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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

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+ L E N T + TWO +

Lexegete ™ | Year C | St. Luke

Second Sunday in Lent

February 28, 2010
Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18
Psalm 27 (5)
Philippians 3:17--4:1
Luke 13:31-35

Prayer of the Day

God of the covenant, in the mystery of the cross you promise everlasting life to the world, Gather all peoples into your arms and shelter us with your mercy, that we may rejoice in the life we share in your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Gospel Acclamation

The Son of Man must be | lifted up,
that whoever believes in him may have e- | ternal life. (John 3:14-15)

1a. CONTEXT: Luke 13:31-35

Luke's motif of Jesus' focus/goal of Jerusalem is one

aspect of these passages. This journey to Jerusalem is

urgent and crucial for his ministry (see 9:51, 17:11,

19:28). This passage fits with the image of Jesus as

facing, set off for, focused on Jerusalem--the ultimate

goal is the Cross. There is purpose and urgency.

In this context of the life and ministry of Jesus,

there is also the larger context of the time. The world

of the Luke's day included: the tensions of the Roman

rule, the economic realities of taxation, the various

Hebraic factions, and the impact of Jesus and the crowds

which he drew wherever he went. The life of Jesus was

already threatened; Jesus knew this and those around him

may have felt the tensions.

Jesus does not follow the questioner's general

theological theme and enter into a general hypothetical

debate. He sharpens the question into an issue of

personal commitment.

Author--Luke here shapes material that is primarily

from the Q source. This is indicated by the different

structure with which Matthew uses the same material, by

the use of Luke's own source material in vv. 31-33, and by

the editorial opening comment. (Proclamation 2; p. 29)

Audience--In vs. 23, the questioner represents no

group or class; it could be anyone, perhaps one of us.

1b. TEXT: Luke 13:31-35


Lament over Jerusalem

31 At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.”

32 And he said to them, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I finish my course.

33 Nevertheless, I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the day following, for it cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem.’

34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!

35 Behold, your house is forsaken. And I tell you, you will not see me until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’”

English Standard Version © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a ministry of Good News Publishers.


31Ἐν αὐτῇ τῇ ὥρᾳ προσῆλθάν τινες Φαρισαῖοι λέγοντες αὐτῷ, Ἔξελθε καὶ πορεύου ἐντεῦθεν, ὅτι Ἡρῴδης θέλει σε ἀποκτεῖναι. 32καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς, Πορευθέντες εἴπατε τῇ ἀλώπεκι ταύτῃ, Ἰδοὺ ἐκβάλλω δαιμόνια καὶ ἰάσεις ἀποτελῶ σήμερον καὶ αὔριον, καὶ τῇ τρίτῃ τελειοῦμαι. 33πλὴν δεῖ με σήμερον καὶ αὔριον καὶ τῇ ἐχομένῃ πορεύεσθαι, ὅτι οὐκ ἐνδέχεται προφήτην ἀπολέσθαι ἔξω Ἰερουσαλήμ. 34Ἰερουσαλὴμ Ἰερουσαλήμ, ἡ ἀποκτείνουσα τοὺς προφήτας καὶ λιθοβολοῦσα τοὺς ἀπεσταλμένους πρὸς αὐτήν, ποσάκις ἠθέλησα ἐπισυνάξαι τὰ τέκνα σου ὃν τρόπον ὄρνις τὴν ἑαυτῆς νοσσιὰν ὑπὸ τὰς πτέρυγας, καὶ οὐκ ἠθελήσατε. 35ἰδοὺ ἀφίεται ὑμῖν ὁ οἶκος ὑμῶν. λέγω [δὲ] ὑμῖν, οὐ μὴ ἴδητέ με ἕως [ἥξει ὅτε] εἴπητε, Εὐλογημένος ὁ ἐρχόμενος ἐν ὀνόματι κυρίου.

Novum Testamentum Graece, Nestle-Aland 26th ed. © 1979, Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart;
The Greek New Testament, 3rd edition © 1975, United Bible Societies, London

2. ANALYSIS: Luke 13: [22-30] 31-35

Luke 13 is generally seen within the central teaching

section of the Gospel. This material is thought to be

from several sources (much from 'Q') - and to have been

shaped by Luke.

Jerusalem may deserve attention; various

commentaries deal with the many aspects which touch on

these passages. Topics include: death of

prophets in Jerusalem (not recorded, but a traditional

view), Journey motif in Luke, Ascension motif in Luke,

previous journeys of Jesus to Jerusalem and others.

[ vs. 24 "Strive" the Greek verb, 'agonizesthe', is

also translated 'strain every nerve' and 'try your best.' ]

vs. 32 "Fox", in rabbinic writings the fox was

frequently used as a term for an unimportant person. The

'fox' as an animal was regarded as the slyest; and it was

regarded as the most destructive of animals.

vs. 34 "Hen", is a general term for a mother fowl.

The image is of a bird protecting her brood from danger -

a familiar picture in Jewish songs as well as the O.T.

(Deut. 32:11-12, Ruth 2:12, Ps. 17:8, 36:7, 57:1, 61:4,

63:7, 91:4, Isa. 31:5).

'The Mother Eagle, Feminine Images of God IV' by

Virginia Ramey Mollenkott in DAUGHTERS OF SARAH (Vol. 7,

no. 6, Nov./Dec. 1981, p. 17f.) is a helpful presentation.

Exodus 19, Deut. 32, and Job 39 speak of the mother eagle

teaching her young to fly; Mollenkott writes, "What a

picture of a loving God, caring nurturantly for us when we

are weak, yet always aiming at the goal of our maturity

and internalized strength rather than at morbid dependency

upon a force external to ourselves." p. 18.

"It seems to have been an iron rule that prophets

should suffer and die violent deaths in the Holy City.

But Jesus is not just quoting a popular view. He is

preparing to accept the prophets' passions Himself. The

decisions must be taken in Jerusalem." (Kittel,



3. STRATEGY: Luke 13: (22-30) 31-35

Several considerations are needed as the preacher

begins to shape the sermon based on the Gospel for Lent 2.

• How much of the material will be read, and


• Will any attention be given to the Journey to

Ascension, or the Journey to Jerusalem themes?

• What is the attitude of the Pharisees who warn

Jesus in vs. 31? Are they well-meaning, or are they

trying to trick Jesus?

• Are all the pericopes centered to answer the earlier

question in Lk. 13:22:

'Lord, will those who are saved be few?'

The Compassion of Jesus is suggested by the later

verses of the passage. The image of the mother hen and

her brood suggest the possibility for examination of the

mothering, caring, compassion of God. The whole matter of

the nature and characteristics of God are opened by these


Many may be receiving special mission offerings

during Lent for the Haiti earthquake and other special needs;

caring and compassion are elements of these programs.

The tension between caring and evangelism are

present in the Lk. 13: 34-35 passage; Jesus cared for the

city, but was rejected. The words 'would not' - literally

'you have not wished it' point to the element of personal

choice. Jesus wished that it were otherwise.

