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Wrestling with the Word, episode 76: Lectionary 10 (2 Pentecost), Year C (June 6, 2010) May 19, 2010

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Lectionary 10 (Second Sunday after Pentecost)

In the chaotic and threatening times in which we live, some people long for the good old days when things were stable and peaceful. Some even say it was more obvious in those days that God was in heaven and all was right with the world. Strikingly, the biblical witnesses seem to have looked at life in quite the opposite way. When God stayed in heaven, life on earth was painful, even lamentable. God’s absence caused the afflicted and oppressed to cry out for help. When God showed up on the earth, things became topsy-turvy. Lamentation turned to rejoicing. Enemies became friends. Mourners became dancers. Judges and rulers became judged and ruled. Outsiders became caregivers. Outcasts were included. And death was transformed into life. Oh, for the good old days!

Download or listen to Wrestling with the Word, episode 76: Lectionary 10 (2 Pentecost), Year C.

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Psalm 30
In spite of the initial words that attribute the psalm to the purification of the Jerusalem Temple in 164 B.C., the psalm is an individual thanksgiving in response to an individual lament. Verses 6-10 articulate the lament and the situation in which the worshiper had experienced. The summary of that suffering appears in verses 1-3: troubled by enemies, the psalmist cried to the Lord for help, even from the depths of Sheol, and the Lord heard and healed. In verses 6-10 the lament is described in more detail. Because of the psalmist’s arrogance over prosperity, the Lord hid away (see Pss. 10:1; 27:9; 55:1; 104:21), a truly “lamentable” situation. In response to the cries for the Lord’s help/strength, the Lord dressed up the petitioner for a new occasion—party clothes instead of mourning garments. In expressing gratitude for this divine response, the psalmist recognizes that the Lord’s deliverance served the purpose of opening his lips to give God thanks and praise (v. 12). The grateful petitioner, therefore, encourages the “faithful ones” gathered in the temple to join in the praises and thanksgivings to the Lord (v. 4).

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1 Kings 17:17-24
In response to the prophet’s plea for the dead widow’s son, the Lord extends mercy to the non-Israelite family who recognize the faithfulness of God’s word in the prophet.

Context
After predicting a drought in the land, Elijah heeded the word of the Lord and went to Zarephath in the vicinity of Sidon.  There he sojourned with a poor Canaanite widow and provided for her and her family a never-ending supply of meal and oil. That section of the story ends with the narrator’s remark that the miracle occurred “according to the word of the Lord that he spoke by Elijah” (v. 16).

Key Words
V. 17.  nešāmā = “breath”:  The same word appears at Gen. 2:7 when God breathes into the nostrils of Adam..

V. 18.  ma-llî wālāk = “what to me and to you” (LXX:  ti emoi kai soi):  The expression is usually used by one who is threatened by another:  “what do we have to do with each other?”  See Judg. 11:12; 2 Sam. 16:10; 19:22; 2 Kings 3:13; 2 Chron. 35:21.  In NT see Mark 1:24//Luke 4:34; Matt. 8:29; John 2:4.

V. 21.  nepheš hayyeled = “the life of the boy”:  In Hebrew the word nepeš (sometimes translated “soul”) refers to the whole living body and is sometimes used for “life” itself.

V. 24.  ûdebar-YHWH bepîkā ’emet = “and the word of the Lord in your mouth is truth (or truthful).” The expression indicates that the woman came to realize that Elijah was a prophet because the word of the Lord he had spoken came to pass. The effectiveness of God’s word distinguishes YHWH from the idols, probably even the gods the woman had been worshiping (see Isa. 44:6-8).

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Galatians 1:11-24
Against the distortion of his teachings by those followed him to Galatia, Paul insists that God called him and Christ instructed him in the truth of the gospel in order that God might be glorified.

