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Wrestling with the Word, episode 103: Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A (January 30, 2011) January 19, 2011

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Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany

The Epiphany season challenges us to discern the meaning of symbols in order to grasp the messages about the identity of Jesus. Removed by almost two thousand years, the biblical symbols that convey this powerful news are almost exclusively words. Word symbols relate meaning, however, only in particular contexts. For example, in today’s context the word “justification” commonly refers to the alignment of written text on a page. We can choose to justify to the right or to the left. In the context of the New Testament, however, “justification” refers to the act of acquittal in a court case. Interpreting the meaning of the word in a biblical passage requires, therefore, determining the original context of the symbol. The lessons for this Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany feature “the mountain” as an overarching symbol for Jesus’ identity and the word “righteousness” as the justifying action that God performed through Jesus’ identity.

Download or listen to Wrestling with the Word, episode 103: Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A.

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Psalm 15
Like Psalm 24, this psalm served as an “entrance liturgy” for the Israelite pilgrims who came to the temple of Jerusalem three times each year. To comprehend the liturgical action of these psalms, one does well to read and interpret the two side by side. While Psalm 24 opens with a confession about the Lord’s founding the earth upon the chaos of the sea and the ensuing majesty of the Lord over the whole earth, Psalm 15 begins with the pilgrims’ question (v. 2 of Psalm 24) regarding the qualifications needed for entering the mountaintop space where the holiness of God dwells on earth. In other words, “Who, O Lord, can receive your majestic hospitality?” The pilgrims await the Lord’s answer–perhaps through a priest. Verses 2-5 provide that divine answer in terms of the appropriate torah. Simply put, the requirement is honoring other people. Such respect for others includes walking blamelessly, doing what is right, speaking heartfelt truth, avoiding slander and harm, insult to one’s neighbors, charging interest on loans (usury), and bribes against the innocent. The list is more detailed than that in Psalm 24:4, but in both cases the requirements are not rituals but acts of justice and righteousness to others. Such responsibility is fitting behavior toward a God who loves justice (Ps. 99:4) and who rules the world with justice and righteousness (Ps. 97:2). Acting out in daily life the worship experience from the temple pilgrimage results in the promise of God: “Those who do these things shall never be moved” (v. 5).

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Micah 6:1-8
When Israel chose to define her response of faith in God by ritualistic acts, God sued them for breach of contract and defined the good life as one of justice, faithfulness, and humility.

Context
Micah preached in Judah in the second half of the 8th century B.C., during the reigns of “Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah” (1:1).  Micah differed from Isaiah in that he preached the destruction of Jerusalem, whereas Isaiah preached God’s saving intervention of the city from the Assyrian attack.

Key Words
V. 1. “plead you case … hear, you mountains (witnesses) …the lawsuit of YHWH”: The terms indicate clearly that the divine speech of these verses takes the form of a court case in which the Lord is suing Israel. The charges against the people are the content of verses 3-5. Acting as prosecuting attorney, YHWH asks the people to tell what God has done to weary them: “answer me!” God reminds the people of the basic act performed on behalf of the people: the exodus from the land of Egypt (v. 4). YHWH commands the people to recall also the intention of Balak, king of Moab, to stop the people of Israel’s conquest of the land through a curse from Balaam. As the story develops, Balaam blessed the people through the Lord’s intervention (Num. 22–23). Further, YHWH calls the people to remember the crossing of the Jordan into the Promised Land from the time Joshua established his headquarters at Shittim before crossing the Jordan to the new headquarters in Gilgal on the other side (Josh. 2:1; 4:19). The purpose of these divine actions of v. 5 is “that you may know the saving acts of YHWH.”

Vss. 6-7. “With what shall I come before YHWH?”: The response of an individual (corporate?) is to ask a question similar to that of Psalm 15:1. The worshiper’s assumptions are that a ritual act of sacrifice would enable the person to “please” the Lord.

V. 8. “to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.”: What pleases the Lord is not an act of ritual but, like the response from the priest in Psalm 15, to live one’s life performing justice and acts of mercy in humility before God.

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1 Corinthians 1:18-31
Against all who claim to be wise, powerful, and noble, God chose a new community consisting of the foolish, the weak, and the lowly in order to destroy pretensions to self-importance and to lead to proper boasting in the Lord.

