The Presentation of our Lord; Malachi 3:1-4; Psalm 84; Hebrews 2:14-18; Luke 2:22-40.
We don’t often get to observe the Feast of the Presentation on a Sunday, so we don’t often get to hear these readings. Luke is very careful to tell us that everything necessary under the law had been fulfilled for Jesus. In part, he does this in order to show that, as far as Gentiles are concerned, Jesus has set some aspects of the law aside. The order of the law has been fulfilled, and we now live under the order of the Spirit.
Continue reading “Flesh and blood”
26 January 2020; Third Sunday after Epiphany; Epiphany 3A (RCL); Isaiah 9:1-4; Psalm 27:1, 5-13; 1 Corinthians 1:10-18; Matthew 4:12-23.
I know it is an accident of the lectionary, but I am always struck by the juxtaposition of the passage from 1 Corinthians and the passage from Matthew’s Gospel. In Corinthians, Paul says, “I appeal to you . . . that there be no tears (schisms) among you, but that you be mended into the same mind and same purpose.” In Matthew, when Jesus encounters James and John, they are in their father’s boat, mending their nets. The verb for ‘to mend’ (katartizein) is the same in both instances. According to Liddell and Scott, it only means ‘to mend’ in the New Testament. It usually means ‘to restore, to adjust, to put in order.’
Continue reading “Mending nets”
19 January 2020; Second Sunday after Epiphany; Epiphany 2A (RCL); Isaiah 49:1-7; Psalm 40:1-12; 1 Corinthians 1:1-9; John 1:29-42.
This is really the first narrative unit of John’s Gospel. Everything up to now has been prologue. This unit sets up what we can expect from John’s narrative. The first words spoken by a character in the narrative belong to John the Baptist: “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” This is already stunning.
Continue reading “Come and see”
12 January 2020; The Baptism of our Lord; Epiphany IA (RCL); Isaiah 42:1-9; Psalm 29; Acts 10:34-43; Matthew 3:13-17
The voice from heaven speaks a phrase that is a conflation of Psalm 2:7 (You are my son; this day have I begotten you) and Isaiah 42:1 (Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am well pleased). This very combination is already asking the reader to make a profound theological move by combining the figure our the King with the figure of the servant.
Continue reading “Behold, my servant”