Context
After the salutation of his letter, Paul moves immediately to the issue at hand:  the Christians of Galatia are “deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and turning to a different gospel” (v. 6).  Apparently after Paul’s initial visit there when he formed the Christian community in Galatia, some others followed him preaching and teaching a different message:  to the gospel of Jesus Christ must be added the Jewish law and the rite of circumcision.

Key Words
V. 11.  ouk estin kata anthrōpou = “is not human (in nature or origin):  Compare kata anthrōpon at Gal. 3:15; Rom. 3:5;  1 Cor. 3:3; 9:8; 15:32.

V. 13.  hoti kath’ hyperbolēn ediōkon = “that with violence I persecuted”:  See also 1:23; 4:29:5:11; 6:12.  The last reference implies the Christian responsibility to be persecuted for the cross of Christ (see Mark 8:34 and parallels).

Vss. 15-16.  eudokēsen [ho theos] …  apokalypsai ton huion autou en emoi = “God was pleased … to reveal his son to me”  For other cases where God is “pleased,” see Luke 12:32; 1 Cor. 1:21; Col. 1:19; cf. Psalm 40:13.

V. 15.  ho aphorisas me = “the One who set me apart”:  The word appears also at 2:12 but in terms of Peter’s withdrawing from Gentiles.  In LXX the term translates the Heb. verb qdš = “to be/make holy.”  It refers to the setting aside of objects (Exod. 19:23 and often) and persons like Jeremiah (Jer. 1:5) for divine purposes.

V. 15.  ek koilias mētros mou = “from the womb of my mother”:  See similar callings in the reports of the Servant of the Lord ( Isa. 49:1) and Jeremiah ( Jer. 1:5).

V. 16.  euangelizesthai auton = “proclaim him as the good news”:  For Christ as the content of the gospel, see Rom. 1:2-5; 16:25-27; 2 Cor. 1:19; Phil. 1:15.

V. 20.  hoti ou pseudomai = “I do not lie”:  Recall 2 Cor. 11:31, also citing God as witness; cf. 1 Thess. 2:5. Perhaps the statement of the woman to Elijah provides another parallel (1 Kings 17:24).

V. 24.  edoxazon en emoi ton theon = “they glorified God in (because of) me”:  Recall the words of the Servant of the Lord(  Isa. 49:3) and his role to “be a light to the nations (v. 6). Indeed, according to Acts 13:47, Paul quotes Isa. 49:6 as the explanation of his role in God’s mission to the gentiles/nations.

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Luke 7:11-17
In response to the grief of a mourning mother, Jesus Christ raises her son from the dead with the result that the people glorify God and recognize in Jesus the presence of God.

Context
Following the story about Jesus’ healing the centurion’s servant who was near death (vv. 1-10), Jesus enters the town of Nain where he meets the funeral procession for a young man who had died.  The two stories (and this one in particular) pave the way for the question which the disciples of John bring to Jesus in verses 18-23.

Key Words
V. 12.  monogenēs huios = “the only son”:  cf. another such son at 9:38; used of Christ as John 1:18.

V. 12.  chēra = “widow”:  See 4:26 where Jesus refers in his sermon to the widow of Zarephath, the story in our first lesson (1 Kings 17).

V. 14. hēpsato tēs sorou = “touched the bier”:  note the ancient view that proximity to a dead body defiles; cf. Num. 6:9-12; Sirach 34:25-26.

V. 16.  ēgerthē = “has arisen”:  The same word appears in Jesus’ command to the dead man at v. 14. Jesus, therefore, speaks a word that comes to pass.

V. 16.  epeskepsato ho theos ton laon autou = “God has visited his people”:  The statement appears in Zechariah’s prophecy at 1:68 in connection with God’s redemption. The noun form appears at 19:44 for God’s judgment. In the OT the expression appears in connection with both salvation and judgment.