Lk. 13:23 'Lord, will those who are saved be few?'

This is a perpetual issue for the Church. There may be

situations which call for a general theological

examination of universal versus selective salvation. The

differences between Matt. 13: 31f and John 10: 7f may be

helpful. Likely we may wish to avoid the theoretical

question and move it to the personal.

The overall theme of personal choice may offer a

Lenten focus. Couched within the larger context and the

framework of the life and ministry of Jesus, the key

question in Lk. 13: 22-35 seems to be how to enter the

presence of God. "It is as though the Lord replied, 'The

crucial matter is not about numbers, many or few - the

crucial matter is what about you?'" (Walter Russell Bowie,


Exegete: Rev. Stephen T. Deckard is Director of Connectional Ministries
for the United Methodist Church in Western New York (Cicero, New York).


Danker, Frederick W. Luke. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1976.

Juel, Donald. Luke-Acts. The Promise of History.

Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1983.


Some appropriate hymns for this day include the following:














Tischrede Software

Dartmouth, MA 02747-1925


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Monday, February 15, 2010

+ Ash Wednesday + February 17, 2010 +

Lexegete™ | Year C | St. Luke

Ash Wednesday
February 17, 2010
Joel 2:1-2, 12-17 or Isaiah 58:1-12
Psalm 51:1-17 (1) or Psalm 103:8-14
2 Corinthians 5:20b—6:10
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

Prayer of the Day

Almighty and ever-living God, you hate nothing you have made, and you forgive the sins of all who are penitent. Create in us new and honest hearts, so that, truly repenting of our sins, we may receive from you, the God of all mercy, full pardon and forgiveness through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Gracious God, out of your love and mercy you breathed into dust the breath of life, creating us to serve you and our neighbors. Call forth our prayers and acts of kindness, and strengthen us to face our mortality with confidence in the mercy of your Son,
Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Gospel Acclamation

Return to the | LORD, your God,
who is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in | steadfast love. (Joel 2:13)

1a. CONTEXT: Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

After his Baptism, according to the Synoptic Gospels, Jesus

spent forty days in the wilderness, fasting and being

tempted by Satan (Mt. 4:1-11, Mk1:12f., Lk. 4:1-13). Our

Lord's fast was not, however, originally associated with the

Lenten season, which has its roots in the fasting and other

ascetical disciplines undertaken by catechumens in

preparation for Baptism at Easter. These pre-Easter

exercises can be traced at least to the second century; at

first they lasted only one or two days, and only in the

fourth century Festal Letters of St. Athanasius do we first

hear of a forty-day period of fasting. Even so, the

reckoning of Lent as a forty-day period has never been

established throughout the whole church: the Eastern

Churches spread the season over eight or nine weeks.

A penitential season of exactly forty days was made the rule

at Rome in the sixth century (before the time of Gregory

the Great); this was accomplished by including in the Lenten

fast the four days before the first Sunday in Lent. (The

Sundays in Lent do not count as fast- days; all Sundays,

being commemorations of Easter, are feast-days.)

The name "Ash Wednesday" derives from the medieval

custom of blessing ashes which were used to mark the

foreheads of the faithful as a symbol of penitence. The

reformed churches have generally discontinued this

ceremony, which they felt did not accord well with the

Gospel command (in the Roman and Sarum Missals

the Gospel appointed is Mt. 6:16-18).

1. TEXT: Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21


Giving to the Needy

6:1 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.
2 “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

The Lord's Prayer
5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you....


16 “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Lay Up Treasures in Heaven

19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust [1] destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

[1] 6:19 Or worm; also verse 20

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


6σὺ δὲ ὅταν προσεύχῃ, εἴσελθε εἰς τὸ ταμεῖόν σου καὶ κλείσας τὴν θύραν σου πρόσευξαι τῷ πατρί σου τῷ ἐν τῷ κρυπτῷ: καὶ ὁ πατήρ σου ὁ βλέπων ἐν τῷ κρυπτῷ ἀποδώσει σοι. 7Προσευχόμενοι δὲ μὴ βατταλογήσητε ὥσπερ οἱ ἐθνικοί, δοκοῦσιν γὰρ ὅτι ἐν τῇ πολυλογίᾳ αὐτῶν εἰσακουσθήσονται. 8μὴ οὖν ὁμοιωθῆτε αὐτοῖς, οἶδεν γὰρ ὁ πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὧν χρείαν ἔχετε πρὸ τοῦ ὑμᾶς αἰτῆσαι αὐτόν. 9Οὕτως οὖν προσεύχεσθε ὑμεῖς: Πάτερ ἡμῶν ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς, ἁγιασθήτω τὸ ὄνομά σου, 10ἐλθέτω ἡ βασιλεία σου, γενηθήτω τὸ θέλημά σου, ὡς ἐν οὐρανῷ καὶ ἐπὶ γῆς. 11Τὸν ἄρτον ἡμῶν τὸν ἐπιούσιον δὸς ἡμῖν σήμερον: 12καὶ ἄφες ἡμῖν τὰ ὀφειλήματα ἡμῶν, ὡς καὶ ἡμεῖς ἀφήκαμεν τοῖς ὀφειλέταις ἡμῶν: 13καὶ μὴ εἰσενέγκῃς ἡμᾶς εἰς πειρασμόν, ἀλλὰ ῥῦσαι ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ τοῦ πονηροῦ. 14Ἐὰν γὰρ ἀφῆτε τοῖς ἀνθρώποις τὰ παραπτώματα αὐτῶν, ἀφήσει καὶ ὑμῖν ὁ πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὁ οὐράνιος: 15ἐὰν δὲ μὴ ἀφῆτε τοῖς ἀνθρώποις, οὐδὲ ὁ πατὴρ ὑμῶν ἀφήσει τὰ παραπτώματα ὑμῶν. 16Οταν δὲ νηστεύητε, μὴ γίνεσθε ὡς οἱ ὑποκριταὶ σκυθρωποί, ἀφανίζουσιν γὰρ τὰ πρόσωπα αὐτῶν ὅπως φανῶσιν τοῖς ἀνθρώποις νηστεύοντες: ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ἀπέχουσιν τὸν μισθὸν αὐτῶν. 17σὺ δὲ νηστεύων ἄλειψαί σου τὴν κεφαλὴν καὶ τὸ πρόσωπόν σου νίψαι, 18ὅπως μὴ φανῇς τοῖς ἀνθρώποις νηστεύων ἀλλὰ τῷ πατρί σου τῷ ἐν τῷ κρυφαίῳ: καὶ ὁ πατήρ σου ὁ βλέπων ἐν τῷ κρυφαίῳ ἀποδώσει σοι. 19Μὴ θησαυρίζετε ὑμῖν θησαυροὺς ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, ὅπου σὴς καὶ βρῶσις ἀφανίζει, καὶ ὅπου κλέπται διορύσσουσιν καὶ κλέπτουσιν: 20θησαυρίζετε δὲ ὑμῖν θησαυροὺς ἐν οὐρανῷ, ὅπου οὔτε σὴς οὔτε βρῶσις ἀφανίζει, καὶ ὅπου κλέπται οὐ διορύσσουσιν οὐδὲ κλέπτουσιν: 21ὅπου γάρ ἐστιν ὁ θησαυρός σου, ἐκεῖ ἔσται καὶ ἡ καρδία σου.

