Keyword Search

  • Buy Direct from CSS Publishing Company
    Buy Direct from CSS Publishing Company

    Buy Direct from CSS Publishing Company

    Buy Direct from CSS Publishing Company

    Buy Direct from CSS Publishing Company

    Buy Direct from CSS Publishing Company

    Buy Direct from CSS Publishing Company

    Buy Direct from CSS Publishing Company

Proper 27 | Ordinary Time 32 | Pentecost 25, Cycle C (2016)

Glimpses of the end. Eschatology (Realized and Future) is a prevailing theme of these texts, along with consideration of God’s love (Justification by Grace).

Psalm 145:1-5, 17-21
As noted several times previously, Psalms is a collection of prayers and songs composed throughout Israel’s history. It is organized into five collections of books, perhaps an analogy to the five books of the Torah. The authors of each psalm are largely unknown, as in this case. This loosening of them from their historical origins entails the validity of their use today in very different contexts from their origins (Brevard Childs, Introduction to the Old Testament as Scripture, p. 523). The actual title of the book is derived from a Greek term meaning “Song” [psalmos]. The Hebrew title of the book, Tehillim, means “hymns” or “songs of praise.”

The Psalm is a hymn epitomizing the character of God, traditionally attributed to David. It is an Acrostic Psalm, with each new verse beginning with the next letter in order of the Hebrew alphabet following the one used in the preceding verse. We have previously noted it is unlikely that David is the author of the Psalms attributed to him (Brevard Childs, Introduction to the Old Testament as Scripture, p. 512). In fact some scholars conclude that references to David in the psalms may be a way of using him to represent the inner life of all his subjects, and so of all the faithful (Ibid., p. 521).

Praise to God is offered, vowing a willingness to forever bless [barak] his name (vv. 1-2, 21), for the Lord is great [gadol] and the greatness unsearchable (v. 3). One generation is said to laud God’s work to another, declaring his mighty acts [geburah]. The psalmist pledges so to meditate, initiating a chain of praise to extend for generations (vv. 4-5). Yahweh is said to be righteous [tsaddiq] and kind/holy in all his doings (v. 17). (See the description of the righteousness of God in the alternative Psalm below.) He is near to all calling on him in truth [emeth] (v. 18). He fulfills the desire of all who fear [yare, reverence] him, hearing their cry and saving them (v. 19). He watches over all who love him but will destroy all the wicked (v. 20).

Application: A sermon on this psalm will praise God for his love (Justification by Grace and the theme of the righteousness of God). But it might explore the theme of the chain of generations praising him (Eschatology).


Psalm 98
This alternative Psalm is a hymn proclaiming the future establishment of God’s kingdom on earth. It is one of the so-called Enthronement Psalms, proclaiming God’s kingship and was likely used at festivals. The psalmist begins by proclaiming a new song [shin] is to be sung (v. 1). This comment could be read as suggesting for Christians the New Covenant initiated by Easter. References to God’s victory [yasha, giving ease or security], making known his salvation [yeshuah, safety] (vv. 2-3) might also imply Christ’s victory over evil. Summons are issued to all nations and the physical universe to praise God the king (vv. 4-9). Reference to God’s judging [shaphat] the world in righteousness [ tsedeq] and equity [mesharim] (v. 9) reminds us of the Easter-event bestowing God’s righteousness on us and abolishing distinctions (Romans 3:21-26; Galatians 3:28). Although in its original Hebraic context this could connote legal, judgmental actions on the Lord’s part or a legalism, most Old Testament scholars note that God’s righteousness is not in any way punitive, but more about relationship. Indeed, it has to do with God’s loyalty to his covenant in saving us and even at times later in the Old Testament era the righteousness of God construed as something bestowed on the faithful (Gerhard von Rad, Old Testament Theology, Vol. 1, pp. 373, 376ff) in a manner not unlike what Paul says happens to Christians in Christ (Romans 3:21-26).

Application: Several sermon possibilities emerge from this Psalm. It might lead to proclaiming Christ’s victory over evil (Atonement), the creation of a New Covenant as a result of that victory, and Justification by Grace (see the description of the righteousness of God, above). God’s judgment as a good thing, offering comfort that evil will be overcome is another possible theme (von Rad, pp. 343, 358-359).


Psalm 17:1-9
This is a prayer for deliverance from personal enemies, attributed to David. We have previously noted it is unlikely that David is the author of the psalms attributed to him (Brevard Childs, Introduction to the Old Testament as Scripture, p. 512). It begins by urging Yahweh to hear a just cause, attending to the psalmist’s cry from lips without deceit [nimah, feigning] (vv. 1, 6). Only from the Lord can vindication/judgment [mishpat] come (v. 2). See the Application of the alternative Psalm for a discussion of God’s judgment.

The psalmist proceeds to protest his innocence, having no wickedness and violence, following the paths of Yahweh (vv. 3-5). The Lord is petitioned to wondrously show steadfast love [hasadeka, covenant loyalty] on those who seek refuge and to guard the psalmist as the apple of his eye from the wicked surrounding him (vv. 7-9).