Wrestling with the Word, episode 69: Third Sunday of Easter, Year C (April 18, 2010) April 9, 2010

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Third Sunday of Easter

The proverbial “they” say that misery loves company. “They” also say that you cannot keep good news to yourself. The Bible is filled with the latter. The good news of what God has done and is doing for us cries out for sharing with others. Our lessons for today take that sharing a giant step further. They announce that the good news of God’s love is not simply yours or mine to communicate to others. The Resurrection faith calls us to witness that the miracle of hope and the promise of life belong to everyone.

Download or listen to Wrestling with the Word, episode 69: Third Sunday of Easter, Year C.

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Psalm 30
The psalm is one of praise and thanksgiving following a lament which is described in verses 8-10.  The witness to the Lord’s constant favor and joy following only brief periods of judgment and absence is stated simply and profoundly in v. 5. Above all, the psalmist calls on others to join in giving the Lord thanks and praise.

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Acts 9:1-6 [7-20]
God calls unlikely persons to reach out to the world with the name of Christ and to suffer for the sake of that Name.

Context
Saul had been introduced to the reader at the end of chapter 7, the story of the stoning of Stephen: “And Saul was consenting to his death.”  At 8:3 he is reported to have devastated the church and entered house after house, committing men and women to prison.  Such persecution caused the Christians in Jerusalem to be scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.  This scattering paved the way for the preaching of Philip, first in Samaria, then on the road between Jerusalem and Gaza, and finally in Caesarea. That leads us to our story about the Lord’s call of the man named Saul. In the Book of Acts the same story will occur again at 22:4-16 and 26:9-18 where Paul himself tells the story in the first person. In briefer form, Paul will relate the outline of this call at Galatians 1:13016.

Key Words
V. 2.  tēs hodou = “the Way”:  The term defines the Christian movement also at 19:9, 23; 22:4; 24:14, 22; cf. also 16:17; 18:25f. Jesus identified himself as “the Way” (also the Truth and the Life) at John 14:6.

V. 4.  “a light from heaven … and he heard a voice”:  The sequence is similar to Stephen’s description of Moses’ experience at 7:31.  See also the vision and speech that came to Peter at 10:13. The experience is like that of Jesus at his baptism (Luke 3:22 and parallels) and of the disciples at the Transfiguration (Luke 9:35 and parallels). The audience present when the Greeks came to see Jesus also heard a voice from heaven at John 12:28.

VV. 11-12.  “praying … he has seen”:  For relationship of prayer and vision, see also Peter’s experience at 10:9f. and Paul’s at 22:17. In his Gospel, Luke also connects prayer and vision at Luke 1:10f. (Zechariah); 3:21 (Jesus); 9:28-29 (Jesus); 22:43 (Jesus in Gethsemane).

V. 15.  skeuos eklogēs = “instrument of choice”:  The Apostle Paul speaks of his own calling to the nations at Gal. 1:15f. and at Rom. 1:1f. His call is as shocking as God’s naming Nebuchadrezzar, king of Babylon, to be “my servant” (Jer. 24:8) and Cyrus, king of Persia, to be “my shepherd” and “my anointed” (Isa. 44:28; 45:1).

V. 20.  ho huios tou theou = “the Son of God”:  The Sanhedrin’s trial of  Jesus included a question about his claim to be the Son of God (Luke 22:70). Luke dealt with the issue early, for the title was part of the announcement of the angel Gabriel to Mary (Luke 1:35). The title appeared in the OT as a messianic designation (Ps. 2:7; 89:27; 2 Sam. 7:14). That it occurred on the lips of a Gentile at the foot of the cross supports Paul’s mission to the Gentiles (Mark 15:39; see the first lesson from Acts 9).

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Revelation 5:11-14
The vision of the throne of God, around which the hymn of all creatures is sung, gives people hope in time of suffering and calls people to join in the song of praise here and now.

Context
The visions of John the Seer occurred about A.D. 95 when Christians were being persecuted by the Roman Emperor Domitian.  On the island of Patmos, John received the revelations which portrayed in apocalyptic style the fate of the wicked and the bliss of the righteous.  In some sense, the future side of apocalyptic is underplayed in the book, because the decisive eschatological events, the outpouring of the Lamb’s blood and his resurrection, have already occurred.