Structure
The Christian community is
not wise
not powerful
not of noble birth
God chose
the foolish to shame the wise
the weak to shame the strong
the lowly to bring to nothing what is
So that no one might boast before God.
Christ Jesus is
our wisdom
our righteousness
sanctification
redemption
So that we might boast in the Lord.

Context
The people of Corinth were among the sophisticated of the ancient world, and they knew it.  It was a cosmopolitan city where Jew and Gentile mixed.  Prior to our verses, Paul indicates that a report from Chloe informed him that divisions have arisen in the congregation, and much of the letter addresses the different positions and questions that resulted from those divergent parties. Here Paul begins to develop his argument about the startling nature of the gospel, from which he will address the various questions raised in the congregation. His final sentence states his mission: “to preach the gospel, not with eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power” (1:17). For a fuller discussion of the first part of this passage, see and listen to Episode 12.

Key Words
V. 18. ho logos gar ho tou staurou tois men apollumenois mōria estin = “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing”: The purpose of the wisdom movement in the ancient world was to understand the ordering of the universe and to participate in that ordering as the way to live. Foolishness or folly led to disorder, failure, and death, and so the future fortunes of the wise and the fool are quite opposite. Those who are perishing are those who refuse to hear the word of the cross and will not know the life promised for those of faith. The two groups are paired also at 2 Cor. 2:15, while at 2 Cor. 4:3 the perishing stand alone veiled from the gospel. The contrast in our verse is tois de sōzomenois hēmin dynamis theou estin = “but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” That the word/gospel possesses God’s “power” to save those who have faith, see Rom. 1:16. The actor for salvation is, therefore, God.

V. 19. “For it is written, ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart’”: The quotation of Isa. 29:14 recalls the promise of God to destroy the wisdom that purports to have knowledge of and access to God. The quote demonstrates also that Paul is not the first to challenge the wisdom tradition and those who claim to know it all. See also the premise of the Book of Job and the preaching of Jeremiah 8:8-9. Having put that meaning of the symbol “wisdom” in its place, Paul redefines the word and gives new meaning to the symbol: “Christ crucified … Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” (vss. 23-24).

V. 21. eudokēsen ho theos = “it pleased God”: What pleases God in the NT is essentially what God gives. In Col. 1:19 “the fullness of God was pleased to dwell in the Son” and thereby to reconcile all things to Godself. Paul writes in Gal. 1:16 that God “was pleased to reveal the Son” to him so that he might preach among the Gentiles. And at Luke 12:32, Jesus taught that “it is your father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom….”

V. 22. “For Jews demand signs (sēmeia) and Greeks seek wisdom (sophian)”: For the desire for signs see Numbers 14:11-25 where God says that the people of Israel received many signs but rejected God and God’s deliverance nevertheless. The people do not trust the Lord to keep the promises. In the Gospel stories, the Pharisees stand out as those who demand signs from Jesus “to test him” (Matt. 16:1-4; 12:38-39; Mark 8:11-13). At Luke 11:29. Jesus regards as “evil” this requiring of signs. As for the wisdom sought by the Greeks, wisdom was a human attempt to discover the world of the gods and of humans through philosophies of various kinds.

V. 23. hēmeis de kēryssomen Christon estaurōmenon = “but we preach Christ crucified”: The content of the gospel that Paul preaches is completely contrary to signs and wisdom and, therefore, in the minds and eyes of the world, it is a stumbling block and folly. See Rom. 1:17-17 for “power of God” to save.

V. 27. hina kataischynē = “so that he might shame”: God does not put to shame those who are faithful; cf. Rom. 5:5; 9:33; 10:11; 1 Pet. 2:6; 3:16.

V. 30. en Christō ’Iēsou, hos egenēthē sophia hēmin apo theou, dikaiosynē te kai hagiosmos kai apolytrōsis = “in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom, our righteousness and sanctification and redemption”: Along with redefining wisdom, Paul reinterprets the symbol “righteousness” from its customary meaning of our obedience and behavior to mean God’s action of acquitting us. “Righteousness” is the action of God that brings us into fellowship with God—a meaning already attested in the OT.