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

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

2. ANALYSIS: Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

The Gospel for Ash Wednesday, a section of the Sermon on

the Mount, is a short catena of what Bultmann calls "Rules

of Piety" (cf.5:23f., 23:16-22; Mk. 11:25; Lk. 17:3f.) They

contain very little that is foreign to the best in contemporary

Judaism. The section may be outlined as follows:

Introduction: Mt. 6:1 - Ostentatious piety is condemned.

l. On Almsgiving: 6:2-4.

2. On Prayer: 6:5-6.

3. On Fasting: 6:16-18.

4. On Treasures: 6:19-21.

Verses 1-6,16-18 are peculiar to Matthew's Gospel. The

content of the sixth logion of the Coptic Gospel of Thomas

is similar to that of 1-6,16-18: "His disciples asked him

and said to him: do you wish us to fast? And in what way

shall we pray (and) give alms? And what observances shall

we keep with respect to eating? Jesus said: Do not speak a

lie and do not do what you hate, because everything is

manifest before Heaven. For there is nothing hidden which

shall no be made manifest, and there is nothing covered that

shall remain without being revealed" [cf. Mt. 10:26, Lk.


The content of these "rules" may well derive from Jesus

himself, but their formulation is due to the early Church.

The striking parallelism exhibited by the "rules" is clear

evidence of redactorial activity, either of Matthew or of

some earlier collector of Jesus' sayings.

To Matthew himself are doubtless due the introduction (6:1)

and the insertion of the Lord's Prayer (6:7-15).

Each of the first three "rules" consists of two brief

commands, one negative and one positive. The negative

commands enjoin the disciples not to imitate the

ostentatious behavior of the hypocrites who perform their

religious duties in public in order to gain a reputation for

piety (hopos phanosin tois anthropois [ doxasthosin hupo

ton anthropon]); solemn assurance is given after each

injunction that there is no further reward for hypocritical

behavior: amen lego humin , apechousin ton misthon auton .

The negative commands are couched in the plural, but the

positive ones are in the singular, as if in them the Lord is

addressing each individual disciple. Unlike hypocrites,

Jesus' followers are to perform their religious duties with

due modesty; their reward will be God's approval.

Mt. 6:1 - prosechete [de] tein dikaiosunen humon mei poiein

emprosthen ton anthropon pros to theathenai autois -

"Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to

be seen by them" (AILL) - Dikaiosune is a very important

word in the NT. In the Pauline Epistles it is used of God's

righteousness, but here (and in Mt. 5:10,20) the meaning is

quite concrete: right conduct before God. It thus serves as a simple

shorthand for the acts of piety mentioned in the following verses.

- - The root of the athenai appears in English "theater"; the meaning

of the Greek verb is to look over, to regard (with attention and

surprise), rather than simply to see.

6:2 - hotan oun poies 'eleeimosunein - "Thus, when you give

alms..." (AILL) - Almsgiving had an important place in

Jewish piety. Tobit 12:8 runs, "It is better to give alms

than to treasure up gold. For almsgiving delivers from

death, and it will purge away every sin."

- - me salpiseis emprosthen sou... - "sound no trumpet

before you" (AILL) - There is no evidence for supposing that

the rich were accustomed to blow horns to summon the poor in

order to give them alms. The blowing of horns did play a

part in fasts, but this was a ceremonial matter. Jesus is

merely telling his disciples not to call attention to

themselves when giving alms to the poor; we might paraphrase

this saying as "Don't ring the church bells every time you

put a dollar in the collection plate." -- hupokritai - found

in vss. 2,5, and 16; the basic meaning is "one who explains

or interprets," hence actor. The word had originally a

neutral connotation, but in the NT only the sense "one who

acts insincerely" is found.

6:3 - me gnoto he aristera sou ti poiei he dexia sou - "do

not let your left hand know what your right is doing" (AILL)

- In the Bible, as in many ancient cultures, the right hand

is regarded as the hand of strength and of blessing (cf. Job

40:14;,Gen. 48:14), while the left hand is considered

unlucky,unclean, even deadly (Judges 3:15,21; II Sam.

20:9f.). This being so, it is at least conceivable that

this saying means "Don't let your left hand, which is

accustomed to doing evil, prevent your right hand from doing

good." However, it is more likely that we have here a

simple exhortation to secrecy. The saying also occurs in

logion 62 of the Coptic Gospel of Thomas.

6:4,6,18 - en to krypto kai ho pater sou ho blepon en to

krypto apodosei soi (vs. 18 has kryphaio for krypto). - "(so

that your alms may be) in secret; and God who sees in secret

will reward you." (AILL) - The phrase 'en to phanero is

absent from the best ancient manuscripts; it was no doubt

added by pious scribes wishing to make the antithetical

parallelism with the preceding en to krupto more explicit.

The point of all the "Rules of Piety," however, is not the

public nature of the Father's reward but its superiority to

mere human approbation.

6:5 - hoti philousin 'en tais synagogais kai 'en tais

goniais ton plateion estotes proseuchesthai - "for they love

to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street

corners" (AILL) - Standing was the usual attitude of prayer

among both Jews and Greeks. 'Estotes may represent a Hebrew

word meaning continue or persist; if so, Jesus is referring

to the length of the hypocrites' prayers. It seems more

likely, in view of the context, that Jesus is condemning

their love of publicity, although there is in fact no Jewish

evidence for the practice of praying in the streets except

during public fasts.

6:6 - su de hotan proseuchei, eiselthe eis to tameion sou

kai kleisas ten thuran sou proseuxai to patri sou - "But

when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray

to God (who is in secret)" (AILL) - This is a reminiscence

of Isaiah 26:20 - "come, my people, enter your rooms, shut

your doors behind you; hide yourselves for a while until the

wrath has passed by" - with "pray" in place of "hide." Jesus

takes public worship for granted (Mt. 5:24, Lk.18:9-14) but

those who engage in public worship should be as free of all

pretense as one who prays in the secrecy of a closet.

6:16 - hotan de nesteueite - "And when you fast"(AILL) -

Jesus took it for granted that his hearers practiced fasting

as an act of piety, though he made an exception for his

personal followers during his lifetime (9:14f. = Mk.