Key Words
V. 11. Kai eidon, kai ēkousa phōnēn = “And I looked and I heard a sound”: The connection of seeing and hearing continues the biblical theme discussed above (Acts 9:4).

V. 13.  en tō ouranō kai epi tēs gēs kai hupokatō  tēs gēs kai epi tēs thalassēs kai ta en autois panta = “in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea and all therein”:  The phrases describing the three-storeyed universe sound quite similar to the hymn quoted by Paul at Phil. 2:5-11, although here are added “and in the sea and all therein.” The point is to announce the universality, even the cosmic, scope of the praise to God. That universality even includes the “sea” and its monsters.

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John 21:1-19
The Resurrected Christ, present as the host for a meal and enabling the hitherto unsuccessful fishermen to catch a multitude of fish, commissions Peter to feed the flock, even though it will mean a death like his own.

Context
Chapter 20 ends with an apparent conclusion which states the purpose for which the gospel was written.  The pericope seems to form an epilogue which in many ways does not flow smoothly from the previous resurrection appearances reported in chapter 20.

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Parallel Story:  Luke 5:1-11

Key Words
V. 1.  ephanerōsen heauton = “he revealed himself”:  The expression “revealed” appears also in v. 14, but it is common in Johannine literature.  Elsewhere in the Gospel for the revealing of Jesus, consider the following:  1:31 (Jesus’ baptism by John was to reveal him to Israel); 2:11 (Jesus’ miracle at Cana revealed his glory).  Elsewhere in the Gospel, Jesus reveals God:   9:3 (the works of God are revealed in the healing of the blind man); 17:6 (Jesus revealed the name of God to the disciples).  In 1 John, “revealed” is the earthly life of Jesus (1:2; 3:5, 8), the Second Coming of Christ (2:28; 3:2), and the love of God in Jesus (4:9).

V. 6.  helkusai = “to haul”:  The word appears elsewhere in John for God’s drawing people to himself or to Jesus (John 6:44; 12:32; see Jer. 31:3 (LXX 38:3).

V. 11.  ouk eschisthē = “not torn”:  The expression adds one more element of the miraculous, even over Luke 5:6:  “the nets were breaking.”

For a comprehensive discussion of the passage, see Raymond Brown, The Gospel According to John XIII-XXI, The Anchor Bible (Garden City, NY:  Doubleday, 1970), pp. 1067-1122.

Wrestling with the Word, episode 27: Fourth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B (June 28, 2009) June 20, 2009

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Fourth Sunday after Pentecost
God calls us to love our neighbors in a variety of ways. People call out to the Lord for help on a daily basis, and God’s response so often requires our hands or our feet or our quiet presence. Sometimes the neighbors who cry out are the people close at hand like next-door-neighbors, and sometimes they are people far off. Sometimes when we are off to serve one neighbor, another one interrupts with needs of his or her own. Jesus’ ministry was like that, too. Interruptions can became opportunities for ministering.

Download or listen to Wrestling with the Word, episode 27: Fourth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B.

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Psalm 30
The psalm is a hymn of praise used by an individual after a lament (or series of them) had been offered. Characteristics of the lament are many, above all “you hid your face; I was dismayed” (v. 7). The absence of the Lord caused the worshiper to “cry for help” (vss. 2, 8), a cry to which the Lord responded. The effects of the Lord’s ultimate intervention appear in virtually every verse by way of contrasts. The result of the deliverance is not only the individual’s praise but the call on the community of the faithful to join in the joyful song.

The NRSV has provided its own superscription to the psalm, indicating an individual’s “Thanksgiving for Recovery from Grave Illness.” The Hebrew Bible (and thus RSV) read “A Song at the dedication of the Temple.” That reference to the Festival of Chanukah (celebrating the purification of the Temple after the desecration by Antiochus IV Epiphanes from 167-164 B.C.) was obviously added at a later date to an existing individual song of praise.

