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Wrestling with the Word, episode 68: Second Sunday of Easter, Year C (April 11, 2010) April 1, 2010

Posted by fostermccurley in Wrestling With The Word podcast.
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Second Sunday of Easter

Imagine how difficult it would be to go back in time—to Jesus’ time. On the one hand, such time travel would demand that we give up the internet and our MP3 players, to say nothing of our planes, trains, and automobiles. Then, of course, we would also surrender our comfortable beds, our heated homes, and our modern plumbing. On the other hand, going back to walk with Jesus through all the events since Christmas, as well as the events through Epiphany and Lent, would certainly take away any doubts about who Jesus really was. Such confidence would undoubtedly enable us to be brave about going off into the world as his messengers. Or would it? Did Jesus’ original disciples have any advantage over us simply because they could see him in action? Maybe they have joined us in our time, eliminating the need for us to meet them in theirs.

Download or listen to Wrestling with the Word, episode 68: Second Sunday of Easter, Year C.


Psalm 150
This psalm of praise brings the Psalter to a fitting conclusion, especially as it calls all living things to praise the Creator with instruments and dance.  While the joyful noise takes place in the temple, it is clear that the temple represents the firmament above which God dwells in splendor.


Acts 5:27-32
In the face of threatening opposition, God gives the Holy Spirit to enable Christians to proclaim the news about Jesus’ death and resurrection along with gifts of repentance and forgiveness.

In the previous chapters, Peter and the other apostles had performed such signs as healing the lame man at the Beautiful Gate (chapter 3) and had been involved in such wonders as the sudden death of Mr. and Mrs. Ananias (5:1-11).  As a result, people brought the sick from Jerusalem and from towns around Jerusalem to be healed by the apostles.  This response led the high priest and the Sadducees to have them arrested, but thanks to an angel, the prison doors were opened and the apostles returned to the temple to teach.  They were apprehended once more.

Key Words
V. 30.  epi xulou = “on a tree”:  Basically xulon means “wood” or “a thing made from wood” including wooden stocks or a pole.  At Deut. 21:22-23 a person killed on a piece of wood is cursed.  See also Paul’s use of the Deut. passage at Gal. 3:13.

V. 30.  ēgeiren = “raised up”:  The obvious reference is to resurrection but perhaps it is also an allusion to God’s raising up the “judges” of ancient Israel to save the people (Judg. 2:16, 18; 3:9, 15); see note on v. 31.

V. 31.  archēgon kai sōtēra = “Leader and Savior”:  The word archēgos (also at Acts 3:15) can mean “leader, prince” or “originator, founder.”  It describes the judge Jephthah at Judg. 11:6, 11.  The title sōtēr describes God in LXX, but in the NT, Jesus Christ is “savior” at Luke 2:11; Acts 13:23; John 4:42; Phil. 3:20.

V. 32.  kai hēmeis esmen martyres … kai to pneuma to hagion = “we are witnesses … and so is the Holy Spirit”:  The role of the apostles is like that of the Holy Spirit, namely witnessing to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ; see John 14:26; 15:26; 16:13-14.


Revelation 1:4-8
To those in tribulation God provides through John the Seer the vision of hope that Jesus who died to free us from our sins and make us priests to God is alive and will come again.

The Book of Revelation was composed by John the Seer in the year A.D. 95 during his exile by Domitian to the island of Patmos.  The background for his exile was a part of a general persecution of Christians under the Roman Emperor.  Whether this John is the same as the author of the Gospel and/or the author of the epistles is still debated. It must be admitted, however, that the Greek of this work does not compare to that of the other writings of John.  After a brief introduction (vv. 1-3) these verses make up first part of the salutation.

Old Testament Allusions
V. 4.  “who is and who was and who is to come”:  Exod. 3:14 (“I am who I am.”).

V. 4.  “seven spirits”:  Isaiah 11:2-3 (a messianic reference).

V. 5.  “first-born”:  Psalm 89:27 (a Davidic allusion).

V. 5.  “witness”:  Isaiah 55:4 (a Davidic allusion).

V. 6.  “kingdom, priests”:  Exod. 19:6 (cf. 1 Peter 2:9).

V. 7.  “coming with the clouds”:  Dan 7:13 (used of one like “a son of man).

V. 7.  “will see … pierced … wail”:  Zech 12:10-12 (used of Davidic family and the people of Jerusalem).

V. 7.  “all the tribes of the earth”:  Gen. 12:3 (the mission given to Abraham and Sarah).

V. 8.  “the Almighty”:  Amos 3:13 and often (used for Yahweh).

Key Words
V. 5. ho archōn tōn basileōn tēs gēs = “the ruler of the kings of the earth”: The combination of the words “witness” and “ruler/leader” occurs at Isa. 55:4 as a description of the Davidic king. In Isaiah (LXX) the word for “ruler” is archonta (cf. archēgos at Acts 5:31) and the kingdom consists of “the peoples” (that is, a universal rule, as here).

V. 6. kai epoiēsen hēmas basileian, hieris tō theō kai patri autou = “and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father”: The words recall the words of 1 Peter 2:5, 9 which apply to the church the title and responsibility of Israel to be “a kingdom of priests” (Exod 19:6).


John 20:19-31
On the evening of Jesus’ resurrection, the Risen Christ appeared to the disciples, commissioning them and enabling them with the gift of the Holy Spirit.


In the absence of signs Jesus performed during his ministry, God provides the message called the gospel in order to bring people to faith and thus to life.

Mary Magdalene had reported to Simon, and to the disciple beloved of Jesus, that the stone had been taken away.  Upon the return of all three, the resurrected Jesus appeared to Mary alone, instructing her to report to the disciples that he was about to ascend to God.

Key Words
V. 21.  apestalken me … pempō hymas = “has sent … I send”:  The words are obviously reminiscent of Jesus’ prayer at 17:18 where the verbs are apesteilas … apesteila.

V. 22.  enephusēsen = “he breathed”:  The same verb and form appear at Gen. 2:7 for God breathing into Adam the breath of life. At Ezek. 37:9 the form emphusēson (imperative) describes the action of the four winds/spirits which bring the dry bones to life.

V. 23.  aphēte … apheōntai = “you forgive … they are forgiven”:  The use of aorist aphēte implies a specific act of forgiving, that is, letting go. The passive apheōntai is a theological passive, indicating that the subject of the act of forgiving is God.

V. 23.  kratēte kekratēntai = “you retain, they are retained”:  The use of kratēte (pres. subj.) implies the continuation of the retaining. Note again the passive voice As for the contrast between “let go/forgive” and “retain,” see Mark 7:8. Also compare the contrast of “bless” and “curse” in God’s call to Abraham at Gen. 12:3.

V. 29.  makarioi hoi mē idontes kai pisteusantes = “Blessed are they who have not seen and have believed”:  For the contrast between “seeing” and “believing” see Hebrews 11:1.


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