2:18-20; cf. also ll:18f. = Lk. 7:33f.). Pious Jews fasted

on Mondays and Thursdays; to distinguish themselves from

these "hypocrites," Christians were urged to fast on

Wednesdays and Fridays (Didache 8:1). --- me ginesthe hos oi

hypokritai skuthropoi, aphanizousin gar ta prosopa auton

-"do not look dismal, like the hypocrites,for they disfigure

their faces"(AILL) - Lack of proper nourishment can result

in one's appearing skuthropos, gloomy, sad, sullen, and it

is to avoid this that the Arch-eunuch urged Daniel and his

friends to abandon their vegetarian diet (Dan. 1:10

[Theod.]). The hypocrites in vs. 16 tried to imitate this

appearance by disfiguring their faces with ashes or


6:17 - su de nesteuon aleipsai sou tein kefalein kai to

prosopon sou nipsai - " But when you fast, anoint your head

and wash your face" (AILL) - Jesus commands his disciples

to take the opposite course, and by anointing their heads

and washing their faces to imitate the happy appearance of

those who are celebrating a feast.

6:19,21 - These verses have parallels in Luke 12:33f. and

hence may derive from Q. There seems to be an allusion to

them in Jas. 5:2f. In logion 76 of the Coptic Gospel of

Thomas the saying in vs. 20 is conflated with the Parable of

the Pearl of Great Price (Mt. 13:45f.).

3. STRATEGY: Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

"All the world's a stage,/ and all the men and women merely players"


Shakespeare's famous line has been echoed by many

writers, as any dictionary of quotations will

prove. This is hardly surprising, since all human beings

are obviously "actors" playing different "roles." But they

are not merely actors: two 19th-Century English clerics,

A.W. and J.C. Hare, point out that "Everybody has his own

theater, in which he is manager, actor, prompter,

playwright, sceneshifter, boxkeeper, doorkeeper, and

audience" (Guesses at Truth, 1827). We like, so far as we

are able, to manage our own lives, to be in control of the

"action" in which we are the "actors." In the language of

the New Testament we are hypocrites, "putting on an act" so

that we will be thought well of by others and, as the Hare

brothers say, by ourselves--for we are our own most

important audience. Or are we? God is also watching, even

when we are not consciously "on stage." Since Lent is a

time for self-examination, we might profitably ask ourselves

such questions as: Where is our "theater"? How are we

"managing" it? What audience are we usually performing for?

What audiences should we pay more attention to? What are

the "box-office receipts"? What sort of applause do we

seek? From other people? From ourselves? From God?

What is the value of this "applause" in each case?

4. REFERENCES: Matthew 6:1-6,16-21

Bultmann, Rudolf. The History of the Synoptic Tradition,

transl. by John Marsh.2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell,1968.

M'Neile,A.H. The Gospel According to Matthew. London:


Johnson, S.H. "The Gospel of Matthew," in the Interpreter's

Bible, vol. 7. NY: Abingdon, 1951.

M.H. Shepherd. The Oxford American Prayer Book Commentary.

NY: Oxford University Press, 1950.

G. Kittel, ed. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament,

transl. by Geoffrey W. Bromiley. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1963.

Articles on: dikaiosune, theaomai, eleemosune, nesteuo,

proseuchomai, salpingo, and hypokrites


The new Episcopalian Hymnal 1982 has two settings (EH

140,141) of John Donne's poem, "Wilt thou forgive that sin

where I begun"; the second of these,harmonized by J.S. Bach,

may be easier for congregational singing. LORD JESUS, SUN


ANXIOUS FEAR AND WORRY (EH 145) both look forward from the

penitential season to the goal of Easter. Also traditional



UNKNOWN (EH 458, LBW 94).

Exegete: Eugene V.N. Goetchius, Ph.D.,Th.D. now retired, was professor of Biblical Languages from 1963-1989, holding chairs simultaneously in the Episcopal Theological School and the Philadelphia Divinity School. He taught Greek and Hebrew and collaborated with colleagues from Harvard Divinity School and Weston School of Theology in teaching introductory courses in New Testament interpretation and exegesis. He wrote a Greek grammar book, The Language of the New Testament, with accompanying workbook; The Teaching of the Biblical Languages and The Gifts of God. He received his Th.D. in New Testament Studies from Union Theological Seminary in New York in 1963 and his Ph.D. in Germanic Languages and Linguistics from the University of Virginia in 1949.

Lexegete™ | Year C | St. Luke

First Sunday in Lent | February 21, 2010
Deuteronomy 26:1-11
Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16 (11)
Romans 10:8b-13
Luke 4:1-13

Prayer of the Day

O Lord God, you led your people through the wilderness and brought them to the promised land. Guide us now, so that, following your Son, we may walk safely through the wilderness of this world toward the life you alone can give, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Gospel Acclamation

One does not live by | bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the | mouth of God. (Matt. 4:4)


1a. CONTEXT: LUKE 4:1-13

This text, the temptation of Jesus, is located at the

beginning of Lent, and the story itself is located in the

synoptics prior to the beginning of Jesus' public

ministry. All three synoptics use this story as Jesus'

preparation for public ministry following his Baptism.

Matthew and Luke interject a genealogy following the

Baptism and preceding the temptation story. Mark is brief

in describing the temptation story and merely says that

Jesus was tempted by Satan. Matthew and Luke expand on

the temptations describing three specific temptations. In

both, the first temptation comes after the narrative

states that Jesus fasted for forty days, and "that he was


Luke makes the second temptation related to all the

kingdoms of the world, and the third temptation is one of

personal safety for Jesus. Matthew has the last two

temptations reversed in order from Luke. Some contextual

items are quite obvious: Jesus in some kind of dialog

with Satan; The temptations forming a framework or stance

for all of Jesus' public ministry; Jesus' knowledge of

and comfort with quoting scripture (hence indicating a

rabbinical style of life); and the challenge of Satan to

Jesus to "prove who He is", by doing things that were

traditionally associated with messianic expectations.

Two other items need attention in the contextual

setting: Whereas Matthew and Mark end with the angels

ministering to Jesus, Luke--who has put the angels'

protection as the last temptation--makes no mention of the

angels ministering to Jesus; and ends this pericope with

the note that indicates there is more to come from the


1b. TEXT: LUKE 4:1-13


4:1 And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness 2 for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry. 3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” 4 And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’” 5 And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, 6 and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. 7 If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” 8 And Jesus answered him, “It is written,
“‘You shall worship the Lord your God,
and him only shall you serve.’”
9 And he took him to Jerusalem and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, 10 for it is written,
“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
to guard you,’ 11 and
“‘On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”
12 And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 13 And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