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Lamentations 3:22-33
In spite of disaster all around, the faithfulness of God startles us anew each day and without ceasing.

Context
In our Christian Bible, the Book of Lamentations follows the Book of Jeremiah on the basis of 2 Chron. 35:25. In the Hebrew Bible it is positioned between Qoheleth (Ecclesiastes) and Esther. Authorship by Jeremiah is not likely, though the material derives from the period of the exiles of 597 and 587 B.C. Chapter 3 is a personal reflection of tragedy and hope in the midst of the national crises that the first two chapters attribute to the Lord. The five chapters comprise five laments that appear in Hebrew as acrostics. Uniquely, chapter 3 uses the same letter of the alphabet (at times the same word) for 3 couplets of each stanza. The assigned pericope begins without the description of the previous verse that defines “hope” (v. 21).

Key Words
Vss. 22-24.  chasdê … chadašîm … chelqî = “acts of covenant loyalty … new things … my portion”:  Each line begins with the Hebrew letter chet.

V. 22.  chasdê YHWH = “the Lord’s acts of covenant loyalty”: The rendering “steadfast love” (RSV, NRSV) misses the action and the specificity of the word. Chesed is the faithfulness that exists within a covenant relationship. When used in the plural, as here, the word means the acts carried out to manifest that faithfulness.

V. 24.  chelqî YHWH = “the Lord is my portion”:  For use of the epithet elsewhere see Ps. 73:26; 119:57. In normal usage, the word refers to a tract or territory. In the psalms, however, the word points to the Lord as the one who, like a field, sustains life.

Vss. 25-27. tôv … tôv …  tôv … = “good … good … good”: Each line begins with the same letter (and word): t.

Vss. kî … kî … kî … = “for … for … for”: Again, each line begins with the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet: k.

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2 Corinthians 8:7-15
On the basis of the Lord becoming poor that we might become rich, God calls us to demonstrate genuine love in liberal giving for the poor.

Context
The chapter begins with Paul’s announcement to the people at Corinth that the churches of Macedonia, though themselves suffering from poverty, had contributed generously to the poor saints in Jerusalem. They begged for the favor of taking part in the relief effort out of their abundance of joy in the gospel.  For the notion of the Son of God surrendering a throne in order to serve, see Philippians 2:6-11.

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Mark 5:21-43
Jesus demonstrates his power over sickness and death by healing the woman with the issue of blood and by raising from the dead the daughter of Jairus, thus giving to all who believe, as the woman and Jairus did, wholeness and the hope of resurrection.
OR
Concerned for the whole person in any kind of affliction, Jesus heals those who believe and commends them for their faith.

Context
At 4:1 Jesus begins teaching a series of five parables about the kingdom of God as he and a large crowd gather “beside the sea.” At 5:1 Jesus and the disciples arrived at the other side of the sea, the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee where he exorcises “Legion.” Our pericope traces the itinerary back to the western shore, probably in the vicinity of Capernaum.

Key Words
V. 34.  thugatēr, hē pistis sou sesōken se = “Daughter, your faith has saved you”:  Jesus said the same to the woman of ill reputation who washed Jesus’ feet in connection with the forgiveness of her sins (Luke 7:50) and to the leper who returned to give thanks (Luke 17:19). The word is translated “save” or “heal.” The word is more comprehensive than the “curing” described at 1:34: 3:2, 10; 6:5, 13 (therapeuō) and earlier in our own story at v. 29 (iaomai).