Application: This is a psalm for either proclaiming God’s love and faithfulness to his promises (Justification by Grace) or to explain sympathetically that even in his judgments God is loving. The latter point could be developed with reference to Future Eschatology (that we can have confidence in God’s judgment).

Haggai 1:15b–2:9
Set early in the reign of the Persian Emperor Darius I (around 520 BC), nearly twenty years after the Babylonian exiles had returned home, work had ceased on rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem. The book recounts the prophet’s efforts to exhort Zerubbabel, the region’s governor, and Joshua the high priest to resume the reconstruction project. This lesson is an ode to the new temple to be built.

Haggai receives a revelation from Yahweh’s word [ddabar] to speak to Zerubbabel and Joshua about the status of the temple (2:1-3). Through Haggai, the Lord of Hosts proclaims courage to all of Judah, according to the promise made when freeing them from Egypt. His Spirit [ruach] abides in them (2:4-5). Yahweh promises to shake the heavens, earth, and sea, so that the treasure (what is desirable) of all nations comes, and the new temple to be built will be filled with splendor (2:6-7). For all silver and gold is the Lord’s (2:8). The promise is made that the new temple will be greater than the former, for the Lord of hosts will give prosperity (2:9).

Application: Sermons on this lesson will proclaim freedom and vindication for God’s people (Justification by Grace). There should be an Eschatological and Social Ethical dimensions to this word.


Job 19:23-27a
Set in the era of the patriarchs, the book is an ancient folktale which probes the depths of faith in the midst of suffering. Although we are not sure of the actual date of composition, some critics believe it is a work of the late sixth or fifth century BC. The nomenclature of officials mentioned might suggest the era of Persian domination. References to Satan could suggest that Job was written in the same era as Zechariah and 1 Chronicles (the only other books of the Old Testament in which he expressly appears). Parallels to the book are found in Egypt as well as Mesopotamia.

This lesson includes a portion of Job’s reply to Bildad, who had claimed that disease is the fate of the wicked and called on him to repent (8:1-22; 18:1-21). Job responds that he wishes his words were recorded (vv. 23-24). He knows that his redeemer/vindicator [guel] lives and that at last he will stand on earth (v. 25). There is debate among scholars whether this vindicator is God. In Hebraic culture the vindicator was a kinsman who avenged the honor of one offended (Leviticus 25:125; cf. Numbers 35:19). When Job’s skin [or] has been destroyed, his flesh [basar] will see God, whom he shall see on his side (or for himself) (vv. 26-27a). Perhaps this could refer to a vindication of Job in death, a resurrection but vindication clearly related to seeing God (chapters 36-42).

Application: Sermons on this Complementary Version of the First Lesson will proclaim with confidence God’s vindication both now (Justification by Grace) and in the future (Eschatology).

2 Thessalonians 2:1-5, 13-17
We note again that though closely resembling 1 Thessalonians, the authorship of this book is often questioned. Some see forgery evident in 2:2 and 3:17. This has led some scholars to regard the book as either written so soon after 1 Thessalonians that Paul still recalled his earlier wording or else it was written by a later writer using first Thessalonians’ letter as a model. While the earlier epistle assumes that the end is near, this letter contends that if we cannot know the exact time we can know that it will not come at once, that a struggle with evil must take place first, and it will be delayed. As such, this book prepares the church for a period of continued life in the world and so the faithful should continue to the pursuits of daily life.

This lesson is an eschatological discourse on the coming day of the Lord, along with some thanksgivings and exhortations. Regarding Christ’s coming [parousia], Paul begs the Thessalonians not to be quickly shaken or alarmed as though the day of the Lord is already here (vv. 1-2). Apparently this false teaching was circulating in the church. This leads him to urge Thessalonians not to be deceived, for Christ’s return will not come again until there has been rebellion and the lawless one [Satan, huios tes apoleias -- son of perdition] destined for destruction is revealed [apokalupto] (v. 3). The work of this lawless one is described, his exalting himself above every god (v. 4).

After further discourse on this lawless one (vv. 6-12), the lesson resumes with Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy expressing thanks for the Thessalonians, for they have been chosen [eileto] by God for salvation [soteria] through sanctification by the Spirit (v. 13). For this purpose he called them through the proclamation of Paul and his colleagues (v. 14). The Thessalonians are urged to stand firm, holding fast to the traditions [paradosis] Paul has taught (v. 15). He also expresses the hope that Christ and the Father who loved the faithful and through grace [charis] has been given eternal comfort may in turn comfort the hearts of the Thessalonians, strengthening them in every good work and word (vv. 16-17).

Application: Sermons on this lesson will offer comfort about the future along with a sense of urgency about life (Justification by Grace, Predestination, and Eschatology).