1Ἰησοῦς δὲ πλήρης πνεύματος ἁγίου ὑπέστρεψεν ἀπὸ τοῦ Ἰορδάνου, καὶ ἤγετο ἐν τῷ πνεύματι ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ 2ἡμέρας τεσσεράκοντα πειραζόμενος ὑπὸ τοῦ διαβόλου. καὶ οὐκ ἔφαγεν οὐδὲν ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ἐκείναις, καὶ συντελεσθεισῶν αὐτῶν ἐπείνασεν. 3Εἶπεν δὲ αὐτῷ ὁ διάβολος, Εἰ υἱὸς εἶ τοῦ θεοῦ, εἰπὲ τῷ λίθῳ τούτῳ ἵνα γένηται ἄρτος. 4καὶ ἀπεκρίθη πρὸς αὐτὸν ὁ Ἰησοῦς, Γέγραπται ὅτι Οὐκ ἐπ' ἄρτῳ μόνῳ ζήσεται ὁ ἄνθρωπος. 5Καὶ ἀναγαγὼν αὐτὸν ἔδειξεν αὐτῷ πάσας τὰς βασιλείας τῆς οἰκουμένης ἐν στιγμῇ χρόνου: 6καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ ὁ διάβολος, Σοὶ δώσω τὴν ἐξουσίαν ταύτην ἅπασαν καὶ τὴν δόξαν αὐτῶν, ὅτι ἐμοὶ παραδέδοται καὶ ᾧ ἐὰν θέλω δίδωμι αὐτήν: 7σὺ οὖν ἐὰν προσκυνήσῃς ἐνώπιον ἐμοῦ, ἔσται σοῦ πᾶσα. 8καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτῷ, Γέγραπται, Κύριον τὸν θεόν σου προσκυνήσεις καὶ αὐτῷ μόνῳ λατρεύσεις. 9Ἤγαγεν δὲ αὐτὸν εἰς Ἰερουσαλὴμ καὶ ἔστησεν ἐπὶ τὸ πτερύγιον τοῦ ἱεροῦ, καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ, Εἰ υἱὸς εἶ τοῦ θεοῦ, βάλε σεαυτὸν ἐντεῦθεν κάτω: 10γέγραπται γὰρ ὅτι Τοῖς ἀγγέλοις αὐτοῦ ἐντελεῖται περὶ σοῦ τοῦ διαφυλάξαι σε, 11καὶ ὅτι Ἐπὶ χειρῶν ἀροῦσίν σε μήποτε προσκόψῃς πρὸς λίθον τὸν πόδα σου. 12καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς ὅτι Εἴρηται, Οὐκ ἐκπειράσεις κύριον τὸν θεόν σου. 13Καὶ συντελέσας πάντα πειρασμὸν ὁ διάβολος ἀπέστη ἀπ' αὐτοῦ ἄχρι καιροῦ.

Novum Testamentum Graece, Nestle-Aland 26th edition © 1979, Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart;
The Greek New Testament, 3rd edition © 1975, United Bible Societies, London

2. ANALYSIS: LUKE 4:1-13

1-2 Iesous de pleires pneumatos hagiou - This

describes in two sentences (RSV) the time Jesus spent in

the wilderness. Not only was he full of the Holy Spirit,

but he was led by the Spirit throughout the wilderness

time. Schweizer suggests that those who are possessed by

the Spirit are most vulnerable to temptation. Mark

suggests that Jesus was driven by the Spirit. The forty

days may be a standard literary device to make the

unconscious connection with the commonly known religious

stories of trial and judgment: the Exodus and the Noah

story. Note that Luke uses the noun "diabolon" throughout

his pericope, for the evil one, rather than the proper

noun. Also there is a hint that the temptations may come

at the end of the wilderness fast, for "when they were

ended, he was hungry." After this statement Luke

describes the temptation to satisfy hunger.

3-4 Eipen de auto ho diabolos - This is the first

temptation. At first reading it seems to be a temptation

to satisfy a physical need--hunger. But the first phrase

is a direct challenge to Jesus's identity and mission.

Vincent Taylor's work on the Names of Jesus places much

significance on the titles given to Jesus. In this case,

the devil uses the title Son of God. In both OT and NT

precedent, this is a title given to someone who has the

power to reveal God. This use of the title can be seen as

the challenge of evil to God.

Note the stylistic formula denoting Jesus' response

according to the RSV:

"And Jesus answered (apekrithei) him." NIV simply says:

"Jesus answered." But the words in the Greek NT are not

exactly the same in all three responses: Verses 4, 8 and

12. Jesus' response is a quote from the manna story

(Deuteronomy 8:3b), and certainly the literary connection

is made between this event and the provision of manna in

the wilderness.

5-8 Kai anagagon auon edeixen auo pasas tas basileias

teis oikoumeneis - The Second temptation does not begin

with a challenge to God but puts Jesus in the World. It

is here that the devil appears to have control and the

ability to give something to Jesus, for a price. "in a

moment of time" is an interesting phrase, that must be a

standard idiomatic expression. Jesus' response is the

Creed of Judaism: The Shema.

9-12 epi to pterugion - The Third temptation combines

the tactics of the two previous temptations: It places

Jesus in a precarious position, and it challenges his

identity. Furthermore, the devil also quotes scripture.

This also places Jesus in the "religious" setting, i.e. at

the Temple. This is at once both a lofty challenge, yet

almost ludicrous in its absurdity.

These three temptations not only represent rather

traditional challenges of evil to God, there is in Luke's

version a powerful, yet subtle, building of the momentum

and power of the temptations. In the first temptation it

is the devil and Jesus' hunger that depict a personal

struggle. The second temptation involves the whole world,

and the devil's presumed ownership. The third temptation

uses a religious context, and all the challenges to

identity, and even Jesus' method of quoting scripture, for

an issue of personal safety.

13 ho diabolos apeste ap autou archi kairou - Luke

gives the impression that every kind of temptation has

been tried on Jesus, but that the devil has not yet given

up. For the devil there is a "kairos," just as there is a

"kairos" for God, Jesus and God's people.

3. STRATEGY: LUKE 4:1-13

In the classical homiletical style of a generation

ago, this text is perfect! It is complete with

Introduction (tell them what you are going to tell them),

three main points (tell them), and conclusion (tell them

what you told them). Probably each one of us would do

well to preach this style of sermon at least once on this

text. But it is full of many other possibilities that

cannot be overlooked.

This text describes what it means to be "driven." In

Jesus' case, he is driven by the Holy Spirit. This would

provide an entry point for dialog with "type A"

personalities, and possibly open up the pitfalls of such a

personality type. Most of the time we characterize "type

A's" with a subtle negativity; but here is the opportunity

to affirm and to connect in a meaningful and theological


A second issue that this text raises is the matter of

identity. Jesus has to prove he is God, and to prove

himself in the face of evil. Do we have to prove we are

good mothers by making certain that our children always

have what they want to eat? Do we have to prove we are

good fathers by giving our children everything they could

ever ask for?

Do we have to prove our authority by ordering a secretary

to bring a cup of coffee, or to pick up our laundry?

A third way of approaching this text would be to look

at the redundant phrases as common punctuation or starting

expressions. "And Jesus Answered, It is Written..." How

do we react when confronted by the challenges of

life--challenges that will detract us from our mission, or

even destroy our effectiveness?

A fourth way of dealing with this text is to take the

devil's stance. What things would most easily attract

someone away from their purpose in life? The preacher

could even write some letters in the manner of C.S.Lewis.