V. 34. hypage eis eirēnēn = “Go in peace!”: With these words the priest dismissed the 5 Danites who had come seeking an inheritance (Judg. 18:6), and the priest Eli sent Hannah away with the assurance that the Lord will respond to her prayer for a child (1 Sam. 1:17). At 2 Sam. 15:9, the king dismissed Absalom to pay his vows to the Lord. At Luke 7:50, Jesus uses these words to dismiss the woman whose sins he had just forgiven,

V. 36. mē phobou, monon pisteuete = “Do not fear, only believe”: Mark has already demonstrated that fear is unnecessary when Jesus is present (4:40) and will continue to make the same point (6:50).

V. 43.  kai diesteilato autois polla hina mēdeis gnoi touto = “and he strictly charged that no one know this”:  The secrecy is characteristic of Mark; see the command to the leper at 1:44 and the response of Jesus to Peter’s confession at 8:30.

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Next week we will talk about the lessons for the Fifth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B. You will benefit, I think, from reading in advance of the podcast:
Psalm 123
Ezekiel 2:1-5
2 Corinthians 12:2-10
Mark 6:1-13

Wrestling with the Word, episode 8: Sixth Sunday after Epiphany, Year B (Feb. 15, 2009) January 26, 2009

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Sixth Sunday after Epiphany

Think of the words “comedy,” “community,” and “communication.” The stories of the healing of lepers in Mark 1:40-45 and 2 Kings 5:1-14 take on special meaning when we realize that when a person in the ancient world was declared to have leprosy, that person was destined to live alone, away from the company of other people. The laws in Leviticus 13—14 describe the examination by the priest, the resultant abandonment of the person from the community, and the means by which the person could be declared clean once again and restored to the community. The Psalm for the day brings us into the world of one who has felt cut off from the community and from God but now announces joy and thanksgiving over God’s healing.

Download or listen to Wrestling with the Word, episode 8: Sixth Sunday after Epiphany, Year B.

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2 Kings 5:1-14
God provides knowledge of himself to those outside the community of faith through the words of people and, above all, through the divine word itself.

Context
Receiving the cloak of succession from Elijah, the prophet Elisha followed his mentor until that day when the whirlwind took Elijah up to heaven (2 Kings 2:-12). As evidence of his succession, Elisha performed at the outset many of the same acts as the predecessor, including the miracle of the abundance of oil out of small beginnings, the raising from the dead the son of the Shunamite woman, and the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves. Furthermore, like his master, his miracles and ministry extended beyond Israelites to include the Gentiles.

Key Words
V. 1. “by him the Lord had given victory to Syria”: The extension of the Lord’s power reaches beyond the boundaries of Israel by this gift of victory to a commander of a non-Israelite army—whether he knew it or not. In the future, the Lord will use Nebuchadrezzar, King of Babylon as “my servant” (see Jer. 25:9 and elsewhere) and Cyrus, king of Persia, as “my shepherd” (Isa. 44:28 ) and “my anointed”… “though you do not know me” (Isa, 45:1, 5). That Naaman came to know the name of the Lord is clear from his response to Elisha’s instruction at v. 11.

V. 7. ha’elōhîm ‘ānî lehāmît ûlehachayôt = “Am I god, to kill and to make alive,…?”: The view that God was responsible for both life and death is attested several times in the Old Testament. In the Song of Hannah both weal and woe are the responsibility of the Lord who “kills and brings to life” (1 Sam. 2:6). In addition, the familiar words of Job ring out here: “the Lord gave, and the Lord had taken away” (Job 1:21).

V. 8. weyēda‘ kî yēš nābî’ beyisrā’ēl = “that he may know there is a prophet in Israel”: (1) The expression “that (someone) may know” appears in the story of the exodus (Exod. 9:14; 10:2) and in the promises of the return from Babylon (cf. Ezek. 35:9; 36:11; 37:14); through the Lord’s action for salvation or for judgment, others will come to know who he is. (2) What it takes to know there is a prophet is quite different at Ezekiel 33:33 where the Lord promises such awareness when the people ignore the prophecies.

