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Wrestling with the Word, episode 67: The Resurrection of Our Lord, Year C (April 4, 2010) March 25, 2010

Posted by fostermccurley in Wrestling With The Word podcast.
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The Resurrection of Our Lord

How do we talk about the Easter story and all that it means in one sermon? The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the foundation on which Christianity stands or falls. In our second lesson,1 Corinthians 15, the Apostle Paul sums up the meaning of the resurrection: “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins” (v. 17).  The fact of the matter is that we in the church celebrate Easter not merely once each year but Sunday after Sunday. Every Sunday is Easter day, and each week we celebrate by probing the vast mysteries of the resurrection for our lives—now and forever. How odd and how human that on this celebration of the first Easter Sunday we read that the initial announcement about the empty tomb prompted disbelief, even among the disciples. On the other hand, how wondrous and divine that God would enable people, even the gentiles, to believe the news.

Download or listen to Wrestling with the Word, episode 67: The Resurrection of Our Lord, Year C.

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Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24

Form: Individual Song of Thanksgiving
A psalm of praise to God after deliverance from a life-threatening situation.  Typical is a cry for help (see v. 5), a description of the distress (see vv. 10-13); most attention is given to the celebration following deliverance (vv. 14-29).

Use in Judaism
The last of six Hallel psalms (113-118) used as part of the liturgy for autumn feasts and Passover (see Mark 14:26).

Use in New Testament
V. 6.   Hebrews 13:6
V. 18.  2 Cor. 6:9.
VV. 22-23.  Matt. 21:42//Mark 12:and parallels; Acts 4:11-12; 1 Peter 2:7.
V. 24.  Rev 19:7
VV. 25-27.  Matt. 21:9//Mark 11:9-10//Luke 19:38//John 12:13; also Matt. 23:39//Luke 13:35.

Key Words
V. 14.  yešû`â = “salvation”:  The meaning of the root yš‘ is “wide, broad, spacious.”  The entire verse is identical to Exod. 15:2a.

V. 15-16.  yemîn YHWH = “the right hand of the Lord”:  As God’s instrument of deliverance, see Exod. 15:6, 12 (often in psalms).

V. 18.  yassōr yisserannî = “chastened me severely”:  The words describe the act of a parent to a child in Deut 8:5 and in Proverbs and the act of God to Israel or to an individual (Deut. 4:36; Isa. 28:26; Ps. 94:12).

V. 19.  ša‘arê-tsedeq = “gates of righteousness”:  These are the gates of the Jerusalem temple; cf. Ps. 100:4; Jer. 7:2 and often.

V. 23.  niphlā’t = “extraordinary”:  The word appears in the plural exclusively for God’s acts of judgment and salvation, even of the plagues and the exodus from Egypt (cf. Exod. 3:20; Josh. 6:13).

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Acts 10:34-43
Since God shows no partiality, God sent Peter, one of those who ate and drank with Jesus after his resurrection, to announce to Gentiles that God’s acts in Jesus’ ministry of preaching, teaching, healing right up to his death and resurrection—result in forgiveness of sins for everyone who believes in him.

Context
God had brought together two quite different men for the purpose of spreading the good news about Jesus. Cornelius was a Centurion of the Italian Cohort. Peter was a Galilean fisherman who spent the previous years as a disciple and apostle of Jesus. God spoke to each of them in visions. In addressing Cornelius, the angel of God told the man about Peter who was staying in Jaffa. In a vision to Peter, God taught the apostle that the line between clean and unclean has been erased. That led to Peter’s trip to Caesarea where he preached the sermon to Cornelius and his household. Thus begins the witnessing to the gospel to the ends of the earth (Acts 10:1—28:28)

Key Words
V. 35 all’ en panti ethnei ho phoboumenos auton kai ergazomenos diaiosynēn dektos autō estin = “but in every nation anyone who fears him (God) and works righteousness is acceptable to him”: The universal nature of Peter’s sermon occurs also at v. 36 “Jesus Christ—he is the Lord of all”; v. 38 “healing all that were oppressed by the devil”; v. 39 “we are witnesses to all”; v. 42 “judge of the living and the dead”; v. 43 “everyone who believes in him.”

V. 38. hoti ho theos hēn met’ autou = “because God was with him”: At John 3:2 Nicodemus declared that Jesus could not perform the signs (at Cana and in the temple) unless “God is with him.” At John 8:29 Jesus himself that God “who sent me is with me.” The author of Luke-Acts uses the expression or something quite similarly of Mary the mother of Jesus (Luke 1:28) and of John (1:66) and then of Joseph (Acts 7:9), of preachers from Cyprus and Cyrene to people in Antioch (Acts 11:21), and of Paul (by the Risen Lord at Acts 18:10).

