Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 8

Commentary

Deuteronomy 26:1-11

This command from God comes after all of the “do’s and dont’s”. Here, the LORD tells the people that they need to remember God by taking the first fruits to the temple. The response given by the priest, explains once again the tradition of the people. They come from a wandering tribe, who were aliens in the land. God heard their cries and saved them from the Egyptians. Their freedom and the land that they possess comes as a direct result of God’s direct actions in their parent’s lives.

Deuteronomy 26:1 the land that the LORD your God is giving you – The author announces to the assembly that the property is from God.

Deuteronomy 26:2 you shall take some of the first of all the fruit – As a reminder and not as a sacrifice, the people give a part of the land’s bounty to God. This reminds them of the source of their wealth.

God will choose as a dwelling for his name – Though many people forget it, the LORD decides where He will live.

Deuteronomy 26:3 I have come into the land that the LORD swore to our ances- tors to give us – The ritual of remembrance includes an official statement that recalls the work of the LORD.

Deuteronomy 26:4

Deuteronomy 26:5 A wandering Aramean was my ancestor – The LORD selected a specific individual to bring these gifts to the people. This idea that God makes these types of decisions is often repulsive since the idea often is that God operates with equity.

Deuteronomy 26:6 When the Egyptians treated us harshly and afflicted us – The official remembrance of the people is that they were slaves.

Deuteronomy 26:7 the LORD heard our voice – The storyline also tells the people of the faithfulness of the LORD. He listens to the people.

Deuteronomy 26:8 The LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand – The God of Abraham interferes in history to change its outcome.

1

Deuteronomy 26:9 a land flowing with milk and honey – The country is so rich that it provides for the people without any effort on their part.

Deuteronomy 26:10 bow down before the LORD your God – Words are not the only thing that teaches. Body language like this tells you who have a higher rank.

Deuteronomy 26:11 Then you, together with the Levites and the aliens who re- side among you, shall celebrate – Despite the second class status of the foreigners in terms of blessings, God still expects that justice and mercy be given to them.

Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16

This psalm has images that have been favorites of Christians for millennia. For Lutherans, these words are incorporated into the Luther’s hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.” The psalmist writes of a God who is so strong that no evil can pene- trate. This God picks you up so that even something as simple as stumbling does not hurt you. The most violent animals and insects that live in the harsh desserts cannot harm you. Everyone who loves God will be saved. An additional blessing is the gift of life and salvation.

Psalm 91:1 You who live in the shelter of the Most High – This psalm speaks to the ones that the LORD protects.

Psalm 91:2 will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress” – The imagery here is one of defence and not offence. The LORD keeps this person safe because of the strong walls that surround the castle. Attacks will come, but they cannot storm the gates much less the walls.

Psalm 91:9 Because you have made the LORD your refuge – The author now asserts that a “decision” has been made that places God in the role of pro- tector. This language of the psalm stands in defiance to the LORD selecting the people in Deuteronomy 26:5-10a.

Psalm 91:10 no evil shall befall you – How does one rectify this statement that the LORD protects those who select Him given the amount of pain inflected on His people not to mention His own Son?

2

Psalm 91:11 to guard you in all your ways – The same argument of applies here. Horrible things happen to the followers of God. Did they make the wrong decision?

Psalm 91:12 so that you will not dash your foot against a stone – The assertion here is that even the smallest accident will not happen. This logic that abso- lutely nothing will happen seems so absurd that perhaps the sincerity of the entire psalm should be doubted.

Psalm 91:13 You will tread on the lion and the adder – The protection extends to the most dangerous parts of creation.

Psalm 91:14 Those who love me, I will deliver – Protection comes to those who do something that pleases the LORD. This arrangement of GOD rewarding those who do something does not agree with the text from Deuteronomy

26:5-10a.

I will protect those who know my name – Some “secret” knowledge is needed to obtain this salvation. This line by the poet disagrees with the mystery surrounding the L ORD’s Holy Name.

Psalm 91:15 When they call to me, I will answer them – The weaponry changes to that of attack.

Psalm 91:16 With long life I will satisfy them – The psalmist argues yet another practical blessing of following the LORD. Although the Bible uses large numbers to indicate those people blessed by God, the connection between a long life and serving God seems to be a very weak argument not seen in the real world.