V. 31. ho kauchōmenos en kyriō kauchasthō = “let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord”: The quotation from Jer. 9:22-23 where the classes of people who are not to boast are the wise, the strong, and the rich.

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Matthew 5:1-12
To the poor of the land Jesus, speaking not with the voice of Moses but with the authority of God, promises the blessings of the future to be experienced in the present.

Context
After his baptism by John and the temptation in the wilderness by the devil, Jesus began preaching in Galilee the nearness of the Reign of God.  Immediately thereafter in Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus called as disciples Peter and Andrew and James and John.  His preaching, teaching and healing caused the word to spread throughout the land, causing crowds to follow him.

Parallel Passages:  Isaiah 61:1-2; Psalm 37; Luke 6:20-23.

Key Words
Vss. 1-11. makarioi = blessed”: In the OT, blessings from God are often contrasted with curses as rewards or punishments respectively for keeping the torah of YHWH (above all see Deut. 27—28).

V. 1.  anebē eis to oros = “he went up onto the mountain”:  The mountain is unnamed and impossible to locate. The definite article, however, seems to point to some known elevation– if not topographical, then theological or traditional. The terms “the mountain” also occur at Mark 3:13//Luke 6:12 as the location for appointing the 12 apostles. The divine functions of teaching (here) and appointing or commissioning recall the functions of Mount Sinai/Horeb and Mount Sinai in the OT (Exod. 3:1-12; 20; 24—31; Psalm 2, etc.). While Mark and Luke require Jesus’ invitation to ascend the mountain (like the OT tradition), Matthew allows “the mountain” to go public here and at 15:29-31. As for commissioning the Twelve, Matthew saves that action for the end of his Gospel (28:16-20).

V. 3.  hoi ptōchoi tō pneumati = “the poor in spirit”:  Luke 6:20 reads simply “the poor” (see Isa. 61:1). The Hebrew word translated “poor” bears the meaning of afflicted or oppressed.

V. 4.  hoi penthountes … paraklēthēsontai = “the mourners … will be comforted”:  Recall the promise of the coming Day of the Lord at Isa. 61:2. Note in Third Isaiah the role of YHWH in comforting mourners (57:18; 61:3; 66:13).

V. 5.  hoi praeis … klēronomēsousin tēn gēn = “the meek … shall inherit the earth”:  See the repeated use of this blessing at Ps. 37:9 (those who wait for YHWH), 11 (meek), 22 (the blessed), 29 (the righteous), 34 (those who wait for YHWH). Psalm 37 is a collection of teachings that point to the blessings of YHWH’s saving intervention into earthly life, encouraging the people to trust that YHWH will deliver on those promises. (See Episode 93 for a discussion of Psalm 37:1-9.)

Vv. 6, 10.  dikaiosynē = “righteousness”:  See Isa. 61:3:  “that they may be called the oaks of righteousness.” The prophetic expression sets this new identity as the goal of God’s interventions announced in Isa. 61: 1-2. Even more closely related to our passage, however, is the combination of God’s making the people “righteous” and promising they will inherit the land/earth appears a few verses earlier at Isa. 60:21: “Your people shall all be righteous; they shall possess the land/earth forever.”

V. 9.  hoi eirēnopoioi hoti autoi huioi theou klēthēsontai = “the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God”:  See Col. 1:20, where Christ is said to “reconcile to himself all things, … making peace by the blood of the cross.” The divine name-calling that changes the lives of people is prominent in the preaching of Third Isaiah (see Isa. 60:18; 61:6; 62:4, 12).

V. 12. chairete kai agalliasthe, hoti ho misthos hymōn polys en tois ouranois = Rejoice and be glad, because your reward is great in heaven”: Luke’s version makes the eschatological point even clearer: charete en ekeinē tē hēmera = “rejoice on that day” (6:23).