John Killinger says each temptation was "extremely

basic to human nature." (page 31) The temptations were

"for bread, for glory and for religious certainty." (page

32) A fifth way of dealing with this text would be to

select the most basic or commonly expressed needs in your

specific community and do a l980's version of the story.

For some it might be a lifetime contract for employment, a

stated recognition factor (a month's vacation after 10

years, a silver watch after 25 years, and a gold ring

after 50 years), and having the company president know you

and always call you by your first name and ask about your




John Knox Press, Atlanta. l984.

Taylor, Vincent. THE NAMES OF JESUS. MacMillan,

London. 1954.


Gospel of Contagious Joy. Word Books, Waco. 1980.

Luecke, Richard. VIOLENT SLEEP; Notes Toward the Development of

Sermons for the Modern City. Fortress Press, Philadelphia. 1969.

Craddock, Fred. PREACHING. Abingdon Press, Nashville. 1985.


Hymn: "O Lord, Throughout these forty days" (HB

142, LBW 99) sets the theme in a traditional mode.

Hymn: "Breathe on me, Breath of God" (HB 508, LBW

488) could well be used in reference to the "Filled by

the Spirit" theme.

I cannot overlook the rich possibilities in the other

lessons: Psalm 91 describes the confidence of one "filled with the

Spirit". Deuteronomy 26: 5-10 "The Wandering Aramean"

passage describes the test of the people of God.

Romans 10:8bff again picks up the theme of filling of the person

by the Spirit of God, and the subsequent confidence it produces.

Exegete: Dale I. Gregoriew, D.Min., a graduate of Princeton Seminary, continues as pastor of Christ the Servant Lutheran Church in Allen, Texas. He was sworn in on August 8, 2001, as chaplain of the Allen Police Department. He served for three years as associate chaplain before this promotion.

Lexegete © 2010

Tischrede Software

Dartmouth, MA 02747-1925


Transfiguration of Our Lord

Transfiguration of Our Lord • Epiphany Last • 2-14-10 • Exodus 34:29-35
Ps. 99 (9) • 2 Cor. 3:12–4:2 • Lk. 9:28-36 [37-43a]

Prayer of the Day

Holy God, mighty and immortal, you are beyond our knowing, yet we see your glory in the face of Jesus Christ. Transform us into the likeness of your Son, who renewed our humanity so that we may share in his divinity, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

SERMON: " White-Out" | Advent Lutheran, Middleboro, Massachusetts

It was an unforgettable experience that day in 1966. You might say I was in my glory, because I was skiing Squaw Valley ...and at that point in my life skiing was sheer joy. I was alone, like a surfer splashing through waves in the ocean, except that it was a sea of billowing, deep white powder snow in the High Sierra, far above Lake Tahoe. It wasn’t very cold, but the wind whipped across the deep snow, digging deep, icy cold drifts. There was only one trail up there I hadn’t explored, and so I thought I would give it a try. As I got aboard the chairlift I could barely see the red parka of the skier in a chair twenty yards ahead of me. It was late afternoon, but the sky seemed neither light nor dark, but filled with hug flakes of snow. The wooden chair slowly coiled its way to the top of the mountain and I looked back but could see non one behind me on the lift. Now and then I could hear shouts below me on the trail, but then they disappeared and I was clearly all alone at 10,000 ft.
As I slid down the ramp, I tried to find my way through the falling snow. But suddenly I was blind. I could not see a thing, and now I felt more alone than ever. It was far worse than being in a darkened closet. The natural reaction when you can’t see is to open your eyes wider, but it was of no use. That only made things worse. This was what is known and respected in the mountains as a white-out, and as far as I was concerned it was just as fearful as an avalanche. My eyes were no help to me at all, so I finally closed them and tried to sidestep down the steep summit trail. Like a bat in a cave, I had no idea where I was going except what I could tell from listening to the wind, hoping to hear another skier, praying I would not slam into a tree, fearing that I might lose my way somewhere in the foods far from any sort of help.

Amazingly, I could find the center of the trail by paying attention to my sense of balance and the downward pull of the slope, known as the fall line. It was slow and nerve-wracking because i knew the sun was shining brightly somewhere out there beyond the blizzard. Just then someone in a red parka bumped up against me and we both began to make out the sound of others below us in the same dilemma. Suddenly, like the switch of mighty lightbulb, the snow lifted and real sunlight filtered down through the trees. the sky now seemed as clear and pure as I have ever seen it before or since, and tinted a bright green by my temporary blindness. The ground seemed as firm and receptive as if one had been at sea for weeks, and the feeling of relief and sanctuary and joy was indescribable.

That day I learned that light alone is not enough for seeing. A light that shines on us in the darkness is one thing, but a light that blinds or over-powers us with its brilliance is another. The light that is clear and pure and strong cannot be overpowered or turned into darkness. The light that lifts us up from darkness is the true light, which came down from heaven, and it leads to safety and deliverance, even though we ourselves may at times find ourselves blinded by this same true light.

Life is not so simple that we can break it down into particles that are all positive or all negative, all good or evil. Life is never so black-and-white. Indeed, it seems as if it is more often the gray areas of inconsistency and moral uncertainty that give us trouble. Here is where we most often lose our way or even become unable to see the alternatives before us--perhaps because today there are so many of them. And God’s answer is to send us the true light, which can help us even though we are blinded by its glory, a light that can guide us even when we feel alone or helpless or lost. How does God do all this? By flipping a giant switch in our lives? No. By bringing us an abstract idea of Perfection and Goodness? Never. God does it by bringing Godness down-to-earth, to us and down to our size in a human child. This is how God chooses to penetrate our darkness, our blindness, our white-out. St. Paul wrote to the Corinthians:

“God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” -- II Cor. 4:6 (ESV)

It is this amazing grace which has touched all of our lives. But be careful, lest you imagine that God has given us this gift only in order to prove his love. Christ comes as the incarnation of love, not as its Proof. Love is something you give, not something you prove. And it is this very capacity for love in each of us that it most Godly and Divine, when we see it in its true light. Then we recognize what it means to be created in the image and likeness of God. Until we see that, well, we might just as well be snowblind in a whiteout. Perhaps we reveal our own blindness when we expect God to prove his love for us. Someone told me she liked the Bible because it was full of proof of God’s love: proof like miracles or curing the sick and lame, raising the dead, giving sight to the blind.

But this is backwards theology. Jesus never cured to prove. The Bible was not written to provide proof for our doubting nature, and Jesus was unmoved by such controversies. He cured where faith was present, or because he simply chose to heal this one or that one in the depth of their need. The miracles are there, but that’s not why the faith is there. The faith was in Him and the good news he preached. Maybe the real miracle is that so many went on trusting in him in spite of the fact that they remained blind or lame or lost or in prison or alone. And many still do.