Romans 10:8b-13

Paul outlines the basic requirements for salvation. Everyone who publicly con- fesses that Jesus is the ruler of all and believes that Jesus was raised will be saved. (Note that this formula for forgiveness and eternal life presented here does not have any reference to Baptism of the Eucharist.) In this passage, Paul expects that belief and action go hand and hand. Paul then reiterates the confession that speaking the name of Jesus saves.

Romans 10:8b the word of faith that we proclaim – It appears that Paul is refer- ring back to the previous discussion on the salvation of Israel. Paul’s faith

3

that he speaks to others is that God is faithful to His promises, which in- cludes the redemption of His people Israel.

Romans 10:9 because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. – The structure of the sentence indicates that this message is for all the people who do not fall under the Jewish covenant.

The minimum requirement for calling yourself a follower of Christ is two fold. First, you must be willing to speak the Word that Jesus rules over your life. Of course, this includes the official language of the church found in its creeds and confessions but it also includes living the life in the outside world that clearly tells others that your Lord is Christ Jesus. Second, you must understand the ramifications that the dead Jesus lives due to God’s gift of life. This is not some warm fuzzy that you feel. In the Jewish understanding of the body, the heart is the seat of intellect. Paul’s requirement is that you realize the tension between what you can rationally work out through the use of logic and what can only be accepted as a mystery that will never be revealed.

Romans 10:10 one believes with the heart – This phrase drives home the point that the heart is where you think.

Romans 10:11 No one who believes in him will be put to shame. – This text that appears to point back to Isaiah 54:4, does not speak to us in the world where we no longer have the clear cut categories of honor and shame. In our lives, our only desire is having experiences. More specifically, we want to encounter the world in a way that validates our own world view. These interactions might either cause us to change our position on an item our it might reinforce our stand on a particular subject. Because of our viewpoint, these words of promise no longer ring true in our ears. A better way of expressing the same sentiment would be something like, “All who bring their experience of Jesus to the world will never forget their interactions with creation.”

Romans 10:12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek – Paul’s argu- ment is one of perspective. Step back far enough, he says, and everything blends into one because there is a single God that causes all to exist.

4

Romans 10:13 Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. – The tension in this verse is threefold. First, the name of the Lord is not know to everyone. Someone must bring the message of salvation. Next, the Older Testament is clear on the usage of this Holy Name. Punishment awaits all those deliberately defame the name of the Lord and do not seek forgiveness. Finally, the time of salvation is unspecified. Does health and healing occur in the present age? Of course, but for whatever reason, that outcome is not guaranteed.

Luke 4:1-13

The author of Luke/Acts recounts the temptation of Jesus. After being the the wilderness for forty day without eating, Jesus is tempted by the “devil.” First, the devil asks Jesus to turn stones into bread. Jesus tells the tempter that life is more than food since it comes from God. Next, the “devil” tells Jesus the world is His if He would acknowledge the “devil.” Jesus quotes Scripture and tells the tempter that God is the ruler. Finally, the “devil” tells Jesus to trust God by jumping off the top of the temple. Jesus’ response is that you do not test God. The “devil” left for a future time. Jesus sees though all of the half-truths that the devil tosses out. Food, power, and protection are not the problem. Instead, the issue is how each of these items is used. Instead of feeding our belly, we need to listen to God’s command. Rather than grabbing power, we must realize that everything comes from God. And as an alternative to looking out for ourselves, we need to recall that God is protecting us.

Luke 4:1 full of the Holy Spirit – This is language that the author of Luke/Acts uses to indicate that the character is a prophet (Luke 1:15; 1:41; 1:67; Acts 2:4; 4:8; 4:31; 6:3; 6:5; 7:55; 11:24; 13:9). 1

Luke 4:2 for forty days – The interaction between Jesus and the one who tempts lasts for forty days.

he was tempted The verb πειράζω for testing/tempting is used by the LXX for testing God’s people. 2 According to Deuteronomy 8:2-3, 8:16, and 13:3b

1 Luke Timothy Johnson; Daniel J. Harrington, S.J., editor, The Gospel of Luke, Volume 3, Sacra Pagina, (The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1991), p. 73. 2 Ibid.

5

God does test people. Johnson thinks that this usage is in line with tempting and not testing. 3

Job 2:3 is the primary example of the devil as tester (chief of quality con- trol).