Wrestling with the Word, episode 82: Lectionary 16 (8 Pentecost), Year C (July 18, 2010) July 8, 2010

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Lectionary 16 (8 Pentecost)

In ancient times, hospitality was the means by which people cared for one another. Lacking Holiday Inns and McDonalds, the people opened to hungry travelers their kitchens and the shelter of their roofs. The practice was both functional and honorable. In more modern times the concept has taken spiritual form, especially in the writings of Henri Nouwen. In his book Reaching Out, Nouwen writes of the obligation of Christians “to offer an open and hospitable space where strangers can cast off their strangeness and become our fellow human beings.” Biblically speaking, the hospitality that undergirds all our openness — physical and spiritual — to others, even strangers, is that of God. God the Father and God the Son welcome and serve people in order to be faithful to their promises.

Download or listen to Wrestling with the Word, episode 82: Lectionary 16 (8 Pentecost), Year C.

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Psalm 15
Like Psalm 24 and other pilgrimage psalms, this one begins with the question on the part of the pilgrim about qualifications to enter the sanctuary of the Lord.  Far more than a building, the sanctuary is the earthly home of God where the Lord offers hospitality to the afflicted and to the humble. What follows the question of verse 1 is the answer of the priest in verses 2-5. Strikingly, the entrance ticket is not about ritual but ethical or moral requirements.  The assumption here is that humans are indeed capable of obedience, and that through their obedience they can enjoy the hospitality of God.

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Genesis 18:1-10a
Against the attempts of Abraham and Sarah to take the matter of progeny into their own hands and in spite of the laughing response, God, the guest, serves the aging couple by restating the promise of progeny made to them twenty-four years earlier.

Context
The first set of God’s promises to Abraham and Sara appear in Genesis 12:1-3. Among them is the promise that they will become “a great nation.” The first step toward realizing that promise requires the birth of their own children. Chapter 15:1-6 reports the attempt on the part of Abraham to adopt a son in order that they might have an heir, but God reiterates the promise that his own son will be born and through him a multitude of descendants will grow. Chapter 16 tells of the attempt of Abraham and Sarah to have a child through her maid Hagar. God responds negatively to both attempts, insisting once more (chap.17) that the promised heir will be born to the aging couple.

Key Words
V. 1.  be’ēlōnê mamrē’ = “by the oaks of Mamre”:  At 14:13, 24 Mamre is the name of an Amorite who was the brother of Eshcol and Aner.

Vv. 4-5.  “let a little water be brought … a morsel of bread”:  In contrast to the meager offerings, Abraham and Sarah prepare a feast of cakes, meat, curds, and milk.  The action is typical of Middle Eastern hospitality to invite as though it is no bother to the host and then to serve much more.

V. 10.  wehinne-bēn lesārâ ’ištekā = “behold, a son will be to Sarah your wife”:  At 17:19 the words are sârâ’ištekā yōledet lekā bēn = “Sarah your wife is bearing for you a son.”  The implication of the participle in 17:19 is that Sarah is already pregnant; see the use of the participle in the same sense at Isa. 7:14.  In any case, the promise is used by Paul at Rom. 9:9 to emphasize the role of God’s promise.

V. 10.  kā‘ēt chayyâ = “at the living time”: The time is the spring, when the animals bear their young and the crops grow in the fields; cf. 2 Kings 4:16, 17 in connection with the birth of a child.

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Colossians 1:15-28
On the basis of the identity of Christ as God’s image and his role in creation and redemption, God’s salvation extends to all, along with the responsibilities the gospel entails.

Context
Having written the salutation and the first part of the prayer for the community’s steadfastness (vv. 9-20), the author now expresses the reason for his interest in the Colossians.

Structure of verses 15-20:  a hymn of two stanzas

Stanza one                                                        Stanza two

the image of the invisible God                the head of the body, the church

the first-born of all creation                   the first-born from the dead

for in him all things                                for in him all the fullness of God

through him all things were                    and through him to reconcile to

created through him and for him                      himself all things

Key Words
V. 19.  eudokēsan pan to plērōma katoikēsai = “all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell”:  God is pleased with his Son (Matt.3:17 and parallels; 17:5).  God is pleased to “give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32).  God is pleased to “save those who believe” (1 Cor. 1:21).  God “was pleased to reveal his Son to” Paul (Gal. 1:15).

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Luke 10:38-42
In response to the frustration of those who “do” service continually, Jesus calls for hearing his word as the “good portion” which will not be taken away.