Luke 20:27-38
We are again reminded that this gospel is the first installment of a two-part history of the church traditionally attributed to Luke, a physician and Gentile associate of Paul (Colossians 4:14; 2 Timothy 4:11; Philemon 24). Along with Acts, the author’s intention was to stress the universal mission of the church (Acts 1:8). This lesson recounts Jesus’ response to hostile questions about the resurrection, a teaching which has parallels in Matthew (22:23-33) and Mark (12:18-27).

The lesson begins with Sadducees, who deny a resurrection, asking Jesus what to make of the teaching of Moses that if one dies leaving a wife with no children his brother is to marry the widow so the deceased has children (Deuteronomy 25:5; Genesis 38:8) (vv. 27-28). The Sadducees hypothesize seven such marriages to one childless woman, hypothetically raising the question of whose wife the woman would then be in the resurrection (vv. 29-33). Jesus responds that those who belong to this age [aionis] marry, but those considered worthy of the resurrection neither marry nor are given in marriage (vv. 34-35). Those risen cannot die anymore, Jesus adds, but are like angels and children of God (v. 36). It is reported that Jesus also taught every day in the temple and at night spent the evening on the Mount of Olives. Many came to listen to him in the morning in the temple (vv. 37-38).

Application: Sermons on this lesson will clarify the nature of our resurrected bodies, distinguishing eternal existence from our present realities. Eschatology and Human Nature as created by God should be considered.

Leave a Reply

  • Get Your FREE 30-day Trial Subscription to SermonSuite NOW!
    Chris Keating
    The Double-Dog Dare Days of August
    August’s lazy, hazy dog days quickly became a deadly double-dog dare contest between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un, the supreme leader of North Korea. Both nations have been at odds with each other for nearly 70 years. During his working golf vacation in New Jersey last week, President Trump responded to North Korea’s rhetorical sword-rattling by launching a verbal preemptive strike of his own.
         Call it the Bedminster bombast, or the putt that rocked Pyongyang. But the duel between the two countries is more than fodder for late-night comedians. It’s a deadly standoff with history-changing repercussions.
         There is no vacation from matters of national security, or the orations of war. Indeed, much of the war of words between Washington and North Korea seems to confirm Jesus’ counsel in Matthew: “It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles.” The contrasts between these barbed exchanges and the biblical understanding of peacemaking offers an intriguing opportunity to hear Jesus’ words in a world filled with double-dog (and even triple-dog) dares....more
    Feeding The 5,000
    The assigned Gospel text for this week skips over a couple of sections in Matthew's story. Matthew 14:34-36 cites Jesus' journey to Gennesaret. The crowds of people recognized him immediately and all of the sick came to him for healing. Just a touch of Jesus' garment brought healing to many. The crowd in Gennesaret recognized Jesus. They came to him in their need....more
    Wayne Brouwer
    Religious balkanization
    One dimension of religious life we have in common across faith traditions and denominational lines is the incessant divisiveness that split our seemingly monolithic communities into dozens of similar yet tenaciously varied subgroups. A Jewish professor of psychology said of his tradition, "If there are ten Jewish males in a city we create a synagogue. If there are eleven Jewish males we start thinking about creating a competing synagogue."...more
    C. David McKirachan
    Jesus Is Coming, Look Busy
    Isaiah 56:1, 6-8
    I had a parishioner who would walk out of the sanctuary if he saw a djembe (African drum) out in front to be used in worship.  I asked him about it, in a wonderfully pastoral manner, and he told me that things like that didn’t belong in worship.  I said that it was in the bible to praise God with pipes and drums (I think it is).  He told me he didn’t care what the Bible said, he knew where that thing came from and he wouldn’t have it.  I asked him why things from Africa would bother him.  He told me that he knew I was liberal but that didn’t mean he had to be.  I agreed with him but cautioned him that racism was probably one of the worst examples of evil in our world and I thought he should consider what Christ would think of that.  He asked me who paid my salary, Christ or good Americans....more
    Janice Scott
    No Strings Attached
    In today's gospel reading, Jesus seemed reluctant to heal the Canaanite woman's daughter. He told her that he wasn't sent to help foreigners, but only his own people, the Chosen Race. The words sound unnecessarily harsh, but perhaps this is an interpretation unique to Matthew, for this story only appears in Matthew's gospel, which was written for Jews....more
    Arley K. Fadness
    Great Faith
    Object: Hula Hoop or circle made out of ribbon, twine or rope
    What an amazing morning to come to church today. I am so glad to see you and talk to you about a wonderful story from the bible. Let me begin by showing you this circle. Now let's get into this circle. (Physically, all move into the circle) It's fun for us all to be together in this circle. We don't want anyone to be left out. To be left out is to be sad. To be kept out is even more sad and painful....more

Authors of
Lectionary Scripture Notes
Norman A. Beck is the Poehlmann Professor of Theology and Classical Languages and the Chairman of the Department of Theology, Philosophy, and Classical Languages at Texas Lutheran University
Dr. Norman A. Beck
Mark Ellingsen is professor at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia
Dr. Mark Ellingsen