V. 14. kidebar ’iš hā’elōhîm wayyāšob besārō kibesar na‘ar qātōn wayyithar = “… according to the word of the man of God, and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean”: In the Deuteronomistic history, events of various sorts occur “according to the word of the Lord” (see 1 Kings 8:20; 12:15; 15:29; 16:12; 2 Kings 1:17; 23:16-18; 24:2). While the verb tāhar = “to be clean” often denotes ceremonial or ritual purity (e.g., Lev. 14:20, 53), it refers here to the physical cleansing of leprosy.

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Psalm 30
In spite of the initial words that attribute the psalm to the occasion of purification of the Jerusalem Temple in 165 B.C., the psalm is an individual thanksgiving in response to an individual lament. Verses 6-10 articulate the lament and the situation in which the worshiper, even though the worshiper alludes to it in summary form in verses 1-3: troubled by enemies, the psalmist cried to the Lord for help, even from the depths of Sheol, and the Lord heard and healed. In verses 6-10 the lament is described in more detail. Because of the psalmist’s arrogance over prosperity, the Lord hid away (see Pss. 10:1; 27:9; 55:1; 104:21), a truly “lamentable” situation. In response to the cries for the Lord’s help/strength, the Lord dressed up the petitioner for a new occasion—party clothes instead of mourning garments. In response to this divine response, the psalmist, unable to remain silent (v. 12), encourages the faithful ones gathered in the temple to join in the praises and thanksgivings (v. 4).

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1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Having freed us from the power of sin and the condemnation of the law by baptism into Christ’s death, God calls us to live out our new identity through the way we lives our lives.

Context
Paul continues to address questions raised in a letter from the Corinthian congregation. In the immediately preceding paragraphs, he has written about the tension between freedom and responsibility, all in service to the law of Christ and the preaching of the gospel.

Key Words
V. 25. pas de ho agōnizomenos panta egkryteuetai = “Every athlete practices self-control in all things”: Paul uses the word for self-control for the unmarried at 7:9; there also he is establishing limits of freedom. At Gal. 5:23 such “self-control” is one of the fruits of the Spirit. At 2 Peter 1:6 such self-control is the supplement to knowledge.

V. 25 hēmeis de aphtharton = “but we an imperishable”: the same adjective describes the resurrected body at 1 Cor. 15:32 and the resurrection inheritance at 1 Peter 1:4.

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Mark 1:40-45
Responding to the plea from the man with leprosy to make him clean, Jesus heals him for restoration to the community through the practice prescribed in the Mosaic law.

Context
Jesus has been proclaiming in word and deed the message that the reign of God has come near. He has been calling a new community, exorcizing Satan’s army of unclean spirits, and healing the sick—all signs that the day of the Lord has begun..

Key Words
V. 40. “a leper”: Whether the man had leprosy as we know it today or a skin disease of some other sort, he was regarded as one who was unclean. The “medical” examination, conducted by the priest, determined the diagnosis (Lev. 13). If the priest declared him unclean, the leper had to live alone, banished from the community. The leper even had to announce “Unclean! Unclean!” whenever other people came near (Lev. 13:45-46). Shakespeare’s Romeo (in the play Romeo and Juliet) probed the depths of his sentence to banishment.

V. 41. kai splagchnistheis = “and moved with pity”: Jesus’ response of compassion to those who come to him for healing is evident also in Mark at 6:34 (Matt. 9:36) and 8:2; at 9:22 the word is used in a petition by the father of a young boy possessed of a demon.

v. 44. alla hypage seauton deixon tō hierei kai prosenegke peri tou katharismou sou ha prosetaxen Mōusēs, eis martuyrion autois = “but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, as witness to them”: The rather detailed law for the protocol that led to atonement and restoration to the community is described at Lev. 14:2-32.

V. 45. ho de exelthōn ērxato kēryssein polla kai diaphēmizein ton logon = “And going out, he began to announce/preach loudly and to spread the word widely”: The miracle of the leper’s healing compelled him to express his praise and thanks in words to the communities to which he was restored, much like the healed person of Psalm 30.