Christ came unrecognized, except by a few scruffy shepherds and kooky astrologers, and he remained unaccepted for the most part. Few in the ancient world recognized the glory of God in him. Greeks in those days were proud of their philosophy and wisdom--why should they care about a Jewish baby? And Jews awaited a strong deliverer who would come in power to save them--why should they care about a carpenter’s child? Romans sat secure in their world domination, or so they thought. Athens...Rome... Jerusalem, each one looked to its own source of purpose and life and light. But only to those who accepted this Gift, who recognized God’s love in his Son, to these God gave a glimpse of his eternal glory.

I said that I was in my glory that day in the High Sierra 44 years ago, caught in the blinding light of a white-out. But that isn’t quite right. The real glimpse of glory was in discovering that I was not alone, after all...that safety and sanctuary were really not that far away from me. The glory descended in clear, broad daylight, full of comfort and joy. My prayer is that each of you may discover that same glory in the coming year...finding God’s love and care in some down-to-earth time and place in your life...that you may see with an inner vision that the true light is at hand, full of grace and truth.


Friday, February 12, 2010

+ T R A N S F I G U R A T I O N + 2010 +


Transfiguration of Our Lord
Last Sunday after Epiphany
February 14, 2010
Exodus 34:29-35
Psalm 99 (9)
2 Corinthians 3:12–4:2
Luke 9:28-36 [37-43a] [37-43a]

Prayer of the Day

Holy God, mighty and immortal, you are beyond our knowing, yet we see your glory in the face of Jesus Christ. Transform us into the likeness of your Son, who renewed our humanity so that we may share in his divinity, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Gospel Acclamation

Alleluia. This is my | Son, my Chosen,
lis- | ten to him! Alleluia. (Luke 9:35)

1a. CONTEXT: Luke 9:28-36 [37-43a]

The story of the Transfiguration of Jesus is found in

all the synoptic gospels and records the intense religious

experience of the three disciples Peter, James and John.

In all three accounts it follows the confession of Peter

and marks the transition from Jesus' preaching in Galilee

to his mission in Jerusalem.

Luke's transfiguration story places Jesus at the

summit of the prophetic and messianic expectations of his

age. The story is not incidental to Luke's gospel, nor an

example of synoptic coincidence. Luke's account, though

essentially similar to the versions of Matthew and Mark,

illumines the true power in Jesus' healing, teaching and

law-giving, and foreshadows the weakness of his followers,

who seem to be drowsy at crucial moments. The vision of

the three disciples is a turning point in Luke's gospel.

On the mountaintop Jesus' Galilean ministry is seen by the

light of Jewish hopes and the road ahead to Jerusalem is

first illumined.

Peter, John and James wake up to see Elijah and Moses

with Jesus, but alert readers of Luke's gospel might well

have been prepared for their appearance. The story of the

feeding of the 5,000 with loaves of bread and fish invokes

a miraculous feeding story of Elijah's in 2 Kings 4:42 and

Moses' feeding of the tribes in the wilderness. At the

beginning of chapter 9 Luke uses Herod to introduce these

associations. Jesus' activities had given rise to reports

that either John the Baptist had been raised, or that

Elijah or one of the prophets had appeared, and Herod

confesses a curiousity. "John I beheaded; but who is this

about whom I hear such things?" (Luke 9:9). Jesus,

according to Luke, asks who the people say he is.

The disciples report the titles Herod had also

heard: John the Baptist, Elijah, one of the prophets.

Peter shares Herod's doubt concerning these but goes

beyond curiousity to conviction. He confesses that Jesus

is "the Christ of God." Now with John and James, Peter

will see Jesus' true identity in the vision of the


1a. TEXT: Luke 9:28-36 [37-43a]


28Ἐγένετο δὲ μετὰ τοὺς λόγους τούτους ὡσεὶ ἡμέραι ὀκτὼ [καὶ] παραλαβὼν Πέτρον καὶ Ἰωάννην καὶ Ἰάκωβον ἀνέβη εἰς τὸ ὄρος προσεύξασθαι. 29καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῷ προσεύχεσθαι αὐτὸν τὸ εἶδος τοῦ προσώπου αὐτοῦ ἕτερον καὶ ὁ ἱματισμὸς αὐτοῦ λευκὸς ἐξαστράπτων. 30καὶ ἰδοὺ ἄνδρες δύο συνελάλουν αὐτῷ, οἵτινες ἦσαν Μωϋσῆς καὶ Ἠλίας, 31οἳ ὀφθέντες ἐν δόξῃ ἔλεγον τὴν ἔξοδον αὐτοῦ ἣν ἤμελλεν πληροῦν ἐν Ἰερουσαλήμ. 32ὁ δὲ Πέτρος καὶ οἱ σὺν αὐτῷ ἦσαν βεβαρημένοι ὕπνῳ: διαγρηγορήσαντες δὲ εἶδον τὴν δόξαν αὐτοῦ καὶ τοὺς δύο ἄνδρας τοὺς συνεστῶτας αὐτῷ. 33καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῷ διαχωρίζεσθαι αὐτοὺς ἀπ∍ αὐτοῦ εἶπεν ὁ Πέτρος πρὸς τὸν Ἰησοῦν, Ἐπιστάτα, καλόν ἐστιν ἡμᾶς ὧδε εἶναι, καὶ ποιήσωμεν σκηνὰς τρεῖς, μίαν σοὶ καὶ μίαν Μωϋσεῖ καὶ μίαν Ἠλίᾳ, μὴ εἰδὼς ὃ λέγει. 34ταῦτα δὲ αὐτοῦ λέγοντος ἐγένετο νεφέλη καὶ ἐπεσκίαζεν αὐτούς: ἐφοβήθησαν δὲ ἐν τῷ εἰσελθεῖν αὐτοὺς εἰς τὴν νεφέλην. 35καὶ φωνὴ ἐγένετο ἐκ τῆς νεφέλης λέγουσα, Οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ υἱός μου ὁ ἐκλελεγμένος, αὐτοῦ ἀκούετε. 36καὶ ἐν τῷ γενέσθαι τὴν φωνὴν εὑρέθη Ἰησοῦς μόνος. καὶ αὐτοὶ ἐσίγησαν καὶ οὐδενὶ ἀπήγγειλαν ἐν ἐκείναις ταῖς ἡμέραις οὐδὲν ὧν ἑώρακαν. [ 37Ἐγένετο δὲ τῇ ἑξῆς ἡμέρᾳ κατελθόντων αὐτῶν ἀπὸ τοῦ ὄρους συνήντησεν αὐτῷ ὄχλος πολύς. 38καὶ ἰδοὺ ἀνὴρ ἀπὸ τοῦ ὄχλου ἐβόησεν λέγων, Διδάσκαλε, δέομαί σου ἐπιβλέψαι ἐπὶ τὸν υἱόν μου, ὅτι μονογενής μοί ἐστιν, 39καὶ ἰδοὺ πνεῦμα λαμβάνει αὐτόν, καὶ ἐξαίφνης κράζει, καὶ σπαράσσει αὐτὸν μετὰ ἀφροῦ καὶ μόγις ἀποχωρεῖ ἀπ∍ αὐτοῦ συντρῖβον αὐτόν: 40καὶ ἐδεήθην τῶν μαθητῶν σου ἵνα ἐκβάλωσιν αὐτό, καὶ οὐκ ἠδυνήθησαν. 41ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν, ω γενεὰ ἄπιστος καὶ διεστραμμένη, ἕως πότε ἔσομαι πρὸς ὑμᾶς καὶ ἀνέξομαι ὑμῶν; προσάγαγε ὧδε τὸν υἱόν σου. 42ἔτι δὲ προσερχομένου αὐτοῦ ἔρρηξεν αὐτὸν τὸ δαιμόνιον καὶ συνεσπάραξεν: ἐπετίμησεν δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς τῷ πνεύματι τῷ ἀκαθάρτῳ, καὶ ἰάσατο τὸν παῖδα καὶ ἀπέδωκεν αὐτὸν τῷ πατρὶ αὐτοῦ. 43ἐξεπλήσσοντο δὲ πάντες ἐπὶ τῇ μεγαλειότητι τοῦ θεοῦ. Πάντων δὲ θαυμαζόντων ἐπὶ πᾶσιν οἷς ἐποίει εἶπεν πρὸς τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ,