Context
The Parable of the Good Samaritan (vv. 25-37) dealt with the need to do service for the needy neighbor; now comes a warning about the frustrations of such service when one does not avail oneself of hearing the word of God as well.  As for the sisters Mary and Martha, while they have attained fame through this story, they appear nowhere else in Luke’s Gospel. However, they figure prominently in John (John 11–12) about the resurrection of Lazarus, their brother and the anointing of Jesus in advance for his burial.  When Jesus arrived at their home in Bethany, it was Martha who spoke with him first while Mary sat in the house (John 11:20).

Key Words
V. 38.  eis kōmēn tina = “a certain village”:  According to John 11:1ff; 12:2f., Martha and Mary lived in Bethany.  For Luke’s purposes, the location is so close to Jesus’ final destination in Jerusalem that he leaves the village unnamed.

V. 39.  ēkouen ton logon autou = “she listened to his word”:  The traditional role of the woman is broken here, and the change is affirmed by Jesus.  To “sit at the feet of” a master teacher appears at Acts 22:3 to describe Paul’s education as a Jew by Gamaliel.

V. 41.  merimnas kai thorubazē = “anxious and troubled”:  On “anxious” see 1 Cor. 7:32-35; also Matt. 5:27-34.

V. 42.  tēn agathēn merida = “the good portion”:  The expression sometimes occurs as a metaphor derived from a diner’s menu; see Gen. 43:34. The metaphor is appropriate in the context of the hospitality they offer Jesus and Jesus offers them.

Wrestling with the Word, episode 36: Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B (August 30, 2009) August 22, 2009

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Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost

One of the dangers of “religion” is that it can distort the simple message of the gospel of God. In fact, the announcement that “God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself” (2 Cor. 5:19) and that Jesus called the reconciled world to “love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12) can sneak off into dusty corners when the room fills up with superfluous furniture. Our lessons for the day uphold the honor of God and God’s law while simultaneously focusing our attention on the beauty of interior design.

Download or listen to Wrestling with the Word, episode 36: Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B.

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Psalm 15
Like other such psalms that deal with entrance into the sanctuary (e.g., 24), this one begins with the question about who may enter and sojourn as a guest within God’s Temple. Apparently, the priests of the various sanctuaries and certainly those of Jerusalem established the requirements for entrance. What is striking here is that the priest’s answer to the question about cultic observances has nothing to do with cultic rites. Almost like the prophets, this psalm establishes purity in moral responsibilities to the neighbor and in honoring the neighbor.

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Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-9
Because of God’s commandments, Israelites might live and Gentiles might know of the intimate relationship between God and God’s people.

Context
The first five chapters of Deuteronomy are essentially introductory material that has been added to an original core. That original, perhaps indeed the scroll found by Josiah’s men during the remodeling of the Temple in 621, seems to have begun with 6:4. These introductory chapters tend to provide an introduction not only to the Book of Deuteronomy but to the entire Deuteronomistic history which runs through 2 Kings.

Key Words
V. 1.  lema‘an tichyû = “in order that you may live”:  The expression occurs often in the Deuteronomic material but also in wisdom teachings; e.g., Prov. 4:4; 7:2; 9:6. Life comes also by recognizing the healing presence of God (Num. 21:9); by repentance (Ezek. 18:32); by worshiping the Lord with faithfulness (Amos 5:4, 6); through the healing hand of Christ (Mark 5:23).

V. 1. ûbā’tem wîrištem ’et-hā’āts ’ašer YHWH ’elōhê ’abōtêkem nōtēn lākem = “and go in and inherit the land that the Lord your God is giving to you”: The translation “take possession of the land” (RSV) and “occupy the land” (NRSV) fail to take into account that the Hebrew word yrš, like the word nchl, can convey the meaning “inherit.” The notion of inheriting the land also fits better with the following verb “is giving.”

V. 6. “for this will show your wisdom and discernment to the peoples”: Usually the theme of impressing the nations follows some action of God like judgment or salvation, but here the onus lies on Israel to impress the nations by its honoring the Lord through obeying the law.

