122: Proper 9B (July 5, 2015)


For Sunday July 5, Proper 9, Year B

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Featured Musician - The Steel Wheels, “The Promised Land” from their new album Leave Some Things Behind

Episode 122 Proper 9B

Hello and welcome to the Pulpit Fiction Podcast, the lectionary podcast for preachers, seekers and Bible geeks. This is episode 122 for Sunday July 5, Proper 9, Year B.

Introduction and Check-in  

Quickfire Scripture:  2 Corinthians 12:2-10 Bragging in weakness

  • “Person in Christ,” almost surely Paul. “Third heaven” is mysterious, but probably a reference to his conversion experience on road to Damascus. If so, this is Paul’s only mention of that event which is so important in Acts.
  • Context of this passage important - responding to claims that Paul is not apostle-ish enough because he doesn’t perform miracles or do amazing wonders. The proof they offer is that if he had done anything truly great, he would be boasting about it.
  • Paul’s response is a mix of sarcasm and theology. He boasts, but not in the way that others would expect.
  • In fact, he tells of times that his prayers were unanswered, and when God gave him a ‘thorn’ in response to his own arrogance.
  • So Paul is not boasting about what he has seen/done. Instead, he boasts in the power of Christ.
  • A word for pastors today, who are told that they are not powerful, charismatic, young, experienced, old, educated, etc. enough.
  • For churches desperate to attract new people, the cries against Paul as not being ‘enough’ might feel familiar.
  • Paul’s strength is not in his own ability (preacher, listen up). It is in God’s ability to use him.

Featured Musician - The Steel Wheels, “The Promised Land” from their new album Leave Some Things Behind

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Primary Scripture -  Mark 6:1-13 Jesus not elected Homecoming King
Initial Thoughts

  • Jesus’ family. Brothers James, Joses, Judas, and Simon, and unnamed sisters. Calling him ‘Mary’s son’ implies Joseph is probably dead (never mentioned in Mark). Mary is only mentioned here as Jesus’ mother. Mary, mother of James and Joses is named at the Cross.
  • Most Protestants would have no problem with the idea of Jesus having siblings, but many may still be surprised - especially by the number.

Bible Study

  • v. 1-6 Jesus rejected at home
    • Similar story at the beginning of his ministry in Luke 4.
      • Jesus teaching in the synagogue in his hometown, and the people ask “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” They decide to throw him off the cliff, but Jesus simply walks away
      • Jesus says,  “no prophet is accepted in the prophet’s hometown.”
      • Similar: Jesus said to them, "Prophets are honored everywhere except in their own hometowns, among their relatives, and in their own households."
    • This is the fourth rejection since calling the 12
      • 3:12 Calls the 12
      • 3:20 Crowd gathers, and family says that “he is out of his mind.”
      • 3:22 Legal experts claim he is from Beelzebul
      • 5:16 People on other side of lake plead with Jesus to leave.
    • v. 4 “He was unable to do miracles there, except that he placed his hands on a few sick people and healed them.”
      • There are other places in Mark where faith precedes healing. Just last week, Jairus and hemorrhaging woman each had faith before being healed, and Jesus called upon that faith as the reason for their healing.
      • That faith is needed for healing though, is oversimplification  as other stories include healing without faith.
      • Even this statement itself seems contradictory. Which was it? No miracles, or did some healing?
  • v. 7-13 Jesus sends out the 12
    • In between calling the 12 and sending the 12, Jesus is rejected by his family, legal experts, foreign people across the lake, and his hometown.
    • Jesus rejected four times, and so he warns the 12 of what do when they are rejected.
    • Jesus knows what it feels like to share with someone the Good News, but have it fall on deaf - even hostile - ears.
    • Jesus gives the disciples precious little instruction, but allows them a cloak and a staff (more than what they get in the other Gospels).
    • Told to go to households - clearly things weren’t going well for Jesus in the synagogues and with typical religious authorities
    • Despite their apparent lack of instruction, they were successful. Passage closes with the disciples preaching repentance, healing the sick, and anointing with oil.

Sermon Thoughts and Questions:

  • How is your church raising up leaders? Do our communities of faith recognize and value the ministry of their own? Do we raise up and nurture new leaders? How many new leaders do we dismiss because of their lack of lineage or status?
  • Joseph not being mentioned is important. Was he dismissed because he was raised by a single mother? When churches say that they are interested in attracting families, the important question is: What kind of families? What would a single mother, four boys, and at least two girls look like? How would they be treated if they walked into the door today?
  • What if these two stories are meant to remind us that we have a role to play. We are taught over and over that we are justified by faith alone. But what if God’s work also needs us to take some initiative? Is it works righteousness to declare that God needs us? Yet if it were not so, why call on 12 in the first place?

