77: P16A (Aug. 24) or “You are the Keymaster”


For Sunday August 24, Proper 16A/Ordinary 21A/11 Sundays after Pentecost. 

SHOW NOTES -  8/24/2014
Episode 77: P. +11A (Aug. 24) or “You are the Keymaster”

For Sunday, August 24, 2014
Episode 77


Welcome to the Pulpit Fiction Podcast, where two local pastors discuss the  lectionary reading for the week.  
This is episode 77 for Sunday August 24, Proper 16A/Ordinary 21A/11 Sundays after Pentecost.
Matthew 16:13-20 - Who do you say I am?
Exodus 1:8 - 2:10 - The Power of Widwives!

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Introduction and Check-in

Featured Musician -  The Steel Wheels, “All Stripped Away” from their album Live at Goose Creek. Find more of their music at www.thesteelwheels.com. @thesteelwheels

Primary Scripture - Matthew 16:13-20 - Who do you say I am?
Initial Thoughts

  • Literary context is important.
    • Jesus feeds four thousand
    • Pharisees and Sadducees demand a sign, he tells them they will get no sign, but the “sign of Jonah,” (who was sent to a Gentile, unclean land).
    • Disciples again worried about lack of bread.  Jesus warns against the “yeast of the Pharisees,” and the disciples actually get the analogy
    • THEN he asks the disciples, “What are people saying about me?”
    • NEXT comes next week, when Jesus says to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan!”
    • THEN comes the Transfiguration.

Bible Study

  • Differences between Gospels
    • Mark
      • Comes in similar literary context
      • Feeding the Four Thousand
      • Demand for a Sign
      • Warning against the yeast of the Pharisees.
      • INSERT - Jesus heals blind man at Bethsaida
      • Peter’s declaration
      • No name change. Nothing about keys.
    • John
      • Disciples name Jesus as the Messiah at their first encounter.
      • Jesus names Simon Cephas in 1:42.
  • Matthew puts much emphasis on the confession of Peter.
    • Matthew 14:33 “Those in the boat worshiped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.”
    • Still though, there is something special about Peter’s pronouncement as “The Messiah.”
      • This the first time that one of Jesus’ followers calls him “The Messiah,” and the first time he acknowledges it.
  • Jesus’ response
    • Blessed are you, for no one told you this.
    • You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church
      • Some argue that this could not have been authentic Jesus, because he could not have anticipated the institution of followers that came after him, but it does not seem too strange to think he would have anticipated that some followers who would have wanted to preserve his teaching.
    • The gates of Hades will not prevail against it.
      • Notice this is not the classic understanding of Hell, but more of the Jewish understanding of the realm of death.
      • Jesus’ Kingdom stands over and conquers death.
      • No mention of a duality between heaven=paradise and hell=torment.
    • Whatever you bind and loose…
      • Peter’s authority is underlined, especially important to the Matthean community who used his words to allow gentiles into the community.
    • Don’t tell anyone.
      • Why is it a secret?  Good question.
      • Jesus wants others to come to their own conclusion.  Show them the love, mercy, forgiveness, and let the “Messiah-ness” come on its own.
  • Turning point - “No going back now.”
    • Many commentators point to this story as a turning point in the story.
    • Before this claim are many parables and miracles all pointing toward the identity of Jesus.  Remember, in the water walking story the mistaken identity was the source of the fear.
    • As Jesus’ identity is finally deciphered, Peter is given a new identity as well.
    • From here we get to the predictions of suffering, death, and resurrection.  But these cannot come until his identity is revealed.  And once identity is revealed, there is no way we can stop following - even to and through the cross.

Preaching Thoughts

  • We so often think of Peter, sitting at the gates, deciding who’s in and who’s out.  What if, instead, he was there to celebrate with you on your entrance.  Instead of Heavenly Bouncer, he is the Celestial Greeter.  Emphasize Peter’s power to include those who were previously excluded - which takes on greater significance after his dream in Acts.
  • “Don’t tell anyone.”  This wouldn’t necessarily be a great evangelism technique.  Or would it?  What if we followed the model of the gospel of Matthew, and didn’t go around proclaiming “Jesus is the Messiah.”  But instead offered the signs of Jesus - the kindness, mercy, healing, forgiveness, abundance, justice, just come.  Instead of approaching someone with Jesus first, you approach someone with Jesus’ way first.  Instead of the hard sell, act now response; we go with the slow roll, build relationships, and go deeper.