V. 7. ašer-lô ‘elōhîm qerōbîm ’ēlāw = “for whom God is (so) close”:  God’s nearness and his commandments are attested again near the end of the book:  “the word is very near you, it is in your mouth and in your heart” (30:14). It was a necessary word for those who felt only God’s absence in their lives. Simultaneously, the expression here demonstrates the special—even unique—covenant relationship that God has established with Israel.

V. 9.  “Make them known to your children and to your children’s children”:  The need to teach the statutes and ordinances of God from generation to generation was an essential part of the societal structure in which ancient Israel lived, but at the same time the content of that teaching, namely God’s laws and the reasons for them, is uniquely Israelite.

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James 1:17-27
The person of faith does not simply believe with the lips but acts out that faith in doing the word of God by honoring and serving other people.

Context
The Epistle of James is a collection of teachings instructing Christians how to live out their faith in the world. The collection resembles the Book of Proverbs in contrasting the wisdom that brings God’s pleasure and the folly that destroys. On the other hand, lists of vices and virtues are not common in the OT or in Palestinian Judaism; they are present in Hellenistic Judaism and in the NT (Rom. 1:29-31; 1 Tim. 3:2-4; Gal. 5:20-21). As for authorship, it is difficult to maintain the traditional view that the author was James, the brother of Jesus, primarily because the author seeks authority for his sayings in other literature rather than in his own personal experience. To date the book is difficult because the “letter” is so general and is intended for a widespread audience. It would appear to be a reaction to an exaggerated Pauline understanding which might have arisen toward the end of the first century. If one takes seriously only certain sections of Paul’s letters, then the doing of good in the world is irrelevant. The author of James focused on that problem, and in the process never got around to announce the gospel of justification by grace through faith alone.

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Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23
In response to those Pharisees who charged that Jesus’ disciples did not observe ritual purity, Jesus charged them with honoring human traditions rather than God’s will.

Context
According to Mark, Jesus had performed the miracle of the feeding of the 5000 on the west side of the Sea of Galilee. Having crossed the sea by walking on it, Jesus cured many people of diseases on the eastern shore of the sea and throughout the whole territory, wherever people sought him (6:53-56). In our pericope, Pharisees and some scribes challenge Jesus because his disciples have been eating their meals without the ritual washing they required. While they come off badly in this scene, the omission of verses 17-20 deprives us of another example of Marks’ emphasis that even his disciples fall in the same legalistic camp and reject Jesus.

Key Words
V. 6. peri hymōn hypokrtōn =  “concerning you hypocrites”: In ancient Greece, the word “hypocrite” described often an actor on stage. The most well known examples of this use occur in Jesus’ words at Matt. 6:2, 5, and 16 where the word points to those who make public demonstrations of their piety. Jesus’ purpose here seems directed against those who use their legalistic interpretations to bring honor to themselves rather than to God and to others.

Vss. 6-7. The prophecy Jesus quotes appears at Isaiah 29:13 where the prophet announces that the result of their dishonoring God by their deeds is the destruction of the city of Jerusalem and the divine obliteration of their wisdom and discernment—precisely what they could demonstrate to the nations by honoring the Lord through obedience to the law (Deut. 4:6-8).

V. 8.  tēn entolēn tou theou = “the command of God”:  While Jesus does not say here which command of God he has in mind, he repeats the same expression in the following verse (v. 9) where Jesus moves on immediately to discuss “Honor your  father and your mother” (v. 10). This commandment seems to provide the key example of the “word of God” that Jesus calls them to respect (v. 13).

Vv. 21-22.  “evil thoughts, fornication, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, foolishness”: Such lists of vices were common in the ancient world of Hellenistic Judaism, some of which found their way into the NT books (see Rom. 1:29-31; Gal. 5:19-21; Col. 3:5, 8; 1 Tim. 1:9-10; 2 Tim. 3:2-5). The sequence of theft, murder, adultery, coveting sounds quite similar to the listing of the Decalogue. Note that the combination of stealing–murder appears also at Hos. 4:2; Rom. 13:9 (the sequence at Matt. 19:18-19 is completely obscure).

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Next week we will talk about the lessons for the Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B. You will benefit, I think, from reading in advance of the podcast

Psalm 146
Isaiah 35:4-7a
James 2:1-10 [11-13] 14-17
Mark 7:24-37