Psalm Nugget: Psalm 48 with Richard Bruxvoort Colligan (psalmimmersion.com, @pomopsalmist) with special exclusive gift from Richard for listeners of the show!

The Pulpit Fiction Podcast is brought to you in part by audible. For listeners of Pulpit Fiction, Audible is offering a free 30-day trial and get a free audio book simply by going to audibletrial.com/pulpitfiction. There are a ton of books, 150,000 titles to choose from, including some great works by friends of the show Peter Rollins, Adam Hamilton and Nadia Bolz-Weber. We recommend Rachel Held Evans’ new book Searching for Sundays which is available on audible right now! Get it for free at audibleTRIAL.com/PulpitFiction. Again, support the show by going to audibletrial.com/PulpitFiction to start your free 30-Day trial and get a free audio book download.

Second Scripture -2 Samuel 5:1-10 David becomes King
Initial Thoughts

  • vv. 6-8 are a weird bit about the conquest of Jerusalem and the lame and the blind Jebusites….honestly I would skip it.
  • Wait...didn’t we make David King a month ago?
    • yes and no- David was anointed a month ago by Samuel, but only now takes the throne - only now is his anointing recognized by all of the Israelites

Bible Study

  • Part 3 in the “Let’s Make David King narrative”
    • 1 Samuel 16 - the anointing of David by Samuel
    • 2 Samuel 2:4a - David made King over Judah
    • 2 Samuel 5:1-10 - David made King over the 12 Tribes of Israel
  • David is chosen to be King because of how he had led the people even when Saul was King
    • Conquering of Jerusalem- very wise as Jerusalem did not belong to any one of the tribes- neutral ground (like Washington DC)
    • Military and infrastructure- but mostly faith and nurture of the people
    • History is important- all we hear is that the Northern tribes make David king- to understand why- you need to read the history 2 Sam 1-5
  • Shepherd of My People Israel
    • David, the shepherd who was called from the field to be anointed and to fight Goliath, is now called to continue his ministry as a shepherd by taking care of Israel
    • Shepherd is a common image for Kings and rulers in the Ancient Near East
    • About using one’s power to protect the vulnerable (sheep) from that which would destroy them (especially seen in David’s testimony to Saul in his fight with Goliath)
    • Many great Hebrew leaders began as Shepherds:
      • Rebekah, Joseph, Moses, David, and Amos
  • Covenant
    • Interesting choice of words. Covenant describes the Holy relationship between God and God’s people (Gen 9, Gen 15, Exodus 19)
    • David is set up as a kind of earthly reflection of God or the incarnation of the Ark of the Covenant
      • “LORD, the God of Hosts, was with him”
    • This Covenant would not be upheld - David’s own son, Absalom will lead the Northern Tribes in revolt (2 Sam 16-19) as well Sheba (2 Sam. 20)

Preaching Thoughts

  • Shepherds are called to both nurture and lead. They must care for the most vulnerable, but most also guide them if the flock is to flourish. How are you both nurturing and leading? Comforting and challenging? Protecting and holding them accountable?
    • How does your church shepherd its greater community?
  • In his Kingship David ends up healing and forming the nation of Israel. He is able to overcome the division (albeit temporarily) because he had 1) already built a foundation of relationship; 2) shown a history of good leadership; 3) put the needs of the greater community before himself and his own tribe (Judah). How are you and your church building a credible foundation in your community? Too often we want to jump straight to healing without having done any of the hard relationship building work.

Tasty Wafer of the Week:

  • Thursday Night Special with Lauren Winner! Her new book, Wearing God: Clothing, Laughter, Fire, and Other Overlooked Ways of Meeting God Sermon Series incoming!

Thank you listeners and Shout-Outs
Daniel- left us a comment on our website. On episode 120 in our discussion of David and Goliath I incorrectly said that Goliath’s name is only mentioned once. Daniel pointed out this is not correct, his name is mentioned 2-3 times depending on the translation. Thanks Daniel!

Featured Musician - The Steel Wheels,  “The Promised Land” from their new album Leave Some Things Behind

Thanks to our Psalms correspondent, Richard Bruxvoort Colligan (psalmimmersion.com, @pomopsalmist). Thank you to Scott Fletcher for our voice bumpers, Dick Dale and the Del Tones for our Theme music (“Misirlou”), Nicolai Heidlas (“Summertime”) and The Steel Wheels for our transition music(“Nola’s First Dance” from their album Lay Down, Lay Low) and Paul and Storm for our closing music (“Oh No”).

The Lion and Lamb Festival is seeking musicians and speakers. Already featuring friends of the show Heatherlyn and Sarah Renfro. Other participants can apply now. The Festival’s vision is to bring people together to inspire and be inspired by stories of peace, mercy, justice, and love. It is August 8, 2015 in the Quad Cities, Illinois.


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