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

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

28 Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray. 29 And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white. 30 And behold, two men were talking with him, Moses and Elijah, 31 who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, [1] which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. 32 Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep, but when they became fully awake they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. 33 And as the men were parting from him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah”—not knowing what he said. 34 As he was saying these things, a cloud came and overshadowed them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. 35 And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, my Chosen One; [2] listen to him!” 36 And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and told no one in those days anything of what they had seen.

[ 37 On the next day, when they had come down from the mountain, a great crowd met him. 38 And behold, a man from the crowd cried out, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child. 39 And behold, a spirit seizes him, and he suddenly cries out. It convulses him so that he foams at the mouth, and shatters him, and will hardly leave him. 40 And I begged your disciples to cast it out, but they could not.” 41 Jesus answered, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you and bear with you? Bring your son here.” 42 While he was coming, the demon threw him to the ground and convulsed him. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit and healed the boy, and gave him back to his father. 43 And all were astonished at the majesty of God. But while they were all marveling at everything he was doing, Jesus [3] said to his disciples,

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles.

(1) 9:31 Greek exodus

(2) 9:35 Some manuscripts my Beloved

(3) 9:43 Greek he

2. ANALYSIS: Luke 9:28-36 [37-43a]

Luke 9:28-9 - Jesus brings Peter, John and James to

mountain in order to pray [proseuchasthai, from

proseuchomai--to offer or pour out prayer].

Throughout Luke's gospel moments of revelation occur

while Jesus is at prayer. Jesus was praying at his baptism

when the heavens opened (3:21), on the mountain before

choosing the disciples (6:12), on the Mount of Olives "as was

his custom" before his crucifixion (22:39), as well as on the

mountain of transfiguration. In this moment of prayer

the important dynamic is the communication and openness

between heaven and earth that is established in Jesus'

dialogue with God. Nothing particular is requested or

sought by Jesus. In Luke's gospel occasions of prayer

signify rather the intimacy Jesus has with God.

Luke 9:32 - Luke contrasts the intensity of Jesus'

prayer with the sleep [bebaremenoi hypno, from

bareo--weighted down with sleep] of the disciples. Their

reaction might indicate that the transfiguration took

place at night; in any case it foreshadows the sleep of

the disciples during Jesus' final night of prayer in the

Garden of Gethsemane. When the disciples waken from

their lethargy, they see Jesus in glory (doxa), speaking to

Moses and Elijah. Luke emphasizes the fact that Jesus and

his disciples are having distinct appearances of the

transfiguration. He notes the confusion of Peter who

gropes for a concrete resolution to this spiritual event.

"Let us build three booths," says Peter, who does not see

that Jesus' glory is from within and visible only to the

eyes of faith.

Luke 9:31 - Moses and Elijah have been speaking to

Jesus about the "departure" [exodos] he would fulfill in

Jerusalem. Moses speaking of Jesus' "exodus" is a prism

revealing a number of theological reflections: Jesus as

deliverer, Passover Lamb, leader, and prophet. Because

Moses and Elijah experienced suffering and rejection

before being vindicated by God, they legitimately share

with Jesus this foreshadowing of glory. Luke has already

drawn references to Moses and Elijah in the feeding

miracle, their symbolization of the "Law and the Prophets"

now establishes a new relationship between the "old" and

the "new" in the teaching of Jesus. In Luke this

encounter between the old and the new, heaven and earth,

suffering and exaltation, is the moment of glory [doxa].

It is beheld first by the disciple who made the

confession: "You are the Christ" and began to "see"

through the eyes of faith.

3. STRATEGY: Luke 9:28-36 [37-43a]

The story of the transfiguration of Jesus

provides wonderful material for reflection on the theme of

Christian growth. One might revive the "nature versus

nurture" controversy to demonstrate two seemingly

opposed theories of faith development. Luke might at first

seem to support the view that faith is born of momentous

experiences, that Christians need to point to a time of

revelation, or conviction. On closer scrutiny, Luke

gives ample cues that this mountaintop experience of the

disciples is to be interpreted in the context of Jewish

history and hopes, in the ongoing teaching and testifying

of the disciples, and in the slow path of the cross. The

mountain is a vantage point from which roads coming and

going can be seen.

Another direction to take in preparing a sermon on

this text could be to examine the role of prayer in the

life of a Christian. Luke is careful to distinguish

different kinds of prayer, and believers would do well to

note that not all prayer involves a relationship of asking

and receivingl. Moments of prayer during Jesus' ministry

establish and nurture his intimacy with God, his

continuity with the history of the Jewish people, and

his identity as Savior.

Exegete – The Rev. Maria Erling, ThD, is Associate Professor of the History of Christianity in North America and Global Missions at Lutheran Theological Seminary, Gettysburg, PA.

4. REFERENCES: Luke 9:28-36 [37-43a]

For a concise discussion of the transfiguration in Luke, and indeed an excellent

brief overview of the entire gospel, see O.C. Edwards, Jr.

LUKE'S STORY OF JESUS. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1986.

Edwards is Professor of Preaching at Seabury-Western

Theological Seminary in Evanston, IL, and a LEXEGETE™ contributor.

5. MUSIC SUGGESTIONS: Luke 9:28-36 [37-43a]

Two texts set to the Gregorian Chant "Adoro Te Devote"

are appropriate for this day: THEE WE ADORE O HIDDEN


698, LBW 441).

A hymn focusesd on the theme of prayer is LORD, TEACH US HOW TO PRAY ARIGHT (LBW 438).

On the Transfiguration itself, HOW GOOD, LORD, TO BE HERE (LBW 89)

is suitable, especially the third stanza which sums up this day as follows:

" Fulfiller of the past and hope of things to be,

we hail your body glorified and our redemption see."

Others which apply to this occasion include:








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