Featured Musician -  The Steel Wheels, “All Stripped Away” from their album Live at Goose Creek. Find more of their music at www.thesteelwheels.com. @thesteelwheels

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Secondary scripture - Exodus 1:8 - 2:10 - The Power of Widwives!
Initial Thoughts

  • All about power
  • vs. 1-7 - transition verses
  • Israelites have finally done what God wanted, but are in the wrong place
    • “Be fruitful and multiply” - Gen 1:22, 28; 8:17; 9:1,7; 35:11
    • Exodus 1:7 “The Israelites were fruitful and prolific”

Bible Study

  • Two stories
    • Macro: Pharaoh and the Hebrew Midwives
    • Micro: Moses
  • Pharaoh
    • What is blessing to Israel is a threat to the status quo and power
    • Guided by fear (unjustified)
    • Self-fulfilling prophesy
    • Does not know Joseph -
      • Terence Fretheim, Exodus, Interpretation p. 27. “The king of Egypt does not know; God knows. This difference in knowing has a profound effect on doing (see Jer. 22:16). Not-knowing leads to oppression; knowing leads to salvation. Who knows and who does not (yet) know will be a recurrent theme in Exodus.”
  • Setting up Pharaoh vs God/the faithful
    • Pharaoh directly talks to the midwives (there is no intermediary)
    • Pharaoh demands power over life and death
    • Pharaoh's power is circumvented by the most unlikely: Hebrew, women, servants
    • The midwives are shown to have more power than Pharaoh
      • They are smarter than Pharaoh
      • Humorous irony that the weakest is smarter and more powerful than the strongest
      • H. James Hopkins- Note that the midwives are named but Pharaoh is not
    • Brueggemann, Exodus NIB p.695 - vv.15-22, Pharaoh moves from oppression ro genocide and the text shifts away from the Israelites and toward the “Hebrews”
      • Hebrews or ‘apiru - “This term, with its cognates known all over the ancient Near East, refers to any group of marginal people who have no social standing, own no land, and who endlessly disrupt ordered society.... They are the 'low-class folks' who are feared, excluded, and despised”
      • Moses mother and sister (Hebrew women) again trick Pharaoh by conspiring to have Moses live
      • Ironically to be adopted into Pharaoh’s household
  • Thoughts on Moses
    • Story explains how Moses became part of Pharaoh’s household
    • Mother obeys Pharaoh - but God subverts Pharaoh's plan
    • Moses is literally placed in an “Ark” of bulrushes, places in water where he is rescued by Pharaoh’s daughter
      • Genesis 6-9: Noah and the Ark - recalls God’s promise not to abandon God people
      • Fortells the one who will lead God’s people into a new life

Preaching Thoughts

  • There are twin themes of power and fear. Fear leads to a desire for more power which often leads to losing that power.
    • Ex: One could argue that the US is more fearful since 9-11, but two wars, countless lives lost, injuries suffered, countries torn apart, people wrongly imprisoned, privacy violations and on and on- is the US more powerful? Does anyone feel safer or better than they did before 9-11?
    • For consideration: If the church falls into a culture of fear - what is the consequence? Is the concern over church decline a concern over not sharing the good news or a concern that we are losing our “power” or the illusion of our influence?
  • This is a clear story of civil disobedience - how might we as individuals and churches follow in the footsteps of Shiphrah and Puah to stand by oppressors even when it violates the laws of the land?
  • H. James Hopkins - Puah and Shiphrah are not religious or community leaders and yet God is working through them- how are we lifting up ways in which God is working in others? God needs midwives as much as God needs prophets and pastors

The Steel Wheels, “At Long Last” from their album Live at Goose Creek. Find more of their music at www.thesteelwheels.com. @thesteelwheels

TY listeners

Shout outs:
Suz Cate - great story about last week Jesus and the Canaanite Woman
From Twitter:
@ChrisStrickla “Leave the walking on water to Jesus.  Stay in the boat and head toward the people.”
@FCCGeorgetown “@PulpitFPodcast inspiring our conversation today!”
@JohnDobbs “Enjoyed this week’s discussion of the Canaanite woman … an enigmatic text for sure.
@revRenfro “so glad to hear a female artist as the featured musician this week. Love the song, too.@heatherlynmusic

Featured Musician -  The Steel Wheels, “All Stripped Away” and “At Long Last” from their album Live at Goose Creek. Find more of their music at www.thesteelwheels.com. @thesteelwheels

Our theme music is Misirlou by Dick Dale and the Del Tones and our closing music is “Oh No” by Paul & Storm.