V. 39. kai ‘ēmeis martyres = “and we are witnesses”: This first reference to witnessing points to verification of Jesus’ acts healing and teaching. Soon follows the report of the apostolic “witness” to the resurrection of Jesus (v. 41) and to God’s call to the apostles to “preach” and to “testify (i.e., witness) that he is the one ordained by God to be judge of the living and the dead” (v. 42). In a sense, this calling continues the way of God ever since OT times when “the prophets bore witness…” (v. 43).

V. 43. toutō pantes hoi prophētai martyrousin aphesin hamartiōn labein dia tou onomatos autou panta ton pisteuonta eis auton = “To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives the forgiveness of sins through his name”: Peter demonstrates that God has been in the forgiveness business for the people of Israel through the preaching of the prophets. In actuality, “forgiveness” is relatively rare in prophetic preaching. Passages like Isa. 33:24; Jer. 31:34; 36:3; Amos 7:2 are powerful simply because they are not common. However, in the Mosaic law, a major part of the sacrificial system is designed for the forgiveness of sins, and in the psalms “forgiveness” appears frequently as a statement of what God has done or is petitioned to do. The major point in this verse, however, is that the forgiveness of God that had been given to the people of Israel now extends to “everyone who believes in him.”

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Isaiah 65:17-25
God promises a new creation that will change all things into their opposites and thus establish the original intentions of God for creation.

Context
Dating the passage or, for that matter, any of the material surrounding this pericope is difficult indeed.  What is clear is that the return from the exile in Babylon did not establish the Reign of God as Second Isaiah had prophesied, and so the vision for the Reign of God to come was still the major source of hope for the people of God.

Key Words
V. 17.  kî-hinnî bôrē’ šāmayim chadāšîm wā’ārets chadāšâ = “For lo, I am creating new heavens and a new earth”:  The terminology is the same as that of Genesis 1:1, except, of course, for the “new” and the verb tense.

V. 20.  kî hanna‘ar ben-mē‘â yāmût = “for a young lad shall die at the age of a hundred”:  While the message is good news compared to early deaths, this new creation does not promise eternal life nor does it even reach the limit announced by God at Genesis 6:3.

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1 Corinthians 15:19-28
Having been raised from the dead, Jesus Christ is the first to experience the resurrection promised to all.

Context
Paul had indicated at the beginning of this chapter that the gospel he had delivered to the Corinthians was not his own invention but one which had been given him (see also 11:23-26). That gospel consisted of the vicarious death of Christ, his burial, and his resurrection appearances to Peter first, then to the twelve, then to five hundred people, and finally to Paul himself (vv. 3-11). The witnesses attest to the resurrection, a testimony so strong that Paul cannot comprehend how some of the Corinthian Christians contend there is no resurrection (v. 12).  Paul sets the matter straight: If there is no resurrection, then faith is useless and forgiveness of sins has not been attained (vv. 13-18). Now he deals with the “fact” of Christ’s resurrection as the beginning of the eschatological hope for all who believe.

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Luke 24:1-12
God calls us to repeat from one to another the message of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, as Jesus himself told of it prior to his death.

Context
Because of the beginning of Sabbath at sunset on Friday, the women could do no more than observe where his body was laid out in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. They prepared the spices and ointments for anointing, and then rested according to Sabbath requirements.

Key Words
V. 4.  astraptousē = “dazzling”:  The verb form of this word appears in the account of the Transfiguration (Luke 9:29).  Note also the two men in white robes at the Ascension (Acts 1:10).

V. 7.  dei = “it is necessary”: The word of necessity is common in Luke:  2:49; 4:43; 9:22; 13:16, 33; 17:25; 19:5; 22:37; 24:7, 26, 44. All the passages tell of the necessity of fulfilling the mission of God.

V. 7. huios tou anthrōpou = “Son of Man”:  Elsewhere in Luke the title describes Jesus’ earthly ministry: 5:24; 6:5, 22; 7:34; 9:58; 11:30; 12:8, 10; 19:10; 22:48; suffering and death:  9:22, 44; 18:31; 22:22; the Parousia: 9:26; 12:40; 17:22, 24, 26, 30; 18:8; 21:27, 36; 22:69.

V. 11. kai ephanēsan enōpion autōn hōsei lēros ta hrēmata tauta, kai ēpistoun autais = “But these words appeared to them to be an idle tale, and they disbelieved them”: The word lēros appears only here in the Greek NT, but disbelief is another matter. Disbelief is also the response of Jacob when his sons returned from Egypt with their report that “Joseph is still alive” (Gen. 45:26). When the sons reported his words and showed him the wagons of gifts, then Jacob believed that “Joseph my son is still alive.” As for the disciples of Jesus, they also disbelieved when the Risen Christ appeared to them at 25:41, but there their response is attributed to joy.