REFERENCES: Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

One excellent resource used and recommended here is the Lectionary Preaching Workbook, Series III Cycle B, George M. Bass, C.S.S. Publishing, Lima, Ohio, 1990. The emphasis here is connecting our preaching with the distinct emphases of the liturgical year. Bass suggests that the second half of the Pentecost season, beginning with Pentecost 15, has the return of the Lord as its focus. "For now, the church waits, worships, and works in the knowledge that the living Lord reigns over heaven and earth, as well as the anticipation that Christ will come again, as he said he
would." P. 247.

This resource is based on the Roman Catholic, Episcopal, Lutheran, and
Common lectionaries, with notes on all the lessons and the Prayer and Psalm
Prayer of the Day and sermons (summarized) based on each of the lessons.

5. Music Suggestions: Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23






JESUS CALLS US (HB 549/50, LBW 494)



© 2009 Tischrede Software


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