The Greek audience would hear the warnings against the “love of pleasure, love of posessions, the love of glory.” 4

by the devil – Luke uses devil (διάβολος) here although in other places he uses satan (σατανᾶς).

He ate nothing at all during those days – There are two different ways that we can read today’s Gospel Lesson. One approach is to think of Jesus as a “Superman,” a person from a different planet who is not threatened by the normal problems found here on Earth. When applied to the temptation of

Christ, this method of interpretation yields the following results. The idea

of turning stones into bread never enters the mind of the man of steel since

he has control over every need that his body might have. Hunger, thirst, pain, and love never affect him at all. This man from a foreign world does not need power, glory, or even authority because he is much stronger than

everyone else is. He is the real force in the world that keeps evil in its place.

A superhero needs no protection because he is invincible. In fact, he cannot

ever die.

This way of thinking has been with the Church since its earliest days and

it has been given the name “Docetism” or it seems like. Followers of idea

cannot believe that Jesus could or even would take on human flesh because

in their mind our body is either evil or corrupt. Instead, they taught that

Jesus was a pure spirit, which only looked like you and me.

The implications of this incorrect idea are staggering and completely for- eign to our view of Christianity. According to their teachings, the disciples are the biggest fools of all times. They lived with Jesus but they could not tell that Jesus never really existed. What they saw was nothing more than an optical illusion. Christ’s death on the cross did not happen because Je- sus never had a body in the first place. Likewise, this resurrection could not occur because Jesus never died.

3 Johnson, Luke, p. 73. 4 Ibid., p. 76.

6

Luke 4:3 Son of God – People often have the idea that the Son of God is nothing more than a miracle worker that hands out gifts to others.

stone to become a loaf of bread – This quote is an echo of many other sources: John the Baptizer who tells us that God can raise stones to be fol- lowers, the idea that God give bread in the wilderness to the hungry people and the prophet, and the Greek idea of children of god who perform mira- cles. 5

Luke 4:4 The best texts do not have “from every word that comes from the mouth of God” which is found in Matthew 4:4 and its original source located in Deuteronomy 8:3. 6

Luke 4:5 in an instant – Is this a “real” happening, a dream, or a memory? John- son thinks it is a vision. 7

Luke 4:6 for it has been given over to me – How much of this statement spoken by the devil is actually true?

Luke 4:7 worship me – This is the eastern tradition of falling down (to prostrate προσκυνέω ) before a leader. 8

Luke 4:8 serve only him – The verb for serve (λατρεύω) also has an idea of worship.

Luke 4:9 took him to Jerusalem – This use of Jerusalem foreshadows the direc- tion Jesus takes. There on the cross, He gives up glory and authority so that the entire world may be saved.

Even in God’s Holy City here on earth, the devil is at work.

Luke 4:10 to protect you – Protection against the problems of the world is a com- mon wish. The tension in the text is a question of how much and when? In other words, does God have the power to change the here and now? Cer- tainly this happens sometimes but for the most cases it appears that pro- tection from the elements, people, and this life does not occur any more in followers of God than anyone else.

5 Johnson, Luke, p. 74. 6 Ibid. 7 Ibid. 8 Ibid.

7

Luke 4:11 not dash your foot against a stone – The devil calls out for a leap of faith that many others would like Christians to follow.

This is argument presented here moves from the lesser to the greater. 9 For example, see that Psalm 91:1 tells of how King David will be protected. If David is safe from stubbing his toe, the argument the devil makes is that so will Jesus.

Luke 4:12 Do not put the Lord your God to the test. – This way of life moves one from a person who has faith into one who tries to analyze the situation and see if God is really present. It also refers back to the concept of protection found in 4:10. Assistance provided by God might be something that cannot be quantified.

Jesus does not ask for understanding. He does not try to skip the darkness that is coming (Isaiah 50:10). He continues obeying the Father.

Luke 4:13 he departed – The unspoken assumption found in this phrase is that Jesus already has defeated the devil and the rest of the account is nothing more than finishing up the isolated pockets of resistance. 10

an opportune time – This emphasizes the work of the one who tests since this one tries to find the best time to find weaknesses in the system.

References

Johnson, Luke Timothy; Harrington, S.J., Daniel J., editor, The Gospel of Luke, Volume 3, Sacra Pagina, (The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1991).

9 Johnson, Luke, p. 74. 10 Ibid., p. 75.

8