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 is a free website that provides brief yet probing exegetical commentary for:

  • Pastors who need inspiration and idea starters for their sermons
  • Church musicians who want to coordinate music and hymn selections with scriptural themes
  • Anyone who wants deeper insight into each week’s lectionary passages

These background notes cover every assigned text in the Revised Common Lectionary for each Sunday and major observance throughout the year.

Proper 17 | OT 22 | Pentecost 13, Cycle A (Ellingsen)

Things look better up ahead. The texts invite reflection on the possibilities of the future that God has in store for us (Eschatology, Providence, Justification by Grace).

Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45c
We have previously noted how, paired with Psalm 106, this song was composed for use at one of the major festivals and consists of a recital of the basic events that created the nation of Israel. It begins with a hymn-like introduction summoning the congregation to worship and rejoice [sameach] in Yahweh, to seek his presence [panim, literally "face"] and remember his wonderful works [mopheth] and miracles (vv. 1-6). The people of Israel are said to be Yahweh’s chosen ones [bachir] (v. 6). What follows is a song about Israel coming to Egypt to become a great nation whom Egyptians come to hate, and concerning Moses who along with Aaron are raised up as leaders by Yahweh. Ham was thought to be the ancestor of the Egyptians (Genesis 10:6) (vv. 23-26). The part of the Psalm to be read concludes with the exhortation to praise the Lord (v. 45b).…click here for the full installment

Get Your FREE 30-day Trial Subscription to SermonSuite NOW!

Proper 17 | OT 22 | Pentecost 13, Cycle A (Beck)

Sunday between August 28 and September 3 inclusive

In these texts persons who are trying to serve God are depicted as engaging in intense struggles with the world. Within the Jeremiah 15:15-21 and the Psalm 26 texts, the prophet and the psalmist speak boldly to the Lord asking for support in their struggles. In the very important “Burning Bush” theophany in Exodus 3:1-15 we have the “gospel” in these texts, the good news that the Lord God has seen the affliction of God’s people and has come to deliver them from slavery and oppression. The gospel is expressed in the Matthew 16:21-28 text in that the deliverance from affliction that God accomplished in the death and resurrection of Jesus are already perceived as having occurred as expressed in the passion predictions. The Apostle Paul provides most of the parenesis (guidelines for how we should live in response to the gospel proclaimed) here.

Jeremiah 15:15-21
This segment of the personal prayers of Jeremiah and of the response to these prayers by the Lord is one of the most helpful biblical examples of the difficulties faced by the prophetic figure, the truly inspired individual of any time and place. The inspired individual is frequently alone, alone with God and rejected by the world, rejected even by most of the people of the community of faith. The inspired individual is driven by God to say and to do what the inspired individual must do. The inspired individual is controlled by God, but the inspired individual can never control God. Nevertheless, we see in this text that the Lord is basically supportive of Jeremiah. We, too, believe when we are driven by God to become inspired individuals, God is basically supportive of us. Like Jeremiah, however, we sometimes must wait a long time for evidence of God’s support.

Psalm 26:1-8
This individual lament is similar to the lament in Jeremiah 15:15-21, except that the psalmist is much more closely associated with the cult (the worshiping community) than Jeremiah and his disciples were. Unlike the Jeremiah 15:15-21 tradition, this psalm provides no response by the Lord. Perhaps it is assumed that no immediate response was needed since the psalmist was surrounded by the supportive congregation. The psalmist was primarily a righteous individual; the prophet Jeremiah was primarily an inspired individual. Which of these roles describes each of us? Do we at some times function as one and at other times as the other? We believe that God uses both in this world.

Exodus 3:1-15
This highly significant call of Moses story is one of the most important theophanies in our biblical texts. Moses is curious about the burning bush and is initially receptive to God’s call. The Lord God then reveals something about the Lord God’s identity, and Moses is overwhelmed and hides his face because of his fear of God and his respect for God. Moses is pleased to hear that God will deliver the pre-Israelites from bondage in Egypt and bring them to the “land flowing with milk and honey,” but apprehensive when God tells him that he must go to the Pharaoh and demand the release from slavery. God provides a symbol of God’s name for Moses and gives explicit directions for Moses as Moses is to address the Pharaoh and the pre-Israelite slaves.

Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45c
The anxiety and fear the people to whom this psalm is addressed once had as wandering sheep and goat herders without a nation, subjected to drought and famine, and severely oppressed as slaves in Egypt are remembered as they are called upon to worship the Lord God of Israel. Now, however, these thoughts of anxiety and fear no longer restrain them as they praise and acclaim the Lord God for the mighty acts of deliverance of the heavily oppressed people that has resulted in their nation Israel.

Romans 12:9-21
This text is ample evidence of the major contribution that the Apostle Paul has made in his seven letters of guidelines regarding how followers of Jesus should respond to the proclamation of the gospel. We are to be “boiling over” with the Spirit of God, rejoicing in the hope that God provides for us, as we endure patiently whatever affliction comes to us, while we persist in prayer, participating in meeting the needs of all who are consecrated to God, and seeking to be as helpful as possible to strangers. We should even with acts of kindness provide food and drink for our enemies, conquering evil with good.

Matthew 16:21-28
The additions in Matthew to the Mark 8:31–9:1 text, especially the words to explain the way in which Peter was reported in Mark to have started to reprove Jesus for talking about being crucified (“May God spare you this, Lord! This will never happen to you!”), are reminders to us that these passion predictions in the Synoptic Gospels are almost entirely ex eventu. They are told from the vantage point of belief that God had raised Jesus from the dead, Jesus as the Risen Christ was now with God, and Jesus’ death, as well as his resurrection, had been necessary in order that his followers would have salvation. Our own natural inclinations may be to say that if we had been with Jesus before Jesus went up to Jerusalem to be crucified and if Jesus had told us what is reported in this text, we would probably have said the same thing that Peter is reported in Matthew 16:22 to have said.

Why, then, is Jesus reported to have rebuked Peter when Peter only wanted to spare Jesus from Jesus’ horrendous suffering and death? When we recognize that this is an ex eventu account, we can begin to realize that from the perspective of followers of Jesus late in the first century, if Jesus had not been crucified they would not have been saved from their sins. Satan (evil personified, perhaps in the person of Caesar, under whose jurisdiction Jesus had been crucified) would have been victorious had not Jesus been crucified and had not Jesus been raised from the dead as the Savior by the power of God. To be opposed to Jesus’ suffering and death, therefore, is to be opposed to God and to God’s plan of redemption and to be on the side of Satan.

The message of the Jesus of history that God rather than Caesar is Lord and is coming soon to rescue Jesus’ fellow oppressed Jews led to the sacrifice of Jesus’ life. For followers of Jesus later during the first century to proclaim that Jesus the Risen Christ, rather than Caesar who ruled over them on the earth, is Lord was for them to be willing to “take up their cross to follow Jesus” to an end by torture and crucifixion like that of Jesus. They were exhorted to be willing to do that here in Matthew 16:24-26….click here for the full installment

click here for future days

  • 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